Scene setter: Ernesto Sabato’s novella, The Tunnel, is a ridiculous Buenos Aires-based ride with a first person narrator who, depending on what page you’re on, is either a tangent-prone sociopath or an eloquent artist that knows things about life and love that you never will. It’s likely that’s he’s both. Great read though.
Pound-the-table recommendation: If you have a partner, travel with your friends sometimes too. They’re (probably/hopefully) funny and kind and total babes, and they’ll help you see a place in a new way. (We harangued ours into writing what is basically an extended pound-the-table, which is coming shortly.)
Back-pocket fact: It’s a great time to be an American or European in Argentina because the blue market is thriving. In January 2014, the government devalued the Argentinian peso and restricted access to foreign currency for Argentinian citizens (unless you’re a governmental elite, of course), leading to a situation where average folks’ savings are tied up in a rapidly inflating currency. Demand for dollars and Euros is high. So while the official exchange rate, as dictated by the government, is around 8 pesos per dollar, the blue market rate is closer to 13. What this means practically for American travelers is that things are cheap and cash is king.
And while the blue market is technically illegal, the rate is printed daily in the major newspapers and you can conduct currency transactions literally in front of police officers (we did) without any worry. Our first currency exchange was through a friend-of-a-friend, but our second was with a complete stranger we found on the street. As our Faryn said of the experience, “It feels so Ocean’s 11,” minus the tuxes, minus the suaveness, but including the small, flexible Asian.