Some observations and rules to live by if you want to keep your sanity in Buenos Aires.
I love the city, but it's like a family. Vaguely dysfunctional and yet somehow endearing. A thing for which you feel simulteanous love and total frustration. Some tips for survival.
It takes longer than you think it should to get anywhere.
People do not stand to the right on escalators. That’s just a NY thing. Deal.
Buy a Guia-T. Get a monedero. Keep your change, just in case.
The bus routes lie: sometimes they kick you off early. They lie to us. (See: The 128.) Be prepared for your subway line to close. Yes, the whole thing. No, it will not be open promptly.
But sometimes inexplicably they let you on the subway for free. I love pasa libre.
When picking an apartment get it near the bus routes. Forget about the subway.
It is impossible to get a cab on New Year’s Eve.
Without fail, when you need to go to the airport in a rush there will be a strike on the highway. Add two hours.
Baldosas Falsas: Loose tiles that after rain will splash you with tepid street rainwater.
Lots of dog poop.
Microcentro after dark: No.
Banks will run out of money.
Gas stations will run out of gas.
When they refill the bank’s ATM, they are refilling ALL of the ATMs on that street. Simultaneously. You will not find cash. Often this happens the day your rent is due.
Prices will rise. Daily. It’s called inflation.
Break your 100s when possible. Kiosks will not accept 100 for a piece of gum.
I have tried.
Feria Americanas: The best deals on clothing. BUT. Wash the clothing first.
Separate your carton for the cartoneros.
Everything closes on Sundays. Everything.
Your phone will always run out of carga in the middle of a conversation. On a Sunday. You have been warned.
My happy place for food: Chinatown.
You will love medialunas, because this city will force them down your throat.
Churros make you fat. Especially the ones filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate.
Now Serving: Parilla. Or Empanadas.
Beware the Choripans.
Available Flavors for Anything: Dulce de Leche.
Conversationexchange.com. Konex Center. VuenosAirez.com
Group events- arriving 1-2 hours late is on time.
When in doubt, come bearing empanadas or malbec.
One on one- be prompt. Unless everyone else is running late. It happens.
No one minds new friends. Reach out.
If you are Italian, mention your Italian roots.
If you are British, lie and mention your “Italian roots. “
Saying goodbye never gets easy.
Everything will take twice as long as you think it should.
If you’re going to be late, at least look nice.
If you’re going to look nice be prepared for the piropos (flirty pick up lines).
Don’t encourage the piropo-ers, but remember what they say.
Cause like all the BA annoyances, once you’re gone, you’re gonna miss it.