Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What I love/hate about Buenos Aires

After being in Buenos Aires for two weeks I think many of us students are reaching the point of the vacation where you decide, this was fun but I can't wait to go home to my own bed. But (un)fortunately we have another 3 months and some odd weeks to go! Now that the newness of BA has worn off I'm starting to develop a love/hate relationship with the place.

Below are a few things that I love and hate at the same time about Buenos Aires:

Public Transportation

Love: How accessible everything is! Being unable has not been an issue at all, and I don't think it will be. I can always walk, take the subway, take a taxi, or the bus (scary for some reason) to get virtually anywhere in the city. In fact, I can take a bus to get anywhere in the country so that's pretty thrilling. It sure makes life a lot easier, most of the time...

The whole subway is graffitied 

Hate: That I have to walk 20 minutes to get to the subway station in the first place. While the subway is accessible it's just not that close to the area that I'm in. The bus system is really confusing still so I haven't used it yet. Also, taxi's are a pain because you have to have some amounts of change (which no one will give you).

Exchange Rate

Love: That our dollar is worth between 5 and 8 pesos, depends on where you exchange it at. It's awesome that our exchange rate is so high because you get more money here than you do at home. Especially when you go to where the locals exchange money at the actual value rate, not the official rate. Who doesn't want more money?

Argentina Pesos

Hate: That you feel like you can spend more. When things seem so cheap, you get into a bad habit of not being concerned with spending money. You probably end up spending more than you intended because you exaggerate the greatness of the exchange. In reality, most things in Buenos Aires cost about the same they do at home. A typical dinner will run you about 80 or so pesos. That's only like 6 dollars so it's not that much. But you have to figure in tip, table service (you automatically pay 12 pesos for that each time), and that you have to buy a drink, even water because it comes in a bottle. After it's all said and done you spend probably just as much as you would have at home.

Night Owl Culture

Love: Classes don't generally start until the afternoon and stores aren't usually open till around 9 or 10. Everything here happens later which for a college student, is amazing. We don't tend to operate on the waking up at 7AM every morning schedule. Usually, girls will get in free to the bars and clubs until 1 or 2 in the morning. If you like partying till the break of dawn, this place is for you.

Hate: I don't like partying till the break of dawn. Personally, I'm usually ready to go to sleep at midnight or 1AM regardless of if it's a weekend or not. Unfortunately nothing really starts before then. Also, even though everything starting later seems awesome, it really throws off your clock. Dinner generally isn't till 9PM or later which means at 6PM you're starving with 3 hours left before your next meal. You can always spot the American in a restaurant because we're the only people eating real food before 8PM.

There are some other things about Buenos Aires that I just hate, like how dirty the city is and the fact that you nearly die on loose tiles on the sideway every day. But generally, I like it. The people are friendly and laid back. Just when you're having your OMG I HATE IT HERE moment, something will surprise you that will make you love this place again.

The funny part is that I think my biggest concerns with Buenos Aires have nothing to do with Argentinian culture or the country, but that I'm just not that fond of big cities. Several people have commented that it's nearly identical to New York City, so don't judge all of South America on my opinion.

Overall, I'm glad I came here. The good and the bad things are all learning experiences. Now, at the age of 22 I think I'm finally learning how to be a grown up!


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