Living in Argentina vs. China
It's interesting that I found so many similarities between China and Argentina. I'm sure many nationals from both countries would be appalled by my saying that. But it's true. Both Argentina and China have very homogeneous populations. I'm not sure the percentages in China vs. Argentina but walking down the street in China you see--guess what--Chinese people!! And in Argentina, pretty much everyone looks Southern European (unless we are talking about the Northwest near Bolivia). Cost of living is very similar. In the big cities in China you can get great dinners with multiple dishes for less that 5 US per person--same in Argentina. Wages are about 5000 RMB per month for a middle income person which is about 850 dollars. That will pay your 300-400 dollar rent per month plus food and transportation. Now transportation is interesting. I have been to MANY cities all over the world and never found one cheaper than Buenos Aires for public transportation. Rio, Santiago, Lima, La Paz, Beijing, Shanghai are all at least double the cost for subways and buses. One of the drawbacks to China, though, and one of the dissimilarities is the westernization/Americanization of the big cities in China. Many districts exist in both Shanghai and Beijing where all you can find is brand name American clothing, accessories and luxury goods. This exists in Argentina too, but in my estimate, the majority of the country's retail is mom and pop shops. Of course, in China you have the infamous fake markets where you can get a "Gucci" bag for 10% of what it retails for in the US. Everyone kept saying "you want LV? LV? LV?", and me being rather label ignorant, I kept thinking: "What is El V?" Yikes.