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And, yes, I DO take it personally: A tale of three countries
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Saturday, February 02, 2008

A tale of three countries

yes, i'll admit... my sense of humor is more than slightly twisted and sometimes the temptations of subtle ironies are simply too powerful for me to resist...

i arrived back in buenos aires a week ago today after having been gone for four months... as i expected, the tires on my poor bicycle - bicicleta (bee-see-CLAY-ta, or BEE-see as the locals call them) - were both flat... on tuesday, i walked it over to the ypf service station (pronounced ee-pay-EF-ay) to use their air hose... (ypf is the former state-owned argentina petroleum company, now owned by spain's repsolypf...) their service wasn't working, so i walked the bike further down the avenue to the petrobras station... (PetrĂ³leo Brasileiro S/A - Petrobras - is the state-owned oil company of brasil...) the air pump at petrobras didn't work either, and the two attendants hanging around the gas pump islands were competing with each other to see who could go the longest without looking at me...

feeling a little deflated myself, i went back to the house, where later i talked with my landlady... she reminded me that there was another service station just a few blocks in the other direction... she thought it was a shell station, but i knew just where she was talking about and remembered that it was a pdv station... (pdv is PetrĂ³leos de Venezuela S.A., and i'm sure you can already see where i'm going with this...) i walked the bike over there yesterday, and, yes, the air pump worked perfectly and there was also an attendant, a pleasant old man, who stood by just in case i needed any help...

so, there you have it... venezuela came through to save the day... do you suppose there's a message here somewhere...?

p.s. i neglected to mention that compressed air service, along with water, at all service stations in argentina is still FREE, which makes it all the more annoying when i pull in to a u.s. service station and note the increasingly rising prices at those goddam coin-operated machines that SELL AIR...

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