Friday were flights 9 and 10 and we headed south to Patagonia. What a difference here on security check. We got to the airport 2 hours early and without much hassle we were at our gate and ready to board with an hour and a half til our flight departed. Granted this airport is smaller than most. Still there is no taking off shoes or laptops and water can be brought with you while boarding. We headed south to Patagonia where it is a bit of a colder climate. It is colder south since we are on the other side of the equator. The hiking and views are unreal. After landing in Baraloche along the way I felt like we were in a painting of the mountains with aqua blue waters and plush green forests.
Our stay in Buenos Aires was very relaxing. It was like being in a US city except everyone spoke Spanish and prostitution was legal along with marijuana. Before getting here the only thing I knew about Argentina was Madonna singing don’t cry for me Argentina. Surprisingly one of our tours took us to Evita’s cemetery. I learned that the Argentines are very passionate about tango and soccer. Both young and old can be found dancing inside or out any night of the week and soccer is on every television at every bar, restaurant, and hotel all day every day. They also have world class restaurants with top notch wine for a fraction of the price back in the states. Actually everything here is less expensive than back home especially if you bring US cash. They have a black market here which they call blue. You can find men and women through the heavy populated tourist shops willing to trade us bills for pesos. The bank gives you 8.5 pesos to each dollar and the blue market gives you around 13 which changes daily and come to find out the government is the one that figures the line each day. That’s almost 40% more in the blue market and makes a pretty big impact. We were a little hesitant and discussed the trade with several argentines and also did a little research. Finally after much debate we decided to try it out. We were recommended to a guy that always stands outside our travel agents door. He brought us inside a clothing store next door and within a couple minutes we were on our way. Very simple, but leading up to the trade I was a little nervous because I was afraid they might give us fake bills. Now that all of our bills are paid I wish we would have brought more dollars. The blue market exists because Argentines are limited on the amount of money they can bring to other countries. When they are planning a vacation outside Argentina they have to ask the government for money. They give them a ridiculously low amount because they believe this will keep money in the country. The government would rather they vacationed here in Argentine, while of course the politicians are vacationing abroad. So when Argentinians travel they buy the currency at the blue market. Clearly the system doesn’t work and probably will be eliminated when the next president comes into office, according to our chef and dinner host last night. Here is an example of how the Argentina trade works. They do not bring anything into the country unless something is being bought out of Argentina. Mercedes brings cars in and in exchange buys a shitload of garlic to make up the same amount.
I am looking forward to our next leg of the trip. It will be enjoying nature and getting out of the cities for a while. We will have amazing pictures posted soon.