Press the Blue Button or Things We Have Learned Lately

October 2011

Since the day we arrived in Buenos Aires we have casually looked for the switch that activates air conditioner. The unit is embedded in the wall, thirty or so feet from the first floor, unreachable from the second story loft or anywhere else in the apartment. The motor of the thing takes up about one third of our minuscule balcony.

Air Conditioner – Upper Right Corner
As seen from our loft bedroom.


Our balcony and the business
end of the air conditioner.
Note the parsley plant.  I can garden anywhere!

It’s been very cool so we have not needed it, but it’s been on our minds because the damp, sometimes soggy spring weather here could turn into a late spring hot flash quickly.  I have had enough hot flashes  to know that I do not wish to experience another, so on several occasions I have peeked around corners, followed electrical lines, and played with wall switches trying to discover how to activate the thing. No success.

The apartment manager, who is young, beautiful and very sweet, disappeared on a business trip to Uruguay a couple of days after we arrived, so we have been communicating sporadically via email with her.  Yesterday it was 80 degrees here and since our apartment faces south west, I finally gave up and asked her where the switch to the damned air conditioner was located.

Miraculously she got right back to me with the following message:

The air conditioning turn on with the blue button. Then press the button “mode” and put the symbol of could (snow) if the air conditioning stay in hot (sun).
If you cant, Eduardo is in the front door. call Eduardo for help- 🙂

Confirm me that.


The hunt was on.  Tim and I retraced every step of our previous searches and considered taking up the floorboards, but once more we failed.  There was no blue button anywhere in the apartment.  I emailed again in the vain hope that our darling Marina would still be in internet range.  My email was exactly five words:

Where is the blue button?

The internet goddess was smiling.  She replied at once!

It is on the remote.

Remote?  Remote? REMOTE?  What remote?Of course it was here.  It was the small remote we’d shoved aside because we thought it belonged to the clunky cd player hogging valuable space on a kitchen shelf.  It has a BLUE BUTTON, as well as a “mode” button which displays the above-mentioned snowflake.  The machine started as instructed and life was good.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED:  We need a check list

We are usually witless when we arrive anywhere.  We are tired from taking several flights, multiple customs and security encounters, a pat-down or body scan because of my new bionic knee, and the thrill of finding the bags and negotiating the airport.  In this case, the car we had prearranged did not appear, so our stress level was even higher than usual and we had endured a red-eye to a place close to the South Pole.

The blue button was one of many details we overlooked because we were so happy to be in the apartment, so pleased that Marina was actually here with her beautiful smile and two sets of keys, so delighted that the place was as nice-looking as we had hoped, and that we were at last going to be in one place for two consecutive months.

For these reasons we did not ask the right questions and check important details before she scampered away to her real life.  It was not her fault at all, but ours, for not paying attention.

So now when we sit down on our commodious balcony to relax after a long arduous day of having fun and learning about living in Argentina we work on “the list.” It will go with us wherever we land in a new living space.   We have apartments or cottages reserved in California, Morocco, Italy, Paris, London, and Istanbul for 2012 and upon each arrival we will whip out our trusty check list and learn all about the blue buttons before saying adios to our new best friend, the apartment agent!

Don’t get the wrong idea.
We really LIKE this apartment!

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