Musings of a Digital Nomad

pdxReese

Registered
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
10
In February 2022, after a year of contemplating, we took the plunge and moved to BA for 6 months. We are a family of four, with two tween/teen girls, and a five-year old Labrador Retriever named Virginia. I'm not much of a blogger, but as a way of giving back to a site that helped answer many questions during our planning, I will post some of experiences and observations during our stay. More to come...
 

pdxReese

Registered
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
10
Arrival Logistics
  • In my experience, EZE is a modern airport, and we made it through immigration/customs without fanfare.
  • I opted to exchange a little bit of money at the airport (Banco Nacional), but in retrospect, I would just use USD to get from the airport to wherever you are staying in BA. I'll dedicate a post later to the whole challenge of money in Argentina, but for arrival bring about $60 in $20 bills for the taxi.
  • The airport is busy, especially late at night and early in the morning, when all of the international flights arrive/leave. You shouldn't plan anything that first day so you can just go with the flow if things take longer at the airport than expected.
  • We were flying with our dog, so we also had to clear SENASA -- which was remarkably easy given the expected government bureaucracy. We arrived late at night, but as promised there is a SENASA agent on hand 24-hrs at EZE. You have to pay extra outside of normal business hours -- but it's only the equivalent of about $20. SENASA takes credit cards, so again no reason to exchange money.
  • I'll dedicate a later post to public transit in BA (including taxis), but for now I'll just note that on advice from this forum, we opted for Taxis Ezezia. We had to wait a bit for our taxi, but our trip was relatively straightforward. Unfortunately, my wife took the dog in a separate taxi, which broke down and she arrived at the flat about an hour after us (and much more stressed).
  • You'll read on this forum and others that BA never sleeps, and it is true. We arrived at our flat at about 1:30a. We had arranged for a late check-in -- and sure enough our host was there, chipper as ever. Moreover, families were coming back from dinner, old ladies out walking their dogs, and teenagers getting ready to head out for the night. It was all a little bizarre, given that at that time in Portland even the bars would be shutting down and it would be crickets on most neighborhood streets.
And so the adventure begins...
 

pdxReese

Registered
Joined
Feb 7, 2022
Messages
4
Likes
10
Getting Settled
After a fitful first night sleep, we awoke with a mission of getting our household set up before squeezing in a side trip before the start of school. We took a divide and conquer strategy -- my wife took the kids to get school uniforms while I hit the grocery store.
School Uniforms:
One of our primary goals for this adventure was for our girls to be immersed in a different culture and learn Spanish. Selecting a school was the biggest hurdle (other than COVID) in our planning efforts. In the end, we arranged for our girls to attend a private, bilingual school. We quickly ruled out public schools, as most have a double shift with most kids only attending four hours each day. We opted against the handful of "international schools", given the exorbitant cost and generally all classes in English.
Regardless of where you land, most schools in BA -- public or private -- have some sort of uniform. Each school has a contracts with 1 or 2 local stores to "stock" the uniform, which meant the first of several trips across town to Procer to source -- first the sweater, then the skirt and shirt, and finally the elusive red socks. We also had to hit the local mall for for black sally janes and field hockey supplies. I won't even get into the sourcing of textbooks, but suffice it to say, 5-days later the girls were finally ready for the first day of school. Meanwhile...
Groceries:
In the USA, I am accustomed to doing the weekly groceries in about an hour in a single trip to our local Fred Meyer (aka Kroger). Grocery shopping is a constant reminder, that we are "not in Kansas anymore". We were fortunate to have a "modern supermarket" (COTO) near our flat. In the USA, we are "blessed" by the paradox of choice -- with a ridiculous number of options for common household items and foodstuffs. In Argentina, you have the appearance of plenty, but more often than not the shelves will be stocked with rows and rows of the same item. One day, I counted 20 feet of shelf space dedicated to the same brand and type of pasta! ... but I digress.
The biggest change in shopping habits will be the collection of stores you have to visit to assemble your necessary groceries -- typically purchased in 2-day aliquots to adjust for availability and refrigerator space. I have become accustomed to following up my trip to the supermercado with side trips to the carnicería for my meat, the verdulería for fruits and vegetables, and the Fiambrería/Quesería for my deli meat and cheese -- but in those early days it was a daily challenge to assemble a home-cooked meal.
 

sts7049

Registered
Joined
Mar 30, 2017
Messages
1,521
Likes
1,118
your observation about the grocery store selection made me laugh...i often explain the same thing to people in the US, a whole aisle dedicated to one thing. the big grocery stores here don't even come close to having the same variety in the US. it takes awhile to adapt but now i'm the same as you, 5 or 6 different sources for the various foods i buy.
 

jblaze5779

Registered
Joined
Sep 9, 2019
Messages
1,540
Likes
1,208
Getting Settled
After a fitful first night sleep, we awoke with a mission of getting our household set up before squeezing in a side trip before the start of school. We took a divide and conquer strategy -- my wife took the kids to get school uniforms while I hit the grocery store.
School Uniforms:
One of our primary goals for this adventure was for our girls to be immersed in a different culture and learn Spanish. Selecting a school was the biggest hurdle (other than COVID) in our planning efforts. In the end, we arranged for our girls to attend a private, bilingual school. We quickly ruled out public schools, as most have a double shift with most kids only attending four hours each day. We opted against the handful of "international schools", given the exorbitant cost and generally all classes in English.
Regardless of where you land, most schools in BA -- public or private -- have some sort of uniform. Each school has a contracts with 1 or 2 local stores to "stock" the uniform, which meant the first of several trips across town to Procer to source -- first the sweater, then the skirt and shirt, and finally the elusive red socks. We also had to hit the local mall for for black sally janes and field hockey supplies. I won't even get into the sourcing of textbooks, but suffice it to say, 5-days later the girls were finally ready for the first day of school. Meanwhile...
Groceries:
In the USA, I am accustomed to doing the weekly groceries in about an hour in a single trip to our local Fred Meyer (aka Kroger). Grocery shopping is a constant reminder, that we are "not in Kansas anymore". We were fortunate to have a "modern supermarket" (COTO) near our flat. In the USA, we are "blessed" by the paradox of choice -- with a ridiculous number of options for common household items and foodstuffs. In Argentina, you have the appearance of plenty, but more often than not the shelves will be stocked with rows and rows of the same item. One day, I counted 20 feet of shelf space dedicated to the same brand and type of pasta! ... but I digress.
The biggest change in shopping habits will be the collection of stores you have to visit to assemble your necessary groceries -- typically purchased in 2-day aliquots to adjust for availability and refrigerator space. I have become accustomed to following up my trip to the supermercado with side trips to the carnicería for my meat, the verdulería for fruits and vegetables, and the Fiambrería/Quesería for my deli meat and cheese -- but in those early days it was a daily challenge to assemble a home-cooked meal.
Did you check out the Mayo and oil aisle? Can't get enough Mayo...
 

FrankPintor

Registered
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
855
Likes
484
We generally get non-perishable produce at Coto, and fruit / vegetables delivered from El Tallo Verde, La Palta Sagrada, and The Food Market. Plus I get cheese delivered from Maja Jamoneria. It's easier than touring 5-6 supermarkets. That covers 80-90% of what we need, we get chicken, fish, and meat from a butcher in the local Chinese supermarket, he has good quality produce. Other than an occasional run to a Jumbo, or to Chinatown, that's all we need.
 
Top