Last night we went out to dinner with our friends Ceci and Nestor, who picked us up in Nestor´s old Citroen. Cars from the French automaker are very common in Argentina but I have never quite seen one like this one. The light blue paint has almost completely faded and flaked off on the outside. It´s also a convertible, if you can call it that. It´s the Citroen sedan model where there´s basically a tarp that stretches across the top of the roof of the car. (I wonder how waterproof the car is when it rains?). We hopped into the backseat which was partly missing. The right side of the backseat just consists of a few straps across the bottom of the seat. As the car shuffled off down the street, I heard the clanging of keys against the floor board. It turns out that the keys had fell out of the ignition. Evidently, you only need the keys to turn the car on and off. The Citroen also has an interesting transmission system. Like most every car in South America, it´s a straigt shift but the gear lever is located not on the floor or even the steering column (like some older American cars) but comes directly out of the engine and points straight through the front dashboard. Basically, changing gears is a task of pushing and pulling the stick forward and backwards. Upfront, the seats don´t appear much more comfortable than the back. The passenger side door doesn´t open and the driver´s seat sits rather low. Indeed, Nestor´s head barely comes above the steering wheel. I was curious as to the age of the car, so when we asked Nestor what year the car was manufactured, he jokingly responded, “1832”. Actually, it´s only a 1975 model. In some ways, the car – being entirely mechanical – is probably quite reliable. They actually drove it on a trip from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata. Of course, since the Citroen isn´t exactly a speed demon, the trip took them 7 hours. All of this makes for a rather intesting sight, but somehow it´s a car that typifies Nestor quite well and is almost what you would expect him to drive.

As for dinner, we ate at a fine Italian restaurant Lo Rafael. The food was excellent and well-priced, particularly considering that the entrees are large enough to serve two.

All in all, a nice enjoyable evening rambling through the streets of Buenos Aires in a classic Citroen.