Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bomberos, and Other Stuff I Found

I'm standing there in Buenos Aires, purporting to know Spanish, and having no clue what is underneath this metal cover. For 8 days, I was carted around this sweltering little metropolis to awesome restaurant after awesome restaurant, then typically back to the first awesome restaurant for a third or fourth meal that day. The Italian food, particularly, was great. Everything was mind-bogglingly cheap, with the exchange rate being something in the neighborhood of 3.2 to 1. Cab rides typically cost 2 dollars or less.

Turns out "Bomberos" means Fire Department or, alternately (and awesomely as only an online translator would put it) Fire Brigade. At the time I just figured this would make for an awesome album cover.

Like Rio, they don't really start the night until about 2AM, and have little to no interest in punctuality or rushing anything. Unlike Rio, they have a great subway system, and no beach. No beach means no breeze, which means it was really hot there. It was hot enough at midnight for us to unabashedly rub ice on each others chests in public. We documented it. Ice Chests.

This is the back of a cigarette pack from Brasil. There's a whole series of them, with pictures of blackened lungs, people breathing through respirators, and all other nature of effed-up shit. This was easily the best though. I wonder when this trend of really sticking it to cigarette smokers with full color photos of their imminent pain and suffering will make it to America. It can't be far off.

Also note: Counterfeiting abounds!!

Isn't is funny how counterfeit is a word that originally meant "a really good facsimile" (and maintained a positive connotation) and now means something fake and even slightly sinister? Anyway, I hadn't been in Argentina more than 4 hours before being slipped a counterfiet bill by a cab driver. I kept it as a souvenir. It's actually a really good facsimile (!), complete with watermarks and holograms, and it's only failing is the paper it's printed on.

Apparently it is commonly known not to try to give 100 peso notes to cab drivers because always they're waiting for this opportunity to pass off a fake 50 to you, the foolish tourist. This can be tricky though because 100 peso notes are all one gets from ATMs. Naturally, I received this sage advice approxiamtely 1 hour too late. Drag. It's only the equivalent of about 17 USD, so no big loss. More interestingly, it sparked a pretty serious discussion about the place of counterfeit currency in the economy, and the nature of good and bad deeds. There was a contingent voting that I pass the bill off on someone else, based on the theory that money only has the value we assign it and that therefore a counterfeit bill is worth at least a part, if not all of it's implied value. I agreed in theory, but felt that it was inherently evil to pass on this bill to someone else, having them (eventually) feel the same sting that I did upon discovery of the ruse. Fascinating, yes?

Attention Loyal Reader:
I now vow to update this beast of words at least once a week. Get ready, America.

With my cadre of fanatics, consolidating power as we speak,



littlebirdy said...

We should frame that counterfeit bill and display it proudly! I miss you!

Jade said...

falsificación es la palabra que significa "counterfeit" en ingles.

es interesante, no? parece que la connotación es más negativa en español.

y el "iPhone" es la onda del futuro, amigo.