Living Large
November 4, 2003 - Buenos Aires, Argentina

It doesn't take muchto live large here. Since the currency was devalued, just having dollars enable a nice standard of living. You get three times more bang for your buck than you did in 2001. And they do know how to live here. With a long tradition of dining out and great ingredients (especially if beef is your thing) you simply can't go wrong in restaurants here.
 
I am used to cheap food in Latin America. But not 5 star cuisine. My $10 dinner last night included an excellent cut of beef, wine, dessert, style, service and ambiance. Makes you wish you were hungry enough to do it all over again.
 
 
argentina adventure travel pictures
          Cafe' con Leche AKA Latte
And the residents here (they call themselves Portenos) love their cafes. In some neighborhoods there is one on every corner. Elegant little places with that are busy all day long. Then there are the massive ones with huge banks of pastries on display. Your beverage is always served backed by a small glass of soda water plus a croissant or small sample sized pastry.Starbucks has not arrived in Buenos Aires yet. Perhaps for good reason. Why would you grab a cup to go when you could linger and enjoy.
 
 
McDonalds has adapted successfully to the Portenos way of life. McCafes seem to do the trick here. And then there is McDelivery. Big Mac, fries, and a Coke to your door for $2.50. On the phone they ask what denomination of Peso you will be using and your change is ready in and envelop with your meal.


Stylish McDonalds           
 
 

McDelivery!                   
 
But McDonalds isn't the only one to deliver. In Recoleta, my adopted neighborhood, everyone delivers! Cafes, restaurants, groceries, even the local version of Sams Club/Costco. Doggie-Day-Care picks up and delivers. Exercise and a social life for your pooch, five hours each day for 80 cents!
 

Doggie Day Care
 
Joel, my pal and host here earns California dollars as a Bay Area accountant but spends money and three quarters of his time here. He has a luxury apartment here for the price of a hovel in San Francisco. He does his work online and returns to the States only for tax deadlines. The lifestyle is not for everyone but it has its advantages.
 

   Worlds Widest Street, 20 lanes!
He has a surrogate mother figure in the form of a warm and caring maid. Twice a week she cooks and cleans for him. He never needs to leave the house except for fun and his Spanish lessons. His new Venezuelan girlfriend may see to it that he never returns any semblance of his former life in the States. I wish him well and appreciate the hospitality!
 
 
I am happy to have contributed to Joel's technology for living here. I brought an internet based phone system (www.vonage.com) with me that I will be donating to his cause. I got it for myself to see if it would work for me on the road. But it is so perfect for his situation that I am going to leave it with him.

Ten Cents a Pound          
 
It is simply a regular phone connected to small box connected to the internet. With it you can call anywhere in the States or Canada for free ($25 monthly fee). But the best part is that people in the states can call you as if you were in the states! You choose your own area code. Think about that for a moment! Joel's clients in San Francisco can call a local phone number and reach him as if he were down the street - when in fact, unbeknownst to the caller, he is several thousand miles away, living large.
 

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