BUENOS AIRES, Argentina—The customs official said only one thing to me: “Good luck out there.”
“Hola senorita. Querias tomar un taxi? Por favor. Ay senorita!” I avoided eye contact with all ten of them and walked outside to find a real taxi. I finally found one—an old man wearing a Marquez jacket, who not only helped me find the Internet booth, but also gave me personal advice on how to exchange money in the city
We walked through the parking lot and finally came to the taxi. My heart, after all its pride and exaltation in having navigated so far without getting ripped off or raped, fell apart when I saw his car: a 1965 rustic tank with flaking green paint and taped windows, the remains of some once vibrant machine that had left behind its sagging bones. Before I knew it, he had put my luggage in the truck, and we were zooming down the highway towards San Telmo.
The car only broke down once. With the help of two strange cars which helped push the taxi into life again, several wrenches, the love of "el padre," and seventy dollars, I survived my first taxi ride and arrived at the steps of my apartment on Chacabuco Street.
My Ngoc To ’14, an editorial writer, lives in Pforzheimer House.