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Saturday, May 26, 2007

What do I like about Argentina?

A while ago I posted about raising bilingual kids in Argentina and very few people read that post. Now with time, it has gotten quite a few visitors and as a result I have gotten some questions about how it is like living in Argentina. One of the things that people ask of me is for a sort of top 5 list. Well I just started writing one without numbering them in any order. These are some of my favorite things about Argentina in General.

Grilling without starter fluid and self starting coals. You might wonder why I put something that sounds inconvenient as opposed to setting up the coals and just throwing a match into the pile and forgetting about it. However I love the taste of grilled foods when you use wood and/or charcoal minus the lighter fluid. One thing I do miss about grilling in the States is that you can grill just about anywhere whereas over here you can not grill at the beach, or most parks unless they have grills there for public use. No such thing as using a Weber grill over here folks.

The Steak (click on the picture if you go to the link for an up close view of my handywork) is fantastic here. There is just no way around this one. There is no negative side to this point over here. The steak just flat out beats steak back in the States. Leave your steak sauce at home people, you are going to want to really taste the steak. No contest.

Fresh Pasta - In Buenos Aires you have fresh pasta stores all over the place. You feel like having fresh made raviolis for dinner? All you have to do is just stop by your nearest fresh pasta place on the way home. If you really want it easy you could also buy the sauce there as well.

Ice Cream - This point is similar to the earlier one about steak. This has to be the best ice cream I have ever tasted. Yes I have been to Italy, this is still better. Yes, I have been to gourmet ice cream shops in the States, this is better. The only thing I miss about the ice cream back home would be the variety of flavors. There is no Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chunky Monkey, Cookies and Cream, Rocky Road, or Cherry Garcia over here.

Restaurants and kids - for those of you who have children and thought about ever taking them to nice restaurants know that most places in the States tend not to really take them into account. Here you can go to most nice places and they make them feel like home. This is not a policy thing, it´s a cultural thing.

Maid service - I had to get used to the idea of having a live in maid but after we got one I wondered how on earth I ever even considered living without one. This is not a luxury lost to the filthy rich over here. Everyone has a maid it seems. You do have a choice of having them come several times a week or staying in. This one is life changing dear readers.

Walking - This is a walkable city. You can walk to most everywhere. The subway system is a bit limited but they are working on expanding it even further so this is just getting better. When you walk you get an opportunity to discover so many great spots. You get to know your neighborhood better. Something similar to this probably happens in New York. The only down side to this is that since traffic is a bit chaotic you have to be extra careful crossing the street. Also, there is a large percentage of dog owners who don´t clean up after fido so you have to watch where you are steppin´. Believe me, this annoys all non-dog owners and I imagine those few responsible dog owners even more.

Good looking women - Yes, I know I am happily married with kids, but who could argue that having a good looking population is a negative? It seems that the norm here is stressing having a good figure, and looking fashionable. I have never seen a good looking woman wearing sweats to go down the street to the corner store for a quick purchase. Woman here look like they care about how they look 24/7 and the only thing I am saying is that the majority are easy on the eye and that is always a good thing. Okay, so the negative side of this is that there is a high rate of eating disorders here. I don´t know the figures to this, but it is a known problem.

Small neighborhood stores - I remember having some in Chicago as a kid. Here you can have everything from a fruit stand, shoe repair, hardware store, tailor, small grocery store, hair salon, to pet food store, pasta store, candle store, newspaper stands, etc. Basically you can have an endless variety of shops just around the corner. These are mostly small, owner operated stores. Some of these will have smart competent people running them and others might be disinterested ones. Just like in life and in every where else you have good business owners and ones that would rather be doing something else.

Old world charm architecture - This place just looks cool. Argentina, at the turn of the century, was the world´s 8th richest country and it shows. Obviously, this country has been punished with unstable governments and economic mismanagement since then and currently has a large segment of the population under the poverty line. It is like a living museum though. Some buildings are hundreds of years old and they live side by side with more modern buildings.

Beautiful and varied climates and regions - This one reminded me of the United States in that both countries have such different and varied regions. I personally have visited the Glaciers in Patagonia, Wine country in Mendoza, the Amazon jungle bordering Paraguay and Brazil. Every region having it´s own unique beauty and majesty.
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