Link Filter Drupal Module

Here's yet another URL Link Filter for Drupal.
Drupal 7: [Not tested - looking for someone to help with testing]
Drupal 6:
Drupal 4 and 5:

The goal for this filter is to be somewhat like the URL filter included with Drupal, with the additional requirement to be Drupal installation directory independent as well as domain independent so that the URLs in Drupal nodes don't have to be re-edited when a Drupal site is moved to a different sub-directory or a different domain. Additionally, it allows for link text to be specified for the URL, and it preserves the input characters as much as possible, performing no or minimal HTML entity conversions of the input characters. Finally - it distinguishes various links with classes, which can be used to display link icons for specific links. If the link filter tag points to internal Drupal node, then a class containing the type of the node is generated, for example, class="linkfilter-drupal-node-image", which can be used to show distinguishing icons based on Drupal node type. This site uses this filter, and the link icons are displayed based on the class generated by the filter: for external links (linkfilter-urlfull class), images (linkfilter-drupal-node-acidfree or linkfilter-drupal-node-image class), mailto links (linkfilter-mailto class).

Link filter tags [l:URL text] in the input text will be replaced with a link to the given URL, which can be a Drupal link, an external web link, or a local non-Drupal link. Prefixes representing the site url and the Drupal directory are added, as appropriate:
1) Site url is prefixed if URL begins with a / character
2) No prefix is added if the URL has a : in it, as in http: or ftp: etc

Buenos Aires - Food Glossary

acelga - swiss chard, for example in a tarta de acelga

achuras a la parrilla - internal organs, grilled. Study up on your Spanish terms for internal organs!

alfajores - cookies - corn-flower biscuits sandwich filled with dulce-de-leche, and coated in powdered sugar, or chocolate or meringue

al punto - medium - as in level to which to cook steak

asado - grilled

asado de tira - grilled short-ribs

bife de chorizo - strip steak, considered the most popular cut here

bife de costilla - ribs

bife de lomo - tenderloin, filet mignon

bondiola, bondiola de cerdo - pork shoulder. Bondiola sandwiches are quite popular, available at every street food stall, especially on the Costanera Sur and Norte

budin de pan - bread pudding

carne de ternera - veal

candilejas - small round empanadas, found them at a chain named Gourmet, their tag line: Empanadas Caseras, La empanada rellena. They had candilejas with muzzarella, chorizo colorado, y rodajas de ají en vinagre.

carne de ternera - veal

casero - home-made

chimichurri - sauce for grilling, and using as a condiment, available in multiple variations. Provenzal, agreen chimichurri tastes really good and contains parsley and garlic. Most places though seem to have a a mixture of dry oregano, olive oil, some garlic and red pepper flakes, and this reddish mixture does not taste that good though it may work well as a grilling paste. Pictures: Salas and Provenzal on a plate.

chinchulin - intestine

chivito - goat meat. but in neighboring Uruguay, this is a name for the steak sandwich, completo

chocolate amargo - bitter chocolate

chopp - draft beer

Eating - Palermo Viejo

For nice looking and always reasonably tasting food, the easiest choice is a restaurant in the Palermo area. Palermo is huge, start with Palermo Viejo. The four-five blocks-square area around Plaza Serrano (Cortázar) is a culinary hot-spot, many good places to eat, along with lot of local designer-fashion clothing stores.

The food is all designer food, all too similar in tastes, just like any fancy (or pretentious) restaurants in the US. But similar dinners in the US at fancy restaurants will be far more than the US$15-25 per person that they cost here. This is still expensive, but worth it to try something more than just grilled meat day-in and day-out when in Buenos Aires. Most places are good, most food is the same, so drop into a place that you like the look of, plenty of information with pictures on the web.

Palermo has numerous restaurants, there is one good one you could try every day for a month. In fact the Restaurantes en Palermo at Guía Oleo guide had information and customer comments on 731 restuarants in March 2008. Some may have closed and information not updated, but still a very large list to work with. Or, just walk around the Plaza Serrano (Cortázar) area, or one of the restaurants listed abthough that too is a large area to work with, it is a good place to start.

To detail my experiences in two - major thumbs-up for Cluny, and a somewhat-minor thumbs-down for Social Paraiso.

Ice cream

No question about the ice cream in Buenos Aires - unlike the food which can be a not-so-good proposition even at the many written about places, the ice cream is exellent. There are a huge number of flavors, but it is the texture and taste that rules - nice, soft right from the start, so no need to microwave the ice-cream for a bit as is necessary to get a good texture for ice-cream in the US!

Freddo is a chain that is all over the city, and it has really good ice cream in a large number of flavors. Great tasting, rich ice cream. Many other people swear by Persicco or other local spots, there are numereous helado artesanal restaurants in Buenos Aires. The phrase artisanal gelato is used to distinguish these small makers of ice-cream from their industrial competitors, and they are certainly winning in terms of taste, quality, and the number of flavors available.

At Freddo, which was the most often place I visited the flavors include nine different varieties for Chocolate! Other interesting flavors available:
almendras - almonds, crushed
mousse de arándanos - blueberries
banana split - with dulce de leche and granizado - chocolate bits
maracuyá - passion fruit
mascarpone - rich creamy cheese
sambayon - (alcohol-flavored, usually wine, sometimes rum. Also known as Sabayon?)
tramontana - dulce de leche and chocolate cookies

At Volta, there are similar and additional flavors, for example:
banana volta - light green color, faint banana flavor, with bits of chocolate

Persicco is another place, they have 2-3 restaurants (but like others, the deliver anywhere in a large part of Buenos Aires). A good branch to visit is near the Juramento subte station and it is a good area to visit out in the Belgrano neighborhood, the address is Vuelta de Obligado 2092, corner of Juramento 2360, near the major Cabildo Avenue. This Persicco is large, two levels and includes an outdoor sitting area near a small park area.

Learning Spanish

There are many choices for learning Spanish in Buenos Aires. It is not the Spanish that is spoken in Mexico, the key differences being the use of vos, no vosotros, and the pronunciation of ll and in some cases y is like "ch" instead of "y". Given that there is a lot more to learning Spanish, even if you want to end up needing to speak Mexican Spanish, there is no harm is learning the Spanish as spoken in the Río de la Plata region. Especially given the numerous other attractions in Buenos Aires, it is a great way to spend time vacationing and learning Spanish if you have a month or two or more to spare. Just be prepared to hear the sound "ch" a lot, and hear rapid delivery of words, speakers here tend to roll on from one word to another without pausing!

Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas "Juan R. Fernández"
A web search for Spanish in Buenos Aires will result in many hits, but no results page includes the school that locals hold in high regard. [Such is the world of automated search, poorly linked web sites are considered of low importance!] Locals speak highly of IES Lenguas Vivas "J. R Fernández", which is at at Av. Carlos Pellegrini 1515 (corner Arroyo), in the Retiro section of Buenos Aires. The phone number is +54-11-4322-3992. They teach many languages here, including Español para Extranjeros. They have a rudimentary web site that does not work on Firefox but works on Internet Explorer - non-working IES Home Page, and anyway it does not contain information on the Spanish programs.

Expat Heaven? And other Superlatives!

In the few months running upto March 2008, and I am sure to-be-continued for a while longer if not for a long time, travel magazines including the New York Times travel section have been running a number of articles on the pleasures of Buenos Aires. Especially the food and the great deal for the those who hold their assets denominated in the plummeting US Dollar. On both counts - food as well great deals, a caution is in order simply because of the excessive press Buenos Aires is getting, and these articles do not provide any caveats, so this posting is on the caveats. Other postings on this web site describe all the good stuff, so here are all the warnings.

There was a time, probably until 2005, when expats found that their US$ went quite far in Buenos Aires. But alas, good things have to come to an end, inflation is quite high in Argentina. By 2008, while things are still good when converting between US$ and AR$, it is no longer such a slam-dunk as it was earlier. In fact, in just 1 year, from March of 2007 to 2008, prices seem to have gone up drastically.

Anecdotal evidence: a AR$3 fresh orange juice glass at the San Telmo fair is now AR$5. All prices in even recent guide books can be 50-100% lower than actual prices. Real estate in nice areas is comparable to US cities with much less of a difference in costs. And the prognostication seems to be for continued high inflation. Ugi's is a inexpensive pizza-chain in Buenos Aires and they have every need to have the best price so it is instructive to see how the price of the Ugi's pizza has changed:
Feb 2008: AR$9.20p for a 30cm mozaralla pizza.
2007: AR$6.80
2006: AR$4.80. Thus, in 2 years, price has gone up nearly 100%! Still a good price in US$, which went from around US$1.50 to US$3. Note that this is Ugi's pizza, if you want pizza at Filo on San Martin, that will put you back around US$15 for a large.

Apartment Rentals

Renting an apartment is one of the more unique qualities of Buenos Aires in that they have an amazingly large range and such an easy process to search and find an apartment in a location you want. No other city can boast of this range or ease of booking. And while inflation is on a tear in Argentina, and food is becoming quite expensive, apartments still are on the reasonable range. Prices for a month's rental range from US$500 to US$2000 for good apartments in good locations.

If staying for a visit of a week of more and you don't need services of hotels, rent a apartment. Very good deals are available, generally cheaper than hotels, but it is a risk that the apartment may not be good, or that there may be some rare case of problems with money - large deposit is required on arrival. But most people have had no problems renting, as can be judged by the number of choices available. ByT Argentina has the largest list of rentals, and they have a large list of mid-priced rentals. They will have an English-speaking person at at the hand-off when you arrive. For what it is worth, I have had good experiences with ByT, but there are many other agencies available.

Note that renting an apartment is far trickier and it is more of an commitment than staying at a hotel. Make sure you ask about everything you need, and check that things like Internet Access, Toilet Paper, Towels, Sheets, Maid-Service, Cable TV, etc, will be what you expect. At one place I stayed, the internet access was listed as available, but did not work for a whole week. And it was not Wi-Fi, but an old USB-based wired DSL with a driver that had to be installed on my computer and which did not behave well and persistently crashed Windows XP on a restart after suspend.

But there is nothing more satisfying than living like a local as much as possible, and for that a apartment rental is the best.


To get Pesos, ATM is best, withdraw the largest amount you can, if you have bank fees. No fees are charged by the banks in Buenos Aires, at least not by four-five banks I used. In 2007, one could withdraw AR$1500 per transaction, but in 2008 most ATMs now limit each transaction to AR$320. Multiple ATM withdrawals are possible, but this could ring up large ATM fees from your local bank, so find a Credit Union or other such US bank that does not charge for ATM withdrawals. Read up on your bank policies and charges before you leave on your bank's web site. The 2007 US$ cash exchange rate at the bank was also good - AR$3.09 to US$1. The ATM gave a better rate - AR$3.10, and this was exactly the same rate as listed at the OANDA, The Currency Site for that day. In fact, my bank listed a 2% foreign exchange conversion surcharge, but as far as I could tell, this was not being charged or they were starting with a more favorable rate than the one listed at OANDA or in the banks in Buenos Aires.
Small notes and coins can be a problem, so it is always a good idea to have coins and small currency notes. If you are exchanging US$, ask for a mix when you exchange money at the counter at the bank. Mix of 10-20 AR$1 coins, AR$5, AR$20, AR$50 notes is useful, ATMs mainly provide AR$100 notes, so it is better to withdraw amounts ending in AR$90 to get a mix of the denominations.

Boat to Uruguay

BuqueBus Boat Buquebus has frequent boats and boat+bus trips to Uruguay. It is possible to visit Colonia in a one day trip, the fast boat takes 1 hour for the ride. The boat is a large one that also carries cars, and at least in the month of March (and probably most of the time) it fills up a few days in advance so purchase your tickets a week or so in advance. Tickets can be purchased online at the web site, or at many of the Buquebus offices around the city. It is easier to purchase the ticket at the offices (or the web, but web requires registration) and there is one office at Ave Cordaba 879. The lines for purchase at the terminal were quite long and the purchase requires standing in two lines - first to book the ticket, and then to pay for it. In March 2008 the price for a single day round trip on the fast boat was AR$184, which is a discount from the multi-day return trip tickets. The Buquebus terminal is at the end of Ave. Cordoba - just keep walking on the street towards Ave. L N Alem, cross that street and the next few adjacent streets and the terminal will be visible quite easily. Passport (or at least the number and other details) is required to purchase the ticket.

Coast Line In Colonia if you are only there for a day, you can use AR$. All restaurants and shops and musems accept these and they use the exact same rate as the Compra rate listed in the banks so there is no need to convert currencies, especially no reason to convert AR$ or US$ at the exchanges at the terminal which provide a poor exchange rate. Change, if any, will be given in Uruguyan currency, though.

Train to Tigre

There is the overground train - multiple companies run these, and can be used for going from Retiro to Belgrano or as far as Tigre.

Just outside Estación Tigre Retiro Station - Platform There is a direct train from the Retiro station to Estación Tigre. Takes under 50 minutes for the trip and the last station is at the center of Tigre and the fare is AR$1.10 [2008], and it runs quite frequently. If you have the larger paper-back sized Guia-T, it has a map of Tigre.

Estación Tigre is at the main part of the town, and it also has the launching areas for many boat companies for a trip through the delta. This place also has many restaurants, and tourist attractions.

There is also another train called the Tren de la Costa which goes from Maipú–Bartolomé Mitre station in Buenos Aires to Estación Delta. To get to Bartolomé Mitre take a train from Retiro, the ride costs AR$0.65 and takes under 30 minutes and the last station is Bartolomé Mitre on that line. At that station walk over the connecting bridge to the Maipú station, and take the Tren de late Costa from Maipú.
This train will end at Estación Delta which is just two minutes from the coast-line, and a 10 minute walk to the Estación Tigre area which has a large number of boat launches, restuarants. The Tren de la Costa is a tourist train that has scenic stations along the way. The one way ticket is AR$8 and it allows you to get off and and on at every station on the route, and the train usually runs every 30 minutes, taking around 40 minutes for the full ride.

On the Tren de la Costa, two stations are worth stopping by: Anchorena and San Isidro. Anchorena is adjacent to a large unspoiled green park with no shops and on the banks of the river. It has some trees to sit under for a nice picnic on the river. San Isidro has shopping, crafts, and food right at the station. It also has a nice park just outside the shopping center.

[March 2008]