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The seasons are reversed in Argentina but that hasn't stopped travelers from flocking to the fabled 'Paris of the South' or Buenos Aires. The devalued peso, good for us - bad for them, is burgeoning a whole new boom in travel destinations throughout the country.

Wander aimlessly to the pulsating rhythms of tango in the barrios (neighborhoods). Feast on a plate of succulent beef at a famous Asado (family-style barbeque). Browse for leather bargains in the friendly pedestrian mall on Calle Florida (Florida street).

The money saved here is enough to fly home first class. And don't worry about your limited Spanish -- sometimes a friendly gesture and a trusted map is all you need to make friends with a beautiful porteño (local). So, walk it, bus it, cab it but be aware that the sophisticated old charm of Buenos Aires is only skin deep. This Latin city is still struggling from a high post-crisis unemployment rate.

Bust to Boom

Only four years ago the country crumbled into economic bankruptcy and serious social disorder. Decades of international borrowing and government corruption (tax evasion, money laundering) culminated into nearly half a million Argentines dying of hunger between 1990 and 2003.

But as Buenos Aires quietly crawls back from years of high inflation and unemployment rates, President Nestor Kirchner has vowed to make things better.

Toward the end of my trip you'll read that I caught a glimpse of him, unfortunately not enough time for a formal interview or even a brief statement. Some trade unions, piqueteros (left-wing organizations) and the even the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo argue that privatization and capitalism hurts Argentina but the sudden surge in economic activity can hardly be ignored. Still, a cosmopolitan wealth for a few juxtaposes a poor reality for most. READ MORE


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Tags: storySection: Tripadvisor Hotel Reviews
Location: Argentina, South America
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