Change in expat attitudes?

igor

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earlyretirement said:
Argentina is a brutally tough place to do business. You can read that over and over and not think that can be true.

Sorry if I am saying something trivial, but things have a tendency to level out. In places that are friendly to business, the competition is too high. So life is still pretty difficult. If you failed here, that does not necessarily mean that you would be more successful in a highly efficient place, for example, in Germany.

When you are back to the States, you can still hang around here trying to reassure yourself that you made the right decision. And finding a special pleasure in pointing out Argentina shortcomings, as many people do. Without having to admit that Argentina is still the place where your heart is :).
 

gouchobob

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allcraz said:
gauchobob, I work on my own but earn in pesos. So financial ease is not the smile on my face. I should have included that fact in my original post. So many posters assume others love it because of that situation, but it's not my case.

I'm glad you are happy and have a good personal situation. However if it gets to point where you can't put food on the table you may change your mind. If you can negotiate these difficulties I am sure you will be happy for many years there.
 

xPat

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Hello all, I'm brand new here. Came to this site looking for immigration information as I am considering moving to BA, then stumbled on this thread. Holy freaking crap! The plan was to come for 3 months in October-December, then decide whether to stay "forever". Reading this thread is making me seriously reconsider coming at all!

But it's actually a bit hard to follow for an outsider, because quite a few statements throughout the thread read like this (paraphrased): "The problems here are numerous, they are obvious, and they are getting worse. Much worse. It's plainly obvious."

Ok, it's obvious to you folks living there, but as an outsider I'm left guessing what's actually wrong. The research I had done suggested that there were "wrong side of the tracks" areas in BA (like any city) where there was a crime problem, but my impression was that as long as you live in the right neighborhood, crime "isn't even an issue". That impression seems strongly at odds with what's being reported here.

Other than crime, I am unable to intuit what you guys are talking about with all the knowing references to "all the problems". Would anyone be willing to briefly summarize for an outsider what exactly is going downhill there? My previous research led me to believe that BA was one of the best expat destinations on the planet. You guys in this thread are unselling that impression fast!

FWIW, we are a 30s-40s couple, no kids, financially comfortable, work on the Internet. We're not considering moving to BA "because it's cheap", but rather because we thought (until this thread) that it was a great place to live. We are both foodies and seriously love having a wide variety of gourmet restaurants in close proximity. We thought (from various readings) that BA was a foodie city, but you guys make it sound like the food is one of the biggest problems!

We are very fortunate in the sense that we are not directly affected by local wages, affordability of stuff, etc. But if things are bad enough that the whole city is depressed and turning to crime (as some posts in this thread imply), that affects everyone living there, regardless of one's finances. We have no interest in living in a place where we have to worry about being held up at gunpoint as a serious/realistic threat. Is that really true, or were references to that earlier in this thread talking about what happens "on the wrong side of the tracks", meaning only in neighborhoods one could easily avoid if able to afford more premium housing?

All expat communities have a few people who burn out after a year or two, often because for those particular individuals, living outside their home country wasn't a good idea to start with, and they came with unrealistic expectations. Pardon me for being blunt, but I'm having a hard time figuring out whether this thread is a bunch of people in that unfortunate circumstance, or if BA is really a totally and completely different place that I thought. The question is obviously of great importance as we're organizing our whole lives around coming there for 3 months to see if it's right for us to relocate indefinitely. Should we re-evaluate our plans, or is this thread just a bunch of folks blowing off steam? The impression you guys are giving of BA is completely at odds with what we've heard elsewhere...

Thanks in advance

xPat (Americans now living in Hong Kong)
 

PhilipDT

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xPat said:
We thought (from various readings) that BA was a foodie city, but you guys make it sound like the food is one of the biggest problems!

Yeah a bad foodie city. You can get the largest variety of crappy food here.
 

PabloAriel

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I would recommend you to come for a brief period of time so you can live the BA experience yourself and decide from what you have lived whether to stay here or not. It's not like there aren't any of the problems mentioned here, but people tend to overexagerate them. Or they are just used to another way of living and get frustrated at not being able to addapt this lifestyle.
 

Amargo

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xPat, people who are happy in Argentina surely don't spend all day posting here...it is mostly those who come to vent up their frustration.

Sure, Argentina is not easy, but you can live pretty well if you adapt, far away from wars, earthquake disasters (unless you live on the Andes), etc.

People criticising the traffic, well, BA is not worse than many spanish or Italian cities (other than Torino and Milano). Go to Rome or further to the south and it will be about the same.

Someone mentioned above Brazil: I am in Brazil 15-20 times a year. Only Sao Paulo has a few decent restaurants, the rest is the same as in Argentina. In most other cities food is plain bad. Crime in Brazil is x-times worse than anywhere in Argentina. Even in little provincial cities they have electric fences everywhere. That said, the good thing in Brazil is that situation seems to be improving. But who knows how many years are necessary to reach that what expats expect.

Regarding the food in Argentina: produce is great and fresh, if you cook at home it is perfect. The variety of restaurants may not be that good for first World standards, but there are some great ones. Most of the people complaining expect to find in Buenos Aires some exotic ethnic restaurants and exotic asian ingredients. But if you are ok with mediterranean fare you will be fine.

Raising children in Argentina: I think it is a great place. Families are tight and caring, same for friends. The corruption and all other social problems are an excellent training for real life. Children learn that the World is not full of angels (this also applies to developed countries) and they learn how to deal with.

Those expecting a developed country should well stay there where they are. But Argentina is a land full of opportunities for those who dare and have the nerve to navigate through all the challenges.
 

allcraz

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Amargo said:
xPat, people who are happy in Argentina surely don't spend all day posting here...it is mostly those who come to vent up their frustration.

Very true!!!! My posts have decreased dramatically because I just don't get a kick out of reading about everyone's dissatisfaction anymore. And also, the more you read on here, the more jaded you become.
 

citygirl

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Well, I'm here and intending to stay here. However, as I've posted, we're not going to do more business here and let the existing business wind down.

Several of my close friends (porteños included) are planning on leaving in the next year. Which sucks since I thought when I stopped hanging out with expats, that I would be safe from this. But many that can leave are taking the opportunity to do so.

To the poster who asked about the problems - have you spent time here? What do you know about BsAs?

In a nutshell, what many people are struggling with:
1) Difficulties getting anything done here - getting something repaired, getting a utility set up, dealing with the bank, doing your tramites, pretty much anything
2) 25-30% annual inflation
3) Crime (which is equally prevalent in the neighborhoods on the "right side of the tracks" as it is on the wrong side
4) Salaries not keeping up with inflation
5) If you have a business here, a very anti-business climate
6) Politics

Look, everyone has a different experience here. It's not perfect (which you usually here from people who have been here on vacation for two weeks.) It's not hell on earth (which you usually here from people who are leaving after being here a year or two). It's somewhere in the middle. Come down, spend time & see how you feel.
 

earlyretirement

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allcraz said:
I'd just like to balance it out a bit and vote for the "I love BsAs" party. I've been here over 4 years and I'm here to stay. Married to an Argentine and we have never even considered moving to the States (my home.) I want to say something without sounding haughty. If you don't speak the language fluently, (I'm talking being at a table full of Argentines and truly understanding 96% and being able to join the convo with the same stamina) I'm going to go right ahead and tell you that it's one of your #1 problems if you are part of the other voting party. I'm not saying speaking castellano will keep you from getting robbed, but you become part of this place in a way that you will never experience otherwise; and that experience gives you a whole new look on the community. Before you all jump on me, I'm sure that some of you who are expressing disdain do speak that well.

Well, I"m not sure if you were directing your post at me but I'm fluent in Spanish and my wife is a native speaker and all her family lives here in Buenos Aires as well. I almost NEVER hang out with expats either as all my friends are locals. So this doesn't apply to me.

We know many locals that are also moving out of Buenos Aires or are planning to in the next year. It has nothing to do with language skills. The problems I mentioned are VERY real problems and issues.

Most of our friends own businesses here. Some large ..some small. But the thing they all mention and which I already know is that it doesn't make sense running a business here. The laws all work against you. A VERY anti-business climate as Citygirl mentioned. Now I understand and agree with a bit of protecting worker's rights but it has gone too far and shifted away from any reality.

You have situations where workers call in sick, get a doctors note (which many doctors you can pay to get these) and you can get workers that don't show up several days per month. Someone gets hurt outside of work? Pay their entire salary and you can't fire them for 1 year. Someone steals from you and you fire them for cause? A good chance you'll still have to pay them a high severance even if you are firing them for cause.... It can feel like a bizarro world here sometimes if you own a business. Sometimes you will scratch your head and think to yourself, "now that can NOT be right".... but such is life in Argentina.

I will admit if you aren't running a business here or in one of the examples listed above, life is much more peaceful here. But even so, there are a lot of inefficiencies here. If you aren't a type A personality then you can put up with them. Not everything is bad about Buenos Aires so I hope I don't give the wrong impression but there are enough bad things here.

Where else in the world do you hear of a building having their gas go out for 3 months without getting fixed?? Here it happens in many buildings including where my mother in law lives....
 

John.St

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xPat said:
Hello all, I'm brand new here. Came to this site looking for immigration information as I am considering moving to BA, then stumbled on this thread. Holy freaking crap!
People differ, some see the bottle as half full, others as half empty.

As for crime in BsAs, you can see what members in this forum have experienced here: http://baexpats.org/expat-life/5805-crime-bsas-anyone.html

In the provinces life is very different. You can read my impression here: http://baexpats.org/expat-life/5585-experiencias-contrarias-mendoza.html

In the provinces gourmet restaurants, OTOH, are scarce but they do exist - I remember one in Salta called 'Cosa Nostre' or something like that, I sometimes dream about it.

As you are presently living in Hong Kong you already know, what many seem to forget: Not at home is not at home.

Follow PabloAriel's recommendation to come and see for yourself.

Best of luck and all that jazz.
 
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