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It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

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Boulder, Colorado
posts: 1,134
reviews: 213
It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Our plane arrived 1/2 hr early @EZE on Tuesday AM.Saintba thinks tourism is down.....perhaps....but the lines at Immigration for Argentinians & Turistas were not to be believed. It ONLY took us 75 minutes to get out of there because of my assertive behavior. The one booth open at turistas took forever to take a photo and thumbprint. Our beloved Pepe was waiting for us to drive us to our Palermo ap't in traffic that was also horrendous.

Check-in was a breeze: bytArgentina and the owner make it stress free and easy.

Within hours, our dear friend, a former prolific TA poster, picked us up to do a money exchange. Tried arranging it in Boulder w/a trusted contact of friends, but it became too complicated. I was eager to learn "the ropes".......so off we went. DH and I found ourselves sitting in an elegant Recoleta office. The exchange broker sent the money there.What a hoot to see this young man come in to the room......roll up his left pants leg and unravel a wide velcro belt containing the bills. We checked ambito.com first and felt comfortable w/the rate....even though we could have gotten a bit more downtown. It wasn't worth the traffic & energy.....but we did get more than the Saint's rate on his recent post.. This very simple NY girl was really having fun.

BTW......going thru customs was a joke.Had the form filled out & handy but nothing was checked.....and they didn't even take the form. I brought in nuts,dried fruit and almond butter and after that wished I had MUCH more. So, do it, if you are inclined.

Sticker shock at the supermarket....haven't been here for 18 months. I just may shop at Whole Foods when returning to Colorado in January!

POLO: If anyone told me I'd be a spectator Thursday, I would have responded"Are you crazy?" However, our dear friend thought it would be an opportunity to see the best players in the world at a reasonable price with little effort. So we walked over to the Tortugas Country Club Abierto de Polo......purchased general admission tickets for 110 pesos/pp and REALLY had a ball. The day was gorgeous,the animals beautiful and the playing interesting for first timers.The people watching was also fun. More males than females(65/35?),some families, men in business suits...they obviously took the afternoon off and we found it incredible that everyone knows everyone. We left a bit early to "beat the rush". but it seems the last seven minutes were the most exciting!!!! DH sat next to a gent who was very informative. I sat a row back & over & was unlucky to have a guy in front of me smoking and one next to me smoking. Second hand smoke for 2.5 hours. Not fun.

All of this enjoyment IN SPITE of the fact that while walking on Libertador we got sprayed with BLACK WATER. (sigh). Some gal was slightly in back of me and mentioned my back. I said something like "it's OK" and we just continued to walk firmly. DH got the brunt of the black water. Guess we have to be more vigilant. At least the stuff was water soluble and 4 items are now drying on the balcony.

While JUANA M may be the least favorite restaurant of some porteno friends we ate there last night. The salad bar was wonderful,as always and while the meat CAN be inconsistent...we lucked out last night.My lomo and DH's bife de chorizo was PERFECT. Again, sticker shock compared to 18 months ago,but i must admit we could not get what we had in Boulder for $35/incl tax & tip. AND leftovers for lunch today.

FARMACITY: This stop made my day again. For anyone out there who takes Abbott SYNTHROID,you can purchase it here w/o a prescription. I[pay $23/month at home and here in BA it's $2.70/month. I plan on taking home LOTS of Synthroid.What a deal.

We brought another gorgeous day to BA while missing the first Colorado snowfall along the front range and temps in the 30's.

Hope to get a SIM card today and a SUBE card.

Why do i feel I'm using 100 peso notes like one dollar bills back home????? BTW.....the gent that DH sat next to says that Barcelona is CHEAPER than BA by a long shot. He spends 6 months there and 6 months here.

I know our 12 weeks here will fly. Looking forward to EVERY MOMENT....because all we have folks, is this very moment.

CHEERS, Ronnie

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Buenos Aires...
posts: 324
reviews: 3
1. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Hola Ronnie,

What a beautiful post!

I think is lovely they way you describe Buenos Aires these days. Very honest!

I have similar impressions although I am a local. Although things are more expensive than 2 years ago, you still can find excellent deals.

I love Juana M...and I am from the area. The salad bar is amazing and I haven't eaten in a while, but it used to be that if you purchase a main course of around ar$75 you have the salad bar included. Which is a great deal!

I don't think Barcelona is cheaper...but, I don't like those comparissons anyway. Sadly, argentineans always compare ourselves with Europe.

You have a great weather today...very lucky since last week had been so rainny!!

Tonight there is Gallery Nights at Buenos Aires- (you can use the free minubuses between the art galleries- they will be serving champagne!).

Enjoy very much and have a lovely time in our city- if you pass by SH office, come for a coffee!!

Veronica

Say Hueque Argentina Tours

Punta del Este...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires, Punta del Este
posts: 3,571
reviews: 14
2. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Great post, keep them coming.

Looks like you saw Ellerstina-La Dolfina (polo). If so, you really lucked out. The eight players on those two teams are very nearly THE best eight in the world. La Dolfina has the ## 1, 2, 4 and 5 players in the world. Ellerstina has ## 3, 6, 8 and 21. All Argentinians except #4, who is Uruguayan.

La Nacion, local newspaper, has had two stories recently comparing supermarket prices in BA to New York, Paris, London, and three cities in southern Europe that I forget right now. BA is as expensive as New York, Paris and London, and more expensive than the southern European countries -- at the official Peso-Dollar rate. And remember, prices in BA are rising at least 30% a year, which is not the case in Europe. It will be interesting to see the comparison in a year or two.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
posts: 8,784
reviews: 73
3. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

I'll be in BA in November. For someone without a dear friend in Buenos Aires to coordinate, how would you suggest arranging money (USD) exchange so we can get the unofficial rate rather than the lower official rate? I have seen some mentions of xoom.com on this forum. Is that the best way to do it?

North Liberty, Iowa
posts: 242
reviews: 7
4. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

<<<FARMACITY: This stop made my day again. For anyone out there who takes Abbott SYNTHROID,you can purchase it here w/o a prescription. I[pay $23/month at home and here in BA it's $2.70/month. I plan on taking home LOTS of Synthroid.What a deal.>>>

Thanks! That's good to know. :) Glad you're enjoying BA!

Boulder, Colorado
posts: 1,134
reviews: 213
5. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Veronica & Punta L Thank you.

JAtlanta: Our friend says he remembers chatting w/you on the Argentina forum yrs. ago and appreciates the fact that you enjoy Argentina enough to return again & again. He's aware you are a great DE for Atlanta. Bottom line: he'll be glad to help you & your friends w/anything related to your trip in November. I'll PM you with his email.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Atlanta
posts: 8,784
reviews: 73
6. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Thanks morewierd. That's awesome!

Boulder, Colorado
posts: 1,134
reviews: 213
7. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Back to SYNTHROID: The pharmacy dept at Pharmacity will only give you ONE 60 tablet pack at a time.

So if you are pressed for time, amble in to several different ones or go back at various times/day to the one in your n'hood.

Veronica: Never made it to Gallery Night.....Will plan for the last Friday of November.

WDC
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
posts: 3,124
reviews: 42
8. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Moreweird, you are amazing; you step off the plane, write a wonderful 'first impressions' post, and provide several good leads to boot. You deserve the best of times...regards to your friends and DH.

Abrazzos,

~Marnie

Boulder, Colorado
posts: 1,134
reviews: 213
9. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Remember this:FLATTERY will get you everywhere.

AND it's another breezy,partially sunny day in BA. It just MAY get up to 49 in Boulder today.

We're off to Belgrano.

Abrazos, Ronnie

Nice, France
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
posts: 1,919
reviews: 4
10. Re: It's great to be back: Money Exchange,Polo and other tidbits

Moreweird,

What a great report to read! Yours is the first I’ve seen here detailing what it’s like to watch polo or exchange money at blue in Recoleta. I hope your whole stay is as much fun.

I’m surprised to hear you were thumb-printed upon arrival at EZE. We’ve not encountered that. I wonder if the difference is that we enter on EU passports and so aren’t subject to that reciprocal entry fee.

It is surreal to see ‘60’ on a BA menu suddenly replaced with ‘85’ or ‘92’ on one’s next visit. This is an experience reserved for repeat visitors, not locals who are made aware of inflation daily. Despite sticker shock during my first 2 weeks there every trip, the fact is that due to the steady fall in value of the peso at official exchange rates over 5 years, our expenses within BA rose by 20% between 2007 and 2011 and not by the horrible 28% annual inflation that portenos have been paying.

Punta Lugano,

La Nacion’s price comparisons this year make we think there must be 2 “Europes’! Using international grocery chains as a base of comparison makes no sense considering that portenos and Europeans both shop at many different kinds of food retailers and that there’s no such thing in the cities it cites as a standard price for any food. We’re spending 25% more overall on groceries in Nice than we did in BA last December but a cheese plate for two of the same types and weights of cheese can be put together here for 8 or 20 euro. I can guess which price La Nacion would choose to help it prove that BA’s food costs more than Nice’s.

Yesterday, a nicoise told me that Barcelona’s groceries are cheaper than Nice’s. Since I’d like to visit Barcelona, that’s good news to me as a tourist who doesn’t have to care about why that food is cheaper. But I doubt that the 25% of Spaniards who are unemployed, have no money for housing and so no kitchen in which to cook a meal would find cheaper food prices sufficiently helpful.

As for London, its food prices make it the easiest place to lose weight fast without even trying. The closest I get to fine dining out or at home there is reading restaurant reviews. BA is where I can afford to eat out at good places and cook fish and seafood, not London. Spending less on food in London than in BA doesn’t need lower food prices. It’s just a requirement once rent and monthly transport passes have dined like gluttons on an average income and left little money for groceries. Two days before La Nacion’s most recent price report, “The Guardian” reported that London rents had just skyrocketed yet again(!). This renders La Nacion’s claim that London is cheaper than BA a joke to anyone trying to get by there.

La Nacion’s comparisons paint too rosy a picture of how people abroad must be living at a time when Argentines are being restricted from traveling and discovering things for themselves. I think a national paper in these circumstances especially ought to provide a more complete picture.

Comparing food subsidies and consumer taxes imposed on food by each country is a part of knowing what one’s paying when you’re a tax payer. That report’s claims about Paris now being cheaper neglects noting that Argentines pay - I think this is accurate – from 10-21% in taxes on agricultural products while the French pay a usual 5.5% and rarely 7% on all food.

I’d like to see less shock and awe in those 'Nacion' reports and something that inspires identifying workable solutions.