Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Dont cry for Argentina

Reading this amazing article on wealth of cities which put Buenos Aires at number 13 in the world based on buying power and total assets per person didnt suprise me

One thing that you notice as a foreigner living here in Capital Federal is the signs of visible wealth that you see all around you . Sure you see poverty as well with the homeless and the cartoneros sifting thu rubbish in the nights but the wealth that stands out hits you like a ton of bricks . This city has huge amount of megabucks and it seems each month it is changing rapidly especially amongst the rich that make up close to 15 percent of all inhabitants of Cap Federal.

Compared to 2002 when Argentina was in economic meltdown the visible signs of wealth apparent to me have increased in a staggering fashion. And that is not hard to understand if you see that peoples assets today in Capital Federal have never been worth as much in Dollars or Euros than ever before in its history. For example the area that I live Palermo Soho in 2002 was basically a lower to poorer middle class barrio with larger families and a huge community of transient sex workers and tranvestites who brazenly worked the streets of El Salvador and Godoy Cruz in the night. I remember my first trip down here and being in awe at the dark tree lined streets combined with a scene from a Pedro Aldomovar Movie. Every corner on those two streets had these goddesses of the night brazenly calling out to single men to enjoy a hour of pleasure with them in Buenos Aires numerous telos which are many and especially in Godoy Cruz Palermo Viejo.

The difference today is that this area has been moved out of sights way to the Bosques of Palermo. Nowadays Palermo Viejo subdivided into Soho and Hollywood have been transformed to these very trendy places with literally hundreds of restaurants and bars. To give you an example of the difference in those days to 2007 is this .

In 2002 there were maybe 20 simple restaurants and a few locales and the occasional coffee shop . Accomodation was limited to a run down pension or if you wanted some luxury there was Malabia Guest House which was the first guest house in the barrio .The owners will tell you that everyone thought they were mad for opening up in this area now they are laughing all the way to the bank . To give you a perpective of how cheap this area was In 2002 houses per square metre could have been bought for around 500 dollars a square metre in American terms a 1500 square foot house could have been found for 60000 thousand american dollars . Today that same house would be getting close to 300 thousand dollars . An increase of 300 percent in real terms . The older families of lower financial means who did not sell in 2002 are now sitting on a goldmine

Today Palermo Soho Hollywood have literally hundreds of restaurants and bars . There are 500 locales which translates in english as businesses .These mostly specialise in fashion .
Honduras and Gurruchaga in Palermo Soho is the centre of this and to walk down these streets on a Saturday afternoon you will be swamped by the hordes with bags full.

Palermo Viejo at night has the air of la dolce vita with its restaurants and bars at breaking point serving the latest in ethnic cooking and killer cocktails. The best places to people watch are Janio on Plaza Armenia or Meridian 59 on Borges and El Salvador.
To me this boom that Buenos Aires is experiencing shows no sign of abating and now in its 5th year with growth figures of 9 percent it keeps on getting stronger and stronger . If you ask the porteƱos they seem very optimistic about their futures.

Will Buenos Aires become the city is always dreamed it would be only time will tell.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Francis Ford Coppola Luxury 5 star Hotel On Gorritti and Malabia

Today i was having a coffee at my favourite icecream parlour Frolian on Malabia and Gorritti when I was told that Francis Ford Coppola has brought a gothic mansion across from there to be converted in a 5 star hotel for visiting Hollywood Celebrities. The price he was rumoured to have paid was 900 thousand american dollars.

There seems to have been a huge increase in properties sold lately on that block of Gorritti fetching record prices in this area . Another sale was reported of 1.2million dollars for another property situated a few metres from Francis Coppolas place.

I have predicted that this would happen since 2002 that Palermo Viejo would become one of the most expensive areas in Buenos Aires but very few beleived me then especially my family who considered this not a good area.

For me Palermo Viejo is the soul of Buenos Aires and I still am in wonderment of the beautiful tree covered streets with their palo borrachos and jacarandas that make this city so uniquely special.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What I like about Buenos Aires

This will be an open forum for other expatriates and Argentines to share their thoughts about what they love about Buenos Aires.

This is my list.

Beautiful Architecture

Tree Lined streets and lots of parks that give you a beautiful respite from the noise of the city.

Excellent nightlife . Is there a more exciting city in the world atm that can give you such a variety of options at affordable prices.

Great Bookshops and coffee shops that make a pleasant afternoon go so fast.

Restaurants which stay open to very late and serve the worlds best steak.

The language of Argentina is beautiful and constantly evolving.

Any more suggestions would be welcomed