Thursday, November 30, 2006


I'm suffering from tango withdrawl. One night of dancing in a whole week does not make me a happy camper. Last week I was at Nino Bien in a crowd, tonight I sit at home longing for a dance.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More On Shoes

My new shoes are presently residing on the kitchen table. Supposedly this is bad karma or something. Guess that means I need a shoe rack. That is a really good idea when you consider how many shoes I own. Used to be I had one pair of dress shoes and one pair of runners. What happened?

Rummaging around, I found an out of use CD rack. Not quite big enough to hold two pairs side by side, but it will do for now. A few pairs are already on, but the rest still reside on the table for some reason. Maybe I want to dance in them first before hanging them up. I've been trying to figure out which order to wear my shoes. Do I save the best for last? And how do I determine which one is best. The first pair worn were one of the lowest priced shoes I purchased, but also one of the nicest. Okay, they are all nice!

Maybe when all have been seen, you can let me know which you like the best!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Snow? SNOW?!? Blech.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Well, here I sit in a hotel in Seattle. Holidays are over, even though I don't actually get home until tomorrow. The temperature came as a shock! 2 degrees compared to a humid 40.

I missed my connecting flight in Dallas. There was no way to have caught it. The flight from Buenos Aires was delayed because the flight ahead of us couldn't leave the gate for some reason. They boarded our plane very quickly, but we were still late. Flying into Dallas, the pilot said we were on time, but the flight to Seattle had left 45 minutes before our flight even arrived, so there was no way with customs and a second baggage check to even think of getting on the flight. They had automatically reassigned a seat for me on the next flight though.

Customs in Argentina did a thorough baggage check of every one's carry on luggage before boarding the plane. I was sure they would root through mine, and it was packed so tightly with shoes and things that it would have been a pain, but the young girl who opened my bag took one look at the shoes, asked for my small bag of liquids, grinned and zipped up the bag herself. Maybe she has a shoe fetish too.

Miss Buenos Aires already, but feel like I'll always have a piece of it inside my, like the warm heart of a chocolate truffle.

PS, shoes are very heavy! If you bring that many shoes back, make sure your bag has wheels!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Almost Home (Sort of)

Almost time to go home. Except somehow this city feels more like home. It tingles along my skin like electricity (but maybe it is just the building rain storm). Eduardo today said I dance like an Argentian, that I never lose connection.

Later, I met kikki for a last coffee before I leave this time. We talked about the pulse of the city, how every movement from pedestrians to taxi drivers is part of a dance. We talked about heart and connection. I've been looking for that connection for such a long time, and here I've found it. So we discussed what I would do to earn a living, preparations for leaving Victoria, places to live, and how to keep connections with our children. All like it was already decided. And maybe it is.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Too Much Stuff

Yesterday I went to the practica at Ideal with Eduardo. From there kikki, Eduardo and two couples from Winnipeg and myself went across the street to have a quick bite to eat and a visit before heading off to Viejo Correo for another lesson and then the milonga.

This morning, I'm sitting here surrounded by shoes, clothes and CDs wondering how to fit them into my luggage. Like a jigsaw, I'm sure it will all fit, but I'm also trying to make sure that neither suitcase is over the weight limit. That could be too much to ask when you consider how many shoes and CDs have to be packed. And there are the other Christmas gifts for the kids and some very unique original artwork. Even got another bag in the hopes of making the impossible happen. Is there a twelve step program for shopaholics? Maybe I'll sign up... after I get another pair of shoes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reverse Countdown

The countdown now starts the other way. Only four more days here (including today). I will miss this city so much when I go home. It gets in your blood somehow. I still have things that I'd like to do--shoes for my daughter, a bag to pack all my Christmas presents in (okay and shoes), lessons and of course there are milongas to still attend. It will be so hard to leave, but now I'm thinking next time I am here I will do... And wondering how I can arrange to stay here longer.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Chest

Connection. Tango is all about connection. I've been taking private lessons with Jaun Ruggieri. He is a young fellow that teaches with Roberto Herrera. Unfortunately his style so far seems to be salon only. Or maybe it is just that is where my weakness lies, so it's what we are working on. Unfortunately it made me think I couldn't dance. At the milongas, I became so nervous that it became reality. What a bummer, a 5,000 mile trip just to sit and watch.

So I borrowed a cliche (if at first you don't succeed, blah, blah, blah) and went shopping instead. Markets, malls, small stores. And of course shoes. If I bought the shoes I have to dance, but I was letting it simmer on a back burner so to speak. Here in Buenos Aires, you don't have to go to just a milonga, so I've enjoyed a few live shows as well. Narcotango, Color Tango, a show at Cafe Tortoni and one at a place called Pigmallion.

At Club Grisel on Monday, I was sitting yet again. Although I was dancing consistently each evening, I've been spoiled and three or maybe four tandas in a full night of dancing no longer seems like much. So I decided I just didn't care. Three tandas in a night would have to do, I couldn't get the look, and watching would have to work as well. And then the dancing started! Great dancing. Muey Bien is understandable even to my small vocabulary of Spanish.

Eduardo returned on Tuesday, and on Thursday I had my first private lesson with him. I'd really only had a few milongas where there was any consistant dancing, but he said to me "You've been daning with the Argentinians. I can feel it in your chest." Waht a wonderful thing to hear. And it has only gotten better. Now all I'm hearing is muey bien and muey linda.

Hum, Sunday tomorrow. Wonder which milonga is the best.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Monday, apparently I agreed to a date with a taxi driver. Gee, is that what he was going on and on about? I was out at a milonga and he came to the door all spiffed up to get me. Must have figured the universal language would work no matter what.

My excursion to San Telmo market actually proved to be a date. Being dense, I didn't realize it until Bob started to hold my hand. I don't think it was just friendlyness either. I can think of one or two men that it would have been quite yummy to hold hands with, instead it was just awkward. Ooh, and he came to my door this morning asking what we could do together today. Eep.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Good thing I'm a carnivor, not a vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in a city like this if all you ate was rabbit food. Salads and vegetables aren't served with meals. They are strictly meat and potatoes. Lomo is the best beef ever eaten. From thin slices served in bread to thick steaks, all are mouth watering tender and served to absolute perfection--just past the point where it still moos. All for an average of 14 pesos.

In La Boca, street dancers entertain you while you eat. Walking down the street, each cafe had its own dancers or musicians to entertain you--or lure you in. As an added benefit, you might even get to dance. Cool shoes she's wearing eh?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Live music

Everywhere you go is live music. On Saturday evening I was fortunate enough to see Narcotango play live.


So yesterday was an interesting day. Spent an afternoon at the San Telmo market (I seem to have a thing for these street markets). This was a flea market, all outdoors. 30 degrees (probably in the shade), so very warm and wonderful. At a little stall, I found a great necklace--garnet and silver for 120 pesos. Again, that works out to about $40, so I had to get it.

Later that evening, four of us went to the open air milonga in the same sqaure. It "starts" at dusk. When we arrived at about 7pm, they were rolling out the floor. Literally. Over the cobblestones, the organizers layed out a mat of some kind of rubbery substance for us to dance on. People were standing, sitting and walking by everywhere.

In the bustle a women came up to me and asked me where I was from. It turned out to be Gina. I hadn't even recognized her. She isn't dancing any more and came to this milonga for the first time in over six months, so it was a huge coincidence to even bump into her like that. Later as I was dancing, I looked up, and there on the steps was Allyson. Strange to see two people you know from home in the same evening at the same place.

As we were walking home, a young fellow accosted us asking for cigarettes. The man we were with told him we didn't have any. He started turned to me and asked the same thing. When I tried to walk away, he ripped my necklace off (the one purchased earlier at the market) and ran away. Was a bit frightening, but it could have been so much worse.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ricoleta market

An experience in sensual overload. Artisans sell custom made everything from leather goods and silver to clothes. Think every street market you have ever seen rolled into one. The weather was warm and sunny, the perfect day for a market.

Friday, November 10, 2006


So far, the dancing has been interesting. Working my way up the pecking order, I've started with the old, old (old) men. Some are very good dancers. Some are not so great. One fellow shakes so hard it is hard to determine whether he is leading or just quivering. Then there is a fellow that dances a semi-open embrace that seemed to be hard to dance with. Other apparently great dancers seemed to have problems as well. From there up the ladder, is a fellow who has fairly solid technique, but no variations on a theme. Once I figured out how he led, it was the same each dance.

Georgio tells me up, up, grabs me just above the panty line to emphasize his point, then says bring those beautiful breasts up where the world can see them. Just about enough to make me sink, sink.

Of course, you go to another milonga and have to start all over again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Of course shoes. Went shopping yesterday. Ooh, so now that I can get money from a machine, must buy shoes. So many shoe stores and so little time. Comme il faut was even better than expected. The number in advertisments and on a government web site was not exactly where they seemed to be located. Tucked in a small alley, it is very hard to find, but worth asking directions.

Once allowed inside, the girl figured out our foot size, whether we wanted high or low heals and how sexy we were looking for. Can't imagine what would have happened if I'd said both please, as she went in the back and started to pull out boxes. And boxes. And boxes. The shoes were lined up in a row. Sexy classic (would have purchases but they weren't leather), sexy outrageous and--well, you'll see when I get home!

From there, we hopped in a taxi and found our way to the Abasto Shopping Plaza. Huge centre that we didn't even explore. The two of us were on a mission for shoes. In the Abasto hotel is a tango boutique--Madreselva. There shoes are all the same still in various colours.

Artensanal is right around the corner, where Liz found shoes much to here liking. Tango clothes in the shops aren't any less expensive than at home, so I haven't been looking much at the clothes. From the boutiques and small shops is where you have to look for great bargins. We stopped in a small store next door to Tango 8 where the young woman spoke only Spanish, but is custom making me a skirt in soft knit and leather accents for only 75 pesos.

Across the street is yet another shoe store. Liz was looking for a certain colour of shoes, so in we went. Along one wall was their sale section. Everything from 110 pesos down to 80 pesos. 110 pesos works out to under $40! Can you believe it!

Everywhere you look are signs of how wealthy this city once was. It sad, haunting and somehow hopeful. The porteneo's never give you the feeling of tragedy. There is industry everywhere, little vendors, corner parilla's where you can eat for only a few pesos. Around every corner is something new. There is a great market in Ricoleta (a barrio) and here in San Telmo where crafts people set up and sell great wares. And of course, the tango.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Banking Dilemas

Although the dollar is worth more than the peso, it almost appears that they don't last as long. It is impossible to use a bank card at a merchant, and restaurants aren't much better. A few that I've seen do take credit cards, but at milongas pesos are used for entrance, plus there is the cost of drinks. So by Monday, I knew I wouldn't have enough to go for another day.

Okay, it is actually because I bought two pairs of shoes and had a private lesson to pay for, but who's counting? After the second pair of shoes, I found a bank machine around the corner, but was informed that my transaction was prohibited. Monday was also a bank holiday, so many of the banks had no cash in their machines anyway.

This morning, the two american women and myself headed to Tango Brujo. I had purchased one pair of shoes the day before, and was told they might be able to custom make a pair of shoes from a picture that I have. Pat was trying to get a skirt made to match a pair of shoes she'd purchased.

Liz and I were both down to our few remaining pesos and were desperate to get the banking figured out. Next door to Tango Brujo is a bank machine, but again, it was out of money. I had heard about Cirrus or Link as an option, so was searching for the correct bank, but once again, we couldn't seem to find a machine with money. Most of today was spent looking for a machine that would give us money. I had sucess, but poor Liz couldn't get anything and had to finally call her bank to straighten things out.

It was good to be flush again, as I had another private this evening, dinner with Kikki, and a milonga later. Busy days. Hum, aren't I supposed to be on holidays?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Day Two

Sunday is market day in Buenos Aires. In San Telmo, there is a market around near the guest house, but there is another market in the trendy district of Palermo. Pat, a guest from Mexico had heard about the trendy market selling clothes, jewellery, belts and so much more, so four of us hopped in a cab to explore.

It would seem that market day is the weather's cue to be uncooperative though. It rained on and off all morning, and the heaven's opened just for us as we got there. Not that it made much difference. We explored only a few shops between us. Alone, would have accomplished more, but it is so much fun to watch others try on clothes.

In the late afternoon, we headed off to Salon Canning. Another large milonga, almost filled to bursting by the time we arrived. Our table was at the corner, and not near enough to the dance floor to be able to make great eye connection with any one. The crowd did not seem to be the same, but with so many people, it would be hard to tell.

With crowed dance floors, the line of dance is crucial. Never once did I step on anyone or get stepped on. I've danced with only a few couples and suffered more injury than I think would ever happen here. No one would think to cut in line or rush or hurry to get to an open space. Instead, they do that coming and going as they drive from one place to another. Driving is an experience in risk. Our taxi driver coming home would rush up to lights that were red and only slow down at the last possible second, squirting through the intersection before the light even turned green.

Once again, dinner was after the milonga and tonight there was no visiting around the table at the end of the evening. A nice quiet end to a very busy day.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The real day one

After a ten and a half hour flight from Dallas, I've arrived in Buenos Aires. No one at the airport spoke English, but they all seemed to know how to communicate. Wasn't difficult getting through customs or finding a taxi. Met a few of the guests already, most of whom have headed off to lessons or shoe shopping.

After an afternoon siesta, a group of us headed out to Nino Bien for dancing. Taxi's abound in the streets, but you have to be careful to only take a taxi that says "radio taxi" on the doors. The other ones will take your money, and give you back counterfeit pesos. One of the couples staying at Lina's found this out the hard way.

Although we went together, the men and women must sit apart once they arrive. If you sit with a fellow, married or not, none of the fellows will ask you to dance. They make the assumption you are taken and it is an unbreakable rule.

Nino Bien is large. Men indicate they want to dance by looking at you, but the glance is very subtle and it might not be you they are looking at. I noticed that the Argentine's have it done to an art form. A look, a nod, and they walk to the dance floor and meet. The woman can initiate it by looking intensely at a fellow (and hope he gets the hint). First time out, I got it wrong and walked up to the dance floor to discover it wasn't me! Second time out it was very obvious. That makes it so much easier. It seems that perfecting the look probably has as much to do with the frequency of your dances as ability. The two dances I had were wonderful.

After Nino Bien, went to eat downstairs in a little bistro. Wonderful chicken meal for about 11 pesos. That works out to about $3. I can see that eating will be an experience when I understand so little Spanish. I know enough to order beef or chicken and pasta is pasta in any language it seems.

Came back exhausted. We had the option of going to to another milonga, but chose instead to open a bottle of wine, and discuss dance. What a way to end an evening.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day One

Arrived safe and sound in Seattle. The weather in both Victoria and Seattle is rainy, and miserable. Makes the thought of spring so nice! It is like the eve of Christmas eve. One day closer to Buenos Aires, but not quite there yet!