One of the joys of adjusting from life in the US to life here in Buenos Aires is learning how to convert our screwy imperial units of measure (pounds, degrees Fahrenheit, feet and miles) into those handy metric units (grams, kilograms, degrees Celsius, meters and kilometers). Since at first this task can be just a bit perplexing, here are a few quick hints to making these adjustments yourself:
Weight (1 pound = 450 grams)
You will most frequently need to be familiar with the conversion between pounds and grams while visiting your local fiambrería (deli meat seller), carnicería (butcher) or verdulería (vegetable seller). Ordering meats and vegetables are the easiest, as you can just request “dos pechugas” (two chicken breasts), or “tres zanahorias” (three carrots), and be on your merry way. Ordering deli meat is a little trickier, however, as the density of the meats varies by type. As a rule of thumb, I typically buy 100 grams of dense salted meats, such as salami, but opt for 200 grams when ordering the more common sandwich companions, including cheese, ham or turkey. These portions are just right, as they are enough to sustain me through several lunches, but won’t last too long and go feo.
Weight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds)
When I moved into my first apartment here in Buenos Aires, I was also pleasantly surprised to see a scale in the bathroom. Only problem? It weighed me in kilograms. If you are watching your weight while you’re here, this simple conversion is handy to keep in the back of your mind.
Square feet and meters (1 square foot = .092 square meter)
Apartment hunting? Here’s a couple of general measurements to help you out. 500 square meters is 46 square meters, 750 square feet is 70 square meters and 1,000 square feet is 92 square meters.
Temperature (°C = (°F -32) x 5/9)
The conversion between degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit is not only the measure that you will most frequently encounter, but also the one that can be the most perplexing. As you can see, the formula for making this conversion is a doozy!
Thanks to a dear Argentine friend that I met while still in the US, I now know a simpler way to get a ballpark figure for the conversion: just take the temperature in Celsius, double it, and add 30. This figure will always be slightly off from the exact temperature reading, but it works in a pinch.
Weather, Seasons and Average Temperatures
If you don’t already know, the seasons south of the equator are the opposite of those to the north. That means, that when it is summer in the northern hemisphere, it is winter in the south, and vice versa.
The seasonal climate changes here in Buenos Aires are also different. Typically, summers are very warm, with lovely and enjoyable autumns and springs, and generally mild winters. Here’s a short list of average seasonal temperatures to give you a general idea of the local climate:
Average Temperatures for Buenos Aires by Season*
Winter: 13 °C (or 55°F)
Spring: 21 °C (or 70°F)
Summer: 28 °C (or 82°F)
Fall: 22 °C (or 73°F)
*Average temperatures have been taken from reports from www.BBC.com