Tuesday, August 11, 2009
El Martes en Buenos Aires
Day four of my holiday and all is well. I think the jet lag has finally begun to lift so I´m starting to feel normal again. I´m trying to live the porteño lifestyle of late lunch and dinner and staying out late. Seems to work for them so why not? I woke up on Sunday and thought to myself ¨I should get up soon or I´ll miss desayuno (breakfast) only to find it was nearly 2pm! I´d missed lunch as well! I quickly readied myself and headed down in the direction of Plaza Dorrego for the market,street tango and musicians when I realised I´d taken a wrong turn and ended up in Retiro! Never mind, I explored that area which is mainly a shopping precinct. I liked it because the city is generally pretty quiet on the weekend and that area is the height of activity. Buenos Aires is a great city to walk around. It began to get dark so I found my way home. By then I was getting pretty hungry so I decided to go downstairs to La Plata where I had been the night before because the food is amazing and when you do the conversion back to Aussie dollars, it´s bloody cheap too. My waiter from the night before welcomes me and says he´s glad I returned. I order un copa de vino tinto and view the menu. I decide on the salmon as it comes with papas fritas and salad. Very good again although nothing tops that beef. After cenar, I return to my hostel and ask the guy at the desk where a good milonga is. He gets me excited about one in La Boca where they pick you up and on arrival receive a three course meal, 5 tangos shows, a tango orchestra and of course, lots of tango dancing. Then they drive you back at the end of the night. Excellent, I say. Call them up. He speaks rapid fire Spanish into the receiver,hangs up and tells me it doesn´t happen on Sundays! He passes me a post card with details of one that looks pretty good so I gussy up for the night and get a taxi down there. For all you non tangoers out there, I will briefly explain how a milonga works. The music is played in what is known as a tanda which is usually 4 songs - 4 tangos, 4 vals <(waltz in tango rhythm) and 3 milongas, which is a faster rhythm. Between each tanda, they use a different style of music to note that the music style is about to change. This is known as the cortina or ´the curtain´. Getting dances in Buenos Aires is a whole different ball game. In Australia, we just ask people to dance. Over here, it´s a wordless transaction. The man stands near you and uses eye and head gestures to get your attention. If you want to dance, you make eye contact and nod. If you don´t, you just look at your shoes and pretend you didn´t see him. This allows him to move on and try someone else. Sometimes the man will even use cabeceos from across the room. I walk in, find a seat at the back and then order a drink. Whilst at the bar, the tanda ends and the cortina is The Clash! I sit down and hope I get a dance. I don´t hope or wonder for very long as I get one straight away. He dances a full tanda with me and I sit down. Not long after that, I get asked again. Another tanda- I´m doing well. After my copa de vino tinto, I order a agua con gas as I´m dead thirsty by this stage. I´m not bothered by being there sola either until I spot a woman who looks just like Di only to find out it is! Major coinky dinky that we ended up in the same milonga out of many in Buenos Aires! My friends Sabrina and Ralph were with them too and it was good to see them. The milonga ends at 2am. I bid the group farewell and David helps me get a taxi home. Monday, I made myself get up early as I´m trying to set my body clock to B´s A´s time . Still exhausted but I do it. I go to breakfast and chat with Luisa who works here.She´s very sweet and her english is good. I finally try the infamous dulce de leche and I have to say, it´s pretty bloody good! I have to take a couple of jars home. I know Gayle and Cathryn are gonna love it! Just as well I´ve walked everywhere as I´ll be twice the size getting home if I eat that stuff! I got ready and headed towards Confiteria Ideal. I waited for Di and the others and after a while it was obvious they weren´t going to be there so I stayed and did a lesson. I have some work to do on my tango, that´s for sure! After a gruelling 3 hour long lesson, I went in search of food downstairs and ordered some pasta. It was home made and fresh, but in true Argentine style, the sauce was boring but it hit the spot nonetheless. By this stage, I was retarded with exhaustion so I made my way home and slept for about 3 hours. I got dressed and went downstairs for dinner again! Mariano, who´s been looking after me, raced over and apologised that he couldn´t be my waiter as he was looking after the president of Antartica and his guests! Nay bother, I get the lovely Jorge and we get through ordering the meal with no problems. I order the medallion of beef again because it's sublime and have it with a rocket and tomato salad. More vinto tinto of course but only one glass tonight. I get back to my room and study the milonga guide for Monday and find one that's a 2 minute walk from here. I get there and lo and behold! David, Dianne and the Melbournites are all there! They have tango shows and the most amazing tango orchestra plays. This milonga is very cliquey so I don't get a dance but I don't mind. Ralph and Sabrina graciously offer to walk me home and they get a taxi immediatly. Actually, in a town of 40,000 cabs, it's pretty easy to grab one. I know the title of this blog is El Martes en Buenos Aires, but I was falling asleep writing it so I saved it as a draft and I'm finishing it now and it's actually the very early hours of el jueves (thursday). I'll bring you up to speed with what's going on soon. Tomorrow we go to Comme Il Fait,the Manolo Blahnik of tango shoes and then to Cemeterio de la Recoleta where we will see the tomb of Eva Peron. Can't wait. Dormir , tal vez e sueno- that's my bad attempt at saying ' To sleep perchance to dream' but I think I've fucked it royally. Lo siento... Photos soon.