I was never eager to see BA because I’d heard they consider themselves European, they’re snobs, etc. South Americans say they’re stuck up, but I found them friendly.
The city has a noticeable European feel. Many Argentines have blond hair and blue eyes. Very tall buildings with Italian architecture. I’d say Argentina is to Latin America as UK is to Europe. Technically it’s a part of, but not really.
Different countries have terms for different kinds of people. Peru has cholos. Colombia has paisas. Argentina has porteños. People from the port, or who came off a boat. Italians. The Italian tradition is unmistakable in Argentine food, architecture, music, and dance. One Argentine joked that Buenos Aires is more Italian than Rome.
I had to take a picture of this taxi driver’s ID card. Look at that face. The pic looks like it should be on the bottom row of the organizational chart for the Gambino crime famlily. And that name! LAGOS OSVALDO PASCUAL.
Fittingly, we listened to tango as he drove me to Palermo 🙂
An American friend told me Argentine women are the most beautiful in the world. He credits the Spanish–Italian mix. After I got back to Colombia, he sent me an email asking if I agreed with his take. My reply:
They are hot. VERY HOT.
More of a European cut than the rest of the continent. However, I’m attracted to all physical types and have come to value personality. No, I’m not kidding. And these Argentine chicks seem to be a little colder, a little more liberal, hip, indifferent than the typical sweet, sensitive, passionate Latina. I prefer the latter for love and life.
I assume this is a long about way of saying you did not get laid in BA.
In hindsight I’ve think Argentine women are OVERRATED.
BA Nocturnal Culture
Argentina is a nocturnal culture unlike anywhere in the world. The clubs don’t get going until 1 am. There are special clubs only open 5 am – 10 am. I didn’t do any clubbing but every day I woke up I ran into gringos just getting home.
The buffet I ate at every day opened for dinner at 8 pm and closed at 1am. One night I went for dinner at 7 pm. After an hour I gave up because everywhere was closed. The lights would be on showing off immaculate dining rooms, but they weren’t open yet.
I went to a tango show that ended at midnight. Afterwards I went to my regular buffet and it was packed. It was the busiest of all five times I ate there – around 12:30 am. There were elderly grandmothers and grandfathers, families, kids. Below’s a pic of the buffet after midnight.
Food: BA is for Carnivores
Argentine food is the best of both worlds: European quality in Latin quantity. I found a tenedor libre (buffet) by the hostel and ate there five times in four days.
Argentines eat a lot of meat. Protein deficiency surely isn’t a problem. If PETA ever succeeds in transforming the world to vegetarians and vegans, Argentina will be their last frontier. Argentina and Texas.
I’d start a typical meal with a trip to the grill. The chef has various meats cooking over an open flame: beef, chicken, steak, pork, ribs, chorizo, morcilla. I’d start with a plate of pure meat, one portion of each. After a plate of animal flesh I’d go to a different buffet station for custom-made pasta. I had spaghetti bolognese, ham-and-cheese ravioli in a 4-cheese sauce, spinach pasta balls in bolognese.
After those two plates, I’d hit the regular buffet of fried stuff, fish, Chinese food, etc. I never should’ve had that crap. I should’ve only eaten meat and pasta. Then I’d go back to the pasta station for a custom-made dessert crepe. I tried chocolate crème, banana, and dulce de leche crepes. My taste buds overwhelmed my senses with so much pleasure I’d reflect on my good fortune for being in Buenos Aires. After the crepe a bowl of pistachio ice cream.
If you decide to get fat for whatever reason, Argentina is the place to do it.
Language: Argentine Spanish
Argentina Spanish is weird but I had no problems. Get used to sos and vos, which are common in Medellin.
I bought a book in Argentina – El Loco Chávez. It was based on a comic that appeared in a Buenos Aires newspaper for years. The guy at the bookstore told me it was ‘very Argentine’. It’s a 300-page comic book in Spanish that features sex and drama.
In the book’s dialogue I noticed something weird about their irregular verbs. Many Spanish verbs are irregular in their conjugations. Argentine Spanish ignores many of those rules. For example, they say ‘entendes‘ instead of ‘entiendes‘ and ‘decis‘ instead of ‘dices‘. I didn’t put it together until I saw it in writing. Probably a result of their mixing Spanish with Italian.
El Loco Chávez is cool.
I saw a tango show, the best dance performance I’ve ever seen. Tango is beautiful, sexy, sophisticated, and classy. I’m not sure which is a better byproduct of Argentina’s Italian influence: food or tango.
Conclusion: Buenos Aires Doesn’t Suck
The city’s beautiful, the people sophisticated and hip, the food amazing, tango sexy. If you were to end up in Buenos Aires, you could do a lot worse.
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