I have been so busy during my arrival last week but I thought I'd take a few minutes to just post some quick observations. I formally lived in Buenos Aires for 8 years and moved out of Buenos Aires back in 2011. I came a few times a year for work and vacation as I have family here.
Here is what I noticed:
- I see MUCH less tourists in the restaurants and the street in general. Tourism is definitely down. Even on the plane ride down previously it was mostly full of tourists and I'd hear English all around me in the plane. Especially when I fly in First or Business class it was mostly businessmen coming down or Americans. This last trip in October 2012 I noticed that it was almost ALL Porteños speaking Spanish.
This time as well in the plane it was almost all Porteños coming back home.
- In the restaurants we go to usually we see tons of tourists but again in places like Sottovoce, Sucre, Don Julios, M, Amici Miei, and several others it's almost ALL Porteños dining out. While there is turmoil with the economy, those Porteños with US dollars are in an even better position because they seem to be exchanging for "blue dollars" and getting more of a bang for their buck.
- Before when I lived in Buenos Aires for 8 years I'd rarely see so many families buying Ralph Lauren Polo for young babies and kids. Our kids mostly wear Polo clothes as we love the quality and really wonderful that looks good and great quality. Yeah, it's more expensive but we find it worth it.
Well in the street, in the mall, on the many playgrounds we've taken our kids to it's FULL of kids wearing Ralph Lauren Polo and other name brand American expensive brands. I've never seen so many young kids wearing designer clothes before! But that just shows me just how many locals are flying to the USA and abroad on shopping sprees. EVEN with the 20% tax they are getting hit by the government, they are still coming out way ahead so they are shopping like crazy!
Speaking to many of my friends they are flying to Miami more and going shopping. Several are having kids and spending a small fortune on baby clothes and kids clothes. The quality of kids clothing absolutely is HORRIBLE in Argentina and horribly expensive. So this is VERY clear to see.
- For all the talk by my local friends of the increase in petty crime, I haven't felt it at all. In fact, never have I seen more locals using Iphones than now! I have been going to the Park with my kids and many many of the mothers are using iPhones. Most of my friends as well are using them. I've been using mine all over and no problems at all. If there is an increase in petty crime I can't see or feel it.
- Graffiti is way up all over the city, especially Palermo. So sad to see that. Some friends say their buildings don't even want to spend the money cleaning it as it will just get vandalized again. I mentioned above my friend's house. I own some properties in Palermo and they haven't been affected but they all have 24/7 security guards.
- Taxis are still all over the place but it feels like there are less available. I'm no expert on it but it feels like there are less taxis. Maybe with the inflation and the constant prices some taxistas are getting out of the business?? I'm not sure but it feels like there are less. Still MANY more than most cities around the world.
I'm still taking taxis like crazy. Taxi from Puerto Madero to Recoleta was 40 pesos. With the "informal" rates things seem affordable again. I got 8.5 to $1 US the other day. (Please don't PM me for a referral as I don't refer people that I don't know personally). It's not too difficult to get the informal rates asking around to your hotel or apartment rental company.
- Going to the grocery store is still painful. It's VERY slow full of lines and almost no efficiency.
We're having a wonderful time and the weather has been great!