I understand what you are saying Igor, yes there are many things, which we love about Argentina, I love the space in the country where I live outside the city. I love to ride out on a summers afternoon and see the fabulous colours of the sky just before dusk, I love the people in the "campo" who are happy to spend hours by a fire roasting a lamb and drinking vino Tinto. Yet in response to your comment
"I really dream about a day when somebody will write about how he went to a concert and liked it. It is as simple as that."
I shall tell you why that is not happening, because we may have been to a fabulous concert, but sadly the main element or conversation of the evening post concert is that we were ripped off and had to pay at least double or three times what the locals paid to enjoy the same thing, that's why! Sadly what should have been a memorable evening leaves you feeling depressed and exploited.
The sad thing about Argentina is this, we as foreigners come here with an open heart and often have a romantic idea bout Argentina. Anybody that has read Bruce Chatwin's "in Patagonia" can have nothing else. Then we are sadly exploited in a way that I personally have never experienced anywhere else in the world.
Let me tell you this story, (sorry but bear with me)
A few weeks ago I needed to change dollars. I went to a local HSBC, which I never usually use. As I got to the bank entrance there were three female bank employees outside having a "fag break". As I went to push the door they told me that the bank was now closing. I sighed and said I did not realise it was so late. At that point one of the women started to give me all this advice about where I could change my dollars after three o’clock, she was sooooo nice and started to chat and chat, It was hard to pull away, then she went into this whole thing about life insurance and that if I would like to pop in and have a chat and a coffee she would give me a really good deal blah blah blah, I thanked her and explained that I had insurance organised thank you very much. I said goodbye as she squashed her card into my hand and I rushed back to my car to hunt for another solution for my dollars.
A few days later, I go back to the same bank. I was the sole customer in the bank and went up to the window where one does the exchange transactions. There was a chap about 30, moving his papers around. I needed to get his attention and said "Buenos tardes". He looked up without smiling. I presented 400 dollars and passed them under the window and slipped my passport underneath the thick glass. Well, he fiddled around for about 6 minutes with my passport flipping through all its pages tapping at his computer. At this point I said in Spanish, "um is there something you don’t understand" in answer to which he scowled at me and replied "when did you come into the country", I asked for the passport and opened the page of my last entry stamp and passed it back. He then gets up and goes over to a colleague and the two of them proceed to go through my passport. Pointing at pages and muttering between themselves.
He returns to his desk and say’s quite rudely, "which country is this passport from" (helloooooo) "um as you can see its got United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland stamped across there" (prat) "so what’s that then?" he says" "British passport" I reply through clenched teeth. (I would have like to have said (la puta madre!) again he starts tapping away then he say's in the most abrupt manner. "Where are you staying, I need proof of address". I said, "I beg your pardon? what on earth do you need that for?" He said, "I need it". As I needed the dollars I told him I was staying at the Sheraton (LIE), he then asked for proof. At this point I was very pissed and asked to see the manager. The manager rather like the soldiers that dropped on goose green promptly at the first sight of retaliation ran into a room at the back. I then very loudly asked for my dollars and passport back and insisted on the name of the shit behind the glass and the name of the yellow bellied manager. No response from ANYBODY. I now go over to another counter and say to the girl, "could you please write down the name of the manager of this branch for me". She looks at me in total disdain and say's "for what reason". I then demanded that she give me the name as I was a HSBC client (in London) and intended to make a complaint to the head office. Only after making several threats and noises did I get the stroppy girl to give me the manager’s name under duress. As I picked up the piece of paper that she literally "tossed" at me, I leant over and said, "it was a different story last week when you were trying to sell me life insurance huh?
So yes Argentina is very beautiful, but the Argentine mentality is starting to grind at us long time residents. If day after day month after month year after year you get ripped off and have to deal with their sloppy service, laziness, lack of business ethics, greediness, mercenary attitude, bad manners in not returning calls or respecting appointments, etc etc etc, naturally we are going to lose the romance.
When I am out in my farm like this evening with my log fire (because I have no central) my smelly dogs sniffing under my door trying to get in to the hearth and my daughter in the kitchen sipping mate until the early hours of the morning with our fabulous nanny talking about which reggaton tunes they are switching via bluetooth, its perfect,
But the moment I go into Buenos Aires and have to deal with the lethal and retarded driving on the Panamericana, get ripped off going to see a show and then have sloppy service at a restaurant only to discover that when I get back to my car, that my babies car seat has "vanished" I hate the place, but I love my husband and stay.
regards to all