it was 14 years ago that i first came to argentina and lived for about a year. i was 19, newly married and about to have a kid. let´s just say it wasn´t exactly a touristy affair. it was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. i had to grow up quick, undergo that transition from teenage to middle age in a new country, and at 19, while most of my compatriots do the same in their mid to late 20s after years of plump college living under the umbrella of mom and dad.

argentina, i learned, was a country of extreme contrasts. first there was the provincial life at my in laws house, where, although modern technology permeated life, there was a certain romantic simplicity and frankness to existence that reminded me of say, 19th century England. then, just 60 kilometers to the north was the perpetual hum of Buenos Aires, a metropolis to rival any major city of Europe in size and sophistication. it is known, in fact, as the ´Paris of south america´. contrasts and paradoxes are a framework for reality here. provincial simplicity/cosmopolitan sophistication, extraordinary tenderness of spirit/rugged indifference, generosity and the magic of conversation/the isolation and desolation of the endless plains…

this time i have the chance to approach these contrasts with a maturity and experience that will make it much more rich. that´s what i plan to do with my next few posts. in my next post, i plan to do some phisophical speculation on how Argentina and Tibet have a lot in common. sound crazy? stay tuned. for now, a visual taste of the first few days.


About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

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