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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Don't get me wrong, I love Argentina, but...
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Don't get me wrong, I love Argentina, but...

they do have this extremely annoying habit of shooting themselves in the foot...
Frustrations over travel delays and flight cancellations, plus the fact that foreigners pay double what locals do to fly, could dent a tourism boom in Argentina, a consumer rights group said.

Briton Tara Sabi complained she paid USD$447 for a round-trip flight from the capital Buenos Aires to the Tierra del Fuego tourist destination Ushuaia, while Argentina residents pay USD$237 for the same flight.

"Why should I have to pay double for the same service?" she said.

what this article doesn't mention is that, in addition to the double domestic airfares for non-argentinos, prices for every possible thing that would interest a tourist is going up at TRIPLE the inflation rate which is - unofficially, natch - already hovering at 12%+...

argentinos are what i call victims of "learned helplessness"... they believe that the cycle of boom and bust that their economy has experienced for over a hundred years is their fate, somehow decreed by the gods, and is completely impossible for them to change... so what they're doing is trying to "make hay while the sun shines," fleecing everybody in sight - particularly the turistas estúpidos - for every last peso, thinking that the bottom will probably fall out of the whole goddam mess tomorrow... but, guess what...? by behaving as greedy bastards, they're practically GUARANTEEING that's EXACTLY WHAT WILL HAPPEN...

i happen to be in a very fortunate situation in argentina... for one thing, i don't give a crap about most tourist-type stuff, so i'm not out there getting my pocket picked at every turn... for another, my living situation is paid a year at a time, and i'm in a place where i've developed an almost family-type relationship with my landlady and her various relatives that live next to and above me... the fact that i'm generally only in residence six months out of a year and happen to be an extremely good tenant also means that i'm not as vulnerable to getting killed by rapidly-rising rents... my expenses are primarily food and, since i do my own shopping and cooking and rarely eat out, i'm not getting beaten over the head with escalating restaurant prices either, prices that are particularly outrageous at the popular tourist spots... yeah, i'm seeing food prices climbing in the supermercados and the "el chinos" (the small neighborhood market in argentina has come to be a near-monopoly of chinese immigrants), and, yes, i have to pay the increased fares on the buses, subway and commuter trains, but that's really small change...

i fervently wish that argentinos would get a clue... i don't wish any of them a repeat of the financial nightmare that descended on the country in 2001, but that's where it's headed if they don't wise up...

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