There are moments when Buenos Aires and I fall a little out of love. I see friends move on, I wait in long queues (like now while I write this), inflation sores, the peso depreciates and the people dispair. It can look bleak and it’s at times like that I have to remind myself what I love about this city and the things that attracted me and kept me here. So here goes…
+ The people
There is a warmth about the people and they are above all my favourite thing, which is good because I happen to live with one. One thing I love about Argentines is they love to share. Be it a meal, a conversation, an explanation or a mate, they are always up for sharing.
When I first arrived I didn’t speak any Spanish and I always felt supported and encouraged to learn more by total strangers, as though they wanted to share their language and their country. In this city of 3 million people, it’s still possible to feel part of a community. That’s a rare thing now in a big city.
+ The old mixed in with the new
I was walking down the street the other day and I saw a woman trying to text on what I believe to one of the first Nokia phones ever made. I have seen a man on the subway listening to a portable radio next to a person listening to music on their iphone 6s.
Some people just live simply and if something is still working fine, they don’t see the need to upgrade. There are also people that love modern things and spend their pay checks on them.
The same goes for buildings. There are some beautiful old french style colonial buildings and then there are high rises and sleek new apartment complexes. I like that clashing of the new and shiny against the old and slightly crumbling.
+ Small Businesses
Perhaps this seems like a weird one but I like that on my street there are small businesses where I can buy meat, groceries and fruit and vegetables. These places are not attached to any chain, the quality of the produce is good and it costs the same if not less that big supermarkets.
In the UK small businesses have been almost been obliterated by big chain supermarkets. Many of the fewer smaller butchers and greengrocers that have survived remain for the rich as to stay in business against the larger chains they have had to up their prices. Don’t get me wrong, Argentina has its fair share of chains (Starbucks and McDonalds are taking over) however everywhere I go I see small independent businesses.
It’s just good. The amount of blue sky days we get far outnumber the rainy days. There is a clear difference between the seasons but it never gets unbearably cold. The Spring is beautiful and the Autumn is a real season in its own right, not just an early winter with leaves. I have never had to wear gloves in Buenos Aires which pleases me immensely.
+ The arts
Buenos Aires is a beautifully creative city where passions and hobbies are encouraged and taken as seriously as careers. If you want to see theatre any night of the week you can. There are endless cinemas, showing local films, hollywood films and indie films. There are endless bars and venues where you can see live music most nights of the week. The city has an artistic core to it and I feel more inspired here than I have in many other cities.