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Buenos Aires from the Paris of South America to a slum?

Buenos Aires from the Paris of South America to a slum?

Jun 8th, 2003, 04:08 AM
  #1  
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Buenos Aires from the Paris of South America to a slum?

We were thinking of a trip to Buenos Aires until we read yesterday's Washingon Post front page article. What a sad story of poverty. It told about the 25% of the population that is now unemployed, who spend all their time going through garbage to live. These were people who had a solid middle class life during the boom years of the 1990s.

How can Buenos Aires be the Paris of South America if so many people are struggling just to eat. Due to the current economic situation in that country, I suspect the real story is lots of beggers, empty shops and restaurants and a feeling of desperation on the street.

How can the newspapers articles about Buenos Aires be so different than the Fodors postings?
bunchargum is offline  
Jun 8th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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The reason, of course, is that many of the postings are phony. The comparison is one of architecture, and other attributes, I suppose, that are still there. The beggars are in Congreso, usually 15 years old or younger. Didn't see any in Recoleta, at the racetracks, nor the tango show.

Thanks, I didn't see the article. I'll read it today.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 8th, 2003, 07:15 AM
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I did walk past a family sprawled out on garbage bags one night in BA. The next morning, a Saturday or Sunday, they were gone. I thought it was odd that there would be a trash pickup on the weekend. Now I understand: cartoneros.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 9th, 2003, 05:52 AM
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If you've followed world events recently you'd know how hard their economy is doing. It's very sad to see poverty like that. Cities get names like "Paris of S. AMerica" because of past times, happier, I guess. Bogota, Colombia was known as the "Athens of South America" at one time....
chibcha is offline  
Jun 9th, 2003, 12:14 PM
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I think you should still go there.
For years Argentina was quite expensive especially in the 80's when there was hyperinflation.
Now that the economy is not so good you should take advantage of a favorable exchange rate. Plus you are helping the local economy there....
With that said there is a lot of history and it would be well worth a trip.
It is sad what is happening...but if you go just think you are doing your small part to help out....
Just my 2 cents....
Katherine is offline  
Jun 9th, 2003, 01:58 PM
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I saw the same article but I am going down for my first time in Oct and looking forward to it. These were and are proud people who are having hard times now but I am not going to ignore them because I don't want to see poverty or people begging. My husband and his family used to live there and still have wonderful friends. They are poorer friends now but still the same people. I am going to be seeing what Argentina was and will be again. I much prefer to be an optimist.
Suzie2 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 03:58 AM
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I agree with Katherine and Suzie2, actually. That article was about 40,000 people in a city of some 11 million.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Jun 10th, 2003, 04:24 AM
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The current issue of Frommer's Budget Travel magazine has a very good article on BA and what to expect when visiting there. Worth reading if you have interest in visiting.
Curt is offline  
Jun 11th, 2003, 10:53 AM
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Just been to Buenos Aires. Beautiful place and well worth a visit. Of course you've got poverty there and beggars, but certainly no more than at home at New York City.

Don't believe what you read in the paper, amigo!
travellingman is offline  
Jun 15th, 2003, 10:01 PM
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Dear Bunchargum,
Every time I am with tourists, I show them the beautiful, tourist spots of the city but I also focus on the "seamy side" of Argentina. I want to teach them about my country, and a sightseeing tour doesn't give the chance to learn about the daily life of argentinians.
All countries have poverty, unemployed people and beggars. But you will be surprised when you come to the city of Buenos Aires. Restaurants? They are full. You may even have to wait to get a table at some of the most popular ones. Shops? You will always see someone buying. You surely wonder how come this is possible if 25% of the population is unemployed. Well, there are many reasons, but I will tell you the most obvious one: Argentina comprises more than 20 provinces, and Buenos Aires is one of them. Most tourists stay in the city of Buenos Aires, just a tiny part of the whole province. The city of Buenos Aires is the most advanced one, where there are more job opportunities, more possibilities of education,etc.... it's "the big city", the capital of the country. Buenos Aires still keeps its charm, its unique atmosphere. All the tourists I have met so far have been gladly surprised at its beauty and sophistication. Poverty does exist, but remember, Buenos Aires is a big city. It doesn't mean you have to ignore the pain and suffer of many argentinians, but believe me when I say that you will find Buenos Aires very different -in the possitive way - from any other Latin American city.
cintia is offline  
Jun 16th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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Unusually good post, bunchargum. I hope everyone saw the article in yesterday's (6/15) NYT travel section about Buenos Aires.
 
Jun 16th, 2003, 10:35 AM
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Hola! I just returned from Buenos Aires on Thursday night, after spending 9 days there. Cintia, of the above post, was my tour guide for Recoleta Cemetery. She explained to me that 25% of the population was unemployed, but that since Palermo, Recoleta, El Centro districts of BA were where the wealthy are situated, touristas would not see too much poverty. I went down to La Boca and I did see much more poverty than in the northern sections of the city. But, even on Alvear Avenue, outside of Louis Vuitton, I saw children rummaging through the garbage at night. It was heartbreaking. Even though I live in Philadelphia, which has a large homeless population, you don't see homeless children on the street, rather men and women who are either alcoholics/addicts or mentally unstable. I loved Buenos Aires very much because even though it was a big city, people took the time to be polite. I never heard anyone make a deragatory comment about the United States, even though I told people I was from the US. The American dollar goes very far in BA, and I was able to eat at the best restaurants (Cabana Las Lilas) for laughable amounts of money. I would definitely go back to BA if I had the chance. Ciao.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 06:40 PM
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You live in Washington DC and were shocked at BA's poverty??? LOL
Jon_Eric is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 08:35 AM
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i just returned from a wonderful trip to Buenos aires, iguassu, and Rio.. I did not see the poverty that I am sure exists.. I did feel the people to be extremely friendly and very appreciative of tips. Your money goes incredibly far there and I too think you will be helping their economy by traveling there.
pooky is offline  
Jun 28th, 2003, 10:22 AM
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I find it strange that people are so worried about going to BA because of the poverty and potential problems because of it. Why is the Mexico board one of the busiest on Fodors? They certainly have more than their share of poverty...just go to any border town or Mexico city.
Suzie2 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 10:05 AM
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Jon_Eric... metro Washington DC has perhaps the highest concentration of wealth in the US. It's yuppy central. middle class is making 100K a year. You are more likely to see a foreign import (BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc.) on the streets than a domestic car. Fairfax County is the richest county in the nation according to recent statistics. I have just come back from Peru and was really shocked and moved by what I saw down there. It makes me so glad to live where I do and to have the happy accident of being born an American. Buenos Aires had all appearances of hanging on to what they have but I know they are struggling.

and poverty is not only evident by the people on the streets - look at the infrastructure and buildings and even the landscaping (weird statement but true - when you are poor & just defaulted on your IMF loans you are not concerned about keeping the grass cut) of a country when you are judging poverty.
flygirl is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Hi, I only wish to focus in the way the press constantly gives the darker possible picture on everything....one would think that they should give a balanced picture when reporting on any country on any situation,...
Graziella5b is offline  
Sep 29th, 2003, 12:06 PM
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JUST GOT BACK FROM B.A. AND LOVED IT! I WAS THERE 3 YEARS AGO (BEFORE THE FINANCIAL CRISIS) AND THINGS DID NOT LOOK THAT MUCH DIFFERENT. WE DID SEE THE PEOPLE RUMMAGING THROUGH THE TRASH AT NIGHT, MOSTLY LOOKING FOR RECYCLABLES. THE FOOD WAS AMAZING($20 A PERSON FOR 5STAR RESTAURANTS) HOTELS AMAZING- I HAVE NEVER STAYED IN HOTELS SO NICE FOR $80 A NIGHT. MAKE SURE YOU GET A RATE IN PESOS AND NOT DOLLARS. DONT STAY THERE IF THEY WILL ONLY QUOTE YOU PRICES IN DOLLARS.

GOING BACK IN DEC. AND CANT WAIT. DO THE MATH $1 = 3 PESOS, IMAGINE TAKING $3000 ON VACATION FOR A WEEK. WE TOOK $1000 EACH THIS TIME AND CAME BACK WITH $300. AND WE TRIED OUR HARRDEST TO SPEND IT ALL.
whirldwid is offline  
Oct 1st, 2003, 04:52 AM
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I am in Buenos Aires, posting from an internet cafe in downtown.....I just finished a cafe con leche with a couple of medialunes....Slum?....nah...

The weather is great....the people are friendly...the cost of living is low....

yeah, there are parts of town to avoid....so, too, there are parts of Detroit to avoid
drdawggy is offline  
Oct 4th, 2003, 04:17 PM
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Hi Drdawggy, I am glad you are enjoying a cafe con leche in Bs As.
As usual I agree with you. I am sure that is unintentional but the subject of this posting sounds like written by a journalist. I wish bunchargum visits soon Buenos Aires so he can see appreciate what you and I know. Buen viaje.
Graziella5b is offline  

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