Destination: Argentina

Best Cities to Drink Coffee

coffee cafe REUTERS

Terry Ward takes a look at seven of the best cities in the world to sit and sip

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Leave Home Without It

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Argentina: Home to ‘The World’s Most Annoying Economic Crisis’

There’s a coin shortage in Argentina, and it’s driving people in the country bonkers. It’s particularly acute in Buenos Aires. Joe Keohane explains in a story for Slate:

Everywhere you look, there are signs reading, “NO HAY MONEDAS.” As a result, vendors here are more likely to decline to sell you something than to cough up any of their increasingly precious coins in change. I’ve tried to buy a 2-peso candy bar with a 5-peso note only to be refused, suggesting that the 2-peso sale is worth less to the vendor than the 1-peso coin he would be forced to give me in change.

A benefit for some travelers: “Subway employees are occasionally forced to wave commuters through because they are out of coins,” Keohane writes.

 


New Travel Book: ‘On a Hoof and a Prayer’

Full title: “On a Hoof and a Prayer: Exploring Argentina at a Gallop”

Author: Polly Evans

Released: April 29, 2008

Travel genre: Larkish travel, equine travel

Territory covered: Patagonia, Argentina

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Che Guevara: Revolutionary, Icon, ‘the Guy Who Invented Those Mojitos’?

Uh, something like that. In Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, Ben Ehrenreich reflects on Che as pop icon, Steven Soderbergh’s Che and “Chevolution,” an intriguing new documentary about the famed Alberto Korda photo.

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Doing the Shoddy-Journalism-Charge Tango*

The Argentine Post details similarities between a March 16 New York Times story about Buenos Aires’ expat scene and a Jan. 15, 2007 Newsweek piece.

* Updated, 11:52 a.m. ET: We should note that a Times editor has responded, saying there was “no plagiarism at work” while acknowledging problems with the article.


All Hail ‘The Burrito King of Argentina’

In our ongoing quest to chronicle the spread of Mexican food —Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, you name it—around the globe, we note the rise of the humble burrito in Buenos Aires. At The California Burrito Company, which was co-founded by a 24-year-old expat from California, eating instructions are posted on the wall: “Pull back the foil wrap as you consume the burrito.” There’s even talk of expanding to Montevideo.

Photo by rick via Flickr, (Creative Commons).


Where in the World Are You, Amy Scott?

The subject of our latest nearly up-to-the-minute interview with a traveler somewhere in the world: Amy Scott, a freelance editor. Her response landed in our inbox last night.

Where in the world are you?

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Peru, Chile Clash Over New Map’s Borders

Anyone else got an issue with Chile’s borders? Last year we noted that Argentina produced a tourist map claiming a disputed area with Chile. Now Peru has published a map in its official newspaper, El Peruano, that encroaches on what Chile believes is its “fishing-rich portion of the Pacific Ocean,” reports the AP. The dispute, according to the story, stems “from a war fought more than 120 years ago.” That would be the War of the Pacific, in which Chile captured, among other things, Bolivia’s former coastline. It’s becoming a big issue. Chile has already summoned its ambassador from Peru, and Peru has plans to bring the issue to The Hague’s International Court of Justice.


War Tourists Descend on Falkland Islands

Photo by alex-s, via Flickr (Creative Commons).

Twenty-five years after Argentina and the United Kingdom fought for their control, the Falkland Islands, or Las Malvinas as they’re known to Argentinians, are the latest destination to get a boost from war tourism. More than 900 people died in the 73-day war. According to the AP, most visitors are drawn to the sites of the fiercest fighting: Mount Longdon and Mount Tumbledown. Earlier this year, we noted El Salvador’s entry into the war tourism business.


Tourist Map Puts Argentina-Chile Relations On Edge

It’s an icy chunk of land at the bottom of the continent, and Argentina and Chile both want it. Or at least some of it. But which country actually gets it has been in dispute since 1998, when the governments of Argentina and Chile stated that a disputed border area in the Andes Southern Ice Field would be depicted as blank until the two countries reached an agreement about where the boundaries should be drawn. All remained calm—and blank—until Argentina recently produced a tourist map with the disputed area within its borders. Chile didn’t like that, so it registered an official complaint with Argentina. According to a MercoPress piece, the countries are trying to minimize the episode. However, a Reuters story says that the incident has inflamed already tense relations between the countries.


Inside the Life of a Buenos Aires Tango “Taxi Dancer”

I spent a single night in Buenos Aires earlier this year. Porteños are legendary night owls, and my sole desire was to dine on local steak as late in the evening as I could stomach it, then carry on to a tango hall to take in the national dance. Having two left feet and an innate shyness that prevents me from bounding onto the dance floor when copious amounts of alcohol aren’t involved, I had no desire to try the tango myself—I just wanted to be a fly on the wall of a quintessential B.A. experience. I had heard that there was a certain etiquette surrounding eye contact at tango halls, and my stomach turned at the thought that I would sidelong someone the wrong way and be swept up in a flurry of lightening fast steps and intense gazes that I couldn’t match. Then my stomach turned for another reason—tainted ferry food. It took a merciless toll on my insides, and I spent the rest of the evening in bed. As a result, I was happy to see an article from the Washington Post’s Time Zones column Monday offering a little insight into what I missed—a classic Buenos Aires tango evening.

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The New Che Play: “School of the Americas”

There’s no denying the romantic appeal of the image of Che Guevara. He is, at least as many like to think of him, a vagabonding traveler, a revolutionary, a tough biker and a swashbuckling philosopher, all rolled up into one Latin superhero. Thanks to the iconic Alberto Korda photo of him, he also looks cool on a T-shirt. All that helps explain, I think, why Lonely Planet placed a portion of that image on some banners across its Web site, and slipped advertisements for its guidebooks into DVD cases with the film “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The young, idealistic Che depicted in that film is one thing. (I loved the movie.) But something tells me Lonely Planet won’t be rushing to sponsor the new stage play, School of the Americas, written by “The “Motorcycle Diaries” screenwriter José Rivera. The Che depicted here is not the warm, fuzzy young traveler eager to play soccer with shunned lepers.

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No. 21: “Road Fever” by Tim Cahill

To mark our five-year anniversary, we’re counting down the top 30 travel books of all time, adding a new title each day this month.
Published: 1991
Territory covered: Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
A founding editor of Outside magazine, Cahill has been credited with revitalizing adventure writing—a genre that had previously been confined to breathless, semi-fictional tales of danger in the pages of low-culture men’s magazines. The tongue-in-cheek titles of Cahill’s early essay collections—“Jaguars Ripped My Flesh”; “A Wolverine is Eating My Leg”; “Pecked to Death by Ducks”—are a nod to his pulpy precursors, but his writing is the opposite of pulp: informed, nuanced, self-deprecating, and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Road Fever, Cahill’s only book-length travel narrative, chronicles a 15,000-mile dash to set a world record by driving overland across the Americas in less than 24 days. In many ways, it’s an anti-adventure book, since a large portion of the tale documents the process of making plans and procuring corporate sponsorship—but this says a lot about the competitive, publicity-driven, and weirdly postmodern state of post-Exploration Age adventure. The author’s partner in the journey is professional endurance driver Gary Sowerby, and together the duo deal with fatigue, dangerous roads, stubborn bureaucrats—and an overabundance of sponsor-supplied pudding—as they race north into the pages of the “Guinness Book of World Records.” As the miles speed by, Cahill’s exuberant reporting and eye for the absurd make for an amusing and exhilarating ride.

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Which City Has the Worst Drivers?

Is it Buenos Aires? Mexico City? Kuwait City? Rome? Los Angeles? London Times correspondent Chris Ayres devotes his latest So L.A. blog entry to his opinion on the subject. “[T]his week I returned from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a city whose entire population seems to be trying to break the land speed record in a 1984 Renault 9 GLS,” he writes. “And I concluded that the lapses of concentration demonstrated by motorists in Los Angeles is far preferable to the sociopathic stare of the average Porteno cab driver, who considers it his duty to accelerate towards stationary objects (including human beings) at double the speed limit, before averting multiple homicide by stomping on the brakes or swerving violently.” Sounds horrible, but I’m going the other way on this. I’ve seen some dreadful drivers here in Los Angeles. Just tonight, for instance, I was traveling a busy two-lane street when the guy in front of me swerved into the oncoming lane and stopped cold, just to drop off his passengers. No hazards. No signal. No brain.