Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Relocating to Argentina

Don Williams said...
Ferfal, this is a question so you may not want to post it.

(By the way, do you ever have a Open Thread? I.e,,where you ask for questions and people submit them as comments? It seems rude to insert a question about an unrelated subject into the middle of an ongoing discussion like this. I wasn't sure how you wanted questions to be submitted.)

Anyway, some friends of mine have talked about people they know relocating to Costa Rica as expatriates for retirement . Seems relatively safe, nice scenery and money goes farther.

If someone ever considered relocating to Argentina from the USA , what would you advise? Is it very important to learn Spanish well before moving or can one get by with tourist Spanish phrases and English until one learns the language?

Are there unconscious personal habits or manners which Americans have that offend people in Argentina? Taboos or customs we unwitting violate?

There are bad-mannered people everywhere, but I'm taking about offenses that even a well-intentioned expatriate is likely to make.

I understand that the Catholic Church is far more widespread in Argentina than here in America -- so American Protestants should, I assume, avoid religious discussions.

Argentine people are usually very friendly towards tourists.
There’s a growing anti-American propaganda being spread by our petty government since we felt to unquestionable 3rd would status with the K regime (“K”, that’s the way the Kirchenr family refers to itself, as surreal as it may sound we even have “K Youth” …. Yes… comparisons with other extremist “xx youths”.. lets better talk about something else)
Anyway, as I was saying, the K regime is pretty close to Castro, Chaves, Evo Morales and some other wonderful human beings, so they outspokenly promote hatred towards Americans and the American culture in general.

But remember what I said about the slow slide, and about Argentina once being a rather prosperous nation? Well, it’s true.
And there’s still some of that cosmopolite attitude left. The hatred hasn’t settled yet. Maybe the next generation will be brainwashed by the K, if they manage to stay in power that long.
But for now the people of Argentina openly welcome tourists, specially those from 1st world countries.
People coming here from other 3rd world countries are sometimes less welcomed, given the already high unemployment rate.

There’s not much you should worry about, other than the things I often talk about regarding security.

If you make the mistake of going into a wrong part of town, understand its different from American bad neighborhood. Go into Villa 31 by mistake for example and they’ll swarm like rats from the building to rob you. You have to be more careful generally speaking, for obvious reasons.

If you come here I’d make sure to research very well the location you plan to live in.
If you choose well, you’ll have a good time. It’s common for people to come live here for a while and end up getting married.
There’s no weird cultural difference that may sound offensive. Pretty ordinary people, Catholic but not in any way extreme regarding religion.
Most of us are baptized, and when old enough get basic catholic education and “communion”, which is a religious ceremony where you willingly adopt the Catholic religion.
Just being polite and nice like you’d do in USA is good enough.
The only thing I can think of that is kind of different is the way people say hello and greet one another.

Handshakes are ok for people you really don’t know at all, but among people you trust or show a bit of appreciation for you kiss them on the cheek. Not really kiss, but like brush the cheeks and kind of kiss the air. Sounds complicated to explain, but its the most common way of greeting around here.
Even among guys, refusing to kiss someone that you pretend to be friends with or even just get along, that’s the way you should greet one another.
Handshakes are mostly considered very formal, reserved for business encounters.
Most of the time if it someone you don’t know and don’t want to know either, a simple “hi” (hola) with no contact of any kind if preferred.
I can’t think of anything that might be considered taboo.
Maybe other Argentines or people that have been here can think of something else.

But first come visit and take a look.
I'll show you around a bit if you want, serious. :)

Take care.



Anonymous said...

"Go into Villa 31 by mistake for example and they’ll swarm like rats from the building to rob you."

"I'll show you around a bit if you want, serious. :)"

Could you show me Villa 31?! :)

What do you do if you get swarmed and are on foot?
What do you do against multiple attackers?

FerFAL said...

No, thanks, I'll give you directions on howe to get there but I wont go with you. Remember to take your camera :)

I once went into Fuerte Apache by mistake.(wrong Gral. Paz highway exit, 8 PM)

An older woman hurried in front of my car and started waving her arms “Run!Run! Get out of here!”

I swear they started closing in like rats, they came out of everywhere.
I put reverse, accelerated, turned 180 and got the hell out of there.
I know people that had similar experiences, stopped by neighbors or cops and told to get out of the place because it’s not safe.
What do you do?


Anonymous said...

I would never have imagined that it is that dangerous.
But still, there are some friendly people there.

What do these people do with "visitors"? Do they get assassinated?

"I put reverse, accelerated, turned 180 and got the hell out of there."

What happens if you continue driving in your car? Can they stop a car driving?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to buy real estate in Fuerte Apache or Villa 31 and live there?


It got to be cheap...

Anonymous said...

If I plan to drive through Fuerte Apache - what you would recommend?

Hey - I want to have some fun!

Anonymous said...

1) Thanks, FerFAL. If I'm down there some time, I'll contact you. Argentina appears to be very gifted with a lot of natural resources -- fertile land, water, beautiful scenery, etc compared to many other places.

2) Is it best to have a good command of Spanish upon entry or is knowledge of common Spanish phrases enough for an English speaker to get by until one has been there for a month or so?

(I realize this depends upon the situation -- a businessman's needs are different from a retiree's, living in the countryside is different from downtown in a major city. I'm just interested in a general outline.)

3) Re automobile evasive manuevers, have you heard of the executive protection driving techniques to avoid ambushes?

Ex: Moonshine turn -- one slows to 30 mph, pulls the emergency brake, and then turns wheel strongly to throw the rear of the car around so that one is facing in the opposite direction and driving away from an ambush.

Or the J-turn -- in which you stop, accelerate strongly to the rear until you are at 20 MPH, then cut the wheel sharply to throw the front of the car around so one is facing back in the direction from which one came and can accelerate away from the ambush.

One thing not commonly mentioned is that you need to make sure your tires are fully inflated. Else, the tires may come off the wheels if you do one of the above manuvers.

In which case, the robbers will mock you cruelly with scorn and derisive laughter.

Anonymous said...

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tungsten carbide. its very very hard and after several years of wearing it every day even when setting up concrete blocks etc it doesn't have a single scratch.

there has also been a trend shift towards stainless steal. would be another good option.

CapnRick said...

HI. My name is Rick. I am a retired government officer and live with my wife in an apartment in the La Perla district of Mar del Plata. If a US family wants to relocate to Argentina, you will truly love it as I do... provided you have an income from outside the country and are fluent in Spanish. Running a business here is not for the faint of heart... hard work alone won't get it. The biggest problem in my opinion is that the court system doesn't work. Period. I love the country, but it will never be a reasonable place to run a business until the courts quit acting like the mafia and act more like courts. Laws only apply to those without influence here. Rich kids cause accidents, driving Daddy's Land Rover like idiots while coked out of their heads, kill innocent people and get by without even a hand slap... it happens.

I love this country, but I live off my retirement, the occasional consulting gig, and the revenue from a few websites. All the revenue goes to my US bank account. My daughter goes to the bank once a month to wire us money from the account. Same for my wife who has some rental property income in the US, plus her teacher's salary in MarDel.

I have spoken Spanish since childhood, growing up near the Texas/Mexican border. My wife speaks no English, nor does anyone I know here.

Everything FerFal says about the security situation here is true, from my personal experience. If you are not extremely ready to confront an attacker here with deadly force, you would probably do a lousy job of protecting your family. The thugs here HATE anyone who has more than they, and have nothing but contempt for anyone who has less. If you like to fight 4 - 5 armed guys at a time, come on down, and... as Ferfal says, bring your camera.

I do security training for the armed forces of various countries, and have developed a 30-page report on issues for Traveler's Security. If FerFal gives permission, I will be pleased to email anyone who requests a copy. My email is rick_davis7@hotmail.com and can be reached on Skype as CapnRick. In it you will find that FerFal makes a lot of the same recommendations as I do, from a slightly different perspective. His view is really spot on for Argentina, whereas as my reports were developed from over 30+ years traveling the globe, mainly Latin America. Please feel free to reproduce, quote or forward the report as you see fit with no restriction or obligation.

We all need to help one another. I have been helped in many ways down through the years.

FerFal, I am a big fan. Feel free to edit this in any way. Please feel free to call me in MarDel via Skype or email me and I will email my Traveler Security report so you can look it over. I actually added some stuff your reports reminded me of that I had forgotten... so, I guess it's your report, too. Suerte to you and yours.

ps: your picture of the brave Dogo looks exactly like my white pit-bull/boxer mix... a 40 kilo female named Mafi, except her ears were not cropped. She is an EXCELLENT security dog. As you said... impervious to pain and as deadly as a shotgun. Only Dogo fans recognize that she is NOT one.

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