In defense of tourists

EliA

Registered
Occasionally I pick up on a bit of scorn in the tone of some people's posts toward 'tourists,' aka people who come to Argentina to live for a year or two or three. I am back in the U.S. for the time being, but having been one such tourist with the perspective afforded one returned to her native country, I'd like to defend us.

First of all, let me be the first to say that I am often annoyed by tourists, especially from my own country. But anyone who has the opportunity and the balls to live abroad should be commended, even the obnoxious ones. Much like urban density results in a higher percentage of open-minded individuals, extended travel results in increased cultural understanding and tolerance, and often makes people more well-rounded (aka less annoying) individuals.

Second of all, being a long-term tourist is HARD. I would argue that in many ways it's harder than picking a country and staying put. For permanent expats, you know that the life you build is yours to keep. You can actively pursue a career; you can buy furniture and even property; you can get a pet, grow plants, and accumulate things without the anxiety that sooner rather than later you'll have to get rid of it all; you can get a DNI and a driver's license; you can forge lasting friendships and relationships without the dread of getting too close before abandoning country.

Raymond Carver said something along the lines of "constant movement is a sign of greater longing." A permanent resident here knows what he wants; Argentina is not perfect but to him, it is at least home. Temporary tourists are in search of something, and while it's exhilirating and a priviledge to be able to cast such a wide net during this search, it's also confusing and often very lonely.

Finally, we have to put up with people's shit when they tell us, "you don't really live here." It's actually quite easy to feel at home after a short time somewhere, especially if one has put effort into assimilating. But to be told that we don't count - that others do not consider our newly adopted home as being actually ours - is harsh and even heartbreaking. If we can't have your support we'll gladly take your silence on the subject.

So, to all you long-term tourists: take heart! You have earned the right to call Argentina home, even if it's just for a short while. Don't let anyone's snobbery or superiority take that away from you.
 

citygirl

Registered
Not sure what prompted this post but I agree. And FWIW - I certainly wouldn't consider anyone who is living here for several years a "tourist" Insane maybe but not a tourist ;) (tongue in cheek obviously!)

ETA - I think sometimes the frustration comes from "newbies" who have a very limited view or experience but yet post about things like how cheap BsAs is or how amazing it is and anyone who complains should just go home or how they're going to come here and live on 1000 dollars for 6 months, etc. Not directed towards you OP at all but there are definitely those who do act that way.

Living here for a year or 6 months is one thing and great, no one is invalidating someone's experiences. But it is a very different experience to be here long-term and deal with the frustrations and challenges.

My first go round here - I lived here 8 months and didn't work. Life couldn't have been easier or better. When I came back and was working here, dealing with the challenges of doing business here and employees and trying to get paperwork done and banks and bills and all the rest - well, it's been a very different experience. I love it here, don't get me wrong, but seeing Argentina through the eyes of a "resident" vs a "tourist" is a very different experience.
 

Katie

Registered
I completely agree, EliA, especially with the difficulty of "truly" settling here. I know that eventually I'll go back to the U.S. so I have to stop myself from buying furniture, appliances, etc that would make my life easier in the short term. And I would LOVE to have a dog, but it's just not feasible. These difficulties don't diminish my experience, but it can be a challenge.
 

EliA

Registered
citygirl said:
Not sure what prompted this post but I agree.
I actually wrote this several months ago in the thick of my time in BsAs but never posted it for some reason. I was just digging through some personal archives, found it, and reflected on how true it still felt, especially now that I am back to the ease of my own language and the comfort of my own culture.

I absolutely agree, some newbies are misguided, naive, and just plain stupid. But they're still here! Think of all the people who will never leave their country, maybe never even their state or province... I'll take a stupid traveler over a stupid non-traveler (who has the means to travel, just not the balls - I'm not putting down the people who would love to go abroad but can't) any day. There's just something disturbing about someone who has no desire to see what else is out there, and there is a lot more hope for the traveler to pull his head out of his arse.
 

nikad

Registered
Whilst I respect your opinion and am happy that you had a good time, I do not think that one should feel proud of breaking the law and / or bending it to favor you or your situation. I actually think you have not been a tourist but an illegal immigrant, like many others. I also do not think a statement like this would be welcome anywhere but in a place where many others share your condition...sorry to sound bitter and not share your citizen of the world point of view. Lots of expats worked hard to live here legally, others never get to experience living abroad because they do respect the law the same way they would in their home country...
 

HowardinBA

Registered
nikad said:
Whilst I respect your opinion and am happy that you had a good time, I do not think that one should feel proud of breaking the law and / or bending it to favor you or your situation. I actually think you have not been a tourist but an illegal immigrant, like many others. I also do not think a statement like this would be welcome anywhere but in a place where many others share your condition...sorry to sound bitter and not share your citizen of the world point of view. Lots of expats worked hard to live here legally, others never get to experience living abroad because they do respect the law the same way they would in their home country...
who is that aimed at Nikad?:cool:
 

nikad

Registered
HowardinBA said:
who is that aimed at Nikad?:cool:
;) I think there was a poll a while ago and it was a good sampler of the variety of situations of a lot of people on this forum. I do not judge though, to each their thing.
 

ssr

Registered
nikad said:
Whilst I respect your opinion and am happy that you had a good time, I do not think that one should feel proud of breaking the law and / or bending it to favor you or your situation. I actually think you have not been a tourist but an illegal immigrant, like many others. I also do not think a statement like this would be welcome anywhere but in a place where many others share your condition...sorry to sound bitter and not share your citizen of the world point of view. Lots of expats worked hard to live here legally, others never get to experience living abroad because they do respect the law the same way they would in their home country...
Oh, knock it off...
 

Jimbo

Registered
Well at least some of them would know now how like and feel be as an illegal Mexican on the other side of the Rio Grande....what a generous country still Argentina, considering all their problems still receiving with open arms people from every corner of the world regardless of religion, race or political affiliations.
 

arty

Registered
Illegal aliens take jobs and use public resources like schools and hospitals and don't pay into the system. Perma-tourists, last time I checked, don't usually do those things and bring money into the country.
 
Top