|Something on Palermo, one of Buenos Aires most traditional and fancy neighbourhoods. Feel at home in Palermo. Dance, dine and shop along its cobble stone streets Buenos Aires used to be a wonderful city.|
Its standard of living was considered the highest in Latin America.However several economical crisis led to a terminal crisis en 2001.Several governments´ policies ended up almost destroying Argentine economy. Unemployment, factories´ shut down, housing, health and educational deterioration were the distinctive trait during the past thirty years until that crisis.Basically, our country impoverishment was the result of externally led policies. And probably the most ridiculous of them all was to set a one to one, peso-dollar, monetary evenness.
After the crisis, there was no other exit than to alter that policy and that fact allowed the stoppage of the imports flood and the beginning of a slow but persistent export activity. And the country and also the capital city seems to be getting on its feet once again.
Thus, actually, almost three million tourists are visiting Argentina every year. Half of them come from Europe or the US. Many of them come attracted by the Patagonian or Northern landscapes.Many others just remain in Buenos Aires attracted by the cosmopolitan «porteña» atmosphere. This is what a visitor immediately breathes as soon as he gets here.
Of course it would be impossible to describe the innumerable attractions that our city offers. But undoubtedly, Palermo, one of its oldest and most traditional boroughs is one of them.Palermo used to be a very traditional neighbourhood. Many Tango lyrics describe its very well known race tracks, its cobble stone streets, its tree bordered plazas and its cafes. Palermo shows one of the largest parks than any major city of the world can offer. Fountains, lagoons, statues and promenades can be found.A wonderful zoo and botanical garden, as well as a Japanese one, are here to be discovered.
But Palermo is also known for its large gastronomic variety. All sort of ethnical restaurants are available. German, Italian, Mexican, French, Arabic and Indian food, among others, are eagerly waiting along its generally sunny, calm and attractive streets. Prices, on the other hand, are simply astonishing. A couple may eat and drink an exquisite argentine wine at the fanciest restaurant for no more than fifty dollars. Both of them!
Palermo has also developed in the last five or six years two very fancy sectors suggestively named Soho and Hollywood, where most of our clothing and fashion designers show their creative work. Palermo has reached an international level without losing its petty borough spirit.
Where life is a tango
Buenos Aires is a strollable, cosmopolitan city, where the dollar goes far and the sultry dance is everywhere. Hernán, our taxi driver in Buenos Aires one night after a dinner flowing with Malbec, offered a resonant assessment of his town.
«There are two things I love,» he said, looking at us in his rearview mirror. «First, the weather. Second, it doesn’t matter where you come from.»
I can’t agree with the former. We expected summer warmth during a February trip to the Southern Hemisphere, but it rained most of the seven days my fiancee and I spent in Argentina.
But the truth of the latter point – Buenos Aires welcomed us, like it seems to welcome all newcomers – wiped out any chill and left only pleasant memories of my new favorite city.
The most cosmopolitan of Latin American capitals, Buenos Aires oozes beauty – from its European-infused architecture to its soaring monuments to its stunningly good-looking inhabitants, who call themselves porteños, to the passion and luster of the tango. I did double-takes everywhere, at animate and inanimate objects alike.
It also is a city of perpetual reinvention – navigated by the Portuguese, settled by the Spanish, attacked by the British and influenced by the Americans.
The reinvention continues now. After emerging from a financial crash in 2001 in which the national currency lost 75 percent of its value, Argentina and its capital city are clawing back.
The country’s tourism ministry has embarked on an ambitious pitch for visitors, touting Argentina as an attractive alternative to Europe – offering urban sophistication at a much lower price. The nation is stable, but the peso is weak – affording a luxurious vacation for a price sure to shock a New Yorker. (Last week, the dollar was worth 2.9 pesos.)
Buenos Aires is now rife with chatter in several languages, and daily nonstop flights from JFK are crowded. We encountered travelers from Germany and various spots in Latin America.
Thankfully, we found that in a region of more than 12 million people, there are enough places to avoid touristy klatches.
Part of that can be traced to our decision to rent an apartment, even though visitors seeking a comfortable hotel will find many that don’t cost much. Our one-bedroom flat in residential Recoleta totaled $245 for the week and was cozy – deceptively so, considering how large it looked in a picture online. The neighborhood, about a 20- minute walk from downtown, is home to upwardly mobile professionals and families as well as cafes and bistros and Parque Las Heras, a park famous for its dog walkers.