1. The black market rate for the USD is openly published in the local newspaper and on the news websites.
2. You run into a graffiti artist painting a wall in broad daylight.
3. The elegant signboard in front of you, hand painted with lovely flowery decorations, advertises a butcher’s shop.
4. Mullets, on either males or females, are the most widespread hairstyle you see. Every other style is a temporary fad.
5. Somebody on your street is having a barbecue in the middle of the road at midnight.
6. The amount of Coke you drink quadruples. How else would one take down Fernet?
7. You see banners with private messages hanging between two trees in a random neighbourhood. “I love you, Pilar, my life, my treasure, my everything. Diego”
8. Every single supermarket that doesn’t belong to big chains is Chinese or Taiwanese-owned and all of them have a Chinese gate at the entrance.
9. At midnight, the restaurants in your neighborhood are just beginning to get full.
10. Every ice-cream shop sells about twenty types of flavours, twelve of which are based on dulce de leche. Do you want dulce de leche granizado, dulce de leche with almonds, dulce de leche with walnuts, dulce de leche with coconuts, dulce de leche with Oreo cookies, with brownies, or the signature dulce de leche house ice cream?
11. Everyone you meet writes poetry, plays a musical instrument, trains in the circus arts, dances a complicated dance, or is into photography.
12. You can tell how well off a neighbourhood is by the number of dog walkers you run into.
13. Mafalda images are spread throughout the city, painted on newspaper stands, in the Catedral underground station, on stencils. There is even a park dedicated to her in the Colegiales neighbourhood in the Northern part of town.
14. You go out at 2 am only to find out you’re way early.
15. Bookstores are open longer hours than supermarkets.
16. Any given moment, there are at least ten free concerts, exhibitions, or cultural events to choose from.
17. A satellite view of the city shows barbecues on the top of most buildings.
18. You can go partying on a Monday. And on any other day of the week, for that matter.
19. January means one thing: power cuts.
20. Your city has a riverfront where you can take a walk, go running, or skateboarding, and enjoy the breeze. Yet you totally ignore it.
21. Every third week or so, the city grinds to a halt due to one of the 33 public holidays in Argentina.
22. There is an area in your city where every second person you encounter is an Orthodox Jew.
23. You have three cultural centres organizing classes in everything from theatre to flamenco dancing within three blocks from your home.
24. There are shortages of random products (think tampons and flour) every once in a while in supermarkets. And on each occasion, an informal market for the product appears spontaneously.
25. All your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have at least one experience of going to the psychologist and openly talk about it in a casual conversation.
26. The kids in your neighbourhood are rehearsing every Saturday for next year’s murga.
27. Shops selling fresh homemade pasta are a common sight. And you’re not in Italy.
28. You step into invisible puddles — big tiles on the sidewalk that often are not well cemented to the ground, so water gathers in the space underneath the tile whenever it’s raining. You don’t notice it at all – until you step on one of the loose tiles.