Sunday – January 28
City tour of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is the 10th largest metropolitan area in the world with 12.5 million people. It is the capital of Argentina and it is on the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very modern city with heavy traffic of cars and buses. There are many large banks in the city and the retail stores look very much like the U.S. We stopped at the McDonalds and Burger King to get ice cream and soft drinks. Argentina currency is peso’s and one peso is worth one U.S. dollar. Thus, prices for food, clothing, computer gadgets, etc. are very similar to U.S. prices. According to information given to us, the government tied their currency to the U.S. dollar in order to gain stability.
Computer access was available in several of the hotels that we stayed in. So those of us that use e-mail and the Internet were able to communicate with families at home in the U.S. I was able to keep up with the obits, Purdue Basketball, and the commodity and stock markets on a daily basis. In both Argentina and Brazil, we saw hundreds of people with cell phones. Our bus drivers, our local tour directors, the government officials and the farmers we met, all had cell phones. The under secretary’s wife had a call come in while we were eating. She was embarrassed that she had forgotten to turn her phone off before we sat down. One of the things that really hit me was the fact that I could sit in an Argentina or Brazilian hotel and read the CBOT prices, the hometown weather and the same agriculture web sites that I read in Lafayette, IN. For anyone who thinks isolationism is the way to go, all I can say is the World Wide Web will never ever allow it.
We saw all standards of living as we drove through the city. What we saw in Buenos Aires is what you would see in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.
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For 2002 Travel Plans to South America see: www.kitt-travel.com