Your blog is amazing, scary, and eye-opening. I have a couple of quick questions you can turn into a blog post as long as you protect my email identity. Anyways here it is...
Is all Argentina a chaotic mess like you say or is it just B.A? Is the Mendoza area, for example, a decent place to live without the insanity you mentioned? I looked at the crime rates on that map and it truly was amazing and eye-opening. Is it the same in Mendoza or in the area just south of Cordoba in Alta Gracia? I would love to know.
How did those areas react when the peso collapsed several years ago? Was it as severe since it is mostly a farming area?
Your help is greatly appreciated and any facts, info or links you can provide me with any additional information would be great.
Argentina isn’t a Chaotic mess.
It’s a country that has seen a fair share of problems for many years and in 2001 suffered a lot with an economic collapse that ended up having long term economical, social and political consequences and its all still very visible and still developing.
People still live their lives, tourists come visit, kids mostly go to school (well, they closed because of the flu for several weeks and strikes are fairly common) but there are the problems I mention such as collapsed infrastructure in nearly all aspects, an inefficient and highly corrupt government, and crime problems that, even though more or less obvious depending where you are located, is out of control and out of charts. A small % of the actual robberies and kidnapping getting reported, there’ no system effectively tracking the crime problem.
Notice I rarely ever mention majestic places like Iguazú falls or the Perito Moreno Glacier, or our rich criole culture. I rarely mention typical foods like mate, emapanadas, or the Havanna alfajores some tourist find fascinating. We have good things here, I suppose like in every other country, and we’re better off in many aspects than say, Bolivia.
“Surviving in Argentina” is a blog where I try to record and pass on lessons learned regarding overcoming the problems we have, not the good things, and there are many.
At least in my opinion and having a better view of what lfe is like in other countries, Argentina unfortunately falls in the list of places I’d like to live in. It’s just my opinion and frankly most people here never left the country, they don’t know any better or have no means to leave.
Other I know, they do know the difference and had the fortune to experiment other countries and cultures as well, but they are too attached to their town, their family and friends, they could never leave.
Is Bs As Chaotic? Depends where you land. The Capital district and northern suburbs are nice, you’ll find that’s where tourists concentrate as well. And there are other places where any person not used t this would simply be scared. If I drop a soldier in camino Negro he’d think what am I doing back in Iraq, and I’ve never seen footage of Iraq looking that bad and filthy.
Places like the villas that can be found along the Riachuleo river, those are places where a Hollywood director could role a post apocalyptic film and save millions: No a single dollar is needed to achieve the atmosphere of abandonment and poverty, you’ll even have the people walking around looking like crap.
That’s one of the most noticeable things, the gap between rich and poor. The small richest percentage making 33 times as much as the lowest middle class.
Let me explain BS As (and in some degree Argentina)wit 3 images:
Puerto Madero, one of the wealthiest parts os Buenos Aires.
Across that same river picutred above, maybe just 2 Km away from where that picture was taken: Dock Sud outisde the Captial Distric limits. Extreme poverty, crime and kids that are poorly fed and have high levels of lead in blood due to contamination.
Fuerte Apache, in Buenos Aires. About 20 km west from where the first picutre was taken. A war zone. Where "gendarmeria" posts are used for target practice when some of the locals get bored.
“Is the Mendoza area, for example, a decent place to live without the insanity you mentioned?”
Mendoza is big and overall expensive to live in compared to other provinces. It’s is nice but there are other nice provinces as well. They do have serious crime problems. Not as bad as Bs As but still, not what the average American would be used to.
That being said, Mendoza is beautiful and has some of the nicest people you find in Argentina.
“I looked at the crime rates on that map and it truly was amazing and eye-opening. Is it the same in Mendoza or in the area just south of Cordoba in Alta Gracia? I would love to know.”
Keep in mind that while a body can’t be just ignored (at least in most cases) robberies and kidnappings mostly go unreported. Even the cops encourage you not to file a report, they’ll tell you to not waste your time. It also keep the numbers lower.
“How did those areas react when the peso collapsed several years ago? Was it as severe since it is mostly a farming area?”
When the peso collapsed their products went up accordingly for export, so the medium and large scale producers (300 acres or more) did well exporting their goods. Of course the government saw this and heavily taxed them, so today they in some cases they only end up making 20% or so of their production. This situation caused the farmer’s crisis last year, you can goggle it up, its fairly well documented in English as well.
The farmer that produce at a lower scale always struggled a lot and still do. Not an activity you’d want to get into unless you can do so at least as a medium scale producer.