We returned yesterday from a five-day trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. We had a good time visiting what some call the “Paris of South America.” We were most impressed by the architecture and generally affordable and excellent quality of life we saw. Perhaps our perspectives have been influenced by living 11 months in nearby Paraguay, but it still struck me as a good place to live. I can see why Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) are proud of their city.
Buenos Aires is a no doubt world-class city. However, I was struck by its lack of diversity. This city with approximately 12 million residents seemed overwhelmingly of European descent with a dearth of other races, including immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Our difficulty finding ethnic cuisine confirmed this. There are no Greek, Indian, or Thai restaurants in Paraguay, and we searched from throughout Buenos Aires to find these cuisines. I finally found restaurants for each cuisine, but it was a bit of an undertaking. Each offered excellent food at moderately expensive prices (by Argentine standards). Here they are:
Mykonos Greek Restaurant, Olleros 1752, Buenos Aires. For reservations, call (54-11) 4779-9000 or visit http://www.mykonostaso.com.ar/
Kathmandu Indian Restaurant, Av. Cordoba 3547, Buenos Aires. For reservations, call (54-11) 4963-1122.
Empire Thai Restaurant, Tres Sargeantos 427, Retiro, Buenos Aires. For reservations, call (54-11) 4312-5706 or visit http://www.empirethai.net/
If we had had more time, we also would have liked to have eaten Japanese and American food. The good news is that as a large city, Buenos Aires has a wide variety of restaurants. In fact, Empire Thai restaurant owner Kevin Rodriguez — an American from New Jersey — told us that Empire Thai is one of the only Thai restaurants in Latin America. Amidst all of the “Parrilla (grill), pasta, and pizza” — as he put it — you can find a great selection of cuisine in Buenos Aires.
The news story about British sailors captured by Iran reminds me of a crisis between Great Britain and another nation that occurred 25 years ago. 25 years ago today, on April 2, 1982, the Falklands War began when the Argentine military occupied the Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas) in the southern Atlantic Ocean (it was not officially a war, because neither the British nor the Argentinians declared war during the conflict). Two weeks earlier, the Argentine Navy occupied two other sparsely-populated archipelagos, the South Georgia Islands and the South Sandwich Islands. All three island groups are disputed territory. They remain territorial possessions of the British, although the Argentinians claim sovereignty over them as well as a large section of Antarctica. The British also claim virtually the same portion of Antarctica. The Falklands War ended on June 12, 1982, when the Argentine military surrendered to the British.
Here’s a memorial in Rio Gallegos, Argentina on coast of the Atlantic Ocean dedicated to the Argentine soldiers who lost their lives during the Falklands War. We passed through town and visited the memorial in January 2009, on our way from Tierra del Fuego to Chile.
Paraguay (my home in 2007) was not directly involved in the dispute. However, it affected Paraguay because Argentina has traditionally loomed large in Paraguayan history, and their relationship has generally been less than amicable. Many Paraguayans were sympathetic to the British in this conflict. The “war” was one of the seminal events of the latter half of the 20th century in South American politics. To this day, territorial disputes between Argentina, Chile, and Great Britain over territory ranging from the Beagle Channel to the Falklands (Isla Malvinas) to Antarctica remain unresolved. Paraguay is not involved in any of these disputes. However, it lost territory to Argentina following its defeat in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-70), and its territorial claims were never fully resolved by treaty.