off to sao paulo today, which looked like a short trip but took from 11am in the morning to nearly 7pm to make the full trip. this was following some serious white-knuckling on the flight over, courtesy of air lineas, an argentinian airline with no apparent fear of turbulence. i've flown a lot of miles and i nearly thought my short time on this spinning globe was over today. damn...
more thoughts on leaving buenos aires, sao paulo and south america in general:
- airport security in south america rocks! keep your shoes on, take as many liquids as you want, leave yer laptop in yer bag, and the whole process only chews up about 5 minutes. 100% less irritating and prolly only 10% less secure than our follies.
- turns out there was a complete collapse of the argentinian economy about 5 years ago. you couldn't withdraw $$$ from the banks if you wanted to, everything was frozen. this pushed prices for real estate way down and the peso went from being 1:1 with the dollar to 1:4. today it's about 1:3 and they are about recovered. there's still a fair amount of civil unrest and even last night a group of protestors showed up at a fashion event demanding to "eat the food that they're eating". given this and the govt's propensity for an occasional socialist agenda, what looks like a great opp'ty to buy land on the cheap and make easy $$$ could end up in you losing yer shirt as your buenos aires land/home are snatched up by the govt and given to others.
- we had a fantastic local wine last night called "torrontes" (the style, not the vintner). it's a moderately sweet, white Argentinian varietal. good stuff! we also hung out at an old-school tango club which was an interesting mix of young and old dancers out to have a good time. the band was very cool as well, it consisted of a single bassist with 4 guys on accordions and another 4 on violins. great sound!
- they are completely unafraid to parade the female body at tradeshows. who are we kidding ourselves, america? guys at conferences sit in crappy halls listening to what are mostly terrible speeches then eating too much mediocre food. after tolerating all that crap, of course we all want to see a booth babe! helluvalot better than chatting it up with some smarmy, sweaty dork in bad loafers. my jaw nearly hit the floor when i saw the symantec booth babes in argentina. sure enough they had skin tight black pants with bright yellow tube tops with the symantec logo on them. our branding and hr department would shit themselves. the girls may not know a thing about the products or the company, but no one pays attention even when you do, so why bother? and what did we see right after entering customs in sao paulo? cute little brazilian booth babes handing out fliers for a show here for consumer electronics. score one for south america. call it exploitation but dammit, it works.
- we ate dinner at a stunning place tonight, check out the pic below. the whole restaurant is built around a gargantuan 100 year old fig tree. food, service and ambience were amazing. if you ever come here, don't miss out: http://www.rubaiyat.com.br/figueira/index.htm