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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

A 12-Step Guide to Having Fun in Buenos Aires -- What Lonely Planet Won’t Tell You

Every travel book to Buenos Aires tells the same story. Visit La Plaza de Mayo, walk through the city’s beautiful parks, and enjoy its sidewalk cafes. But if you hate acting like a tourist and want to experience the REAL Argentina, follow these steps. You might just get mistaken for a porteno.

1. U.S. dollars go a long way in Argentina, so exploiting the country’s fragile economic base is fairly easy. With a favorable exchange rate of 3 pesos to every dollar, pretend you’re the Bush twins and order the most expensive items in restaurants. A parillada mixta and bottle of Malbec wine will never taste so financially advantageous.

2. Visit your tee totaling 85-year-old grandma who doesn’t understand English well and accuse her of being drunk. When she tells you something irrational like “walk on the floor softer” or “don’t touch my plants”, tilt your hand to your mouth and humorously mime the act of drinking. She’ll think you’re thirsty and bring you water.

Note: My grandma could be the subject of an entire blog. No one register http://mycrazydrunkargentineangrandma.blogspot.com. It’s mine.

3. Take a 3am ride with a taxi driver who runs red lights, makes right turns three left lanes over, but crosses himself and kisses his crucifix whenever he drives past a church. Wonder if god would rather he just pay better attention to the road.

4. Pester your relatives to reveal a treasure trove of family secrets, ranging from the innocuous (mom wanted five kids instead of three) to the interesting (great-grandparents escaped pogroms in the Ukraine) to the disturbing (Argentine military agents paid a visit to Communist-minded dad and uncle at home in the 70s).

5. Live out your lifelong dream and take a 2-hour tour of your favorite soccer team’s stadium, River Plate’s Monumental. They’ll grant you an entire THREE MINUTES on the field where Argentina won its first World Cup in 1978. Ignore the tour guide when he hollers at you to leave by pretending you only understand English.

6. Visit family and friends you haven’t seen in years. You’ll get a headache from spending hours speaking in Spanish. They’ll also remind you every five minutes how small you were the last time they saw you.

7. Count how many mullets and rat tails you see men sporting in Buenos Aires. Consider growing one before your horrified girlfriend talks you out of it.

8. Watch “Los Simpson” dubbed in Spanish. Not funny.

9. On New Year’s Eve, take to the streets of Buenos Aires and try dodging an arsenal of fireworks, rockets, and fireballs. Walk in the middle of an empty Avenida Cabildo before nearly getting hit by a car you didn’t see coming.

10. Spend hours losing IQ points in Argentina’s cybercafé dungeons that play loud gay club music. Ask the attendant repeatedly to unlock the Internet porn block on your computer when you try to access such raunchy Web sites like Hotmail or DC Blogs.

11. Visit Buenos Aires during its most brutal heat wave since the 1950s. Stay with your grandma, who doesn’t “believe in air conditioning”.

12. Book your return flight home through Lan Chile. When they say you have a direct flight from Buenos Aires to BWI via Miami, what they ACTUALLY mean is you have a flight from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, to Bogota, Colombia, to a delay in Miami, THEN to BWI, arriving at 2am.
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