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View Poll Results: Which of these cities do you prefer?
Mexico City 22 28.57%
Buenos Aires 55 71.43%
Voters: 77. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-26-2012, 05:09 AM
 
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Which of these cities do you like the best?
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Spain
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BA: prettier and safer
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:06 PM
 
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I have lived in Mexico and lived in Argentina but not BA. I like Mexico City but I think BA is much nicer and has a better overall quality of life. Mexico City has some nice neighborhoods but a lot that is just an urban wasteland. There are some things such as the history of Mexico City,though that make it really interesting.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:09 PM
 
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At one time they used to say Mexico City had the worst air pollution in the entire world. Its high altitude "bowl effect" makes it worse. Of course, Chinese cities have terrible air, too.
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Old 01-27-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: United Kingdom
66 posts, read 187,563 times
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Buenos Aires
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Old 01-27-2012, 04:06 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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I was planning on visiting Buenos Aires this year. But my wife told me it's too far away and it's just easier to go somewhere in Europe.

So, I have to try this again next year.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:35 PM
 
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Interesting question. Latin America has tons of great, underrated cities, but these two are probably the greatest in my opinion. I lived in Buenos Aires for six years until last April, and then I lived in Mexico City for six months before coming back to the States. Both cities are very cosmopolitan and have an incredibly varied cultural life. The governments of both cities devote extensive resources to cultural activities, which are at least in theory open to all (that said, I'm no fan of Mauricio Macri). You can find interesting things (museums, concerts, plays, etc.) sponsored by the city government to do on every night of the week for relatively little money (or for free) in both cities.

All that being said, I love both of them, but I'm going to break with the consensus here and say I prefer Mexico City, for a few reasons:

1. The food. BA has a varied food scene, but it's really expensive. If you're earning a local salary and you want to go out to eat a lot, it's going to be mostly pizza, pasta, empanadas and steak. Don't get me wrong, standard Argentine food is good, fresh and of great quality, but it's not very diverse and it gets really old after a few months. And since porteños just aren't used to eating things with spicy or strong flavors, you'll find that a lot of international restaurants that serve Indian, Thai, Mexican, etc. are not exactly what you would call authentic. The one exception is Peruvian food; the Peruvian community in BA is large enough so that they can spice it up and still have a large following. On the other hand, I absolutely love Mexican food. There's so much more to it than tacos and enchiladas, despite what many people think. Even those two things have so many regional variations it would make your head spin. The flavors are complex and have tons of ingredients. Other than that, there's cochinita pibil, different kinds of mole (poblano is my favorite), chiles en nogada, sopa de lima, barbacoa sonorense, pozole, I could go on but my mouth is watering.

2. The people. After six years, I found that I had very few Argentine friends despite having worked, studied, socialized, etc. Basically I found porteños to be warm at first, but it's difficult to move beyond that initial interaction to develop a meaningful friendship with someone. There were plenty of times where I thought I hit it off with someone, so I suggested we do something, and they looked at me like "What? We're not friends." I should note that language is not a barrier; I'm fluent in Spanish. This is just a cultural difference. Many people have friends they've known since childhood, and don't feel a strong need to make new ones later in life. That's fine, but it makes things hard if you're an outsider. I found chilangos to be a bit more open to spontaneity in this regard and a bit more likely to invite you along when they're going out with friends or having a family party (which is pretty much all the time).

3. Geographic location and proximity to other places to visit. I realize this is totally and utterly subjective, and I mean no offense to porteños or bonaerenses. I grew up in New England, and I'm used to hills, mountains, and dense forests. As a result, the pampas, to me, are the most boring and depressing landscape I've ever seen. You have to drive for a good 8 hours outside BA to see any landscape that's substantially different. Argentina has tons of mind-blowingly beautiful places, but they're not easy to get to for a day trip or a weekend without flying and, thus, spending a lot of money. The only two exceptions I can think of are Tigre and the Delta region (which I absolutely love and is one of my favorite places anywhere), and the Parque Nacional el Palmar in Entre Ríos. Buenos Aires province has some really pretty towns (e.g. San Antonio de Areco) that are great for a quick getaway, but nothing that's going to make your jaw drop. However, Mexico City is surrounded by mountains. You can literally hike through pine forests within city limits (Ajusco). In 1 1/2 hours, you're climbing the pyramids in Teotihuacán, hiking the Tepozteco in Tepoztlán, or roaming the huge centro histórico in Puebla; in 2 hours, you're walking up the summit of the 3rd-highest mountain in Mexico (Nevado de Toluca); in 2 1/2 hours you're exploring Taxco, a colonial gem of a town that spills down tree-covered hillsides, or doing a tour of wine country in Querétaro; in 4 hours you're relaxing on a Pacific beach that's warm all year round. This is just scratching the surface of the countless things to do that are within a few hours' drive from Mexico City, and the landscape and climate can change dramatically in a very short distance/time. Also, this is random and obviously no fault of Buenos Aires at all, but I like the fact that in MC is in the northern hemisphere and the seasons occur when I'm used to.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking Buenos Aires by any stretch of the imagination. It's a terrific city and I love it, and of the two, it's definitely the prettier and more organized. Plus, my boyfriend of 4 years is a born-and-bred porteño, so I'm sure I'll end up living there again at some point. However, just given my own subjective personal preferences, interests and the activities I enjoy, and for the reasons I cited above, Mexico City just felt a lot more like home to me. It was actually quite hard for me to leave at the end of my time there.

And just one added observation that applies to both cities (or any city, really): tourists tend to romanticize and idealize, and they should be aware that daily life in a place is quite different from what you see during a two-week or even two-month stay. If you're a foreigner and living off your savings in Recoleta or Palermo or Condesa or Roma, life seems positively rosy. You're close to the subway, the respective city centers and you have any entertainment option imaginable at your doorstep. However, if you're living there and making an average local salary, none of those locations are affordable. The last 2 years I lived in BA, I lived in Villa del Parque. It's a beautiful neighborhood and by far my favorite of the places I lived in BA, but it's a terrible commute if you have to work downtown. I lived too far from the train to make it worth taking and nowhere near a subway station, and the bus would take a good hour and a half during commuter time. AND Villa del Parque is well within the city limits and geographically not all that far from the center. My point is that both of these cities are immensely rewarding places to live, but they have major problems with transportation infrastructure. Both of their subway systems cover a fraction of the area that they should, and even though they have buses to compensate, traffic means that you'll be doing start and stop for more time than you'd like. Again, they're both amazing cities, but it's good to keep things in perspective for those who are considering a move.
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:45 AM
 
Location: Brasilia
196 posts, read 359,866 times
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Buenos Aires, end of discussion.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
830 posts, read 2,073,139 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattydow View Post
2. The people. After six years, I found that I had very few Argentine friends despite having worked, studied, socialized, etc. Basically I found porteños to be warm at first, but it's difficult to move beyond that initial interaction to develop a meaningful friendship with someone. There were plenty of times where I thought I hit it off with someone, so I suggested we do something, and they looked at me like "What? We're not friends." I should note that language is not a barrier; I'm fluent in Spanish. This is just a cultural difference. Many people have friends they've known since childhood, and don't feel a strong need to make new ones later in life.
I'm a porteño, and I don't agree with what I put in boldface. Everyone I know has made friends in different stages of life, not only in childhood. It's interesting that you are not the first foreigner living here or having lived here who says that. I really mean what I say. Through all my life here I've known very few people who stay basically with the same friends all their life. Just wanted to say that.
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Old 02-06-2012, 02:36 AM
 
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Since BA is probably the greatest city I've ever lived in, my vote is obvious :-) DF has its charms, though
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