Archive for September 7th, 2006

Argentina Water

Argentina waterIs Argentina water safe to drink? Yes it is. Do you need to buy bottled water? No you don’t. Is tap water in Buenos Aires Argentina safe? Yes it is. Do I need to boil water first? No you don’t.

When I first arrived in Argentina, I boiled the water for everything because my friends who were Argentine, told me to do it. However I became friends with a ambassador for Argentina and he explained to me that the water is indeed safe to drink. In fact, it’s excellent.

Many years ago, Argentina contracted a French company to purify the water. They did so and did a fine job. Recently, Argentina fired that French company after some contractual issues. In any case, Argentina does have god drinking water. In fact they have lots of water.

If you go camping in Patagonia, they locals will tell you that you can drink from the lakes and streams and rivers without any purification. I have not done this but they do it all the time.

Buenos Aires is located on a large river. It’s very muddy of course but there is plenty of water.

In my apartment, the pipes leak and there is a substantial amount of running water all day and night. My landlord tells me that there is nothing to worry about, water comes cheap here. Almost free. Back home, if I had a water leak, it would cost me hundreds. But here, let the water run.

There is a joke among people here that President Bush will one day invade Argentina to steal the water. It’s the only thing they have plenty of and that is good.

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Argentina Food

Argentina food is not very diverse. It’s mostly an Italian menu with the occasional Spanish dish. Perhaps the most controversial topic I engage in with people is the fact that I don’t like the food here. But that’s not entirely the truth. I do like the food here but after about 3 months, the lack of variety begins to be painfully clear.

As for meat, you have hot-dogs, chorizo, chicken, and beef. All of which is good. In fact the chorizo and the beef are excellent. There is pasta of every type imaginable and the staple food is of course pizza. But it stops there.  And repeats, over and over and over. And for those of us who are used to wide variety of choices at the supermarket and restaurants, the lack of spicy food and food that can actually be tasted, will haunt you 3 times a day. Argentina is conservative about almost everything, including their food.

If you have money, and can afford to go to a restaurant twice a day, then you may be able to find more variety than if you have to go to the grocery store.  But when you are here, for extended periods of time, you may be shocked at the lack of variety at the local grocer. There are no frozen dinners of any-kind. Almost no premade food although there is usually a salad bar at the grocery store.

You will find an entire isle of crackers, and entire isle of pasta, and entire isle of wine, and an entire isle of cheese. If your Italian, you are going to love it. If you are not Italian, you are going to eventually ask yourself, “where is the rest of the food?”

I find it humorous that the only variety of food I can ever find is at the Chinese restaurants. It’s a buffet and it’s usually excellent and cheap. About $12 pesos.

Something else about buying food in Argentina. They are very slow to restock. The last few days, there have been no chicken breasts at the 3 grocery stores in my neighborhood. Perhaps all the chickens have been killed. I don’t know. And also, I once found an excellent hot salsa sauce and bought the entire stock of about a dozen bottles. That was 8 months ago and they still have not reordered.

Of course the country is heavily self reliant and can’t afford to import much of anything. And because of this, variety is often limited. It was not always this way. You will find almost no plastic bottles at all. Milk, juice, all come in cardboard cartoons that require a pair of scissors to open. And cereal all comes in plastic bags. It takes some getting used to but it’s actually quite smart and produces far less waste.

Well, buying food in Argentina is different. There is less variety and everything centers around the Italian pallet. Even in the restaurants, there is a lack of diversity. If you are just visiting, you will find the food excellent and comfortable and not spicy at all. However if you live here, you will be constantly dreaming about going to a Taco Bell or walking down gigantic isles in your grocery back home. Chances are you will lose weight by living in Argentina.


About the author of this blog.

Tom Wick is an American expat living in Buenos Aires. An expert travel consultant and tour guide offering free travel inforamtion and private guided tours of Buenos Aires.

Contact Me

Please write to me about any Buenos Aires Argentina travel information or about living in Buenos Aires as an expat. tangohistorytours@gmail.com

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