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Monday, May 01, 2006

The "Nice Areas" Of Buenos Aires

There was an interesting comment from a reader, responding to another comment about how rents are going up in the "nice areas" of Buenos Aires. I thought I'd respond and hopefully get a discussion going about some of the different neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

Reader's Comments

All this talk about "nice areas", what makes an area nice exactly? Selfserving opinions? Or has the citycouncil perhaps rated the Buenos Aires neighborhoods and put them into the five catagories "Very nice" "Nice" "Okay" "Not nice" and "Not nice at all" ???

Fact of the matter is that different people like different things and what one person thinks is nice the next person may rate as inadequate.

As far as I am concerned saying that Buenos Aires has three nice neighborhoods and that those neighborhoos are Palermo, Recoleta and Belgrano is just spreading disinformation and misleading readers.

I aint seen all of this city but pretty much everything I have seen has been pretty and I encourage those who are coming to Buenos Aires to see the following neighborhoods for themselfs Flores, Villa Crespo, Villa Urquiza, San Telmo, Caballito and Parque Chacabuco.

Living and Working in Buenos Aires' Neighborhoods

Over the last 3+ years, I've either lived in or had offices in the following neighborhoods: Villa Crespo, Caballito, Balvanera (Congreso), Recoleta, and Palermo. When you consider that Buenos Aires has 48 different barrios, you realize just how large this city is and how it is impossible to really know it all. In fact, there are entire sections of the city that I've never seen. For example, I almost never find myself going south of Rivadavia Avenue. It seems like everywhere I want to go is north of Rivadavia. I've asked friends about this and they tell me the same -- they hardly ever find themselves that far south.

Villa Crespo

When I made my first hire more than 3 years ago in 2003, the country was still recovering from the economic crisis, unemployment was at 20%+, and I rented an office in Villa Crespo for less than $50 USD per month. It was in an ugly Soviet-style building filled with small offices with metal doors. Many people in the building were textile workers. When you walked in, cell phones immediately stopped working. It felt like a bunker. It was really a terrible place. I have two employees who are working with me today who worked back when we had that office. Today we make jokes about how awful that place was.

You'll find similar places all throughout Villa Crespo. Back in the late 1800s, Villa Crespo was host to a large shoe factory. Today it still has lots textile workers and you'll find lots of auto parts shops, etc. You won't find many parks, squares, or green spaces in Villa Crespo. It really could use more.

I wouldn't recommend Villa Crespo for anyone, foreigner or local. Although Villa Crespo is a middle-class neighborhood (or perhaps lower middle-class), there are other nicer middle-class places for people to live and work. In fact, once my employees saw that our Buenos Aires office was profitable, they immediately approached me and asked for permission to move our office to Caballito. The rent was higher, but not much higher. The neighborhood and the office was much better, however.

Villa Crespo served its purpose. It was the first office I was opening 100% on my own, without money from a partner or financial backer, so it allowed me to operate on a shoestring budget and get a foothold in Argentina. Once we started making some money, however, we were out of there.

Caballito

Caballito is a centrally-located middle-class neighborhood with plenty of shopping, residential, and commercial locations. It has parks, squares, green spaces, libraries, museums, and culture centers. Now, it has nowhere near as many as you'd find in places like Palermo or Recoleta, but it does have them.

Caballito has good and bad areas as well. I could take you in a taxi, drop you off in specific areas and you'd say Caballito was dirty, noisy, ugly and you'd have a very bad impression of it. I could also take you to an area that would make you think you were in a nice part of Palermo, with small residential streets that are quiet and clean.

We kept our office in Caballito for two years and everyone liked it. At that time, most of our employees lived in Caballito and it was easy to get to via bus or subway. Caballito also has easy access to downtown via the A-line subway that goes down Rivadavia Avenue. I have good memories of Caballito. It was a comfortable place to work, a very normal place.

Balvanera

Balvanera is more commonly referred to by its three zones: Congreso, Once, and Abasto. In fact, I've never heard anyone say that they live or work in Balvanera. They would always say either Congreso, Once, or Abasto. Our office is currently located in Congreso (just a few blocks from Congress) and is an ideal location that is close to downtown without actually being in downtown. For me, that's important, since traffic is always a nightmare downtown. The traffic in Congreso is much, much better.

Balvanera has several important sites, such as Plaza Miserere, the National Congress, the Abasto shopping mall, and the University of Buenos Aires. Balvanera is also a little infamous because near the Once train station, many of the old warehouses have been converted into offices, dance halls, or residential lofts. In late 2004, República Cromagnon, one of those dance halls, went up in flames and 194 people were killed.

Balvanera is a better neighborhood for working rather than living. Most of the zoning is commercial, in fact, and the residential spaces that do exist almost always have a shop or business on the first floor. If you need to be downtown often, but not too often, Congreso is a good place to have your office. In fact, when I used to live in Recoleta, I would walk the 10 blocks from my apartment in Recoleta to my office in Congreso each morning.

Recoleta

Recoleta is probably Buenos Aires' best-known neighborhood and most of the tourists who come here end up staying either in Recoleta or nearby. I lived in Recoleta for more or less 9 months when I moved to Buenos Aires. It is the neighborhood I'm most familiar with. There are plenty of things to like about Recoleta: Nice squares, parks, plenty of museums and culture, french-style buildings with impressive facades, lots of restaurants and shopping, and one of the safest spots in Buenos Aires, even at night.

I own an apartment in Recoleta that I'm currently renting out as a tourist rental and, for tourists and newcomers to Buenos Aires, it is a great and very comfortable place to be. My two favorite things in Recoleta are The Village, which houses the best movie theater in Buenos Aires (I'm a nut for the cinema) and the Recoleta Cultural Center, which is a constantly-changing exhibition of art from both established and new artists. I like to hit the Cultural Center at least bimonthly.

Palermo (Hollywood, SOHO, Chico, Viejo, etc)

Palermo is the largest barrio of Buenos Aires and is subdivided further into various smaller Palermo neighborhoods. This is where I live now and, if you're under 40 and single (or married and still like to go out), Palermo is the place to be. Block after block of restaurants, bars, and clubs line the streets.

Palermo is lower density than Recoleta and Caballito and this means that many times you'll walk more living in Palermo than other neighborhoods that have things closer. In Palermo you'll find lots of 1-3 story buildings. There are residential buildings which are called "PH", which are long horizontal buildings that have a long hallway entrance leading to the various apartments. Most of the times there's no doorman or security with these buildings, so living in Palermo is somewhat less safe than Recoleta.

Palermo is also home to an enormous amount of green and open spaces (the most inside the capital) -- the parks on Libertador, the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden, the Buenos Aires Zoo, etc. You'll also find the race track, polo fields, and La Rural (an outdoors exhibition and convention area).

My own opinion is that Palermo is also home to the best and most varied restaurants in the city, especially if you like ethnic food. You can find food from France, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, Asia, North & Central America, etc. You could go out for a month and just eat at restaurants in Palermo and not miss out on anything.

Now that I'm here, I really couldn't see myself living anywhere else.

"Nice Areas"

Now, back to the reader's comment. You are right that while I may consider some areas "nice" and other areas "not nice", we are all entitled to our own opinions. In fact, although this reader was responding to a comment made by another reader and not to me, I generally agree with what was said. I don't think it is self-serving to recommend to people to live in Recoleta, Palermo or Belgrano. It is just one person giving advice to another.

The fact is, Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano are some of the most expensive areas of the city and if you are a foreigner and you're coming here with dollars to spend, you can probably afford to stay there. But by no means should you avoid the other neighborhoods of the city. You might find something you like much better. The best thing is to rent a place for a month in each of the different neighborhoods you think you might want to try out. Pretty soon you'll figure out what you like and what you don't.

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115 Comments:

Anonymous Elpanada said...

Awesome

I was expecting my reply not to be posted to be honest since El Expatriado himself has an interest in maintaining the myth of the " glorious three and the dangerous outskirts ", I do not mean any of this negatively by the way since I do not think that there is anything wrong with protecting one's own interests. And like I said http://www.baexpats.com/phpwsbb~PHPWSBB_MAN_OP~view~PHPWS_MAN_ITEMS~405.html this "entire site is practicly full of practicle and usefull information regarding moving to Argentina and living here."

Villa Crespo

I believe it to be true that there are few parks, squares, and green spaces in Villa Crespo, I personally don't value such things too highly. I am most familiar with the area around Avenida Corrientes within Villa Crespo. The Avenue itself is very nice with many restaurants and stores and such and the buildings around there are just fine.

There are many garages and auto parts shops in this small neighborhood but the entire neighborhood is by no means a Soviet-style hellhole or a gigantic garage.

Caballito

If Caballito has parks, squares, green spaces, libraries, museums, and culture centers then you're only 21 blocks away from a neighborhood that has those nice things when you're in Villa Crespo.

"Nice Areas"

"Also, I too would like to know about those 2 bedroom nice apartments for $250/month. As Johnny mentioned, they sure as hell aren't in really nice areas."

I know people that have a very nice 4 bedroom place here in Belgrano for only 1400 pesos per month. Those 250$ don't sound too far off in comparison to that. The fact that the above quoted sentence is very strong while it is not necessarily true and the fact that it comes from someone who professionally advertizes dozens of properties in a certain area makes me question why it was written in the first place.

Finding the perfect place to live

Flores, Villa Crespo, Villa Urquiza, San Telmo, Caballito and Parque Chacabuco are all neighborhoods that I'd move to in a heartbeat because it does not really matter what neighborhood you are in, Taxis here are Cheap, there are Subway stations all over the place and using busses to get around isn't too dificult either.

5/01/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger El Expatriado said...

Hey, would you care to enlighten me as to what my "interest" is in promoting a "myth"? All I'm doing is giving an opinion here.

5/01/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger johnny said...

Well, it seems a sentence from a recent post of mine prompted a semi firestorm ! Good ! I like it when the blog is active. I would like to point out that I am not the fellow who "advertizes dozens of properties". Maybe Elpanada had me confused with someone else. Also, as I see now, that quote from my recent post might pigeonhole me as some sort of moneyed jerk. Hey ! I have my moments, but don't extrapolate from one throw away sentence. In fact, my favorite area(that I have seen) is San Telmo, and after my lease is up in toney Barrio Norte, I'll probably find a place there. It's also good to know those "cheap" rents do exist in case I become "poor".

5/02/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I currently live with my "host mother" (she's a single empty-nester) in Villa Crespo, and to be honest I don't think it's the hellhole that you seemed to feel it is. The people are friendly and almost everywhere is accessible via the nearby subte B or bus or even taxi. The street I live on (Loyola between Gurruchaga and Acevedo, for those who have a Guia T) looks very much like a lot of my friends' places in Palermo. The building is very well maintained and the views are lovely. If your readers are thinking about living here (in a very affordable place) and want someone whose opinion (spoiled American) might match their own, I fit very well into that category. I've lived in a few different places, and my "down-trodden Soviet-era Villa Crespo Departamento" is far superior to the one-bedroom U$S2500/month apartment where my sister lives just south of SOHO (the New York version). Ironically, this apartment is really just south of SOHO as well (the Palermo version).


It's also a hell of a lot nicer than the shithole I rented for two years in the Garden District of New Orleans, which was considered to be a relatively nice place. Also unlike New Orleans, I don't feel unsafe here (and I can't say the same for my friends in San Telmo, my friend Amanda's host mother once sat at a bus stop from 5:30 in the morning until 7:30 becuase she didn't feel safe enough to leave it to walk home), and it's also very near to the Ramos Mejia UBA campus. It's not that I think your opinion is not valid, but I think you should include the opinions of other residents as well for a more balanced view.

5/03/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Diego said...

You forgot to mention Puerto, one of the fastest-growing, modern neighborhoods, although whether it is nice or not is very subjective. In fact, I live in Canada and when I go by there I feel like being in any new high-rise project in, say, Toronto. Therefore, I do not find it "nice" as it looks like a bit artificial, strange to the Argentine's architecture, although some expats would feel it like home.

5/03/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger realbuenosaires said...

Much of Villa Crespo (not all) is pretty much the continuacion of Palermo Viejo/Soho and, as such, they often look identical to each other; Low-rise houses, PHs and the occasional tower. It's a pretty nice area, 10-15 minutes walk to Soho for 60-70% of the price. It's rather like the part of Chacarita where i'm renovating a house. 6 blocks to Palermo Hollywood, 4 blocks to the Mercado de las Pulgas and 2 to Avenida Corrientes and the Subte. I think it's actually a much better location than Palermo Hollywood as it's far easier to get into the centre. I can get door to door to the microcentro in 25 minutes. It's also very close to all the bars and restaurants but much more chilled out.

As Palermos Soho and Hollywood have become so expensive for renting and buying, new bars and restuarants are starting to pop up on the other side of Avenida Cordoba. This will increase the prices in Villa Crespo and Chacarita. They're both slowly turning into their cousins the other side of the avenida.

I think when you cross Corrientes, the neighbourhood starts to get a little uglier but between Cordoba and Corrientes, it's a cool place to live.

I currently live in Congreso and have done for the past 2 years. I love it here, very quiet after hours, close to all the subte stops, bus routes that take me anywhere and everywhere and cheap 24 hour restaurants on Av de Mayo just a couple of minutes stagger away after a late night out. Very safe and 4 blocks from all the theatres on Corrientes as well. It all depends on *where* in the neighbourhood. I'm privileged to live in the best kept and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and wouldn't move. But 4 blocks the other side of Avenida de Mayo and things start to look a little more unsavoury.

People propogate a 'myth' (as it was so ridiculously put) because it's true that recoleta, palermo and belgrano are the 'nicest' areas of town. It's where locals aspire to live or own property because it's well known that they're the safest areas, well policed, close to everything and with great bars and restaurants. Areas like Flores, Villa Urquiza are, indeed, 'nice' as well, but they're further away and there's not a great deal to do there. Taxis may be cheap, but when you're taking them a lot they add up quickly. Most foreigners who read this site come to buenos aires to experience the fun side of the city. they want to go out, drink, eat and go to the theatre and not live/stay a long way from the action. So what's the problem with mentioning the areas that correspond to what people want? Attacking people and then claiming that you're not saying "any of this negatively" is rather immature.

As for these US$250 apartments; yes they're out there but you have to add on the service charge/condo fee (let's say 250 pesos/month), cable TV (50 pesos) internet and phone (140 pesos), gas (25 pesos), electricity (25 pesos), water (25 pesos) and then furnish the place (very cheaply 2500 pesos and to a decent standard upwards of 10,000 pesos). Oh, and you also need a resident who owns property here to be kind enough to be your guarantor. That last part alone is often an impossibility for people new to the city (and often people who have been here a long time). That's why short-term rentals are in such demand.

5/03/2006 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Libertario64 said...

Can someone explain the boundries of Barrio Norte and Recoleta? Is there overlap between the two also?

Is the corner of Azcuenaga y Juncal in Recoleta, Barrio Norte or both?

5/03/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I think technically speaking you live in Liniers.

5/04/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger realbuenosaires said...

Barrio Norte doesn't actually exist and if you find 2 argentines who agree 100% on the boundaries then i'll happily buy you a drink.

A couple of argentine friends of mine (and they'd been friends for years as well) almost come to blows when i mistakenly asked this question on a night out a few months ago. The general idea is that barrio norte is closer to the city centre and recoleta heading out towards palermo. beyond that, it's all subjective.

5/04/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

Where in San Telmo are the "scary" areas people keep mentioning? I've stayed there twice in two different locations, and never saw anything threatening.

5/04/2006 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what i was told by many locals, Barrio Norte is actually a zone that includes Recoleta, some parts of Palermo and areas between Ave. Santa Fe and Cordoba. Anyone willing to take up Nunez as a 'nice area'? I have just visited the area but it looks great and is in Cap Fed.
...Belli.

5/05/2006 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

River plays in Nunez, at their stadium "the Huge" (el Monumental); I wouldn't live there.

5/05/2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have to also put my vote in for Parque Chacabuco and Caballito. I lived for 5 months between Alberdi and Pedro Goyena which was a perfect location. It's well connected (Subte A about 5-7 blocks away - will be 2-3 blocks when the line is extended) and is very low-key. Pedro Goyena is a beautiful tree-lined street. Having Parque Chacabuco nearby is also a great amenity to go run on the track or just lay out in the sun. Also, sports club FerroCarril Oeste is nearby if you want a nice tennis club or to go to a soccer match or basketball game (although they are in B right now). Palermo, Puerto Madero, Belgrano, San Telmo, and Recoleta are all beautiful neighborhoods, but I for some reason felt more "legit" living up in Caballito where expats aren't as commonly found.

5/05/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Keepin' it real, huh?

5/05/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger http://movingtoargentina.typepad.com said...

First of all, Nunez is much bigger than just the area around the stadium, and yes there are some decent areas. Vicente Lopez also has some decent areas. How about slightly outside of the city, like Olivos where a twenty minute train ride has you in Retiro or a ten minute train ride has you at Linea D.

I'm sorry but I have to agree that everyone tends to feel that Recoleta, Palermo and Barrio Norte are the tony places to be. I actually hardly ever see Belgrano mentioned so I was surprised to see it listed as one of the "three" areas. It is in fact a great place and includes Las Canitas - a slightly overpriced but quite green area.

One thing I think people are missing also is that it all depends upon your circumstances. Some people moving here can't afford the rents that are currently being charged in the hottest areas and are finding that there are other places in BA besides Recoleta, Palermo and Barrio Norte, some of which are damn nice.

Of course let's also consider the apartment shortage because many people have put their apartments into the tourist rental program. I have an Argentine friend who decided she could do better renting her Palermo Hollywood apartment short term and moving herself into a cheap rental in Caballito (and sorry guys but many Argentines I know don't have guarantias either and are coughing up their rent up front).

Also, one thing that I would recommend to people who want to move to Buenos Aires is to actually visit first (I talk to lots of people who want to move here and haven't even visited) and spend some time at least looking and considering the various areas, even within the barrios. Unfortunately, not all people will be able to keep moving from one apartment to the next every month just to see if they like the areas, so this would be he next best thing. And if you're comfortable driving in a big city, then be gutsy and drive the city - that's how we discovered the areas we loved best - and I think we saw more in just a couple of days than we had walking the city in a week.

Laura
Moving to Argentina
http://movingtoargentina.typepad.com

5/07/2006 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

I personally think that the Huge taints all of Nunez, but that's just me.

5/07/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger maskow said...

Whew! They came at you on Villa Crespo! Hee hee! The comida judia is good enough reason to live there, as far as I'm concerned.

But I'm a Retiro boy. Unbeatable, to my mind...but I've never really seen a BsAs neighborhood that I'd be uncomfortable living in, coming from Chicago.

(oh God...they're gonna come after me now...)and I have a 2b with 2 small patios for U$D250/mo...you can still do it, you just have to get out there and burn someshoe leather.

5/08/2006 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

How bout Boca !

5/08/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Argentina es una Poronga said...

I lived in Bs. AS. Argentina for 20+ years, from 1974 to 1997.

During those early years there where VERY few Americans living in Argentina and in fact I went for years without meeting any at all, thanks to which I was able to immerse myself completely into argentine culture and language to the point where I was eventually able to pass myself off as a native. Today I earn my living as a Certified court interpreter thanks to the Spanish I learned while down there (BTW, that's probably the ONLY positive thing I got out of living there). I can comfortably say I know Argentina inside & out.

So let me tell you something about Argentina; yes indeed, it looks like Paris and feels like Europe BUT ITS NOT.

IT'S A SOUTH AMERICAN SHITHOLE. Always has been & always will be.

The place is a clusterfuck of chaos, corruption and ineptitud. If you enjoy living in a place where drivers purposely try to run you down, where cops are completely incompetent and the legal system is like something out of the 18th century, THEN argentina is for you.

It's a place where you routinely get your bills on the same day they're due (or 2 days after), where the power supply is so undependable it either browns-out, blacks-out or SURGES when you least expect it, frying all your electronics and appliances. It's a place where policemen are known to integrate criminal bands and there have even been many cases where they rob people WHILE IN UNIFORM.

The streets are filthy, the walls sport graffitti that has not been removed in 40 years, you travel like cattle in public transportation. I'll pay anyone $500 if they can walk for two hours in Bs. As. without stepping in dog crap, since argentines routinely allow their dogs to crap ANYWHERE and NEVER scoop it up. Dogs will crap in children's sand lots in public parks and NO-ONE will complain about it, because no-one gives a shit (pun intended) about anything there except their fucking stupid futbol. They have nothing to eat, no jobs, no legal protection, no hopes of a better future and yet they shout with joy everytime argentina wins some stupid sporting event. As if THAT was the measure of success for a nation.

Did I mention the crime?. There are NO SAFE PLACES IN BUENOS AIRES. Unlike in the U.S., where crime occurs mostly in certain areas, in Bs. As. there are THOUSANDS of criminals wandering the streets 24/7 just waiting for an opportunity to rape, murder, steal from or mutilate you. Homeless kids are sniffing glue everywhere quite openly and dogs roam the streets like in fucking Cambodia.

If -God forbid- you were ever to need legal recourse then YOU ARE FUCKED, because the argentine legal system is based on Napoleonic Law and has not been revised in 200 years. You could be sentenced to life for something you did not do AND NEVER SEE THE JUDGES FACE NOR ANY WITNESSES AGAINST YOU NOR SHIT. On the other hand, you could shoot somebody on the street, cut off their fingers and wear them as a necklace around your neck AND NEVER SEE THE INSIDE OF A JAIL.

That's how unpredictable that hellhole is.

In fact, in Retiro just a few days ago they found the body of a young villero who had been shot repeatedly at point-blank range AND THEN HIS KILLERS CUT OFF HIS FACE!. That's right, they removed his face completely as if it where a mask and left the body lying there... ONLY ABOUT 200 YARDS FROM ESTACION RETIRO.


Argentina es una mierda completa y absoluta. Un rincon de atraso, miseria y eterna estupidez. Un pais de mierda que todavia hoy esta luchando por superar los mismos obstaculos y problemas de siempre desde hace 200 anios ... y SIN EXITO.

5/12/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Are you sure you're not confusing Argentina with Texas?

5/13/2006 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger apartmentsba.com said...

Hmmmm..you must be a really patient man. It seems to me that anyone that had such a bad experience would get out of Dodge and move ASAP.

I live here in Buenos Aires and we must be living in two different cities. I admit that there is a lot of red tape but really I enjoy it more than I enjoyed living in the USA and I really had an upscale life in the USA.

Sorry to hear you didn't have a good time in Argentina. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Better luck wherever you are living now.

5/13/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

Either some chica did him wrong, he laid a bet on River Plate against Boca, or both at the same time.

5/13/2006 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Argentina Es Una Poronga said...

Johnny; My comments are based on 20+ years of living in Argentina. You on the other hand have apparently only been in Argentina for what? ...4 months?. 5?.

Since you seem to like making suppositions, let me try my hand at making some myself:

-I bet you don't speak castellano very well (if at all), you hang out mostly with other expats and usually stay within the relatively safe boundaries of Recoleta, Belgrano or Retiro. Your argie friends are probably upper-class conchetos who make a yearly shopping trip to Miami to stock up on whatever they need and I'm sure they speak with that abominable affected concheto accent mimicked in the Sumo tune "La Rubia Tarada".

Moreover, I'm sure you have parents or relatives in the States who will be MORE THAN HAPPY to send you a one-way ticket to bail you out and back to home once you (inevitably) wake up and want out from the harsh realities of where you are and what it really is.

BTW, I'm NOT here to put Argentina down -it does a pretty good job in that sense all on it's own- but instead to warn anyone who's NOT familiar with this country to BE CAREFUL.

This ain't Canada or Idaho we're talking about. Argentina can be -and often IS- a very tricky and dangerous place. Usually when you least expect it.

If in doubt, take note of how many times you'll hear argentines saying ; "estoy harto de que me afanen!, me voy a la mierda de este pais!!!".

5/15/2006 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger johnny said...

Hey Argentina es una "bad word" ! You can make all the assumptions you want about me, other expats etc. You have an agenda fella, and it does not appear to be a pretty or productive one. Can you say "bitter" in castellano ?

5/16/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"amargo".

As in :

"Che boludo amargado, te estoy dando consejos utiles, si tenes tantas ganas de defender lo indefendible porque mejor no te vas a Iraq a hacerle de abogado a Saddam Hussein."?

5/16/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Elpanada said...

I once read something called " Top Ten Reasons I Love Argentina & Buenos Aires" on this site. The following sets of reasons were given within that post and its replies:

1.The (low) cost of living. 1.Inexpensive 1. The Weather
2.The opportunity to go carless. 2.No car
3.The big city lifestyle. 3.City life
4.The superior gene pool. 4.Adorable women
5.Learning a new language. 5.The challenge
6.The nightlife. 6.Increased civility
7.The business opportunities. 7.No loud,"patriotic" yahoos screaming "USA USA" (see #7).
8.The people.
9.The country's natural beauty.
10.The food.

If you were to combine these lists into one then it would look something like this:
1. Inexpensive.
1. The Weather
2. No Car.
3. City Life.
4. Women.
5. The Spanish.
5. Challanges.
6. Nightlife.
6. Increased civility.
7. The business opportunities.
7.No loud,"patriotic" yahoos screaming "USA USA" (see #7).
8.The people.
9.The country's natural beauty.
10.The food.

Very few of these reasons are unique to Buenos Aires or #3 and #6 only and none of them is unique to Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano.

5/17/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

I agree it's inexpensive, IF you're earning U.S. wages. If you're not earning in dollars or Euro it is NOT inexpensive.

The weather is nice, kinda like N.Y. without the snow.

The woman ARE THE BEST THING ARGENTINA HAS!. I brought me back a nice one to the U.S.. Had to marry her but it was worth it
:-).

The 'challenges'will be PLENTY. Too much of a good thing can kill you ya know.

The nightlife can be exhilarating, and dangerous as well, depending "en que ambiente te moves". Of course the real danger is someone else deciding to move their own shitty "ambiente" over to you.

"Increased civility"?. I gotta dispute that one. I'm sure you meant to say something else. Civility is one of the most lacking virtues in Argentina, PARTICULARLY among portenos.
Civil means polite & courteous.
Lol,I'm SURE you meant to say something else!.

Business opportunities aplenty, yes sir no doubt. Argentina is a country that seems to have been MADE for making a quick, easy, semihonest buck. Start-up costs are very low compared to the U.S..

No loud "patriotic" yahoos shouting "USA USA". However many other patriotic yahoos shouting "ARGENTINA ARGENTINA!".

The people are super cool.Cuando quieren claro. Lo bueno es que casi siempre quieren.

BEAUTIFUL country excellent food.

5/18/2006 01:40:00 AM  
Blogger johnny said...

Well, it looks like past comments of mine continue to be a goldmine/lightening rod ! I would like to comment on El Americano's statement that I must have been mistaken about "civility" in BA. I still hold to that. Possibly I don't see as much incivility here because 1. I moved here after 11 years in Miami(whew!), and 2. If one doesn't speak the lingo well, one may miss incivil talk. As for the nationalistic yahoos, I was tired of the yahoos in the states, and not yet weary of them here. Yahoos are yahoos wherever you go. A bit amusing how this whole "Nice areas of BA" thing has sparked so much talk, and not a little antagonism. A little provincial don't you think ? In the end, everybody's different and will make their choices based on many factors. Why does there have to be a "wrong" or "right".

5/18/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger chematuco said...

what an original argument. argentina is shit. argentina is great. get over yourselves and accept the truth; argentina is both of those things, rather like every single other country on earth. one man's fit bird is another man's 'what the fuck is that ugly bint doing in my bed?' embrace the hassles of this country and you'll discover one of the best places to live on earth. embrace the hassles of this country and you'll also find yourself wanting to slaughter every last argie on earth. it's a country of strong emotions; not for the weak-hearted. if you're not a cynical bastard then you won't survive long here. if you are, you'll probably become more cynical and everyone in your home country will call you 'negative' and not want to talk to you anymore.

i love argentina. i hate argentina.

5/21/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"i love argentina. i hate argentina"

Maybe a good 'analista' could help you work thru those feelings, but that's NOT my case at all.

I'm simply WARY and DISTRUSTFUL of Argentina. For me dealing with Argentina is like handling C-4 (plastic explosives): it's unstable, unpredictable, extremely dangerous and can (and will) explode at the moment you least expect it.

BTW, I saw your profile. I see you make your living by "charging top dollar" for things that "tourists could get for themselves" if they weren't so "fat & lazy".

If only "cynical bastards" can survive for long in Argentina, you need have no worries regarding your own future there.

;-)

5/23/2006 04:35:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

(NOTE: this message is not for posting)

Hey Expatriado thanks for not posting my last response to chematuco. I regreted it the minute after I hit "send".

I did find this link tho that I wanted to share with you. It's from 2003 but the Argentine habits it mentions are timeless!.

http://www.mikesbytes.com/travel/archives/000058.html

Best regards!.
Khaleel
el americano

5/25/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger malenamil said...

Very nice comments, i had a good time reading all of you. Someone is very racist, but i think he will be everywhere, someone else on the opposite, is very intelligent. I'm italian, i was not living in Argentina a lot of time, i dont know so much, but i dont really care to know more. It's south America, we cannot expect Europe. They were controlled for years, we cannot expect they are the first world. They coudl be better? May be, may be not. And what about other states, mine included? We had Berlusconi, someone else is having Bush. War, violence, mafia, economic crisis...anyone can say we are the best... of course they have some big faults, they lye, they are corrupted, they steal. But they invented what we are not able to invent. They are kind, and we all are rude. Do they chamuyo? Yes, but you know.. Do they make people suffer? Yes. I go and help. To talk bad is very easy. I'm a yournalist, a tango dancer, and i say everybody, to the policemen portenos as well, what i think about them. I have been stolen, for the first time in my life, but i think it has been my fault and i learned. I learn everytime i go to Buenos Aires, because it teachs, Buenos Aires is the only place in the world where you want to come back. Why? The sickness about this city is a common way to be all around the world. I have been in worse places, risking my life, just to know, understand and tell writing. I dont hide anything when i write about, but argentinians have my blood also, i dont forget they are emigrants' nepews.
I love argentina, i hate argentina. These are feelings, fortunatly!
blog mi querido

5/26/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger tiempodefotos said...

An answer to mr.bitternes;
It is funny that you consider yourself an "expert" in argentine affaires, being here for 20 years doesnt make you an expert, like working in the coffee shop of an university doesnt make you a doctor, what your are expressing is just your negative vision of life, you are projecting whats inside you. Argentina is not a static objet,you cant be so simplistic when you try to analyze a country so complex like Argentina, the country it s in the middle of a transition, i have seen the country changing since i was born, so the reality that you can describe it is completely different to the reality of today and of tomorrow, you ve been mixing in your post different periods (esquizofrenia?)democracy, military gobs. than no longer exist , you have a particulary bitter point of view, the problem is not Argentina , is your attitude , you see defects where other people see oportunities, i ve been investigating about the world most insecure citys and guess what i ve found , Colombia,central America, Brazil,and Detroit, Washington, Baltimore,Chicago in a ranking made by the FBi, so its obvious that statistics go against your altered reality, i live in Argentina and i didnt heard anything about that murder you mentioned , anyway 76% of serial killing occur in USA , 17% in Europe, there more deads for suicide than murder in the world, and the developed countries lead in that item.USA is the developed country with more murders per capita,22900 murders each year. After the terrible crisis of 2001, the crime rate has been falling here, according to statisics, not opinions.And about your opinion that this country will never change , well it s your opinion against the reality , i can see the changes in the last 3 years, but the biggest change i see is the mentality of the ppl compared with the years before the crisis, Argentina wont miss you, Your words reflect an unhealthy mental state,keep "teaching" your obscene vocabulary to your unlucky pupils, and pay attention to the reality that surrounds you that it could be more dangerous than you think, but the most dangerous thing is clearly inside you.
www.clarin.com/diario/2006/02/13/policiales/g-05015.htm
www.lanacion.com.ar/herramientas/printfriendly.printfriendly.asp?nota_id=720

5/29/2006 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Juan said...

Dear 23yearoldbitterguy: Psicho rates are very low here, I think between $50 to $150 hour so relax and start with the beginning. I´m a 51 years old local,if my opinion counts I totally agree with malenamil. Life is short, search your right place under the sun and god bless you.

6/22/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Argentina Es Una Poronga said...

"After the terrible crisis of 2001, the crime rate has been falling here, according to statisics, not opinions."

Lol. EVERY statistic I've consulted says crime WENT UP DRASTICALLY after 2001. NOT DOWN. And those are the OFFICIAL STATISTICS from a country notorious for doctoring them.
I won't even bother posting links to educate you ...YOU'RE obviously either in denial or you're very obtuse.

Every Argentine I know feels crime has increased and in fact a recent poll shows over 80% of Argentines have either been a DIRECT VICTIM of crime or had an immediate family member who was victimized. Murder rates have jumped EXPONENTIALLY. I myself saw in person this increase in criminal activity while I was there.

You ridiculously compare crime stats from Bs. As. with other places totally ignoring the population differences between these major cities. The truth is Bs. As. has a crime rate that equals the top 3 most crime-ridden cities PUT TOGETHER when adjusted for population differences.

"the problem is not Argentina , is your attitude"

Really?. Well my attitude is that you should be able to walk 300 meters without getting mugged. YOU CANNOT DO THAT IN Bs. As., so tell me what the hell 'attitude' has to do with it.

No tenes la mas puta idea de lo que estas hablando cabeza-hueca!.

6/25/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Reality Check 101 said...

This is for the dunce that says crime rates started falling in Argentina after 2001. The only thing falling here IS ME ...OF LAUGHTER. Here's but a RANDOM sampling of articles on the subject, ALL dated AFTER 2001;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/news/newsid_2220000/2220472.stm

http://www.lukor.com/not-mun/america/0412/19215900.htm

http://nuevamayoria.com/ES/ANALISIS/?id=zovatto&file=051108.html

http://nuevamayoria.com/ES/ANALISIS/?id=zovatto&file=051108.html

http://nuevamayoria.com/ES/ANALISIS/?id=zovatto&file=051108.html

http://www.lagaceta.com.ar/vernotae.asp?id_nota=163805

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/latin_america/newsid_4400000/4400099.stm

http://spanish.people.com.cn/spanish/200209/09/sp20020909_57502.html

http://www.ciudad.com.ar/ar/portales/sumadeopinion/nota/0,3065,51377,00.asp

http://www.lafogata.org/04arg/arg8/ar_plan.htm

6/27/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Anonymous chematuco said...

i think the person who mentioned crime rates falling was referring to the fact that during and after the crisis, crime rates rose considerably (pretty much a crime wave especially the express kidnapping business) but since that peak, crime rates have fallen and continue to fall. he wasn't suggesting that rates are lower now than 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. he was suggesting that rates are lower than during the worst of the crisis and continue to fall. and he's right.

6/28/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Nuke Argentina said...

No, he's or she's WRONG ...as proven by the links I've posted.

That's exactly why I quit trying looooong ago to reason with argies. It's like you people live in your own little version of reality and NO hard facts seems to faze you ever.

Maybe THAT'S why Argentina is the shithole it is. DENIAL!.

6/28/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently 24 new "nice" areas have to sprung to life in Buenos Aires within the last 5 years. ALL OF THEM SHANTYTOWNS.

Way to go!.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/EdicionImpresa/informaciongeneral/nota.asp?nota_id=821963

7/09/2006 05:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

U.S. CITIZEN LIVING IN "NICE AREA" OF BA GETS STABBED & ROBBED:

http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/07/12/policiales/g-04201.htm

CONCLUSION: THERE ARE NO "NICE AREAS" IN BA

7/12/2006 08:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This last comment doesn´t make sense. People get stabbed and robbed in nice areas of New York, London, Tokyo, Rio as well as in lovely and safe little towns all over the world.

7/13/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger familiaoconnell said...

I agree with you Anon 10:09, the logic is faulty and there is crime everywhere. Go to Singapore if you want to be assured total security. Crime here isnt as bad as it is in many urban areas in the states and is relatively low compared to cities with comparable populations. I think the reason so many Argentines feel concern over security is that there has been a huge increase since 1985, since the end of various authoritarian and military regimes, when there was little street crime. Expats often are hyper-sensitive to the crime issue because the corporations they work for have security consultants scaring them into to buying security services. Personally, I am much more fearful of dying on the road here and unfortunately the stats for car crash mortality are much more compelling than crime.

7/19/2006 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Fernando (Nerd Gaucho) said...

Everything was fine until "reality check" mentioned NuevaMayoria. ROFL.

He might be quoting Blumberg the poster-boy for "trigger happy security" soon....

What foreigners don´t realize is that the local right-wing is very unhappy after having lost power after a decade of "bubble economy" with cheap US dollars and "quick business" that left the country with de-industrialization and skyrocketed unemployment.

Now that we have a more "progressive" administration, the whole right-wing arch and the "elite" that is so used to running the show just can´t stand the 9% GDP growth over the last few years and they have began rattling the old "we´re insecure, we´re run by inepts, someone has to stop this chaos" drum once again.

Guess what? Presidential elections are coming. And every time a presidential election approaches the same debate and the same "news wave" appears over and over and over.

The "more security" mantra is the only thing the rightwingers have to offer.

Wake up to this: any city as big as Buenos Aires is going to have crime, murders and robberies. Those that claim otherwise seriously have not lived in L.A., New York, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, Santiago, or any other big world capital.

7/20/2006 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I AM AN ARGENTINIAN MYSELF and it’s true. Actually, the point el americano makes is valid. I’ve been to the US several times and it’s much safer than here, even in the big cities. The US is another world... Argentina is pretty much the opposite... To tell the truth, Argentinians have lots of bad habits (the list would be too long). And most important, they couldn’t care less. They think they are the best in the world. So... why change their habits?

Increased civility? In Argentina? You must be kidding me. Argentinians are not particularly known for being polite.
Superior gene pool? In comparison to whom? With the due respect, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

Also, on a side note, it really surprises me to see some Americans defending Argentinians... Specially when Argentinians hate Americans so much. Believe it or not, most people here are really anti-American. When something bad happens in the US, many (if not most) Argentinians celebrate. This is sad but true. I’ve heard many saying how happy they felt about September 11th. When the terrorist attacks occurred, some people would even laugh and make fun of it. They kept saying “Those Yanks deserved it” If you don’t believe me, ask any porteño. If they are honest enough, they’ll tell you the same. Not only did they celebrate 11-S, but also do it every time they hear about natural disasters in the US. Hurricanes, floods, etc…
THESE PEOPLE ARE ANTI-AMERICAN BIGOTS.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying ALL Argentinians are like this. BUT THE MAJORITY REALLY IS. That's why people like Eve de Bonafini (who publicly celebrated the terrorist attacks) are considered to be "human rights activists" in this country.
So my advice to you Americans living in Argentina is this: BE CAREFUL AND KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. NOT EVERYTHING IS AS GREAT AS YOU THINK. BEFORE SINGING THE PRAISES OF ARGENTINIANS, TRY TO FIND OUT WHAT THE AVERAGE ARGENTINIAN THINKS OF YOU AND THE US.

Para hablar tan bien de un país, primero hay que conocerlo a fondo. No se dejen engañar por las apariencias. Antes de decir que los argentinos son una maravilla y ese tipo de cosas, averigüen lo que el argentino promedio piensa de los americanos y de USA. Tengan en cuenta que yo soy argentino y conozco el país mucho mejor que ustedes.

Please read this article:
http://www.atlas.org.ar/articulos/articulos.asp?Id=1821

7/20/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I dont think we can spend much more effort trying to convince you that this isnt a shithole for all of us. No doubt your attitude, seemingly not based on many facts, is contributing to what can only be called disfactisfaction with your life here. I would rather believe that my Argentine friends are genuine and the fact I havent been ripped off or victimized by crime in the years I have spent here is not a fluk. There are serious problems here, but that doesnt me you cant eek out a happy life with what good stuff is offered. Give it a try...

7/20/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

OF COURSE, the fact that you have not been ripped off or victimized by crime is NOT a 'fluk'...IT'S A FREAKIN' MIRACLE and I don't believe it for a single second.

Besides, the mere fact that you live in Argentina makes you a victim.

7/21/2006 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....IT'S A SOUTH AMERICAN SHITHOLE. Always has been & always will be...."

You guys attacking this guy for saying all he said should really scroll up and read all he said again because it's true.

He was here 20 years and knows what he is talking about. I myself have been here 6 and everything he said I related with. The bills coming 2 days late every month and then you have to pay the late fee. Yeah!! Soooo TRUE!! The power outages!! Crime!! You said the truth brother, don't worry about it. I hung a flag of Argentina on the bars out in front of the house during the world cup and of course within 4 hours some negro de mierda came along and stole it! This is Argentina! If they are here long enough they will see. You guys that have been here 4 or 5 months singing the glories of Argentina while hanging around a very small circle of other Expats living in an upscale "barrio" don't know this country yet.

I tell you guys this... be careful here.

7/22/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Another article today in La Nacion about the continuing surge in crime in Argentina ..or as I like to refer to it: Argenzuela. Enjoy.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/EdicionImpresa/informaciongeneral/nota.asp?nota_id=825728

7/23/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous chematuco said...

why would you ever pay a 'late fee' for a bill? just take any bill you haven't paid or that has arrived late (that's happened to me once in 3 years by the way) and pay in a Pago Facil. no matter how late you pay it, it's always accepted. anyway, all companies give you at least a month's grace before cutting you off. actually, the electricity, water and gas companies never cut the service. it's a wonder anyone pays at all. never had a power cut either; pretty rare within CF.

argentina has its problems, alright, and it can be difficult place to live and do business but, trust me, there are far worse places than here. ecuador, for one.

I do find it funny that el americano has taken to answering his own posts by 'disguising' himself with a different user ID. you really had me fooled, pal.

7/23/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Argentina Es Una Poronga said...

"why would you ever pay a 'late fee' for a bill?"

Because it's a SURCHARGE that they AUTOMATICALLY add to your bill when you "pay late". You have NO CHOICE OR OPTION but to pay it, THAT'S why.

And although I sometimes post under "Argentina es una Poronga" or "El Americano" or "Reality Check" I NEVER ANSWER MY OWN POSTS, I simply start a new topic or make a new commentary.

Don't worry about who signs off on the posts, focus on the CONTENTS instead.

7/23/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Argentina Es Una Poronga said...

BTW, a little anecdote I'd like to share: I have a friend in Floresta who had TV cable service. He fell behind on the payments so much he realized he could never catch up with what he owed. So he went "al centro" to the Cable Co's main office to request they cut-off his cable service while he paid -off his accumulated debt.

THEY SAID NO.

They told him they would NOT suspend his service UNTIL he caught up with the backpayments he owed.

What kind of business-sense does THAT make?. They purposely continue providing him with a service he CANNOT afford and NO LONGER wants just so they can keep adding surcharges and late-payment penalties to a debt he already cannot afford.

That's the non-sensical kinda shit they pull in Argieland all the time.

7/23/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous chematuco said...

never had a late fee tacked onto my bill and i regularly pay late as i'm often away when my bill comes. the only times i've had to pay an extra charge is when i left the country for 3 months and didn't pay my mobile or internet bills so the cut me off. i was charged 5 pesos to reconnect.

that's not to say they don't make paying difficult. i've tried to set up a direct debit to pay my gas bills 10 times and it has always failed. now, i just don't pay it until it suits me, late or not.

you are a strange little man.

7/24/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chematuco,bills coming 2 days late or the same day their due is not a fluke. It's common here. Ask Argentines, they'll tell you too. Our water bill in particular came this way month after month, this is true. We now pay through internet so problem solved though.

Also on crimes statistics in Argentina, they mean nothing. I would venture to say 25% of crimes in Argentina go unreported or end up lost at the police station. I just know from experiences. Here are some for you...

A guy I know coming home from a disco was jumped by 5 guys. Not only did they rob his money they stripped him down to his underwear and took his clothes as well. My boss's radio was stolen from their car. We went to the house to get it back and the thief came out with about 10 radios and asked us, "What radio is yours?" haha! A guy walks up to the kiosco with a gun down from my house 3 months ago and robs. Three weeks ago the same happened in the Supermarket 3 blocks from my home.

All these crimes happened in broad daylight and are just a sample because there are many others I could give you. Not what I read about in the paper or saw on some statistic. Real people and crime I know first hand. Also to add, many of these crimes went unreported, why? Fear of criminal retaliation.

Now I don't share the opinion with the other guy that all in Argentina is bad. There are many good things here, enough for me too keep living here anyway and that says alot doesn't it? I could make a list on good aspects also. But to try to make Argentina out as Paris in springtime...well thats just not true.

7/24/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"you are a strange little man"

Lol. I've been called a lotta things before but at 6'2" I've never been called "little". And the only thing I see 'strange' here is your refusal to acknowledge the existence of late fees and how these are routinely abused in Argieland.

Even tho at least one other poster here agreed with me on the topic based on his own personal experience, YOU seem to somehow live a charmed life and are mysteriously immune to these late fees.

Soooo, I guess my question for you would be: for what 'Ministerio" exactly do YOU work for?.

Zogan.

7/24/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

A teen and a SIX-YEAR OLD held-up a confiteria yesterday in an armed robbery. That's right; a six year old. And -of course- as usual they got away with everything they robbed from the customers. That same confiteria (in Belgrano) was the site of a fatal shooting just a few days ago.

Soooo, who out there thinks there are still 'nice areas' in Bs. As. ?

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/EdicionImpresa/informaciongeneral/nota.asp?nota_id=829074

8/05/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger familiaoconnell said...

Dude:

Your arguments are so lame...This shit happens everywhere, even in "nice places" in the states. You are going to need to come up with a better argument for not living here than that there is crime in a metropolitan area of 10+ million people...Since you like to link newspaper articles, for your reading pleasure, here is an article about the increase of armed robbery in a town of 60,000 in leafy Connecticut (one of the most affluent States in the US):

http://www.topix.net/content/trb/2838370192207935681308859353712508962564

My point is for every unfortunate crime you can cite, on a per capital basis there is still more violent crime in the States and many other countries (UN has stats if you have the patience to find them on their site, they adjust for the likelyhood of under-reporting).

8/06/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"You are going to need to come up with a better argument for not living here than that there is crime in a metropolitan area of 10+ million people"


You don't get it do ya?.
The argument is NOT that there is simply "crime" there. The argument is: hay un nivel de delincuencia ALUCINANTE,INTOLERABLE e INSOPORTABLE. Para una ciudad de 10 millones tiene un nivel de crimenes propios mas bien de una ciudad de 40 millones. Y una ciudad africana, para mas datos.

You see, here's the major difference between Argentina and the US: In the US we have a society that's based on the Honor System. And it works (more or less). You can reasonably expect most of your daily transactions with others to fall within the gudelines of such a system. And guess what?. They usually do.

In Argentina the exact opposite is true. Theirs is a system based on; "Salvese quien pueda (y como pueda). It's the culture that coined the expression "Hecha la ley, hecha la trampa". Or "El zonzo vive de su trabajo y el vivo vive del zonzo". Or "Te matas, laburas, que ganas?". Or "Mejor cagar a los demas antes que los demas te puedan cagar a vos"... among other "Positive Thinking" niceties.

Not to mention it's the culture where you can't even walk down the freaking street with your girlfriend without some cowardly jackass yelling out "Que buen culo tenes nena!". Of course this is usually shouted from a moving vehicle because Argentines are only corageous when they're in a pack or otherwise safely distanced from any reprisals.

I can recall many times when some argie asshole would yell out some dumb thing like that to my girlfriend from a moving car or motorcycle AND THEN GET STOPPED ON THE NEXT TRAFFIC LIGHT. Lol. Believe me, I've chased down and beaten the mate-sucking crap out of MANY an argie asshole that I was fortunate enough to actually catch thanks to the bendito semaforo. Those were my best stompin' days.

In fact, if there is ONE thing I actually DO miss about Argentina was the ease with which you can kick someones ass and then just walk away. No lawsuits, no cops, no problem.

Ahhhh, the sweet stench of IMPUNITY. A very common aroma in Argieland.

8/07/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"My point is for every unfortunate crime you can cite, on a per capital basis there is still more violent crime in the States and many other countries (UN has stats if you have the patience to find them on their site, they adjust for the likelyhood of under-reporting)"


I had the patience (and the 30 seconds it took to find it) and came up with this UN Crime Stat site:

http://www.uncjin.org/Statistics/statistics.html


If that's the one you meant you need to do better research, cause it clearly states in the lower lefthand side: "Last Revised:
28 September, 2000".

Dude.

8/07/2006 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous O.N said...

Good God! I am coming to Buenos Aires from London in September to teach, and am simply exhausted at reading these postings looking for a real perspective on the place. I won't say its put me off (my flight is already booked)but over the months of reading countless forums about where to go in S.A. I can assuredly say a few things about hearing other people's experiences in S.A., including Bs As, Rio and Caracas. I know I have no personal authority to drawn on with S.A in particular, but trust me when I say I have read every argument under the sun with regards to the issues you talk about. And I have lived in a few developing countries- Egypt and China- on the one hand, and developed- Paris and London- on the other.

1) The argument that "crime exists everywhere in the world" is used a lot to create a kind of relativism about personal safety in the world. People try to argue that living in an appartment building 400 metres away from a Rio favela is really no more dangerous than going out to buy a pint of milk in Notting Hill. This simply does not wash. I regularly walk home to my flat in East London (considered a more "risky" area by some people's standards) at 4 in the morning on a night out. Although the chances of me being mugged exist, I can safely assert that its only a probability, an inevitable one that you have to live alongside in London, and hope you keep lucky. I would be hard pressed to find a person amongst my friends who are from Cape Town or Sao Paulo that would ever dream of hedging the same bets back home.

What you have to ask is whether a certain place breeds a culture, law and economy which can make crime more rife. The answer with S.A in general is well, yes, it probably does. The economy in Bs As is in tatters, and in countries like Brazil and Venezeula a huge economic divide exists between rich and poor which provokes a social gap that encourages crime. In addition, the system of accountibility for crimes (both by criminals and the police) is less developed than say in the UK, and these factors in themselves will also encourage crime. People here and in Brazil were in uproar about the shooting of Charles de Menezes by English police last July, and the case verdict. But the fact that it was such a huge deal here only testifies to how strong a system of accountibility we have for police taking such actions. I am not saying London is perfect- police corruption does happen, and not all accounted for. But it would surely be a false naivety to say that countries like Brazil are singled out for this type of atrocity for any other reason than that it occurs much much more frequently. England has never had a Candelaria type massacre, where dozens of street children were shot dead by police outside of a church in Rio. Neither has the USA in many many years. It is notable that in parts of the USA where racial divides and economic tensions are more severe (say Los Angeles) both crime and police corruption also occur more. As for Argentina, well its crime increase seems- from my distant perspective- to have coincided not with the end of military rule but with the economic bust of 2000, which again, severed what used to be a more middle class dominant society, and created bigger economic divides. Again- there a culture gets bred for crime, and this affects big cities more than anywhere else. To demonstrate that point with regards to S.A.- look at safer places such as Chile and the state of Santa Catarina, which enjoy less economic division and also a more solid state and law infrastructure.

2) Lastly, I cannot tell you how many people who live in the UK wish they could move to more "exotic", sunny countries like Argentina. Usually for reasons of it being cheaper, nicer weather, and projecting certain romantic notions about less state control, more spontaneity and relxation in life there. I suspect that El Americano is right in saying that many of the posters here are expats who moved over for that very reason. I also think he is right that many expats start to miss the organised and efficient systems back home after a while and come home. I saw it many, many times in Cairo and China. Correspondingly, I live in a city which people from many of these "exotic" places move to, to escape a lot of difficulties which El Americano has clearly experienced. My own parents are from the Arab world, and neither have ever wanted to move back- not because of the political problems- but because they value the efficiency, economic and personal security here which many of us western kids start to take for granted after a while. Because frankly, it can make things boring sometimes, and you want to take a break from it. But El Americano- who I still think, or hope, is being unduly harsh about his country- is really demonstrating an attitude which so many of the brazilian, colombian Indian, and african staff and friends who I know share. We may love their weather and great food and nice women, but they know how stifling their country is, because they did not move over here with nice american dollars (or uk sterling ahem) to set them up. His viewpoint should not be written off as some bitter pathology. Look around, you will meet many others like him, not just from Argentina. They cant all be nuts.

As for me, I am only going for a year to pick up my Spanish for work and then coming back to london. Best of both worlds I reckon ;)

That is my humble two cents worth, for all its admitted generalisations. As I said, I am not experienced to speak of Bs As directly, so consider this an outside perspective to add to the debate.

Cheers

8/09/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

O.N; Marry me and bear my children!. Lol. Just kiddin'. Thanks for the defense. Hey, maybe I'm NOT a psycho after all, huh?.

BTW, I'm not an argie, I just play one on television. I'm a native Ny'er who did extensive 'time' in argieland. Which is why I particularly dislike people telling ME about crime rates.

Here's the thing about Argentina: It's Argentina. Meaning you gotta experience it to understand it. I could sit here and write out a detailed explanation of what an empanada tastes like, but you wouldn't REALLY understand until you bite into one yourself. So go ahead and bite into Argentina, but careful ...cause she might just bite back!.

Continuing with the 'empanada' analogy, the more culinary experience you have the better you'd be able to get an approximation of the empanada taste I'd be describing. You know, someone who's tried other varieties of empanadas from other cultures will be able to draw a more realistic comparison.

Likewise, if I tried to give a well-traveled person an explanation of what Argentina 'tastes' like, I'd have to say;

-The happy-go-lucky attitude displayed towards anything that involves planning, foresight, organization and/or precision tastes very ITALIAN.

-The level of sofistication and effectiveness of it's police and entire legal system tastes very UGANDAN.

-The 'let's party til 4 am and then show up for work with bags under ours eyes and a hangover' mentality tastes very SPANISH.

So there you have it.

Argentina 'tastes' like one big freakin' scoop of Afro-Italic crap served on a hot bed of Spanish leftover rice. Enjoy. A mi ..me da cagadera.

8/09/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Juan said...

Soy una poronga said "Today I earn my living as a Certified court interpreter thanks to the Spanish I learned while down there (BTW, that's probably the ONLY positive thing I got out of living there)"

¿Pasar 23 Años de amargura sólo para ser un buen intérprete? Cualquiera en tu lugar se habría vuelto loco o habría probado otra cosa en otro lado. ¡Mejor suerte en otra vida!

8/11/2006 11:24:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Puiblished today in the 'Letters to the Editor' section of LaNacion:


Inseguridad (II)

Señor Director:

"¿Hace falta que el Presidente tenga que pedir en público al ministro del Interior que haga algo con el tema inseguridad? Más allá de ser puro circo (porque bien se lo puede decir en privado), ¿sólo ahora se dan cuenta de la inseguridad que nos aqueja? Me parece una falta de respeto hacia todos los muertos y sus familias. En un país que no está en guerra declarada contra ningún enemigo, mueren más personas por día que en otros paises que sí están en guerra.

"¿Qué pasa con estas personas? ¿Han perdido toda vergüenza, sentido común, toda dignidad? ¿Cómo puede ser que no se pida la renuncia por inútil o mejor aún que ellos mismos renuncien demostrando que les queda decoro por ínfimo que éste sea?

"Al ministro del Interior Fernández y, en la provincia de Buenos Aires, Arslanian, el puesto les queda muy grande.

Fernando Alba
DNI 26.406.843"

8/20/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful city in a beautiful country. Agreed. If you choose to accept the risk there are advantages = principally a quality of life you could not have in Europe.
I am half-South African, half-Argentinian. In truth, although I know I stand more risk of being shot, maimed, raped etc in Cape Town than in Bs As (Bs As crime rate is around that of London or Berlin - in terms of violent crime at least) every time I get off the Malay Airlines flight in Cape Town from Ezeiza I breathe a sigh of relief.........Bs As is more tense definitely. HOWEVER, FOR ALL THAT, I would move to Bs As tomorrow and live in San Telmo - simply because with a bit of caution I could have the best life there and not be just a wage slave......Bs As is mad but it is INCREDIBLE.

9/01/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Well that confirms what I've been saying all along; namely that Argentinas best comparisons are in Africa.

As far as being 'safer' in Cape Town than in Bs. As., that's like saying you're safer in Auschwitz than Treblinka.

9/02/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Juan said...

Estimado "El Americano", sus palabras denotan un profundo resentimiento que con el tratamiento debido es curable; la estrechez mental lamentablemente no.

9/15/2006 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

El tratamiento junto con la subsiguiente cura es muy simple y ya fue aplicada exitosamente.

Consiste simplemente en SALIRSE DE ESE AGUJERO DE ATRASO Y MISERIA CONOCIDO COMO "ARGENZUELA".

Santo remedio!.

9/17/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Anyone wanna comment on the series of rapes that have been occurring in Retiro over the last 3 years?.

Todays La Nacion talks about two new cases, one of which involved a 20-something year-old being gang raped by 6 (count 'em six) homeless guys at Libertad & Paraguays subte station.

Oh yeah, Argentinas an up and coming nation alright.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/EdicionImpresa/informaciongeneral/nota.asp?nota_id=842945

9/23/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger MC said...

I can't belive all the crying and whining I have seen in these posts. Tall dude, If you hate Argentina so much, why the hell are you reading the papers and commenting on obscure blogs? Argentina has an energy and culture that grabs short term visitors and vacationers, and a dark side that can be navigated if anyone has an ounce of street smarts.
If you're insecure enough to try and whip somebody's ass over saying your girl has a nice ass, then your are more of a whiny chicken shit a-hole than your posts imply.

Try living as a gringo in Colombia for a few years. Argentina es el paraiso.

10/11/2006 10:14:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"I can't belive all the crying and whining I have seen in these posts."

>So I guess if someone told you to avoid a certain place or area because it sucks or is dangerous you'd call that 'crying & whining'?. Cause me, I call that 'reporting'.

"Tall dude, If you hate Argentina so much, why the hell are you reading the papers and commenting on obscure blogs?"

>Gee, I don't know, why are YOU reading 'em?.
Maybe I do it for the benefit of those poor souls that don't know shit about Argenzuela, to help them get a clearer picture of what it's all about BEFORE they move down there and fuck-up the rest of their lives.

"Argentina has an energy and culture that grabs short term visitors and vacationers, and a dark side that can be navigated if anyone has an ounce of street smarts."

>You must have meant 'street smarts' AND a Magnum .357, cause otherwise your 'navigating days' will be very brief indeed.
And the 'energy' you reference is mostly spent by argentinians in trying to steal shit from others.

"If you're insecure enough to try and whip somebody's ass over saying your girl has a nice ass, then your are more of a whiny chicken shit a-hole than your posts imply."

> First off, I don't "try" to whip ass... I SUCCEED. ALWAYS.
Second, it's got nothin' to do with "insecurity", it's all about RESPECT (or lack thereof).
You see, YOU might not mind some jerk-off yelling insults at you & your girl (if you ever get one), but in most other parts of the world it tends to upset people. Hey, maybe that explains your initials.
"MC" must stand for "Muy Cornudo"!.
Third, calling me a "whiny chicken shit A-hole" from the safety & security of hiding behind your personal computer leads me to believe you defend anonymous insulting because you yourself engage in the practice. Not that you're any good at it, tho.

"Try living as a gringo in Colombia for a few years. Argentina es el paraiso."

>No thanks. I specialize in just one SPECIFIC shithole and that is Argentina. Argentina solo podria ser considerado el paraiso por ladrones y/o estafadores.

Vos, en cual de esos grupos estas?.

10/13/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gregoire's said...

I am going to BA for first time soon. I want to know why you all are living in BA if it's so nasty. and is it really worse than LA...? If you have the bucks to live somewhere nice is it really that bad. and yes I understand that it takes a while for outsiders to understand an area. In 1980, I tried to convince friends in Seattle that LA had drive-by shootings...no one got it.

10/15/2006 03:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gregoire's said...

...and I am a 50-something female who lived in san francisco in 60's...i can handle most anything, though I don't want a gun to my head. My husband on the other hand probably would not see BsAs as an adventure but as an incompetent nightmare. how bad is it really to live in the middle-class type of areas?

10/15/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

First off, congratulations on having such an intelligent hubby.

To answer your question:
As I mentioned in a previous posting, one of the things that sets Argentina aside from other high-crime cities is the fact that in Buenos Aires living within a middle-class type of area does NOT mean it's safe.

Unlike American cities for example where high crime rates are limited to mostly easily-identifiable areas, Bs. As. has scores of lowlifes patrolling the streets looking for easy targets.
You could be living 50 yards from a comisaria (police stationhouse)and still have your apt. ransacked or be victimized yourself on the street.

With over 50% of the argentine population unemployed or underemployed, middle and upper class neighborhoods actually seem to attract more crime because that's where the money is. Argentine police are so notoriously ineffective and downright corrupt that their presence does NOT constitute a safeguard of any kind.
And it's not only life-threatening crime I'm talking about here (which indeed abounds) but in addition there is an astounding amount of vandalism and petty theft as well. People will actually steal the bronze doorknobs from your frontdoor, the bronze plaques off statues, the copper wiring from street and traffic lights and anything in general that isn't nailed-down tight. I mean REAL tight. I've had people wipe shit off the bottom of their shoes on my parked motorcycle seat, just for the heck of it. There's a LOT of that type of spiteful vandalism everywhere you go.

Yes, it's true, many argentines are VERY nice and personible people, but the overwhelming poverty and lack of opportunity in that country really make Argentina a stressful and non-pleasant environment.

To give you a rough idea of what crime is like in Buenos Aires, think Brooklyn or the Bronx in the 1970's and early 80's.

10/18/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous el argentino said...

Ha ha since when does crime in Buenos Aires resemble "Brooklyn or the Bronx in the 1970's and early 80's"? I must say some of your stories are true, as in many policemen are thieves themselves and crime is spread throughout the whole city, but living here is a matter of blending in with the rest of the crowd. I mean, not letting thieves know your house is full of valuable items, or hiding your Rolex when walking down the street. And of course, not going out alone at night and avoiding the most dangerous areas of the city (you just cannot say, for instance, that Mataderos and Barrio Norte are the exact same thing).

What I'm trying to say is that Buenos Aires is obviously far from being safe, but with the necessary precautions you can have a blast in this beautiful city (well, the nice and safe parts of the city). This risk is a clear consequence of the city’s size, and as with any other big city one must stay alert because there will always be someone ready to take advantage of those who are used to someplace else. Just compare the city with the whole of New York City: it has really nice areas, crowded areas full of pickpockets, and areas the average citizen simply avoids.

Oh, and Gregoire, if you are really looking for an adventure then I’d suggest moving to Caracas or Sao Pablo, which are faar more dangerous than Buenos Aires (just listening to the stories is terrifying). And please do not listen to a guy who has not lived in my city for almost ten years now, it would be a pity to be misled by a foreigner's point of view. He may speak perfect castellano and know his way through the subte but come on, he is just retelling his horrible experiences and the worst pieces of news he can find nowadays. Of course, if you think you could not adapt to the way things work around here then I’d suggest you not to move out of the states, but I think it must be really nice challenge.

10/21/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

You say I haven't "been there in ten years" like it means I don't know what the hell I'm talking about anymore.

But think of a doctor or engineer who goes to college for years and eventually gets his/her degree. Afterwards they DO NOT need to be constantly re-taking the same old course studies over and over again. They've ALREADY grasped the intricacies of their chosen field. All they need to do is stay updated and to expand their already vast knowledge.

Likewise, I graduated from La Universidad de la Vida en Argentina
(LUVA) ten years ago and now I only need to take some "refresher courses" to stay abreast of the current situation there.

I've done my field footwork in Argentina already. I've measured, weighed and recorded scores of specimens (and I DO mean specimens). I've performed extensive on-site testing and evaluations. I've dissected and analyzed. I've registered and photographed. Heck, I've even tagged and released. I've got an MBA on Argentina; Master of Bullshit Argentino.

The safety precautions you give to Gregoire regarding 'blending in' and 'hiding the Rolex" are nonsense, because people get killed everyday in Argieland over a shitty pair of sneakers or a crappy campera de mierda. Whether you have valuables or not in your house doesn't matter because they'll break-in anyway just to check it out for themselves. The bastards are so desperate they'll be happy to do a home invasion just to raid your fridge.

Just yesterday 3 guys raided an office on San Martin 621 during peak business hours. This street and location is a MAJOR downtown business street. Hundreds of people are present.

The office was on the second floor facing the street so one victim was able to yell for help from a window, then passerby's saw a hand reach out from behind her and pull her back in.

Despite the time, the place and the throngs of people present, IT TOOK THE COPS 20 MINUTES TO RESPOND to the scene!. Which just happens to be the argenswine equivalent of Wall St no less.

Oh, the three robbers?.

They got away.

10/26/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger familiaoconnell said...

El Argentino:

Noble effort in responding to El Americano. Many of us have tried to engage in a dialogue with him, but it is really quiet futile and tiresome. You know the kind of person, usually a wacky relative, that no matter how reasonably you try to present the facts, it isnt half as interesting or dramatic or horrific as when they tell the story. Despite the endless citing of news stories and links of random crimes that he provides as proof of the shitty quality of life here, he proves nothing.(except that crime exsists in big cities) He simply cant accept the fact that there are people that live a satisfing life here. Its kind of sad really.

10/26/2006 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

You apparently live in Patagonia, which is the American equivalent of living in rural Idaho, yet you dispute the informed opinions of someone who's lived over 20 years in Bs. As.

It's kinda sad really.

10/31/2006 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

You presume wrong on several accounts: We spend our summers in Patagonia. We spend the school year in BA so we live with the chaos and tension that is the reality of city life. Your biggest flawed presumption continues to be that everyone has the same crappy life as you do here. It has become very clear to me that that has more to do with your attitude than living in BA.

11/01/2006 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

You say I like to make assumptions so lemme do my thing here;

-You're wealthy (er, I mean mom & dad are)

-You live a sheltered life REGARDLESS of whether you're in Patagonia or Bs. As.

- You go to some expensive private school, no, make that expensive BILINGUAL private school.

- You've never gone to 'la popular' in a soccer stadium, you've never walked extensively during the wee hours thru Mataderos, Soldati or any other barrio outside of a few, upscale choice ones.

- You reside in a minute world of privilege that ranks you among the top 12% minority that can afford to live within an ersatz-first-world-bubble-like reality while the other 88% live in the REAL Argentinia.

Soooo, tell me, so far how'd I do?.

11/02/2006 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

WOW..you must be psychic. However before you take your show on the road, you may want to hone your skills a bit. Obviously, if I am spending my time chatting on an expat blog I'm not driving the Cliba truck, however how does that translate into less meaningful life experiences? You have no idea how I spend my time when I'm not engaged in this fruitless conversation with you. You are right though I haven't visited a Popular...me and all the other middle aged women in the world that don't care about futbol.

I wont assume that you have ever spent time in a villa, but if you haven't, there is one about 10 km from where I live and there are lots of opportunities to help. Want to take a family of 17 shoe shopping? We need a stove for the comedora, want to help? We are actually looking for a Santa Claus to give out Christmas presents on Dec 21st, you available? You need to work on your HO HO HO.

I know life here is hard for most and downright awful for some. This misery you like to marinate in, unfortunately, is everywhere in the world. It is a tricky dance finding happiness in your own family and what you have and the reality of what is around you. But this challenge is not unique to living in Argentina and Argentina is not the worst place in the world.

11/02/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

am a Black American traveling to South American in November, I will spend a
week in Buenos Aires.. I am from NYC..Is it dangerous for Black Americans to
travel in Buenos Aires...a friend of mine told me he saw a lot of graffati of Nazi Swastikas
when he traveled there

11/02/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Black American: You need have absolutely NO reservations about traveling to Argentina because of your race. Argentina is anti-semitic perhaps, but definitely NOT anti-black. In fact, many people will probably be extra nice to you because blacks are considered very "simpaticos" (likeable)people. Argentines have an image of American blacks as being very outgoing, fun-loving and family oriented. BTW, don't be offended if someone calls you "negrito" (little black one) or even 'negro' since it's used affectionately. Be prepared for some to confuse you with a Brazilian or Uruguayan tourist, since there are very few native blacks in Argentina.
Use your NYC street-smarts whereever you go and you'll have a blast.

Queen Elizabeth: The difference between you and me is that my 'tour of duty' in Argentina was akin to that of a regular grunt, an ordinary foot-soldier. I spent my time in the trenches (so to speak)and was able to see & experience Argentina thru the eyes of working class Argies. I fought side by side with them AND against them, and I've seen them at their finest AND (much more frequently) at their worst. I shed all my 'insignias' and 'rank' in order to immerse myself completely with them.

You on the other hand are like one of those desk-bound generals that experiences everything from the comfort & security of your HQ. Sure, you visit the 'front' every now and then to do your feel-good bullshit charity work but whenever the going gets tough you know you can escape to your anglo-bunker and hide there til the danger is over. When you do make an occassional appearance with the 'troops' you are treated deferentially (of course) because rank has its privileges, particualrly among the poor 'cholulo' argies.

Te quisiera ver tan solo por una semana sin tu coronita y tu cetro, viviendo como viven la mayoria de los argentinos, mezclandote con ellos y sin saber como vas a llegar a fin de mes o viajando como ganado todas las mananas en la linea Sarmiento para ir a tu 'empleo' de $ 120 dolares mensuales.

Haceme el favor y duplica la dosis de Geritol porque estas diciendo muchas PAVADAS.

11/02/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Luis said...

I had a good time reading these posts untill people started getting extremist and SHOUTING (IN CAPS).
I am argentine, I lived all my life here, and I could also travel and see the world a little bit.

Let me tell you that Argentina is not heaven. It is not hell either.
It's just one country with many good things as well as many bad ones.

Let me pick any country at random, and I will convince you with facts that it is a shit or a wonder, whatever you choose.

Can we talk about USA as a whole? There are so many different places and peoples in the USA that I can hardly make any absolute statement about this country. What does an intellectual jew from New York have in common with a red neck from Alabama?
Do you want me to speak bad about USA?
I can do it for hours.
Do you want me to speak well about USA?
I could also do it for hours...
The same goes for Europe (any country), South Africa, China, etc, etc...

But we are talking about Argentina:
Let me tell you that, like many other argentines, I feel a deep sadness about some things that happen here, and that seem to be eternal.
It is true what they say about political corruption, chaotic legal system, economic missmanagement, etc, etc...
But I also think that we, argentines, are very honest about that.
We are very open about our defects, and we care about them. It is a endless subject of conversation about us, and the answer is always the same:
We have an absolutely corrupt political system, that many people want to change, but we can't because those who have the handle are very powerful.

With a hand in you hart (american people): Don't you think that this is also going on up there?
Corrupt politicians (Bush daddy, Bush jr, Chenney, Halliburton, religious right, electronic evangelists, and the likes...). Come one, we all have things to be ashamed of...

And what about italians, just to name a rich european country?
Four powerful maffias, (cossa nostra, n'dranghetta, etc, etc... all of them unbeatable and more powerful than ever), corrupt judges, corrupt ministers, Berlusconi!!, etc, etc..).
How about Russia? Is it any better than Argentina?

Don't get me wrong: I suffer about my country, but I still think it has many good things.
And even though I have spanish citicenship, and that I could live wherever I want, I still choose this country.
And I'm not a patriotic idiot. I just like having a large, loving family to visit every Sunday to have lunch and a good time.
I love having hundreds of friends that I can visit (without any previous appointment ) whenever I want.
I love going out with my friends, or with any of them, at any time in the day or night just to sip a beer or drink a coffee anywhere in the city.
I love not having my life planned and structured for the rest of my life.
I love having no clue whatsoever of what my life will be tomorrow, and I'm not affraid of it (I would, instead, be affraid of having everything planned for the rest of my life).
I like living every single day like it is the last day.
I like not having the social pressure of building myself a career, relegating family and friends for money.
I love being able to be considered a respectable and valuable human being even if I don't have a fancy car or a big house in the suburbs.
I would honestly die of boredom if I lived in Switzerland or Canada (no offense!).

I have friends who fled to europe when the crisis exploded in 2001, and now they have it all arranged:

- a mortgage for the next 40 years to pay an appartment in some 40 km out of Barcellona.
- a new car to be paid in modest fees for the next two years
- a good dental plan
- and a sure promisse that someday they will get a pension

This all sounds good, but let me tell you: what a bunch of mediocre living beings!
Is this life? That just sucks.

Every society has its warts, and Argentina is not exception, but if you want to see good things here just don't be affraid and come. You'll be surprised.

There are many problems here, specially when we talk about politics and corruption.
But can someone tell me what was about Chicago in the 20's?
Where is is now?

Did Chicago have a different pool gene back these days, or it was just an especific historic context that made things different?
We must analize everything in context, and think were is Argentina right now.

Luis

11/02/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I am going to pass the baton to you Luis, as you eloquently said what I believe many here think about living in a very complicated place like Argentina. Apparently because I am not an Argentine and didnt grow up here, I am not entitled to an opinion about what it is like living here. My life experiences as an Expat (even though this is a blog about being an Expat)arent as valid as El Americano's. He is all yours.

It would be rather inelegant of me to call El Americano a farm animal so I wont, but I will offer an observation...that chip on his shoulder, its not attractive.

11/02/2006 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks alot El Americano...although the word Negrito sounds a little too close to the N word...now when you say Argentines have an image of black americans as being a "happy" people does this come from them having viewed american tv programs..or from racial stereotypes..ie black people like to sing and dance ...the old steppin' fetchit'..I am going to be staying in Recoleta...any resturants you think are good? I have traveled through the third world..but I must admit before booking the trip ..I should have done more thorough research...I have traveled to europe ...with a high level of comfort..but if I had known that I would be traveling to a country that was 95% white...and slightly above third world ( judging from some of the post)...I would have chosen not to book my vacation..I have traveled to brazil , venezuela, colombia, but would have preferred a better racial balance El Americano ..I like the fact that I can " blend " in when I have been to Brazil etc...the last thing I want to do is go somewhere I am not welcome and get ATTACKED!
ATENTAMENTE EL NEGRITO

11/03/2006 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger El Expatriado said...

You're not going to be attacked because of your race. If you're attacked its because you went into a bad neighborhood at night, were flashing expensive things around, or just got unlucky.

You won't blend in here, but neither do most tourists. Even when you think you're blending in, you're probably not. Most Argentines have a pretty good "extranjero" radar and know you're a tourist - more so if you're black.

Nevertheless, expect the people to be nice and welcoming to you here. I don't expect you'll find any troubles.

11/03/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"now when you say Argentines have an image of black americans as being a "happy" people does this come from them having viewed american tv programs..or from racial stereotypes..ie black people like to sing and dance ...the old steppin' fetchit'"


Lol. Definitely NOT steppin' fetchet. Not at all.

True, Argentines usually don't travel much so any stereotype they have WILL be based on their limited exposure to blacks thanks to TV, sports and musical references. But one thing I love about Argentina (and I don't think that's changed at all)is that argie society almost completely lacks racism as we know it here in the "Fatherland".

Argies for the most part possess the sublime quality of judging people based on how they behave and come across as opposed to the stereotyping judgemental bullshit we have. If you DO get insulted it'll probably be because they think you're a Brazilian, with whom Argies are very competitive and get all nationalistic and shit.
Just shrug it off if it happens. If on the other hand they know you're American they'll probably be extra nice and polite. Rest assured, your skin color IS NOT an issue. You'll blend in fine because you'll be among fellow human beings, which is how argies will perceive you. If you've read my previous posts you'd KNOW I'd jump at the chance to bad-mouth argentina about something but quite frankly ..I have to keep my trap shut on this one.

Restaurants?. Here's my tip: There are some classy food joints all over downtown Bs. As. and surrounding areas which will easily stand out to you due to their posh & clean looks. I recommend any of them but they'll be expensive. I also recommend you look for those almost-hole-in-the-wall-type dives because that's where the food is usually best, particularly when it comes to "asados" (BBQ meat ..you GOTTA try it!) Pastas will usually be good everywhere. Just hang out near the retaurant's tables if you can and check-out the servings as they go by to see if you like 'em.

Regardless of where you choose to eat, the food quality and taste in Argentina far surpasses that of the plastic shit we regularly eat here.

Careful with the woman offering themselves on the street, many of 'em ain't.

OK I'm starting to feel woozy already, saying so many good things about Argentina all at one sitting. I think I'll take a break now and then get back on track.

Hey Negrito, what part of NYC you from?. I'm from Queens!

Best regards & have fun!.


PS: PONTELO!

11/03/2006 11:08:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

"I am going to pass the baton to you Luis. Elizabeth"

TITULARES: ABDICA ELIZABETH !
Cede su cetro al primer ministro Luis y se retira a su finca real en Patagonia. Preocupacion en las villas.

11/03/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger John Friendly said...

El Americano. Ditch the attitude. If you want feel it is your personal mission to offer an antidote to the misconceptions of others, you might learn to be brief. Besides the immaturity, your arguments are poorly reasoned. You might ask what it is that you hope to achieve by winning this argument. Is it that people should understand that Argentina is dangerous, risky, incompetent? Fine. Make your case briefly and move on.

The bluster is tired and an obvious tell for insecurity.
You don't like to lose an argument because you have so much personal investment in being correct.

Immaturity is realizing that no one is coming to save you.

Grow up!

11/12/2006 03:13:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Attitude Shmattitude.

Argentina sucks the chrome off a trailer hitch. THAT'S my message. I think it's pretty brief.

You talk about my alleged 'immaturity' and say my arguments are 'poorly reasoned' yet you yourself offer NO arguments in rebuttal, poor or otherwise. Nada. Zilch.
Doesn't THAT seem a teeny weeny immature to you?.

The owner of this blog (God bless his suffering heart for putting-up with me!) would be the only one with a right to tell me to "make my case briefly and move on" if he was so inclined. Who the hell are YOU?. The freakin' 'soup-nazi' from the Seinfeld sitcom?.
Again, I'm detecting a li'l immaturity thar..

Finally, you end your posting exhibiting a very argentinian characteristic, which is to attempt to judge a given person or topic (in your case while impersonating a psychologist) when in actuality you haven't the foggiest freakin' idea of what you're talking about.

Tirate tres pedos.

11/13/2006 11:06:00 PM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Even the U.S. Secret Service is no match for argie ingenuity when it comes to separating someone from their property.

Apparently, Barbara & Jenna Bush (yes, the two daughters of The Retard)where robbed in San Telmo despite being accompanied by Secret Service personnel.

GOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL de argentina !!!!


http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/11/21/um/m-01313814.htm

11/21/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

El americano... (No tengo ganas de escribir Inglés, vos si querés podés contestarme en Inglés, te entiendo igual y supongo que si "viviste 20 años en Argentina" sabrás entenderme):
La verdad entré recién hoy a este Blog, no recuerdo bien cómo llegué, sé que por el Google... pero me interesó bastante (este y otros parecidos, sobre americanos y europeos viviendo en Argentina) y leí comentarios interesantes, que resaltan las cosas buenas y las cosas malas de Argentina siempre desde un punto respetuoso y agradable, sin violencia o comentarios desmerecedores.
Todo transcurrió bien hasta que lamentablemente llegué a tus comentarios. Denotan la falta de respeto por parte de algunas personas, independientemente de su nacionalidad o raza. Tus comentarios son denigratorios y burlescos hacia mi país, ni siquiera forman una crítica constructiva, siendo ellos una muestra de la decadencia de cierta gente. Es más, fui en algunas oportunidades a tu país y agradezco que la gente no haya sido tan agresiva como vos.
¿Cuál fue tu problema en Argentina? ¿Acaso te criaste en una "cuna de oro"? ¿ O te robaron mucho? Bueno, eso te pasa por no ser precavido... En mis 22 años que llevo viviendo en Buenos Aires (desde que nací) no me han robado ni una vez. Fui una mujer con suerte, claro, pero realmente el crimen no es algo tan terrible como vos crees. Eso sí, está muy exagerado por los medios. Y si no se soluciona es culpa del gobierno de izquierda, no del argentino medio.
Ahora, para que no digas que soy rencorosa, te invito a mantener un diálogo amable conmigo, en castellano o inglés, libre de agresiones y en donde te expreses con mejores argumentos y sobre todo con imparcialidad... quizás podramos llegar a conclusiones enriquecedoras o quizás no me prestes atención y continúes sumergido en esa arrogancia y hostilidad que tanto te ha cegado.

11/28/2006 12:19:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Mis comentarios son denigratorios y burlescos hacia tu país porque tu pais es en si una burla denigrante. Al pan, pan y al vino, vino. Me pedis un trato “respetuoso y agradable, sin violencia o comentarios desmerecedores”. Es decir, me pedis que exhiba justamente aquellas virtudes que brillan por su ausencia en el trato argentino diario.

En cuanto a mi “problema con la argentina”, .. es simple; es un pais corrupto, incompetente, ineficiente, immaduro, peligroso (para quienes la habitan solamente, claro) y lo peor de todo es que repite una y otra y otra y otra vez los mismos errores de siempre, siendo COMPLETAMENTE incapaz de alguna mejora o progreso. No vengo a este foro a tratar de “salvar al pueblo argentino”, porque ustedes han creado ese clusterfuck (entendes el termino?) y solamente a ustedes les incumbe solucionarlo. Good luck, you’ll definitely need it. Vengo exclusivamente a advertir a mis compatriotas que argentina es una mierda para que lo sepan de antemano. Veras, muchos de mis compatriotas estan yendo a argentina en busca de mas “libertad” porque confunden el caos, la falta de control y el desamparo que reina ahi con “freedom”. Jamas han experimentado la vida en un ambiente tan desprotejido y pecan por ingenuidad al creer que hay un futuro viable disponible en argentina. Mi intencion es ahorrarles la perdida de tiempo y esfuerzo que implica pedirle peras al olmo.

En tu mensaje afirmas que, “si no se soluciona (la delincuencia) es culpa del gobierno de izquierda, no del argentino medio”. WRONG!. El gobierno esta compuesto integramente por “argentinos medios” y NO por gobernantes importados de Sumatra (aunque actuan como si lo fueran). La misma falta de idoneidad y honestidad que exhiben es igual a la del pueblo del cual han surgido. Ni mas ni menos. Roban y son deshonestos porque eso es parte de la idiosincrasia de tu pais.

Veo por tus propias afirmaciones que tenes 22 anios. Que linda edad!. Es la edad en que uno realmente no tiene la mas puta idea de la vida y sin embargo uno anda por ahi dando consejos y opiniones sin tener la experiencia, capacidad o puntos de referencia para respaldarlos. Voy a dejar que el paso del tiempo te eduque y –si sobrevivis a sus lecciones- volveremos a hablar una vez que tu experiencia y conocimientos del tema hayan crecido un poco.

Mientras tanto, me despido dejando este link a una noticia que refleja lo que le espera a cualquiera que intenta llenar el vacio de indefension en el que subsiste el pueblo argentino cuando algun ciudadano intenta defenderse a si mismo debido a que ni la justicia ni la policia argentina es capaz de hacer algo al respecto. En argentina, los delincuentes entran y salen de las carceles en un santiamen mientras que aquellos que son sus victimas pierden su 'libertad' por tratar de defenderse a si mismos. Este es tan solo UNO de muchisimos casos parecidos donde la VICTIMA va a la carcel mientras los delincuentes ..van al gobierno!;

“Lo condenaron a diez años por matar a dos ladrones”

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/EdicionImpresa/informaciongeneral/nota.asp?nota_id=863123

11/29/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Hola Americano, la verdad no me hacés enojar con tus comentarios hacia Argentina, lo hacés de una forma tan inocente e ingenua que hasta sos tierno.

Creo que tendrías que mirar un poco a tu país... acaso crees que es seguro? En Estados Unidos también hay inseguridad, y mucha, más que en Europa.

Empecemos mirando a New York, una de las ciudades más inseguras del mundo hasta que el alcalde Giuliani (político decente) impuso leyes más severas para acabar con la delincuencia. Sin embargo, el Bronx sigue siendo uno de los lugares donde más inseguridad hay y donde viven matando a gente para sacarle su iPod... además, la policía de New York o NYPD es muy conocida por ser corrupta y andar en complot con varias mafias de la ciudad.

Pasemos a Los Angeles. Otra ciudad con muchos problemas delictivos... es conocida por el crimen organizado. Hay peleas de bandas, algunas conocidas con nombres como "maras", muchas originarias de El Salvador, otras mexicanas, también hay pandillas formadas por afroamericanos, conocidas como "gangs": cualquiera que presta un poco de atención a las letras del rap se dará cuenta de cómo se comporta esa gente.

Y me podrás contestar que la mayoría de las pandillas que hay en Los Angeles son de hispanos, y eso es peor aún, porque es tal la inficiencia del gobierno de USA que deja a criminales de otros países actuar libremente y perjudicar a sus propios ciudadanos. Jaja, encima hay algunos que tienen nombres muy graciosos: La Raza, Chicanos, Salvatruchas... qué lindos chicos, tan disciplinados ¿No?

Ahora viajemos hacia Miami, FL: una ciudad donde la droga es moneda corriente.
Es muy común ser robado en Miami por gente drogada, sin escrúpulos y cada día escuchar de quienes mueren por cargar drogas en su estómago. Los colombianos llevan la droga hasta la ciudad mientras los cubanos la venden, hasta los haitianos actúan ahí. Mirá que lindo "paraiso" es Miami, ¿no?

Algunos sectores de estas tres ciudades son un infierno comparado con los improvisados ladrones argentinos. Pero mis comentarios no pasan por querer denigrar a tu país o decir que es inferior o superior al mío, no, en nada de eso... es más, hay cosas de Estados Unidos que me gustan y no voy a juzgar a 300 millones de habitantes por algunos criminales como hacés vos con Argentina. Claro, generalizar es de ignorantes... yo nunca generalizo.

Yo no hablo de que la justicia argentina sea excelente ni mucho menos la policía. A mí también me parece muy indignante eso de que hayan juzgado a un hombre que se defendió de dos ladrones, mientras que a una mujer que mató a su propio hijo sale absuelta... pero no queda otra, hay que aceptarlo así, eso no quiere decir que la gente esté de acuerdo.

Es más, mucha gente no está de acuerdo con la seguridad del país: hace unos meses hubo una gran manifestación donde participó gente de clase media, gente pobre, jubilados y personas de todos los estratos afectados por la inseguridad.

Pero la gente no sigue insistiendo tanto porque no hay una situación tan crítica, como por ejemplo, la hubo en el 2001. Dentro de todo la gente está satisfecha con el gobierno, mientras todo vaya bien en economía como está yendo, los otros asuntos parecen no repercutir en los ciudadanos. Es lógico eso, pero a veces es bueno prestarle atención a otros asuntos.

12/01/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

Antes que nada, agradezco que me encuentres un personaje 'inocente, ingenuo y tierno' y si te interesa ..estoy disponible para la adopcion!. Hace rato que ando buscando un hogar que me acoja con comprension y carinio.

Ahora volviendo al tema de la delincuencia; delitos hay en todos lados. Es parte de la condicion humana. Lo que varia radicalmente es LO QUE HACE UNA SOCIEDAD DADA CON SUS CRIMINALES.

En EE.UU. se los busca activamente, se los captura y se los somete a un juicio pronto. De ser hallados culpables van a la carcel y AHI SE QUEDAN por la duracion de su condena.

En argentina, NO se los busca, NO se los enjuicia (porque una significativa proporcion de ellos son liberados justamente por no haber sido procesados dentro del plazo legal y se benefician con el 'dos por uno'). Ademas, las condenas en si son ridiculamente irrisorias y los delincuentes entran y salen con la facilidad de quien atraviesa una puerta giratoria.

Encima, es muy comun que 'presos' en argentina sobornen a los guardiacarceles para que los dejen SALIR DE LA CARCEL a escondidas ..para cometer MAS delitos!.
Ha habido infinidad de casos en argentina donde delincuentes capturados en la comision de un delito SUPUESTAMENTE ESTABAN ENCERRADOS CUMPLIENDO TIEMPO POR UN DELITO ANTERIOR.

Asi que para resumirte; delitos hay en TODOS lados, pero lo que se HACE AL RESPECTO para poder evitarlos y castigarlos es lo que marca la diferencia.

La GRAN diferencia. En EE.UU. van a la carcel, en argentina se hacen senadores.

Saludos.

:-)

12/01/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Bueno, para empezar, no creo que nadie quiera adoptar a un chico tan odioso y quejoso como sos vos. Me imagino que de chico llegarías del colegio diciendo: "mamá, en el colegio los chicos me roban los lápices".

Y respecto a la delincuencia, lo que contaste recién no pasa siempre... son sólo casos contados y la ley del dos por uno ya no está vigente desde hace tiempo. ¿Hace cuánto te fuiste de Argentina?

La mayoría de los presos cumple su condena en la actualidad, eso te lo aseguro, pasa que por cada tipo que sale antes de tiempo los diarios lo comentan por todos lados. Me parece que te quedaste en la época de Menem. Hace poco quiso salir antes de tiempo un asesino muy famoso en la TV(Barreda, no sé si lo conocés)y no pudo. Así son casi todos los casos ahora... Por más que el preso tenga buena conducta no sale enseguida.

De todas maneras hay bastante corrupción en el sistema penitenciario, a pesar de que al gobierno le cuesta un montón de dinero al año mantener a cada preso.

Además hasta hace poco había un problema con las cárceles... parece que el gobierno no quería invertir en construir nuevas y por eso muchos presos salían antes de tiempo. Tampoco que los presos pretendan vivir en celdas tan espaciosas! Imagino que ese tema ya se arregló.

Bye.

12/03/2006 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous El Americano said...

>>“Buenos Aires is a graceful European style city, but it has experienced such a rapid growth in crime during the past decade of economic instability that it too is now considered quite unsafe”
http://www.becker-posner-blog.com/archives/2006/11/crime_epidemics.html


>>“Argentina, Zona Liberada”
http://argentinoenusa.com/read-396.html


>>“Cuando crece el delito, Argentina reduce las penas”
http://argentinoenusa.com/read-390.html


>>“Thousands rally in Argentine protest against spiraling crime”
http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/medill/grad/special_programs/global/filed_from_residency/thousands_rally_in_argentine_protest_against_spiraling_crime.html


>>”An exploding crime wave is confronting Latin America's new generation of leftwing leaders with difficult political choices, says Ivan Briscoe.”
http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-protest/crime_3467.jsp


>>”Poor Eat Garbage As Argentina Descends Into 'Hell' “
http://www.rense.com/general26/poor.htm


>>”Bayres Crime Wave?”
http://www.goodairs.com/2006_07_01_archive.html

>>”Though Argentina has long been considered one of Latin America's safest countries, the collapse of the economy over the last few years has contributed to growing crime wave”
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0125-06.htm

12/03/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I would honestly die of boredom if I lived in Switzerland or Canada (no offense!)."

I'm Canadian. No offense taken...I understand what you mean.

12/19/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mad_Maxx said...

Didn't George Bush's 2 daughters get robbed or something while they were down here? Someone ran off with a purse as they were sitting at a table in BA I heard.

1/02/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mad_Maxx said...

Ahh, my bad. I see Bush's daughters being robbed was already brought up here. Skipping around on this thread and now sat down to read the whole thing through.

El_Americano your dead on. The people disagreeing with you haven't been here long enough. They are still in their "novelty phase". Once they are here long enough to appreciate an elevator you don't get stuck in, a new shirt that doesn't fall apart in 3 months or a building inspector that doesn't tell you "this light needs moved 3 ft left" then "the light needs moved 3 ft right" when what he really needs is a bribe they'll agree with you. Give them some time.

If you don't want to believe El_Americano look around at some of the other Argentine expat bloggers. Not the 2 and 3 month exchange students and so on but the long term people. There are also some Argentine bloggers who amazingly (jeje) put their egos aside and address these issues.

If you don't want to believe the long term Argentine expat bloggers either ask your Argentine friends if what El_Americano says is true or not. They know it. If they are honest they'll tell you.

Also it's amazing to see how some of you defend Argentina in earnest when the VAST majority of Argentines would LOVE to see your countries burn to the ground. Especially if your from the US or England. If you don't know that by now you REALLY haven't been here long enough! :-o

For the Argentines (& expats) trying to compare Argentina to the US or England in issues like crime, corruption, etc. with argument like "Crime happens in every city..." and dah dah dah. Stop. They don't compare. Not even close.

El_Americano brought up sitting in the popular section at a football match. Good point. Ask the majority of upper class Argentines why they won't sit in the popular section. Some women are on here defending Argentina in earnest too. Go sit in the popular section near the goals and see what happens to you if your halfway attractive. (I'm sure your all beautiful) Then recall how you could sit at a football or baseball game in ANY section and not be groped on, not to mention hit with a beer bottle or rock and so on.

Argentina has good aspects for me personally. Thats why I'm here. But when someone speaks about how bad the crime is, corruption or whatever and many say "ahh no, thats not true, your negative, your this your that!" Hmmmm...

Makes me wonder if we are all in the same country!

1/09/2007 05:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same country different attitude.

How long does some one to live in a place to for it to be valid experience?
El Americano doesnt even live here anymore but I dont dismiss his point of view.

I work for UNICEF down here and am aware of Argentines views of North Americans and Europeans. They dont have problems with the people, and reserve judgement until they know them. What they hate are their government's foreign policies that they consider arrogant, selfish and corrupt.

1/11/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only recently "discovered" this site of ongoing exchanges between folks (experienced and otherwise)about Buenos Aires. I'm intrigued and have been seduced to participate a little bit with my own comments and/or reflections. I'm a North American and I've been living in "the trenches" in Buenos Aires for a decade + several years...out of choice.

(What I mean by "living in the trenches" and "out of choice" is that I came here out my own volition and have carved out a life of my own and on my own. I am not an employee of an NGO nor a multinational. And while I may very well be able to count on family members back in the States to round up the necessary funds for a ticket back, a bed or beds to bunk on until I'm/we're settled stateside, etc., the likelyhood of my making a first move to have them help me/us in this way is an extraordinary long shot).

While I consider myself somewhat experienced about the health and illness of living in this metropolis and along side her people, the Porteños, I still count myself amongst the ignorant with regards to really knowing and understanding much. Here, I have to admit that my experience has turned me off somewhat from wanting to know much more (I really don't give a rat's ass)and from desiring to understand this place (again, I could give a rat's ass). Contradictions arise however because, I am: 1) engaging in exchange here, and 2)I subscribe to, "Knowledge is experience. Everything else is information." Anyway...

My attention to this site was caught after reading "el americano". I find his postings "interesting" and must admit that I can identify with much of his anger...his rage with Buenos Aires, especially since he lived some 23 years here and in the trenches and seems to have a lot of experience with this place (prior to 2001). Nonetheless, his anger/his rage have led me to a few questions to begin:
1) Are you for real?
2) Are your postings authentic?
3) Do you just want to be provocative for the sake of being provocative? And if not, then it seems to my experience that you have nonetheless taken on quite a silly and adolescent characteristic of adult porteño behaviour/cultura.
4) If you are for real "el americano", describe more of what your life was like during the 20 + years you lived here.
5)I can certainly understand and respect a mourning process (due to loss) and/or a prolonged period for readjusting to living in the US again. However, I noted, it has been ten years since you left Argentina. Why can you not move on with your life beyond Buenos Aires? I ask because I would really like to know and to also say that it is so unfortunate, as it seems from your writings, that you have been indefinately "kidnapped" from your experience here, and then must venture to say also that your prolonged state as a "kidnapped" victim might be far worse than being a victim of an express kidnapping and/or mugging and/or drive by shooting in Buenos Aires. Let yourself be free...if indeed you are for real and, if indeed you are being sincere. You will so much better enjoy the life you have there in the States!!!

As I wrote earlier on this page, I've been here living in the trenches for a decade + have a heck of a lot of experience under my belt. I too speak Spanish fluidly, fluently and eloquently but come way short of passing myself off as a local. There are two advantages to this:
1) Local folks in local business transactions (with the exception of my neighborhood of some 10 years) read me at first as just another tourist but I can instantly read into their bullshit and can call them on it and do call them on it...thus am able to protect myself.
2)I can (and have) provided valuable assistence to newcomers who have been overwhelmed by how they have been treated (roughly and dishonestly) by the locals. On more than one occasion I have given a hand to foreigners, and not just north americans, who have found themselves in deep waters in this city.

My child now wakes from a nap, which definately has me making a choice to sign off at this time. I'd like to continue however. I am beginning to think of this space as a place where I can say some things "aloud" about my experience here as well as hear from others.

So long for now.

1/29/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, just discovered this blog too. This last person had a few things to say. Suspect he/but suspect it's a she, has a few more things to get out there. Hope she or he gets some response.

In the meantime, I too have a thing or two to say about Buenos Aires: "Caveat Emptor", meaning "buyer beware."

This is surely not the only place in the world where this Latin phrase holds true, and even held dearly true to one's heart and head, especially the traveler's heart and head.

Look, Buenos Aires is rough and tough, making it anything but a child's playground (anything but it is), even for its inhabitants. A tourist, a traveler, a backpacker, a pat, an ex-pat or however one defines her/himself, is a likely target for abuses of all kinds, shapes, dimensions and colors. The locals seem to understand or sense that we foreigners are either stupid or very inexperienced. I would have to say that we are not stupid but perhaps inexperienced with the kinds of tricks the locals can play. If we were stupid, then we wouldn't learn from the experiences we've had in order to avoid a repeat. I tend to think of us bunch as "inexperienced" in the beginning. We're just not used to having tricks played on us (whatever they may be...short changing, false bills passed on to us, overcharging, etc.) and it's difficult for us to foresee something of the sort coming our way expecially when we can't read into the local language / codes or what have you.

Only advice here: Caveat Emptor and you don't always get what you wish and what you see. Just take good care, carry around small bills (don't try to pay a taxi driver, waiter/waitress with a $50 or a $100, or even a $20, if you can avoid it), take a reputable radio taxi service if you must take a taxi, venture out at night only in a group of friends and certainly avoid dark unlit streets (as you would anywhere in the US). If you have any large or meaningful affairs to attend to (such as a rental unit to negotiate, a large purchase to make, some difficult repair to make on your apartment, etc.) then I would strongly suggest that someone, preferably a trustworthy local accompany you in the process. These situations are where/when you are likely to encounter (and much to one's surprise) many locals who want and do pull the wool over one's eyes.

Best to all.

2/02/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Anonymous el americano said...

I'm responding because I liked your "..living in the trenches" remark. Finally, a kindred spirit!. (besides Mad Maxx, of course). So here ya go;


1) Are you for real?
-I live and breathe, my friend, I live and breathe.

2) Are your postings authentic?
-Let me put it this way; it would take a pretty sick imagination to make this kinda stuff up. Besides, you've been there over 10 years yourself, you tell ME if you can't identify with almost everything I've written about.

3) Do you just want to be provocative for the sake of being provocative? And if not, then it seems to my experience that you have nonetheless taken on quite a silly and adolescent characteristic of adult porteño behaviour/cultura.
-I simply report my experiences in argentina. And I give educated opinions. Notice that the only ones who find me "provocative" are the argentines (tho not all), who for the most part are in total denial and/or the expats from other nations on this board who reside in argentina but either;
A) they haven't been there long enough to really know it
OR
B) they live protected, to a certain (and important) extent, within a little 'gringo-bubble' of wealth and privilege while caos reigns around them. Americans or Brits for example are considered "quality people" in argieland and therefore they immediately gain access and contact with the 'upper crust' of the burnt-out pie that represents argie society. "Ayy vos no sabeeees, nosotros tenemos un amigo americano de Chicago!"
Am I silly and adolescent?. Probably. Hey, I lived immersed in argentina for 20+ years!. As the Hindu proverb goes; "how long can you hold a hot iron to your chest before it burns you?". Hell I held that sucker for 20 years!.

4) If you are for real "el americano", describe more of what your life was like during the 20 + years you lived here.
-For that, you'll have to wait til my biographical book comes out; "Un Yanqui en la Corte del Rey Boludo".

5)I can certainly understand and respect a mourning process (due to loss) and/or a prolonged period for readjusting to living in the US again. However, I noted, it has been ten years since you left Argentina.
-I have moved on completely. I only work my diatribes on THIS board. Otherwise I don't talk about argentina nor actually give a crap about it either way. It is what it is. I DO try to keep abreast of things there tho because my wife is argentina and still has family down there. I dread when she starts talking about going there to visit and so far I have managed to distract her away from the idea twice by taking her to NYC instead (she LOVED it).
Anyway, if the things I report sound kinda gruesome it is due to the fact that argentina can be a gruesome place.
It's a country that has great potential. Unfortunately, unrealizable as it is populated & governed by incompetent morons who couldn't find their own asses even if they used BOTH hands to look for it.

Oh-oh ..I think that last comment was kinda provocative.


Saludos.

2/02/2007 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mad_Maxx said...

"Anonymous said...Same country different attitude..."

Haha! I love these pompous postings. Perhaps it's not different attitudes but different experiences. Hell, just this past week I was coming home on a bus and saw 2 negros steal a guys bike and take off running. Very next day at the bus stop a woman was standing there crying, why? She was just robbed.

2/03/2007 03:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pompous postings"!!! I thought they were just postings of what people think based on experiences... and without the adjective. Attitude however can be sculpted by experience + a whole lot of other things like basic expections, sense of common decency, respect for and towards others, accepting (though not necessarily embracing) differences, etc.. In short it can be a challenge to keep a positive attitude after experiencing time and time again others' attempts to cheat one, steal from one, lie to and manipulate another.

After a while of experiencing the dominant Porteño code and one has been able to learn from it (though not for the purpose of repeating it), one can find it objectionable if not down right stupid (Like shooting oneself in the foot). When I have an opportunity to observe a member of the "piola" Porteño class of folks who wants to attempt to mandar otra macana, I can only think to myself that they are cagando themselves mismo and they have only themselves to look at for the mess they find themselves in afterwards.

Porteño society has an incredibly high level of tolerence with regards to the "piolas". The "piolas" are a part of the value system: they are highly regarded, they are thought of as the budding genuises of Argentina (perhaps the next to receive some sort of Nobel prize). Nobody, but nobody here wants to be a "perjil".

"Por dios, que dirian de mi si fuera yo un perejil?"

Anyone care to remark?

2/09/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

Good Grief!! A lot of grist for the mill here.

But I'm coming late to this discussion, and I want to comment on the original topic: The "Nice Areas" of BsAs.

I've lived permanently here for 3 years--in Congreso, Caballito, and now in Boedo. While Boedo is no Caballito (no parks or cine), it is super "nice" to live in. No hotels or tourists (or pickpockets), it's a quiet blue-collar neighborhood with excellent transportation and close to everything, There's a vibrant street life and lots of history. Plus it's cheaper than "nicer" areas.

Although with the way rents have skyrocketed in the 3 years I've been in BsAs, cheaper isn't as cheap as it used to be.

It took 4 months of full-time looking to find this apartment, so maybe I should keep quiet about how nice Boedo really is!

2/21/2007 09:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with "Cherie" about Boedo. It's a wonderful vibrant and well communicated area of town, and if I were planning to live in Bs. As. medium to long term, on my own or alone with a partner, seeking an authentic foreign urban living experience, then I would seriously consider looking for a place in that neighborhood and settling there.

However, I don't and won't consider Boedo at this particular stage in my life. Lack of parks and open spaces are currently a huge drawback for me...They are a must to have close at hand.

For the last double digit years I have lived in the same centrally located neighborhood in Bs. As., having moved around within it several times, I don't and won't trade it for any other area in this city, except for the following reasons: 1) To live where there are greener pastures (way beyond the city limits of Buenos Aires and the Province of Buenos Aires) or
2) To return to my native city and state.

The reasons for this are many. The most important ones being related to a feeling of peace and personal well-being in this otherwise chaotic and often-times-less-than-friendly urban jungle.

After years of living in the same neighborhood, I feel grounded. I feel grounded because I feel I am a part of my neighborhood and I identify with her (her people, her problems, etc.), and my neigbors are comfortable with me (not just with me personally, but with the presence of a foreigner).

I have managed to make it beyond being the "foreigner" because folks around here now know me; I'm no longer a "novelty" who stirs up "interest" or curosity or to whom they feel obliged to ask the same questions over and over again about where I come from, why I'm here, if I like Buenos Aires or not, etc.. (Frankly, I reached a point where I got so sick and tired of people asking me the same questions over and over again).

Nor am I longer viewed as the "innocent" one who can be treated less than decently and/or attempted to be ripped off because of the foreign accent when speaking Spanish. I now have a home beyond my own home; I have paid my price, I have passed every test.

Another added benefit is that I am surrounded by other foreigners in my neighborhood. As I said, I live in a centrally located area, which is extremely attractive to short and long term folks from abroad. So, I get the best of both worlds; a community I feel at home in (which has accepted me) + the presence, without having to mingle and/or socialize with other foreigners.

To end, Boedo is a great place for forigners who would really like to taste Buenos Aires as Buenos Aires really is in many respects.

3/16/2007 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Canadian said...

I'm a 23 yr old Canadian female. I am a ceritfied english teacher and I would like to find an apartment in Buenos Aires. I don't plan on staying long, 6 months at the most. I am going to be living alone, i am not rich and do not speak spanish. What would be the safest area for me, if there is one? Also, what would be the best way to find an apt? Is it easy to find work? Any information would be greatly appreciated... even from the cynical el americano.

8/20/2007 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger A said...

To the whoever asked if Chicago had a different gene pool in the 20s to the one now, the answer is yes, yes and yes (It receives tens of thousands of foreign born immigrants each year).

11/20/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, looks like the safest place to live is... on the internet!

12/17/2007 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, excuse my poor english. I was reading many of this post and found myself confused...

I know europe, not north america (it really doesnt have any interesting thing to me to know, at least that is what i feel) I would like to go up New york cause i like to know bigger cities but it is another subjet, thats not a cultural interest)
Europe is an interesting place facing cultural stuff and having fun. All that old aged buildings. History.
But people is dead. Have no living grace, and i put this because its comes to me, when i remember speaking or listening or read to them (to you) Im not saying this is your fault. Im saying, factory made. DEAD INSIDE, like that slogan that you all know.

Lately, im going out here in Buenos Aires with my friends and i see and hear, everytime more more and more English speaking tourism.

Most of you are from europe, usa, and whatever you live. Its the same for me. So, whats happening?

Let me, from my humble point of view, tell you something. When you come to argentina, your faces changes. People get connected with another way of life and found that "there is something else"

"something else" in your life.

we live in a world of frontiers, with different lenguages and different people. we speak, dress, live, and think different.

And its true, people here is lovely. I know it cause i live here, cause i think different.

Crime is all arround the world
and here we are, without terrorism, but with other fears cause WE are different nations, different people.

If you travel to see the same things that you see in the corner of your block, man... dont travel.

COME HERE AND HAVE FUN.

CHINO, a local artist.

http://www.fotolog.com/rockchino

2/15/2008 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let me, from my humble point of view, tell you something. When you come to argentina, your faces changes. People get connected with another way of life and found that "there is something else"

yeah... there is corruption, inefficiency, a total lack of civility and manners, etc etc etc... I could go on for ages. Maybe their faces change because of all this...

5/09/2008 12:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Crime is all arround the world
and here we are, without terrorism, but with other fears cause WE are different nations, different people."

BTW, Argentina has actually been a victim of terrorism. What about the AMIA and Israeli Embassy bombings?

5/09/2008 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Sitar said...

Anonymous, I am very curious about your comparison between BA and South Africa. I live in Johannesburg and am looking to move to BA. Crime in my city has reached monstrous proportions. I hear people on this blog say - "There's crime everywhere". Which is off course true. When you see businesses being closed due to crime and murder then it starts taking on another flavour. Shop owners and citizens get shot for a couple of rands and a cellphone. It so distressing to see people being killed around me on a daily basis.
I think it is too difficult for people to imagine what high levels of continuous crime is like here because everybody is affected by crime where they live.
I was hoping BA was better as it looks like a good city for me to live and start a business.

7/18/2009 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an American who lived in the Province of Buenos Aires, near some bad slums, and who also was robbed 3 times (once at knife point) in Palermo, Retiro, and Calle Florida respectively, I think the above comments from the Englishwoman are correct, it is a bit of a shithole, for the people who are not Americans or Brits flush with cash... That said, it can be a bit exotic and fun, if you will.. I like it because I am, as this poster said, bored of monotony and cleanliness, and like the jungle...

12/11/2009 02:36:00 AM  

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