Being a Jew while travelling can be quite difficult. I’m not talking about anti-semitism or anything. I am referring to one of the holidays that tests one’s resolve as a Jew and makes one look at their non-Jewish friends with envy as they munch on a yummy batch of cookies.
Passover.
The 8 days without bread, cookies, beer or anything involving grain.
I recall a year ago unsure how I would keep Passover while in Argentina. A couple months ago I was sure I would do, crying for my future self for the week without beer, criolloes and alfajores. The day before Passover however…
Well let me put it out there that Argentina was most unhelpful to stay kosher. Not just everyone ate bread ALL the time. And I was travelling. While travelling it’s easy to eat bakery stuff and sandwiches all the time because they’re simple and cheap. Other foods are either cost inefficient, time inefficient or both.
Then there’s the issue of services. My mom has a friend who has family in Argentina. My mom’s friend’s brother’s sister’s aunt’s cousin’s maid’s… So I asked her to ask around for services or a seder. By the time the day before Passover came around I had given up hope. But behold! There was an un-read e-mail giving me the e-mail address of a rabbi in Argentina. My prayers were answered! Until the e-mail I sent out was rebounded by the host service. Well fuck.
I decided to seek out my Jewish roots another way. Apparently Buenos Aires is the Jewish Capital of South America. It even has the only Kosher McDonalds outside of Israel. According the all-knowing internet, I needed to go to Once District, near the Abastos shopping, on Lavalle to encounter Jewish stuff. So I drag Amelia to Once, we search for Lavalle and yet I don’t see any Jewish character signifying a Jewish restaurant or the like. We walk around and the only thing we keep on seeing is mannequin factories/stores. Thank heavens it wasn’t living plastic or we’d be swarmed to death. (See Doctor Who first episode season 1 of the reboot if you don’t understand the reference.) The Abastos, I recalled. That’s where the Kosher McDonalds is. According to the all-knowing internet. We see a McDonalds. It advertises cheeseburgers. Definitely not Kosher.

Sad Tahlia, no Jews for you
Sad Tahlia, no Jews for you

My last hope is the super market. Maybe, just maybe they might sell some Matzah. One of the clerks directs me to the panaderia, the bakery. But I see no Matzah there. Well if Argentina doesn’t want me to keep Pesadich…well, guess I’ll just drink beer.
Breakfast beer
Breakfast beer

But I couldn’t give up there. Despite not finding anything with Amelia, maybe they were scared of her, I was determined to find a trace of Jewishness in Buenos Aires. So while she was visiting friends for Pascua, Easter, I renewed my search. I got more specific directions from the internet, which I promptly forgot. I asked my waiter, who pointed on the map a general area, but I stupidly didn’t get him to mark. So I ended up in the Once, around the Abastos again. This time I did see a sign!
Small sign over there says ALEPH!!!! (Just take my word for it xD)
Small sign over there says ALEPH!!!! (Just take my word for it xD)

And the internet said there were 2 McDonalds in the Abastos, one on the first floor: not Kosher, one on the third floor: Kosher. Good trick McDonalds. Have you ever wondered what a Kosher McDonalds serves during Passover?
Kosher McDonalds
Kosher McDonalds

It doesn’t. It’s closed.
Well fuck.
So instead I had Chinese food. Wrong holiday now that I think about it. Maybe I’ll have Matzah for Hanukkah.
And those are my woes of being a Jew in Argentina during Passover.
P.S. At least I didn’t have to give up beer or Alfajores. Jokes on you Argentina!

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