One of my friends just returned from Argentina to Sao Paulo and told me how impressed he was with Buenos Aires, how continental and European-like the city was, with nice wide tree-lined boulevards dotted with clean old-fashion coffee shops, restaurants and stores selling reasonably priced goods, as it seems that the dollar has more value there than in Brasil. My friend has been living in Brasil for 10 years and now has asked his wife to consider moving to Argentina.
Brasil may be exotic and feature the best beaches but the cost of living is increasing and crime, over-crowding and in-your-face poverty can grate on anyone after a while. Another gripe I have about Brasil, which actually seems more like a Latin American trait more than just Brasilian is the filth on the streets and the grime on the buildings, it’s like the people purposely deface their own environment but then maybe that’s just the prude Canadian in me.
Don’t get me wrong, I like living in South America and especially love Brasilian culture, despite the arrogance of the rich. However, the continent holds a larger spell for me and that’s because of it’s neighbors. I’m careful not to seem too enthusiastic about Argentina, Uruguay and Chile to Brasilian’s (especially Argie’s) as they’ll let me know instantly that I’m wasting my time with the muleducado’s (un-educated). So I keep it to myself and personally appreciate my geographic proximity to the culture next door.
Having lived in Miami for 12 years I’ve met people from all the countries of Latin America and have friends from at least a half dozen different nations of South America. I’ve commented before that the only Latins you don’t often find at a good party in Miami are the Cubans because for whatever reason they travel in different circles and don’t seem to have the same kinship with other Hispanics. Anyway, it’s the cultures of South America and the nature of the countries in the southern tip of the continent that hold the most fascination for me. Not to say that Peru, Colombia and Venezuela don’t interest me, it’s just that Chile (for example), from what I’ve read and seen on TV etc… seems to be very similar to Western Canada.
There’s so much wonderful country to see and great culture to experience that I know South America will hold my attention for a long, long time.
BTW: check out a Blog that a pen-pal of mine has started about living in Montevideo, Uruguay.