This past weekend my mom, abuelita, and I went to Buenos Aires. Our first experience was paying per person to enter the country. People from Latin American countries do not need to pay and in my ideal world there would not be a fee simply for entering a country for a short visit. Another thing I did not appreciate was that my mom got a fake bill out of a bank at the ATM and when we spoke to a few taxi drivers about it they were not at all surprised and said that because of a lack of oversight even banks and the airport routinely give out fake bills. According to one of my classes Argentina had triple digit inflation for over ten years, it’d be interesting to know what kinds of effects all the fake bills are having on the current Argentinian economy. In the same class we did many comparisons between countries and found that in the following categories Chile was in the top three but Argentina was not: voice and accountability, government effectiveness, regulatory quality-quality of laws, political stability, control of corruption, and transparency. In almost all the categories the other two countries were Costa Rica and Uruguay.
We saw the corruption and lack of government control with the circulation of fake money. I was surprised by how similar Buenos Aires was to Santiago, there were many streets where I could imagine being in either city. The metropolitan region of Buenos Aires has about 12 million people whereas Santiago’s has about 6 million people. One thing I really enjoyed about Buenos Aires was the fact that there were so many restaurants on the streets that had tango performances. I love watching dance and really appreciate when it is an integral part of the culture of a place. Similarly to Chile, Buenos Aires had many vendors selling beautiful homemade goods. I prefer to buy things from mom and pop shops than from large chains (I avoid shopping at Lider, a supermarket here, because it is owned by Walmart) but my favorite is buying from people who made the item itself. Hearing the story behind what you are purchasing coupled with seeing your money going to the person who did the work behind it is truly a remarkable experience.
Pictured here is the Congress building, the equivalent of the white house, a picture of a tango show we saw during lunch one day, some street performers, a bear at the Cultural Center, a street performance, some Argentinian steak, the zoo, the sunset we saw on our way back to the airport, and some leather masks my mom bought.