Monday, February 26, 2007

Saying Adios to Buenos Aires - Part II

Our favorite things about Buenos Aires:

1) The 3-to-1 exchange rate. I can’t emphasize this enough. You can reduce your LA monthly overhead (rent, transportation, food, etc.) by 50% or more here – and yet still live higher on the cosmopolitan hog than you could EVER afford to back home.

2) A truly “green” city. By this I don’t mean an environmental model, alas, but a city where you see green things everywhere. Trees. Parks. Flower boxes. This is a beautiful urban city because it values greenery – the opposite of a concrete jungle.

3) Eating slowly and socially. In Buenos Aires, we’ve had to redefine the eating experience. People here relish a leisurely, talkative meal. Less devouring, more delighting. The result? You eat less…and enjoy it more.

4) The foodie restaurant scene. Yes, the steakhouses are great. But you can only eat so much beef. Fortunately, there’s gourmet Vietnamese, French, Scandinavian – you name it. Lots of places with spectacular food that actually lives up to the hip decor. Also, they use really interesting ingredients like dried flowers. Sounds weird…but tastes great.

5) The people. Not only are they artsy, intellectual and often bilingual, Argentines are incredibly friendly to boot. People went out of their way to befriend us and invite us to do things. Our new friend Maria Jose even threw us a farewell party last night!

6) The ease of getting around. You don’t need a car. The subway is great. The walking is pleasant, thanks to the abundant shade from huge trees. And if you’re in a rush or going a long way, cabs are cheap (less than $3 usually) and plentiful.

7) Fresh mint cocktails. I don’t know if the mint they grow in Argentina is fresher or what, but it is the most intensely flavored mint I’ve ever tasted. Added to a cocktail, it’s unbelievably refreshing. Forget mojitos. These are REAL mint drinks.

8) Delivery. You can literally get ANYTHING delivered to you in Buenos Aires. I don’t just mean food either. You can get a DVD delivered – and picked up! A bottle of wine. A prescription. A book. No minimum order, either. A single espresso? Fine.

9) The postres (desserts). You can find more varieties of desserts here than you could eat in a lifetime. When restaurants close between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. (between lunch and dinner), there’s always a confiteria (pastry shop) on or around the block to get you through it. Plus, at around 13 cents, they may break your waistline, but not your budget.

10) The culture. People value the arts. (Apparently there are more plays in production for children here than anywhere else in the world.) They value music, design, etc. The city government even sponsors a huge program of free concerts, tango shows and cultural activities every weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) through the summer.

11) The emphasis on tidiness. Thanks to a new initiative, the government has placed trash cans on every street corner. You never have to look for a place to throw away something. Also, the grass in public spaces is weedwacked almost every day. I challenge anyone to find grass that’s more than two inches!

In sum, is this a livable city? Ab-so-lute-ly.


At February 26, 2007 at 4:58 PM , Blogger Jennie said...

You two crack me up! This is a great blog and I have to admit, I learned more about dulce de leche than I ever knew:) Looking forward to having you back stateside! - jennie & kevin

At February 27, 2007 at 4:02 PM , Anonymous Kelly said...

Dear Matt and Amy,
I love you guys. You are one of the most exciting couples I know (Jason and I excluded of course). I can't wait to hear your stories first hand, however that being said I will truly miss your blog and I'm even sadder that I only recently rediscovered it. boooohoooo!

Have a safe trip home.

Kelly Crook

At March 6, 2007 at 8:59 AM , Blogger Calley said...

welcome home!

At August 21, 2012 at 6:46 AM , Blogger Carla said...

Definitely, I loved all the green spaces too. I had been told about it but I had not paid much attention at the moment but then I realized how important this was. Wherever you look in the city, you see bushes, or flowers, or trees, or something as simple as grass, but there is green. In the middle of downtown, you can still see green and that is something to admire. I rented buenos aires apartments in the neighbourhood of Devoto, that is more residential, and going out in the morning was like going out to the field!


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