When Miranda France, a 26 year old freelance journalist, arrives in Buenos Aires to live and work, she discovers a city in crisis. 'People said the city was sinking,' she writes. 'Of the 300 brands of condoms in circulation, only eight were safe. The traffic was out of control . . . More than 2,000 bus drivers were found to be clinically depressed.'After securing a dilapidated apartment with a permanently crossed telephone line, Miranda France starts her life as a foreigner in Argentina. At night, she learns the tango ('danced properly it should be as passionate and loveless as a one night stand'). By day, she tries to acquire the knack of viveza criolla (artful lying) to crack the bureaucracy of the local library and explores the legend of Evita Peron and her well traveled corpse.During her stay, France encounters first hand the choas and deep melancholy of the Argentine capital. Buenos Aires is, after all, a city where elegant street cafes overlook local workmen grilling hunks of beef on the curb for lunch; where rats outnumber humans eight to one; where investigative television programs look closely at the trend of rising hemlines; where a nationwide shortage of coins causes trips to the supermarket to end in squabbles over small change; where almost everyone France meets is in therapy (Buenos Aires has three times as many analysts per person as New York). Bad Times in Buenos Aires is a brilliant blend of humor, personal narrative, and rich historical background including a chilling interview with an army officer from the Dirty War. Winner of the prestigious Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing, Miranda France has written an insightful, vivid, and often laugh out loud account of daily life in the 'Paris of the South.'