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EDITORIAL ISSUE 4 Baby it’s cold outside... Stay warm insider. It is a dark and stormy night. The wind is whistling through the trees. Inside grand houses and poky apartments huddle the porteños, a civilization made for eating asado in the sun and swigging red wine and soda, not consuming soup and mulled wine... In our fourth issue the Insider lives up to its name, bringing you a variety of bajo techo pursuits to weather the winter months in Buenos Aires. Find delivery food and booze, activities from bowling to karaoke, winter getaways, how to earn foreign bucks from the comfort of your own sofa, along with plenty more practical tidbits. As usual, comments, questions or thoughts are welcome. Big thanks to all the writers, photographers, designers – and of course, readers – who have made it possible to continue providing a relevant, entertaining and useful publication for the thriving community of extranjeros living in this spectacular city. editorial@bainsidermag.com

Staff Publishers Graham Hatch, Stefan Bielski Editor David Labi editorial@bainsidermag.com Advertising Sales Manager Marc Nieto ventas@bainsidermag.com Advertising Sales Michael Hayles Art Director Victoria Cascón

Additional Graphics Pamela Treviño Calzada, Lorena Nocerino Web Guru Kamani Yanez Writers Jon Carmody, Mara Duer, Jemma Foster, Caroline Frauman, Oscar Gallo, Matt Graham, Sean O’Hare, Gwen Kirby, Melanie Kramers, Alexandra Lazar, Laura Nowydwor, Hannah Shanks, Jeffrey Tanenhaus, Bronagh Woods, Nico Zuzenburg Illustrators Ana Carucci, Sebastián Lahera Photographers Piers Calvert, Beatrice Murch

Cover Photo Celeste Leeuwenburg Cover Model Sarah Horsfield Cover Pyjamas Juana de Arco, El Salvador 4762 Affectionate cuddles to: Greg John, Clara Huffmann, Jane Hallisey, Ivy Markaity, Alison Marra, Leo Torres, Benjamin ‘Les Mains’ Vayssieres, Vinka Woldarsky, Elysse Zarek Distribution: Jacqueline Salta 781 C1074AAO C.A.B.A. Phone/Fax - 11 4383 5888

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 1


What’s Inside Eat!

Go!

05 EAT delivery!

12 GO to Caballito!

Sample cosmopolitan cuisine without even getting dressed.

Ride your little horse through big parks, sulky parrillas, and a lovely lack of tower blocks.

18 GO away in winter!

Sip! 08 SIP all night! Make your apartment the booze-soaked vice den of the barrio.

09 SIP hot beverages!

Skiing, thermal baths, and festivals around Argentina.

44 Community: cultural centers. 46 Calendar: what’s worth it in winter.

Winter warmers for your phreezing pharynx.

Polo Season PLUS General Horseplay Alternative Football Options Truco

A World o’ Sports, Including Kickball Ultimate Frisbee Baseball Touch Rugby Lacrosse Kabaddi Barrio Congreso

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Buy!

Use!

24 BUY a stake!

21 USE a new law!

Races, quiniela, football guessing games – lose your lucre locally.

Overcharging for flights and services is barely legal.

36 BUY Argie art!

35 USE your right!

Where to buy it, what to buy, and how not to get framed.

Register in time to vote for Bush’s longawaited replacement.

Do! 26 DO weird museums! Eschew the MALBA in favor of embalmed police dogs.

23 DO behind closed doors! Our regular feature samples some live music in Belgrano’s Casa Pedraza.

See! 38 SEE trashy TV! A guide to local lowbrow televisual entertainment.

Ojo! 40 OJO at home! Watch out for scams at home... There’s somebody at the door!

Out! 28 OUT but in! Get out but don’t get wet – indoor activities from bowling to karaoke.

Be! 30 BE a BA businessman! Meet some expat entrepreneurs working from home.

Get! 33 GET your monotributo! The entitlement to self-employment status lies at the heart of a Kafkan labyrinth.

Ape! 42 APE truco players! Put on the moves for this quintessential Argentine game of bluff.

Edition No 1 Vol. 4 (Winter 2008). Copyright 2007-08 Insider SRL Directors Graham Hatch and Stefan Bielski. BA Insider Magazine is published bi-monthly by Insider SRL. Edición Nro. 1 Vol. 4 (Invierno 2008). Copyright 2007-08 Insider SRL Directores Graham Hatch y Stefan Bielski. Propietario: Insider SRL

Perón 1685, 5ºA, Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina +54 11 5917-8236 Issue 4 . BA Insider . 3


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Located in the heart of San Telmo in a beautiful house built in 1900. In La Rosalía, you will find the perfect setting to try the best meat in Argentina. Visitors can also indulge in the other specialty plates at La Rosalía such as homemade pastas and desserts, gourmet dishes as well as choose from an excellent selection of well-known wines from our cellar. La Rosalía provides a variety of seating options to add to the dining experience. From under the trees of our colonial-style patio to our main dining area near the grill and wine cellar, there will always be the perfect place to dine. For those who enjoy a nice smoke after their meal, there are three designated areas. All of this with our seal of distinction and quality for service. Reservations available for special events, birthday dinners or group tour events. Lunch specials available. All major credit cards accepted.

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Eat! Delivery City The porteños’ annual winter hibernation has given birth to a glut of delivery options. Browse the Insider’s broad selection of barrios and food types – couch potatoes Oscar Gallo and Alexandra Lazar have done the dialing for you. MEXICAN Belgrano Mole Tacos Fonda Mexicana Mexican food is usually a good answer to the mildness of Argentine grub, but this company’s enchiladas and chilaquiles (AR$14-22) lack the salsa picante to really make your mouth suffer. Make sure you order extra tortillas as they are a bit skimpy. They sometimes deliver outside their Belgrano-Palermo radius, so give it a try. Cabildo 1372 | 4783-7380 | Tu-Th 1211pm; F-Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 8-11pm www.moletacos.com.ar

Sushi | Caballito Maki Japanese Restobar Try a little of everything with a menu (AR$2227), including a hot entrée plus sushi or appetizers OR order a combo sushi platter (from AR$18-140). If delivery raw fish sounds dodgy, fear not: the food is transported in thermal bags. It takes an hour, but it’s well worth the wait if you can hold out. Free delivery within all Capital Federal. Av J.B. Alberdi 116 | 4921-1450 | Tu-Sun 7:30pm-12:30am | www.makiresto.com.ar

Middle Eastern | Various Garbis Lunch or dine on hummus, shish kebabs, and falafel. The combo meal includes ap-

petizer, main course, dessert, bread and a drink, all for AR$20. The Supercombo is ideal for big groups, consisting of massive trays filled with over 20 different dishes. Four locations deliver to Belgrano, Villa Crespo and Palermo. Belg. 4789-9300 / 4781-0900; V.C. 48664000; Pal. 4511-6600 | M-Sun 11am-3pm & 7pm-11:30pm | www.garbis.com.ar

Breakfast & Lunch | Recoleta Amaranta Bistro y Pastelería Recurrent dreamers of waffles and maple syrup should wake up dialing. Apart from an astounding American breakfast, this young bistro also offers a great lunch of soups, salads and sandwiches plus homemade cookies and muffins. Only problem? Their delivery radius stretches just a few blocks, so you’d better move house. Junin 1559 | 4803-9755 | M-Sun 8am-8pm; Sat 8am-12am www.amarantabistro.blogspot.com Issue 4 . BA Insider . 5


Argentine | Centro/Congreso

Vegetarian | San Telmo

Bar de Campo

Abuela Pan

This gourmet deli soups up the traditional Argentine lunch with a selection of quality products. Try the Italiano; proscuitto, fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes on a homemade ciabatta bread dressed with olive oil, or pick from salads, paninis, and rolls. Not a good chopper? Order the Picada Gourmet, a massive platter of smoked ham, roasted olives and nuts, deliverable to 10 blocks, or more if you don’t mind waiting. Closed weekends!

You don’t need to inhale a cow in order to eat stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. This vegetarian restaurant uses all fresh and organic products, and cooks their food ‘Niyuke’-style – a technique that steams and bakes the food. Delivery within ten blocks, from 12-3:30pm.

Moreno 755 | 0810-3331-232 | M-F 9am7pm | www.bardecampo.com.ar

Don’t move for your movie

Jewish | Las Cañitas Mama Europea Make your mom jealous by calling Mama Europea for some heartwarming Jewish fodder. Order the pastrami sandwich – homemade lean beef piled high – or a lox and cream cheese bagel. Winter snifflers should get the matzoh ball soup, rumored to be more effective than penicillin. Delivers within 100 minutes, but only in Las Cañitas. Matienzo 1599 | 4772-0926 / 47773835 | M 12-4pm; W- F 8pm-12am; S & S 12pm-12am | www.mamaeuropa.com.ar

Northern | Recoleta Cumaná Vanquish cold-weather blues with a massive bowl of locro: flavorful hearty stew and national institution. Or warm yourself with other typical dishes like guiso de lentejas (lentil stew) or tamales – corn husks with a corn and meat filling. Their humita empanadas are top notch. Delivery in Recoleta only. Rodriguez Peña 1149 | 4813-9207 | Daily 12pm-12am/1am

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Bolivar 707 | 4361-4936 | M-F 8am-7pm www.abuelapan.com

To complete the couch potato experience, stick your arm out as far as the computer and go to www.musimundovideclub.com. Sign up (with card details) for a free 15-day trial and choose from over 6000 DVDs for next day delivery. Plans range from standard (AR$24.90), allowing rental of two disks at a time and four/month, to Top (AR$119.90) with unlimited monthly diskage and a whopping six at once. OJO! Get your flicks during the week as Delivery Boy has weekends off.

Of course a good Google will always throw up some more options...  www.lomejorendelivery.com.ar Catalog of shops in Palermo, Caballito, Belgrano, Villa Urquiza and Hurlingham  www.supercomodo.com You can use it as a guest, but usernameholders will be able to remember purchases, compare prices and more. At the moment they only have some 35 places registered.  www.buscatudelivery.com.ar No matter where you live you’ll definitely find someone to deliver.  www.guiaoleo.com.ar The wikipedia of BA restaurants. Look for the delivery sign! 


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T-Bone is the ideal mixture of the exact elements of cosmopolitan, vanguard and elegance. This eclecticism makes for the perfect excuse to visit and share whatever suits your taste. Whether it is simply to enjoy a delicious breakfast, delight in an afternoon tea or coffee, or simply take pleasure in a coffee while passing the day, you will find the perfect ambience in T-Bone. As the first signs of the night begin to appear, come and enjoy T-Bone’s Happy Hour! Jorge Montalvo,T-Bone’s bartender, prepares the patrons a wide array of excellent drinks—he recommends the Mojitos and Daiquiris! What good steakhouse would be complete without…..a great steak! When its dinner time, the restaurant offers its specialty “Platos Fuertes,” the highest quality cut of beef prepared to perfection Argentina-style. Recommendation: the T-Bone steak.

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 7


Sip! Prohibition on a smaller scale was brought

to Buenos Aires in 2003 when a new ley seca (‘dry law’) stopped kioscos and shops from selling alcohol unless they had a special license. But even the lucky license holders could no longer sell the good stuff between 11pm and 8am. Consequently you could no longer buy booze in BA after 11pm outside a bar. What is this, the UK or something? Porteños, as they are wont to do, rolled with the changes. Okay, so no more impromptu street parties at night. But just as prohibition in the States boosted the Mafia and made such cinematic triumphs as The Godfather possible, so here a new game was initiated as a result. The alcohol delivery service. If you are incapable going to the supermarket before it closes at 10pm, missing out on cheaper prices and a wider range to choose from; then rest assured that there

8 . BA Insider . Issue 4

is a whole business based upon your lack of foresight. Firstly, various delivery services can be found online with a simple Google. But the more common way is to find a kiosco near you that stays open late. If this kiosco is licensed to sell booze, chances are they will have a delivery service. This is not complicated to ask for, as ‘delivery’ is translated here as ‘delivery’. If they don’t do it, they will tell you somewhere that does. Take the phone number, and tattoo it onto your forehead backwards. Or stick it on your fridge. 


Sip! Hot Drinks Don’t you find that coffee is so 2007? Jemma Foster goes in search of alternative hot beverages to thaw your frozen throat on a chilly winter’s day.

TEA Cast aside the humble tea bag in favor of loose tea blends and aromatic infusions. Ahhh!  Tea Connection | Recoleta Here tea is taken very seriously and ‘Tealosophy’ blends by internationally-renowned guru Inés Berton are served with a sand timer to ensure they are brewed to perfection. The ‘green apple green tea’ and ‘chocorangie’ are two of their finest. Uriburu 1597 | 4805-0616 | Daily 7am-8pm | AmEx, DC, MC  iFresh Market Puerto Madero This deli and restaurant has all sorts of yummy cakes to keep your tea company. They have an extensive range of teas including an exclusive mix made from pineapple, apple and exotic spices. Azucena Villafor y Olga Cossettini | 57750330 | Daily 8am-12am | AmEx, MC, Visa  El Ultimo Beso | Palermo Viejo Somewhere between a fairytale and a doll’s house, this tearoom names its blends after classic films. Casablanca has Moroccan flavors of mint and rose, while the Disney Classic Lady and the Tramp is a mongrel mix of spices from India, China and Sri Lanka. Nicaragua 4880 | 4832-7711 | M-Sat 9am-2am | Visa, AmEx, MC

 Chez Pauline | Recoleta The delicate sunflower and peach of ‘Madame Butterfly’ and the more robust ‘Gunpowder Chao-Kiang’ are two of the local and international varieties you can try here. Juncal 1695 | 4816-9988 | M-F 9am-8pm, Sat 9.30am-8pm | Visa, Electron

HOT CHOCOLATE The porteño version is the submarino – a glass of warm milk and a stick of chocolate. But your traditional melted chocolate and cocoa powder varieties can also be found when the C-craving seizes you.  Oui Oui | Palermo Hollywood The submarinos at this charming French bistro come with handmade chocolate that puts all others to shame. The cakes and pastries also draw the crowds to these elegant surroundings. Nicaragua 6068 | 4778-9641 | Tu-F 8am8pm; S-S 10am-8pm | Cash only  Bottin’s Tea Time | Martinez The frothy chocolate caliente comes in a generous jug and freshly baked scones are perfected by a selection of homemade jams and marmalades. Rawson 2117 | 4798-9368 | M-Sat 9am1.30pm & 3.30-8pm; Sun 9.30am-1pm | Cash only  SoHo Vain | Palermo Make yourself at home in this old house divided into comfy sitting rooms and sip on a ‘Temple’, made with chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and honey. Armenia 1784 | 4832-3726 | Tu-Th 3pm1am; F 11am-5pm | Cash only Issue 4 . BA Insider . 9


 La Giralda | Centro They know what they’re doing at this ageold café that is something of an institution. It is famous for its thick and creamy hot chocolate served with a healthy portion of dulce de leche-filled churros (fried pastry sticks). Corrientes 1453 | 4371-3846 | M-Sat 8am-12am; Sun 4pm-12am | Cash only

MATE If you haven’t yet taken to carrying around a flask and the required paraphernalia for a mate pick-me-up, then you’ll need someone else to do it for you.  Cumaná | Recoleta This cozy and bustling restaurant serves mate with a basket of biscuits or homemade bread and marmalade. Be sure to doodle on the paper tablecloths with the crayons provided. OJO! The bitter beverage

10 . BA Insider . Issue 4

is available 4pm-7:30pm only. Rodriguez Peña 1149 | 4813-9207 | Daily 12pm-1am | Cash only  Las Cholas | Las Cañitas Sister to Cumaná, this restaurant has a large terrace with outdoor heaters if you’re feeling hardy. OJO! Metal straw sucking also from 4pm-7:30pm only. Arce 306 | 4899-0094 Daily 12pm-1am | Cash only  El Federal La Pulpería | Palermo Chocolate walls envelope this gaucho-style café, which offers all-day mate with brownie, scone or stupendous cake combinations. Uriarte 1667 | 3833-6039 | Tu-Sun 8am8pm | Cash only  Mama Racha | Palermo Here you can drink your mate from brightly colored vessels either downstairs amongst the homemade pastries or upstairs on the terrace. Costa Rica 4602 | 4833-4950 | 9am- till close | Cash only


ALCOHOL Nothing warms you better than a dash of the old firewater, as one’s grandmother used to say. Perhaps.  La Aromatica | Almagro This tiny Columbian restaurant, full of character, cooks up vats of mulled wine with cloves and cinnamon to get you nicely warm and fuzzy. Bulnes 873 | 4866- 2300 | Tu-Sat 6pmclose | Cash only  Osaka | Palermo Sip on a hot sake at this Peruvian-Japanese restaurant. The Gekkeikan is smooth to taste and slips down a treat. Soler 5608 | 4775-6964 | M-Sat 12-4pm; 7.30pm-1am | AmEx  Clásica y Moderna | Recoleta Peruse the titles at this 70-year-old bookstore and restaurant, then take a closer look at the liquor coffees made with the

likes of Tia Maria, whisky and cognac. Callao 892 | 4812-8707 | M-F 8am-close; Sun 6pm-close | AmEx, DC, MC, V

HOT TODDY We searched high and low for this cocklewarming panacea, but to no avail. Popular local brand ‘Toddy’ turned out to be a chocolate drink. If anyone finds the real stuff let us know at editorial@bainsidermag.com. In the meantime here’s how to make your own:

1.

Pour a healthy measure of the whisky of your choice into a glass.

2.

Add a teaspoon of honey and lemon juice to taste.

3.

Top up with boiling water and Sip! 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 11


Go! Barrio Caballito By Hannah Shanks

Welcome to Caballito Located smack in the geographic middle of Capital Federal, this barrio’s name refers to a horse-shaped weathervane atop a pulpería (bar) opened in 1804. Back then, ‘Little Horse’ was a leafy zone of quintas (weekend retreats) for porteños. With the arrival of the ferrocarril, followed by the tram and later the subway, the neighborhood began to grow, and is now one of the city’s most populous zones. Off the main traveler routes, it doesn’t receive much publicity, but it is in a handy location, even though it might be lacking the gourmet cuisine and glamorous nightlife of some other barrios. Also, large parks and fewer highrises give it a familial feel – planned towers à la Palermo are currently being fought by neighborhood associations. Prices are still reasonable, but are rising faster than in other barrios, so act fast. The zone’s hub is in the blocks around subte Acoyte (A line), which contain cinemas, shopping and the mandatory Persicco.

12 . BA Insider . Issue 4

Get! After the crash of 2001, refugees from pricy barrios like Belgrano fled to spacious Caballito for its relatively inexpensive housing. Its position makes it wellconnected to the rest of the city, with the subte’s historic A-line slicing through its heart, and the Sarmiento train connecting it with Once. Colectivos redound, belching fumes and sucking down monedas. Some areas, such as Parque Chacabuco, are not the most palatable for a 3am stroll, but generally Caballito is a safe, middle-class barrio. An apartment with a bedroom and living room (dos ambientes) is purchasable for approximately US$70,000, and a twobed for US$90,000. A garantía is needed for US$300/month rental rates (two-bed). Local expenses and groceries are cheaper here too, at least for now.

Eat! For a cheap no-frills parrilla, start with El Sulky (Pedro Goyena 300). A long list on the door warns customers not to expect such things as good service, delivery, payment with cards – just good meat. Arrive early on weekends because they close when the meat runs out. Cua-Cua (Pedro Goyena 51; 4926-1933; www.cuacua.com.ar) has a classier atmosphere and better service than El Sulky, while still offering succulent grilled meat. To mingle with local families while noshing on seafood, try Tía Margarita (Pedro Goyena 496; 49226299), while El Boliche de Darío (Av. Gaona 1584; 4588-0577) of-


fers a reasonable and good quality tenedor libre (all-you-can-eat) containing molleja, provoleta, and other delicacies not usually found on a buffet table. For real Japanese beer and traditional dishes beyond sushi, all brought to you by kimono-wearing hosts, try chilled-out Kiku (Pedro Goyena 75; 4921-4700; www. kikurestaurant.com.ar). Abahar (Juan B. Alberdi 568; 4902-7342; www.abahar. com.ar) will satisfy your cravings for all things kebab and hummus with a range of Greek, Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Servers are attentive and there are live shows. For seafood, hop into the queue that always winds out the door at Pedro 94 (Pedro Goyena 94; 4922-5760) and share a seafood sampler or test other fishy delights. The family-run Crocante Café (Senillosa & Chaco) is the best place for cheap, good-quality food, and Almacén de Pizzas (Av. Rivadavia 4718; 0810-8882562; www.almacendepizzas.com) is rumored to have the barrio’s best pies.

For at-home options, order perfectly-roasted chicken from El Buen Gusto (Av. La Plata 25, 5901-3582), or pick up some fresh pasta and sauce at Multipasta (Senillosa 22) and then tell your date you cooked it. If the date goes well, nip out in the morning to grab the best local pastries from Las Delicias de Caballito (Miró 88). Finally, for all late-night fruit and veg needs, find what must surely be the city’s only 24-hour (M-F) greengrocer, on Guayaquil & Beauchef. For more home feeding see page 5.

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 13


Sip! Cossab (Carlos Calvo 4199; 4925-2505; www.pubcossab.com.ar) will satisfy your www.pubcossab.com.ar beer craving, with nearly 100 varieties – including 20-30 national artisan options and strong house beer. Look out for monthly promotions on imported brews. Regulars at UKstyle pub The Oldest (Ambrosetti 31; 49023188) tend to reap free samples – the Insider knows at least one British regular who likes to belly up at the bar with a pint (or three). If you’re hankering for Palermo trendsville, Magno Bar & Lounge (J. M. Moreno 318; 4904-1185; www.magno-bar.com) has apt décor and two-for-one happy hour deals. The big screens at Bacana (Rivadavia 5741; 4433-6300; www.bacanabar.com) are perfect for concert- or fútbol-watching, and the place has board games too for the more sociable (for more gamin’ see page 29). Sports can also be watched at big screen maestros Locos X el Fútbol (Rivadavia 4751, 49013352, locosxelfutbol.com).

Out! Most Caballito nightlife is a cab- or busride away in Palermo, but the barrio is not totally without its own joda. Seven (Av. La Plata 731) is the definitive under-20s boliche, easily spotted by the line of hormones snaking down the block. La Loca Bohemia (Av. La Plata 727; 4923-2433) is a lynchpin of BA underground rock: Los Intoxicados, La Renga and Las Pastillas del Abuelo all got their start here, and it’s possible to run into band members hanging out on weekends. Thursdays give you a chance to make it big with karaoke after the show (more cantobars on page 29). Check Página 12 for upcoming shows; entry is AR$10. La Colorada (Yerbal & Rojas; 4901-1927), is another stop on the underground rock circuit. Avoid tango tourists in search of Latin lovers at El Viejo Correo (Av. Díaz Vélez 4820; 49580364; viejocorreotango.com.ar), a typical milonga where you can take lessons and dance with real live Argentines. Relax Pool Bar (Rio de Janeiro 385) offers pool and booze until 7:30am, though if your night works out differently you could take your partner to the luxurious Hotel Pink (Venezuela 2984; 4932-7316; www.pink-hotel. com.ar). The Insider leaves it to you to plan the activities from there.

Buy! Caballito’s commercial center, around subte Acoyte, could have been transplanted from any district of the city. Caballito Shopping has all the pricier brands like Zara and Vitamina – it’s not a destination, but could save you the trip into Palermo or Recoleta. Originally the site of a luxurious quinta, Parque Rivadavia (Rivadavia & Acoyte/Moreno; www. parquerivadavia.8m. com) has a famous daily book fair where you can paw through thousands of bootleg 14 . BA Insider . Issue 4


CDs and DVDs, used textbooks and novels in Spanish. Books in English can be found, though usually of the Dean Koontz and Danielle Steele variety. Also check out records, stamps and coin-collecting paraphernalia. A larger variety of English-language books are available at Ediciones KEL (Av. La Plata 63; www.kel-ediciones.com). Parque Centenario also has a used book fair, along with antique odds and ends, unusual vintage toys for collectors and retro clothing, and plenty of used records and CDs. The Mercado del Progreso (Rivadavia 5430; www.mercadodelprogreso.com.ar; 4901-3038), open daily except Sunday, boasts fantastic fresh produce from meat to seafood, poultry,

homemade pasta, sauces, spices, baked goods and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Do! Club Italiano (Rivadavia 4731; 49011061; www.clubitaliano.com.ar) is the local heavyweight, with five gyms, an indoor pool, weight rooms, a playground, pool tables, a cinema and theater, and activities like martial arts and chess. Club Oeste (J. M. Moreno 440; 4923-7509) offers sports facilities and pilates, tai chi and tae kwon do, as well as space for soccer and basketball. Parque Chacabuco (on the border with barrio Parque Chacabuco) has a sports club, indoor and outdoor pools and an outdoor running track. Local football side Ferrocarril Oeste, founded in 1904 by rail workers and now playing in national ‘B’, hosts a variety of activities at their club (Avellaneda and Grl. San Martín; 44316262; www.ferroweb.com.ar). Check out the old guys playing typical Argentine card game truco in Parque Ri-

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 15


bos 437; 4982-9706) and Sebastían Piana (Av. La Plata 1151; 4923-4275) – call or stop by for details on current offerings.

vadavia. If you’re particularly charming perhaps they’ll teach you how to bluff like a local (see page 42). Another porteño art is the fileteado: Alfredo Genovese offers classes in his studio (Alm. Segui 1465; 4581-0798; www.fileteado.com.ar). All kinds of classes and workshops are available at various neighborhood cultural centers, for example Cid (Luís Viale 1052; 4581-8369), El Eternauta (Eleodoro Lo-

Currently closed for remodeling, the Museo de Esculturas Luis Perlotti (Pujol 644; 4516-0944) displays more than 900 sculptures by this Argentine artist. The Museo Etnográfico Juan B. Ambrosetti (Moreno 350; 4345-8196; museoetnografico.filo.uba.ar) is part of the UBA’s Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (also in Caballito), and has archaeological material from Patagonia and Northwest Argentina, as well as PreColumbine ceramics and weavings. For weird bugs, dinosaur bones and more, wade through the legions of cats that camp outside the Natural History Museum (Angel Gallardo 470; 4982-1154; www.macn.secyt.gov.ar). ). For more museums see page 26. Ride back in history on what remains of the tramway (Emilio Mitre 500; www.tranvia. org.ar; 4431-1073). The Asociación Amigos del Tranvía maintains the tram, and it operates for free on weekends. More history lines Calles Antonio Ferrari and del Barco Centenera: these aristocratic mansions are the barrio’s oldest homes. 

www.scrabblegroups.blogspot.com looking for a place in BA? looking for someone to live in yours?

`

scrabblegroups@gmail.com 16 . BA Insider . Issue 4


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Issue 4 . BA Insider . 17


Well Go! Wintering From Piste to Pachamama Strap on your goggles and gorge yourself on the white stuff (the frozen kind, of course), immerse yourself in sulphurous water, or dance around in a tribal mask – there are plenty of possibilities in Argentina if you don’t want to spend winter holed up in the city. Melanie Kramers writes her name in the snow. *All prices are in US$ and approximate, and in the case of travel, one-way. Flights are obtainable from Aerolíneas Argentinas or LAN Chile, among others.

Ski! Great views, skiing and prices attract winter sports junkies from all over the world to Argentina. The average cost of a day lift pass is US$40, with average daily ski and boot hire around US$20, and while resorts can lack European or US-style amenities, they are also less crowded, allowing you to carve your way down pistes free from erratic beginners. The season runs from mid-June until early October, peaking in July and August. During high season, prices are almost double and booking ahead is essential – plus most hotel rooms must be rented for a whole week. Also avoid winter school holidays (7-21 July) when the screaming hordes descend.

WHEN: Low season: 14–21 Jun & 30

Aug-4 Oct; regular: 22 Jun-5 Jul & 9-29 Aug; and and high: 6 Jul-8 Aug.

WHERE: The three main spots are Cat-

edral and Chapelco, both in the Lake District, and Las Leñas, Mendoza. The most economical way to visit is as part of a package deal, with lift pass and accommodation included. Daredevil skiers and powder-hungry boarders may be interested in specialist Andean extreme skiing guided tours – see www.snoventures.com (eight days all inclusive from US$2800). 18 . BA Insider . Issue 4

 Catedral A Gothic spire-like mountain ridge dominates this town, 21km southwest of Bariloche, and the biggest and brashest of Argentina’s ski resorts. It offers over 100km of runs for all levels and a well-organised ski school, and you might even catch a rare game of snow polo. The après ski is pretty lively too, though in August it’s the destination for Brazilian and Chilean package tourists, as well as graduating teenagers on a rite of passage holiday. To do it cheaply, find a hostel at the bottom of the mountain (40 mins from lifts) for AR$30/night – a great option for meeting fellow skiers if you’re going alone. Cost: Week’s package including hotel and lift pass: US$1000 Getting there: Flights to Bariloche: US$200; Bus: US$65 (22hrs) www.catedralaltapatagonia.com  Chapelco A picturesque combination of wood cabins and tree-lined pistes make this resort, 19km from San Martín de los Andes, truly atmospheric. The usual snow-related fun – ice skating, husky-pulled sleigh rides and snowmobiling – is boosted by an outstanding purpose-built snowboard park. Smaller than Catedral, Chapelco still boasts 27 runs of varying ability, and is popular with families and boarders for its relaxed vibe. Cost: Week’s package including hotel and lift pass: US$750 Getting there: Flights to Chapelco:


US$300; Bus: US$60 (20hrs) www.cerrochapelco.com; www.cerrochapelco.com www.sanmartindelosandes.gov.ar  Las Leñas The rich and beautiful come to this ultrachic resort to pose in snow gear, and pay for the privilege. The attractive valley setting means you can often walk straight out of your hotel on to the piste, and its 64km of runs get heaps of powder throughout the season. It also attracts extreme skiers and boarders keen to test their nerves on the excellent off-piste opportunities, including heli-skiing. Cost: Week’s package including hotel and lift pass: US$1700 Getting there: Flights to Malargüe (during season); Bus: US$40 (15hrs) www.laslenas.com

More ski information: www.welcomeargentina.com/ski

Bathe! If the blissful year-round temperature of 30˚C alone does not draw you to one of Argentina’s many hot springs, be aware that regular bathing in aguas termales can help relieve arthritis, rheumatism and skin conditions, while drinking it can be a remedy for gastro-intestinal disorders or form part of a detox. And that’s not to mention the therapeutic benefits. Here are three of the best spots to ‘take the cure’:  Termas de Reyes, Jujuy Perched in the mountainous setting of the Quebrada de Reyes, 19km from San Salvador de Jujuy, the luxurious neo-classical Hotel Termas de Reyes is perfect for some high-altitude pampering. No children are allowed, making for a very peaceful getaway. Cost: Doubles US$70-100 per night Getting there: Flights to Jujuy: US$275; Bus: US$65 (19hrs) www.termasdereyes.com

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 19


Termas de Río Hondo, Santiago del Estero 

The country’s most popular spa is based in a rather dreary town, unmodernized since its 1950s heyday, and packed with elderly Argentines during July and August. Perhaps the nicest place to enjoy the sub-tropical climate is Los Pinos hotel, with comfortable rooms, extensive grounds and varied massage and beauty treatments. Cost: Week package deals from US$700 Getting there: Flights to Santiago del Estero: US$217; Bus: US$30 (14hrs) www.lospinoshotel.com.ar  Termas

de Lahuen-Co, Lake District

Located inside National Park Lanín, these hot springs can be visited as a day trip from Chapelco or San Martín de los Andes. Apart from the pools, the modern complex offers shiatsu, yoga classes and gourmet meals. Cost: Day spa including treatments US$220

20 . BA Insider . Issue 4

Getting there: Flights to US$300; Bus: US$60 (20hrs) www.lahuenco.com

Chapelco:

Spa resort deals: www.viajoportermas.com.ar

Celebrate! Festivals abound in Argentina, honoring great national loves as diverse as tango and empanadas. Here’s our pick of what’s happening over the winter.  Third week in July: Catamarca Poncho Festival Weaving demonstrations, huge crafts market, folklore performances and lots of panpipes.  July/August: Fiesta de la Nieve Celebrated in all Argentine ski resorts with live music, fireworks, torch-lit night descents, and general partying. Bariloche also has a Queen of the Snow beauty contest.


 Early August: Pachamama Andean tradition of thanking the Earth (personified as a grandmotherly woman) for a good harvest, with offerings of coca leaves, cigarettes, food, and the odd sacrificial llama.

The powerful ceremony is heightened by the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the surroundings. Tourists can join in the celebrations in small towns near Salta such as Tilcara, Cachi and San Antonio de los Cobres.

 Mid August: Fiesta Nacional del Montañés San Martín de los Andes pays homage to great mountain traditions like cross country skiing and log chopping.  Early September: Tetratlón Chapelco Extremely fit (or foolish) people compete in a taxing 60km race comprising skiing, mountain biking, kayaking and a sprint. To enter: tetratlon@cerrochapelco.com. Good luck! 

New Law Use! A Goodbye to ‘Foreigner Prices’ You might have noticed that foreigners are usually charged more for certain services, such as hotels, tour packages, national parks and especially flights, which have sometimes been as much as triple the price charged to mate-slurping, DNI-clutching nationals. Well, as of April 4, 2008, Section 8 bis of Consumers’ Act 24.240 has been amended, and it is now illegal to “index prices for” (i.e. screw over) extranjeros. Turns out the commercial aviation industry is subject to international treaties that overcome local regulations. The Aviation Code has saved us once again. This new regulation is fully applicable and no international or domestic regulations affecting the industry can challenge it. So there.

A Legal Quote:

Section 8Bis forbids providers to “exert on international tourists any given differences on prices, technical or commercial quali-

ties or on any other relevant aspect of the goods and services marketed. Any exception to the aforementioned must be authorized by the authority, based upon reasons duly founded on general interest.”

Though:

as you can see, the law grants companies exemptions based on alleged reasons of “general interest”...

Still: these exemptions must be formally granted by the Secretary of Commerce.

So: if they claim to have an exemption – ASK FOR PROOF. Ha. Companies who breach this law are liable to a fine of AR$5,000,000. Double ha.

Thanks to Carolina Gonzalez Rodriguez for this information. See her blog for more legal tidbits: grlawupdated.blogspot.com.

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 21


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insider@bainsidermag.com 22 . BA Insider . Issue 4

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Closed Doors Do! Behind Casa Pedraza by Jemma Foster

Ring

the doorbell on this quiet street and you’ll feel like you’ve entered into someone’s home - because you have. On the border of Belgrano and Nuñez, the residents of this house welcome you into their little haven for a night of live music.

There is a real sense of community amongst the tenants, bartenders and musicians that extends to the punters. Unlike the likes of 878 and Puerto Uno, this is not a place that attracts fashion-conscious porteños, nor do they want it to. This is a place for musical appreciation.

Downstairs in the living room is where the music happens. There are plenty of sofas and chairs to kick back in, and a small but amply-stocked bar that also serves empanadas and snacks – with the chef occasionally whipping up some simple extra dishes.

When trumpets run out of breath and guitars tire of being plucked, DJs take over and finger the decks until the stragglers leave and the residents head to bed. Every so often, Saturday nights host live bands such as Alegrías de a Peso, who deliver Cuban sounds and keep the crowds dancing until morning.

Upstairs amongst the bedrooms you will find a couple of rooms with tables and sofas to while away the evening with a cigarette and a chin-wagging partner (in one of the few smoke zones left around here).

Info: Fri from 10pm (Live music till 3am; DJs till late), some Saturdays Drinks: AR$12-18. Entry: AR$10 Contact: Top secret – ask around! 

Here live jazz jam sessions offer up a wealth of talent. When so often jam sessions can sound like a disjointed band practice, here the double basses and saxophones know exactly what they’re doing. Bring your instrument and have a word with the staff if you want to get involved.

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 23


ticket Buy! a Fritter your Pesos Every couple of blocks you see them: little shops with that yellow and blue circular sign outside and windows covered with stickers and bits of paper. Inside old men with pencils behind their ears and yellow teeth will tell you there’s some great ways to lose money in Buenos Aires. Laura Nowydwor and Nico Zuzenberg calculate the odds.

The Races

Flutter on the horses from your local betting shop, or head down to the architectural landmark that is the Palermo Hippodrome for the full monty. The place contains lunch rooms, bars and restaurants, slot machines, and plenty of points from which to view the races, the cheapest being Tribuna Paddok, where chainsmoking gamblers listen to handheld radios and desperately clutch torn rags of newspaper. Look out for the big races, like the Gran Premio (May) or the Carlos Pellegrini (Dec). Northern Insid-

Quiniela

Quiniela is a lottery which throws up twenty numbers of four digits each. Addictive personalities beware: there are more than ten different ones a day! Bet a minimum of 50 centavos on any of the twenty numbers, and that one, two, three or four digits will appear within each number. You can make any combination of bets, as long as you keep coughing up, but people tend to bet on the four digits that come out in first position: the ‘cabeza’. Prizes range from a few hundred to three million pesos depending on which numbers you get in what position. Mythology: If you see a couple of hoary old betting shop regulars telling each other their dreams, it’s not because they’re Freud24 . BA Insider . Issue 4

ers should check out the San Isidro Hipódromo for more of the same. Rules: Bet on first, second and third place, minimum bet AR$1. Bet as late as possible when you’ll have more realistic odds, and a better idea of the pot to be won. Hipódromo de Palermo | Libertador 4101 4778-2800 | www.palermo.com.ar Hipódromo de San Isidro | Av. Márquez 504 | 4743-4010 www.hipodromosanisidro.com

ian gamblers. Over time, the Quiniela has become almost kabalistic in its associated folklore. Each of the 99 numbers in the barrel signify a different dream: if you dream of a priest, for example, you should then bet on 40 (see some more number meanings above). Other aficionados decide based on birthdays, etc, but know that certain historical events have shown the Quiniela’s power to be more than just a dream:  During the great smoke-out of April 2008, when provincial farmers’ fires suffocated Buenos Aires Capital, thousands of people bet on incendio (fire). That day, number 08 came out as the cabeza.  The day Benedict XVI was named Pope, the cabeza turned out 1688; 16 being the ring and 88 the Pope. Can you argue with that?


Prode

Similar to the UK Pools, this game involves guessing the results of the weekend’s football matches, that is win, lose or draw. From ten league A and five league B matches, you can pick 11, 12, or 13 results. Bets are worth AR$1 and can usually be made up to Saturday lunchtime. Prizes depend on the bet, how many play-

Spinning that Wheel

Glamorous gamblers should avoid the seedy betting shops, slap on their tuxedos and swan off to one of BA’s two casinos: The Casino Flotante stands on an antique boat in the murky waters of Puerto Madero, with a cargo of 600 machines and 100 tables. Take advantage of free valet parking and a free transport from Córdoba & Alem regularly 24/7. Free to get in, but probably not to leave. Rawson de Dellepiane - Dársena Sur

ers and how many winners. But don’t worry, winners will recoup no less than their bet’s value... one peso. So rest easy. Tips: The “big five” (Boca, River, Independiente, San Lorenzo and Racing), by no means always win. Plus ‘clásico’ games, those charged with local rivalry, are notoriously unpredictable. So no help there then.

4363-3100 www.cirsa.com/casinos/puerto_madero At 22,000 m2, Trilenium is the biggest casino in South America, and maybe in the Tigre Delta too. 1800 machines, 76 tables, 2 electronic roulette wheels, horse racing, restaurants, wine bars, all-glitz live-music shows and everything else a gamblingaddled brain might addle for. Open 24h Th-Sun, and 11am-6am M-Th. Perú 1385, Tigre | 4731-7001 www.trileniumcasino.com.ar 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 25


for the Do! Museums Culturally Curious By Jeffrey Tanenhaus

You’ve admired the masterpieces hanging in the Museo de Bellas Artes. You’ve taken visitors to see the Malba. Twice. Yet, beyond the city’s celebrated museums are some quirky collections that deserve a closer look during winter’s chill, as places to seek warmth of body and spirit.

EL ZANJÓN DE GRANADOS San Telmo “What is this place?” curious San Telmo tourists nag the woman seated by the roped-off entrance. The minimalist décor of brick walls and polished stone floors has the air of an exclusive new venue, but in fact this is the city’s oldest and most important archeological site. Mandatory guided tours navigate labyrinthine tunnels leading back to the city’s first settlements in the 1500s. Today’s tunnels were once a streetlevel gully (zanjón) built to drain rainwater into the river. The zanjón, however, eventually turned into an open sewer that the government bricked over during an outbreak of yellow fever. A Spanish colonial house and then later tenements were built over the site. The surprise discovery of this centuries old mess took 22 years to clean up, but the results were worth the wait. Sophisticated spot lighting, mood music and the natural sound of running water transport visitors to the now cleansed bowels of early Buenos Aires where treasures like an 1830 cistern with original French tiles are buried no more.  Hourly tours in English M-F, 30 min tours 26 . BA Insider . Issue 4

on Sun, price AR$36 (AR$15 Sun). Call ahead to reserve English-speaking guide. Defensa 755 | 4361-3002 | www.elzanjon.com.ar | M-F 11-2pm and Sun 1-6pm

MUSEO DE ARMAS DE LA NACION | Retiro Visitors might be inspired to assemble their own junta after browsing this museum’s more than 2,000 wallto-wall weapons dating back to the 12th century. The archive of Argentina’s past military might also showcases the weapons of choice of past presidents, such as Perón’s curved sword. No word yet on what Cristina carries, but an 18th century “women’s carbine” is among the collection of guns from all epochs. Look for boxed sets of dueling pistols that were once a gentleman’s way to defend reputation and honor. Kids may get a kick out of the toy soldiers and model tanks. The artillery hall rolls out the real stuff, highlighted by an enormous cannon made in Buenos Aires in 1814 and leveled at Spanish forces. The final salon of Japanese ceremonial armor and Middle Eastern daggers adds a pointedly exotic touch.  Tours must be booked with 48 hours notice.


Entry $5, tours $10 | Santa Fe 702 | 4311-1071/79 | www.circulomilitar.org/ web2/museo.htm | M-F 1-7pm

MUSEO DE LA POLICÍA FEDERAL | Centro This 108-year-old museum starts off innocently with retired uniforms and honorific medallions before descending into grisly depictions of violent crimes. Out of the ordinary are the remains of two crime-fighting canines. Mono died in 1947, but still looks lively even without the wagging tail. Embalmers were too late to save Chonino, however, whose skeleton is painted red where he took a bullet to save an officer’s life. Also featured is Perón’s damaged casket that thieves broke into to saw off his hands, perhaps for fingerprints needed to access his Swiss bank accounts. Morbidity begins in earnest upstairs where black and white morgue photos and color shots of homicides provide a graphic encyclopedia of death. Don’t miss the illustrated story of a man who got 20 years in 1929 for cutting up his concubine and scattering her limbs around the city. A mauled mannequin of the woman hangs disjointedly nearby. As if that weren’t gross enough, models of 15 “deflowered hymens” show the fatal effects of illicit, botched abortions. Arrive on an empty stomach.  No tours but there are some labels in English. Entry free | San Martin 353, 7th floor | 4394-6857 | Tue-Fri 2-6pm

MUSEO DEL PATRIMONIO Balvanera A municipal pumping station never looked so elegant as does this Victorian building inaugurated as the new capital’s waterworks in 1894. Palacio de Aguas Corrientes is a head-turning masterpiece that looks like it fell out of a tropical fairytale. The block-wide building contains 300,000 glazed terracotta bricks and ornaments custom made and shipped from Great

Britain. A small museum details the architecture and construction of a facility once capable of storing 72 million liters of drinking water before being decommissioned in 1978. Dissected faucets, rusting water meters and antique urinals are likely to delight only the plumbers among us. Even if the sight of prison toilets isn’t a turn on, this eclectic monument to public hygiene deserves closer inspection.  Tours in Spanish M, W, F at 11am, but exhibits are well-labeled in English. Entry free | Riobamba.750, 1st floor | 6319-1104 | www.aysa.com.ar/index. php?id_seccion=189 | Mon-Fri 9am-1pm

MUSEO MANOBLANCA Nueva Pompeya At this homey museum well off the beaten path in Pompeya, a barrio’s glory days live on through musical relics and colorful filete-style portraits of local artists. Exterior murals mark the “poets’ corner” where this museum honors musicians and writers, such as renowned tango and milonga composer Homero Manzi who lived nearby. Inside, an assortment of olden if ordinary artifacts recalls the products of previous generations, notably a 1950s television with a rotating screen. Near a record player the size of a refrigerator lies a stack of classic albums still dear to the ears of older porteños. Curator Gregorio Plotnicki graciously guides visitors in Spanish through rooms that evoke a bygone Buenos Aires.  Entry free | Tabaré 1371 & Centenera, 4918-9448 | www.museomanoblanca. org.ar | M-F 8:30-11am and 2-4pm | Buses 6, 42, 44, 46, 135, 150 (about an hour from center).  Issue 4 . BA Insider . 27


Out! (In!) Fun Inside Gyms, paddle halls, yoga classes... so you’ve tried most of the indoor activities BA has to offer. Oh but you haven’t, says Bronagh Woods.

Rockin’! Argentina boasts Aconcagua, the world’s highest peak outside Asia – and the capital’s several indoor facilities could get you into training. Villa Crespo’s Realization (Aráoz 129; 4854-6009; www.realization.com.ar)) offers group lessons for all levels with 90-minute classes at just AR$9 (12 for AR$90). Knowledgeable staff will give you tips on climbing opportunities around the country and information on expeditions to conquer real live rocks. Boulder in Las Cañitas (Arce 730; 4779-2825) is another good spot to test your skills, and travelers to La Plata will be rewarded by even more overhangs, inclines and vertical challenges at Rocodromo (Calle 6 entre 510 y 511 Ringuelet; (0221) 484-0677; www.rocodromo.com.ar), www.rocodromo.com.ar ), where free practice costs between AR$8-10.

Rollin’! With unpredictable porteño pavements making walking into an extreme sport, most skaters scuttle off to the purpose-built indoor Metropark (Salguero & Autopista Illia; Costanera Sur), also home to a skate shop. Bikers are welcome too; but only on designated days. The Backside Skatepark in Flores (Arrotea 923; 4612-3800) has a covered ramp. Trade broken bones for repetitive strain injury at Pistas de Scalextric in Villa Crespo (S. Ortiz 818; 4775 5165). This classic 80s toy involves pumping a plastic trigger to hurtle a little car around an assortment of tracks. Bring your own car or rent one and head to the back room of this DVD rental store and internet café. If you’re run off the road, there’s a ‘mechanic’ on hand to get your wheels raceworthy again.

Icin’! Overpriced outdoor rinks have yet to reach these climes, so take advantage of some good old-fashioned indoor spots. Both Caballito’s Winter (Yerbal 1617; 4631-7883; www.winterweb.com.ar)) and Belgrano’s My Way (Cabildo 20; 4773-0236; www.mywayonline.com.ar)) have diminutive rinks perfect for children and for those who don’t take their skating too seriously. Each has a sizable confiteria with wifi and tables overlooking the action: perfect if you’re marshalling a group. Weekends are packed with screaming kids,

28 . BA Insider . Issue 4


while the transnoche slot (till 5am on Saturdays) is thick with adolescent hormones. Hockey stick-wielding lunatics should head to The Ice Planet in Flores (Rivadavia 7434; 4611-9218; www.theiceplanet.com.ar www.theiceplanet.com.ar). ). Their larger rink is more suited to figure skaters too. Expect to pay around AR$15 for an hour on the ice (including skate hire). An extra AR$5 should secure tiempo libre.

Skittlin’! Neon lights, an inoffensive soundtrack and the lingering aroma of fast food with a hint of feet. It could only be bowling and the Paloko (Cabildo 450; 4775-8279; www.palokobowling.com.ar)) in Belgrano has 18 lanes, though the split-level layout keeps it feeling bowling.com.ar relatively cosy. For Zona Norte alley cats, Martinez’s Snack Bowling (Libertador 13054; 4792-8009; www.snackbowling.com.ar www.snackbowling.com.ar) has a more upmarket restaurant and confiteria and offers various combos. Bowling prices vary depending on day and time, but a midweek evening game will cost around AR$7. Bowl budget on weekdays before 7pm at Caballito’s tiny New Bowling (Gainza 1067; 4958-5762; www.bowlingnew.com.ar www.bowlingnew.com.ar), for just AR$3/game.

Gamin’! Classic central café Los 36 Billares (Avenida de Mayo 1265; 4381-5696; www.los36billares.com.ar)) was the first place in Argentina to offer billiards when it www.los36billares.com.ar opened in 1894, with the seat of the National Billiard Association downstairs. Today an hour of three-cushioned carom (pocketless) action costs AR$13, plus there’s a full-size snooker table in their atmospheric salon. A contrasting experience is to be had in cavernous Barrio Norte bar Jobs (Arenales 2932; 4822 9391; www.jobsbar.com.ar www.jobsbar.com.ar). ). Cheap entry deals and drinks promotions often fill it to capacity, often with large groups here to enjoy the 24 pool tables, six-player table football, darts and board games. There’s even indoor archery – well-supervised to ensure that the mixture of alcohol and arrows doesn’t lead to a grisly end. The food and drinks are not great at Palermo’s Acabar (Honduras 5733; 4772 0845; www.acabarnet.com.ar), ), but the enormous board game selection and fascinating décor keep it thrumming. Charly Garcia’s recent brief arrest at Candy (Baez 340) brought the city’s karaoke scene some publicity. Don’t expect a discreet Japanese-style booth here, as these cantobars tend to involve you serenading a room full of fellow patrons, many trying to eat their dinner. Other options are Republica de Aca;; which also hosts stand-up shows (Serrano 1549; 4581 0278; www.republicadeaca.com.ar www.republicadeaca.com.ar), Diabliyo (Av. Federico Lacroze 1650; 4771-2477; www.diabliyopub.com.ar www.diabliyopub.com.ar) or Cantobar Karaoke (Gurruchaga 2104; 4832 6849/4961). 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 29


Be!

Buenos Entrepren-Aires

Armed with nothing more than an idea, a laptop and a phone line, many expats are running international businesses from the comfort of their Buenos Aires homes – and raking in the dollars, euros or pounds. The possibilities are endless, but are the pitfalls manageable? Sean O’Hare chats to a few exemplary entrepreneurs.

These days you can sit at your com-

puter and be anywhere in the world. If you happen to be in Argentina, your business will obviously benefit from much cheaper overheads, while the favorable exchange rate will multiply any profit earned abroad. Add to that the comfort of avoiding a commute and the possibility of deducting your rent as an expense on your tax, and you’ll understand exactly why plenty of foreigners are holed up in their flats. But what exactly are they doing? Dan Karlin, 29, from Portland, Oregon, arrived in BA in November 2004 and 18 months later set up Anuva Vinos wine club after watching his teetotaler father buy two cases of a young Malbec at the foot of the Andes. From his home in Las Cañitas he now dispatches wine sourced exclusively from small-production

30 . BA Insider . Issue 4

Argentine bodegas to members’ homes in 26 US states and 15 European countries. With a staff of three (including his fiancée), a landline, one Skype line, two cell phones (with dual US and Argentine numbers) and four PCs, Daniel ensures his clients receive four shipments a year. Distance from the client is undoubtedly one of the biggest disadvantages of setting up over here. Skype is therefore an invaluable tool for the expat entrepreneur, allowing cheap calls online, or free calls to other users, with potential face-to-face contact. A dual phone line with a familiar phone number also can reassure clients, and is easily set up. Buying and plugging in what is known as a dual phone jack enables the operation of two phone lines from one phone. The local number is paid for locally, the international one via credit card online. A huge variety of deals on VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)


services can be found online. However, Skype and phone do not suffice for everything. “The real challenge is getting clients” says Tim Phillips, director of Tamarind Media, an interactive design, development and marketing agency based in Palermo. Oxford graduate Tim, 36, set up the company in November 2006, after moving out to BA with his half-Argentine wife and their two-year-old son. He did have a network partly built up already, but continues to make regular trips back to London in order to drum up new business. Four or five trips a year add up, though this is counterbalanced somewhat by the cheaper costs here. “Providing you have enough money to last you about six months, you can start up a business and give it a go,” says Tim. Indeed, since “giving it a go”, he and four British colleagues have carried out work for clients such as Channel Four, AOL and The Times, all from Tim’s specially-built office attached to his home. One problem with working from home is that business meetings often have to be held elsewhere, normally in one of the city’s many coffee

shops; though as Dan says, “it doesn’t look unprofessional, just less formal.” Plus many of his clients also work from home, so they can relate. And while taking a business call at home with a soundtrack of dog barking or kids playing may have come across as unprofessional ten years ago, it is now much more common. According to Tim it can even help to tell people “ i n a rather Argentine way” about your family life, bringing them more into your confidence and improving the relationship. “It goes down well in the UK even though most people don’t do it,” he remarks, adding that it often results in clients opening up about their own lives. And finally, he says, it can allow for a “better work/life balance”. Having said that, Tim works from a specially-built office next to his home, and though he might occasionally take a call at home with the

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 31


kids, he ensures that the cardinal rule of home/work separation is maintained. “It’s imperative that you always keep your office space separate from your living space,” agrees U.S.-born consultant firm director Sergio Fernandez, before bringing up another work-from-home issue. Though he is happy advising companies from the comfort of his Retiro home, away from the “rush hour, winter rains and scorching summers on the subway,” his big complaint is the lack of human contact. Too much time in front of the computer can take its toll. Tim’s way of combating this has been to invite friends working on their own projects to share his office facilities, which he says creates a better working environment. When working from your carefully-created space, dealing exclusively with the USA or Europe on a daily basis, it might be easy to forget you’re in Argentina at all – except for one major factor. Harry Hastings, 25, one of the younger entrepreneurs around, remains buoyant in the face of potential

32 . BA Insider . Issue 4

economic instability. He runs his concierge service PlanBA from his home with two phones, two computers and one assistant. Clearly a company offering personalized tourist packages to mainly English and American travelers would be threatened by another economic crash. But as with most of these entrepreneurs, one is pretty sure that his laptop and ideas would quickly find a niche elsewhere in case of difficulties.

Earn en casa! The usuals: Teaching, translating, writing, reporting, design, real estate, proof reading More adventurous: Industry services, consultancy, local/regional representation for foreign companies, import/export, IT services Downright exotic: Tango teaching, online poker playing.

Ask! Look out on www.bainsidermag.com/blog for suggested tools and links to help you conquer any market niche. 


Get! Self-employed In Search of the Monkey Tribute By Matt Graham and John Carmody

The task seemed simple: to obtain a monotributo in order to continue teaching English at a certain BA university.

The problem was, nobody among the school’s labyrinthine administration chambers could tell us WHY we suddenly needed a monotributo, or even WHAT one was. After all, the word translates literally as “monkey tribute.” In our search for answers corridors led nowhere, obscure rear staircases terminated in dusty storerooms. John, an avid Kafka fan, took a perverse thrill in all this. “This is like the last days of Austro-Hungarian Prague,” he gibbered. We realized we’d have to go straight to the horse’s mouth: AFIP. Home of Argentine tax. It was housed in a building that would have been rejected by Communist East Germany as “too depressing”. Inside, we took a number, and sat down to wait. Across the room, a broken old woman sobbed, gently, into a handful of forms. Finally, our number was called. The brooding official seated behind an Argentine flag was our last hope of getting the monotributo – and he didn’t like us already. “Leiste Kafka?” ventured John. A smile tore across the official’s face. Two hours of literary discussion later, we had the info any expat would need to work in the Argentine Republic. Since 2001 thousands of foreigners have come here, mostly from neighboring countries. Enshrined in the constitution is a commitment to promote immigration dating back to the 1850s; but nowadays there are basically three ways to work in Argentina:

A: Work Visa:

Most recommendable is to obtain trabajador contratado

status while still in your home country. You’ll need to arrange a job and receive a copy of a contract for your services in Argentina. All respectable companies will do this for you and it is hassle-free.

B: Monotributo:

A social security tax-number for freelance workers who make small contributions to their “employer” and need to be remitted for services provided. This paperwork formality puts you in the system, allowing the employing institution to charge you tax and legally file your presence. AFIP’s guide (www.afip.gov.ar/monotributo/documentos/ManualMonotributo20080331.pdf) states that it is tributo20080331.pdf designed for those offering their temporary services to a company. Foreigners holding valid passports are clearly included on the application form, which is obtainable from any AFIP office. Required for both the above is a constancia de domicilio (proof of residence), obtainable from police stations. Turn up with your passport, pay AR$10 and an officer will visit your home to confirm residence. OJO! You can use a place which is not a home, e.g. your lawyer’s office, if you have a lawyer and if they have an office. The other option...?

C: Work Illegally.

But the Insider does not condone or endorse this course of action. Not officially, anyway. It was a proud day when I received my monotributo, an illegible form printed on paper found in a Retiro public toilet. By then, the school had decided the monotributos weren’t necessary after all. Apparently it was all “too complicated.”  Issue 4 . BA Insider . 33


34 . BA Insider . Issue 4


right! Use! Your Voting for US President Any US citizens who will be here in November, and who haven’t yet registered to vote absentee for President should delay no further. While the process is straightforward, you might encounter a few kinks along the way – and we’re not talking about Ray Davies. Good citizen Caroline Frauman explains. How? Register and request your absentee ballot either:  online at www.votefromabroad.org, or  by post with the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), printable from www.fvap. gov (Federal Voting Assistance Program)

You will need:  Driver’s license/state ID no.  Social security no.  Voting residence address. The last is to know in which state and county your vote will count. Though all info is voluntary, omitted details could affect how your request is processed. You may vote even if you don’t have a state ID no., but it is in your interest to help your state find record of you quickly.

What is your voting residence address?  The address you lived at when you reg-

istered last.  If this is your first time registering, the place where you last lived.  If you’ve never lived in the US, the address where one parent is registered to vote. To see if your local voting commission has

located your voting residence address, contact your registrar’s office, whose number can be found online. An absentee ballot will then be mailed to you, along with a Christmas card and a check for ten dollars. Not really. NB: Be extra carfull when compleeting your balott as it will be heavilly screwtinized and any mistooks can result in your voat going uncownted. In case of difficulty, Democrats Abroad will save your hide – even if you’re a Republican. The common problems tend to be locating voting residence addresses and contacting local registrars. This organization is practiced in helping with both. Consisting of some 200 volunteers, DA is an official part of the Democratic Party and counts as the 51st state, representing the interests of guess what: Democrats living abroad. Find them at www.democratsabroad.com.ar or email contact@democratsabroad.com.ar. Though aptly-named DA chairman Yanqui Mike firmly believes the voting process to be “a good system run by good people”; he will not delay in reminding you to “trust in the system, [but] verify!” 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 35


Buy! Art in Argentina Tired of staring at your bare walls? Make your dwelling a domain for domestic daubings. Caroline Frauman dons her beret, whips out her checkbook and introduces you to the local market.

ARTISTS OF RENOWN: Auction Houses If you’ve got a low budget but still want to own a piece by a famous Argentine artist, your best bet is at an auction house (remates/subastas). Banco Ciudad (Esmeralda 660; 4329-8600; www.bancociudad.com.ar) is for the most modest of funds, with pieces starting around AR$50. Arroyo (Arroyo 830; 4325-0947; www.galarroyo.com www.galarroyo.com) and Suipacha (Suipacha 1248; 4322-1566; www.suipachagaleria.com.ar) are also important houses, often pachagaleria.com.ar dealing with local Masters. Auction houses exhibit at least a week in advance and often display an online catalogue too. To take part in auctions you’ll need your passport, or DNI if you have one. For classic Argentine Masters, expect to pay upward of US$100,000, while contemporary renowned artists can fetch from US$20,000. The House collects a commission of about 10-14% of the sale price and on top of that there’s 10% to pay in taxes. Worried about forgeries? See ‘Ojo’ on opposite page. Some contemporary masters: Siquier, López (photography), Gorriarena, Macchi (sculpture), Guillermo Kuitca, León Ferrari, Pombo, Stupía.

RISING ARTISTS: Galleries “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” Those starting a collection might start with their own taste, which might also support a lesser-known artist. San Telmo’s streets are strewn with galleries, good and bad: a trendy young one with good opening parties is Appetite (Chacabuco 551; www.appetite.com.ar www.appetite.com.ar); while Edea (Defensa 771; www.edeagaleria.com), easily spotted from two papier mâché tangoing www.edeagaleria.com fatties out front, focuses on local, contemporary art and tango-orientated works. Palermo and Recoleta are also packed with picture-packers, for example Dabbah Torrejón (El Salvador 5176; www.dabbahtorrejon. com.ar) and Braga Menendez (Humboldt 1574; Palermo; www.galeriabm.com). The mapa de las artes from the MALBA (Av. Alcorta 3415; www.malba.org.ar) contains a definitive listing of local galleries. Going www.malba.org.ar directly to an artist’s atelier could get you the best deal, plus adding a bit of authentic flavor to the experience – galleries will tell you where to find them. Be advised that plenty of good art comes out of crisis periods: keep an eye out for early 21st century works. Some rising artists: Lionel Contini, Reinoso, Fluixa, Pablo Suarez, Sabat. 36 . BA Insider . Issue 4


Sealing the Deal Don’t forget:  The factura de venta – proof you’ve bought the piece.  Certificate of Guarantee: the original, signed by the artist or an authorized relative, and if possible one from the Asociación Argentina de Galerías de Arte (AAGA), www.galeriasargentinas.com.ar www.galeriasargentinas.com.ar.

TIPS: Investment or Personal Taste?

 Original pieces cost less here, but remember the differentiation of markets: local artists’ work tends to grow only in the local market, so it’s USUALLY best to resell here.  Visit galleries and ask questions. Staff can be helpful, and there is often a library. Get on their mailing lists for invites to openings and events.  Art criticism in newspapers and magazines can be useful if your Spanish can handle it.  Lastly, as with any moneymaking business, there are consultants who can help you with collecting and purchasing. Inquire at galleries.

Ojo! Too Good to be True? Living relatives are entitled to sign letters of accreditation if the artist is deceased. The work of three artists in particular are known to have been copied: Castagnino, Spilimbergo and Berni. Take extra precautions when buying signed work at low prices. Some other Masters whose work should not come cheap: Pettoruti, Carpani, Quinquela Martín; Imperiale, Xul Solar, Lopez Claro, Soldi, Spilimbergo.

Getting out with the Goods To take your artwork away with you, you need to get approval. This is a means for the government to protect patrimony. Go to www.cultura.gov.ar --> “Patrimonio y museos”, and download the relevant documents. Then go to the Dirección de Artes Visuales (Alsina 1169, Piso 1º; 4381-6656; 10-4pm) with two color photos of the piece. Once you’ve been stamped there, head to the Mesa de Entradas de la Secretaría de Cultura de la Nación (Av. Alvear 1690, Mon-Fri 10-4pm) to get the approval process rolling. The process is free and generally takes a week or so. Some internationally renowned artists who you’d be happy to spirit away: Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc. 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 37


See! Trashy TV No need to feel lonely at home. A group of fascinating local creatures is waiting inside your television set to keep you company on those long winter nights. Matt Graham trawls through the garbage on your behalf.

Argentine TV is dominated by the trashy cult of the celebrity; personified by a tribe of

tanned and siliconed porteñas who haunt the trendiest Palermo bars and Recoleta plastic surgeries, dreaming of Punta del Este and Miami. They can be seen splashed across the capital’s gossip rags, or hanging off the arm of some hot male Z-List celebrity on various chimento (gossip) daytime TV shows. These vedettes (starlets) have identical credentials: gigantic plastic appendages and an obsession with fame, glitz and money. Welcome to the world of showbiz, known here as the farándula...

Bailando por un Sueño (Dancing for a Dream)

The epicenter of the farándula, the dream of every vedette, and the baby of Argentine super-producer Marcelo Tinelli, this star-studded reality TV dance competition has taken Latin America by storm. Even Maradona has gotten in on the act, appearing as a celebrity judge. Couples compete for a grand prize in front of a hysterical TV audience with a series of dance-offs, mastering styles as varied as hip-hop, the Charleston and Cumbia, plus strip and pole-dancing for that extra sleaze-feel. With bitchiness abounding and more flesh than on the beach at Punta, what’s not to like? Spanish needed: Basic – there’s plenty to gawp at Typical viewers: Anyone claiming not to watch it Bailando por un Sueno | M, Tu, Th, F 10:15pm | Canal 13

Intrusos del Espectáculo vs (Intruders on Stage)

Los Profesionales de Siempre (Always Professional)

After a vicious fall-out with her boss Jorge Rial, Viviana Canosa left top-rated ‘Intrusos’ to start her own chimento show ‘Los Profesionales’ on a rival channel, competing with her own boss for the ratings. Sleaze and scandal is what both shows specialize in: who’s having an affair with who, who’s in rehab, and who’s trying to hide a new nose job. Both shows rarely miss an opportunity to slam each other and their rivalry is the stuff of legend. If you want to know what’s going on in the farándula – catch one of these shows and you’ll soon be an expert. Spanish needed: Non-speakers will get the idea Typical viewers: The Insider wouldn’t wish to name a gender Profesionales de Siempre | M-F 5-7pm | Canal 9 Intrusos del Espectáculo | M-F 4-6pm | América (Canal 2) 38 . BA Insider . Issue 4


Socias (Partners) “There are no laws in love”, states the tagline of this high-end telenovela, set in the kind of legal practice where everyone is young, hot and female; and gleefully untroubled by such inhibitive concepts as Christian morality. Clients are often from families so twisted and debauched as to make the Borgia clan seem a paragon of decency. Three stunning female lawyers own a practice together, and storylines on the show encompass such glorious subjects as sperm donors, gratuitous underage sex, drugs, hardcore pornography and the discovery of corpses in hotel rooms. With bitchy clients and hunky dopes to be used and abused, ‘Socias’ is a delightful addition to Wednesday night viewing. Spanish needed: Vague Typical viewers: Dostoevsky fans and young professionals Socias | W 10:15pm | Canal 13

Televisión Registrada (Registered Television) For staying in on Saturday nights, or pre-salida viewing, tune into TVR for a fast-paced and viciously satirical recap of the week’s news and TV. Started in 1999 on Canal América, TVR had to move to Canal 13 in 2005 after the channel’s bosses were peeved at the show’s choice of guests. Today’s hosts Sebastián Wainraich and Gabriel Schultz banter with guests in between breathtaking edited montages dealing with the day’s key issues, from political wrangles and obituaries of the dead and famous, to what’s happening on ‘Bailando’. Spanish needed: Fluid, though some moments transcend the idioma Typical viewers: Intellectuals interested in the trash beyond the trash TVR | Sat 10pm | Canal 13 

Issue 4 . BA Insider . 39


your eye Ojo! Keep on the door! Staying safe at home Paranoia is rife in Buenos Aires. Or that is what we’ve come to suspect... While you sit in the warmth of your home, legions of brilliant criminal minds are dreaming up elaborate scams to make you open your door. Gwen Kirby peels on her black gloves and balaclava. Before you read any further: These scams have all happened, but statistically there is still a very small chance of them happening to you. Be aware, be cautious, but don’t turn into a gibbering paranoid freak.

A load of trash The man at the door in nondescript municipal uniform brandishes some trash bags and explains that the city is giving them out for free. He keeps repeating the word “free” right up until he says “Yes, they are free, but 15 pesos...” These pushy characters will not budge until they receive money or the door in their face. We recommend the latter.

The meter checker An international classic. A man from the electricity (or whatever) company arrives to check the meter. OJO! Utility companies will never send someone without letting you know. When in doubt, call the company and check.

Under door panic This scam comes in two known varieties. In one, water is poured under the door to look like a flood. In the other, burning paper is put under your door and someone outside yells “Fire! Fire!” In a panic, you open the door. Who wouldn’t?

Catch Porter To turn apartment buildings into a criminal’s playground, a common technique used is to force the porter at gun- or knife-point to aid and abet. You hear your trusted porter’s voice, and open up, to be greeted by... 17 grinning vandals bearing meat cleavers and scythes. See tips below for a way out of this one. 40 . BA Insider . Issue 4


Your Order? It’s the pizza boy! Complete with a moped and attached pizza carrier. You open the door to explain that you didn’t order pizza, and BAM! – 16 rounds of lead are pumped into your frontal lobe. This scam works with the full range of deliverables available in Buenos Aires (see page 5). If you didn’t order it, tell them that and keep the door shut!

Hombre Araña Dispelling apartment-dwellers’ delusions of safety, the “spider-man” scales balconies and roofs, shimmies up drainpipes, and crosses terrazas in a single leap. Batten down the hatches – keep your windows shut! More of a summer danger.

Helpless Woman In this city of chivalry (and piropos…) people can’t help but help helpless women. One such damsel stands in the street and distresses, audibly. You naturally open your door to help and KLUNK! – you get hit on the head by a frying pan. Difficult to handle as you can’t know if the woman is sincere.

Gate Wait Often used with gated homes, a thief waits in a car or in the shadows for you to arrive home in your car, and slips in once the gate/garage door is open. He then surprises you, robs your house and drives off in your car. Or he might just take your car, if you’re lucky.

Virtual Kidnapping Someone calls to say, for example, “We have your boyfriend.” You say, “Oh my god, Paul?” and they use your information to respond: “Yes, Paul.” See BAI issue 1 for more on this old favorite, but in a nutshell – don’t give any info on the phone!

Read the Signs Bizarre graffiti hieroglyphs on the exterior of your building could in fact be criminal communication. Beware these symbols conveying sinister information such as if a woman is living alone, or if people are on vacation.

COMMON SENSE RECAP:  Use your ojo - there is always time to look out your eyehole. No matter what someone outside may be yelling.  Have a code sentence your porter can say to warn you if he is being coerced. For example if you always call him Ramón, have him announce himself as Mr. Sanchez to warn you not to open up.  Be firm. If you didn’t order it, or you don’t want to pay for the trash bags, don’t. The longer you talk with them, the more vulnerable you are.  Use your intercom, or just shout through the door until you are sure who or what is on the other side.  If you see a suspicious car, drive around the block and make sure you feel safe before entering your driveway. If you really feel worried, call the police.  Know your neighbors. The more people you know in your building or your neighborhood, the better you can tell who should and shouldn’t be there. Plus they will keep an ojo out for you, too.  Issue 4 . BA Insider . 41


Ape! Truco Truco is the classic Argentine activity for a rainy afternoon (or sunny, windy or cloudy morning or evening). It’s a trick-taking card game where the porteño art of chamuyo is gloriously on display. You won’t find the complex rules explained here, but some of the surrounding folklore to get you interested...

Señas Actions speak louder than porteños, it turns out. When played in teams of two or three, truco players communicate their hands to the rotating team-leader through a selection of gurning facial signals. See pictures for examples.

42 . BA Insider . Issue 4


Naipes Truco is not played with the poker cards we extranjeros know and love, but with Spanish cards, whose suits are swords, cups, coins and clubs (of the cudgel variety). The game also requires the removal of all 8s and 9s leaving a deck of 40 (picture cards start at 10). The winner/winning team is the first to gain 30 points, the first 15 of which are known as “malas” and the second 15 as “buenas”.

Frases A truco table is a great platform to hear the fabulous range of porteño slang, or lunfardo. Apart from game bidding terms, including words “envido” or “truco”, you are likely to hear things like “Poné!”, put a high card; “Vení!”, put a low one; “estar cargado”, to have a great hand, or “estar ciego”, to have nothing. Plus the word boludo about 14 times a minute.

Chamuyo Essential to the game is chamuyo, or the art of exaggeration, manipulating the truth, bluffing... in short, BS. Have you ever watched a dying moth trying to escape from a kitten? That’s what a foreigner truco newbie is like when he plays against a battle-hardened porteño. Once you’ve realized something, they, as their saying goes, already fueron y volvieron...

How to learn It’ll be hard to find a porteño willing to take the time to teach you, and even harder to find any to play you once you know how to play. Most will make a kind of guttural noise at the very suggestion of playing with gringos. Time to call in the very best friendships, or even better, get a local boyfriend or girlfriend and chain them to the bedpost. And forget about truco. 

International House Cosme Beccar 225 San Isidro San Isidro Buenos Aires Spanish Courses Telephone-Fax Groups: 5 students maximum 4743-2518 One - to - one lessons Diploma de Español como Lengua extranjera www.ihsanisidro.com.ar Issue 4 . BA Insider . 43


Readership has its Privileges Inebriated Insiders clink glasses at the BA Insider issue #3 bash, Restaurant L’Émbruix.

Issue #4

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48 . BA Insider . Issue 4


BA Insider #4  

INSIDER INDOORS Things to do on a rainy day [The WHO, WHAT, WHEN, HOW, WHY, & WHERE of LIVING IN BUENOS AIRES]

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