Buenos Aires always evoked images of European cool and chic. Images of muggings at knifepoint never occurred, but after my time there, it will be one of the more prominent associations with the city. But, I can say that despite the unpleasant occurrence, I still like the city which has beautiful buildings, nice parks and delicious food.
I will spare the minor details of the mugging, but I will say that we were irresponsible and were walking through an area we shouldn’t have been. We were visiting La Caminita and decided to walk to a neighbouring area rather than ride the bus out. We didn’t lose much and really, I got a reminder that I should always check which areas to avoid in a foreign city. I had always been good about this, reading travel reports and guidebooks but I guess after being incident-free in 20+ countries, I became irresponsible.
I think the saddest part of the entire incident is La Caminita, the two most touristy streets of Buenos Aires, is in La Boca, an area which is poor and under-serviced. Those two streets had major police presence, but outside, there were no police trying to protect the poor of Buenos Aires. Later in our trip, when we told our tour guide about the incident, he laughed. Not at us, but at the irony. He said everyone was scared of Rio but he never guided a tour where people were robbed there; if anyone got robbed it was always in Buenos Aires and he, in fact, got robbed there twice.
The ritzy and hip areas of the city like La Recoleta, La Palermo and San Telmo were beautiful and I could certainly see why BA is called the Paris of the South. Both have immaculate, white-washed stone buildings, inviting green parks and cozy cafes.