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Some Argie Bargie

April 18, 2011 · 3 comments

They do some weird stuff overseas. From Thais putting ice in their beers to the Dutch having little viewing platforms on their toilets, there are always cultural quirks you have to get used to when you travel.

But this one’s just ridiculous.

I was in Argentina a few weeks back, and got stuck in more than the odd traffic jam. The one in Mendoza was crazy – everyone on the freeway slowed to a crawl, then we were forced into one lane by the police, and eventually, a good half hour later, trundled past a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, their drivers standing around and frying meat on portable barbecues, having a chat.

Apparently that’s not Argentinean council workers on smoko, that’s a protest.

I read about it later in the Buenos Aires Herald (above – which, incidentally, I got plenty of gold from). When Argentinean workers decide to stage a protest, they don’t picket their workplace, or gather in a square – they get in their cars and they block off traffic.

This inevitably causes chaos, but no problem, the whole thing is sanctioned (nay, supported), but the government and the police.

So every time some workers have a bone to pick, traffic descends into a bumper to bumper riot.

Now, I would have thought the idea with a protest would be to elicit some public sympathy, and the last way you’d want to do that is extend everyone’s commute by a few hours by needlessly blocking the highway and causing a traffic jam.

But hey, I’m not Argentinean. What would I know?

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