Baby Boomers in BA

steveinbsas

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HotYogaTeacher said:
Our electric bill here is estimated by our electrician for 2 people in a small apartment with basically the same lifestyle and appliances (because we brought most of them with us) will be around $500 pesos a month. My electric bill in SD was around $50 -75 a month

It really shouldn't be that much. Let us know when you really have a bill...as opposed to estimates.

HotYogaTeacher said:
I have yet to find an item of clothing sold here that I would pay for or wear but much of what is at the malls is low quality and equal prices to what you get in the states, or more. Especially with the sales in the states right now. The only clothes I've bought since moving here I ordered on line, had sent to my friend's house and had her mail them to me and it was still cheaper than anything of anywhere near the same quality I could have found here, if I were willing to wear any of this stuff.

I shop on ebay and have the items sent to me when I have home exchanges in the US. I also shop at the San Francisco Goodwill and Salavation Army Red Shield Stores. I recently bought a Zegna cashmere sport coat (two button, double vent) for FIVE dollars in SF (but please don't tell anyone)!


HotYogaTeacher said:
Our apartment here, in a similar quality of neighborhood as the one we just sold in the states, will have cost us, when the remodel is finished, about $20K less than the one we sold, but it was twice the size as the one here...


My BA apartment in Recoleta would sell for at least $500,000 in SF...and even more in a comparable neighborhood of NYC. (I paid $124,000 two years ago (73 square meters/completely remodeled). It's current resale value probably isn't significantly more than that.

Check it out at www.homeexchange,com # 32432


HotYogaTeacher said:
In my opinion if you can live here and afford to spend 1/2 the year living elsewhere, you are in the best situation. To live here exclusively is expensive and hard, FOR ME.

Excuse me, are you whining?
 

MrBart

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HotYogaTeacher said:
For me the weather here is awful but for someone from where you've lived it will be heavenly.
Suerte

Hi,

I'm curious to know why you perceive the weather to be awful in BA?

Suerte.
 

Ries

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Seems to me that its pretty obvious that - surprise, surprise, as ol' Gomer Pyle used to say- everybody is different.

For instance, you couldnt pay me to live in San Diego (and I lived in LA for ten years, and got down there enough to be familiar with it).
Similarly, I would rather be sentenced to a minimum security prison than live 35 miles out from Atlanta.

This is not to say, in any way shape or form, that the respective people on this forum who like those places are wrong about what THEY like.
Its just those places are definitely not for me.

And, by the same token, BsAs is not right for everybody either.

I would advise the original poster to come down, rent a furnished apartment for at least 3 weeks or so, and live an everyday life. Get your hair cut, cook at home, shop for cleaning supplies and cosmetics and shoes and groceries, take the subte and the collectivo's, eat at high, medium, and low priced restaurants, get some dry cleaning done, and, in general, do more than just dine out and dance the tango.

See how you like it. Some things are very different than the US. There is definitely a much more limited supply of consumer goods, especially the latest and greatest ones, and they cost a lot more. There are strange absences on the grocery shelves- some things you may be addicted to are simply not available. There is dog poo on the streets, the sidewalks are indeed rough and potholed, and people are, well, Argentinian. If that sort of thing bothers you, it will bother you.

Dont expect BsAs to be some ultra cheap fantasy world. It is what it is, and it has some wonderful aspects, if you happen to like them. If not, well, not.

As for prices- it really depends on how you live in the USA. If you live in any of the desirable big cities in the east or west coasts, real estate in BsAs is still 1/3 to 1/2 the price- and, if you are looking for charming turn of the last century apartments, antique furniture, and style, its a lot cheaper than that. A similar apartment to mine, in Barrio Norte, if it was in Chicago, or NYC, or SF, would easily be a half million, and I paid less than a quarter that for it.
If, on the other hand, your idea of living is a mobile home, well, I hear they are foreclosing on lots right now, and you can get one for 12 grand or so in many rural parts of the USA.
I live near Seattle, and in my day to day life, BsAs is probably still about half the price of my area. Real estate, utilities, taxes, insurance, and dining out are all a fraction of what we pay in the USA.
The car thing, which is sort of a big deal, if you ask me- I know lots of people in the USA who spend $1000 (US) per month, easily, on car payments, insurance, and gas. Not having to have a car makes a BIG difference, in my mind.
I cannot take my family of four out to eat, in any but a drive thru window, in the USA, for much under $15 to $20 a person. For a decent restaurant, its more. I am not talking gourmet and fancy here- that runs more like $50 a head, including drinks. (all in US dollars).
Meanwhile, in BsAs, a similar meal is a fraction of the cost, and even a very swell spot, like Sucre, is laughably cheap compared to a similar meal in Seattle. $30 US for a bottle of Malbec is quite common here.

If, on the other hand, you live exclusively on 10 for a dollar packs of ramen, and eat only dented cans of chicken noodle soup from the liquadators, I suppose you could argue that the US is cheaper- but, frankly, a choripan is more food, for less, than any burger place near me.

I also vastly prefer seeing live music in Argentina- even if the same band is playing in Seattle. Ticket prices are 1/3 or so, drinks a fraction of the price- I cannot think of a bar or nightclub in Seattle where a beer is less than $5 to $7, and most places are $20 and up admission. Clubs in BsAs are much cheaper, smaller and more fun.

In the small world department, I have to add I just met Tom and Nancy a couple of weeks ago, at my most recent art opening, at my gallery in Seattle. Hopefully, I will see them next in BsAs.
 

HDM

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I've seen Stanexpat's rants before, and he has properly named himself; he exhibits all the usual characteristics (the ones that make expats a joke) that go with the term.

We live in Palermo, in what is supposed to be one of the most expensive areas of the city; came here from Washington, DC. This place is a virtual giveaway compared with prices and costs in Washington. I don' know where Expat gets his ideas, but, for example, Sunday my wife and I had a long and glorious lunch, with two half bottles of wine, one each, main courses, salad and desert, for the price of one of us to have had a burger and fries lunch at a restaurant in our old DC neighborhood. We don't own a car... why would anyone? I can ride the Subte from one side of the city to the other for around 30 cents US. A taxi from Palermo near the Bot Gardens to the farther reaches of Martinez cost us a bit of change more than $10 US last Saturday night. Our grocery bills are averaging just over half what they were from Safeway in DC. Wine? Don't get me started. We've gone from an average monthly bill in DC for wine of around $250, to less than $100. The only things I have come across that do seem on par and occasionally even higher than we are used to in DC are some electronic items. But day to day living cost ... give me a break!

I don't know what part of this city Sexpat lives in, or where he does his shopping, or how he gets around, but he is either really getting taken for a ride or he is way more lavish in his lifestyle than we are. This is what we are spending and how we are living right here, right now, today.

We have lived in other world cities we like a little more than Buenos Aires, many we like a lot less, but Buenos Aires is an interesting and exciting place to live and work; it has no more and no less of the usual bureaucratic nonsense that plagues most places. It is not the "Paris of South America," I would say, but it's not too far away from being the Milan or Lisbon, at least in terms of lifestyle and ambiance ... although both Milan and Lisbon are way, way more expensive places to conduct daily life than BA is.

So Stanexpat, based on my daily life here, I wouldn't hesitate to say that every pronouncement you make here, that I have seen, is "dead wrong." There is a rosy glow, then there is a dark hatred. The truth is in-between and usually closer to rosy. People bring with them the person they are, they do not change because they have changed places. I can't imagine a person like Stan would be content and happy anywhere.

I am content and happy everywhere ... if I wasn't, I wouldn't stay there.
 

HDM

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Oh, forgot to mention rent.

$2,200 a month (thankfully including utilities) in a 1,200 square foot, 2-BR condo in lower Georgetown, which was priced competitively with similar units farther out of the city.

Palermo: 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a maid's quarters with another bath (which makes a nice office), living room, dining room, eat-in kitchen the size of our LR-DR-kit in DC, a long, wide balcony, two walk-in closets, included cable and wifi ... exactly half our Georgetown rent, for a place 2 1/2 time larger and immensely nicer.

I am not claiming this is normal, average, what one can expect. It is just what we have, what we pay, and how we live.

And that's a fact.
 

HotYogaTeacher

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When talking to someone who is moving here NOW it is not useful to say what a home cost 2 years ago. The home I sold in San Diego would have sold for $200K more 2 years ago.

I very much agree with Tom and Nancy, who point out that we are, all of us, talking about apples and oranges, maybe even apples and orangutans.

To compare BsAs to any city in the states is silly, because the United States of America is not a 3rd world country and Argentina is. Whether or not one could live in the USA for less or more is moot because the lifestyle is the real question for all of us. For some, the lifestyle here is "better" for others "worse" and I can only assume for a few "equal" because everyone has a personal set point for what is enjoyable, meaningful and rewarding to them.

If someone asked me if I wanted to go spend a year living on the moon, I would go. I don't think I would have fun all the time, but some stuff would be fun, and I don't think I would like it every day, but wow what an experience it would be, I would definitely take the opportunity and go. If while there someone else asked me if I thought they should relocate there, my answer would likely include some really good information on how difficult I thought it would be to build an enjoyable life there on a permanent basis.

That is a loose metaphor for the way I feel about living here. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to live here and to know the world and my place in it from a different perspective. I would not choose to live here permanently over choosing say, a lovely cottage by the sea in Monterey, where the fresh air greets me in the morning and the sea birds sing to me about coming storms. The life in that cottage, down the street from Whole Foods and a stone's throw from a library filled with books in my first language, in a community of gentle people who recycle and hold littering as one of the cardinal sins is in no way comparable to life here, and so the sameness or differentness of it's cost is a moot point. For me the value of being 15 minutes from Home Depot and an hour from San Francisco and able to go online and order a pair of panties that arrives conveniently on my doorstep 3 days later is priceless to me.

For some the value of the cultural experience is higher. I honor that. I hope that my entries here help people to understand another side of life abroad. I hope that my expression is useful and that the information, whether they choose to live here or not, helps their journey forward.

Tom, yesterday you said this conversation was beating a "dead horse". I thought about that last night I believe you are mistaken. It clearly is not a dead horse because this is a vibrant alive conversation with a large number of people taking very strongly differing opinions. Moreover, economics, which is where a lot of the disagreement has been focused, is never a dead horse, because it is always evolving and changing. Minute by minute the value of the dollar against the peso and the economic realities of each country changes and that will always be true. Whether or not it is cheaper to live here or in the states will continue to be a question with many ever shifting facets, including what kind of life you want to live and what you spend your money on and how your money is managed.

While I have not always enjoyed the tone of this discussion, I have learned lots from it and enjoyed participating in it. I hope to have more vibrant conversations because I think we have the opportunity to grow through them.

Peace...
 

HDM

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HotYoga, you are suffering the classic and standard symptoms of culture shock; I have seen it duplicated time and time again in every city in the world I've lived in (ranging from South Africa, four European countries - one in the "former East", and Southeast Asia). I have caught it myself from time to time, but thankfully stayed long enough for the cure to work. The key symptoms are going on and on and on about how glorious, how wonderful, how utterly perfect everything is "at home," and how nothing "over here" or "down here" can compare in the least. Home is better, here is terrible. One of the ways this culture shock is usually expressed is in a listing of all the wonderful things from "home," always by name, and always in glowing, almost poetic terms; while at the same time tossing out blank generalities in negative (sometimes hateful) terms regarding the "other." You do this repeatedly here.

Speaking of 3rd world countries. At best, Argentina is a 2nd world country, a lot closer to the 1st than the 3rd, although such restrictive definitions of places seldom apply broadly enough to be accurate. I have lived in two "real" 3rd world countries, traveled extensively in half a dozen others, and if you had ever tried living in one, you would see that Argentina is not even close. It's not the States, it's not Germany, but it is far from Vietnam and Burma, from Georgia and Armenia; way beyond Istanbul and Kiev, Cairo or Johannesburg. Calling it a 3rd world country as a derogatory slam is just another symptom of culture shock.

Culture shock is as common among travelers as getting the runs from an odd bacteria. I have only seen two cures -- time: staying long enough to discover what is interesting, beautiful, and unique about the place, or leaving. You have already said you want to leave, and when you do, you will be cured; although like malaria, it can hit you again from time to time, even after you have already left ... you can see examples of that here from people who left Argentina already but can't give up bitching about it.

I think you have such a deep and abiding case of culture shock that you are never going to enjoy living here, so you might as well just pack up and head for your idyllic seaside cottage in Monterrey (just as soon as you get the 2 1/2 million dollars it will take to buy it).

Peace to you, too; although do you mean world peace, peace in general, personal peace, granting peace to others ... ?
 

Stanexpat

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Sorry but I can't respond to the long winded rants that my posts elicited but we are making progress. There know seems to be the admission that the COL there is higher that the average in the U.S. But however it's still cheaper than the "desirable areas" of the U.S. i.e. west coast/east coast big cities. San Diego has been struck from this elite list as someone from there has complained that B.A. is more expensive. The poor lady who started this thread lives in Minneapolis. Can you imagine, you can probably rent an apartment or townhouse for less than $2400 a month and the people there from my visits are inclined to beer and most would never dream of spending hundreds a month on wine. It must be a horrible place and we should pity her. Instead of moving to B.A. perhaps she should move to one of the elite areas in the U.S. so she can look down at everybody else and see how bad she had it in her old town.
 

victoria

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Hello Everyone,

This is the original poster: Victoria.

I thank all posters for their input and energy. You've given me a lot to think about.

If any of you are curious about Minneapolis, I'm not wanting to leave here because it's an undesirable place (weather, yes). It's a hidden gem with a rich cultural life and high standard of living.

I'd just like to plant a foot in a different part of the world and BA is not totally unfamiliar. I did spend two weeks there, stayed in a house, shopped in the grocery store, ate in the restaurants, took cabs and the subway, and met some of the people.

My son is off to college this fall, I'm recently divorced and laid off from work (and like all of the U.S., jobs are currently scarce here!). I have to sell my house this spring as part of the divorce settlement. Why not skip a Minnesota winter and have three months in BA? I really have nothing to lose. My only concern is not feeling isolated--I'm a very social creature.

And if BA ends up working for me--well I can see spending part of the year there. I couldn't bear not to see my son so I need to be in the U.S. some of the year.

I will have the money to live a comfortable, but simple life style. I don't need gadgets and possessions ... I much prefer dinner out with friends, lots of walking, exploring and adventures.

My only concern is I like to read and I wondered about the availability of books in English.

Anyone?

Victoria
 

HDM

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I don't know if you like having around you the comforting and stimulating presence of "real" books (because I do), but I can recommend the Kindle Reader. It holds hundreds of books, you can delete books you have no interest in looking at again, and keep adding new ones; the price of the "pixel" book is about 40% (new, best seller prices) of the real thing. I use a Kindle especially when traveling; I can carry more than enough reading material for even the longest holiday or work trip, in one small, paperback size, device.

A minor downside from using a Kindle in the States, as opposed to everywhere else, is that the wireless function utilizes the Sprint cellular network, and so doesn't work outside the US. The only difference it makes is that instead of wireless downloads from Amazon's Kindle store, you just download into the device via a patch cord connected to your computer. It will download a big novel in a few seconds.

As to availability of books in English here, not very extensive. It's not Barnes & Noble country. But nearly every bookstore I've been to here has a selection of books in English -- not many and not much variety (lots of out of copyright classics), but I do end up buying one or two most of the time. Otherwise, I have friends mail books to me from the States, bring them when they visit.

Kindle solves a lot of that problem.

Hope this helps.
 
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