So, in telling you all this story, I inevitably have to push my dignity aside for just a moment, but my hope is that you can take my experience as a valuable lesson. However, I’d like to share with you all that I’ve learned about keys in Argentina since returning from my vacation visiting family in the United States.
When I moved to BsAs 5 months ago I was living with a family in Recoleta. However, my plan was to move into a new, comfortable apartment in Belgrano with two new awesome roommates after returning from the United States. Before heading to the US for Christmas, I went apartment hunting, signed a lease, gave my down payment to the landlord and had set up to retrieve the keys to my new apartment once arriving back in the city. I had made arrangements with friends who graciously picked up my keys from the landlord the day before I was due to come back and when they picked me up from the airport passed the keys along to me. When my friends dropped me off at my new apartment I was so happy and excited I could barely contain myself. I got into the building with no problem…it wasn’t until I tried to enter my actual apartment that I found trouble.
I put the key in the slot, turned it once, fumbled with the key just a minute, went to turn it a second time and that was when the key jammed. To be honest with you, I had NO idea what had actually happened. I couldn’t unlock the door and couldn’t understand why. I had done exactly what I was supposed to do. I called the Portera, but she couldn’t seem to understand either. I called my roommates and asked them if they had changed the lock for whatever reason and the answer was a simple, ‘no, of course not’. Next, I called my landlord. She was at work until 5pm and it was only 10am at this point. She had no idea what was going on, but she called her husband, Mariano, who eventually came to help me
When Mariano arrived at the house and after much consideration, he finally told me the problem. You see, my keys (exactly like the ones pictured above) may just be one key, but are actually two keys in one. When we unlock or lock each door with these keys, we have to turn the key twice for that exact reason: because there are actually two keys or two different locks, rather. In any case, Mariano had to take his key and literally saw it in half to unjam the lock. Once he was able to turn the lock once more, he was able to use my key to open the door.
All of that was well and good until…today, the same exact thing happened! However, this time I had left my phone inside my room, the Portera was not in the building and I had no way of contacting Mariano to help me once again. Thinking about the last time, I took myself to the closest locksmith store and using the best Spanish I could, explained to the nice man who works there what had happened to me. He copied my key and then cut my key in half so that I could unjam the door. Sure enough, when I came home and unjammed the door, I was able to enter once again.
So…moral of the story, you ask?
1) When closing the door, you MUST turn the lock twice and be sure that the key does not leave the slot until it has turned twice, or you will definitely lock yourself out of your own house.
2) Always bring your phone with you, even if you’re only leaving for two seconds!
3) Always carry at least 50 pesos on you (in the event that you need to copy a key)
4) Remember this story just in case you experience a day of true brilliance, like yours truly 😉