Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am visiting the largest (and very large) city in Argentina, which is a good place to witness the devastation of prolonged economic recession (here, punctuated by military rule at times). Given its location on the Rio de la Plata and its truly grand buildings and avenues, this city of 12M truly should (and could) be the Paris of Latin America.
Instead (hugely helped by US loans to dictators that bankrupted the place), it is becoming more like India. Crumbline infrastructure, run-down neighborhoods (even this best one), high commercial vacancies, serious levels of street crime even in the best neighborhood (i.e. where I am staying in a ‘luxury condo’ for $110/night … the dollar is strong here … and having a little washing machine does make traveling light so much more pleasant :-). But nothing works very well. No good systems, including things like electronically posted gate information and times at the airport. ATM’s can run out of cash for days. And security is everywhere. You must even be buzzed in to a restaurant, because the doors (to everything including shops) are locked even when they are open for business (fear of looting, I’m told). Unemployment is high, the peso is down, and even though they are warm and lovely, the people seem to be economically dispirited. Not much gets done and things run down a little more every day.
Every American should come here and see where we could be headed if we don’t pull together under honest leadership and good governance, the foundations of civilization.
I will have been here for 2 weeks, and I have been enjoying life in Buenos Aires. I hired a lovely spanish tutor/tour guide named ‘Mercedes’ from day 1, and ‘yo estoy aprendiendo espanol muy rapido’. I love the latin people and have had a great time socially. My business here is primarily to support the Indra Devi Foundation, ‘Mataji’ Indra Devi having been my primary spiritual teacher (I lived with her in India for one year) in this lifetime (she died here in BA at 103). I’ve given four or five talks at her various yoga centers.
Mataji was known as “the first lady of yoga” and she loved the latin people (as do I). Even though she was 90 years old, she was big down here. Everybody knows her. My work here has been hugely gratifying, for me to contribute a little bit … and how reinforcing it has been for me to be intimately reminded of what I learned from Mataji — especially her linkage of love and non-attachment. (Her foundation here is at www.fundacion-indra-devi.org).
I just got back from a one day round trip flight to Iguazu Falls … considered more spectacular than Niagara. I’ve yet to see Niagara, but you might want to look at this place on the internet … it is a natural wonder of the world. Gotta run now …
Tell us anything you know about Argentina!