Flights Resume Between Necochea and Buenos Aires

Aerial View of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina by simounef, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons license]Necochea, you're now cleared for takeoff. After a two-year service disruption, flights between Buenos Aires and Necochea are slated to resume within the next few weeks. Earlier this month, Necochea's mayor, Daniel Molina, signed an agreement with regional airline LAER [Líneas Aéreas de Entre Ríos] to link Aeroparque "Jorge Newbery" in Buenos Aires with Necochea's municipal airfield.

Each flight will accommodate a maximum of 18 passengers. For the time being, the company plans to offer two flights per day on Mondays and Fridays, every week, but the possibility of Wednesday flights will be considered as well.

Tickets will be sold at a cost of $480 pesos, about US $115 at the current exchange rate.

Flights between Buenos Aires and Necochea have been grounded since March 2009, when regional carrier Sol Líneas Aéreas suspended service. Visitors and local residents will once again have the quick—albeit pricey—option of air travel to and from Necochea.

Aeródromo de Necochea
Address: Ruta 86 Km 12.5, Quequén
Phone: (02262) 42-2473

Sources: Informe Digital and La Tecla [both in Spanish]
[Photo credit: simounef]

Updated on April 14, 2012: According to an article on NecocheaNet [in Spanish], service to Buenos Aires will finally begin on May 8, 2012. LAER will be offering one flight on Tuesday morning and another on Thursday afternoon. Tickets will be sold at a cost of $550 pesos, one-way. Read More......

Argentine Cold Remedies

This winter, Daniel and I have managed to evade the innumerable cold and flu bugs circulating at this time of year. However, the second time I ever visited Argentina, I arrived in August, toward the end of winter in the southern hemisphere, and luck just wasn't with me.

I came down with a doozy of a sinus infection. I felt as though I was drowning in a sea of my own goopy bodily fluids, with an accompanying feverish warmth and aching pressure in my cheeks heretofore unknown [at least to this individual]. I could barely manage to breathe, and for a few days, I was decidedly miserable. Rather than enjoying the sights and sounds of Argentina, I wasHot Tea with Lemon by boo_licious, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons License] huddled under three blankets with a woefully inadequate supply of scratchy one-ply tissues, feeling rather sorry for myself. Before I worked up the courage to face the inevitable, a visit to the doctor for the first time in a foreign country [a story for a different blog post], I decided to see if Daniel's family could recommend some over-the-counter miracle cure for what ailed me.

First, they ticked off a list of common Argentine home remedies for colds including: oregano tea for a cough; gargling with vinegar or baking soda mixed with water for a cough/sore throat; inhaling eucalyptus-infused steam for nasal congestion; and tea with lemon and honey for a sore throat.

However, the vote was clearly unanimous in favor of the liberal use of some mysterious substance referred to as "bee-bah-poh-roo" to alleviate my suffering. What? Viva Perú? I thought. I briefly pondered how swearing allegiance to this Andean nation could possibly cure my sinus infection, before moving on to more pressing matters. Somewhat wary of this Argentine wonder drug that I'd never heard of, I pressed Daniel's stepfather Tomás for more details.

"So this I buy it at the pharmacy?" I asked.

"Sure, at the pharmacy, the supermarket….everyone uses it."

"Is it a lozenge, a pill that you take or what?"

"No, it's not a pill.'s really helpful for colds. Just try it," Tomás said in an assuring manner. Clearly someone had either been brainwashed or was on the take from the makers of bee-bah-poh-roo.

"Right, but what is it, exactly?" I continued.

"It's an ointment that comes in a jar. You rub it on your chest or put a dab under your nose. It'll make you feel much better, I promise." There was a momentary silence as I attempted to piece together the description of this amazing and beloved cure-all.

And then, the realization hit me.

I began laughing hysterically, a throaty, phlegm-filled cackle of sorts. Surely Tomás thought I'd been caught up in some kind of feverish delirium, but no. It had finally dawned on me that the mysterious bee-bah-poh-roo was actually Vicks VapoRub, that mentholated cream favored by many to relieve the symptoms of a cold.

Sadly, this would not be the first or the last time I would be completely confounded by the inventive Spanish pronunciation of a random word or proper name in my own language.

It turns out that, in a way, the bee-bah-poh-roo did make me feel better, even if only for a few minutes. Laughter is truly the best medicine.

What's your favorite old-fashioned folk remedy for a cold?

[Photo credit: boo_licious]

P.S. As I found out a few months back from friend Dan Perlman at SaltShaker, some people actually stick Vicks VapoRub up their noses or eat small spoonfuls of  it to treat nasal congestion or soothe a sore throat [the guilty parties shall remain nameless—but just to clarify, it's not Dan!]. Apparently, in certain Latino families, mothers make their kids eat a bit of Vicks when they're sick. I'll stick with a topical application, thanks!

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Find Your "Happy Tango" in Buenos Aires

Although a journey to Buenos Aires represents the culmination of a dream for many a tango dancer, the complex world of the city's tango scene, with its various styles and social codes, strikes fear and doubt in the hearts of Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires by Sally Blakemany first-time visitors. But imagine how those concerns would dissipate if you traveled with a friend—a seasoned, milonga-savvy mentor—who could answer your questions, offer encouragement, and guide you through every step of your tango journey. Happy Tango: Sallycat's Guide to Dancing in Buenos Aires by Sally Blake aims to be just that friend.

After two years of occasional contact online, I finally met Sally in person about six months ago at a get-together hosted by a mutual friend. We chatted effortlessly for some time about life, the universe and everything, and I can tell you that reading Happy Tango feels exactly like sitting down to a conversation with Sally. She's the sort of person who just exudes positive energy, and her love for tango and Buenos Aires is palpable; I see her writing as a faithful reflection of her personality.

I hear Sally's voice—British accent and all—echo in the pages of this book, informing, advising, and sharing her tango-related trials and tribulations, in a friendly, accessible and upbeat tone.

In addition to offering her insights into securing satisfying experiences on the dance floor and dishing up the details on different tango venues and milongas, Sally walks the reader through practical advice regarding transportation, lodging, dining out and shopping in Buenos Aires (including the all-important section on where to find sexy tango shoes!).

As a complement to Happy Tango, you can find updates on the ever-changing world of the milongas, connect with the author through social media, and more at Sally's home on the Internet, Sallycat's Adventures.

So, pick up your new tango friend, give him the once-over and stash him in your suitcase (I promise this particular amigo won't object to that sort of treatment.). You're now ready to head off in search of your own happy tango in Buenos Aires.

Lovely Ladies by katiemetz, on Flickr[With Happy Tango's author and other tangoing friends (left to right): Cherie Magnus, me, Sally Blake and Tina Ferrari]

Disclosure: While the author did provide a complimentary review copy of this book, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This post also contains an affiliate link that helps support this blog.

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One More Funny Argentine Brand Name

Direct from Mar del Plata, I bring you yet another unfortunate but amusing Argentine brand name (that is, if you happen to speak English). Satisfy your snack food cravings with one of the many products brought to you by…

Holly Kraps Snacks by katiemetz, on Flickr[A sponsorship banner at an outdoor soccer field in Mar del Plata, Argentina]

Holly Kraps offers a full line of snacks including salted peanuts, potato chips, shoestring potatoes, and crunchy coated peanuts.

Want more funny brand names from Argentina? Take a look at previous posts here, here and here, too!

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Breastfeeding in Argentina

Mother and Child by naturemandala, on Flickr [used under Creative Commons license]With Daniel's cousin Mery expecting her first child in September, there's been a lot of talk about babies around these parts. The other day at a family get-together, the discussion turned specifically to the topic of breastfeeding and Argentine attitudes toward the practice, particularly in public settings.

For the record, let me just state that I support women's right to breastfeed in public. I view breastfeeding as a normal, natural activity that women shouldn't be made to feel ashamed of. Since I consider it a time of bonding for mother and baby, a distraction-free environment seems ideal, yet I recognize that mothers on the go with hungry infants need to meet the needs of their children. And frankly, I don't think women should have to hole themselves up in a filthy public bathroom in order to feed their babies.

However, I do feel that a measure of discretion should be involved when a woman is breastfeeding in public. I understand that a certain amount of a woman's chest will be visible while the baby nurses, but it's perfectly feasible for a mother to comfortably feed her baby without exposing her entire breast.

With that said, I've been taken aback on numerous occasions by the complete lack of modesty or discretion by some breastfeeding mothers here in Argentina. The most jolting example of this was when a woman passed me in downtown Necochea, her top pulled down to her navel, with her child clinging precariously to her fully exposed bosom as she strode down the street. I couldn't help but imagine that both mother and babe would be better off seated, and I know I would have preferred that the woman cover up a bit more.

I commented to Mery that I never saw breastfeeding mothers in the United States reveal as much skin as an appreciable number of Argentine mothers seem to, and honestly, I haven't quite gotten used to it. Perhaps it's some puritanical American hang-up that I have…¿qué se yo?

Normal daytime, casual attire – at least in the part of Argentina where I live – doesn't include plunging necklines, and topless bathing is prohibited. In other words, the average Argentine woman doesn't generally let it all hang out, so why nursing mothers feel comfortable baring everything in public while feeding their babies is beyond me. For a woman to nonchalantly "whip it out" for the whole world to see (and yes, gawk at) just strikes me as unnecessary.

What's your impression of Argentine attitudes toward breastfeeding? If you live in Argentina, do you think nursing mothers here show too much skin?

[Photo credit: naturemandala]

Update: I just happened to read that August is World Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Who knew!?

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Argentine DNI for Foreigners

DNI Argentino Para Extranjeros | Argentine DNI for Foreigners by katiemetz

As promised, I'm back with the skinny on how to obtain an Argentine DNI for Foreigners, your key to the kingdom as an expat in Argentina.

DNI para Extranjeros | National Identity Document for Foreigners

A DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad) allows you to be a fully-functioning member of society here in Argentina. With your shiny new document, you can open a bank account, purchase property, get a cell phone contract, qualify for lower fares on domestic flights, receive discounted admission to national parks, etc., just like an Argentine citizen.

With the digital system introduced at the beginning of 2011, foreigners obtaining residency can apply for the DNI in a streamlined process right at Immigration instead of initiating a separate trámite at the Civil Registry office.

Requirements for the DNI for Foreigners [When Applied for in Conjunction with Permanent Residency]

  • Fee of $40 pesos
  • Permanent residency paperwork [make a photocopy for your records because Migraciones keeps the originals]
  • Photocopy of the picture page of your passport

The new process to apply for a DNI is quick and modern, including digital signature capture, a digital photo and a full set of digital fingerprints. The entire process can be taken care of at the majority of immigration offices in Argentina. For more information, visit the page about the foreigner DNI [in English] on the Migraciones website.

The document will be delivered to your home by mail within 30 days.

You'll receive the burgundy DNI para Extranjeros booklet [pictured above] plus a laminated, wallet-sized card. Store the DNI booklet in a safe place and carry the DNI card around with you. You'll only need the booklet when and if you vote in local elections (as a foreigner, you cannot vote in national elections).

My DNI arrived sooner than expected. I only had to show the receipt and slip of paper I was given at Migraciones to the mailman, and before I knew it, I had my DNI in my hot little hands.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Regarding My DNI

The Good: I received my DNI in just 2 1/2 weeks.
The Bad: My new DNI lists my place of birth as Buenos Aires, Argentina!?
The Ugly: My photo is seriously unflattering…and I have to live with it for the next 15 years.

Ugh, now to go about fixing the mistake on my place of birth…

Argentine Residency: Mission Accomplished!
Argentine Residency: Update #1
Argentine Residency Through Marriage

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