Lessons Learned from RetiroBuenos Aires, Spring 2010

Walking through Retiro, and area notorious for pick pocketing and located near a Buenos Aires slum, my senses were hyper-aware. As I walked, I noticed how other Argentines carried their belongings: women with their purses held in front of them and men with their backpacks worn on their chests. I think important advice to pass on regarding safety, social situations, and just fitting in, is to observe and act like the Argentines do. Watch how locals carry themselves in an area and you will know how safe that area is. Observe how portenos act in social situations in bars, clubs, and cafes, and you will know what actions are appropriate. By observing, you can learn a lot about the culture. Remember to approach meeting locals with social caution. Many of us forget that just because someone speaks English well or even fluently, many things get lost in translation and culture. Jokes and comedy can easily be misunderstood, so be careful that jokes are not taken in a wrong way and no one is offended. As a visitor to their country, Argentines want to share their ideas and culture. Be sure to listen and avoid discourse, sticking to polite disagreement. To avoid being a tourist, observe the locals, and absorb their ways!
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