Paul Smithson curiously takes in a magic trick or two at El Embrujo Restaurant. Photo by Greg Roden
Paul is a university student hailing from the sunny climbs of Essex, England. The youngster of the group at just 22 years of age, he came to Buenos Aires to study film back in March 2006 but soon joined the writing team at buenosaires-argentina.com a few months later. Since then he has been sent kicking and screaming towards the infinite beast that is the Buenos Aires drinking and dining scene. Being forced to go to several bars a week has been tough, but he has struggled through it. His parents are very proud. His liver is not quite as happy about the situation.
England beckons now as he has to finish his degree at the University of Manchester, but the lure of Buenos Aires is potent. If all goes to plan, Paul will be back in BA in 2007 to carry on exploring this incredible city. He wishes the rest of the team the best of luck for the future.
Q: What is the number one reason why everyone should visit BA?
A: The sheer quantity of entertainment. The mind boggles, honestly. There are an infinite amount of fantastic bars and restaurants all over the place (not just Palermo!), and a huge amount of theatres and art galleries in certain areas. While you still have money in your pocket it is impossible to get bored, and even without a peso in the world the city is just fascinating to walk around.
The exchange rate for us Brits is definitely a reason to go right now too (5.6 pesos to the pound), as it means you can enjoy the finest food and most beautiful surroundings for a staggeringly low price.
Q: What is your number one tip for foreigners arriving to BA?
A: Take your time and enjoy every part of getting to know the city, even if some parts seem frustrating. Buenos Aires is a very simple game to play once you know the rules. Walk the streets plenty too. There are so many fantastic places waiting to be discovered, especially in the more unassuming areas.
Q: What is your favorite city bus line and why?
A: Can't say I enjoy getting buses around BA, the traffic frustrates me. Walking around is much more fun. The architecture is absurdly varied everywhere and there is so much life on the streets that it's always entertaining.
Q: What do you dislike about BA the most?
A: Hard to say. The service in many places can be very annoying. In some places employees are just over eager and wont leave you alone, while in others they just ignore you and chat to their friends. They also have a habit of sometimes being a little creative with the truth when responding to questions. Sounds like I'm being harsh - but its true. Being patient and calm is essential when dealing with the service industry over here. Two qualities that I sometimes lack!
gQ: What is the most amazing or memorable experience you've had thus far since arriving in Buenos Aires?
A: What is most memorable for me hasn't been a single event, but the conversations I have had with friends over here. The city is quite cosmopolitan so I have ended up making friends with people from all over South America. No matter what is being discussed - from the mundane to the profound. It is fascinating sharing ideas with someone who has been brought up the other side of the world. Porteños in particular are a very interesting breed with a totally different attitude to English people, so getting to know them is very entertaining.