Suitcase on wheels     stuck in the snow   sniffer dog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

39. Crime in BA (B.A, Argentina)

OK, here's a story told to me by one of my students last week, which I meant to write about in my last post but forgot to.

Around BA - 53 - Cathedral
Random pic: BA's central Cathedral

2 weekends ago my student, Diego, was going to a birthday party at a friend's house with his wife. They arrived at the address, and after parking their car in the street they got held up by a group of 3 men, wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying pistols.
- Where's your house, your house?
- Diego: I don't know, we don't live here, we're going to a party.
- Where?
- Ah, over there.
So then Diego and his wife got buzzed in to the house where the party was (nearly every house and apartment in BA has an intercom entry system), along with the gang of 3 robbers.
The robbers then herded the entire party (20 or 30 people) onto the back patio.
- OK, everyone, your cellphones.
Then went the jewellery, and the cash from everyone's wallets. From the owner of the house (who's birthday it was) they took his DVD and stereo as well. Oh, and here it's common to bring cash as a gift to a party for the birthday boy, so everyone was carrying more than usual.
- OK, everyone, what we've taken from you today isn't enough. You, your car keys. And yours. And yours. Let's go, we're going to your house.
Fortunately that was a bluff, they didn't go to anyone else's house but they did take Diego's car. His car was later found by the police in a rough villa outside of BA - surprisingly in good condition, only missing the spare wheel.

Around BA - 58 - Cloud ripple
Random pic: Cloud ripples at sunset from my balcony

The whole thing was, as they say, like a movie. But it's all too common here - so common that it wouldn't even have been reported in the press. Still, it was the first time Diego had ever been robbed, but the locals I've told the story to are never surprised that something like that happened. The robbers themselves were very cool, they were professional thieves. From his manner Diego thinks that it's possible the leader of the band was an off-duty policeman. They were well enough prepared - bullet-proof vests, pistols, and walkie-talkies, as well as 2 scouts keeping watch outside. They certainly hit the jackpot by finding a birthday party and not simply robbing a house as it seemed they had planned to.


  • That's just ridiculous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:51 AM  

  • What's ridiculous?

    By Blogger mattyboy, at 7:23 AM  

  • Mattyboy, can you contact me, i'd like to know some info about BsAs. I tried your email address on your profile, but it bounced. Mine is, thanks.

    By Blogger tierpin, at 6:50 PM  

  • I plan on moving to Buenos Aires by September and staying to February. I don't want to stay in a hostel, and I checked out "Juan's" local website and room. It seems like a good price, is $130US a month a good deal or should I keep searching?

    I would like to meet new people, and like you too I want to stay away from the English speakers and learn Castellano. Is it easy to meet people if you are not in a hostel, or hostel ridden area?

    Do you consider a residencia the same as a hostel?

    Also, I will be on a tourist visa, with no CUIT or CELTA, but I still would like to teach English if I can. Hablo español un poco, so there probably won't be any other jobs for me. It is still possible to teach, right?

    So what does it cost you (in pesos) to live each month, now that you know all the secrets?

    Thanks for the info, and in one of your blogs, you said the women and clubs were not as good as everyone described, still the case?

    Thanks Matt!

    By Blogger tierpin, at 11:20 AM  

  • Hi Tierpin,
    I don't know about Juan's local but US$130 is a good deal for a room. I'm paying US$120 and that's almost the cheapest I know of.

    It's not so easy to meet people unless you have interests - like say learning tango or something. Most of the people I met early on were through my Spanish classes so were gringos - not good for your Spanish.
    Your best bet to meet people will be in hostels, but obviously ones that cater more to South Americans than the Lonely Planet backpacker crowd. I guess that's what you mean by a residencia. There are a couple I have come across by word of mouth that have a large South American population - I eventually came across three such in San Telmo, after going loco living with gringos the first two months I was here.
    OK, you're in luck, here's the website of one The site's down right now but the address is Bolivar 589, San Telmo. That might be a good start. I guess it's a residencia.

    Yes you should be able to teach English. Working against you will be the time of year, as many courses finish from December until Februrary while the students take summer holidays, so bear that in mind. If you want to work I would advise you to get as many hours as you can to begin with, as it'll slow down over summer.

    It cost me about $1200 pesos to live each month. It's not such a comfortable lifestyle though. That was when I was being stubbornly cheap. Now I'm spending maybe $1500-$1800 month so I'm spending my savings as my wages aren't that much.

    I don't think the clubs are as good as everyone described, mainly because of the Cromañon disaster which kept the clubs shut for 3 months or so, during which time people re-discovered bars. Now the clubs are re-open, but with a legal limit of half the capacity. I had more fun clubbing in Sydney.
    As for the ladies, yeah, it took me a while to appreciate the girls here as I'd come from Sydney, but no, Argentine women are hot. Great asses.

    By Blogger mattyboy, at 7:03 AM  

  • Thanks Matt. Exactly what i needed to hear. Enjoy your trip!

    By Blogger tierpin, at 3:09 AM  

  • That crime story is so typical. I can't convince a lot of expats that this city can be very dangerous. I hate to say it (it sounds racist but in fact the racism is on the part of those who think crime is committed by non whites) but I think that just because almost everyone here is white, they think it is safer than it is. Be really careful entering your building. If someone is behnid you, walk away. DOn't let him in.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 AM  

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