20 Crazy Things That Only Happen In Argentina

Cristina fernandez de kirchner and axel kicillofAP PhotoArgentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof — obviously, they’re pretty tight.

For weeks, Argentina has been in the news for a strange case that has come to a head. The country owes a group of hedge fund managers over $US1.3 billion and for years refused to pay.

Now a U.S. Court is demanding it pay by July 30th, or the country could face a catastrophic default.

Not that Argentina hasn’t been through anything that crazy before. Economic crashes, underground dollar exchanges, Rolling Stones cults, and a string of five Presidents in two weeks — The Argentine Republic is a crazy place.

The country is rich with resources, but often broke. As a result, Argentines are so accustomed to political and economic turmoil that they have adopted a bunch of interesting coping mechanisms — like tons and tons of therapy.

In 2001/2002 the country had five presidents in two weeks.

Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, President in December 2002

It was a tough time -- Argentina's economy had crashed after it defaulted on $US13.2 billion of foreign debt it could not pay.

The string of presidents started when Fernando de la Rua resigned in December of 2001. The last of the five, Eduardo Duhalde, was appointed in January 2002 amid major protesting.

The country's naval vessel, La Fragata Libertad, was impounded in Ghana for two weeks thanks to a hedge fund manager.

Hedge fund manager Paul Singer got a Ghanaian court to impound the 'Libertad,' which was docked in a Ghanaian port, last year. It was stuck there for months.

The country has refused to pay Singer and other investors $US1.4 billion in sovereign debt. The legal case has raged for years, with Argentina referring to the hedge fund managers as 'vultures.'

Singer took the boat as collateral.

The government put out this video of the crew finally returning home.

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Since then the President has chartered flights to avoid getting her state plane impounded.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner stands next to an Argentina flag during commemorations of the National Flag Day in Rosario June 20, 2014.

In order to avoid another Paul Singer Ghana incident, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner chartered an $880,000 flight to Indonesia back in 2013.

Massive dolls like this one get blown up on New Year's Eve.

Sometimes neighborhoods close down roads and ask drivers to pay a toll in order to raise money for doll construction.

The current president's shopping sprees and plastic surgery are public knowledge.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) is known for her (not always natural) good looks, so she has to look good, right?

So why not grab 20 pairs of Louboutin shoes (as well as some designer bags from Louis Vuitton and Hermes) in Paris after a meeting with the president of France?

The country has the most psychiatrists per capita of any place in the world.

According to The Telegraph, most of them work in Maradona.

The country broke the record for the widest road in the world, The 9th of July Avenue.

9 de Julio Avenida, Buenos Aires

July 9th is Argentina's Independence Day. The road is 0.62 miles wide, and spans an entire city block in Buenos Aires. The road was proposed in 1887, but construction didn't start until the 1937. It was finally finished in the 1980s.

Ferrets on steiroids were being sold as toy poodles on the street.

Apparently this is a thing. Ferrets, also known as 'Brazilian rats' are given steiroids from birth, groomed, and sold as toy poodles. Recent reports have them sold for as much as $US150 a ferret.

Gross.

They drink wine out of penguines.

Your cab driver is your shrink. Don't expect a quiet ride.

This could be really fun, actually.

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Ugly people wanted beautiful Argentines to pay a tax.

Argentines pride themselves on their looks, and plastic surgery is huge in the country. As a result, ugly people feel they get the short end of the stick big time.

From BBC back in 2007 during the reign of not-so-attractive President Nestor Kirchner, CFK's late husband:

Gonzalo Otalora does not much care what he looks like. He planted himself in front of the presidential palace, the Casa Rosada or Pink House, to harangue President Nestor Kirchner to change the law.

It's not fair, he said. The beautiful people get all the breaks. Beauty is a natural advantage and he wants the good-lookers to be taxed to finance compensation for the ugly people...

'The president for me is a comrade,' he explained. 'He's a loyal comrade because our childhoods were very similar. He also had thick glasses and spots. They also made fun of him.

No one believes the inflation rate the government reports, but dissenting economists can get in trouble.

For years independant statisticians have put Argentina's inflation rate around 25-30%. The government reports the rate much lower.

Even the IMF put out a report on this and Cristine Legarde, the IMF president, said the country might get a 'red card' for its fibs.

Political parties have their own beers.

The ruling party, Peronist, (as in Evita Peron) started the whole thing, and one of their beers is named after the former first lady.

From AP:

The Peron Peron bar started the trend when it released its blonde beer, Evita. Now it also offers 'Montonero,' a dark ale named after the 1970s guerrilla group, and 'Double K' in honour of Argentine leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, President Nestor Kirchner.

Across town, the opposition Radical Party has its own brewery, crafting blonde, red and black varieties named after another president, Hipolito Yrigoyen.

Apple products are really hard to find and cost triple what they cost in the United States.

The government has blocked the products entirely before. They say it's in order to bolster the economy and curb inflation.

As a result of this policy, there are definitely fake iPhones floating around the streets.

The Rolling Stones have a cult following called 'Rolingas.'

Thousands of teenagers dress like Mick Jagger and worship the band like 'Dead Heads' in the U.S.A.

So to get dollars, there are underground dollar exchanges called 'blue markets.'

Argentines are afraid their economy may crash again, so to get ready people exchange their dollars for pesos.

But since there are restrictions on currency exchange, anyone who wants dollars sometimes must go underground.

Bitcoins are getting popular in Argentina as well.

Or they take day trips to Uruguay and come back with backpacks full of dollars.

Some people make multiple trips a day to Colonia de Sacramento. It's only an hour ferry ride away.

Think that's crazy? Check out what's going down at Argentina's neighbour's.

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