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The main airport serving the Buenos Aires area is Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE). There is a smaller airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP), that is for domestic and regional flights. Most IETF attendees will be flying into EZE.
To get to the IETF 95 meeting venue from EZE you can use Taxi Ezeiza (white taxi) by requesting one at the white booth in the middle of the terminal. You can make a reservation for a taxi online in advance of your trip via http://www.taxiezeiza.com.ar/ and they will have your name on a placard at the booth. They do not accept credit cards, but do accept US dollars. The cost to the Hilton is 39 USD for a small car (1-2 passengers) or 46 USD for a larger car (3-4 passengers). The porter who shows you to your car seems to expect a small 1-2 USD tip.
Tell them you want to go to “Capital Federal” and have an address of where you are staying. A driver will then help you with your bags and you’ll be in your hotel in about 40 minutes (if no traffic jams). Notice that these are not the regular taxis from Buenos Aires which are black and yellow.
In addition, there are shuttle buses operated by the Manuel Tienda León Bus Company, which is very reliable and has been providing transportation between the Buenos Aires airport and downtown for over 80 years. There are reservation booths in the arrival hall. The regular departures are every 30 minutes between Ezeiza Buenos Aires airport, Jorge Newbery Buenos Aires airport and their main office in downtown Buenos Aires (1299 E. Madero Av.). The trip takes about 50 minutes, if there is no traffic jams (but there are). From there, it is about 2.0km, or a 25 minute walk to the hotel (city taxis should also be available).
Another solution is “remisas”, plain cars like “Transfer Express” (their booth being just after the immigration). We paid 688 $ (by credit card) for two persons, which seems expensive, but it may be because we went to different places. Be sure to ask the price before. Warning: they are not huge limousines, thee people with luggage would be very tight.
To get back to the airport:
It is recommended you take one of the white taxis from Taxi Ezeiza or a reputable private car service like Manuel Tienda Leon or one that the hotel can hire for you. Taxi Ezeiza usually has a promotion for the return trip to Ezeiza if you hired them for your trip from Ezeiza to your destination. If you are traveling by yourself and want to save some money you may want to consider the shuttle service.
Do not take the black and yellow taxis to go to the airport. It will be expensive as they will also charge you to get back to Capital Federal since they cannot pick up passengers outside of their designated area.
Arrival Coordination - To assist with meeting up at the airport and sharing rides to the IETF venue.
Departure Coordination - To assist with ride sharing back to the airport to leave IETF 95.
The official language of Argentina is Spanish.
Guided Tours of the Teatro Colón - The Teatro Colón in the city of Buenos Aires is regarded as one of the finest theatres in the world, renowned for its acoustics and the artistic value of its construction. Its current venue celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.
The guided tours are about an hour long from 9AM. (AR$ 180 - ~ $13)
If you like opera you can enjoy Don Giovanni on APRIL 5TH, 6TH, 8TH, 9TH, 10TH & 12TH
Food Market at Palermo 2nd and 3rd April http://www.buenosairesmarket.com/proxima-edicion/
Guided and Self Guided http://www.turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/en/agrupador-noticias/guided-self-guided-tours
Best ways to get around Buenos Aires:
1) Subway: fast and easy – will take you to Palermo and other nearby neighborhoods. It is integrated with google maps service. You can obtain the full Subte (from Subterráneo, Spanish term for Underground) network map here. The closest Subte stations to the IETF 95 hotel are the B-line Leandro N. Alem, D-line Catedral, E-line Bolivar, and the A-line Plaza de Mayo - each of these stations is a terminus station for its line, and all are within a few blocks of each other. You can buy tickets by 1, 2 or more but it does not seem you save money by buying a large amount. I did not find a subscription scheme convenient for the one-week IETF.
2) Taxi: make sure to always hop on the cars that say “Radio Taxi” – those are the safest. You can also call a radio taxi from a location in the city and have them pick you up.
Some radio taxi numbers:
For longer trips, or more “dedicated” rides, there are companies called “remise”, which are basically private cars. You can call and have a driver pick you up, take you to a place and get you later. You generally have to call in advance. You might be able to use a remise to go to Tigre or one of the places in the outskirts.
NOTE: There is a service called Safer Taxi, but it is not recommended due to safety concerns
Remote Hubs are being organized in Latin America, India, and Boston, MA, USA.
Boston-area Remote Hub: Please see a IETF-hub-Boston Meetup for details and RSVP since space is limited. Thursday 5:30-7:30pm is scheduled social time. The WGs or BoF sessions that are planned are: TEAS, Babel BoF, Spring, IDR, DetNet, MPLS, PCE, Accord BoF, BESS, I2RS, Anima, and RTGWG.
IETF 95 Hackathon, April 2 and 3, 2016 at the Hilton Buenos Aires
PROTOSEC, April 1 and 2, 2016 at the Centro Cultural de la Ciencia
DNS OARC Workshop (OARC 24), March 31 and April 1, 2016 at the Intercontinental Buenos Aires
Local currency, called "Peso" is composed of banknotes with a value of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Pesos. The 50 and 100 Pesos banknotes come in two different versions, both of them are legal. If you are lucky, you can receive a 1 Peso two-colored coin, similar to the 1 Euro coin, but with around 1/17th of its' value.
The exchange rate in the past was confusing. Do not Google for advise on improving the exchange rate as it may reference practices that do not work anymore, because the new President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, recently allowed the currency to float freely http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-17/argentine-peso-plunges-29-as-macri-fulfills-free-float-promise and removed other currency controls. Nowadays, there's only one exchange rate - so not more “blue” (dolar blue) rate. The current exchange rate is roughly USD$1 to 14.75 Pesos http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=USD&To=ARS, or €1 to 16.60 Pesos http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=EUR&To=ARS
Using ATMs to get cash in Argentinian pesos will result in a fair rate (there's one in the Hilton lobby).
Hilton bedrooms have both the standard Argentina “Type I” outlet as a well as a moderately “universal” outlet. The latter is compatible with US and JP plugs (Types A and B), and EU plugs (Types C, E and F). It will not work with UK plugs (Type G).
Electronic devices can be obtained at main electronic and household shops such as Garbarino and Frávega. However, this kind of devices are more expensive than abroad, and there is a small choice of device types/brand names.
Tuenti donated 400 SIMs for IETF participants with a small amount included (25 voice minutes, 3000 SMS, 350MB Data). All the instructions provided on the brochures are in spanish. Orange brochures are Micro SIMs and green brochures are Nano SIMs.
You can ask for one when you receive the T-Shirt.
To activate the SIM: 1- On your computer visit www.tuenti.com.ar 2- Select the option “Activá” (below the smiley) 3- Enter your email address, password, Apodo (Nickname), Nombre (Firstname) and Apellido (Lastnane)
Click on "Confirmo que lei" (Accept the term & conditions) Click Siguiente (Next)
4- Enter the long small number at the bottom of the card bellow the barcode (19 numbers) (not the PIN or PUK)
Fecha: Enter any date DNI: Enter any 8 digit identification number (can be any number as long as it has 8 digits) Prefijo Interurbano: Enter 11 (this is the area code for your SIM. 11 is Buenos Aires, 291 is Bahia Blanca, etc.) Click Activá tu Chip
5- On your phone you have to configure:
APN: internet.movil User: internet Password: internet
In case you want a different provider or we ran out of SIMs:
Getting a SIM Card with some data service is easy and cheap in Buenos Aires. There are three “main” mobile operators, namely Telefonica/Movistar, Telecom/Personal and Claro. All three offer prepaid SIMs with Internet up to 4G speeds.
SIM cards can be bought in branded, 'official' stores but also in most drugstores. Bizarrely enough, branded stores cannot top up the cards, they just sell the SIM card.
Top-ups can be bought as printed cards or can be had as 'recargas electrónicas' (electronic topup), where the drugstore attendant will ask you for your phone number (I have it in an Evernote note in my phone, I just show the attendant my phone's screen).
As for the printed-card top-up, sadly, the automated systems that process the printed cards use Spanish-only IVRs. In the case of Personal, you can send an SMS with the keyword “REC” followed by the top-up 12-digit unique number.
Prepaid Internet plans will notify you every time your usage reaches 30 or 50MB. You can configure your plan to automatically 'renew' your subscription and get a new 30 or 50 MB block. Depending on the operator, a block can cost 3.90 or 4.90 pesos (that is, around 25 USD cents). This means a 1GB traffic allowance costs between 7 and 11 USD depending on the operator, which is cheap although the SMS notification each 50MB can get bothersome :)
Frequency bands: http://www.gsmarena.com/network-bands.php3?sCountry=ARGENTINA
o A walk through the financial district from the hotel, or otherwise a short cab ride from the hotel: Plaza de Mayo, holding the Buenos Aires Cathedral, the Cabildo where the Independence was declared from the Spanish in 1810 and our “White House” that is not white, but Pink (actually called “The Pink House”). The financial district holds some really neat old buildings with great domes that mix with the modern skyscrapers to make an interesting skyline.
Other interesting places to visit which are typical from downtown Buenos Aires:
o Palermo (eating, shopping and cafes – night and day) Recommended restaurants: Morelia (Pizza, pasta), Miranda (parrilla), La Dorita (parrilla), Nucha, Mott , Olsen (nice patio), La Cabrera (parrilla). Shopping: Outlet stores on and around Gurruchaga St. Artisan Fair on weekends on Serrano Plaza. Store with wool items (ponchos, etc.) from the Patagonia (south): Ayma If you venture to Palermo and take a cab on your way back, ask the taxi driver to go through Libertador Av. It's a beautiful avenue with great monuments (the Spanish Monument being my favorite) and parks.
o Recoleta, with City Cemetery, where Evita is buried. Artisans fair on weekends in the plaza, El Pilar Church next to the Cemetery and lots of restaurants and cafes across from it. Also, Buenos Aires Design Center with stores and restaurants/ cafes is right at the end of the plaza, above the artisans.
o San Telmo - This is the “Old Town”, with lots of tango and antique shops [Defensa St) - BA Biking Tours, leaving from San Telmo.
o Las Cañitas (near the Polo fields in Palermo) – for evening dinner or drinks. Recommended restaurants: El Primo (Parrilla) , La Fonda del Polo (Parrilla), Novecento (Italian), there are many others. I grew up a few blocks away.
Newsstands have survived in the Internet era in Argentina. You can still observe them packed with lots of magazines and newspapers on many corners around the city.
The Buenos Aires Herald is a local newspaper in English, in print and electronic versions, just in case you are interested in the talk of the town.
There is a small market about three blocks from the IETF 95 meeting venue called Avicar (Juana Manso 1149, C1107CBW CABA), and a large grocery store, Jumbo Cencosud (Lola Mora 450, C1107DDB CABA), about a 20 minute walk, that includes gluten-free and other special diet foods.
Argentinian wine is famous. Most come from the Mendoza region and can be quite strong. The wines from Patagonia are much lighter. There is a winery just outside the Hilton but you can also find a lot of different argentinian wines at the Jumbo Cencosud mentioned above.
Argentinan food has a combination of local Prehispanic, Spanish and Italian roots, with elements of French patisserie. Although meat is the most known ingredient, vegetarian options are available too.
Recommendation: Take your time and enjoy local coffee. Ask for a cortado (coffee plus very little milk, just to change the colour) with medialunas (moon-shaped sweet croissants). Downtown coffee shops open very early. Do not forget to ask for dulce de leche (a kind of sweet jam made of cooked milk and sugar, which is a perfect match for any patisserie)
Coffee comes in three possible sizes: chico (chee-co) is usually one shot, un jarrito (har-reeto) about a shot and a half, and doble (doh-blay) the double shot size. All drinks will come as chico unless otherwise noted, so be sure to add the size after ordering your drink. For example, if you want a medium espresso with just a touch of milk, order un cortado en jarrito. If you want a big cup of black espresso, order un café doble. For decalf version of any of the following, don’t forget to mention descafenado (dehs-cough-eh-nah-doh).
If you like historic cars, it is worth seeing the museum of the Automóvil Club Argentino, located one floor above ground at 1850 Avenida del Libertador, Buenos Aires (15 mins by taxi, 1 hour on foot - open 10:00-17:00 M-F). https://www.intltravelnews.com/2011/08/hidden-car-museum-buenos-aires.
Argentina has recently undergone a political change as a new President, Mauricio Macri, took office just a few months ago in December 2015 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauricio_Macri. President Macri took over after Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner led the country for 12 years, from 2003 - 2015, marking an end to a string of Presidents from the Partido Justicialista political party that led the country since 2001.
The new government has made some significant changes in their economic policies and foreign relations. The political party of the new President is called Cambiemos, which means “Let's Change” in English. Some of the new policies have recently caused peaceful union strikes, somewhat similar to those recently seen in Europe as “austerity measures” were being contemplated by governments http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/24/argentina-president-mauricio-macri-nationwide-strike-by-public-sector-workers.
The President's residence is the Casa Rosada https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_Rosada. For more political information see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Argentina.