I’ve been going through and editing thousands of photos I took in Argentina. A lot of them are of the yummy things I’ve eaten (way to many), a ton of them are of the beautiful landscapes (Patagonia, Mendoza, Salta, Jujuy) and animals (llamas, guanacos, and vicuñas, oh my!), gorgeous doors (my fascination for doors continues), but I also have dozens of car photos.
Of all the countries I’ve visited and lived in the last two years Argentina, by far, has the most colorful, eclectic, classic/vintage/old vehicles on the road. There are plenty of fancy expensive cars (not to mention all those foreign car dealerships/cafes on Libertador) but everyday I would find interesting old cars around.
There were also times where I’d do a double take or blink furiously to see how in the world a rusted out metal box with four deflated bold tires was being driven down the street. I wonder how a car like that can pass a vehicle inspection… is there is such a thing as an official vehicle inspection in Argentina? My friend Rita and I would have bets whether a car was just abandoned or if it had an owner who drove it around. “Do you think that actually runs? Yeah, definitely. See how it’s pretty clean? I bet it runs!” We’d giggle and take photos and talk about our favorite junk car of the day.
And then I learned something interesting. If a car has a plastic container/jug of water on the roof, it’s a sign that the car is for sale! An interested party has to clap his/her hands by the car until the person who’s selling it comes out of his/her house. No kidding. That’s how it works. I’ve asked taxi drivers, tour guides, my Argentine friends and they all confirmed that yes, a container on the roof of a car means the car is for sale. But as to where, why, and how it got started, no one could tell me. Below are some examples-
Once I was talking to a taxi driver about this very topic and while he didn’t know when this local custom started, he asked me a question in return- “how do YOU sell a car in your country?” As if used car dealerships, eBay, Craig’s List, or simply putting a sign on the window of the car didn’t seem logical. Come on, how can I not love Argentina!
I bet you the car on the left DOES run. The nice one on the right is for SALE!