BsAs Local Services

Just a round up of various services that are hopefully useful to visitors and expats alike. For the various services we offer here at SaltShaker, click here.

Spanish Tutoring – Max Dasso was an incredibly patient and great teacher. He’s fluent in both English and Spanish, and I believe reasonably good in Italian and French. You can contact him directly at edulanguages (AT) yahoo (DOT) com or via phone at 4801-3508 (he also has a New York based broadband number if you’re calling from the states, 212-217-2835).

Escribano – Probably not one for the tourist crowd, but for expats or longer term visitors who need the services of an escribano, or notary/escrow agent, I recommend Emilio Merovich. He’s friendly, helpful, reasonably priced, and speaks fluent English. You can reach him at emilio (AT) merovich (DOT) com (DOT) ar or at his office at 4322-3575.

Lawyer – If, by chance, you find yourself in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend mine – his specialty is the customs, business and tax world, but there are other people in his office to handle other things, or he can make a recommendation if you need a lawyer with a particular specialty. His name is Bartolome Homar Mas, though he goes by Tommy. He speaks English fluently. You can reach him directly at tmas (AT) onettoabogados (DOT) com (DOT) ar, or at his office at 4394-1041.

Translator – Official documents from outside of Argentina need to be translated to be used for processes like a visa or national identity card here. They cannot be translated by just any old translator. If you’re submitting the documents here in the country, they have to be translated by a State board certified translator for official documents. I recommend Maria Clara Lahitte, 4812-0311 is her local number, and she speaks fluent English. Her address is Santa Fé 1687, Piso 3 (3rd floor).

Accountant – At some point if you stay here you’ll probably need an accountant to handle tax forms and such (they have to be prepared by a certified accountant, you can’t do your own tax forms here). I use Hugo Macri, he’s excellent, knows the ins and outs of what you can and can’t do, and where you can stretch things – he doesn’t speak English though he has someone in his office who does to translate conversations if need be. His office number is 4373-4252, his office is at Paraná 539, Piso 11 (11th floor), office 70. You can also contact him by e-mail at estudiommya (at) gmail (dot) com.

Real Estate – Via the experiences of some friends, I can recommend Apartments BA – I had no dealings with them myself, though they have a good reputation amongst the ex-pat and tourist community. I have mixed feelings about ByT Argentina – I have a couple of friends who had good experiences with them, however, when I tried to rent from them I found them completely unhelpful and didn’t end up using their services. For purchases, a local friend, Robert Shive, specializes in finding properties for expats and investors. You can contact him via rshive99 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com, or by telephone at 15-4044-4021 – his company maintains a website at Best By George.

Regardless of who you rent from, keep in mind things that you might want while you’re here – cable TV, cable modem, phone service (and specify if you want to be able to call cellphones and/or international calling, they’re separate services), and/or DSL service, maid service, etc. Simple things that may seem like they shouldn’t be an issue should be kept in mind – make sure that whoever you rent from has stocked the apartment with some basic things like toilet paper, towels, soap, dishwashing supplies, basic cooking, serving, and eating implements. Quite possibly the last thing you want to have to be doing two hours after landing at Ezeiza is shopping for papél higénico.

Moving/Shipping – If, like me, you’re moving here long term or perhaps permanently, you might be planning to ship a bunch of your stuff here – furniture, books, stamp collection… Now, you might be tempted to do it all yourself. I know people here who take pride in that they organized the entire shipping process through various companies, went to Customs here and negotiated their way through the red tape. I understand the pride in getting it all done by yourself – there’s value there. But each of those people, who has proudly told me about how much they’ve negotiated things down, and all the cost cuts they got, has paid at least double what I paid using an expediter. They also had to spend days, literally, on getting it all done. Use a service that specializes in getting things here and through Customs, does it all for you, and charges you a flat fee. I used Sergio Carabajal at Buenos Aires International, bsasinternational (AT) ciudad (DOT) com (DOT) ar or via telephone at 4735-6213. He took care of everything from organizing the pickup and packing of my things in New York, the shipping, the delivery to my home here, and everything in between, including organizing all the necessary paperwork. The entire process probably took less than two hours of my time. He speaks sufficient English to explain the processes, etc. The company has a website at BA International

Plumber – Finding a good, and inexpensive, plumber is nearly a milestone in life. If you don’t mind a charming Italian and Spanish partnership duo, who will look at your pipes, throw their hands up to the heavens in despair, crying out for mercy and carrying on like it’s the end of the world (the Italian is definitely the more dramatic of the two), and then fix everything in a few minutes flat and charge you the price of a good sandwich, I use Sora, at Azcuénaga 1579-A, 4806-7718, in Barrio Norte. No English spoken, but they don’t need it to get the job done. For plumbing specialists in radiator/heating systems, the best I’ve found are the father-son team of Alejo and Jorge Cabrera, 15-3569-6259 or 15-5311-1892. Again, no English, but they’re fast and inexpensive and do great work.

Electronics – If you’re bringing electronic or electrical items from overseas, keep in mind that you’ll very likely need transformers or at least adaptors. The single best place for anything in this line is Alamtec: La Casa del Transformador, Paraná 220. Make sure to know what you need the transformer to include in terms of number of sockets (1 to 3), and overall wattage of the things being plugged into it (or at least be able to tell them what you’re going to be using). Examples: for my computer and printer I use a 3 socket, 300 watt transformer; for kitchen appliances I use a single socket, 750 watt transformer. If you bring a US based television set (NTSC coding), you have two options to use it locally on the PAL-N coding – 1) you can go to Todovision at Paraná 345 and purchase a convertor box for about 900 pesos, but you then have to also purchase a local VCR for a couple of hundred pesos that operates on PAL-N coding to work with it – an expensive option and with two components; a better option, suggested by one of the salesmen there, was to go to their partner store Cinema Sound, across the street at Paraná 332, and simply buy a DVD Recorder that has multi-regional capabilities for both the discs and output – for about 850 pesos – it gives you the advantage of being able to watch DVDs from any regional coding, record DVDs off of either cable tv or a videocamera, and works with any PAL-N or NTSC television automatically. Todovision is also sort of the electronic hobbyists’ center for the city with all the stuff you need to put together your own circuit boards, etc.; while for more basic electrical stuff, Radio Aceto, at Uruguay 356, is the hot spot.

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