Jun
21
2013

by

Buenos Aires Argentina – an expats view…

Buenos Aires Argentina

Buenos Aires Argentina is a city that needs to be loved. It craves adoration and its inhabitants seem one and the same. The people strike you as new and unhappy immigrants, proud of their heritage, but always uncertain of their futures.

Having both autonomous city and province with the same name sometimes wrong-foots travelers who are not knowledgeable about Argentina.

Argentina is a federation of 23 provinces (which includes Buenos Aires Province) and a ‘’quite separate’’ Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city.

Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires Argentina

Buenos Aires Argentina

Buenos Aires Argentina is a patchwork of 48 barrios (districts or boroughs).

Buenos Aires Stay only recommends 14 out of 48 barrios because there are the best and safest locations for tourists.

Buenos Aires City is often called the “Paris of South America”. Parts of the city are characterized by strong European influences reflected by magnificent nineteenth century French style architecture and boulevards.

Architecture Buenos Aires Argentina

Architecture Buenos Aires Argentina

The composition of its population has a diversely European heritage.  Everyone is a Europhile proudly clinging to their European heritage and a manic nostalgia for Argentina’s belle epoch, the golden days of tango and prosperity squandered by dreadful governance and culturally acceptable contempt for their horribly corrupt State and its laws.

Predominantly Spanish, Italian and British Porteños (in order of magnitude), some four or five generations Argentine, describe themselves at Spanish Argentine, Italian Argentine and (dare I say it during these troubled times) Anglo Argentine.

I just want to emphasize that I am British. I am both accepted and protected from the views on the Falklands-Malvinas dispute by old-world good manners sadly lacking in political circles both sides of the Atlantic.   The spat between dizzy Dave and crazy Cristina is a footnote.

When I visit the homes of my Porteño friends it never ceases to amaze me how their food, customs and in some cases their choice of language quickly betrays their origins.

One of my dearest friends, Patricia Paz, is a fabulous cook. She is a fiercely proud Argentina.  However, her formative years were spent in the care of a British nanny.  I often laugh, because Patricia, her manner and way of dealing with people, is so reminiscent of women in my family.  When I once arrived to her home for supper when long shaggy hair was all the rage in Argentina, ‘’Andrew, you need a haircut, remember where you come from’’.  At the tender age of 44, I could have been having dinner with mum.

People often ask me why Buenos Aires Argentina is such a popular travel destination or why it is one of few South American capitals to attract both Brazilian and Latin American travelers in large numbers.

Buenos Aires is unique and one of the most fascinating cities in the world.  It does not matter how long you stay or how much you explore, you never stop your journey of discovery.  Buenos Aires attraction is multifaceted and when you ask a room full of travelers to explain why Buenos Aires is so special, they have strikingly different views.

My modest opinion is that Buenos Aires is a city that has something for everyone. Okay that is a little cliché, but do not write-off my opinion until you have finished reading.

Congreso Square Buenos Aires Argentina

Congreso Square Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is rich in culture, architecture, art, music, and you will never stop the fun-loving inhabitants partying like demons.  Porteños (people who live in the port of Buenos Aires), young and old, love the crack and nightlife in Buenos Aires is nonstop.  My views sometimes court dissent and angry emails, but trying to get things done in the morning at any outlet that employs a more youthful crowd is met by ‘’bleary eyed chaos’’ or a nonchalant disregard for custom that tells you to ‘’go to hell’’.

The nightlife in Buenos Aires is frenetic and when you add to the mix of everything that is fun you cannot ignore tango, Buenos Aires Argentina’s very essence.

I have recently been interviewing large numbers of tango tourists that use the services of BA Stay and you can find a wealth of information and their recommendations @:

Buenos Aires Tango Guides

There is also a Tango Buenos Aires news page at Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TangoGuidesBuenosAiresArgentina?fref=ts

Gay Buenos Aires Stay

Me Out & About

Over the last ten years or so Buenos Aires has become one of the world’s leading gay tourist destinations.  I was a gay tourist, I married an Argentino, but found many gay guides and gay websites have outdated information. I have been slowly, along with client of Buenos Aires Stay, writing a comprehensive gay Buenos Aires tourist guide that you can find @:

Gay Buenos Aires Stay Guides

In addition, I recommend a gay Buenos Aires news page at Facebook that has lots of offers, flyers, discounts and information from the gay community and businesses:

https://www.facebook.com/GayBuenosAiresStayGuides?fref=ts

Buenos Aires Argentina – Unique & Fascinating

I used have used the words ‘’unique’’ and ‘’fascinating’’ to describe Buenos Aires.

I often describe Buenos Aires as a ‘’walkers’ paradise’’, but let me caveat that statement by saying Argentines are neither good pedestrians nor drivers.  They are impatient both on the pavement and road.

Walk with some caution, ignore those who seem to walk at you, look ahead and down or you will fall down a pothole (parts of Buenos Aires need a little TLC) or have all the luck in the world as you wade through dog-mess left by an army of dog-walkers.

As you navigate your way through a sometimes logical grid system not dissimilar to New York, you are guaranteed pockets of new discovery, with architectural gems that shine through the idiosyncratic city planning.

Quaint shops selling treasures are many and are sometimes sandwiched between oddities such as locals for prosthetic limbs and adult nappies.  It makes you giggle if you take your time, stop and look really hard.

The 14 or so barrios recommended at Buenos Aires Stay Apartments each has its very own character and distinctive neighborhoods and as you wander block-to-block you are struck by ‘’Euro-tecture’’ that is reminiscent of every period and architectures of Madrid, Paris and Rome.

Take yourself off to Cabillito and there is a neighborhood where you could be wandering, circa 1900, an upscale suburban British Street with large British styles mansions long ago deserted by disenchanted British families who could not survive the helter-skelter up and downs that is Argentina.

Wonderful green plazas with monuments and monuments and monuments abound, and on every corner is a café or resto-bar selling the staples beef, pasta and pizza.  And, generally, and something that never ceases to amaze me, terrible coffee and facturas (pastries) that are either fantastic or quite deadly.

Recoleta Buenos Aires Argentina

Recoleta Buenos Aires Argentina

Recoleta around the cemetery has many beautiful plazas and you can ‘’keep it green’’ as you walk from Recoleta all the way to the Bosques de Palermo, my favourite walk with Junk the dog.

Me & my Perro

Me & my Perro

There are lots of barrio guides on this blog and on Buenos Aires Stay Apartments main site, so I am not going to specifically describe each barrio.

I am going to generalize  – do not bother travelling any further south or southwest of San Telmo.  You will find yourself in poorer neighborhoods that are not entirely tourist safe.

The barrios recommended at Buenos Aires Stay are safe and have services and infrastructures that best serve tourism.  They are the more affluent barrios that signpost Argentina’s belle epoch and the city’s wealthy heydays of the 19th and early 20th centuries when Europeans immigration and investment made Buenos Aires a prosperous and burgeoning metropolis, and Argentina the eight largest economy in the world.

Buenos Aires Stay Apartments

Buenos Aires Stay Apartments publish over 300 guides to Buenos Aires.

The tourist guides focus on the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires province.

The guides are written by expats, including me, that actually live in Buenos Aires and offer travelers both their appreciations and sometimes angst living in one of the most fascinating and unique cities in the world, but conversely the one of the most infuriating places on earth.

I am still here and my tumultuous love affair with Buenos Aires Argentina is as hot as it is cold.

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