Argentina stands high… on a fake platform
January 1, 1970
The first week in Argentina for me was an ugly shoe. The kind of post-apocalyptic shoe that looks retro Japanese mixed with the Spice girls thick platforms and sparkles. Who would wear that?
Let’s find out
Argentina in its colonial times.
It didn’t begin well for this country. A couple of hundred years ago, the only interest the Spanish showed towards the territory of Argentina was because of a gossip that the rivers carry silver in abundance. When they discovered the sad truth, they just created the city of Buenos Aires as a port to get the gold from Bolivia easier, hence why a citizen of the city is called a Porteño (aka person from the port city).
Over the course of the years, Argentina has had a huge earthquake, a couple of scary military dictatorship including prison camps, kidnappings and 30 000 political murders, public and publicized corruptions causing riots and tear gassed babies, inflations of 500% from one year to another, 5 presidents in 10 days, 4 different 100 pesos bills and millions of forged notes, anti Semitic terrorist attacks and … the new fashion trend: the Mule mega platform shoes.
Even today, as recent as this week, I witnessed a massive protest and military police with anti riot gear standing by expecting the worst. Do not be afraid, this is by no means a warning for you not to travel here. The public demonstrations just showcase how tired the people are of incompetent politics. Argentina is perhaps the only country who had a former prostitute as a president in the not so distant 1974. The grandmothers demanding justice for their kidnapped daughters still reassemble every Thursday since 1977 at plaza de Mayo and are a growing pressure in the parliament. Enough politics. This topic is not even closely as shocking as what I found out on my first walking tour around the capital.
Curious to investigate the origins of the fashion crime trend I inquired to my couch surfing hosts who is named Augustin, a 28 year old banker.
K:HELLO AUGUSTIN, I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE NEW TREND OF SHOE WEAR IN ARGENTINA. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THAT AND HOW DID THAT START?
A:I AM NOT SURE BUT I THINK THAT THE RETRO FASHION IS COMING BACK OR MAYBE THE FASHION FROM THE 70’S IN EUROPE HAS FINALLY GOTTEN TO ARGENTINA. I CAN TELL YOU THAT I REALLY DON’T LIKE IT AND I DON’T FIND IT SEXY AT ALL. I THINK ONLY BRAINLESS GIRLS CAN WEAR THIS.
I wanted to get another male opinion so I asked my second Couch surfing host, an anesthesiologist doctor named Federico.
K:HI FEDE! CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW FASHION TREND: THE PLATFORM SHOES? IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO FIND DIFFERENT SHOES WHEN I GO SHOPPING TO THE MALL.
F:I HAVE BEEN ALSO SEEING THAT EVERYWHERE AND I HAVE TO SAY IT’S VERY UNATTRACTIVE. I THINK THE GIRLS ONLY BUY THOSE SHOES TO MAKE THEMSELVES LOOK TALLER BUT IT’S BECOMING VERY UGLY AND WE AS GUYS DON’T LIKE THE GIRL TO BE TALLER THAN US.
On the streets, in the supermarket, at work and mostly at the club the girls torture themselves with these 20 centimeter platforms without realizing they all end up looking like clones…or clowns.
I don’t know about you but I can connect this to this country’s current situation. The young people are lost and they have lost their identity. It is not for me to judge how people should dress but you are invited to look at the pictures and decide for yourself.
I have tried to be open minded and accepting. I went shopping with my friend Jess from Wales because I really needed to update my wardrobe…after traveling 3 months I am very tired of my clothes. I went to one shoe shop and after chuckling for a while, I tried the highest platform shoe they had– 15 cm. The shoe itself wasn’t expensive at around 30 USD. In fact they were very light and it was easy to walk on them. I felt more confident but I also felt like an Avatar. I was standing out too much and they give me a bird view. I suppose they would be useful going to the Maroon 5 concert in a few days and spotting the sexy singer on stage. Thankfully my friend woke me up from my daydreaming… I think I was getting the effect…
I’m sure you all had it before: when you are bored and really want some love in your life but haven’t seen any potential in any guy, you are just starting to like whoever is on the horizon just because it’s easier. Needless to say, I quickly took the shoes off and continued on my way.
Argentina is a great wine exporter, in fact the best wine I ever tasted in 50 countries was in the Mendoza wineries. Argentina also brought us the sweetness of dulce de lece and the healthy matte, but Argentineans, please don’t do politics, please keep away from economics and I beg you… don’t introduce any fashion out of your borders.
Buenos Aires tips:
Take a free walking tour of the city. They offer two tours. I found the one in the morning a lot more useful and interesting. The only problem was the guide himself. He was so negative. After a 2 hour very depressing speech, he said ”Well, as you can see there is no hope for our country but at least we smile when we watch football”. Uhhhh..
Get some water and sun screen!
- The hidden bars were a unique and creative idea for me. You can find them in a few places and they are always mingling after 8 so do make a reservation. I had a meeting at Floreria Atlantico with a guy from couch surfing but he was really late so we had no space to sit. I am adding a link to help you in your quest https://www.gringoinbuenosaires.com/secret-bars-buenos-aires-explore-hidden-underground/
Make sure you possess a lot pf cash for the Sunday market. I wanted to buy everything!
You will be surprised by how huge bars hide behind tiny doors. For tasty pasta and a glimpse of tango classes or shows go to La Catedral. This was really one of my best nights in the city with pleasant company as well.
Don’t expect a beach in the capital, it is pretty chilly! I attended BA fashion week and froze my legs which led to a nasty cold. Worthy to mention as well that I didn’t have anything really fancy to wear so I borrowed my host’s big black t-shirt which served me as a dress. When I met the guy who was taking me there he raised his brow and the first he said was : ”Is that how you dress in Prague for events?…black shoes and white socks…?!?” He was a total jerk.
Buenos Aires’s nightlife was the best I experienced in South America. There is an abundance of clubs and venues. The bouncers won’t accept flip flops so we had to improvise and I gave my shoes to my friend while I went in with socks with little cats on them! Beware, guys don’t buy drinks, so don’t count on it. They also don’t take No for an answer. I personally had the most fun in Kika.
Let’s make this article happen by including Mendoza as well. I visited the city for 3 days and I would say there is nothing special to see there, but the people were very sweet and I just adored the wine. We visited this winery: http://www.bodegaseptima.com/home.php?lg=en
The Argentinians are so amazingly talented! Everyone can play at least two musical instruments and by some magical powers…they can all sing so very well. They are not shy to entertain- true Italians and artists at heart!
Before planning your trip over there, you need to plan money , right? Well…I would never advise that but take your currency and exchange it there. Withdrawing will result in you pulling your hairs. The ATM’s are always empty and they dispense 100 pesos notes… do you know how much is the equivalent of 100 pesos (the maximum note in Argentina) -7 American Dollars!!! I found this extremely difficult to accept.
Border crossing between Argentina and Chile was surprisingly difficult and the bus took twice and expected. They wanted to fine me for bringing a sandwich. Don’t bring any food or eat it before border crossing.