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Not only is Argentina not like this: it was never like this.

I just stum­bled in­to this video in The ar­gen­tine post, which is a "doc­u­men­tary" from 1932 about trav­el­ing in Ar­genti­na.

There you can see: a ban­doneón and gui­tar duo play­ing (for some rea­son) on a speed­ing boat.

Folk­loric dancers in high heel­s. Very, very very bad ones, too, spe­cial­ly the wom­en wear­ing said high heel­s.

A re­al life crazy law: coats were manda­to­ry, so men wore py­ja­ma coats in the streets (no, they were not manda­to­ry on the streets al­though you would­n't get in­to al­most any bussi­ness with­out one).

A man sell­ing milk from a cow in the street. Ri­i­i­i­ight. Ok, that is al­most plau­si­ble. Could hap­pen some­times.

The world's worst mate, with about as much sug­ar as yer­ba (be­lieve me, that's not even good for tourist­s).

A com­ment like this "It is sel­dom that an ar­gen­tine wom­an is trou­bled about the rights of her sex".

If this was paid for by some tourism pro­mo­tion agen­cy: they re­al­ly pushed it. If it was paid by MG­M: crap­py pro­duc­tion val­ues in the staged sce­nes, dudes!

The re­al­ly re­al­ly bad side of this kind of thing you can see in the com­ments by peo­ple that seem to be ar­gen­tines who say things like "It was such a coun­try. What have they done with it?".

You know what? Ar­genti­na in the 1930s sucked as a place to live in for most peo­ple. It was ok if you were a mem­ber of the Jock­ey Club, I sup­pose, but the av­er­age guy lived like crap.

Sure, the per capi­ta in­come was high­... com­pared to a world rav­aged by the great de­pres­sion, and even then 70% of the peo­ple lived in pover­ty. And trust me, pover­ty in the 30s was a bad place to be! Read some freak­ing Arlt.

What was the life ex­pectan­cy of the av­er­age ar­gen­tine? How about 55? (see here) Yes, this "rich" place had a life ex­pectan­cy 20 years low­er than to­day.

Of course you had al­most no po­lit­i­cal rights be­cause less than 35% of the pop­u­la­tion over 18 years old had the right to vote.

Those who did vote could just as well not both­er, since there was ram­pant fraud.

There was no pub­lic health sys­tem.

There were no re­tire­ments. You worked un­til you could work no more, then you lived with your kid­s, if you had them. If you did­n't, they bad luck for you.

You lived un­der laws that would now seem dra­co­ni­an, the po­lice could ar­rest you with­out cause and hold you al­most for­ev­er.

But yeah, Pa­ler­mo was a nice race­track (Hel­l, it still is!) where the dis­so­lute rich could waste the mon­ey they earned as ab­sen­tee land­lords of vast ranch­es, and you could swim in the Costan­era (now pol­lut­ed).

The gist? We are bet­ter off now. The av­er­age ar­gen­tine cit­i­zen has more right­s, lives bet­ter and longer than the av­er­age 1930s ar­gen­tine.

The rest is touristy crap and false mem­o­ries.

Doorways in the Sand

Cover for Doorways in the Sand


This was a quick read. Then again, I was just fin­ish­ing "The great book of am­ber" which is about the size of a phone book and has al­most as many char­ac­ter­s, so the Torah could have seemed a quick read, too.

This is a gim­icky book, and al­most ev­ery re­view men­tions it: each chap­ter starts with the main char­ac­ter in Big Trou­ble (t­m) and then he has a flash­back that ex­plains how he got there, then he gets away in­to a cliffhang­er, which is re­solved in the fol­low­ing chap­ter's flash­back.

Strange­ly, that is not at all con­fus­ing. I am a Ze­lazny fan, though, and most of his books have a gim­mick of some kind. For ex­am­ple, in the first Am­ber book, the char­ac­ter is am­ne­si­ac, so his own past is news to him (as it is for us).

An­oth­er nice touch is that while the main char­ac­ter is the clas­sic im­pos­si­bly eru­dite sci­fi hero, there is a rea­son for that (and it's not "he's a freak"): he has had a 13-year full­time col­lege ed­u­ca­tion (no de­grees yet!).

The flash­back trick pro­vides chance for some fun pieces. For ex­am­ple, the pro­tag­o­nist says he is hold­ing a "amolpid" in "y­golo­porht­na". Why? Well, we find out about 20 pages lat­er.

I re­al­ly en­joyed it.

The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10)

Cover for The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10)


Whoa that was long. Imgine what hap­pens when you read 10 nov­el­s, 4 short sto­ries and then you fin out the au­thor had 5 more nov­els planned bat had the bad idea of dy­ing with­out writ­ing them.

Luck­i­ly there is enough clo­sure af­ter the sec­ond pen­ta­l­o­gy not to feel cheat­ed, and it's a fun (if looooooong) read.

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