Wednesday, May 20, 2009


the past week, leading up to saturday may 9th, i was withdrawing the maximum amount of money allowed each day at the atm. a bank close to me allowed me to take out a maximum of 1400 pesos a day ($378). i was withdrawing the max allowed to pay for my may rent and to pay for the apartment my family would stay in. looking back, i should have asked my family to pay in cash. (more cost effective)
i arranged an apartment for my family through bytargentina. the problem with the money was, i was withdrawing pasos at a 3.6 exchange rate and they calculated the amount with a 3.75 exchange rate since the price for the apartment, per week, was in dollars.

over all we didn't have any problems with the company or apartment. the heater in the apartment didn't work, neither the microwave, but we managed. the apartment had a great location, it was spacious and it suited us fine.
saturday may 09, 2009
i woke up around 7am after only going to bed at 2am. my neighbors offered dinner with no effort on my part so i couldn't say no. after so much fun at their apartment i couldn't say good-bye either.

at 7:45 in the morning, i stuffed my money belt with $1200 U.S. dollars and took a morning stroll to the apartment that i arranged for my family. ($500 of it was a security deposit). too nervous to walk the whole way, i hopped on the subte to expedite my travel time. i arrived safely, money and all. the apartment was in order, i signed papers and received the keys. i only stayed long enough to arrange a fruit basket and then i left.
as i was walking back to my apartment, i saw my taxi driver sitting outside my apartment waiting to take me to the airport. (he's the same taxi driver who drove me to the airport to say good bye to nicholas). he is super punctual, which is a rarity down here, and he speaks slow enough for me to understand. i adore him and his kindness.

he got me to the airport on time and a short while later i was hugging my family and family friends.

i called my taxi driver, who was waiting for us, to drive my sister and her friend back to the apartment. i called another taxi, that a friend of mine uses, to take my mom, friend and me back to the apartment. (there aren't any minivan taxi's here. just cars so it gets complicated when you have more than 3 people and bags...and many taxis can't be trusted (more on that topic later))

after chatting and a change of clothes we headed out of the apartment around 1:30pm. we took our time, walked to my apartment, through a park, and then went to the polo field to see a game.
after the polo match we took a collectivo back to the apartment. everyone one was tired, includeing me (since i didn't sleep much the previous night). during our bus ride i told everyone their mission of the week was to collect coins. i had enough for all of us to ride the bus, but not more than 2 times (1.10 in coins x 5 people each bus ride = sheesh).

in the early evening we went to dinner. we arrived at las cholas in las canitas at 7:30pm. it's a really popular place, but no one was there; just us...on american dining time. nevertheless, the food was very very good.

on our walk back to catch the collectivo home we spotted a huge wheel of meringue in a bakery. 4 pesos (little more than a dollar) later, we headed home to call it an early night.


Janet said...

Does B.A. not have checks as part of their banking system?

Also, how did you get the exact same cab driver again???

I'm totally behind on reading! ㅠ.ㅠ

yillabean said...

To my knowledge, B.A. does not have checks as part of their banking system. People pay their bills either online or at a special bill paying store or even the grocery store. Even if they did have checks, I couldn't have written one. Because I'm not a citizen I'm not allowed to have a bank account here.

The banking system in B.A. is not stable or trusted. In 2001 the government stole from the peoples savings accounts. Not a pretty day in B.A. during that time.

Because the taxi guy who drove Nick and I was so nice, I now only call him to go to the airport.

In general Taxi drivers are shady in the sense they take the long way each time unless you give them directions, they over-charge and they do a switch-er-roo with money if you give them big bills (giving you fake money). In the past it was also common for them to work with thieves...when they had a 'rich' one in the cab, thieves would jump in the back seat on each side of you and the taxi would drive to an ATM. This isn't as common any more but I'm sure it still happens from time to time. For these reasons I don't take cabs often. SO, when I found a trustable, kind driver I stuck with him. I give his number to all my friends and they call him too. He's really sweet, trustable, kind and always on-time (a rare trait here)

Janet said...

I had no idea there were banking issues... Craziness.

Is cab the only way to the airport?

Hm. Riding a taxi is always tricky especially when you don't know where you are going...However, I'm more concerned about how they drive the taxis... Maybe I just get more nervous about it but its sort of scary the way Korean taxi drivers speed/weave in & out/cut other cars off....I have to keep myself distracted as I'm clinging on for dear life. But then again it comes it handy when you are in a rush. :)