Is BA the Right Place for Me?


Oct 18, 2007
Hello I'm Joe and I'm considering visiting BA to see if I want to reside there for an extended period. I'm 52 and making a modest income from investments but not enough to live comfortably in the US. And I am tired of working for "the man". Last year I went to Thailand (Land of Smiles!) for five months and was happy for a while but then the blazing heat just wore me down.I was really psyched about visiting BA, but then I read some posts in this forum about muggings and people constantly looking over their shoulders and looking scared. Is crime really that bad? Before I went to Thailand I also read many anecdotal cases of crime in LOS - but reading between the lines, it seemed that most of the foreigners that got into trouble were drunk, stoned or cavorting with working girls (and often all three). Is it the same in Argentina - that most of the foreigners that get into trouble had put themselves at risk?I've lived in LA and worked off of skid row, lived in London and traveled throughout SE Asia and was never accosted (KNOCK ON WOOD!!!) and I believe it is more from being cautious than from luck ... but who knows...
Are there any readers who have lived in both Land of Smiles (LOS) and Land of Tango (LOT) and could compare the two?My needs are modest - use the internet in the morning, then workout at the gym, go to a modest restaurant for lunch, practice Spanish, cook dinner or go out with friends a couple of times a week. The things that appeal to me about LOT over LOS are the climate (not so hot and humid!), cheap wine instead of cheap beer, not so third world (e.g. dusty streets), colonial architecture and learning a language that would be useful in the USA. Is BA a good place to try?
I thought I would get in before all the negh sayers. I don't claim to be the expert, still spending most of my time in UK, but from what I have seen the street crime is over stated. Unless of course you go about advertising your wealth and do not keep your wits about you. I have found it in those terms no better or worse than any other major city.
We entertained some people from NZ and the big guy who walked about in cut offs and teeshirts carried a big rucksack, managed to get robbed three times in ten day.Personally the only time I have been accosted is by someone telling me to be careful.
Live the dream and make up your own mind. Good luck
1500/2000 peso should be enough for you to live the life you want(excl rent) If you want to travel calculate something like 1000 peso a month more.
You can probally rent something semi decent for around 500 dollar
So my guess is you need 1200/1500 dollar to be comfortable. Excluding the cost you have in the US and ticket
Also if you don't like hot and humid, you will definitely not enjoy BA during summer months.
Two things - the first may seem weird but here goes. BECOMING INVISIBLE
Last Summer I lived in Palermo Soho at the times of several on-street robberies in broad daylight with people looking on. Motorcycle thieves would ride up to an outdoor cafe - dismount - beat on a cafe sitter and take watches and jewlery.How did they know they were tourists? DUHNow - I thought I was looking less American back then and more Portena - but not according to my friends - Patt you look American."But all my clothes were purchased here." Sorry mina.Consequently when I was carrying rent money, my laptop, or anything of value, or when I simply felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up that day I would run my errands wearing my surgical scrubs. I never got a second look. I became INVISIBLE.
I have blended more the longer I have been here. The one thing that does make me a bit uncomfortable though is talking in English on the street with another foreigner. I watch people "watching" when I am chatting in English on the SUBTE or the street. It makes me uncomfortable. Perhaps I am over-cautious but I picked this up from the fellow I have been seeing. Whenever we get onto the street he speaks Castellano with me almost exclusively. When in La Plata I felt safe taking photos with him (I do not feel safe in BA with my telephotos) but he was looking over his shoulder A LOT. When I mentioned I felt safer here in La Plata he said something to the affect - "Don't discount - 2 people with cameras speaking English - we are TARGETS." You got stuff? Leave it at home. The crime here is theft.And - uh ummmm - what time of year are you planning on arriving? BA is hot and humid - I mean HOT AND HUMID in our summer. The last 2 years I believe we have had record highs. I can handle heat - used to live in Florida and have worked int the jungle in Peru -but BA is a city - the pollution levels are serious . And let's not forget the mosquitos.If you do not like humidity and like dry heat then Mendoza is a good little city to stay. Just know it gets and stays hot here. Add into your budget a place with airconditioning.
"Fishface" said:
It is not 'cheap' as people may point out - those days are gone.
You will spend the same money as where you are now (unless you live in Manhattan, London or Tokyo)
The TV the other night said it is more expensive in BsAs Recoleta to buy coffee and Croissants than in a cafe in Paris looking at the Arc d'Triumphe.
Like it for what it is - and prepare for inflation.
I can find several studio apartments in BA on the internet for US$500. A short term apartment in San Francisco or LA will cost at least $1500 if you are lucky. In Seattle where I am now, short term studios cost at least US$1200. Even in places off the coast you will pay at least US$1000 for a short term studio. So for my biggest expense - rent - seems like a lot less unless I am missing something.If you look at the back of the Economist magazine, in the currency exchange rate table, of all the currencies listed, only one has lost value to the US dollar in the last year - yes only the Argentine peso. With Brazil's currency gaining value along with Argentina's other neighbors then that would partially explain the inflation - everything Argentina imports is getting more expensive.I plan to visit in March with a free ticket - hopefully the US dollar won't completely collapse in the interim.Also regarding crime, are any of you familiar with Montivideo? How does the crime and cost of living there compare to BA?Thanks for all the feedback.
Far be it from me to contradict, but I must point out: I live in the sticks and a cup of coffe in our town centre is about £1.80 not far short of 9 pesos go to London and you can double that.
Buenos Aires is nowhere near as cheap as it was the first time I visited, but prices come a long way off reaching UK or France.
Well written as usual WWYou get back what you give. I know people that see so much negative and it comes right back to them here or anywhere. I just don't have the same experiences. Mine are GOOOOOOOD.Live in the light.
I am donning my bikini and heading to the park with a couple of good books and a notepad. Working outside the corporate world has its advantages - will continue work/play in the afternoon prior to socializing. And I too am LIVING in Argentina re-inventing myself. I would have to work a lot harder, many more hours, and with more stress to lead the same lifestyle in USA. And for what? To pay bills? NAH. Then when would I have the time or energy for the creative projects I do that really create my happiness and my "right" livelihood?It's a no- brainer to me - To the park !
uh hmmmm - is there a wynn woods post missing or did I screw up and post to the wrong thread?
Joe, I say...c'mon down! See for yourself. BA will tell you exactly what will and will not work for you. Visit, have some good affordable wine, attend an asado, visit the barrios, dance some tango . You have to see BA with your own eyes and make your own conclusions. Or make the visit a couple of times in different times of the year, if finance is not a restriction.
I just got back from a visit from a realtor who got stripped and gagged and tied up, his cell phone stolen and the 150pesos in his wallet, he was left for dead at Nunez (warehouse) he was showing. He is always wearing a suit, and so does thousands of office people in BsAs, but he is a real estate agent in his late 50's , he was kicked and punched and all for 150pesos and a cellphone. He was tied up and the warehouse locked as the robbers left; he managed to roll all the way to the door and started kicking the door (metal) and them someone came and he was in his skivvies all bloodied - the taxis won't take him, it was a worker who managed to call the police and took him to the hospital. All police can say was " Oh,this happened just like this 2 weeks ago.." So you know...
Crime, when it hits close to home - no matter what the statistics say, is irrelevant when you know the victim. There is no safe place anymore, you have to create it in your mind and live life as you want it to be lived and find joy in little things in life.
Crime and inflation almost come hand in hand, everywhere. I should know, having travelled Asia alot - when people are hungry, they will do just about anything to get food in their stomach. It all comes down to you and what you want and badly you want it - like they say "If there is a will, there is a way".
So Joe, visit and hang out here for a bit. If it is not what you hoped it would be, head back home and start the search again.
We do not really know you, so we do not know what you think you must absolutely have, can live without and will not be able to stand at all (noise, bus fumes, honking) and if your level of tolerance is high or low on matters of differences between where you come from and what you will see here.
Visit BA and leave your rosy colored glasses at home. Load up on sense of humor and wit, and if you are a seasoned travel like the way you said you are, you will have a great time during your visit.