a diverse collection of travel photos and firsthand experiences while venturing across the globe. each destination has welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles, making us feel right at home. from argentina to utah - and thousands of miles in between - these are our visual memories of 'home'...just as we never imagined.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Curbside Car Service

The stoplight turns red...which is their green light to start working.

They wake up early, head into the city, and stake their claim on the most convenient street corner downtown. This is their spot. This is their routine. There are several other street corners...but the congested avenues are already taken.

With squeegees in hand, and a bucket of watered down glass cleaner, these three cousins anxiously wait for cars to line up every 30 seconds - their new "potential clients". The cousins quickly weave around cars, offering their curbside service to all those interested. In most cases, drivers shoo them away with a brisk brush of the hand, or simply roll up their windows to avoid contact. The light then turns green...and they return to their corner and wait.

A few drivers might allow them to clean the occasional windshield. In such cases, all three cousins rush over as a team and hastily soak, wash, and dry all the windows on the car - quite the 20 second workout! Some drivers offer a few coins in return. Others offer cigarettes. Some say, "I'll pay you tomorrow"...while others simply drive off. Credit cards are not accepted :)

Together, as a team, they earn about U$1.00 every 30 minutes. At the end of the day, they split the money among themselves before returning home. One is a father of 2 kids. None of them go to school.

While this might not be a dignified job for some, at least they are not stealing. Instead, they are making a living in a way most people could never imagine. As one cousin told us, "We come from a bad place. But that doesn't mean we aren't good people."

It might not be pretty, but this is an integral part of local culture in Argentina...and we admire it.

4 comments:

The Highland Hill's said...

They were definitely a tough breed of person...thats pretty good money too...I wonder if Gringos would make any more if we wore swim suits w/ our shirts off and only focused on the car driven by females...

Do you think we could make some serious money? Maybe when I come visit we could try it...of course I'll need to actually have something they'd like to see...so I better start working out...

satomblablabla said...

I love this post. It makes me want to cry and smile at the same time. They deserve a standing ovation for their integrity and perseverance!

Still Life in South America said...

Thanks for giving faces to these hard workers. Not that we drive around here, but we so often reject people peddling at street corners because it's a "bother."

Like you said--they made a living and it is honorable.

Raych the brain Stangle said...

oh my gosh that breaks my heart, that there isn't a better way for them. I'm ashamed of how easy I have it and how bad I've taken advantage of that ease. when I "want" to work (cause heaven knows I don't "have to") I have my pick at more than a dozen jobs and have had trouble finding where I basically would like to spend my time to "earn" some cash. good on you guys for posting this. I needed it. love you guys.