The most authoritative source of news and intuition-based reporting for the Buenos Aires Expat Community.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ask Southpat: Etiquette Tips for Foreigners in BsAs

Dear Southpat:

I'm going to be traveling with my wife to Buenos Aires this November. Can you recommend any etiquette tips that will prevent me from being looked at askance?



Dear Carl,

I'm so glad you asked. Yes, there are several things I recommend:

1. Talk really loud in restaurants. And when people don't understand you, talk louder. It helps.

2. Comment loudly about how cheap everything is, especially when you are with Argentine acquaintances. It makes them feel proud about the good value they are offering to foreigners.

3. If you get invited to dinner at 9:00 PM, it really means 8:55. It's important to be prompt.

4. If you have to stand in a long line for anything, go ahead and march right up to the front. People don't mind if you go first, as you are a foreigner.

5. Waiters should be on top of it all the time. If you don't get your check promptly, point at your watch to let him know you are in a hurry and tell him "andale! check-o!" You might need to get visibly huffy, but you should be in and out of a cafe in 15 minutes of you need to.

6. Big, puffy, marshmallow-like tennis shoes are really in style this season. So is the "deck hand look": cargo shorts, T-shirt, baseball cap, and sandals.

7. No one shops without their Starbucks to-go cup in their hand. Always carry it with you.

8. Topics of interest at cocktail parties with locals are the Falkland Islands, and American football. They are big fans of the 49ers.

9. It's really macho to show how much you can drink in the least amount of time.

Hope these tips help. Have fun!

Southpat Sue


  1. hahaha.... you're terrible!

    10. If someone invites you for dinner, make sure you leave by midnight or immediately after dessert. After all, doesn't everyone have work to get to in the morning and how many hours can people spend just hanging out with friends?

  2. Hilarious, love the Blog, keep up the good work!

  3. Southpat Sue,
    Hi, I was just taking a look at your blog. Sorry, maybe I didn't get the humour. I agree with some of the point you said but some of them are, in my opinion, absolutely the opposite. For example:
    2. I hate when foreign people tell me how cheap is everything here. They remind me how devaluated our currency is and they remind that I'm not able to travel abroad as easily beacuse everything is really expensive to us.
    3. Usually argentines are late.
    4. I hate when people march up right to the front on a line.
    7. That only happens near Alto Palermo.
    8 and 9. I also disagree.

  4. very confused by agustin. very confused.

  5. Oh, Augstín.

    You. Are. So. Freeeeeking adorable! Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom!

    *Cougar roar*

  6. Agustin, if you have so much critical about Buenos Aires, why don't you go home? I think it would be very good for you.

  7. @ Anonymous: Agustin seems to be from Buenos Aires as he used "us" to refer to Argentinians. Duh.