These are a collection of two stories that have both happened to me on several occasions and happened to others as well. It’s no surprise there is a lot of corruption in Latin America, Buenos Aires and Argentina, are no exclusion.
When Argentina had its financial collapse starting in the late 1990’s everyone was desperate and looking for a way to make it. One of these stories includes some remnants of that disparity and the other story is in rated R territory, Parental Discretion Advised.
They may not be enough for you to consider the alternate options, the bus or metro, but still reasons to beware of whats happening.
- 1st reason not take taxis in Argentina: They try to charge you extra by driving around aimlessly
- 2nd reason not to take taxis in Argentina: Mr. Wiggles comes out of the closet often, see below for details
Aside from a taxi driver falling asleep on my way to the airport in Argentina, my experience has been pretty good with taxi drivers (after I got GPS on my phone). In Buenos Aires, taxi drivers have two built it mechanical instincts; hound you at the airport when you first arrive and always take the extra long route.
When at the airport I would recommend either taking the shuttle or asking one of the official taxi stands for a taxi. What taxi drivers (exclusively in Buenos Aires) do is drive around aimlessly so they are able to charge more your ride. The longer your trip the worse it will be as they have more streets to turn on.
For most travelers, it won’t make a difference as many tourists will only be in the city for a few days or two weeks at most. The rates for taxis are relatively cheap starting at around 6 pesos which is nothing based on current exchange rates (April 12thexchage rate: 6 pesos = $1.5USD, 1 Euros, 1.37 Australian Dollar). I was living in Buenos Aires for over three months and I took taxis regularly and that can add up.
This happens exclusively with tourists as they have no idea where they are going. Spanish was my first language so this happened less to me since I didn’t sound like an American or European. For me it wasn’t about the money, it was about being ripped off. Every country that I travel to I make sure to have Blackberry data on my phone so that I can see where I am going and stay connected. One big advantage of this is I have a gps right on my phone. If a taxi driver went the wrong way I would tell him politely, “I’m not paying for this little side trip”. It was always fun to see how they responded to that.
The second situation I heard of didn’t happen to me directly, but to various women that have traveled to Buenos Aires. The 1st case of Mr. Wiggles coming out of the closet came from a French women on her first day in Buenos Aires. She asked to be taken to the apartment of a friend that was renting a room.
At red lights and while driving she felt an odd motion in the taxi while the driver was giving her a weird look through the rear view mirror. Once she got curious and looked over the front seat sure enough, this classy Argentinian citizen was masturbating in the taxi.
If this happened to only one person I met then I would say it was just a random case of the hornies. But since I have heard this story more than once I would have to caution women when they ride a taxi in Buenos Aires by themselves.
The rest of the country is more civilized I assure you. Other cities aren’t as large as Buenos Aires and aren’t as dangerous either. If you are in Argentina for a week or even a few days I wouldn’t worry about the driver taking some shortcuts as it won’t make that much of a difference.
Ladies, I would advise you to be careful when riding alone in taxis. I’ve never heard anything about women being molested or anything of that sort, but seeing an Argentinian Mr. Wiggles isn’t on the list of the things to do in Argentina.
Other Awkward Situations in Argentina:
- Ohh Argentina, Keep It In Your Pants!
- Crazy Taxi Driver On The Way to Airport
- The Stupendous Argentina Combover
- Blowing in the Wind-Coming Soon
- Sticky Fingers-Coming Soon