(Avenue 9 De Julio – 16 lanes right in to the heart of the city)
Hello. You’re looking well. Not much to update everyone with at the moment. We’ve settled in to living in our neighborhood and our days are spent exploring the local area on foot. I’m also doing loads of work for my ‘online business’. The beauty of ‘slow travel’ is that we haven’t felt the need to see all the tourist sites straight away. In fact, we haven’t seen any yet. It’s great just to walk around and see the culture rather than the tourist spots.
Living like locals for us has involved eating lots of beef and pizza and drinking plenty of Malbec! The wine is rather lovely, in fact next time your wondering what wine to get why not get some Argentinean Malbec and think of us. Perhaps you could crack it open and Skype us for a chat. I think you’ll rather like it.
Anyway, here’s part one (I don’t want to bore you too much) of my A-Z of Buenos Aires (and to some extent Argentina). Enjoy, and should you so be inclined you can leave comments on the blog.
It is hot here and the moment. It’s fairly humid, but not uncomfortably so, although at the moment it is raining very heavily, we’re going through a bit of a thundery few days. Everywhere you go there are air conditioning units strapped to the side of buildings, and it seems that well over half of them leak, including the one above our balcony. This means that walking around you are constantly getting dripped on and wondering whether it’s a dog on a balcony or rain. We are very thankful for the air con in our apartment though, when we’ve been on a long walk in the heat it’s nice to sit in a fridge for a bit.
Argentina is known for its Beef. Some say it is the best in the world, in fact a lot of people believe that Argentina has the most fertile land in the world it’s just they aren’t too good at managing it. Anyway, we’ve had a few steaks since we have been here and they are massive. I actually think that Britain has the best beef, but I think the quality here may be more consistent.
They have an interesting system for recycling here. Basically you whack everything in your garbage and each night thousands of people descend on the city and go through the rubbish looking for anything that can be recycled. There is a lot of poverty here (I’ve seen 35% quoted – there was a big, and apparently famous economic crisis in 2001) and this is an honest way for people to try and make a living. In fact when I found out about them I see that many are unionized and have uniforms etc. They bring large trolleys that have bags that are about 6 foot wide, high and deep that they pack with everything. I have to admit that it is rather strange to see people going through the rubbish just to earn a living, but it seems to work well as a system to get stuff recycled and to earn people some money. Despite a lot of the rubbish getting scattered over the road as a result it always seems to be cleared up the next morning.
Dulce De Leche
Dulce De Leche is a milk and sugar ‘goo’ that they eat by the truckload here (according to the guidebook). It is supposedly one of the national obsessions, and there is a whole isle dedicated to it in our local supermarket. I’ve been eating it with banana for an easy banoffee desert. Lovely.
I’ve joined the BAExpats forum, which is a bit of a strange place. It seems that there are a lot of expats here, which is due to the weather and the lower costs of living, especially if you are earning in pounds, euros or dollars. The people on the forum are a bit of a wining lots sometimes, but it’s a good place to find information out. It also has some stuff on there you’d rather not know about, but it’s good to keep informed on things. Despite the apparent number of expats, we really have seen perhaps two or three couples speaking English. This will be because we haven’t been in to the Centro neighborhood yet where all the tourists are, but I’m sure we’ll head over that way soon.
Being one of the worlds largest capital cities, and there is quite a fashion scene here. Having said that it’s been hot here so everyone is walking around in shorts and flip-flops. This is great as it means that we blend in well with the locals. There are certainly loads of shops here, and when you head to the trendy area of Palermo Viejo there are lots of boutiques etc. Yes I could have picked Falklands but I’m not a guidebook. Yet.
Again, being a major world city, there is a lot of Graffiti here. Whilst there are the normal pointless writing things on walls there is actually a lot of very good and seemingly official graffiti about. I’ll try and get some pictures when we get the confidence to have the camera with us.
Did I mention that it is hot here? It is their summer after-all!
These are waterfalls on the border with Brazil that we are still debating whether to go to. They are wider than Niagra and higher than Victoria. It’s not a cheap trip, relatively speaking for here, but it seems a shame to come all this way and not go.
Avenue 9 De Julio, it’s got sixteen lanes and takes a while to cross as there are several sections. It goes right in to the heart of the city and has the Obelisk on part of it. More on the Obelisk in the next update.
I was struggling for a ‘K’. The president of Argentina is called Cristina Fernández De Kirchner, or Kirchy to her Amigos (not really). The last president was her husband, which is amusing. I have seen her on telly twice since we have been here. The first time she was addressing the crowd at one of the artificial summer beaches in one of the parks in the city. The crowd seemed to be a load of kids and they were all splashing her from the pool. The second time she was outside the parliament building been shown how to drive a quad-bike. According to Wikipedia she wants the Falkland’s back (don’t mention the war), so we’ll keep an eye on her.
I think there is some kind of law in existence here that in an attempt to promote local industry they put quite a hefty tax on imported goods. This combined with the size of the country and the fertile land means that pretty much everything (food wise) you buy in the supermarket is produced in the country. This doesn’t mean that they are lacking anything, apart from maybe choice of veg, but I find it a refreshing change. There isn’t really any need to eat green beans flown from Kenya is there, but then it’s a lot easier when you have the climate to grow everything like they do here. The meat counter in the supermarket basically looks like a slaughterhouse with loads of beef options, and the counter next to it you can buy cooked steak and chips ready cooked.
We’ve always been fans of Argentinean wines. You pretty much can’t go wrong with Argentinean reds. The are one of the few places in the world that have actually been able to cultivate the Malbec grape with success and the wine is nice and cheap here, including in restaurants. Now, maybe that’s a reason for all the expats!
To be continued…