BA Insider issue #5

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EDITORIAL ISSUE 5 With the return of the irresistible heat and the purple explosion of flowers, most expats’ minds are currently on events elsewhere: hockeymoms and global financial meltdown are making Buenos Aires seem more than ever the place to be. So just luxuriate in the distant crisis and turmoil by ordering a crate of Quilmes, 15 kilos of bife de chorizo and heading to a roof terrace. That’s the porteño spirit! These guys really know how to deal with a crisis. After a year and four issues, number five tackles the theme of recreate in two ways. One the one hand, local spring-like recreational activities such as polo and tennis are covered with usual Insider springiness on the one hand. Get outside and active with a range of activities you’ve been thinking about doing but have never actually accomplished. On the other side, it’s an apt time of the year to consider reinventing yourself: perhaps as a BA businessperson, a versatile dancer, an experienced asador, or even as a wizened old Argentina grandmother. The path to all these destinies lies between these pages. Effusive thanks once again to all writers and readers who make this possible – please keep the feedback coming hard and fast (just how we like it). And if there is some area of BA life that you need the Insider perspective on, just let us know...

Staff Publishers Graham Hatch, Stefan Bielski Editor David Labi Advertising Sales Manager Marc Nieto Designer Victoria Cascón Assistant to the Publisher Gwen Kirby

Writers Guadalupe Fernandez, Jemma Foster, Matt Graham, Natasha Kaufman, Catherine Hubbard, Gwen Kirby, Mariana Mazer, Emily Palmer, Hannah Shanks, Scott Alexander Young, Nico Zuzenburg

Cover Photo Manuel Archain

Illustrators Federico Calandria, Darío Cerbino, Gabriela Guzmán, Verónica Magoja, Julián Sequeira

Teary-eyed thank-yous to: Mara Duer, Sorrel MoseleyWilliams, Andrea Pesce, las Hermanas Sainz

Photographers Beatrice Murch, Diego Vazquez

Distribution: Jacqueline Salta 781 C1074AAO C.A.B.A. Phone/Fax - 11 4383 5888

Cover Model Scott Alexander Young Marketing Intern Sarah Touchal

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What’s Inside Eat!


04 EAT picada!

13 GO to Congreso!

Arrange a porteño platter of cheese and cold-cuts.

Specialist shops, Japanese and Peruvian food and a good bit of history.

18 GO by train!

Sip! 08 SIP coffee notably! Quaff fine brews at these off-the-beaten classic cafés.

10 SIP fernet without coke! Alternative cocktails with Argentina’s favorite cough syrup.

Edition No 5 (Summer 2008). Copyright 2007-08 Insider SRL Directors Graham Hatch and Stefan Bielski. BA Insider Magazine is published bi-monthly by Insider SRL.

+54 11 5917-8236

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The resurrection of Argentine trainage and some good routes.

20 GO behind closed doors! Our regular feature dines home-style in Tipo Casa.

Edición Nro. 5 (Verano 2008). Copyright 2007-08 Insider SRL Directores Graham Hatch y Stefan Bielski. Propietario: Insider SRL

Do! 22 DO polo! Sticks and stallions. Or are they mares?

24 DO abuela cooking! Win the respect of burly men all over Argentina.

26 DO tennis! Running dirty rackets with a variety of budgets.

Ape! 39 APE asa-dos and asa-don’ts! Don’t be a shameless gringo – the Argies know how to cook meat.

Out! 28 OUT culoshaking! Beyond tango to a world of dancing possibility.

Be! 30 BE a bizzy bee! Different ways of setting up shop in Argentina.


42 Community: Recreational mainstream and transcendental. 44 Calendar: Madonna and the Day of the Immaculate Conception.

34 GET British!

46 MAP: Where am I? Where are you?

An Anglophile’s guide to Buenos Aires.

48 Did you make the PHOTO GALLERY? Issue 5 . BA Insider . 3

Harder Eat! Pick Selective Picadas In those sumptuous spring evenings when you don’t have the stomach for hefty dishes, the Argentina picada is a perfect snack, made up of assorted cold-cuts, cheeses, and other pickable salty goodies. If you are looking to pick your own pickled peppers, see below for the pecking order...

The Great Cheese Hunt

Back in Capital Federal, there are a number of delis discerning if you know where to look:

ToP To P 5 DeliS DeliS

By Jemma Foster

Do not be fooled by the abundance of

mooing vacas roaming the Argentine countryside, for the majority are just for meat and wouldn’t know the first thing about milk. The most common Argentine cheeses, such as Mar del Plata, Port Salut and the so-called ‘Mozzarella’, are bland, lardy substances that only pass for cheese because somewhere down the line a cow was involved - we hope. But do not lose faith - Argentine cheese is not a complete write-off. National cheeses worth checking out include Provoleta ‘al Campo’ – grilled Provolone cheese melted with oregano over the fire, La Capilla Malbec (similar to Spanish Manchego but aged in Mendoza’s Malbec) and Wapi Goat Feta. For the serious cheese fan, a pilgrim pilgrimage to the Mecca of Argentine cheese is a five-hour drive out of town to Tandil. Tandil is dedicated to all things dairy – produc producing a plethora of cheese and home to schools of agronomy and lactose production. Hoards of cheeses can be sampled in the numerous queserías - with La Época de Quesos being the oldest and serving over 130 dif different local varieties. 4 . BA Insider . Issue 5

l Al Queso, Queso | Various This chain with over 20 branches in the capital offers up a wealth of national cheeses and is particularly fond of La Suerte Patagonia and Suipacha brands. There are also foreign imports such as the ever-faithful President range and Grana Padana shipped over from Italy. The Taleggio has a welcomed punch to it that hits the back of your throat and the Bocconcini Mozzarella is of the delicious gooey, melt-in-your-mouth sort. 0800 555 78376 | Delivery | M-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-2pm, 6-9pm Major cards | l Valenti | Various For over 50 years the good people of Valenti have been dedicated to queso. When Pope Juan Pablo II paid a visit to Argentina only Valenti was authorized by the Vatican to provide His Holiness with Mozzarella and Ricotta. The latest addition to the chain is inside Patio Bullrich, but the wine bar in Belgrano on Vuelta de Obligado is perfect for whiling away the hours. The Société Roquefort from France is creamy with a kick and their Cheddar is probably the best around. 0800-88VALENTI | Delivery | M-Sat 9am9pm, Sun 10am-2pm | Major cards

l La Casa del Queso | Abasto This deli and restaurant has an extensive range of national cheeses to pick up at the counter or sample in the restaurant. The Ricotta and Queso Pepato with pepper are recommended, along with the Magnasco brand of Edam with tomato and basil. There are an overwhelming number of picada plates of cheese and cold cut combinations with inventive titles such as Winnie the Poo and Don Quijote. Thank the cheese gods that instead of the usual plastic nonsense the porteños are so fond of, you can choose to have Fontina, Roquefort or Gruyere in your fondue. Raclettes of Morbier, Gruyere, Fontina and Azul are also served along with Provoletas that melt on a grill at your table. Corrientes 3587 | 4862-4794 | 10.30am-12am daily | Delivery | Major cards | l La Tablita | Belgrano Walk into this charming Belgrano fiambrfiambr ería and enter a treasure trove of culinary goodies. All the cheeses are national,

many of which are handmade and from Tandil. The friendly staff really know their stuff and are happy to share their knowledge with you as you sample. Watch out for the Embriago aged in Cabernet Sauvignon and the cheese blends such as pineapple and Gruyere, Brie and date, Roquefort and almonds. Vidal 1726 | 4786-1518 | Delivery within 20 blocks | Tu-Sun: 9:30am1:30pm: 4:30-9pm | Major cards | l A Manger | Palermo For 18 years this family-run deli and café has specialized in cosas caseras – homemade treats. They blend their cheeses with ingredients such as black pepper, smoked sweet red pepper, cumin, garlic

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and parsley. The Insider vouches for their inspirational cheese truffles, particularly the Gruyere with pistachios and whiskey and the Roquefort with nuts. Charcas 4001 | 4833-3095 | M-Sat 1010; Sun 11am-2pm, 6-10pm | Delivery and catering | Major cards

Cut & Dried

l Supermarkets: If it’s foreign imports you are looking for then you’ll find the French President range (Brie, Camembert, Emmenthal), Danish Rosenborg (Danish Blues), Swiss Emi (Fondue) and Goya Parmesan in big chains like Jumbo and Carrefour.

l Salamín: salt-cured, sliced pork sausage.

l Jamón crudo: salt-cured pork leg, slathered in oil and paprika or other spices, and then sliced thin. l Jamón cocido: baked ham that has been chilled and sliced.

l Matambre: might not be for the faint of heart – it’s a meat roll stuffed with hardboiled egg, garlic, parsley, carrots and red bell peppers, before being boiled, chilled, and sliced. l Pavita: generic sliced turkey.

WANTED! Stilton Branston pickle Half-decent cheddar

Hankering for Ham By Hannah Shanks

When choosing your cold-cuts, a sample is the best way to check for quality and flavor. Neighborhood delis are generally more amenable to handing out freebies than supermarkets or chinos. Be a dirty Goldilocks and squeeze the little salamines – not too hard or too soft, but just right. Fiambrerías Fiambrerías, with their specialty in meats and cheeses, generally have a better selection and quality than supermarkets. Fresh sliced meat is always better than the supermarket meat in plastic packages, which can acquire a slime. And, of course, ask your deli man or woman for assistance – he or she is likely an expert on the wide variety of fiambres and quesos on display, and can help you with a more diet-friendly meat, something rich and gamey, a traditional Argentine option, or just your basic ham for a sandwich. 6 . BA Insider . Issue 5

l Lomo horneado: smoked pork, often with an herb crust.

Veg & Roughage l Anything al escabeche is boiled in vinegar, and then stored in a mixture of oil, garlic, bay leaves and oregano. l Pickles are not dill or sweet, but tend to be pickled veg like cauliflower, carrots, onions, peppers, olives and what might look like “normal” pickles (pepinillos). l Olives, green, black, pitted or non-, marinated, with garlic, stuffed, life is like a bowl of, etc. l Baguettes, sliced into discs, can be alternated with various kinds of crackers and ‘tosty’ biscuits. l Ciboulette, an onion spread, is a delicious chutney-like accompaniment. l Salted almonds and sliced veggies make a picada healthy. Not really.

Meating Places There are delis throughout Buenos Aires, from small neighborhood storefronts to more well known chains, like Al Queso Queso (, (see page 4 for more info). Generally if you walk

around your barrio you will undoubtedly find several options. One neighborhood standout is Pampa Linda (Mansilla 3500, Palermo; 4821-7367), with good quality meats and cheeses, Patagonian delicadelica cies and a helpful staff – a necessity for fiambre novices. Supermarkets like Disco (www.disco., rr), Coto (, Carrefour ( ( and your local chino will also have delis; the larger the store, the better the selection. Gourmet ‘picadeers’ should check out Ruca Nativa ( with an assortment of themed platters, Picadas del Sur ( for platters based on Argentine regions, or use Google Argentina to find more. For kosher fare check out e-Kosher (, Tatekosher

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( or wander around Once and see what you find. Fiambres are generally priced by gram, be it per 90g for some jamón crudo, or 100g for pavita, etc. Check with your deli man or woman for the pricing for each particular meat, since it varies. Currently Disco is charging AR$8.99 for 90g of Bell’s jamón crudo. Imperial Conversion 100g = 3.5oz (approx)

Ojo! Fiambre lovers beware! Dieticians and cardiologists tend to run screaming from most fiambres’ high fat and sodium content. Also bear a thought for the provenance of the cold cuts – is your fiambre-dealer reliable? z

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Sip! Notably The iconic Café Tortoni is just one of over 50 bars, billiard halls and confiterías in the Capital which were designated ‘bares notables’ by a special commission set up 10 years ago. Catherine Hubbard seeks out some other ‘noteworthy’ venues as yet unteeming with Tortoni’s tourists.

A bar notable is technically an establishment with significant “local relevance, architec-

tural design, age, or some relation to historical occurrences”. The city organizes cultural events within these spaces, such as recitals and talks, and provides subsidies to improve the infrastructure ‘without altering the original spirit’. These lucky venues also get specialist advice on the conservation, rehabilitation, or restoration of buildings and furniture. The full list of the 53 places can be found at (under Actividades > Cultura > bares notables). Government tourist offices also hand out a useful full-color map with pictures, addresses and directions for free. Read on, and get noting...

Bar Hermanos Cao | San Cristóbal Founded in 1915, Bar de Cao is still set up like an original almacén (grocer’s store). The walls are lined with wooden boxes, and salami sticks and cured ham hang from hooks; but 1980s retro music washes regardless over a crowd happily free of cameratoters. Expect slow service, but satisfying dishes and a reasonable and extensive menu. Good for: Known for homemade pasta and picadas. Fill up on a pollo completo sandwich with fries (AR$16) or the pumpkin ravioli (AR$15) before topping it off at the heladería across the road. Independencia 2400 | 4943-3694

Café Retiro | Retiro Hidden in a corner of one of Buenos Aires’ biggest thoroughfares is one of its loveliest and somehow most forgotten cafés. Built in 1915, the café was closed for many years and reopened in 2001. Stunning wrought iron balconies and glowing bronze chandeliers grace its enormity. Good for: A midmorning meeting and swift second breakfast. Café con leche and medialunas will set you back AR$7. Look out for cake and tostada promotions. Retiro station lobby | 4516-0902 10 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Confitería Ideal | San Nicolás Walking into this somewhat crumbling luxury café built in 1912 is like stepping into the ballroom of the Titanic. It once was the meeting place of Buenos Aires’ most well-heeled, as well as sundry writers, musicians and tango composers. Madonna filmed scenes of Evita here. Nowadays, there are spaces on both floors for tango classes and milongas, with some of the capital’s more mournful classic compositions piped through speakers. Check out the old wooden refrigerator doors behind the bar. Good for: Showing visiting friends somewhere wonderful and hustle-free. Afternoon sodas downtown or atmospheric tango lessons. Suipacha 384 | 5265-8069 |

La Embajada | Monserrat This is the real porteño deal: a café full of red wine and siphoned-soda sippers chomping more bread than a North American would eat in a month, big plates of odorous meat, and coffees narcotic in their power. Its curved marble bar may have seen more refined days, but that doesn’t seem to deter locals, particularly the pensioners who were gather to snort up trough-sized portions of puchero (AR$20). Good for: Minutas (quick dishes) like mini bife de chorizo (AR$13), blackboard salads (AR$10-AR$12) and daily specials like peceto al horno (AR$14). It’s also got the cheapest café con leche (AR$3.50) in Buenos Aires this side of the 21st century. Santiago del Estero 88 | 4381-1520

Café Petit Colon | Tribunales “The best thing about this place,” says my companion as he stuffs a forkful of cake in his mouth, “is the view”. The café faces the leafy Plaza Lavalle, directly in front of the Palacio de Justicia. There are wicker chairs and waiters with bow ties and napkins draped over their arms, and pictures of tango singers on the walls, while classical music drifts over the customers. Never mind that it opened in 1978 – you still get the feeling Gardel will be popping in any minute. Good for: Afternoon delights like torta de ricota (AR$12) or lemon pie. Libertad 505 | 4382-7306 z

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Spirits Sip! Adventuring Beyond Fernet and Coke The ways in which the beloved pungent cough syrup is partaken of here in Buenos Aires are manifold: ‘fernet and cola’ and ‘cola and fernet’. Oh, and ‘fernetcola’. Is there no other way to drink this bitter herbal remedy? Natasha Kaufman puts some hairs on your chest. The original l A whopping splash of fernet l Cola Place 2 or 3 ice cubes in a cocktail glass. Pour fernet over the ice, tilt the glass, and pour the cola in slowly. Best For: Those who want to get their livers into the true Argentine drinking spirit. When: At night at your local boliche or before a Sunday asado. With: The boys from the barrio. Rating: 7/10

The Fedora l A minor-quaff of fernet l 2 shots of whiskey l Half a shot of sweet vermouth l A twist of citrus Pour the fernet into an ice-filled shaker and “wash the ice” by stirring the liquid, and then drain it. Combine the whiskey and vermouth into the shaker. Stir rigorously and serve up in a martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

The Bouquet Toss l A saucy nip of fernet l A shot of gin l Half a shot of red vermouth l Fresh fruits l Lemonade or ginger ale Mix up the boozes and leave them to stew for a while with your choice of fresh fruits (berries work well). Once flavored add lemonade or ginger ale to suit taste. 12 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Local boliches and underground parties will be filled with people enjoying an evening splash of this warming combination. It’s a big fave among teenagers and the cumbia crowd because it’s usually cheaper than other spirits. Ojo! You will be scorned if you use a cola that’s not Coca and a fernet that’s not Branca. In fact the slightly greenish foam on top of the drink comes out foamier if it’s Branca. Fact! Best For: Resuscitating a corpse. When: After years of hibernation. With: Friends willing to hold back your hair... Rating: 6/10 This biting potion will put hairs on your chest, and probably your tongue. The citrus edge gives it an extra kick while the sweet vermouth balances the herbal taste of the fernet. An original and surprisingly moreish drink. Best For: A game of croquet. When: The sun is shining. With: The Ambassador. Rating: 10/10 A fresh and floral spring surprise, this is best enjoyed with large amounts of grass very close by. Invite Lord and Lady Binglethwaite over for scrabble and get them trashed on this fruity elixir. Can cure scurvy.

Fernet Rocks

When: You’ve failed in an attempt to kill your boss. With: You and your cat. Rating: 7/10

l A big whack of fernet l A twist of lemon Pour the fernet over ice into a high-ball glass, serve with a lemon twist. Best for: Insane geniuses and the unemployed.

Teenage Tendencies

Strong yet energising, best drunk at a slow pace during an intense game of poker or in an armchair reading a novel. Until you lose the ability to focus. Best For: Sugar mainliners. When: In need of a sugar rush. With: Girls who just wanna have fun. Rating: 5/10

l A hefty slosh of fernet l Lemonade/orangeade l A dash of syrup l Lemon Chuck it all in a glass. Well, what else do you suggest?

For those nostalgic for their alco-pop days this saccharine sweet melange will bring back a taste of adolescence. Easy and cheap to make, and its colourful finish will brighten up your day.

Fernet facts Fernet was originally marketed as a health elixir, rumored to cure everything from menstrual cramps to cholera. It’s made from over 40 different spices, just like the average porteño.

Back in the old country (Italy) it is known as a mata-café, because it nips that caffeine buzz in the bud after a big meal. Some use it as ‘hair of the dog’, or a hangover cure in the morning. Don’t brush your teeth with it though as it stains. z


Go! BARRIO CONGRESO Welcome to Congreso! Kilometer zero of Buenos Aires’ streets and political activity, what locals know as Congreso is actually the southern part of the official barrio of Balvanera and the northern part of barrio San Nicolás. It encompasses the parks in front of the congressional building and the streets around the parks, including Av. De Mayo, Rivadavia, and southern Av. Callao, which becomes Av. Entre Rios. Line A, the city’s oldest subway (started 1913), runs down Av. de Mayo and then Rivadavia, past the Congreso, which was built a few years before in 1906. The barrio has a diverse personality. A political center, containing both the Congress and the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo headquarters only a few blocks away from each other is complemented by the biggest concentration of Japanese inhabitants in the city and

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By Gwen Kirby

streets of focalized specialist shopping, from music to travel to photography. Apartments in Congreso are mostly pretty old, and go for US$1100 to US$1300 per square meter. The area is filled with grand old buildings, in the French architectural style, such as the gorgeous buildings to be seen on the Pasaje Dr. Rudolfo Rivarola, near Talcahuano and Perón. Monthly apartment rent ranges from US$500-800. It’s a convenient place to live as it’s a major transport hub, with access to subte lines A, B, C and D nearby and innumerable buses. Away from the Congress –specifically south of Av. Belgrano – the streets are fairly quiet and pretty, and dotted with balconies and fruterías. The squares of trees, fountains and greenery that lie in front of the national parliament building have many benches that give great views of the surrounding architecture and make good places to eat lunch, as long as you aren’t bothered by homeless people’s mattresses, flocks of pigeons, and walkers with herds of dogs. Sit, watch the tourist buses, admire the architecture, and ponder Buenos

Aires and its complex political history, with Rodin’s The Thinker keeping you company in your contemplation. One of the two copies in South America, this statue is kilometer zero, the point from which all roads in Buenos Aires are measured. This square is often the venue for huge political rallies, when it is transformed into a bewildering kaleidoscope of color, sound and activity. For a calmer picnic spot try the lovely Plaza 1 de Mayo on Adolfo Alsina and Pasco. OJO: Don’t be confused when you go south of Rivadavia and all streets change their names: for example Av. Callo becomes Av. Entre Ríos. Keep your Guía-T handy.

Eat! Congreso is known for having the best and most sophisticated places to eat Japanese food. Oftentimes tucked down dark alleyways and uninviting streets, these are the places where the Japanese Ambassador is wont to dine, as well as the large local Japanese population, mostly from Okinawa. Yuki (Pasco 740; 4942-7510) is known for its top-quality sushi and sashimi, with a full menu of rice and noodles dishes as well. The sushi-chef has been in the business over 40 years and is descended from the Samurai; eat his warlike art for AR$60 a plate (12-15 pieces) and go on a weeknight to avoid impenetrable crowds. Sashimiya (México 1965; 49418960; temporarily closed) also specializes in sushi, gyoza, and makes a mean green tea ice cream. Open nights only, Tuesday through Sunday. Shogun (Uriburu 280; 4952-5897) is a sushi paradise and each plate is big enough to share. For two, expect to pay AR$60-70 each. The list goes on and on – if you want a real insider to tell you where to go, check out the Centro Okinawense de Argentina (Av. San Juan 2651; 4941-0546; to learn more. The barrio boasts several good Spanish restaurants. Plaza Asturias (Av. de Mayo 1199; 4382-7334) is known for excellent seafood, though the Argentine dishes are

not recommended. Their AR$26 menú ejecutivo is available until 6pm. Betanzos (Venezuela 1534; www.betanzosrestaurant. serves Galician food, and is easily spotted from its hokey, medieval décor outside. Get the specialty fish dishes, AR$30-140, or the black pasta, AR$28-36. Learn some Spanish history at the 100-year old Centro Gallego (Av. Belgrano & Pasco; 41271303; www.centrogallegoba., across from an ornate, domed brick church. Al Galope (Tucumán 2633; 4963-6888) is one of the best kosher parrillas in the city for around AR$40 per person and competes for local Jewish diners with Club Oriente (Perón 1878; 4476-2800). A Sephardi restaurant in the basement of the Sephardi cultural center, the buffet is reasonably priced with babaganoush as the star dish. Status (Virrey Cevallos 178; 4382-8531) is a Peruvian restaurant near the square that has simple décor but excellent food and is busy at lunch-hour. Chan-chan (Hipolito Yrigoyen 1390; 4382-8492), also Peruvian, is near by and equally as good. Each will set you back around AR$30 per person. Finish your night off with Sorrento (Rivadavia 2051; 4953-7119), an ice cream store founded by the other master of Argentine ice cream. Señor Sorrento came over on the same boat as our beloved Señor Freddo and the ice cream is still traditional Italian gelato style, to be enjoyed in their indoor booths for two.

Sip! A good haven for hob-nobbers is the Club del Progreso (Sarmiento 1334; 43715053), one of the oldest social clubs in the city. Enter through their enormous double doors and feel the power. It is not cheap, but an excellent lunch deal offers an appetizer, entrée, dessert, coffee, and a drink for AR$35. For something a little Issue 5 . BA Insider . 15

more plebian, try Bellagamba (Rivadavia 2138; 49515833), decorated like TGI Friday except authentic. Around since 1925, they have good Argentine rock music, cheap drinks, and a buffet at the back that is priced per item: AR$7-9 for a large personal pizza, AR$14 for a pollo al verdeo. MU Punto de Encuentro (Hipólito Yrigoyen 1440; 4381-5269) isn’t a bar exactly, more a place where you can buy drinks in addition to watching the current poetry reading, band, lecture, or interview. The venue is run by MU, the newspaper of the free-thinking group Lavaca. Sip excellent coffee in El Gato Negro (Corrientes 1669; 4374-1730), a traditional café with a wide selection of coffee blends. A wonderfully-smelling selection of beans can be chosen, ground and taken home with you, along with a vast variety of spices for sale. They also have teas, delicious

scones and brownies. Nearby, La Giralda (Corrientes 1453; 4371-3846) is a classic haunt famous for its hot chocolate and churros, and packed out late on weekends with the post-theater and cinema crowd.

Out! Some of the streets around Congreso can be a bit shady in the early hours, but if you stick to the big avenues there’s always a lot of activity through the night. A mixed bag of options exists for nocturnal activity. Play pool at one of the famous pool bars between Rivadavia, Uruguay, and 9 de Julio. 36 Billiards (Av. de Mayo 1265) is a café notable (see page 10) as well as a billiard hall, and won’t disappoint. The Teatro Avenida (Avenida de Mayo 1212; 4381-0662) is covered in beautiful cast-iron grill work, making it glow on the historic Av. De Mayo. Buenos Aires Lírica performs here, making it one of the few places to enjoy opera while the Teatro Colón remains closed. They also have concerts and plays. To see who is performing, look for the theater in La Nación, Clarín, or on line at www.ticketek. For a film, go to the Espacio INCAA Km 0 (Rivadavia 1635; 4371-3050, www. Right off of Congreso Square, it’s perhaps the last of the cinemas allowing you to watch a movie for AR$4. Films are mostly Argentine. Additionally, check out the Biblioteca del Congreso to see if any free film screenings are going on. Again, Spanish is usually required.

Buy! Not the place for high fashion, Congreso has wide selections in specific commodities. Musical equip16 . BA Insider . Issue 5

ment and instruments can be found on Talcahuano between Rivadavia and Corrientes. The variety of guitars and recording equipment is as impressive as the giant guitar hanging from the side of one building. Talcahuano Music Center (Talcahuano 116; 4382-4496) is a large, one-stop music center and La Tecla (Talcahuano 152; 4382-2782) will buy your old instruments as well as ship your new one to anywhere in Argentina. Walk down the street and watch young porteños gaze with longing at the display windows. Av. Belgrano is known as the “honeymoon” street due to the large number of furniture stores and the newly-weds perusing them. In the square created by Rivadavia, Av. Belgrano, 9 de Julio, and Salta abound fine fabric shops and haute couture dress makers. If photography is your passion, on Libertad around Av. Corrientes there are a number of camera stores that specialize in camera parts and accessories. Kinefot

S.A. (Talcahuano 244, 4382-7585) is a huge destination for photo-developing, camera fixing, passport photos and all other day-to-day photographic needs. A walk along the architecturally stunning pasaje Dr. Rudolfo Rivarola will give you a taster of the kind of specialist curiosities to be found in the area. On the corner with Perón is GA-TA, the city-wide specialist in screws and rivets. Halfway along the passage La Chacarita de los Relojes, a watch and clock-repairer, is definitely worth your time. The shop window is a work of art and you can test that statement opposite in the wonderful art bookshop Asunto Impreso. La Casa de la Miel is just round the corner on Bartolomé Mitre 1307 (4381-8888) with all the honey you could dream of – take your own jar and have it filled for next to nothing.

Do! The Casa de las Madres (Av de mayo 1582; 4382-1055;,

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with its café and library attached, has tons of information on the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and their history. Their website is updated regularly with activities the center is hosting, like the recent “Cooking Politically” class. The café has standard Argentine fare—empanadas, medialunas, tartas—so don’t go for the food but for the chance to meet socially-active locals and some of the Madres themselves. If you love history, politics, or both, spare an hour and take a tour of the Congreso de la Nación (Av. Entre Ríos & Rivadavia; 6310-7222; guided tours M-F 11am, 4pm in English, more often in Spanish). Designed by Vit-

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torio Meano, who also designed the Teatro Colón, the building is one of two bookends to Av. de Mayo; the other being the Casa Rosada. Out in front of the Congress is the Monumento a los Dos Congresos, made to commemorate the 1813 Assembly and the 1816 Declaration of Independence made at Congreso de Tucuman, and fenced off so you can’t defile it. Nearby, the Biblioteca del Congreso (Hipólito Yrigoyen 1750; 4010-3000) has a reading room open for free to the public (M-F, 8am-12am, S & S 10am-10pm). Fans of literature, architecture and the weird will marvel at the Palacio Barolo (Av. de Mayo 1370;, designed to represent Dante’s Divine Comedy. The building has its own hell, purgatory, and heaven and is 100 meters tall, one meter for each of the 100 cantos that make up the epic poem. Can’t picture it? Forty-minute tours in Spanish and English, that run from 2pm-7pm, Mondays or Thursdays, should give you a better idea. z

closed doors Do! Behind Tipo Casa By Natasha Kaufman

It is a rare privilege to be able to dine and be served in what feels like the comfort of your own living room. On a quite residential street in Almargo a large indifferent door belonging to a block of ordinary looking flats secretly opens to a humble restaurant that stirs with creative character far more homely than pretentious. The brick walls and red and green high ceilings dominating the intimately-sized back room give the place a rustic edge, as does an old-fashioned large iron stove. The carefully hand-written menus and family-run business contribute to a dining experience based on good service, good company and good food. The daily-changing evening menu provides for meat, fish and veggie lovers and all 5-6 courses are complimented with a starter of soft bread and homemade dips from houmous to chunky salsa. Particularly tasty is their main dish consisting of

grilled cod covered in a creamy shrimp sauce accompanied with stir-fried veg and rice. Everything from sauces to steak is freshly prepared at the open stove by a hardworking chef who clearly doesn’t stumble under pressure. All options are affordable ranging from AR$20-30, and flourish surprisingly in quality and quantity. Deserts cost from AR$712 (baked apple crumble and hot chocolate brownies included!) and a bottle of house wine is a manageable AR$15. Exhibitions of local art and occasional live music will broaden your experience: check the website for details. In spite, or perhaps because of, Tipo Casa’s clandestine nature, it is a popular location, so book ahead, and make yourself at home. Bulnes 843 | 4866-2854 | Tu-Sat from 9pm | z

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 19

Go! The Right Track By Matt Graham

Let’s face it: Argentine bus travel is like a scene from Hieronymus Bosch. If you’re taller than the average hobbit, the conditions resemble those of illegal immigrants in cargo containers. And the other option for long-distance travel - flying - is purely for those with disposable income. So for a picturesque and reasonable alternative... why not try the train? Backtracking

Choo-choose your destination

One might not think it today, but Argentina was once famous for its national rail network. A flurry of construction in the late 1800s saw competition between British and French firms, who built lines all over the country. In the heyday, railways lines ran from the capital to numerous far flung destinations – the traveling gentleman could, for example, take the famous Panamericana to La Paz, Bolivia, or the luxurious TransAndine to Valparaiso, Chile. The General Roca Railways ran south into Patagonia, connecting to Bariloche in the 1930s, and allowing wealthy porteños to hit the rails and head for the new ski resorts of the area. However, in 1948, the railway network was nationalised and incorporated into Ferrocarriles Argentinos.

Almost all Argentina’s main destinations can still be accessed by rail. Long-distance services still function – from Constitución, Retiro, Once, and Federico Lacroze – and most use a restaurant and an old-style sleeping car.

Amidst the 1990s’ wave of privatisation, Ferrocariles Argentinos was split into a number of private companies in 1993. 85% of services were withdrawn, and the remaining long-distance lines languished without government funding, until in 2003, train-enthusiast President Kirchner announced plans to rejuvenate the system. But is train travel in Argentina a feasible and desirable alternative for the average extranjero? 20 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Here’s a selection of destinations to whet your appetite – all websites include exact schedules and prices (those given here are for the most comfortable ticket offered). l Ferrobaires ( Atlantic Coast and Patagonia u Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires Province (5 times a week, via Pringles or Lamadrid, AR$48 each way) u Carmen De Patagones (once a week, AR$60 each way) u Mar del Plata (7 times a week, AR$60 each way) l Ferrocentral ( Central Argentina u Córdoba (twice a week, AR$240 out, AR$448 back) u Rosario (twice a week, AR$74 return) l Trenes del Litoral ( North, Iguazú Falls u Posadas (for Iguazú) (twice a week, AR$225 each way)

l Tren Patagonico ( u Viedma – Bariloche (Carmen de Patagones – Bariloche, twice a week, AR$151 each way) l La Trochita ( u Ingenierro Jacobacci – Esquel (schedules subject to change)

The mozo did it: luxury on the Patagonian Express El Tren Patagónico, a surviving portion of the Lakes Express from Buenos Aires that functioned until 1993, leaves from Viedma on the Patagonian Atlantic Coast every Sunday and Thursday, operated by the Government of Rio Negro Province. Despite this regularity of service, it remains something of a mystery – many people claim not to have heard of it, or that it’s now out of service. Buying a ticket can be something of an Olympian exercise – but is handled through an outside agency in Viedma – Monatur. Leaving from Viedma’s tiny and cute station, miles out of town, it begins a service across the featureless deserts of the Patagonian interior, churning up clouds of dust on its way. Before long, one runs into the mausoleumlike San Antonio Oueste, the old “puerta” in the line from Buenos Aires. Now, it’s an elephants’ graveyard of rusting locomotives: a hint of the nation’s former railway glory. From here, the train plunges into the steppe, as sleeping-car passengers dine in the res-

taurant and observation car (AR$25 approx). There’s a full menu served by old-style waiters in bowties. The Orient Express it’s not – but it tries its best. Most long-distance travellers bed down in the train’s sleeping car (dormitorio). Beds are comfortable and basic, and one is attended on hand and foot by an immaculately-uniformed steward. In the middle of the night, the train stops in tiny Inginierro Jacobacci, the first of many smaller stops as the train begins to ascend into the Andes. This is the old junction for La Trochita, the steam train popularized by Theroux which still runs, albeit intermittently, to Esquel. Enjoy café con leche the next morning as the train pulls slowly into the foothills, and catch the first glimpse of snow on the high mountains. Bariloche, your destination awaits, but you could be forgiven for not wanting to get off… - operated by Monatur. Info and Reservations: Viedma 02920-422-130 Bariloche 02944-423-172 z

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Do! Polo Players and Punters Gallop, smack. Whack, canter. Whinny, bonk. It’s polo time! What better way to recreate? Hannah Shanks sticks a nearside chukker. What?

collecting clients for the seasonal switch. If you don’t meet up with a pro in North America or Europe, Google up a list of estancias and tour companies offering weeklong polo holidays. Complete with personal instruction, plenty of playing time, professional ponies and traditional Argentine meals, guests can experience an all-encompassing polo lifestyle.

From September until May, the most exclusive of sports switches into high gear in the southern hemisphere. Polo farms and estancias (ranches) scattered throughout the Buenos Aires province begin preparations for tournaments and the arrival of foreigners on ‘polo holidays’. Young horses learn the field, veteran ponies get into shape and players practice obsessively.

Don’t lose heart if you don’t know a gallop from a trot or a stick from a ball. Though Gustavo Combes, General Manager of Open Door Polo ( claims that most players have SOME experience, at least with riding ; package holidays claim that punters will be playing basic polo at the end of a week’s stay.

Put your polo where your mouth is

Estancias also arrange polo days for individuals or groups, with transportation included. Expat Connection, for example, also arrange polo days; check for upcoming events.

Argentine polo pros (profetas or polistas) and the farms where they work often host local and international players. Pros work the northern hemisphere country clubs during the Argentina off-season from May to September, playing tournaments and

And once you’ve made contacts in the polo world, it’s relatively easy to stay abreast of opportunities for more play time, with snow tournaments in Bariloche, invitations to play at charity events and more (see website box for more info).

22 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Horse Watching For polo fans with their feet firmly on the ground, the one-to-watch is the Triple Crown. These major tournaments begin in late September with the Tortugas Country Club Open, from Sept 23-Oct 11; continue with the Hurlingham Open (after Sept 22 with dates TBA); and end on a decadent high note with the unabashed glamour of the Argentine Polo Open (November 15December 6) at the Palermo Polo Fields. This latter is the fifth-oldest tournament in the world and is a must-mingle event for any socialite worth their (upper-) crust. VIP final tickets go for thousands of pesos, and in the La Martina booth a polo shirt will set you back AR$300. But commoners can squeeze into the bleachers for less than AR$100 (2008 prices) and get a close-up view of the action. Tickets are available at closer to the tournament date; if online tickets sell-out, check with scalpers outside the field or just watch through the gates along Av. Libertador. Scattered throughout the province from late August are minor country club tournaments, including some at the Palermo polo fields. Check the Argentine Association of Polo website at for more information.

Polo on the web

l Study topranked players such as Argentine Adolfo Cambiaso at number one, who holds a 10 handicap, the highest possible. l Polo lingo. l Federation of International Polo l Argentine Association of Polo for details on teams and players. l and To order top-of-theline gear. l and Updated news from the polo world.

Out for a Duck

Described by admirers as virile, audacious and valiant, the bizarre sport of ‘pato’, dating to the 17th century, was traditionally played with a live duck inside a leather ball with handles. Horsebacked men would of course try to scoop it up as it frantically tried to escape. The sport has had a checkered history, even being banned due to fatalities. Nowadays it is practiced under strict rules, with no discernible live duck. Learn more from the Argentine Pato Federation, at: and z

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 23

Do! Your abuela proud... The BA Insider challenge? Cook classic Argentine food just like grandma Florencia used to make. Did you even have a grandma Florencia? Emily Palmer wields the spatula of truth. Ingredients:

4. Hit the kitchen

•1 slightly hopeless, vegetarian-leaning extranjera with a 2m2, poorly equipped kitchen •1 abuela who’s spent the last 70 years cooking for family and friends •Many, many kilos of cow •1 team of burly Argentine blokes with large stomachs and exacting standards

After half an hour, every surface of my tiny ill-equipped kitchen was covered in foodstuffs in various stages of preparation. Meanwhile I was hacking away with a steak knife at scary hunks of meat that seemed to be full of bones – could this be right? OJO: always ask the butcher to chop the meat into the required shapes and sizes. And always buy zapallo anco (big yellow squash) in its ready-chopped version. That doesn’t work so great with a steak knife either. An oven with no markings other than a plus and minus sign, plus Dona Ofelia’s lack of specific timings took their toll on the first batch of empanadas, which are now being used as projectile weapons in Afghanistan.

1. Establish quite what “Argentine food” is After discarding the popular suggestions of “pizza” and “pasta”, I finally settled on the Andean meat and corn stew locro; the meat and vegetable stew estofado; and the pudding standard flan. Oh, and empanadas - you may have had those a couple of times.

2. Find an abuela I found my surrogate abuela in the form of 80-year old Ofelia Garcen, who has been cooking ever since she was a young girl. For someone used to cooking line-by-line with Jamie Oliver, my only problem with Ofelia’s directions was the alarming lack of specificity. What’s a pedazo of meat? What’s a poco of tomato? How long is “un tiempo”? Guesswork or years of experience required here.

3. Brave the butchers Try to take the abuela to the butchers with you so she can help you negotiate the thousands of available cuts and maybe give you some idea of what these measurements actually mean.

5. Feed the masses Who better to test the results of my endeavors than the gang of burly blokes who work in the warehouse of a social program in Gran Buenos Aires? Unsurprisingly, what with this being Argentina, the initial tasting was greeted with gasps of delight, professions of undying love, and offers of marriage. Once over this initial piropo-fest, I managed to get some serious feedback:

l empanadas Dona Ofelia’s empanada recipe included olives, raisins and hard-boiled eggs, which were all appreciated by my test panel. However while judged as “good”, they were described as “too dry”, and “not salty enough”. The lesson: add stock or tomato for more jugo. Don’t bother making your own empanada pastry – ‘La Salteña’ is good enough for abuela so it’s good enough for you. l estofado Gobbled down by all and sundry. A surprising comment, for Argentines, was that it could be more spicy. Fiendishly easy. Dona Ofelia’s recipe involved meat, onion, spring onion, carrots, tinned tomato, bay leaves – and the bones for an important flavor addition. A hearty meal when served with pasta. l locro I ended up cooking this somewhat in advance, and helping myself to several helpings before it made it to my public, so it had lost a lot of its soupiness, and the majority

of the chorizo colorado. Locro does benefit from the bones’ inclusion as well, and a good three hours bubbling on the hob. Make sure you keep adding liquid – it’s supposed to be a soup! l Flan Served with lashings of dulce de leche, this was the major success of the tasting. Women present gasped in disbelief when I revealed I’d made the flan from scratch. “But why?” True: it’s not tough, but highly time-consuming. Make sure you use a flan dish with an inner ‘tube’ that cooks it more easily. And don’t panic when it solidifies on the bottom – after baking for a while it liquidifies and swims around the dish attractively.

local People Don’t just head to Disco. Spending time in the carnicería, verdulería, and dietética (for the corn, chickpeas and spices) is an essential part of the enjoyment. Plus the people there will be happy to give you some Argie cooking tips. z

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Do! Racketeering Don’t expect to prepare for Wimbledon in the land of clay courts. You might have to just resign yourself to competing in Roland Garros. Mariana Mazer hands you a tennis racket and a small white skirt.

can’t really complain for AR$5/ hour. The earlier you go, the more chance you will have to find an available one. Ricardo Balbín 4750 | 4542-0547

Parque Polideportivo Colegiales Two free tennis courts are offered – but you better book. Conde 235 | 4555-7074

Advantage norte Club de Amigos Palermo Located near the Bosques de Palermo and the Planetarium, this club offers tennis classes among other sports. Classes cost AR$110 individually and AR$70 for two. Rackets provided if needed. Renting a court costs AR$65 M-F and AR$70 on weekends. Discounts if you rent the court before 6pm. Av. F. Alcorta 3885 | 4801-1213

La Esquina | Belgrano

Love not money Parque Sarmiento Saavedra This large park on the border of the Capital offers tennis courts for hire among many other sports. Although the courts have seen better days (like the park itself), you 26 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Hidden behind the Lagos de Palermo Golf Club is this small, cozy tennis school. Individual classes are AR$81, AR$45 for two, and AR$33 for three. Court rental AR$46 during day and AR$55 at night. Miñones 1720 | 4788-4124

Club Atlético Obras Sanitarias de la Nación | Nuñez Next to the stadium where most of Ar-

gentina’s rock concerts are held every year, Obras tennis school offers individual classes from AR$65-75 per hour. They also hire out courts from AR$35-50 depending on your chosen time and day and rackets for AR$10. Av. Libertador 7395 | 4701-1382

Top gear

Anexo Obras Sanitarias Nuñez

Has a wide variety of gear and brands and also sells used rackets for those on a budget. Congreso 2565 | 4543-6181

A reputed range of top tennis teachers justifies prices of AR$90 for loners and AR$55 each for pairs. Courts are rented for AR$60/hour. Av. Figuero Alcorta 7250 (opposite River Plate Stadium) | 4788-3533.

Centro Asturiano de Buenos Aires | Vicente López Individual classes are AR$55. Duos will pay AR$37 each, and trios AR$30. Av. Libertador 981 | Vicente Lopez 4795-1743.

Deuced exclusive, don’t you know

Look as fashionable as Federer but without the nose. Tennis gear can be found all over the city, but here are some of our experts’ recommendations:

Hector Tenis | Nuñez

Halcry | Nuñez, Belgrano, Centro Sells tennis gear and equipment among other sports stuff. Main branch in Nuñez. Av. Libertador 8196 & 5815; Lavalle 553 4328-4520 / 4784-3537

Sorgente Tenis | Vicente López Small shop just a couple of blocks after the Centro Asturiano. Av. Libertador 1140 | 4795-5368 z

Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club | Palermo Belonging to BA’s most traditional tennis club has its privileges. Apart from use of the English-style club house and terrace with a stunning view onto the courts, you will also use courts without booking, splash around in the pool during summer and, most importantly, you will be slapping balls with Argentina’s racket-swinging élite. All this for just AR$3500 a year PLUS a monthly AR$300 fee and AR$80 per tennis class. You’d better win a grand slam after slamming down so many grands. Olleros 1510 | 4772-0983

Vilas Club | Palermo Models and celebrities gather in this trend-center. They offer tennis classes and other sports for the general well-being of the body. They are so exclusive that for prices and general information you have to go personally to the club. Valentín Alsina 1450 | 4777-7500 Issue 5 . BA Insider . 27

your Culo Out! Shake Boogying in BA Recreate your bodily vibe, baby. Catherine Hubbard examines non-tango booty-shaking possibilities.

Zouk Zouk, similar to the lambada, is sexy and spectacular. It’s a partnered dance that tango fans like to do sneakily on their days off. “It’s fun, bubbly, like drinking champagne,” says one aficionado. It’s seen as a break from all the traditions and codes of the tango scene, one that offers “a bit of balance”.

on the same day. Cuban restaurant and bar Oye Chico (Montevideo 310; 6320-5342; also has classes and teachers from Cuba.

Where: Zouk nights and classes are held at Brazilian club Maluco Beleza (Sarmiento 1728;; 4372 1737) on Fridays at 10:30pm and Sundays at 9:30pm.

Where to show off: Salsa fiends head to Azúcar Abasto (Corrientes 3330; 48653103/ 4866-4439; www.azucarsalsa. com) – there’s also a Belgrano branch. La Salsera (Yatay 961; 4866 1829; is another popular discoteca and venue for classes, including the uberfun rueda de casino, a call-andfollow circle dance where you constantly switch partners.



If you’re traveling around South America and into partnered fun, this continental staple is an obligation. Learn it before anything else, and especially before a trip to Colombia, Venezuela, or Central America.

This music hailing from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic has spread all over the Americas. Though its suggestive grinding movements have parents everywhere in a lather, BA classes tend to be more aerobic than arousing.

Where: Buenos Aires Dance Club (Corrientes 1179; 4382-8714; www.badanceclub. has weekly salsa classes in five levels at AR$60/month. If you’re heading to Cuba at some stage, it might be worth taking classes with Cultural Cubana (Monroe 1613; 4790 3240; Group lessons are AR$10 or AR$15 for two

28 . BA Insider . Issue 5

Where: Peruvian Kike Morales’ class at Azúcar (see above) regularly pulls in around 50 people of various ages, shapes and sizes on Wednesdays at 6:30pm (AR$10). Where to show off: Pretty much every BA club or party will play reggaeton at some

stage during the night. Fugees 90 (Bolívar 1190) plays reggaeton, hiphop and salsaton, and attracts a mix of Cubans and Puerto Ricans.

Axé Forget about football rivalry. Porteños are obsessive about this unpartnered unisex dance to joyous Samba Reggae music from the north of Brazil. It’s something like doing the Macarena, but with bigger, cooler movements. Axé, in the Yoruba dialect, means “energy”, and you’ll need a lot: best to dress comfortably. You’ll sometimes see it dubbed danzas brasileras in gyms. Where: Maluco Beleza (see above) for hourand-a-half classes four days a week (AR$10). Maluco Beleza is open Friday to Sunday. Sunday draws a good crowd after Zouk classes. Centro Cultural Horus (Salta 656; 4381-4688) also has classes three times a week (AR$30 a month), though the pace of instruction is a bit on the speedy side.

will teach you everything from Argentine zapateo (folkloric tap dancing with its roots in flamenco) to rock ‘n’ roll. Centro Cultural Borges (Viamonte & San Martín; 5555-5358 runs workshops in African dances, flamenco and Argentine folkloric routines, as well as tango, jazz and contemporary dance. Sexy dance and reggaeton are two of the many options at Belgrano’s Estudio Calas (Vuelto de Obligado 2668; 47842968 www. estudiocalas. z

Most schools have classes in a variety of genres. Tedancari ( offer workshops in Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian dances. Tango Escuela Carlos Copello (Anchorena 575; 4864-6229

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 29

B. A. Bizzy Bee Setting up your independent business If you’ve spotted that untapped gap in the market that you’re itching to exploit – you’ll need to create a company. Jemma Foster explores the manifold ways of doing that in a country so lovably complicated.

As with most things in this country, the first thing you’ll need to set up your company is patience. Second you’ll need a CUIT (tax registration code) so you can invoice and a Clave Fiscal which is a password enabling you to manage your tax online with the AFIP (Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos). In order to obtain these you will need a DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad). As is typical of Argentina, there are plenty of ways in and around this, and it is best to seek advice from a lawyer to find out what works for you. One possible loophole is for your accountant or lawyer to register the company themselves, sponsor your DNI as your ‘employer’ and then once it is through, sign the company over to your name.

DNi Requirements l Original birth certificate (a legal translation with apostille – a seal and signature verifying authenticity, obtained 30 . BA Insider . Issue 5

in home country) l Residence Certificate: Issued by the National Immigration Office. l Certificado de Domicilio: proof of address. Go down to the police station, pay a small fee and an officer will come to check where you live. l Antecedentes Criminales: a clean bill of (criminal) health from the police both here and at home, with the latter requiring an apostille. l Contract from employer: This is the most common route, but the DNI office will advise you on alternatives if you do not have this. See Insider #3 for more on getting your DNI. As well as a DNI and CUIT, you will also need an Argentine bank account, which can be opened with your passport, and a contract for rental or proof of ownership of property. All the banks differ in services and benefits so it is worth checking out a few and talking to an accountant before you go ahead.

CASE STUDIES: Hilary Strong Nationality: British Age: 33 Company: The Brand Bean The Brand Bean is a brand strategy consultancy that helps clients and agencies (local, UK and USA) to create and grow their brand. Hilary, who has more than ten years experience in consumer marketing with Unilever, set up the business in August of this year. {First of all, I consulted a recommended lawyer and went through the options. I chose the ‘monotributo’ route, which is very similar to sole trading status in the UK and was advised for a small servicebased business. The business doesn’t have any major investments or liabilities and so doesn’t need the protection of a

legal company status. There is a monthly monotributo fee that starts at AR$33 and goes up to AR$210, based primarily on gross income. A monotributo officially requires a lawyer, a DNI and trademark of a business name in order to register (though it has been acquired without any of these). Your application goes to AFIP who then issue you with a CUIT. Once you have this you are able to invoice up to AR$72,000 per year without paying tax. Thereafter it is only required to pay tax on profits. So it is simple to run on a day-to-day basis with minimum paperwork. Your local printers should be aware of the standard format required for invoices. I found it fast and relatively simple to set up my monotributo. Once we grow in size, we will upgrade our status to ‘responsable inscripto’, allowing invoices above AR$72,000 per year. At that point Argentine taxes would be incurred and we would need to submit a simple monthly account.|

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 31

Nigel Tollerman Nationality: British Age: 32 Company: 0800-Vino 0800-122-VINO (8466) 0800-Vino delivers over 300 premium local wines direct from the cellar, as well as hosting tastings and tasting classes. Previously a Corporate Financier in London for KMPG, sommelier Nigel officially launched the company in April 2008. { I chose SRL (Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada, similar to ‘limited’) over the monotributo because it gives you limited liability – so that if the company goes bust your personal assets are not at risk. Many people are setting up SAs (Sociedad Anónima) these days, but the SA gives the investors a pseudo-anonymity, while the SRL is similar to a PLC or an LLC in that every action and transfer is public. For that reason SRLs are much simpler from an admin point of view – instead of carrying lots of corporate books, you just need a manager’s minutes book.

An SRL needs at least two socios (partners) – my father acts as the second partner, which was all arranged from England. He has never come here and doesn’t need to; it’s just a formality. Most of the paperwork I left in the capable hands of my lawyer and the process took a couple months of defining, signing and certifying statutes of the company. Fortunately, I already had a DNI, so I used to 32 . BA Insider . Issue 5

to register as self-employed autónomo to obtain my personal CUIT and have the privilege of paying monthly income tax. I then had to purchase and certify the accounting books, a tedious procedure, but one that a decent accountant can relieve you of. Finally I had register for, ingresos brutos, a 3% monthly ‘turnover tax’ taken on gross revenues irrespective of net profit and payable to AFIP. This was another horrendous task, which I have blanked out from my memory. Under a new and thoroughly backwards rule, a company cannot issue factura A (receipt for companies with IVA differentiated, serving as tax credit for them) nor factura B (final consumer invoice), unless one of its shareholders owns property (over a certain value) in Argentina. Consequently I had to do another tramite (procedure) at AFIP to prove my ownership of property. It’s impossible to issue factura A as a monotributista – which puts you in a tricky situation, as plenty of companies will take their business elsewhere as a result.|*1 Bjorn Vandemeulebroucke Nationality: Belgian Age: 30 Company: Seaderm International Seaderm distributes Belgian cosmetic products for dermatological use across South America. After 6 years in Sales & Marketing for Proctor & Gamble, Bjorn moved to Buenos Aires last year to set up a continental distribution center in Uruguay’s ‘Zona Franca’ (Duty Free Zone). { We chose Zona Franca primarily because there are no taxes to be paid, until entering within the national countries. It is an efficient and very effective route which has also proven a valuable distribution center, * A solution to this problem is requesting facturas “A con leyenda”, which allow for differentiating the IVA as long as all collections from the invoices are deposited directly into the company’s bank.

capable of quick and efficient dispatch across South America. Other benefits include close warehouse management and a reduced workload for people at HQ.

as we do, to share local and international knowledge, expertise and start-up costs. It is very useful to have local people on board as Argentina is a relatively complex market.|

Zona Franca is accessible to anyone. In principle, the Duty Free Zone is a perfect tool when you are distributing products to another region as it increases the service level towards your customers – products get there faster and costs are kept to a minimum. In order to gain entry to Zona Franca you must present your company – via a lawyer - to the Board of Duty Free who then needs to approve that you will work within the Duty Free Zone. It takes up to two months to be fully operational. Latin American customers are invoiced directly from the Zona Franca, and I have a CDI which means I could be a stakeholder within our Argentinean company.

Useful Contacts:

As an established foreign business I recommend having a partnership with Argentines

l ARCA: l General: for advice on procedures across the globe. l Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos (AFIP): l AFIP Helpline 0810 999 2347 l DNI: how-to-get-an-argentinian-DNI l The central DNI office is located at 25 de Mayo 155. Check for more info.

Buenos Aires Expat Entrepreneurs (BAEE) A group enabling entrepreneurs to meet and compare their notes and horror stories. More info at or z

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 33


English! An Anglophile’s BA By Scott Alexander Young

HISTORY: 1806 AND ALL THAT The British-Argentine connection is a ‘special relationship’ indeed. It began in 1806 with an invasion lead by the splendidly named Sir Home Riggs Popham. It was entirely his own idea, and though Buenos Aires was briefly captured, it was at a cost of 3000 British soldiers. Popham received an official reprimand - and an unofficial “That’s the ticket old chap”, as it didn’t seem to harm his career one jot. With one notable exception, the 1981 Falklands war, Anglo-Argentine relations have been a lot more peaceful ever since. After the war, the Plaza Britannia was renamed the Plaza Fuerza Aerea Argentina (Argentine Air Force Plaza) and the English Tower is now officially the Torre Monumental. The memorial to the Fallen of the Malvinas (Falklands) was built facing the tower, which can only have been intentionally symbolic. At the entrance to the Tower, a dedication reads: “Al Gran Pueblo Argentino. Los residentes británicos. Salud. 25 de mayo 1810-1910″ or: “To the Great Argentine People, from the British residents: Cheers.″ Clearly, things are not what they used to be. Trade between the two nations has fallen off, and the Anglo-Argentine community is dwindling. Still, some who are ‘clinging on’ do their best to keep traditions alive. This quick guide is for both homesick expats and Anglophile tourists who would like to recreate something of home, or investigate the legacy of Britons in Argentina.

FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE l Tomás Marrón (Tom Brown)’s Schooldays There’s certainly a dichotomy in the Argentine attitude towards the British. On the one hand, you’ll hear dark mutter34 . BA Insider . Issue 5

ings about Anglo-Argentines who should go back to Blighty. In the next breath, porteños are gadding about in tweeds and flannels, and enrolling their children for private, bilingual education at Northlands, www., St Andrew’s Scots School, and St George’s ar. See Insider #2 for a fuller list. We note that the latter is the only website whose default setting is in English. l Pie and a Pint The British invasion 2008 style takes place in the convivial surroundings of Gibraltar, in San Telmo at Perú 895 (cnr Estados Unidos) and Bangalore Pub and Curry House at 1416 Humboldt (cnr Niceto Vega, Palermo). The Gibraltar serves up all-day breakfasts, has a smoky pool room out back, and a sign inside which reads ‘This is a Pub’, lest anyone be confused. The Bangalore is er, nirvana, for anyone who misses curry: Their snack menu alone is worth the trip, and their home brewed stout is …quite surprising. l High Tea The Alvear Hotel offers this most English of refreshments. High Tea in the winter garden has been an unbroken tradition here for 70 years, complete with white-gloved waiters and most importantly, scones. That’s Mon-Sat 4-pm, Sun 5-7pm at the Alvear Hotel, Av Alvear 1891, Recoleta.

l A Nation of Shopkeepers It’s been said that the fate of Harrods on Florida mirrors that of Argentina. We’d best hope not, because the crash in 2001

accomplished what even Mohammed Fayed’s lawyers could not. (The BA Harrods had cut its ties with its British parentage decades back). At time of writing, the only Harrods outside the UK is closed for business. There are still any number of shops selling British apparel, or pseudo British apparel anyway, with names like James Smart, (cnr Rivadavia & Suipacha) and

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 35

Birmingham, (cnr Lavalle & 25 de Mayo). Birmingham? l More tea, Vicar? ‘God is an Englishman’ wrote RF Delderfield, and who can argue with that? Lots of people apparently, but nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that Buenos Aires has an Anglican cathedral, St Johns Cathedral, 25 de Mayo 282, San Nicolas. It is thought to be the oldest Protestant church in South America, built in 1831, in splendid style. A ‘bilingual’ service is held every Sunday at 10am. The St Andrews Church, Belgrano 579, Centro, was built in 1896, a couple of blocks from the church’s original site. Some of the furnishings from that 1834 construction were incorporated into the new interior. An English-language church service is held there at 9:30am on the first Sunday of every month. l ‘Til Death Do Us Part Then of course, there is the British cemetery, at Chacarita (Av. Elcano 4568). Tombstones here date back to the early 19th

36 . BA Insider . Issue 5

century. In theory the cemetery is open 9am until 6pm, but it’s a good idea to call ahead or email via their rather interesting website,

THIS SPORTING LIFE Well we all know that second only to breaking glasses, members of the upper classes are mad about horses’ arses. That truism applies especially to Polo. See page 22 for more on that splendid sport. l A Game for Thugs, played by Gentlemen We have conducted an exhaustive search for Anglophone Rugby Clubs in BA, and drawn a blank. So please, if you can offer up any info, drop us a line at l The Sound of Leather on Willow Argentina’s cricket team is ranked 22nd in the world, and their coach is a New Zealander. If you’d like to see them in action on their home pitch, or even join a social cricketing side, then go to the Cricket in Argentina website, www.cricketargentina.

com or contact Gary Savage, their admirably friendly and approachable CEO at l Eminently Clubbable If you’re going to be in Argentina for the long haul, then you may wish to enquire about membership in the Argentine-British Community Council or the ABCC as they are known. They are a charitable organisation, dedicated to helping the elderly and sick among the Anglo-Argentine community, by holding charity balls and so on. The ABCC

is particularly popular at Christmas time, when their range of festive treats such as mincemeat and plum puddings, literally ‘sell like hot cakes’. For more information, write to Rosemary at And let’s not overlook the Highland Heritage Society Conversation Group: in part because we wonder how “Hoots Mon, Och aye, it’s a brrroad brrrickt moonlickt nick tonick!” sounds in Argentine castellano. You can contact them at z

and Ape! ASADo’s ASADont’s Thought the asado was just meat on the BBQ? Nico Zuzenberg gives you a run down on local meatiquette..

Asa – DO! 4Warm the bread on the parrilla – the smoke gives a good flavor to everything.

4Drink 2 or 3 cups of red wine before the meaty moment.

4Wrap onions, squash, peppers and potatoes in foil and place among the coal for any ‘saving the world by not killing cows’ people.

4The asador has the universally-accepted right to save the best meat for him/herself (usually himself, let’s face it).

4Salt the meat before slapping it on the parrilla.

4At some point say: “Un aplauso para el asador” (a round of applause for the chef). Celebrate the alpha male.

4Puncture chorizos when they get hot. The grease will ooze out and hey presto: skimmed chorizos!

4The meat should be awaited with the same expectation as a Nobel Prize. First dish out bread, a picada (see page 7), en-

38 . BA Insider . Issue 5

EYE FOR AN EYE, FEE FOR A FEE From January 1 2009 tourists arriving in Argentina will have to pay a visa fee if they come from countries who charge Argentines on entry. Argies trying to get in to the Land of the Free have to pay US$134, so guess what - visiting Yanks will have to pay around the same to get in here, though it will probably last for the whole life of your passport. This has not been concretized yet, so keep googling for details.

saladas, provoleta (grilled cheese), achuras (cow organs), then the hippy grown-inthe-ground type stuff, and 40 minutes later the meat makes its big entrance.

Asa – DON’T! 8Don’t... share parrilla duties. Only one person should be responsible for the fire and the cooking. Everyone has their own method (see fire box), which should be respected. 8Don’t... underestimate coal warmingtime. It takes an hour to get it white hot, but

make sure you save enough coal for the big pieces of meat that take an hour to cook. 8Don’t... use inflammable liquids to start the fire. It will flavor your food. And speaking of flavoring - put nothing but salt on your meat. 8Don’t... eat for the whole day before an asado. 8Don’t... ever refer to the asado as a barbecue. It’s high treason in Argentina. 8Don’t... kiss anyone after salad 4. (see following page)

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 39

42 . BA Insider . Issue 5

l�%WTXGU Curves is an international chain of gyms that specialize in 30-minute workouts for women. Sign up at one, and work out in any of the city’s eight locations. Belgrano: Cabildo 1967, 4896-2558 Palermo: Julian Alvarez 2787, 4829-1168 Recoleta: Jose E. Uriburu 1617, 4801-9762

l�/GICVNQP )[O One of the more expensive gyms in the city, but you get what you pay for—the best equipment, biggest facilities, and buffest instructors at one of 15 locations. Alto Palermo: Arenales 3370, 5777-8205 Barrio Norte: Rodriguez Peña 1062, 4816-8566/4816-7009 | Belgrano: Vuelta de Obligado 2250, 4784-6635 | Microcentro: Reconquista 335, 4322-7884 / 7748 Recoleta: Arenales 1930, 4811-2565

Generic Gyms


l�%NWD 0CWVKEQ *CEQCL This club lives up to its name, the Hebrew word for “strength”. The Capital Federal spot has good facilities, but Tigre is

l�2CTSWG 0QTVG An enormous sport park with 14 tennis courts, 10 astroturf fields for soccer and field hockey, and basketball courts, paddle and volleyball courts. There is also a pool, a full service gym, and a lake to picnic next to. Access to the park, including the pool, is AR$18 for a day, AR$155 for the month. Members get cheaper rates. Av. Cantilo and Guiraldes (in front of the Ciudad Universitaria) | 4787-1382

classes. The rugby club is one of the best in the city and the club also hosts major music events like Personal Fest. Av. Del Libertador 7501, Núñez | 4703-0222

%1//70+6; 2NCEGU VQ 4GETGCVG

l�8CNNG 6KGTTC In the trendy groin of Palermo Soho lurks this healthy living hermitage providing classes (also in English) in their beautiful new center. Costa Rica 4562 | Palermo Soho | 4833-6724

Haven’t found a place that fits? Check out the Federación de Yoga (www.federaciondeyoga. for more yoga classes and philosophies.

l�;QIC D[ &GUKIP This yoga program offers tailor-made individual & group classes, workshops and retreats, all in your own language. First class free, then AR$90/month for one group class a week. | 4771-3485

l�/oVQFQ FG4QUG A multinational yoga organization, it is based on the teachers of Master deRose and uses SwáSthya yoga. Its branch in Palermo includes not just yoga classes but also classes in nutrition and meditation. Attached is the Prána vegetarian restaurant, where you can enjoy a meal as Zen as your workout. Oro 1700, corner El Salvador | 4778-3805

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 43

l�%NWD %KWFCF FG $WGPQU #KTGU This massive athletic club has it all! A 9-hole golf course, several pools, squash courts, plus numerous

l�5WVGTJ A union group dedicated to promoting workers’ rights, education, and cultural development. They have two gyms and specialize in swimming classes (Almagro location has three pools). Check out the super-thorough class schedule online. AR$80 per month in Almagro, AR$60 for Microcentro. Their sport park, Quinta de la Reja, on Route 7, Km 43, is in the province and offers everything from swimming to parrillas to a mini stadium on its 70 hectares. Microcentro: Venezuela 330, 5354-6600 Almagro: Humahuaca 3850, 4862-7925

l�)'$# (Club de Gimnasio y Esgrima): Big and classic, with machines and classes to make you sweat; plus courses in bowling, yoga, and judo. Microcentro branch offers folkdance, self-esteem classes (you can do it!), and ceramics, among others. Microcentro: Bartolomé Mitre 1149 | Palermo: Av. Figueroa Alcorta 5575 Palermo: Av. Dorrego 3600 | 0800-222-GEBA

Clubs/Recreation Centers

l�(WPFCEKxP +PFTC &GXK Mataji Indra Devi had his spiritual hand in this foundation with Hatha yoga classes for all types and levels: youth, pregnant women, the elderly, beginners, and advanced. Plus classes in stress management and breathe technique. All classes are in Spanish. Acassuso: Albarellos 732, 4747-8655 Belgrano: Echeverria 2758, 4786-6185 Palermo: Guemes 4527, 4774-1031

l�;QIC $CKTGU Following the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya, get your yoga with a dressing of spiritual healing. Calle Martín y Omar 433 San Isidro 4744-5187 |

Sport with Zen

the real powerhouse. Their boat house has over 400 boats, including row boats, kayaks, and regattas. There are also many fields and courts for a whole slew of sports, including softball, individual parrillas, and a restaurant and bar. Capital Federal: Estado de Israel 4156, 4863-2121 | Tigre: Luis García 943, 4749-0520 |

By Gwen Kirby

Exercise without money or a machine – running gaily around the Bosques de Palermo and the Reserva Ecológica Costañera Sur past mate drinking Argentines, cyclists, skaters and a great cross-section of recreational Buenos Aires! z

Born Free! Run Free!

l�The Amateur Association of Field Hockey l�Union de Rugby de Buenos Aires (URBA) l�Argentine Association of Capoeira l�Confederacion Argentina de Judo l�Escuela de Tae Kwon Do l�Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club l�Ultimate Frisbee In Argentina (Discosur)




This feria is open to the public on its ďŹ rst two days, from 3-10pm. Come to get expert info for any Latin American trip you might be planning. La Rural | Av. Sarmiento & Av. Santa Fe | 47775500 | www.ďŹ


REM, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, the list goes on of famous bands playing at this year’s Personal Fest, one of the city’s biggest music events. Tickets: AR$90 Day 1, AR$120 Day 2 Club Ciudad de Buenos Aires | Av. del Libertador 7501 |




Up-to-the-second knowledge of the Argentine ďŹ lm, music, design, and food scenes is to be


See page 22. Av. del Libertador & Dorrego | 4777-6444 |


Lincoln School’s annual event allows students to learn about countries from around the world through food, music, and crafts. AndrÊs Ferreyra 4073 | 4794-9400


Get ready: no Freddie. Now with lead singer Paul Rodgers, the legendary band is coming to Buenos Aires to promote their new album The Cosmos Rocks. Velez SarsďŹ eld Stadium | Av. Juan B. Justo 9200


&GEGODGT +OOCEWNCVG %QPEGRVKQP &C[ A public holiday to celebrate the Divine Virgin will surely just give people more free time for

&GEGODGT 0CVKQPCN 6CPIQ &C[ December 11th is the birthday of tango great Carlos Gardel, which means that the city should be alive with tango events and celebration. Keep checking the city website for more info. 4378-7100 |

Start your Christmas shopping buying up the work of craftsmen from around the world. Artisans not only sell their products, but show you how it’s done with many live demonstrations. La Rural | Av. Sarmiento & Av. Santa Fe


See if the attendance of the eighth Argentine version of this UK-started electronic music festival will top last year’s momentous crowd of 55,000. Buy tickets early. Tickets: AR$ 120 Autódromo Oscar Gálvez | Av. Cnel. Roca & Av. Gral Paz |


The United Community Church boasts crafts, bake sales, and freshly-cooked chorizos among other goodies at this annual, day-long event, beginning at 11am. Tickets: AR$2 Santa Fe 839 | 4792-1375


Museum Night celebrates the city’s vast cultural offerings with over 100 museums free and open to the public from 7pm-2am, and shows and music to boot. Get information and maps at museums.

Practice your Spanish, get a slice of Argentine culture, and meet other cool expats and Argentines with this weekly 4:30pm Argentine movie showing at South American Explorers. RSVP by mail. Tickets: SAE Members AR$2, non-members AR$4 Estados Unidos 577 | 4307-9625 |

Gay Pride weekend marks the BA’s first gay assembly, formed in 1969. Now thousands participate in the parade complete with the expected floats and drag queens, that starts at Plaza de Mayo. Plaza de Mayo | 4372-3612

Pop’s very own Evita (ahem) returns to Buenos Aires after a 15-year absence. She is on tour promoting her newest album Hard Candy. Tickets: AR$95-630 River Plate Stadium | Av. Pte. F. Alcorta 7597

Every Saturday of the year at 4pm, a story telling based on the work of Mario Benedetti and Ileana Ledesma takes place in the Botanical Gardens of Palermo. Filled with drama and music, it’s a fantastic outdoors event for the kids. Tickets: Free Av. Santa Fe & Thames z





unchaste activities?

had at this festival of creative trends in Argentina where new artists and hip designers unite to create an “artistic theme park” for visitors. Info and advanced tickets. Tickets: AR$20 Tribuna Plaza |

8Don’t... be modern in terms of gender equality – in the asado Man cooks and Woman makes salad. That’s just the way it is in this country.

8Don’t... you dare offer barbecue sauce for the meat.

Twisted Firestarter l Use paper to light sticks to light the coal. Wood keeps the fire going half an hour to get the coal really warm. l You can use firewood instead of coal. l Have something, even just a newspaper, to fan the fire. l Make sure you have a shovel! Other firestarting techniques include: l Paper balls, wood sticks and coal around and above. l A “corner fire” in layers (paper, wood, coal). l Coal on the parrilla and fire underneath: fire burns, coal falls through. l Pyramid with a heart of paper and wood. l Fire-lighters, widely scorned in Argentina...

Salad Days l Mixta: lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, eggs, celery, beetroot, etc. l Potato and egg with optional mayo. l Carrot, red and white cabbage. l Watercress, onion and garlic. l Ensalada Rusa: boiled potato, carrots, beans and mayonnaise.

Top Yourself: l Chimi-Churri (chimi): Ubiquitous Argentine sauce – oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, chili, cumin, oregano, thyme, bay leaf. Great for a choripán, disaster for romance. l Salsa Criolla (Creole sauce): diced onions and red and green peppers (plus optional tomato and parsley) drowned in olive oil and a touch of vinegar or lemon. z

40 . BA Insider . Issue 5


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Issue 5 . BA Insider . 41

WHERE TO FIND IT Your MAP to BA INSIDER advertisers Buy a book, take a class, find a place to lay your head or book a trip – the map has it all!

Belgrano Centro

46 . BA Insider . Issue 5


Palermo 1] Berlitz Microcenter 2] Berlitz Belgrano 3] Berlitz Palermo 4] BYT 5] Complejo Tango 6] Elebaires 7] Home for Rent 8] Hotel Home 9] Lone Lighthouse 10] Oviajes 11] TEFL 12] Valle Tierra 13] Walrus Books 14] One on One 15] Sundance Spirit 16] Say Hueque 17] Lembruix

Av. De Mayo 847 Av. Cabildo 2261 Av. Coronel Diaz 2175 Paraguay 1571 Av. Belgrano 2608 Av. De Mayo 1379 Anchorena 1730 Honduras 5860 Pachecho de Melo 2065 Uruguay 385 Ayacucho 1571 Costa Rica 4562 Estados Unidos 617 Rodriguez Pena 736 San Martin 881 Viamonte 749 6th floor Office 1 Chile 812

Issue 5 . BA Insider . 47

Readership has its Privileges Expat Connection invites the Insider for a winetasting at 0800 VINOS’ private cellar. Hard work this.

Issue #5

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BA INSIDER co-hosts the GOODMORNINGBA.COM bash at FREAK. Why weren’t you there?

BERLITZ – A language learning powerhouse for the last 130 years, they will have you speaking like a porteño in no time with their fast track “immerse and converse” program at four different locations. Get the best price available on group (min. 2 – max 3) classes by mentioning INSIDER. BYT – Find furnished apartments in all BA’s best locations. Over 1,500 to choose from, either online or in person with their professional English-speaking staff. ELE BAIRES LANGUAGE SCHOOL – Learn Spanish in a friendly environment, whether young or old(er). Private and small-group Spanish classes in the famous Palacio Barolo (see p.18). Mention INSIDER for a 10% discount when you sign up! EXPAT CONNECTION – No matter how long you’ve been in BA there is a social event for you at www. INSIDER readers receive 15% off any event and AR$100 off their already low-priced Medical Insurance Program.

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48 . BA Insider . Issue 5

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