Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Argentina Chile study tour day one

Sunday March 14 2010

Last week I led a class of 15 NC State MBAs on a weeklong study abroad visit to Buenos Aires Argentina and Santiago de Chile. Never had time to blog while on the road but will try to fill in the high points now. Delta got us to BA right on time. We had the privilege of waiting in two lines: one to pay the "Reciprocity Tax" (the US charges Argentines $130 for the privilege of entering, so the Argentines decided recently to return the favor -- deadweight loss triangles were dancing in my head) and another to clear immigration. My first impression as we boarded our van -- where did all of these Renaults, Peugeots, and Citroens come from? There were more French cars on the road in BA than there were in Paris.

Sunday was designed to get everyone exposed to Argentine culture and to recover from overnight flights. We took a bus tour of the highlights of BA, including stops at Recoleta Cemetery to give out respects to Eva Peron and La Boca to soak up an array of merchants and street vendors. Most of us then went to see River Plate host Huracan in football. River Plate is, along with Boca Juniors, one of the big name teams in Argentine soccer. Their stadium seats 70K and was mostly full. The fans of the visiting team are housed in their own section surrounded by a 10' tall fence topped with barbed wire. Fans of both teams spent most of the game chanting insults at each other. After the game the River Plate fans had to stay in their section for 20 minutes to give the visitors time to escape the area. River Plate won 2-0.

Enjoyed a pizza and some malbec for dinner at Las Cuartetas, one of BA's top pizzerias. Deep dish style with lots of cheese, yummy.

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