food / travel

Tales Of An Expat: A Touch Of Paris In Buenos Aires

French hotelier Alain Auneveux moved to Buenos Aires eight years ago and is utterly enchanted by the Argentine capital, which some have called the Paris of Latin America.

It's summertime in Buenos Aires
It's summertime in Buenos Aires
Alain Auneveux

BUENOS AIRES — When I first arrived in Buenos Aires I lived like a tourist, downtown in Recoleta. I soon left that district, as elegant and full of grand residences as it is, to move to a more authentic area to mix in with the locals and meet the neighbors. My home in Buenos Aires is now Palermo, one of the city’s more Bohemian districts.

Palermo is picturesque and perfect for long walks or even just a stroll. My favorite walk is to the museums, especially to ones where there are bars with garden seating and I can take a break, meeting and chatting with friends. I like going around the city, and usually walk or take the bus, which is always a good place to meet interesting people.

Rainy days particularly fascinate me — I sit in a café by the window and gaze out at people walking past. The people of Buenos Aires exude charm without even realizing it.

In the Palermo neighborhood of the Argentine capital (pontodeak)

When it comes to food, I had to change a few habits. Goodbye to my daily baguette with nicely aged cheese or ham and other cold meats. I also had to give up fresh fish. I did try maté though, the popular herbal tea that the people here love so much, but I couldn’t make it part of my routine. Same for asado, the famous Argentine barbecue, as I don’t like meat that much.

New city, new culture

As for going out, I've always loved French cinema, and films from other places like Iran, Russia or Africa but, generally, they’re not so easy to find here. You can watch some very interesting films in certain cinemas though, outside the commercial circuit.

I’ve also become a tango fanatic. I’m fascinated by people who dance milongas in the neighborhood and, since I can’t dance, I watch how two people are able to communicate through dancing. Once, I was sitting on a bench in a square in Beijing and a couple turned on a stereo and danced to Carlos Gardel. How marvelous, I thought, that music and dance are so universal.

Same but different

Buenos Aires has a lot of Paris in it, but it still keeps its own particular personality. You can be alone here and as soon as they realize that you’re from another country, the generosity of the Porteños, the people from this city, comes right out. They strike up conversations with every foreigner they meet and love being told how kind everyone is here — even inadvertently. This was something I found very attractive from the start, as well as the local vocabulary the residents here use, very unique and descriptive.

The city’s social life, and the women, are outstanding. They are seductive, ever-present, and elegant at all times. Their Latin blood makes them possessive, but it’s a package deal I guess.

Buenos Aires is a walking city. I move around freely on public transport and it’s one of the few cities where it’s easy to get around without a car. I feel that I’m making a concrete contribution here to the sustainable development of large cities.

Play hard, work hard

I didn’t hesitate for a minute to found Vatel here, my hotel and tourism management school, because this is the South American capital with the largest number of international hotel chains, and there must be a supply of professional staff to meet their particular standards and requirements.

Spreading French cooking is another challenge we set ourselves. With a group of French chefs who live here, together we formed Lucellus, the French cuisine society of Argentina.

I usually go back to France twice a year to retrieve some of the flavors that are difficult to find in these parts: cheese, for example, and fresh shellfish. But, I always come back for work, and for the people here who make me feel so good!

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"The Truest Hypocrisy" - The Russia-NATO Clash Seen From Moscow

Russia has decided to cut off relations with the Western military alliance. But Moscow says it was NATO who really wanted the break based on its own internal rationale.

NATO chief Stoltenberg and Russian Foregin Minister Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry/TASS via ZUMA
Pavel Tarasenko and Sergei Strokan

MOSCOW — The Russian Foreign Ministry's announcement that the country's permanent representation to NATO would be shut down for an indefinite period is a major development. But from Moscow's viewpoint, there was little alternative.

These measures were taken in response to the decision of NATO on Oct. 6 to cut the number of personnel allowed in the Russian mission to the Western alliance by half. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the removal of accreditations was from eight employees of the Russian mission to NATO who were identified as undeclared employees of Russian intelligence." We have seen an increase in Russian malicious activity for some time now," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called NATO's expulsion of Russian personnel a "ridiculous stunt," and Stoltenberg's words "the truest hypocrisy."

In announcing the complete shutdown in diplomacy between Moscow and NATO, the Russian Foreign Ministry added: "The 'Russian threat' is being hyped in strengthen the alliance's internal unity and create the appearance of its 'relevance' in modern geopolitical conditions."

The number of Russian diplomatic missions in Brussels has been reduced twice unilaterally by NATO in 2015 and 2018 - after the alliance's decision of April 1, 2014 to suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation between Russia and NATO in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea. Diplomats' access to the alliance headquarters and communications with its international secretariat was restricted, military contacts have frozen.

Yet the new closure of all diplomatic contacts is a perilous new low. Kommersant sources said that the changes will affect the military liaison mission of the North Atlantic alliance in Moscow, aimed at promoting the expansion of the dialogue between Russia and NATO. However, in recent years there has been no de facto cooperation. And now, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has announced, the activities of the military liaison mission will be suspended. The accreditation of its personnel will be canceled on November 1.

NATO told RIA Novosti news service on Monday that it regretted Moscow's move. Meanwhile, among Western countries, Germany was the first to respond. "It would complicate the already difficult situation in which we are now and prolong the "ice age," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters.

"Lavrov said on Monday, commenting on the present and future of relations between Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance, "If this is the case, then we see no great need to continue pretending that any changes will be possible in the foreseeable future because NATO has already announced that such changes are impossible.

The suspension of activities of the Russian Permanent Mission to NATO, as well as the military liaison and information mission in Russia, means that Moscow and Brussels have decided to "draw a final line under the partnership relations of previous decades," explained Andrei Kortunov, director-general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, "These relations began to form in the 1990s, opening channels for cooperation between the sides … but they have continued to steadily deteriorate over recent years."

Kortunov believes the current rupture was promoted by Brussels. "A new strategy for NATO is being prepared, which will be adopted at the next summit of the alliance, and the previous partnership with Russia does not fit into its concept anymore."

The existence and expansion of NATO after the end of the Cold War was the main reason for the destruction of the whole complex of relations between Russia and the West. Today, Russia is paying particular attention to marking red lines related to the further steps of Ukraine's integration into NATO. Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov previously stated this, warning that in response to the alliance's activity in the Ukrainian direction, Moscow would take "active steps" to ensure its security.

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