Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Situation in Buenos Aires, a few photos and a little Déjà vu



Today was an interesting day. As I was taking a shower right now after a couple hours at the gym I kept thinking about the different situations and a few of the pics I took. All in all, these are things you eventually get used to here in Argentina, but I’m sure those of you living in US and other countries might find interesting, and as the economy keeps getting worse these will be scenarios you’ll come familiar with as well. 

I had to run a few errands in the capital district so after showering and grabbing my bag I walked to the corner where the private minibus usually makes its stops. Much nicer and safer than public transportation, this is my choice these days for when going to the capital district. The minibus is fast, you travel seated (wont stop once they are out of seats) and they have air conditioning. The 9 pesos required for the trip will filter some of the less fortunate, and I admit it’s a nice change from the bus or train where you often find puke all over the floor, drunkards, vagabonds, beggars, and honestly people just smell bad. In my opinion how bad the train smells during rush hour is a good indicator of how poor the country’s citizens have become. You also avoid the pickpocketers that take advantage of the lack of space, all bunched one against the others, and the even more brutal gun to the face, give me your bag madness I witnessed once when the train was just packed full of people. 

The first thing I noticed was that the garbage strike was over and man was I happy. The city just stunk and the rats threatened to outnumber the people even on broad daylight. Just a week of trash is enough to sink any average sized city in its own garbage, give it a week and you’ll have diseases spreading.
Attention survivalists, this is a BIG topic that should be taken into account. Prepare to dispose garbage AND prepare to deal with pest infestation and diseases.
This is what Bs As Capital district looked like just after two days of garbage recollection strike:


After doing the errands I stopped by the Ateneo, the largest book store in the country. I checked a book called “San Martin: Argentine Solider, American Hero” by John Lynch. Highly recommended, by the way. The man didn’t settle with freeing just his own country from the Spanish Empire, so he liberated a couple of our neighbors as well.

The book was on display for $ 109, but when I went to pay for it they asked me for  $115.
“You know” I told the clerk, “I’m sure it said $109” She went and verified what I said, and she commented “Everything keeps going up in price, we can hardly keep up updating the prices”. That sent a cold chill down my spine, since the last time I heard a similar phrase was in December 2001, after Argentina made the biggest debt default in known history.
 “Don’t worry though” she smiled back at me, probably noticing my expression that was more appropriate for “I see dead people”. In a way, it is an old ghost we all fear around here. “We have to charge you the price on display, there’s a law that says that”.
After that I went back to catch the minibus back home. We had to deviate because there was a protest in Avellaneda station: Last week several people got shot during a train syndicate fight, the government goons opened fire on the workers that were protesting injuring several and killing 23 year old Mariano Ferreyra. As we got off the avenue we got to see a bit of whats on the lateral streets. Usually the avenues look a bit better, and the further you get away form them the worst it gets. These are a few shanty houses, cardboard scavengers.

Back home we went to the supermarket. It was a nice day so it was mostly an excuse to walk a bit. A house that is about to get finished showed a bit of concern for squatters, a serious problem in Argentina. (notice the razor wire) and you can see the burglar bars and fences on the other houses as well. These are all pretty standard.

The supermarket also shows an intimidating fence, an addition after the looting of 2001/2002.

Its not all bad news, once again, its just the way you learn to live, the small things I notice and think are worth commenting on.

Remember to have fun people. Prepare, work out and always use common sense. Take care.

FerFAL

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Nice to see the pics of BA.
and the Ferfal clan out at a fun event. That is a good reminder that our purpose is not just to survive but to nurture our family and raise those kiddos to be successful parents themselves one day.
Crabby

Don Williams said...

I assume you will be in mourning over the next week because Nestor Kirchner just died:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/28/world/americas/28argentina.html?_r=1&hp

When will your blog posts resume?

gaga said...

Don, I think a Caribbean style funeral party may be on the cards.

EN said...

Nice clan Pix.

Anonymous said...

In my city, in the US, street gangs tend to "claim" various bus and train routes, and it is very very dangerous for white people to take the public bus now since white people tend to get beaten and forcibly dragged off the bus by the gangs. Most of the gangs are black or Mexican. The bus driver has no authority to stop them, either.

This city only has a million people, I mean Los Angeles we are not, yet it's still pretty dangerous. The supermarkets have to close at 9 pm because of crime, and deep in the ghetto they generally lock the doors at sundown. I remember only five years ago when the supermarkets in my district were open 24 hours, now it's 7 am to 9 pm. And this is an area that was built during the housing bubble, it's gone from middle class to slum in five years.

Anonymous said...

Always interesting to see you all and get your perspective on Argentinian life.

Steve

Double Tapper said...

Nice family! Argie may have hope if you guys can get the right people in charge after Kirchner passed on. BA is on my short list of places to visit regardless!

russell1200 said...

Nice picture of the family.

But I hope that is not your idea of a gray man outfit! LOL

Rey said...

Great looking family Fernando.

Anonymous said...

Ahh carumba.....$109-$115USD for a book.

How are book stores mkig it at those prices? Are wages keeping up.

FerFAL said...

Its 109 pesos, at 1 US dollar :4 pesos, so its around 25 USD.

FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Isn't the average monthly wage in Argentina 240 pesos or something similar? So that means, that book is about half of the average monthly wage. I'm with anon 8:29, how do bookstores stay open?

Anonymous said...

Nice looking family, FerFAL!

Anonymous said...

Memories of 2001? Check out the price of sugar and other commodities as these have been rocketing. Food prices around the world will be affected. Oil is also on it's way much higher. This is a global thang. a

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

A new job opportunity for the collapse. Hauling garbage away and the ole English "Ratter".
I saw similar pictures out of Milan Italy I think, and the EU demanded the Italian Gov. do something about the trash! Never mind the garbage guys are a union and they had a strike. I'm sure France and Greece have similar problems.