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Observations on Argentina

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 7:53:52 AM

I’ve now been in Argentina for a little over a week. I thought it may be useful to document a few observations on what makes Argentina curious or unique as a person from the United States. Of note, I’ve spent the majority of my time in and around the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. I imagine observation of Palermo would be like visiting the East Village in New York. Palermo may only have limited similarities to Argentina like the East Village does to the United States.

  • The Blue Dollar. Certainly the most queer aspect of Argentina is the fact that the Blue Dollar exchange rate exists. If you want your dollars to go 50% further, you find someone who will change your $100 bill into pesos at this rate. In our case, you text someone and an unmarked black car delivers a black bag with hundreds of thousands of pesos.

  • Healthy neighborhoods. Argentine neighborhoods are full of local cafes, markets and grocers. While less convenient, the local neighborhood offers better, fresh meat and produce. The coffee and bread items are as good as any in the world.

  • Dogs. Argentine like many big cities has a dog culture. It’s not rare to see the dog walker with 12 dogs strapped to their belt. The problem is there isn’t a culture of picking up dog poop. You have to watch where you walk.

  • Right of Way. Like in the US, people drive in Argentine. The difference is the relationship between driver and pedestrian. In the US, it is the responsibility of the driver to stop. In Argentina, it seems to be the reverse. Stand clear of the speeding car.

  • Late Nights. People eat late (big meat dinners). They drink coffee and matè late. I don’t know how they sleep. And that’s not just adults. Kids stay up to 11 or later regularly. Mornings may start a little slower—the coffee shops don’t open until 8am.

  • Food. The food is incredible. The cafes and restaurants are independent and diverse. Argentina is a cultural melting pot with major migration from Spain, Italy, and other South American countries. It is the country with the second-largest number of immigrants ( 6.6 million), second only to the United States. And the food benefits for it.

I’m loving Argentina. 🇦🇷

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