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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Social Faux-Pas in Argentina

A reader wrote-in asking for some advice with social customs. I won't be able to provide a complete overview, but I will try to point out a few things.

Reader's Question

Thank you for providing your blog site. I think it will be very valuable to me as I consider an exploring trip to Argentina. My general question is, could you provide an overview of social customs in Argentina? Specifically, what social faux-pas might a North American make when traveling the country. For example, I read somewhere that wearing camo clothing is a major social faux-pas in Argentina...

Things Not To Do

You are right about camouflage clothing. You should NEVER wear something like that here. The fact is, people will assume you are a veteran from the Malvinas War and they'll think you're nuts. The veterans here are committing suicide all the time and if people saw you wearing camo, they'd think something was wrong with you.

While we're on the topic of clothes, try to dress better than you do in the States... especially for you people who live out west. People dress sharp here. Living in a small city in the southwest, people used to comment to me about how I dressed well. Here, I'm usually underdressed compared to most people. I still haven't got around to buying new clothes here yet, but when I do, I'll be buying nicer things than I own now. In fact, this rule applies to Americans whenever they travel. Americans have a reputation for dressing like scrubs when they travel, so try to pack some nice things so that you can fit in and not standout so much.

Men and women greet each other by giving one kiss on the right cheek. Men who don't know each other well greet each other with a handshake. Men who know each other well will greet each other with a kiss on the cheek as well. (I still haven't gotten used to this, but when in Rome...) When you're meeting someone for business for the first time, make sure you have a card to give them.

When you say goodbye, say "ciao" (pronounced "chow"), instead of "adios", which isn't used here.

Don't start talking with people you don't know about the military dictatorship, disappeared people, or the Malvinas war. Talk about fútbol instead. Nobody wants to hear a tourist's opinion about these things. Argentines are proud of their country and many of them understand English, so don't be talking negatively about their country or any of these sensitive issues within earshot either. I lived real close to Recoleta for 5 months or so and several times, when I was out at dinner, I heard some stupid remark made by a loud tourist about the Malvinas or something. The Argentines who understood English just shook their heads, disgusted.

Don't wear a lot of jewelry, brag about how much money you have, or talk like you're superior. Argentines appreciate modesty much more than Americans do.

Anyone else out there... feel free to add whatever you can think of.

Labels: ,

41 Comments:

Blogger Ted said...

I pretty much agree, although I'm not as sure about the camoouflage clothing question. I completely agree that you should try not to look like a Malvinas veteran, but I don't think folks will assume you are one just because you're wearing camouflage clothing. BA is a big city and there are people of all "ondas" there that dress in all kinds of styles. I can't think of a specific example, but I'd bet you could find camouflage clothing in certain stores there.
That said, I'm not sure I'd really recommend wearing camouflage clothing anywhere, unless you're in the military.

Generally speaking, I think the risk of committing a lot of faux pas as an American in Argentina is fairly low, although the more sensitive and less obnoxious you are, the better.

If you're going to talk about soccer, an interesting bit of trivia you may want to bring up is that Boca Juniors has won three South American (Libertadores) cup championships and two Intercontinental Cups (game (now discontinued) between S. American and European champions) in the last 5+ years, whereas no other Argentine club (including River) has won any.

3/08/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger johnny said...

1.Never ask, "Why is Brazil better than Argentina in soccer?"
2.Never say "soccer".
3.If you are over 30 don't wear tennis shoes unless you are at the gym, or playing futbol.
3.Don't say, "Gosh, Eva Peron doesn't look a thing like Madonna !"
4.It is ok to say Punta del Este is better than Mar del Plata. But don't rub it in.
5.Don't say,"Where are all the Cadillacs ?"

3/08/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Argentines appreciate modesty much more than Americans do." Is that supposed to be funny? Argentinians are modest people eh? Wow that is among the last word I would use to describe them . . .Other words that come to mind are obnoxious, arrogant and slimy (especially if you are a woman). I have yet to meet a truly modest Argentinian . . . In fact I usually get the impression that they think they are direct descendants of Ferdinand and Isabella themselves . . .

3/09/2006 12:45:00 AM  
Blogger El Expatriado said...

Anonymous,

Read the quote again. I said they appreciate modesty. I didn't say they were modest. The fact is, Argentines are famous for being egotistical and thinking they are better than all the rest of Latin America. This is a common view held by most other Latin Americans.

However... if you, as a yanqui tourist, come off as ALSO arrogant and egotistical, you won't get along well here. Because people are so proud, they don't want to hear yanquis telling them what's what. I'm a pretty modest guy and I get along well with most people here. If I went on and on bragging all the time, I'd put people off. I've seen it happen many times.

-- El Expatriado

3/09/2006 01:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Gary D said...

Thanks for responding so quickly to my query! Most of what you mention probably applies most anywere, using common sense and good judgment in the day-to-day go a long way most places. So I understand that there's no known quirky things like the pointed foot in Thailand?

3/09/2006 02:11:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

As regards the idea that the locals have an inflated opinion of themselves( and I would add that that characteristic can be found in MANY countries, not the least of which is the US), the cubans have a joke they tell about Argentines:

Why do argentines go outside when it is lightening ?
Because they think God wants to take their picture !

If I catch any flak for that, I submit that is in fun that I pass it along. Plus, the cubans are probably just envious.

3/09/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Brandán Buenosayres said...

Che, con toda franqueza, esas sugerencias reflejan una perspectiva tan encerrada como el barrio en que vivías.
Recoleta, según el diccionario de la RAE: "3. adj. Dicho de una persona: Que vive con retiro y abstracción, o viste modestamente. 4. adj. Dicho de un lugar: Solitario o poco transitado."

My general advice would be 1) read as much as you can about Argentine culture and history and then 2) be prepared to listen. Argentines - of different ways of life and different social classes - generally respond warmly to curiosity and are more than willing to share their strong opinions.
DO talk about the Malvinas, Perón, the dictatorship. People are willing to talk. What is important is that you listen patiently and respectfully.
In other words, don't say things like "people will assume you are a veteran from the Malvinas War and they'll think you're nuts." Whatever your views on that conflict, you ought to be a little more sensitive to the lives of those veterans who fought the British first and then the indifference of their own government.

3/09/2006 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger El Expatriado said...

Sorry Brandon, but I stand by my original comment. The last thing people want to hear is some yanqui tourist telling them this and that about the Malvinas. And after I got that question about wearing camo I thought it was so ridiculous that I asked some people in my office what they'd think if they saw someone wearing camo. The response, "That they were from the Malvinas war and they were nuts."

Just because I'm pointing out what people are going to think, that doesn't mean I don't have respect for the people who fought in that war. I do. But let's get serious... as a tourist you don't want to get confused for a Malvinas War veteran.

I don't live in Recoleta anymore, by the way, and these suggestions are a good way to behave if you're a tourist and you're just meeting someone. Obviously people are willing to talk, but think about it for a minute...

If some tourist in the USA came up and started talking about Abu Ghraib, the Vietnam war, and the internment of the Japanese within the first 10 minutes of you meeting them, I'd think they were a jerk -- pointing out all the problems with my country. Let's get serious here. When you're traveling as a tourist, it is best to try and get along with people and engage them in some light conversation about something nice about their country.

Che, no tengo una perspectiva encerrada y no vivo en Recoleta tampoco.

3/09/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Brandán Buenosayres said...

Primero, te pido perdón por ese juego de palabras gratuito.

And you're right - there is nothing more annoying than a presumptuous outsider prodding the still-open wounds of a society. However, there is a significant distinction between listening and opining, which I hope is not lost on the readers of this blog. I don't consider myself an activist or even overtly political, but given 1) the fact that quite a few Argentines speak decent English and 2) many of them are well-informed, outspoken, and have a genuine interest in discussing the uglier and more controversial events of this countries history, even a casual tourist should be receptive to these less-than-pleasant topics, the very kind that we Americans often avoid in favor of niceties. Because they do come up. Often.
An(other) American on his soapbox is unwelcome, one with open ears is generally received warmly.

-Brandán

3/09/2006 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Social faux pas...Don't show up expecting everything to be the way it is in the U.S. because it's not. Don't be arrogant, obnoxious, overbearing and loud (like some Americans I've seen there). And it's true you should try to dress better, but it also depends upon where you're going and what you'll be doing. If you'll be in Mendoza then you don't need to dress the same way as in Buenos Aires. p.s. try to speak a little Spanish.

3/09/2006 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

People who are loud and obnoxious are not going to take the time to investigate on being culturally sensitive. I prefer the obnoxious to be themselves, therefore I can go to the otherside of the room and avoid them!
As for the clothing issue, as long as you are not wearing threadbare t-shirts, running shorts and sports sandals everywhere, excessive cleavage and flash jewellry anything else inbetween will be just fine. Be true to who you are in how you like to dress because it is an extention of your personality and others will be interested in that (or maybe not!), but it works for me.

3/09/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger realbuenosaires said...

Don't in any way suggest on your blog that this country is corrupt and a difficult place to do business in...or suggest that Chile is less corrupt and that things tend to run a little more smoothly over there...this leads to phone calls from irate Argentines telling you to fuck off back to Chile...racism towards Chileans is alive and well here, fortunately only in a very small percentage of the population.

Despite this tiny minority of nutters, Argentina is an amazing place to live and work in. As an englishman i would suggest that it is best to avoid issues such as the falklands and maradona, not because the person you're talking to will get angry but because they are topics that you will never, in a million years, agree on. I learnt this very quickly so when taxi drivers (for example) bring up these topics i tend to just say something like..'it's complicated' or 'yep, he was the best'. It helps to avoid conflict. Argentines bring up these topics (normally) not to cause offence but because they're interested in your opinion. It's just my experience that expressing your true opinion can lead to other problems so i try to steer the conversation in a different direction.

the major social faux-pas here is to turn up at a party at the time you're supposed to...being english i seriously hate being late and will always turn up on time- usually when the host is only just thinking about having a shower...

3/09/2006 11:16:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

Dont ever go to a bar before midnight..its social suicide. You will either appear desperate or worse, you will be alone.

3/09/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Some of the happiest moments of my life have been spent in BA bars before midnight.

3/10/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Katy said...

Hmm, well I agree with some of those things, but here they kiss on both cheeks they say 'chau' not 'ciao' and they wear lots of jewlery and show off- though in a smaller city it isnt quite the same as it is in Buenos Aires (I am in Corrientes, Capital) and someone said no excessive cleavage?! they havent been here! I agree about the bars no one would go before 3 here...anyway I had fun reading all of the comments :)

3/13/2006 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

I am sure there is excessive cleavage about with the locals, but I actually didn't really notice it either times I was in BA to the degree of abundance it is in Vancouver. You could choose to expose yourself, depending on the amount of attention you want to have. My god it is hard enough just wearing a turtleneck and having the old perves following you for blocks!

3/18/2006 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous torsten said...

well, as i'm not a resident in baires and haven't even been to argentina, i cannot give you specific advise on how to behave there. BUT i can give you an advise on how to behave as an american tourist. i've come across some of the (typical ones) here in germany, and even more when i was travelling in centralamerica for half a year. amongst other things i've been travelling with a girl from san francisco for about a month.

let me give you this advise: STOP talking all the time and please DON'T talk that loud!

not everyone in reach is interested in what you are saying and some people might actually have a conversation on their own ;)
this is a thing i and a lot of my friends found really annoying; i don't want to be offensive, but this cliché is quite widespread and sadly it has its authorization. i always got reminded of that particular joke by monthy python when i met americans on my trips:
"Grim Reaper: SHUT UP! Shut up, you American! You always talk, you Americans. You talk, and you talk, and say "let me tell you something" and "I just wanna say this". Well, you're dead now, so shut up!"

probably this characteristics don't apply for you, but keep in mind that there's no need to talk, especially not all the time. silence has its right to exist ;)

no offense!
best wishes for your trip! :o)
torsten

4/03/2006 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

My goodness, I've lived here (in Caballito) for 2 years and I never wear the lovely clothes I brought! Haven't you people noticed that jeans and sweaters are the BsAs uniform? That above all, a low profile is desirable, especially if you are a foreigner. Immediately after the Economic Crisis, the women stopped wearing makeup and jewelry in the street and on the collectivo. If ever I am invited to an Embassy Ball (sure), I would never walk to the Supte in my elegant gown. No one wants to be taken for a rich American, least of all this poor one! And jewelry? I don't think so. Now my elegant clothing is for sale!! (Takers, anyone?--Betsey Johnson, Custo Barcelona, Diane von Furstenburg, etc.)

4/03/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I'm studying abroad in BA for a semester, and on St. Patrick's Day he wore a green camouflage shirt. I remembered what I read on this blog and told him about the possible cultural reference, and he said he'd been getting strange looks and treatment the whole day. So there's a little bit of anecdotal evidence for your opinion...thanks for the great information, I love reading your blog!

4/04/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about bringing up touchy political subjects. I have met many Argentines who no sooner do I say "nice to meet you", they start condemning American politics. I think they are used to speaking frankly and openly about politics and not taking it personally. As a gentleman, I would not attack anyone's politics, but I realize that manners in the US do not apply elsewhere, so I have had to learn combative political discourse just to survive my travels abroad.

4/23/2006 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Like being in most countries my understanding of correct behaviour depends upon a number of factors:
- The town / area you are in
- The social class you are mixing with
- The time of day
- the event
- the situation
- and who else is there.

For example, talking to villeros, at 3am after a dance would be totally different to dining with friends in Las Cañitas.
Being in a business meeting in Salta is different to a business meeting in the Calle Florida.

So you cannot generalise.
Just use common sense and look around you to see how the other people (who blend in) behave.

The biggest compliment I have ever received in Argentina was being (a number of times) mistaken for a porteño. It was only my English accentuated castellano that gave me away.

(Soy ingles y mi novia es un Argentina. Vivimos en Inglaterra, pero iremos a Argentina pronto).

I agree with an earlier post - please turn down the volume. I do not cringe at hearing Americans / British talking - I only cringe when the sound of their voices drowns out the surrounding conversations.

5/07/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a "Yanqi" and have lived in Argentina for 3 and a half years. I think some of you are being too kind. The fact of the matter is this. Argentines ARE obnoxious. Argentines DO feel the entire world should fly around this country of 30 million people. And Argentines are extremely envious of Europe and the US and the standards of living there. The majority is envious as hell, period. These are facts and if you don't think so you have not lived here long enough. Now, all that being said on a one on one basis the Argentines are very nice and friendly people. The are quick to seperate the American people from the US government, so I give them credit for that. A particular thorn for them is the need to have a visa from the US Government to travel to the US.
Also a note on clothing. Do not dress too nice. I don't care what the other guy said. I see kids almost daily in the streets with no shoes begging for coins with little juggling acts. If you dress very nice and wear you are inviting yourself to be robbed or making Argentines envious. Do not show off your latest digital camera or other such items because these are things most of them can't afford. To simply sum up all this is to say be humble. They know there country is not in the best situation at present so try not to remind them of it.

5/14/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger tiempodefotos said...

To say "pele" plays better than "el Diego"is one of the biggest social faux-pas, not much further it s saying "falkland" instead of Malvinas. Also trying to compare Argentina with "developed" countrys specially with highly organizated countrys is not wise ,Argentina is a unique multicultural mixture trying to find the way, the best thing one can do instead of critize is to colaborate not adding new defects to this culture , having a positive attitude and enjoying the positive things that exist here that are many more than the defects.

5/29/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Juan said...

Hi, my name is Juan I´m 51 year old argentine and you really surprise me about your knowledge of my country, specially about my lovely BA. In many many facts you´re right about our contradictions but let me tell you that behind these you always find a warm "amigo" so relax, enjoy your lifetime blend with us and keep in mind that as in all countries you can expect people with more or less under the hat.
Regarding behaviour I agree 100% with Robin. Dear Anonymous "Argentines ARE obnoxious or extremely envious" sounds too hard, but probably you have a good reason to feel in that way. Pabmai, I love good Fútbol and nobodys can tell you which player is the best even here, remember that in my country there are more Indian Chiefs than indians...so keep Pelé in mind. By the way Ted always write RIVER PLATE with capital letters. Come on Millo!
I hope all of you have a beautiful moments here and let us in exchange the better of your countries. If you need a tip, post it! and I try to help you. Best wishes.

6/04/2006 03:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi

I am a Canuck artist (eh!);)

I am thinking of taking a break from Canada and am checking out various cities/countries to spend a month (or more) in.

One travel book said I could find a "pensione" at a monthly rate of $250 in BA (yes I am an artist). Is that accurate?

6/20/2006 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger HP said...

I am an artist from Canada thinking of coming to BA for a month. One travel book says that I can rent a pensione for a month - for $250/month.

Anyone know of any BA pensiones to contact - email contacts would be the simplest for me.

6/20/2006 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juan, anytime you have a $40,000 car pulling up to a traffic light with an 8 year old running up to it with no shoes on to wash the windshield for coins your going to have alot of envy, or people coming to your home 4 times a week begging for food. Thats a perfectly normal human reaction, not a nationalistic trait. I know you don't like it but nevertheless this is a reality in Argentina. Some of you guys paint an unrealistic picture of Argentina for foreigners. I agree with you totally on the statement that Argentina is a nation of contradictions. You have a beautiful "barrio" here, walk 5 blocks and you have a "barrio" with cartoneros, horses, carts, dogs and sheet metal roofs. Some of you "conchetos" paint a very rosy picture of Argentina but the problem is it is only half the story. Also for the "Yankis" thinking about coming here, B.A. is a VERY dangerous city no matter what some Argentines might have told you. They know it. You should stay in Recoleta, Belgrano or Retiro. Above all be careful, This is not the US or Europe. Watch where you venture. Keep your eyes open and use caution and you shouldn't have a problem here though.

7/23/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Years ago, Argentina (particularly Bs As) had a very fashion-conscious society and argentines ALWAYS tried to project an image of prosperity and fashion hipness by displaying the latest designer-name logos on everything they wore. Even a portero de un edificio choto could -and would- dress up like an executive. Colectiveros routinely wore Christian Dior sunglasses and people prefered GRUNDIG appliances (caro ..pero el mejor! yeah right)

After all, it's NOT really what you DO or ARE that defines you in Argentina ..it's what you APPEAR to be!.

(BTW those 'designer-labels' usually turn out to be just pirated knock-offs of the originals. Perhaps up to 70% of 'designer label' products sold in Argentina are counterfeits. The country has one of the highest levels of patent & copyright infringements in the world. Only Paraguay is worse in all America!.)

TODAYS "Social Faux-Pas" in Argentina would be to appear TOO successful or prosperous, because it's the surest & quickest way to get yourself noticed ...then mugged or kidnapped.

The trend has reversed and now the NEW fashion is MUCH more safety-minded than before. People wanna 'blend in". Get lost in the crowd. Parecer un groncho para que otro groncho no te robe, basicamente.

Now the trend is geared towards using subdued tones of blue or gray (preferably), worn jeans, run-of-the-mills sneakers, no watch or an inexpensive piece o' crap, cheap jeans jacket or "campera inflable". Use no cologne or perfume either.

You don't wanna get mugged AND raped!.

Don't show-off expensive items like cell-phones, cameras, camcorders, expensive jewelry or even any 'flashy' jewelry at all that might be mistaken for the real thing and wind up with someone pulling your ear AND ear-ring off!.

Avoid gold or silver necklaces, expensive jackets or footwear. NEVER exhibit cash publicly.

For expats: Try to stay within the relatively safer confines of Belgrano R, Recolta, Palermo, Microcentro, Retiro & Puerto Madero. Being caught outside those areas greatly increases your chances of committing a 'social faux-pas" with potentially fatal results.

Literally.

7/24/2006 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep in mind when el americano says "relatively safe". My wifes sister (she is Argentine) and family live in Palermo and they avoid going out walking past dark.

7/25/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

One of the sad things about the current situation in Argentina and also a major contributor to the demise of its once-famous open nightlife and even general sociability is the infamous "sensacion de inseguridad".

Like I mentioned before, I'm kinda a big guy (by argentine standards) and many times while walking down any given street at night people would actually cross over to the opposite sidewalk just to avoid walking by me. I mean the paranoia is VERY palpable.

I remember once a guy was trying to open his front door on a lonely calle de barrio when he saw me coming down the same sidewalk towards him at around dusk. He got so nervous he started fumbling with his keys and couldn't 'embocarlas' due to his extreme nervousness. The closer I came the more he freaked out until suddenly, when I was about to reach him, he finally managed to unlock his door and he literally DOVE inside and SLAMMED it shut.

Now bear in mind that except for being kinda big I'm a very clean-cut guy; short combed hair, clean-shaven and (usually) well-dressed.

I remember thinking to myself,
"Poor guy man, it SUCKS to live in fear like that".
But guess what?. EVERYBODY does.

I mean even taking out the garbage at night can wind-up being a life-changing experience. And not for the better lemme tell you. You've got highly-mobile groups of thugs patrolling the streets 24/7 randomely looking for easy targets. You leave your car warming in the driveway 1 minute and have the extreme misfortune of one such group driving by right at that precise moment and CONGRATULATIONS ! ...you become a statistic right there and then.

And the most dangerous aspect of all this criminality and the one main factor that distinguishes crime in Argentina from crime in the U.S. is the fact that in Argentina, criminals are so desperate yet efficient that they usually operate in groups, sometimes numbering a dozen or more!. And despite what an American might think, these groups are not necessarily organized for committing high-level bank-heists or to pull off complicated "big jobs" (tho they do this too) ...no! ...these people are so desperate that they organize in groups just to raid a jubilados home and steal his freakin' pantuflas. They're all 'calzados' and will shoot you first and tell you it's a stick-up later. Usually they're jacked-up on drugs and totally out of it, which only makes them more dangerous and unpredictable.

People know this reality, have probably already been victimized or know someone close who has and it's no wonder they're no longer as trusting, caring or friendly as they used to be. You guys shoulda seen argentina 15/20 years ago when people would sit out on the sidewalk til the wee hours tomando mate everywhere you went. Specially in the barrios. Abuelas would chat with each other from across the sidewalks while they swept la zanja, all up & down the street. People you just met would invite you into their homes as if you were almost family.

The most precious things Argentina had to offer have been lost forever in my humble opinion.

No se puede disfrutar la vida teniendo el culo entre las manos.

7/25/2006 09:51:00 PM  
Anonymous UGEMITCH said...

Argentina has -by far- less firearm victims per 100,000 habitants than the US. In fact, it also has less fire arms! Violent crime (murders, kidnapping, violent robberies) has come down since 2002/2003 (the worst years of the crisis)
While everybody complains about crime (specially crime against property), few stop a for a second to think about its main cause: the huge disparity of income between the higher and the lower sectors of the social scale. While, as foreigners, you might very well think "that's none of my business", you might also consider that this inequity of income is one of the things that make Argentina so cheap for you: service jobs -waitressing, bar-tending, cleaning, hairdessing, even English teaching, as some of you may have experienced- pay extremely low wages, which translates in low prices for consummers. Moreover, taxes in Argentina, even for the obscenely rich, cannot -by law- surpass 33%. In such a context of very, very rich people, and extremely poor people, it is not surprising that the poor see stealing as the only way to get what they want -cars, watches, money. No, they could never get tha working because the would hardly find a job that paid enough money for it.


I'm Argentinean, and I have lived in London for a year. One of the things that called my attention was how relatively expensive was eating out, having my hair cut, even taking a course. The British pay more for all these activities, and also pay more taxes, but they also live in a society with less income disparity.

There'as a saying in Argentina, "si te gusta el durzano, bancate la pelusa" (if you like peaches, you have to put up with the downy skin)
if you want to live in a country in which bourgeois treats- eating out, going to the movies, taking courses, even psychotherapy- are cheap, because of the amazing income disparity, you have to put up with some level of property-related crime that comes with that.

I want that to change, because i like living in Argentina, where race and religion are not an issue -as opposed to the US, and even parts of Europe. Muslim, jewish and christian communities live peacefully next to each other. But I was born here. If you choose to come here, take all these things into account.

Finally, I admit that argentinians can be obnoxious...as obnoxious as american tourists!

9/02/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"Muslim, jewish and christian communities live peacefully next to each other"

There are probably 700 Muslims in ALL of Argentina. As for Jews, Argentina is NOTORIOUSLY antisemitic and in fact there have been two major (and unresolved) bombings of Jewish institutions in Bs. As. that caused dozens of deaths. In regards to the Christians, the vast majority is Roman Catholic with very few other denominations represented. The only reason there is no religious strife in Argentina is because there's basically only ONE religion anyway.

"Argentina has -by far- less firearm victims per 100,000 habitants than the US. In fact, it also has less fire arms!"

That's LEGALLY ACQUIRED firearms. The numbers for illegally obtained weapons is MUCH vaster. As a sidenote, there has been a rash of impounded weapons that have found their way back into the hands of criminals thanks to corrupt POLICE PERSONNEL WHO RECYCLE THEM by selling them back to criminals over and over and over again.

"Violent crime (murders, kidnapping, violent robberies) has come down since 2002/2003 (the worst years of the crisis)"

Yeah, it has come down to your local barrio TO STAY. I hate it when argeninios bullshit about their crime stats. The fact is CRIME HAS RISEN EXPONENTIALLY SINCE 2003 and continues to do so.
Crime levels are OUTRAGEOUS by ANY standard.

"because of the amazing income disparity, you have to put up with some level of property-related crime that comes with that."

That's an oxymoron. You CANNOT have 'amazing income disparity" and then just have "some level" of property-related crimes.
YOU'LL HAVE A SHITLOAD OF 'EM!.

Hey, we're talking about a country where roughly HALF the population gets by on poverty-sustenance levels of income. They're stealing the bronze plaques off of statues, ripping-off the copper-wiring from streetlights and stealing doorknobs from frontdoors. You know the saying, They stole everything that wasn't nailed down"?. Well in Argentina they'll even take the freakin' nails when they can.

10/05/2006 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous UGEMITCH said...

You ignorant AMERICANO, shame on you
there are between 7 hundred THOUSAND and a million muslims in Argentina.
The number is not clear because most have assimilated, married non muslims, etc.
The bombings of Jewish institutions were perpetrated by Iranian and Syrian organzations, not Argentinians.
In 2005, there were 5.5 murders per 100000 ingabitants- the same number as in beautiful america in 2004, according to the Dept. of Justice. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/offenses_reported/violent_crime/index.html
Argentinos don't bullshit anymore than you do. get your f***ing numbers right, and then we can argue.

10/26/2006 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an american visiting BA for the second time in three years. I'm struck by how little things have changed, at least to my view, since i was last here in late 2003. there seems to be some private investment in real estate projects in palermo and belgrano, but anything reliant on government money is almost third world. the economy has been suposedly been growing on the order of something like 7% for several years yet i don't see the progress. the poverty in the streets is heart wrenching, and yet one can tell that the average argentine seems to have some degree of pride for something...for what I do not know. their country is a mess. after traveling to asia where poverty can also be seen, i recognize a huge difference - asians don't pretend to rest on laurels of the past. i'm sorry to say this, but it seems that argentines let the magnificent architecture of their glorious past delude them into thinking they are a superior culture. i don't have a solution to their problem, but it seems that a little humility and less government corruption would solve a lot.

11/05/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous El Tejano said...

It seems the camo clothing fad has definitely caught on in Argentina...I've been seeing it repeatedly the past few months, on teenagers through people in their 30's, in various cities.

8/22/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Just A Girl said...

Hi all,

I've been looking through this site because I will be in Rosario, Argentina for a few months. I'm in my 20's.

My question is what is considered appropriate or the norms for women's clothing:

1, In beaches or pools
2, length of skirt
3, business clothing
4, to wear outside on the street
5, for "going out"

I don't want to look sloppy but at the same time I dont want unwanted attention either or want to stand out too much.

3/31/2008 03:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I was born in Argentina but I am an American citizen who has lived most of her life in the U.S. (going back to BA every year). Many of the comments here are not well founded. Buenos Aires still is a relatively safe city, and safer than many in Europe and surely the U.S. So, let's be fair here. Because this is the truth. When I travel to Buenos Aires for example, with my husband who is American by birth, speaks Spanish with an American accent and dresses very well, because we go to visit friends, relatives and we do business there, we have to commute (which we do taking public transportation -- bus, train, subway), we have to go to different parts of the city and the province as well. We've never been approached by anyone with bad intentions. We've never been robbed, assaulted, insulted or anything (keep in mind that when we walk together, we speak in English). My husband has gone out on his own many times (and we also lived there for two-year stretches a couple of times), and the same thing. NEVER A PROBLEM. Thus, I can say that as a woman in particular I feel a lot safer in Buenos Aires than I do in the United States.

About Argentines being obnoxious: I was born in Buenos Aires, and it is not being obnoxious, it is the way we are: a proud bunch. This is our identity, but it is totally difficult for people not born there to understand; so they catalog or label us as "obnoxious". That is a faux pas.

We are warm, friendly and proud because most of us are descendants of Europeans (just like white Americans), and Europeans are proud people (perhaps not so much the Swedes, Norwegians, Danish), but the rest? Are all proud folks and we (Argentines), and Americans are descendants of people of those countries; so naturally we will come across as such. But if we are going to label us as OBNOXIOUS, then I say "Americans or Usonians better said, look in the mirror". Americans (Usonians because Argentines are also Americans as it is everyone from Canada to Cape Horn), are I believe the most proud people on the planet. And still, I think they are great people and I still think the United States is a great country -- not the best but a good one; with its many faults and many virtues. The same goes for Argentina. Only that to understand our ways in many respects, you have to have been born there and lived there at least for a while. We are a conflicted people, still in search of a true identity. Where do we really fit in this world? That is our question. And slowly, we are finding ourselves. To understand us, you must first understand our history, from the very beginning. Then, you would understand that we are not rotten, self-centered and obnoxious. And to understand is completely, is to really like us. Regards to all.

11/11/2008 03:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Response to Just a girl:

1) Beaches or pools: wear a swimsuit, one piece or bikini. If your body is really fit, you may wear a tanga.
2) Length of skirt: Any length is fine, as long as it is not something outrageously loud (gigantic floral print or zebra print for example)
3) Business attire is a feminine suit (skirt or pants and blouse/jacket) . About the blouse, it is OK to leave a couple of buttons un-buttoned. Women in Argentina like to feel feminine all the time (and sexy); and this applies for all ages (the feminine part).
4) Wear outside on the street: dresses, skirts, pants, what-ever you like. But, keep yourself from looking masculine. Even if you dress for extreme comfort, try to have a look that says "I can put an outfit together". Because in Argentina, women do not go out in a jogging suit unless they actually go jogging or to the gym. Flip-flops? Only for the beach or the swimming pool. Not to go about in the street.
5) For going out: simple elegance and femininity. Women in Argentina like to be looked at and men in Argentina like to look at women. Make yourself look nice at all times. And, project confidence with what you are wearing.

11/11/2008 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Annie Ory said...

This entire Cami thing is nonsense. Many young people here wear cami clothing and it is commonly known to have absolutely nothing to do with the military when a long haired youth wears cami pants with a t-shirt and flip flops. Then entire question is, like much of the information out there on BsAs, just some made up nonsense. I have heard this one, and the following myths about life in BsAs all over the web and it's all nonsense:

1. Residents of Argentina are the most beautiful people in the world

nonsense. they are very average looking and if anything are not really as attractive as people I've known from Brazil and other South American countries

2. Porten(i)os are very stylish and never go out unless dressed to the 9s

nonsense. they are the sloppiest people I've ever known. If you put on a relatively average dress with pumps and stockings here, wear make up and style your hair and you are seen outdoors like that people will look at you like you are from Mars. No one here dresses up and when they try they don't look nearly as polished as New Yorkers, as sexy as SoCal people, as stylish as Parisians or as rich and cozy as Italians and Spaniards.

3. Porten(i)os are all thin and fit

nonsense. they are beginning to exercise here and there is a fashion for different types of exercise exploding but I've never seen so many fat, sloppy, out of shape people who smoke, eat badly and have no sense of a healthy life style. It's changing, but slowly.

Basically, if you read any of this stuff, my only comment having lived here for some time in the city and visited other areas and hearing others say that it's this neighborhood or that is that no one seems to have actually been to Ba when they write this stuff because I don't know where any of these gorgeous well dressed hip fit healthy thin people are and I've never met a soul who would give a care if anyone wore a pair of cami pants.

2/16/2009 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most ridiculous spate of arguments about Buenos Aires and Argentina that I've ever heard - it's a huge city and country and it's typical of an American to think that he can label and box it into one way of being and thinking. Mind you this is a blogspot written by a tourist for tourists so I'm not that surprised.

Argentina is many many things but this is just one perspective from a typical ex-pat who lived/lives in a cheta area such as Recoleta, hangs out in Palermo and perves on pretty Argentines and thinks he knows about Buenos Aires.

Argentina is a developing country, there is mass poverty on a grand scale, there is a huge divide between the rich and poor and it is growing, there is no such thing as a 'typical' Argentine, there is general ignorance and unwillingness to help from the elite and upper-middle classes, there are raging prejudices between people of white skin and anyone slightly darker, and there are many other realities that tourists in general aren't (or don't want to be) privy to - I wouldn't listen to this guy as clearly he falls into that category.

It is an AMAZING country - open your eyes, talk to locals, live in a real suburb such as San Miguel or Don Torcuato and forget everything you think you already know about Bs As - and then maybe you might just fall in love with it for what it really is rather than for what you want it to be.

2/15/2010 03:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Simply said...

Very interesting debate. I really liked this blog

2/15/2010 05:04:00 PM  

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