Moving to Argentina
The name Argentina is something of a misnomer: the Spanish conquistadors believed the country to be the location of the mythical Sierra del Plata (translation: Mountains of Silver) and so called the country after the latin for silver, argentum. But what Argentina lacks in precious metal deposits it more than makes up for with a wealth of other natural resources.
Large stretches of the Andes, including its highest peaks, are located in Argentina as well as the fertile lowlands of the Pampas where gauchos on horseback still ply their trade, the parched deserts of Los Cardones, the spectacular Iguazu Falls (one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature) and the desolate beauty of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.
But it is in the cities that you’ll find the cultural traditions that have become synonymous with Argentina all over the world. Buenos Aires is of course foremost among them and has given birth not only to the sultriness of the Tango but also the more recent phenomenon of Argentine rock. The city is also a treasure trove of architectural delights spanning from the baroque to the modern.
Argentine cuisine is another famous export – the influences of the Mediterranean and the South American Indian combining to produce mouth watering concoctions like the empanada, locro and yerba mate. If those prove too exotic you can’t stray far without encountering a steak house (Parilla).
Argentina’s economy had a tough time around the turn of the century when the government was forced to default on its debt. The Kirchner presidencies though (first husband Néstor and then wife Cristina) turned the nation’s fortunes around, along with statistics on poverty and inequality, so that today’s Argentina greets new arrivals with economic opportunity as well as cultural diversity.