Saturday, December 17, 2005

Location, Location, Location

One thing that I didn't really think about before I set this all in motion was where to go. You'd think that I would have had some sort of Idea before I began work on this little project, but I'm not really a planner when it comes to trips.

Usually what happens is that a particular place grabs my attention. The place has to have a certain romantic appeal to it. The trip down the Yangzes is a good example, two weeks in Paris is another. So what place has planted itself into my psyche this time around?

Argentina. Home of Argentine Tango. Ah, that has a bit of romance in it. Spend a month in a beautiful (and, well, developed) part of South America. A few weeks in Buenos Aires, enjoying Hispanic culture, laid back lifestyle, and, of course, tango. Then wander around the country a bit. Northward to the mountains, or, perhaps duck into Brazil.

I've picked Argentina for a few reasons. The first of which is that it's a Spanish-speaking nation. I have, deep in the recesses of my mind, a little understanding of the Spanish language. I've noticed that if I spend a reasonable amount of time around spoken Spanish, the more of my Spanish gets dredged up from the bottom of my brain.

Another reason is that the Argentine economy is just now dredging itself back up from the bottom. They're economic crisis extend from the fact that between 1991 and 1999, the Argentine Peso was linked to the US Dollar.

When the Brazilian real plummeted in 1999, the peso was unable to follow suit, leaving Argentine exports vastly more expensive than those of its neighbour.

A decline in world prices for farm products, and the global economic slowdown of recent months, only worsened Argentina's problems.

Lower export takings have limited the country's ability to earn the foreign currency needed to repay dollar-denominated debts.

declining industrial activity has denied the government the cash to balance budgets, while levels of unemployment and "underemployment" top 30%.[1]
In order to help fight this the Argentine government unlinked the Peso from the Dollar. This has resulted in a much devalued currency (70% as of 2003). It adds an economic benefit to the budget-conscious traveler.

Now, I've been told that Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. That brief statement, I think, is what really let the seed of the Idea take root. I had thought about it briefly, for the sake of tango, but that didn't seem like enough to draw one to a country. I am, however, a huge fan of Paris. That is reason enough.

So Argentina it is. That covers one month of vagabond travels. What will I do after that? I'm still thinking about that. Like I said, I'm not much of a planner.

[1] BBC Business News

1 comment:

Humour and last laugh said...

interesting musings!