Letters to Homer: Safety in Argentina, Part I

Dear Homer:

I hope you had a good Christmas and a safe New Year.  Did the Missus get you that new chain-break for the saw that you wanted.   I remember the last time I was visiting you in Bent Fork you spent an hour outside of Levi’s Hardware Store drooling over it.

Since I last wrote you I’ve gotten lots of emails asking about the safety here in Argentina.  Buddy, the answer is all over the map.

The short answer is that it’s just like Bent Fork.  There’s some places you don’t want to be found after dark and other places that are safe pretty much 24/7.  As long as you don’t make any smart ass comments like you did to the preacher’s wife when she got the third helping of fried chicken, you shouldn’t have a problem.

But I know you’re hard headed and need some things spelled out, so I’ll give you the longer answer now.

In the couple of weeks before Christmas there was some free-for-all-shopping at area supermarkets.  Yah, I know this happens every Christmas season at the WalMart in Bent Fork, but these folks were looting.

I heard of one incident where about 300 people were helping themselves to the eggnog, ham and turkey along with anything else they could carry out.  There wasn’t much of that going on here in Belgrano where Ale and I live, but in the tourist destinations of Bariloche, Cordoba and Rosario things got a little crazy.  Needless to say Homer, with your heart condition, you just need to stay away from protests, demonstrations or any other outbreaks of social unrest if you decide to come.

Most people have trouble-free visits to Argentina buddy.  If you use common sense and keep a close eye on your stuff, you shouldn’t have much problem.  Be especially alert though around internet cafes, train and bus stations and just about anywhere that “distraction thefts” could occur.

“Distraction thefts” are the most frequent types of crime here Homer.  They usually occur in public places.  Be careful of the con-men which have been known to rob tourists while an accomplice pretends to help remove ketchup or mustard that has been ‘accidentally’ sprayed on them.  Tell the Missus that women have had their purses slit with a knife in crowded places and sometimes cell phones have been grabbed right out of the owners hand while the person was using it!

If you get the chance to visit San Telmo, Laboca, Retiro or other tourist areas Homer, make sure that you don’t go flashing that wad of cash around like you sometimes do down at the VFW.  Also, that genuine, imitation Super Bowl ring that you bought on television from that preacher that said you’d be healed if you donated $100.00; leave that at home too.  You don’t want to lose a finger or worse over some ostentatious jewelery.

One last thing buddy, leave your passport in the safe at the hotel.  I know you’re proud of that new hair piece, but passport thefts are pretty common in Buenos Aires and Mendoza.  Before you leave Bent Fork, take your passport down to Billy Bob’s Lube, Gas and Copy and get Ms Billy Bob to make you a photo copy of the passport that you can carry around Buenos Aires with you.  And again, leave the real passport locked up at the hotel.

That’s about it for now Homer.  Kiss the Missus for me.  I remain,

Your buddy, lost somewhere in the barrios of Buenos Aires
Jerry Nelson

4 thoughts on “Letters to Homer: Safety in Argentina, Part I

  1. Very cleverly written. ‘Distraction thefts’ occur in most major cities, so we have learned to take precautions, and we do try to blend in as much as possible. It’s that bus heist that still has me worried.

  2. Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

  3. Pingback: Letters to Home: How to speak a “furin” language «

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