I’ve lived overseas before and since November of 2010 I’ve traveled through a dozen or so countries. But until I arrived in Buenos Aires it never occurred to me to research local expat groups to meet others like me. I’d been looking at apartment rentals and last week I went to see a cute place in Alto Palermo, which was being rented out by an outgoing Argentine-New Yorker. She mentioned a meetup group she was organizing for local Porteños who are interested in English conversation and invited me to join them at their gathering in Las Cañitas. That led me to looking up a few blogs, websites, and groups from Buenos Aires for expats and travelers who are either living or traveling through. It’s amazing how many hours one can spend in front of a computer screen reading about transplants and foreigners who call Buenos Aires home. I got some good tips and ideas about how to get the most out of this city, and made a lot of notes (mostly of places to eat).
Last night I ventured out to my first ever meetup at Romario in Las Cañitas. There were 20+ people who RSVP’d but it ended up being a nice group of about 10-15 people, 75% locals and 25% expats, gathered around a big table outside over some pizzas and beer. The local Porteños I met spoke excellent English and the expats were, oddly enough, mostly from the New York area. It was a pleasant evening and I met two very friendly Argentine women with whom I made plans to meet up separately.
As for the pizza and beer I had (first pizza and beer in Argentina for me), it was mediocre. The pizza was pretty good (napolitana con tomate fresco) but the beer (Brahma draft) was terrible. Ack. I have a couple of pizza places that are on my “must-visit” list so once I’ve gone to one or two of them, I’ll write a better posting on that topic. I’m fully prepared to embrace the extra-cheesy-on-thick crust-eaten-with-a-piece-of -fainá-and-a-glass-of-moscato Argentine pizza experience. I will not judge and compare it to New York pizza. But I’ve gone on a tangent here so back to the expat community in Buenos Aires.
There is a large expat community in the city and I’ve met some already from all over the globe without going to any organized gatherings. I did make an effort to put myself out there on several websites but I’m not really sure if they’re quite right for me. Some feel too snobby and exclusive, some feel as if it’s only for young and really good looking people who are looking to party (the profile photos all looked as if they were professionally done and/or these people were all models), and some are just… too random, strange, and forced.
Having said that, I had a fun evening with the meetup last night so I’ll see what happens with these expat groups. But in the meantime, I’ll stick to what I know, which is to go about my business of exploring this city and hope that I meet some cool people along the way.
Romario: Various locations in Buenos Aires; skip the Brahma draft, the empanadas looked good.