Crossing into Argentina
Trip Start Jun 27, 2008
73Trip End Ongoing
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Official Name: Argentine Republic
2nd largest country in South America, and eighth in the world
(slightly less than 3/10 the size of the United States)
Official Language: Spanish
English, German, Italian and French are also widely spoken.
Capitol: Buenos Aires
1 USD= 3.45 Pesos
Well known for: the Patagonia, Iguazu Falls and their BEEF! All grass fed- and primo!
Argentina is classified as an Upper Middle Income Country- (while the other South American countries that I have visited have been of a lower classification as they were not developed nations.)
Argentina is considered to be a country of immigrants- primarily from Spain and Italy.
Farmed: Honey, soybeans and sunflowers along with wheat and maize (corn)
I am looking forward to seeing Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires- the city that never sleeps- and the Patagonia where I hope to see my very first glacier.
I can not believe the contrast between Bolivia and Argentina. Just a day ago I was in a country where brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth with the tap water was playing Russian roulette with your intestines and now I am in Argentina where you can drink the tap water without fear of being doubled over in pain for weeks. Wi fi access is everywhere- even in the small corner café's. How is this possible when just yesterday I was cursing the snails pace internet in Bolivia??? The showers here have HOT water TWENTY FOUR hours a day! (Which is such a contrast from Bolivia- where you were lucky just to have water 24 hours a day... let alone lukewarm water.) Even the cars here look so very Western. I could easily be in any European country... this does NOT feel like South America anymore. Very strange.
I am not really sure how I feel about the sudden and dramatic change in "my" South America. There was something so rustic, so simple about my travels up until now. The transport was iffy at best- you would never know what your backpack might be covered in when you arrived at your destination... whether it be fish juice, mud, water or some indiscernible material: and now... well now I am in a country with baggage check, HUGE buses that make you feel as if you are sitting first class in an airplane. We don't even have anything close to the buses that are here in Argentina!
Naturally all of these luxurious amenities come at a steep cost. Over night my travel expenses have tripled and my cost of living has just about doubled! I am in a state of shock at the moment as I am still trying to process the black and white differences between Bolivia and Argentina. How is it possible that two countries lying side by side can have such distinct poverty levels??? There is something so very shocking about this.
All right... enough of that... J I am now in Salta, Argentina.
Salta is a LOVELY city and I am enjoying walking aimlessly up and down the countless blocks that are lined with such amazing boutique shops. I still can not get over the fact that signal lights actually MEAN something here... and that they are not merely a suggestion to careless drivers on the road! I don't have to run like a mad woman every time I cross the street... I can actually walk across when the light is red for oncoming traffic! (It is really funny what I have gotten accustomed to since I have been down here.)
I have to admit my favorite thing so far was my first visit to an Argentinean grocery store! The meat and cheese aisles were AMAZING! Fabulous cheeses and gorgeous deli foods... for the past 7 months I have been shopping in markets that have had only 1 type of cheese and meats that I wouldn't dare risk buying. I spent 45 minutes in the market- walking up and down the aisles checking out the familiar brands, products and the huge selections. I spent a ghastly amount on cheeses, salamis and crackers... but my belly right now... is telling me "it was worth it!" I can not wait to try the world renowned beef!