Now, I add the disclaimer that I realize I have only been here three weeks and I know my feelings will change the longer I am here and the more I truly get to know this city, country and culture. I even was given the advice by an older American expat couple last week to "give it time, it takes a while to know this place". Time is obviously what I need to invest, but in the meanwhile, I vent!
Before arriving to Buenos Aires, I had heard nothing but how fantastic the city was. I listened to sentiments of how "European" it is, how delicious the food is, how cheap everything is, how the people are so wonderful and inviting. Three weeks in I have decided that Europe must be a dump, that white bread, pasta, potatoes and overcooked meat is considered gourmet to many, and that "cheap" is most definitely a relative term. I have yet to know many of the local people here, but let me say they are keeping the pockets of tobacco companies full up. Sure the porteños(as the residents of Buenos Aires are called)are a lovely and friendly type of folk, but I have little to no tolerance for cigarette smoking, thus making it difficult to desire a conversation with many of them.
Perhaps I'm a jaded traveler, um, obviously I'm a jaded traveler. I find that Buenos Aires is just another huge, stinky South American city. I'm lost when it comes to seeing the charm that so many speak so highly of. High population density coupled with broken sidewalks covered with dog shit makes for a real life video game when walking anywhere. Avoid the bombs! Not to mention the millions of cars and buses belching their fumes into the air 24/7, oftentimes directly into one's face. I don't even need to hang around smokers, I'm getting enough of it in the air everyday. The air here is certainly not so Bueno as the name of the city suggests.
I find myself asking why the hell I thought it was a good idea to come here. I remember full well the reasons, and they are still valid. I really, honestly had few expectations upon arrival, but I had an imagined idea of what it may be like here. Wow, how different the reality. . . I must admit that even in the short time I have been here, I have had to face some very serious demons. I have had to learn patience and understanding in a way I previously have not allowed myself to experience. I have realized what a knee-jerk reaction I have for wanting to leave when things aren't perfect. And I am realizing that the best things in my life more often than not, started out very difficult. All of these things are what makes this perhaps one of the smartest things that I do; learning invaluable lessons that otherwise would have remained hidden if I had remained hidden in my comfort zone. Sheesh, there's got to be an easier way!
So I follow the advice of the experienced expats here and allow for time to hopefully show me this fabled lovely personality of Buenos Aires. I will endure, I will continue to be patient(a relative term for me as well), and I will do my best to avoid piles of dog crap on the sidewalks whilst not falling into a hole after tripping over a broken chunk of concrete.