A few tips for Newcomers

Samb4

Registered
I've been in BA for a while now, but I know that when I got here there were lot of things I had to learn. Here is some useful info for those of you just coming off the plane:

-- Always carry your ID (could be your driving license). It could be required if you want to pay with your credit card.

--Keep small change with you, especially if you decide to travel around in urban bus. Buenos Aires had a "coins crisis" since last year and results very difficult to find change as bus tickets are paid in machines that only receivecoins.

--When hailing a taxi on the street, try to take only cabs with the word Radio Taxi written above. They are supposed to be more secure as they are affiliated to a radio taxi company and not independent drivers.

--Strong rains in the city usually block some subway stretches and stations are closed generating a big traffic chaos. Is better to wait until is clear up especially if it gets you during the rush hours (9 A.M.& 6 to 8 P.M.).

--Paying for a taxi ride with a ARS$100 bank note could be almost an insult to the taxi driver. Change the high denominations bank notes and try to carry small change to pay the closest you can to the total amount. If you couldn't find change, ask the driver if he can give you change before to get into the cab.

--Be Careful While Crossing the Street
. Stop signals doesn't exist in the city and pedestrian crossings are not respected by the drivers, in the same way, don't pretend the cars are going to stop people are not use to give the pedestrians to pass.

For more tips like these, and any other tourist or expat needs, head over to BsAs4u.com We offer great tours of the city, trips to tango shows, trips to football (soccer) games and cheap flights to great spots all over Argentina. There is always a customer service rep standing by waiting to answer your questions via chat.

Good luck, and enjoy Buenos Aires!!!!
 

reiver

Registered
BsAs4U said:
-- Always carry your ID (could be your driving license). It could be required if you want to pay with your credit card.
Or your passport, if that's what you have.

I haven't tried paying by credit card here. Just cash. (Argentine Pesos to be specific.)

BsAs4U said:

--Keep small change with you, especially if you decide to travel around in urban bus. Buenos Aires had a "coins crisis" since last year and results very difficult to find change as bus tickets are paid in machines that only receive coins.
You need to give Ar$1.20 in coins to be specific.

And, for those that don't speak Spanish, when you get into the bus, you need to say "uno veinte" to the bus driver.

Which is literally "one twenty". Note those that "uno veinte" here is pronounced more like "uno bente".
 

steveinbsas

Registered
BsAs4U said:
-- Always carry your ID (could be your driving license). It could be required if you want to pay with your credit card.

I strongly suggest you make a photocopy of your passport including both the photo page and the page with your entry stamp into Argentina. It would be "odd" to offer your driver's license as you ID here when paying with a credit card. Almost all stores (Jumbo, Easy, Disco, Carrefour) will accept the photocopy of the passport. It would be awful to lose your passport or have it stolen, so keep it in a safe place rather than carry it with you. You will always be asked for your numero de documento when paying with a credit card. It's the law.

For more "safety" tips, go to the "Avoid Becoming a Victim of Crime" thread in the Newcomers forum.
 

tangobob

Registered
steveinbsas said:
I strongly suggest you make a photocopy of your passport including both the photo page and the page with your entry stamp into Argentina. It would be "odd" to offer your driver's license as you ID here when paying with a credit card. Almost all stores (Jumbo, Easy, Disco, Carrefour) will accept the photocopy of the passport. It would be awful to lose your passport or have it stolen, so keep it in a safe place rather than carry it with you. You will always be asked for your numero de documento when paying with a credit card. It's the law.

For more "safety" tips, go to the "Avoid Becoming a Victim of Crime" thread in the Newcomers forum.
Estoy de acuerdo, but some supermercardos ask for the original, just shrug your shoulders and tell them you do not carry it. I have had them fetch the supervisor, some give a grilling, but in the end, they will not turn away a sale.
 

HDM

Registered
As Steve suggested, I always carry a photo copy of my passport, as well my as visa with its entry stamp, if I expect to use a credit card. I do not carry the passport itself. While I have not been asked for any form of identification when I've used the credit card in restaurants, I have always been asked at Jumbo, Easy, and Carrefour. But those are usually large amounts because I buy enough to make the delivery worth the trouble.

Another thing I carry is a card on which is written my full address and telephone number, which I offer to the clerk filling out the form for delivery. They have a much easier time copying that than trying to figure out what I'm saying.

Crossing streets is a gamble. Follow the herd, or if there isn't a herd, take your best shot and hope this isn't the day you die. Cars are even more powerful symbols of one's macho-ness here than they are in California, and that's saying a lot. I like the use of horns, as if everybody just got a new one for Xmas and can't wait to try it out. Delay one/eighth of a second when the light goes from red to orange on its way to green, and twenty drivers behind you will lay on their horns until you are well out of their way. (I don't have a car; this is just from standing on the corner watching with awe.) Miles to go, money to make, speed is the way. I'm surprised not to have yet seen gun battles erupt in busy intersections because someone lost two seconds. Portenos laid back? They make New Yorkers look like sleep walkers.

Of course, walkers are always mystified by car nuts. What is it about driving a car that takes otherwise decent, friendly people think they have been transformed into the terminator?

Otherwise, so far, I have to say that almost everything I read about safety before coming here is not in evidence, as well as the usual list of cultural dos and don'ts.

Don't yawn in public, it's considered rude. People yawn in public here constantly.

Don't use your cell phone in public. People live with cell phones glued to their ears all over the place.

Don't use a cash machine on the street. Lines of people use cash machines on the street.

Don't eat on the run or on the street? People are constantly eating or drinking something while walking down the sidewalk.

Don't use your laptop in a cafe. Cafes around here look like Internet cafes. Everybody has one, and everybody has one out on a table in cafes with wifi.

The only warning or cultural do/don't I read before coming that has turned out to be at all accurate is about cars. These are the worst, most discourteous, dangerous people behind the wheel I have encountered anywhere else in the world. You are far more likely to be killed by a car than mugged or picked by a pickpocket.

I saw a note in an American embassy newsletter that said, the only real security threat in Buenos Aires is the Argentine driver.
 

steveinbsas

Registered
tangobob said:
Estoy de acuerdo, but some supermercardos ask for the original, just shrug your shoulders and tell them you do not carry it. I have had them fetch the supervisor, some give a grilling, but in the end, they will not turn away a sale.

In almost three years only once has a checkout person asked the supervisor if a photocopy was OK and the answer was immediate and positive. That was at EASY.
 

tangobob

Registered
steveinbsas said:
In almost three years only once has a checkout person asked the supervisor if a photocopy was OK and the answer was immediate and positive. That was at EASY.
OK, I must have a dishonest face, it happens to me every time, I think that this proves yet again that the only consistant thing here is inconsistancy.
 

HotYogaTeacher

Registered
Hey HDM~

Other than food, walking is my biggest struggle here. And it's not just the cars.
You said:
"What is it about driving a car that takes otherwise decent, friendly people think they have been transformed into the terminator?"

I have to say, I don't think it's the car. In a cafe' these people might be decent and friendly, but when they have someplace to be they are unmoved by your presence or your need for your fair share of space and there are no social rules for whose turn it is (that I've figured out yet)to pass. Locals in Argentina walk just like they drive, never looking at or seeing anyone and drifting from side to side, entering the sidewalk from blind doorways without so much as looking up from their text messaging, never saying excuse me or sorry even when they walk right into you, hit you with an elbow, a hip, a bag, step on you. They step in front of you and slow down, walk on your heels even though they can clearly see you have a crush of people in front of you and can't move any faster, have no hesitation about touching your body or your things and rarely apologize even if they really hurt you when they run you over.

It is a general disrespect for other's right of way and personal space. It is common in big cities everywhere, but I've never seen it to this extreme anywhere I've been. I'm with you on one thing, walking on the street is the most dangerous, and disturbing, aspect of life here. My personal practice is to keep from getting upset and continue to smile politely and ask politely to be excused. I do occasionally say something to someone who has been terribly rude. Many expats I know have challenged the idea that it's rude, because it's a different culture, but when you talk with locals about the issue, they know it's rude and they are embarrassed about the way people treat each other on the streets.

I notice that respect for home space is sacred here. People wont enter my home without asking permission, use my bathroom, no matter how many times I've said it's ok, or walk into a room in my home other than the living room until I have personally invited them, even if they are following me around. That respect doesn't translate on the street. Of course, that all changes when we see someone we know. It's all about personal relationships here...
It takes every new comer a little time to get used to the idea that they don't have the right of way when crossing the street. Does anyone know if people actually get run over, or if the cars are just pushing the issue and if one pushed back they'd give way? Not a question I plan to research personally by the way, just curious;)~
 
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