Here’s my week one Insider’s Guide to Life in BA:
Three words to describe my first week living in Buenos Aires: anxious, stimulated, curious
Highlight of the week: Our apartment at the Live Hotel! Somehow from a different hemisphere, I managed to pick a great apartment and neighborhood, and Buenos Aires Habitat made it all easy. Palermo Hollywood is named so for the many radio and television studios based here, but it’s most known for its high concentration of restaurants, cafes and clubs (though at our age and with two kids in tow, I’m not expecting too much clubbing.) When we are up and out, Palermo Hollywood’s quiet, leafy streets are great for wandering. Our apartment is in a high-rise building with a nice terrace for our own little bit of outside. The roof top pool is pretty great too!
Biggest frustration of the week: By our spoiled American standards, a painfully slow internet connection, which is making online school for my daughters a huge headache for us all.
Tourist activity of the week: The double-decker Bus de Turístico found in every major city around the world. A great way to easily see the entire city, though expensive, especially compared to riding the local, city busses.
Best thing we stumbled across: From the tourist bus, we got off in Porto Madero for lunch and stumbled upon the Formula E race. We skipped the rest of the bus tour, found the ticket booth, and got to watch cool electric race cars blast by us. My daughters scored cool hats too!
Proudest Accomplishment: Money is complicated in Argentina. Perhaps you’ve been reading about the high inflation and official vs. blue market exchange rates. While not good news for Argentines, for people with dollars, they are able to buy more pesos for the same amount of dollars on the blue market. Officially, today, the exchange rate is about 1:8, while on the blue market it’s about 1:13. A big difference. Suddenly our dinners are almost 40% cheaper IF we can get the blue market rate. Which is where our proudest accomplishment comes in: this week we discovered Xoom, an online service that exchanges dollars for pesos at a rate in between the official and blue markets. While not as good of an exchange as the blue market, Zoom is legal and safe (things we are not sure about with the blue market.) Did I say money was complicated here?!
Best restaurant: El Trapiche, our first taste of the mouth-watering Argentine beef.
Worst restaurant: Guaresnei. I hate to say it, but the worst food we have ever had in the entire world. My youngest daughter summed it up best, “Mom’s meat looks like leather. I think the cow was run over by a truck and then backed up on.”
First week’s worst/funniest use of my Spanish: It’s a tie!
“Quiero yoga.” Translation, “I want yoga.” Said to the lady of the front desk of the yoga studio. I kid you not, she rolled her eyes.
“No tengo idiomas.” Translation, “I have no languages.” Said to a waiter, trying to tell him I couldn’t remember the Spanish words for what I wanted. After his initial perplexed look, we laughed together.