One of the mildly shocking realizations in Argentina is how many Italians there are and how much their influence has shaped the country from food to language. For example, in almost all Spanish speaking countries, the accepted form of goodbye is Adios! (Go with God), or Hasta la vista (Until I see you again). But in Argentina everyone says "Ciao!" (pronounced chow, and Italian for goodbye).
One tour guide told us 40% of immigrants were Italian, and I'm not sure if this was from the early 1900s or Italians fleeing the country during WWII, but they are definitely a big part of Argentine culture. You haven't lived until you get into a taxi with an Italian cab driver speaking Spanish. It's like a weird dream where a Brooklyn cabbie made a wrong turn and came out in Tijuana.
We had a problem with a cab driver (not an Italian) coming in from the airport who passed about $75 worth of counterfeit money to Tommy in change. We didn't realize it until Tom tried to buy a couple empinadas at a store near the downtown square in Buenos Aires. As we were looking at the fake money and trying to make sense of it all, up stepped this Italian who offered to help us:
He told us to call him Frankie, and so we did. He joined us for lunch:
And on a side trip to Iguazu Falls:
He eventually asked us if he could spend the night and so, we let him:
Nice guy. I think he is a hair dresser or a financial wizzard, or both.