All people I know who came to Buenos Aires, aka “Bs As”, kept amazing memories of their stays. As expectations were high, there could have been some disappointments… but it was not the case!
First thing which striked us, is the look of the people. They are far from the style of other South American countries we visited… white skin, very thin bodies for girls, medium-long hair and light beard for boys… we cannot contest the fact that the Italians stayed for a period of time in the country.
Beside the physical appearance, the duality between people from BsAs, so-called the “Portenos”, and those from the countryside, alias the “interior”, is an interesting fact. In the countryside (as well as in other South American countries), people are used to saying that Portenos are particularly arrogant. This is probably due to the particular ‘castellano’ they speak, where the letters ‘y’ and ‘ll’ are pronounced [ ʃ ]. Or again due to the fact that they are generally less accessible than their Latin neighbors, having a more European character. However, argentines have a surprising interest for European people and culture, which finally make these first barriers easier to pass, and will allow European visitors to discover the argentine complexity without too much difficulties. Meeting around a barbecue (called “asado”) of marvelous argentine meat, wandering around under a climate always favorable, dancing a sensual tango… this is the charm of Argentina, and its people.
Other significant element, the architecture… the Italian and French influences are remarkable. There is a constant research of style with a mix of baroque & (neo)-classic architecture. You can see great building façades, or little botanic garden on the last floor of an edifice, or again arcade-shaped walkways… everything is so beautiful, and very concentrated. That’s for me a major advantage of BsAs. Indeed, the city covers an area of 200km2, whereas you can find more than 13 million people in the metropole. This is a major comfort when you need to commute, visit friends, attend a show.
Of course, not everything is perfect. The recent history has profoundly marked people there. Both the violent dictatorship of the 70s, and the economical crisis of 2001, removed any trust the argentine could have in their politicians. Many demonstrations are occurring every day in the street… I have never seen that in any other countries. As well, as a tourist, you will need to buy a book to know ‘approximately’ where to take one of the hundred bus lines of the city, or you will be surprised by the poverty and people opening all the trashes at night in the street, making some districts terribly dirty. However, this is not removing the charm I found in the city and the people in there… a place where it feels good to live!