Experiencias contrarias from Mendoza

John.St

Registered
It has been shocking to read of the horrible experiences many of you have had in Argentina, but I notice that they are centered in BsAs (worked there as a consultant for 5 months in 2002, not going to return, except if absolutely neccesary).

If you aren't bound by work or the like, you may consider moving to the provinces, e.g. Mendoza, Catamarca, Salta, Corrientes, you name it, where things - according to my experience - are completely different.

A few examples:

1. Presently I rent a furnished apartment with a view of half the town at the normal rate for Argentinos (first check inmobiliares on internet, later when you are told a higher rent from which the agent is going to either pocket the difference or use it to get a higher fee, smile to the agent and say "soy extranjero, pero no soy idiota", then show a print from the internet. Agent smiles too and I pay the proper rent).

2. As my dueño Ramón enters the apartment twice a week to let the mucama-lady in and check her work, I decided to test whether I can trust him, thus once handing him a bunch of notes with 100 pesos too many - I consider 100 pesos cheap for a definite test of confidence. Immediately he had counted the money he handed me the superfluous 100 pesos back, telling me that I had given him too much money - yes, I can trust Ramón.

3. On several occasions when I take a taxi to a friend, Emerson's house (some 14 pesos) if the meter shows e.g. 14.40 and I hand the driver 20 pesos I get 6 pesos (NOT 5) back - that I give him a peso goes without saying, always reward honesty.

4. I bought a coffee pot (con émbolo). I thought the lady said 35 pesos, but when I got a 55 pesos change and as my Spanish was practically non-existing then (Castellano OK, but understanding Argentino-Español wasn't), I assumed that I had got it wrong, and anyway 45 pesos for an 110 pesos (Danish price) coffee pot is dirt cheap. When I was standing outside the shop reading my list to see where to go next, the lady came running out - pretty good show as she is very fat - shouting "disculpe, disculpe, señor, I was thinking about all the merchandize I have just received and how to unpack it, and gave you short change, the price is only 35 pesos" handing me 10 pesos. As you may guess I buy any bazar-item I need from her.

5. At the librero & papelería where I have bought diverse items for no more than a couple of hundred pesos, the owner suddenly told me that as a 'cliente habitual' I would get a ten per cent discount from now on - huh! - and I get it, 6 pesos price mark, pay 5.40. Pretty ridiculous as 60 centavos isn't real money to me, but it would be very impolite to tell her so.

6. My Euro/Master card didn't work at the ATMs. I went into the fourth or fifth bank to verify that I was doing things right - turned out that I did and later found out that the magnet stripe was defect. The English speaking chap who helped me, spent some 20 minutes helping me to test ATMs in a couple of other banks to see whether my card could extract cash there - it couldn't but he just helped me for nothing but being friendly, try that in a "first world" bank.

7.-999. People here are very honest, helpful and friendly - may walk you through half of town so you don't get lost - has happened twice to me when I didn't know the town all that well and yet had to pick up a free map at the tourist info.

I have been ripped off twice (8 and 13 pesos, a butcher's shop and a supermercado, respectively - this lazy bonzo does his checking of bills when he gets home), told the owner that if it happened again I would take my shopping elsewhere and that settled it once and for all - anybody can understand that gaining a few pesos today while loosing 3-400 (butcher - we do a lot of asados around here, at least one a week) resp. 1,000 pesos (supermercado) sales a month is stupid.

I also read things like "for the first 6 months I would always use pleasantries that most civilized people use like "hello", "thank-you" and "good-bye" - NO RESPONSES, scowling and downright hostility" and "Every day I shop at one of two chinos near where I live - and never, in a year and a half of shopping, have I got a hola or gracias from the Chinese staff."- ¡que descortés!

On an experienced lumberjack's left hand (two or three fingers left) I can count the number of times when shop attendants, waiters and others haven't said "chao/adios, hasta luego", "se vaya bien" or the like when I leave and - of course - say the proper and polite things.

If the mozos at my favorite restaurants didn't come over to shake hands and ask ¿cómo le va? or if the girls in the supermarket and the other shops, donde soy cliente habitual, didn't smile at me and say hello, I would take a close look in the mirror to see if I unknowingly had a face transplant, or had caught pox or the plague.

I love the people and Argentina in general, although of course not everything about the country - but then, try Washington and get mugged every friday night, Thailand and get ripped off every 18 minutes or my own Danmark where you get (tax-)robbed by the IRS and where there was a riot last year in three of the neighborhoods of København (Copenhagen).

'nough said for now.

Suerte, amigas y amigos
 

jantango

Registered
There is no doubt that life is different in the provinces. That can be said about any country. Living in a large city has it challenges.

There is one thing in the capital federal which can't be found anywhere else in the world--old milongueros who dance tango. This alone keeps me where I am in Balvanera so that I can walk ten blocks to my favorite place to dance. There is nothing like a warm embrace dancing to the music of the golden era of tango. As cold as it may be, those who dance come together for the pleasure of the embrace. There's nothing else like it. And the city is the only place to find it in a handful of places where the milongueros dance.

Nothing would get me to leave the city. I would die without being able to dance in the milongas and listen to the great music that was created here.

www.jantango.wordpress.com
 

John.St

Registered
jantango said:
... There is one thing in the capital federal which can't be found anywhere else in the world--old milongueros who dance tango...
Mendoza is (within fifteen per cent) a million-city and we do have milongas here - about ten a week, in bars, restaurants, plazas and plazoletas and including (some very) old milongueros - but of course there are many more in BsAs.
 

soulskier

Registered
I lived in southern Mendoza province for 2 years before moving to Patagonia. The people of Mendoza are super kind for sure. I always thought there were two Argentinas, BA and the interior. Thanks for posting.
 

citygirl

Registered
You know - I feel that way about Capital Federal as well. Of course I have bad days & days that I wonder why the hell I moved here but by and large, I have no regrets.

The friends I have made here have gone out of their way for me on more than one occasion. I've only had one time where a taxi tried to take me the long way around which as far as I can tell, is about .000000001% of all the times I've taken a taxi. I've had neighbors take me shopping to make sure I got the best deals. I've had random people give me back the correct change when I accidentally overpaid.

Sure, it's a big city and caveat emptor goes without saying but it's not a bad place. And if you are polite and gracious and kind, most people will return that in kind.
 

John.St

Registered
citygirl said:
I've only had one time where a taxi tried to take me the long way around which as far as I can tell, is about .000000001% of all the times I've taken a taxi.
Happens everywhere.

I recall an incidence in København (Copenhagen) (old friend of mine is a concierge in a hotel there, saw it happen - litterally, as he witnessed the whole affair).

An American tourist steps out of his hotel, asks the doorman to get him a taxi, enters taxi - something which in København immediately set you back DKK 32 = AR$ 23 = U$S 6.00 - says to driver "take me to the Imperial Theatre."

Taxi driver makes an U-turn, opens door and says "38 kroner please".
U$S 7.25 to cross the street.
 

citygirl

Registered
Oh I agree - the point of my post is that it has almost never happened to me here. People frequently post horror stories about how cab drivers take advantage of them regularly and my experience is the opposite of that.
 

jantango

Registered
A tango friend from Milan told me this incident moments after it occurred:

He took a taxi to meet me for a concert. The meter read 9.88, so he gave the drive ten pesos. The driver told him, "This is a radio taxi, so the fare is double." My friend paid 20 pesos for a ten-peso ride without question. I told him that speaking Italian in Buenos Aires means one thing to portenos: you are someone earning Euros and have enough to pay double.

This is my friend's second to Buenos Aires, and he is learning that he has to be alert.
 

John.St

Registered
citygirl said:
... horror stories about how cab drivers take advantage of them regularly and my experience is the opposite of that.
Mine too, exactly re. your point: one in a thousand is a bad apple - let's remember the 999 good ones!
 

enjoyingmylife

Registered
Thanks for your posts. Regarding the below, my experience has been that the radio taxis are the ones who have been most honest. I've had fast meters and even an attempted counterfeit switcharoo in a non-radio taxi. Suffice to say, I will only use the radios if i have any choice.

Regarding honesty and kindness in general, I've been pleasantly surprised by the general plethora of both here in BsAs. I look forward to experiencing them even more in the provinces.

jantango said:
A tango friend from Milan told me this incident moments after it occurred:

He took a taxi to meet me for a concert. The meter read 9.88, so he gave the drive ten pesos. The driver told him, "This is a radio taxi, so the fare is double." My friend paid 20 pesos for a ten-peso ride without question. I told him that speaking Italian in Buenos Aires means one thing to portenos: you are someone earning Euros and have enough to pay double.

This is my friend's second to Buenos Aires, and he is learning that he has to be alert.
 
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