A Experiential Comparison of Sorts...

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Argentina has definitely become my home, a new base point for all my travels.  But it has also become my basis for comparison with all the other countries that I've travelled to in South America.  Including Chile, Peru and (as of this weekend) Uruguay.  I could compare the nuance differences between Uruguay and Argentina, however at least at the surface level, there wouldn't be much to discuss.

Peru, on the other hand, offers a very different story.  When you first arrive you can only see another never ending city and initially I thought Peru was simply a poorer version of Argentina, because of the pollution, trash and old buildings.  However when I was shown the right areas to go to, I found delicious food, amazing culture and a nightlight to rival Buenos Aires.  This illustrates the biggest difference between Peru and Argentina, the inequality.  I was fortunate enough to have a guide who showed us the best and worst of Lima.  This includes the beautiful beach houses of Miraflores and the tin shack favella's set into sand dunes.  He explained that the Lima hosts the majority of the population of Peru and was not prepared to develop the infrastructure necessary to sustain everyone. This influx of such diverse people from rural areas is attributed as one of the main poverty causing issues in Peru. 

Santiago, Chile also hosts the majority of the population in Chile.  I do believe Chile has similar poverty/housing issues and definitely high inequality (with a Gini Index above .5); however we didn’t get to see much of it while there.  I think a more in depth look and poverty and inequality issues in South America would be a great addition to the program.  I am not sure if this dichotomy exists in Argentina or Buenos Aires, although there was the huge financial crisis 6 years back, the economy has recovered and I have yet to see any lasting indicators of systemic poverty.


travelman727 says:
Great comments! I've been fortunate to spend time in both Buenos Aires and Lima; I think your thoughtful observations are valid :-D
Posted on: Jun 11, 2007
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Although Argentina seems to be a very homogenous decision, there is a variety of experiences to be had.  There is a very interesting mix of old and new, tradition and Western culture, which can be seen in the architecture, neighborhoods and the people.  Thus far I am thoroughly enjoying my experience.  Although I have traveled to a lot of different places, the sponsored tours have provided an in-depth introduction to the city that makes me feel a lot closer to the culture.


As a minority I have had a unique experience with Buenos Aires.  I was told before I came by another African American female that Argentina was a very racist city and that she experienced a lot of hostility while there.  So, I came prepared to get the brunt of the same experience.  I actually decided to perform a mini social experiment.  I came to Argentina with my hair straight and I felt some stares occasionally, but I am used to being a oddity after spending 6 months in Hong Kong.  However, after I washed my hair and wore it natural and back in a pony tail.   I noticed that I got a lot more attention and I learned a new word, Morena.  Only men said it to me… so I had no clue what was going on.  I asked a friend and she said it only meant dark haired girl.  The next transition in this experiment was for me to wear my hair completely out.  I got so much attention from men!   It was intimidating in some cases because the men are so aggressive, but despite it all, I have not experienced any racism.  Everyone thinks I’m from Brazil, but it only took a week for me to realize that Argentina can be just as much like home as America.