70. To all the haters (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
However, ever since I've started writing more about the negative aspects of Argentina, the questions have stopped coming in and I've started to receive negative comments posted here in return. No one's actually written me any hatemail yet, but one or two readers have left a few nasty anonymous comments. The needlessly nasty ones I've deleted but the others I've left in. Sure, I could disable the anonymous comments feature to stop the haters posting, but that would be annoying for those who wish to leave a helpful comment without signing up for a blogger account.
One such nasty comment was left in response to my last post a couple of days ago. Apart from being a character attack from someone who does not know me and is too cowardly to sign the post with their name, it does raise a few points which some of you are probably wondering about, so I will address it.
For someone who hates the country and complains about the people so much and hates everything that is Argentine, I cannot for the life of me understand why the hell you would (1) want to go back (2) spend so much time writting about it or should I say bitching about it.
I have a theory though;
1) Your Argentine friends obviously dont know about this blog (for sure your girlfriends parents dont know about it),
2) You must be such a pain in the arse in person that you are not really welcome back in Kiwi land.
I don't hate Argentina. A couple of posts ago I wrote a list of things I love about Argentina, including Argentine people. My main hates which I've already written about are the corruption and the bureaucracy. My latest peeve is the dire customer service that is so widespread.
The simple reason I returned - for love. For my girlfriend. And I had unfinished business literally, i.e. I'd started a business here which is still in the startup phase, and I wanted to see that through.
As for why I spend time bitching about it. Well, why not? I write about what I think and what I see. If things are good, I'll write it. If things are bad I'll write that too. Lately there's been more bad that good, that's all. I've always been one to speak my mind, and if something needs to be said I'll say it. And if it doesn't need to be said I'll probably say it anyway. Even Argentines who read this blog have sent me feedback agreeing with the negative things I've written.
My Argentine friends do know about my blog, and the ones that understand English read it from time to time. I know they really enjoyed reading it when I was travelling around, as they could see what I was up to (hell, that's why I started it in the first place), but I haven't really heard any feedback from them about the negative things I've written. I'm not one to constantly bitch and moan about the state of things to them anyway, but if they ask me my opinion I'm not afraid to give it, unlike most foreigners here who are content to say it's a "linda pais" (pretty country) or "me gusta" (I like) and leave it at that. That's to my friends, though. To everyday Argentines that I encounter I always just say I like the place. No one likes to hear bad things about their country from someone they don't know. EVERY local I meet always asks why the hell I'm here, and many shake their heads in disbelief when I say I like it here. So then I mention my girlfriend and they understand.
I don't think I'm a pain in the arse in person. I know I used to bitch a lot to my friends, which was a negative trait of my personality that I've tried to address. In person I think I've cut that down a lot. Now the only ones who hear me bitching like I used to are my girlfriend and you blog readers out there. This blog allows me to vent a bit of frustration about the things that piss me off. I still write this blog as if I'm writing it for my friends back home, even if now a lot more people read it.
I am a foreigner and have spent a huge amount of time in Argentina the last 5 years so I will give you a bit of free advice ... Open your mind!!! You may see what is so wonderful about the country and the people, nobody is perfect, but at least the Argentines dont screw their pantuflas dreaming they are sheep.
Oh and one other thing ... If you think Aerolineas is so crap, get the couple of extra bucks out of your tight ass and fly LAN.
My mind's wide open man. I don't know why you think it's closed. Look, most foreigners who visit here leave loving the place. Those that come back might spend a couple of months living in an apartment with other foreigners in a nicer part of town like Palermo or Recoleta, sleeping until mid-afternoon, sipping coffee with medialunas by day and dancing Tango by night. They might even study Spanish part-time but what with all their foreign friends they'll get so few opportunities to speak the language that they'll have to resort to advertising to find a local to practice Spanish with. After a few months they'll go back home and tell everyone what a great time they had. All of which is fine by me, they can live how they like.
But I actually tried damn hard to immerse myself in the Argentine culture. I worked for a living, and earned a measly wage. Although I had money in the bank, I tried living off my wages only, to see how locals struggle to get by. I lived in a pension full of Argentines just getting by, with a shared kitchen but no fridge, and cooked for myself every night. I distanced myself from the foreign friends I'd made and made Argentine friends. I sought out a girlfriend who didn't speak English (we're still together).
And now I've spent the last six months struggling to start my own business in the transport/tourism industry, and have documented in this blog how tough that is too. Man, I only just skimmed the surface on that! I could have written a blog entry every couple of days on the hoops I've had to jump through for the last six months. As I said before, it wasn't any tougher for me to get started than a local because I'm a foreigner, as I did everything in my girlfriend's name. I haven't just read about how hard it is to live here, and how frustrating it can be to get ahead, I've lived it. So don't tell me my mind's closed!
It seems to be those who fit into the aformentioned stereotype of foreigners living here who are posting negative comments, yet they haven't seen a side of Argentina I have. The closest they'll come is they'll try to find an apartment here without a garantia, so they'll have to rent one at foreigner's rates but since they're only here for a few months before they go back to their real lives, that probably won't bother them anyway. This IS my real life.
Finally, the last time I looked, LAN was about the same price as Aerolineas. I flew Aerolineas because I didn't know better, and the dates and arrival times were more convenient with my schedule. I still haven't heard anyone saying LAN's better than Aerolineas yet.