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Roderick
New member
Username: Roderick

Post Number: 8
Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 7:23 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I am coming to Argentina in January and will be landing in Buenos Aires. I will be there for 3 weeks and want to also visit Uruguay and also a few other places in Argentina. What do you recommend. I was thinking of Patagonia or Mendoza or ? In Uruguay maybe Montevideo or Punta de este or ? Can anyone recommend the best places to go for the time that I have in Argentina. I am not looking for a super busy trip to see everything because I like to relax and I can also come back. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!!!!
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Bill Howard
New member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 14
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 6:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It depends a lot on your budget. I would recommend you look at the tripadvisor.com forums regarding the topics you mention. There are thousands of post discussing what to see and how to see it. You can also post questions of your own there. There are so many options available to you. However, to do all or many of them in the time allotted will mean internal flights which can be expensive and visiting areas where accomodations are limited and therefore expensive. Punta del Este is a great beach resort but crowded and pricey in summer. Mar del Plata in Argentina is very nice but less expensive though the crowds will be big. I am spending Christmas and New Years in Mar del this year. Good luck.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 889
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 4:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roderick, you can find good advice here too :-)

Three weeks is plenty of time to visit the main attractions in a relaxed manner, specially if you can make a second trip at a later stage. Uruguay should be the easiest part as you can make a day trip to a really nice destination like Colonia del Sacramento. Like Bill said, Punta del Este is at the high end when it comes to beaches and may not necessarily fit into everybody's trip plans.

You could conceivably visit both Patagonia and Mendoza in the same trip. Patagonia is very vast and you do not have to travel deep south to see part of it. You can include Bariloche as part of your trip experience for 4 nights and give 3 nights to Mendoza. Alternatively, you can check the east part of patagonia and see the wild animal reservoir at Punta Valdes in Chubut for another 3 or 4 nights.

For this first trip, a relaxed itinerary could include:

4 nts Buenos Aires
4 nts Mendoza
4 nts Bariloche
3 nts Puerto Madryn
5 nts Buenos Aires
1 full day in Colonia
----------------------
This, in my view, will give you plenty of time in all destinations and you will be covering a lot of ground and have room left for another short trip say, to somewhere in Cordoba like Alta Gracia, Carlos Paz, etc.

(Message edited by admin on December 13, 2006)
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Robert Gisborn
New member
Username: Bgisborn

Post Number: 16
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, July 17, 2009 - 11:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I want to go to an area where very little English is spoken and the people don't have an urgent need to try to speak English. I need to practice my Spanish and any English response confuses me and I have to stop speaking. Where in Argentina would that be?
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1884
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, July 17, 2009 - 11:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Definitely away from the city of Buenos Aires and perhaps some of the most visited tourist destinations like Bariloche. In Mendoza, I have found that not too many local providers will be fluent. I am thinking that your best bet would be more rural areas in the province of Buenos Aires. The province is very large so most likely there are many smaller towns that will be suitable. Now, if you are really adventurous you can always try northern Jujuy and the area bordering Bolivia.

Can you give us more specifications besides no-english-spoken? How big a city, how small a town? Weather? Etc. Alternatively, you can also think on some neighborhoods surrounding the city of Buenos Aires where there is likely a lot less english spoken.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1885
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, July 17, 2009 - 11:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Question to Bill... How about Bahia Blanca? Can you say if the common person in the street will be able to speak some english or nothing at all?
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Robert Gisborn
New member
Username: Bgisborn

Post Number: 17
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 - 5:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm indifferent to weather or terrain. I design leather items and I've found some beautiful leather from Argentina. I would prefer an area where they produce this fine leather. By the way-this is out of the thread-but it really shocked me when I read some tourists were looking for "cheap" leather. Please, you may want good value leather but not cheap. Quality leather anywhere in the world is never cheap. From what I read Bahia Blanca is not a tourist town and the pictures are impressive. I suspect the tanneries would most likely be in Cordoba but I'm afraid there may be too many English speakers there. I read Spanish and fully understand the news reports on Telefe but I have trouble writing and speaking it. I need practice. My only other preference would be any area of low violent crime.
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Bill Howard
Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 69
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 - 9:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Murillo Street and a few blocks around it is considered the leather district in Buenos Aires. They mostly fabricate leather products in that area and I suspect that is where you would get your best value on wholesale leather. In the past few years factory retail outlets have sprung up. Some offer very good prices ...some not so good but they assume tourists will buy thinking they are getting a good deal.
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Bill Howard
Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 70
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 - 9:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roberto...Bahia Blanca has a couple of large universities. The public one and John 23rd (Catholic). Both offer English teacher certification. As a result the city has a large group of english speakers...the secret is to find them. My wife graduated from John 23rd. All her friends from college were mostly in the same program and most speak English quite well (heavily accented and a bit squeaky). Also in Menen's day all school children in Argentina were required to take some english every week from kindergarten to high school. So most young people have some basic english. That being said it is quite possible you will encounter someone who speaks English but if you try at random it is a crap shoot. I was buying something at a Havana in the middle of the city and the girl realized my Spanish was awful and she spoke in English. She spoke very well. She turned red and excused herself for awful english but it was great. And that is a big point. Many argentines have some english skills. Some hit movies, songs, some tv shows, intructions for toys and electronics are in english. It is widely studied and spoken. But people dont want to appear foolish or stupid. If you have any Spanish and you attempt to use it...and like me you use it poorly...many Argentines will feel comfortable trying their english and between the two of you ..it is possible to communicate well. I stayed in one of the upscale hotels in Bahia...the Austral. A desk clerk there spoke excellent english. Go to a cheaper place and it is unlikely you will get a good english speaker but you never know. There are thousands of very good English speakers scattered around the city. Bahia is a great town but not really a tourist destination. I have met Americans there on business. It is a big shipping point for wheat, beef and hides and it receives a ton of finished goods from China and elsewhere in the world. It also houses some US military. I think they are involved in the naval base in Punta Alta just next door but they prefer the accomodations in Bahia. My wife is actually from Punta and I have staying in their hotel and it is very very spartan. Close by to Bahia (an hour or so) are the beach communities of Monte Hermoso and a bit farther along is Nechochea. Both are regional and quite nice. The bottom line is when you plan to spend any time in a foreign country you must learn the language. I speak basic spanish and could survive. More importantly the times I was there for 2-3 weeks my Spanish got better and better. It is amazing how many words you pick up day to day. You ask for something on monday and the clerk tells you the name...you will remember it the next day. Vocabulary builds pretty well. Take a course on CD, or an audtio book, or Spanish for Dummies. Better yet take a course at a junior college. Not the conversational spanish...take an academic course. Spanish 101. Learn grammer. A friend of mine lived a few months in Mar del Plata. He hired a local english teacher. He was an older guy and he was cheap cheap for lessons. More importantly my friend would sometimes ask him to go out for pizza and beer or even shopping and have the lesson in a restaurant or shop. My friends Spanish really improved in a couple of months that way and the teacher showed him the city. You can also buy a decent electronic translator. The good one speak the words now. So say you want sunglasses. You key in sunglasses. Hit translate and anteojos del sol appears. You can also press a button and the little speaker will speak the Spanish word. Perfect if you can't find the right verb or noun. My wife came to the US with a very high academic background in English. She was a bit overwhelmed by people and tv speaking. Within 6 months she was like a native. She now is a certified teacher with a US master degree teaching english to spanish speaking immigrants in the public schools.

Argentines love Americans and they love to be helpful. Make and effort and they will go over backwards to help you. They will kill their fellow argentines but my experience is they are willing to help a person struggling with Spanish.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1886
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 - 6:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you for the great report on Bahia Blanca, Bill. So now we know that there IS some english there. Perhaps not what Robert was looking for.

@ Robert, I am surprised that tanneries are not in BA since it is the heart of the leather business and where it was born (south of the city > the old "saladeros"). My grandmother used to be involved in the making of leather goods by hand and she would visit "curtiembres" all the time to purchase scrap and similar. I always remember she said there was a biased against argentine leather by foreigners: specifically, they said argentine leather "smell".
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Robert Gisborn
New member
Username: Bgisborn

Post Number: 18
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Saturday, July 18, 2009 - 11:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Three things would be against tanneries in BA, labor cost, the odor of tons of raw hide and the anti pollution restrictions. However, tanned leather must be further processed(special pressing and cross cutting) and that is probably done in BA. The smell of leather comes from the tanning process-and these are carefully guarded secrets. Argentina has no need for barb wire and has good quality free range, therefore it begins with sound raw hide. Their tanning processes are based on formulas brought from Italy and Spain but have been further refined. And as I said, the actual processes they use are usually kept secret.

When one learns a language, one learns the passive understanding of it and this one can do through school or self study. But the active part-speaking the language can only be done by conversing with native speakers in that language. When I was learning to speak German in Germany I had to do so in beer halls because there I didn't have to listen to a "pop culture" English response or worse-someone practicing their English on me. I suspect that the middle class working person may be my best recourse in Argentina also. By the way, you may know the the passive and active use of the language are ministered by separate regions of the brain.
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Bill Howard
Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 71
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 7:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Interesting posts. I thought I recall hearing that raw hides were being exported to China. Not finished leather. Is that possible? I also heard that in some cases finished leather was being imported back to Argentina. The chinese could do it cheaper even when you included the cost of finishing the leather and transportation. I am sure tons of Argentine leather is processed in Argentina but it would be interesting if some was "made in China".

As for language I think it comes down to self-interest. Life is just easier, safer and more enjoyable if you speak the native language. My wife always refuses to translate for me in Argentina. She knows if I have her as a crutch I will never improve. Like the old Berlitz method..total immersion is still the best way and that only comes by living in a foreign country where the language is spoken. Again a foundation in grammar rules and other quirks is good but not always necessary. I try and watch Plaza Sesamo (Sesame Street) on TV in Spanish and I struggle...but we must begin somewhere to gain a higher level of fluency.
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Robert Gisborn
New member
Username: Bgisborn

Post Number: 19
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, Bill. Argentina ships raw hides to China and China gets the tanned product back into Argentina mostly using well applied palm lubricant. This is cheap leather but it is not Argentine leather. It is tanned with strong and toxic chemicals. It may be sold as Argentine leather by retailers who need to appeal to the mass (ignorant?) market to survive financially. I repeat. If the leather is cheap in price it is cheap in quality. Fine leather is too labor intensive to make to sell cheaply. Besides, Argentina has no trouble selling its good leather. It has a high world demand. Argentina could sell more than it produces and it demands a premium price here in the US.
A spoken sentence would not make any sense if it contained no grammar. Grammar's purpose is to apply unambiguous meaning to word combinations . This is different from the standardized prescriptive grammar which is often ignored in colloquial conversation. For example, we would think it a bit odd if someone responded with the sentence "It's I" instead of the prescriptively incorrect "It's me". To take school standardization to the street will get one laughed at in any country.

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