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Posted by on Mar 7, 2012 in Argentina, South America

Buenos Aires – I Just Don’t Like You

Buenos Aires – I Just Don’t Like You

Some cities you visit you instantly fall in love with. This time, it didn’t happen. There was a honeymoon period where I kept my mind open and tried to experience what the city has to offer. But after 7 months living and working in the city I’ve had the time to form an opinion and let it sit in; Buenos Aires – I Just Don’t Like You.

Not everybody is the same and I may be one of an extreme select few who did not fall in love with the artificial charm of the Paris of the South. These are my 6 reasons why:

1) Dog Poo Everywhere

 

I own a husky so she isn’t exactly a pocket-sized pooch – So I know that it can be a pain to clean up after them. But I do it. So why is it that the entire population (minus the dog walkers) do not pick up after their dogs? The poop is everywhere – You spend the entire time walking with your head down to make sure you do not step in a satanic pile and you miss the beautiful architecture of the city. A multitude of hatred towards the city for this disgusting trait . And also – I am highly displeased when I walk down the street and step on a loose tile and I am sprayed with liquid, only to realize it has not rained in a week, and I’ve just been drenched in dog piss. I can do without that.

2) Vegetarians Worst Nightmare

Yes, this is my fault, and most people are not in the same boat – but I do not eat red meat. And I moved to the Beef capital of the world. Yes, I take full responsibility. But, unlike Canada – also a large beef producer – there are not many options (read budget-friendly) for us vegetarians out there. All the cheap food options, street stalls, and similar are 100% red meat with no other non-meat options. The only cheap, vegetarian friendly option I found was the bakeries which sold the croissants (this equated to me gaining 4kg!). Maybe the grocery store has better options? Not really. They had the vegetable basics, tomatos, potatos, carrots, oh my – but other than apples – the fruit selection is limited and with my lack of cooking skills – I just wanted a food stall that sells veggie burgers!

3) Traffic up the Wazoo

Yes, every big city has this issue. I come from a small town and I prefer rural. Moving to yet another city with plus 10 Million people – not a good idea but I did it to myself. But Buenos Aires is significantly worse than Bangkok, Thailand because people are bumped to bumper honking non-stop and when their light turns red they enter the intersection and are halted by the impassable road ahead. So essentially block the road for the rest of the traffic causing a greater jam in the entire city. If they would simply remain on one side of the street until a space opened across the intersection – the entire city traffic would be that much simpler. But I do like their trains even though they are slow. That is a plus to the city.

4) Only for the Party People

If you do not like to party, drink, or simply stay up all night to enjoy what the city has to offer – this city is not for you. Sure, Buenos Aires is an excellent art centre – but after 1 month I had visited all the museums, gone to all the parks, and walked around every major sight. If you’re an early riser and like your hours awake during the day – the city does not offer much. Most businesses or activities do not open until 10am or later and nobody can hang out before noon because they are all hung over. I’ve seen some pretty impressive functioning people who’ve been awake for 72 hours alternating work all day/party all night – But I’d rather meet people outside of the bar scene and honestly – I can’t stay awake until 2am just to commence the pre-drinking! I’m an 80 year old at heart.

5) Expensive with High Inflation

Things are very pricey for a city with not a lot to offer. And every month, with rapid inflation, the country is getting more expensive while the salaries of the population are remaining the same. Buying power in a city such as this is horrible and only getting worse. The value is also terrible in Buenos Aires. To go shopping means you will spend $100 on a terribly made t-shirt all for the sack of protectionism. So the item is overpriced and it will rip within a few months. Why buy anything? Ever?. Upon arrival, my corner bakery had croissants for 14 ARG  Pesos ($3.15) per dozen, within 2 months the price increased to 20 ARG Pesos ($4.50) per dozen. That is a 43% increase in 2 months! Not worth it even when I am on a strong currency such as the Canadian Dollar!

6) Men Harass Woman on the Street

I have always been an independent girl. Like every girl – I love a good compliment. Who doesn’t want to be told they are gorgeous? What I don’t like – Men hissing at you as you walk by, and most feeling its appropriate to grab at my arm r waist and pull me towards them. This is usual street behaviour. I never realized touching people without their permission was appropriate? It isn’t. It never will be. Leave me alone strange men on the street – I don’t want or need your attention.

 

Now, I still think Buenos Aires would be a fantastic place to visit for 2 weeks or so – Have some fun then move on. But for me, choosing Buenos Aires as a place to live and work was a mistake. There were too many things about the city that just clashed with my personality to make it a good fit. I’ve seen, I’ve experienced, and now I’ve Judged.

Buenos Aires – I Just Don’t Like You.

7 Comments

  1. I am so with you on the partying thing! Throughout my twenties I’ve just never felt the need to be up all night & sleep all day. I enjoy sunlight too much, I guess.

    This post definitely gave me a more complete sense of BA than just “OMG it’s awesome!” which is what you usually hear. Great post!

    • Glad to hear it. It was hard to summarized, because I met so many great people, but overall – disliked the city, and I hope to never return. First time I’ve said that about a place!

  2. I’m with you all the way on this, Buenos Aires did not do it for me at all. I thought it was an over-rated, inflated city with too much ego. Many people rave about the beautiful European architecture, but those of us who come from Europe have pretty high standards of what constitutes beautiful European-style architecture and BA falls short.

    I felt very unsafe in BA, more unsafe than anywhere else I have travelled in fact, and I HATED having to wait until 9pm before I could go out for dinner. I am not vegetarian and I did love the beef but is it too much to ask for a side dish of vegetables with it? And no, the 3 leaves of limp lettuce with a few slivers of onion that they call ‘salad’ doesn’t cut it!

    • I have low standards on the architecture thing…being from rural Canada and all….even a pillar is exciting to me – but yes, BUenos Aires fell short. Everything was crumbling and dirty. And on the safety factory I’m on the same page. It was the only place I’ve ever been were I truly felt worried walking outside after dark!
      Glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t like this city!

  3. I strongly disagree with your opinions on Buenos Aires. You only lived there 7 months; I lived there almost 27 years and am both bilingual and bicultural. For a person like me who grew up with no place to call home, Buenos Aires gave that to me. This city has so much to offer both in its people and its places. Life can be hard there because it is a huge city and because of the corruption, but this can be found almost anywhere. I LOVE this city and since leaving it in 2007 have been missing it ever since. I’ve returned twice and plan to do so until I’m too old or too poor to travel.

  4. I agree with this piece completely. I have been here for just over two months, and of course some will say this is not long enough to ‘judge’ (some, like the last poster, will just disagree and say I’m wrong). But I am a strong believer in the idea that ‘if you just don’t like it, it doesn’t matter why, and it doesn’t matter why someone else does’.

    The dog shit, yep. The sleazy men (most of that species died out in Britain at least twenty years ago), yep. The lack of ANYTHING to do that isn’t a) a bar b) a steak house or c) avoiding dog shit, yep. The stupid prices on standard things – clothes are ridiculously expensive. I can buy an entire wardrobe of similar quality items in the UK for the price I can buy a dress here. The architecture – I love the fragments of beautiful buildings you find nestled among the really unattractive apartment buildings, but come on, there are hundreds of towns and cities around the world with some beautiful fragments of buildings around. I just feel ‘lost’ here. There is nothing to do that *I* like doing. It’s not really possible to just go for a walk and find things, because all you get for miles on end is city. Yes there are small parks dotted around, but there’s only so much time you can sit on a park bench looking at a token tree with a child’s swing to one side (and the inevitable pile of dogshit to the other).

    I won’t be staying here much longer, and I’d only recommend it as a one-week stopover en route to somewhere more varied.

  5. I don’t understand why someone would spend more than 2 days in Buenos Aires, it is the worst city I ever been, super dirty, dog excrement and rubbish everywhere, people smoking everywhere even in restaurants, man are absolutely disgusting.
    I went there because I needed to, I went to some art galleries, museums, etc, but you cannot call it an European Style city It might have only a few building with a kind of European Style that are falling apart, but that is it.
    I thing the Buenos Aires Province it the worst of the country, and the portenos are extremely arrogant and rude.