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Andy R: Ar-gen-TEE-nah!
Old 07-29-2007, 06:50 PM   #1
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Andy R: Ar-gen-TEE-nah!

OK, Andy.

Start talking.
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Old 07-31-2007, 05:21 PM   #2
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I have spent about 9 months in Argentina (Buenos Aires) in the last 2 years. I am not FIREd but came here for many of the same reasons someone who is FIREd would (cost of living vs quality of living). I decided to come to Buenos Aires in spring of 2005. I went online and found that renting nice furnished apartments (with high speed internet and utilities included) was about 35% less then Dallas. So I factored in the $900 flight and came down for 4 months.

Buenos Aires is very urban (12 million people) with a great range of dining options. I think the food and wine is the best feature of the city. With so many people there are thousands of restaurants for every genre of food. The site I like most to find new places to eat is Guia Oleo where you can sort by neighborhood or type (Steak house, Thai, Mexican, etc). There are a few excellent (yet touristy) super high end steak houses where a huge filet mingon will run you $20 but for the most part main entrees at very nice restaurants are around $10. The way I see it, it's like eating at Chili's but instead you are in a very nice posh restaurant with waiters attending to your every need (tipping is typically 10%). Wine at restaurants starts around $5 per bottle and unless you are at a very chic place tops out around $20 per bottle. I happen to like Malbec but there are so many wonderful wines here and the prices are just amazing. They also have wonderful ice cream here (like italian gelato).

Other then dining the other things that are very nice here is getting fit. I am not the lean mean machine I should be (too much computer time) but here I have a personal trainer 3 times per week (total cost = $10 per session including gym fees) and a tennis instructor that costs the same ($10 per hour including cort fees). In January (before going to Brazil for 3 months) I was going to a different gym and there I was getting the best massages of my life twice a week (deep tissue / get the knots out) for $12/hour.

I got my girl friend a facial and massage for the version of Valentines Day here and it was $40 for the 1/2 day treatments.

Other things I like are the parks. Even though the city is huge, you will likely end up in a few main neighborhoods which will be near the many city parks. I have lived in 4 different neighborhoods and my favorite is an area called Las Canitas which is near the Polo Fields, Horse Race Tracks and many restaurants, bars, shops, etc. If someone were coming to stay for a while this is the neighborhood that I would recommend but it is a bit pricey because it's a small neighborhood and it's very popular right now. It's great.

I don't drive. There are 40,000 taxis and they are cheap. Just recently I got brave to ride the bus and man it was easy and cheap $.25). The Subway is plenty safe, decently clean and effective way to cross town when the evening rush hour is in effect. Overall, I think taxis are the way to go and don't be scared of the horror stories you hear, I have not had a single problem or met one person who has.

Speaking of crime, heres the deal. It's no more dangerous then a big metropolitan city in the US. I grew up in a high end neighborhood in Dallas and I know people were held up with guns there. From what I hear, the crimes that happen here are some petty theft. I know one German friend who was at the major bus station and got his handbag stolen by some scam where the people distract you and within 2 seconds your bag is gone. Unfortunately it had his camera, passport, etc in it. Don't ever have that stuff in bags that you put down, keep it in a back pack that you can feel on your back or strapped to you. There are bad neighborhoods but I don't go there. You need to be aware of your surroundings but for the most part I have not felt unsafe here at all. If you are worried about this, plan to come and stay in a very safe area like Puerto Madero (super safe) or Las Canitas. Then slowly get acclimated and start to venture out to the more typical neighborhoods.

I have looked at apartments to buy and prices are all in Dollars and have been rising well since the crisis. There is new construction everywhere and some local friends have warned me that they think the market might have more supply then demand soon. There is a trend of people moving out of the city to more suburban neighborhoods.

I can see a huge increase in Americans (and other foreigners) here since I got here in 2005. I think the news that you are not going to get kidnapped is getting back to the States and people are not so scared to come down.

I know there is a lot more I could post but I HAVE to get back to work now. Please ask any questions and I will be glad to answer as much as possible.

Andy
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:53 AM   #3
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Thanks, Andy!

How good is your Castilliano?
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:04 AM   #4
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Well when I first got here I would say my Spanish was an 8.5 out of 10 for a gringo. After spending 9 months in Brazil (and having a Brazilian girlfriend) as well as growing up speaking Mexican Spanish, I think it has dropped to a 6.5 because I find it hard to switch from Portuguese back to Porteno Spanish (the local flavor). I keep wanting to use Portuguese verbs and Mexican slang.

I have some friends who barely speak Spanish and get along fine here. I am sure they catch some flack from some stuck up Portenos (name for people of Buenos Aires who have a reputation for being snobby) but it's not too bad. At the gym yesterday there were 2 people from the USA out of 30. Lots of Expats, even a Daily English Newspaper called the Buenos Aires Herald.

There are also very nice large grocery stores with import sections where you can find many of the same goods from home. I am a big fan of the fresh pasta stores where I can pickup some dried tomatoes and mozzarella stuffed Raviolis (made that day) with fresh sauce, hit the bakery for some bread and the two of us can eat a nice lunch for under $3.

I will put together a list of apartment rental sites, recommended boutique hotels, restaurants, etc ASAP.
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Old 08-16-2007, 02:30 AM   #5
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thanx for the review & good info andyr. being a gay man i very much look forward to spending some time there. latin guys are so hot, um, i mean, i really appreciate the politics of argentina concerning gay rights.

i understand that buenos aires was the first latin american city to legalize civil unions for same sex couples. their social autonomy of the anatomy has been written in their constitution since it was created in the mid 1800s: "the private acts of men, while they don't affect the public moral or order, are exempt from the competence of the judges, and can be only judged by god." protection from discrimination based specifically on sexual orientation was added as early as the 1990s.

i think i would be much more comfortable there than in most of the united states where i am not even considered to be a complete human being worthy of civil rights granted str8s. considering that 1/2 of the states have already actually bothered to constitutionally exclude me from pursuing happiness here, i look towards places like buenos aires as sanctuary from oppression which has weighed heavily on me for my entire life.

my preliminary research shows recoleta to be a reasonably priced midtown district near the gay area of town. looking at apartments there it looks like i'd be able to rent something nice in the us$700/month range. are you familiar with this area? would there be enough english speaking expats there to make my stay comfortable? (i am a brainwashed american and so my ability to pick up another language is simply hopeless.)
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We agree, Argentina is worth a look
Old 08-16-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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We agree, Argentina is worth a look

My DW and I spent two weeks in Argentina in 2005, and were as impressed as Andy R. BA is european in feel, with wonderful pricing for Americans. My basic Spanish was passable at the time. Argentina is working through the financial crisis of seven years ago. It is a good FIRE option, just keep your financial assets in the USA.
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
my preliminary research shows recoleta to be a reasonably priced midtown district near the gay area of town. looking at apartments there it looks like i'd be able to rent something nice in the us$700/month range. are you familiar with this area? would there be enough english speaking expats there to make my stay comfortable? (i am a brainwashed american and so my ability to pick up another language is simply hopeless.)
I rented a place in Recoleta for a couple of months, it's nice. You should also consider Barrio Norte (next to Recoleta), and Palermo which is a huge neighborhood with various parts including Palermo Soho (restaurants, lounges, lots of boutique shops), Palermo Hollywood (where the Argentine film and TV studios are) and the area near the parks (including the Botanical Gardens and Zoo). Las Canitas is my overall favorite but more pricey. It is the hippest part of town with great dining options, lounges and a really nice vibe. There is also less traffic in Las Canitas which is important here. This place is very loud and hectic when all the cars and buses are zipping around. Being on a nice quite street is very nice. Here is a nice one bedroom for $650 right next to the Polo Field.

Here are some other links to apartment rental sites:
Reynolds Argentina Real Estate | Temporary Rentals
Buenos Aires Rentals
ttp://bytargentina.com
Apartments Buenos Aires: Buenos Aires Hotels, Apartment for rent in Buenos Aires and Tourism in Argentina. Buenos Aires Apartments
Buenos Aires Apartments for temporary rental - Buenos Aires Hotels
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Old 08-18-2007, 12:32 AM   #8
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Thanks again, Andy. More good stuff!

Feel free to give us further reports from the field.

What is the IT situation down there? Is it a Microsquish World or is there a little FreeBSD and Linux? How about the hardware situation?

Cheers,

Gypsy
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:23 AM   #9
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I will try to take some time to post recommendations on restaurants, activities, etc.

As for the IT world down here, I don't go to an office or anything to work so the IT I see is Microsoft XP Home but after 3 good years with this laptop I am thinking of switching to Ubuntu or Mac when I get home.

There is free wifi almost everywhere. Tons fo a nice cafes, bakeries, restaurants have wifi signs on the front door and they never rush you out. Order a coffee or soda and you can hang in there for hours. One apartment I rented had advertised high speed internet but when we got there it was a USB DSL modem and they did not have the password. I requested to have a cable modem installed (at my expense, around $35 I think) and they had it installed within a couple of business days. I used cafes for those two days but I like to work late at night and then those options are not open.

The programmers I have been working with are all Linux. Most of them are passionate Debian guys (and gals). The Locutorios where people make phone calls and can rent computers by the hour are all Microsoft. You can find these Locutorios on nearly every other block and use of a computer on a high speed network is usually around $.50 - $1.00/per hour.

The penetration rate for computers in home is much lower here but I think there will be huge growth in these areas as computer prices drop. Taxes on imported computers are very high making them twice the cost of the US. A few years ago when a cheap laptop was $1,000 back in the States meant teh same one was $2,000 here. Now with the sub $500 laptops they are dipping under $1,000 here. Desktops are about half that price and from conversations it looks like they are finally becoming affordable for people to buy a home computer which means the ISP's systems are starting to get strained and speeds during high traffic times slow down. I think the high taxes on computers is crazy and counter productive, like taxing books but I guess they consider them a luxury item and therefore charge the high tax (same thing happens in Brazil).
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