The eeriest of eerie days pretty well sums up Wednesday the twenty-seventh of October 2010 in Argentina.
The city streets of Buenos Aires were deathly empty, as they were in the whole country as absolutely everything except essential services was closed while questioners hit the doorsteps of each and every house and flat, and whatever other place counts as a dwelling, for the once a decade national census.
It was weird. The entire nation from the Bolivian border to Tierra del Fuego, and in fact Antarctica which 230 Argentines presently call home, was forced to remain at home all day until each was asked questions considered to be of national interest.
How many people live in your household? Can they read and write? Do you have a computer? Can everyone in your household see? Can they hear? Do you have a fridge? Do you flush your toilet after every visit? (Okay, the last one may be made up).
The census was carried out by Indec, the country’s national statistic office. The very same institution constantly accused of bowing to the Kirchner government and publishing ever so slightly unrealistic inflation figures. (In 2009 they said inflation was 7.7%, while the private sector suggested prices went up by around 30%.).
The objective of the census was to learn about the main characteristics of Argentine households, and the social and economic demographics of its citizens.
And just as it was getting underway........