Sunday, April 19, 2009

That's It

Well, the last milonga has been danced for this trip. Tomorrow I catch a plane home. I spent an absolutely wonderful day with kikki and Eduardo. It was the perfect ending to the time I spent here. We went to a corner parillia near Eduardo's new studio and ate so much carne I didn't think any more would fit. Then we went for coffee and dessert and sat some more. We talked about tango and culture, connection and so much more.

kikki is going to keep her eye out for an apartment in Palermo for me. Yipee. That makes me very happy. She said that as the US economy suffers, the Argentine has gotten stronger. I'm sure that is true elsewhere as well. I'm not in a rush, though. Hopefully I'll know enough Spanish by then to be able to communicate. They want me to come back again in November (of course). OMG, do I wish I could.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sigh, Almost Over

Wow, down to three days remaining. I find myself unwilling to run around and do the tourist thing. Much like my last trip, I behave more like I live here. I haven't yet picked up anything for two of my girls, mostly because I don't know what to bring back for them. Neither would wear the exquisite silver jewellery for sale at the street markets. I'm thinking maybe scarves, but I'm not sure if they would use them.

So instead, I bought a small bag of strawberries--the best I've eaten in years. I remember picking wild strawberries with my mom. These taste much the same. OMG, moan worthy.

Then, I thought of the small bookstore, Fedro Libros, on Carlos Calvo. I purchased the new Bajofondo CD and Truman Capote's book In Cold Blood. In Spanish. That meant I needed a Spanish/English Dictionary. The whole thing cost me 80 pesos (so little less than $30). Now to try to read a book without really comprehending what I'm reading--sort of the way I learn anything.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Such Sore Feet

Last night at Boedo Tango I danced solid from 8:30ish until well after midnight. I only left because I couldn't stand up any more. My feet were so sore, but in a good way. I didn't sit out one single tanda in an entire evening of dancing. Not one. All without once having to use cabeceo. The guys came to me and asked. One after another. I was in heaven. Until my feet started to ache at about 11:30 from the constant dancing. But did I go home? No. Not until 12:30.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ooh, the Beads

I spent part of yesterday in Once with Mollie. This is the fabric/fashion area of Buenos Aires. Well, more than that. Shops with everything from shoes and bras to bead and fabric are clustered together in about a six block radius.

Bead stores line both sides of one block. At home, metallic beads are extremely hard to find and a bit pricey besides. For twenty pesos (about seven dollars) I bought several bags. We wandered across the street to another store, and I fondled larger bags of bugle beads but didn't buy any.

Of course this morning all I could think about were those large bags of beads. So I went back and purchased more beads. I couldn't believe that these huge bags of bugle beads are only five pesos per bag. They are huge. To give a sense of scale, the coin on the bag is a loonie.

Now to figure out if I should go back and buy even more beads. The tricky thing is I usually go hunting for beads when I want something specific for a project I'm working on. Sometimes I have them, but often not. I can imagine the frustration at home when I think "If only I could go to Once."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Recoleta Cemetery

On Saturday I spent the afternoon wandering around Recoleta Market. Nothing in the market appealed to me much this time around, but maybe because I was so anxious to wander through the cemetery. I actually wound up spending more time there than the market. Over 100 pictures later, I think I have a solid enough feel for the place to use it as a setting for the novel I'm working on. Woo hoo, that was actually one of my reasons for wanting to come here. The photos will act as reference as Buenos Aires is my intended setting. After the milonga with the neck licking incident, I'm going to re-write the start of my NaNo from November completely incorporating pieces of the first NaNo that fell by the way side.

Even though I have such an aversion to spiders, I became obsessed with webs. But really, how could you not:

And look at the crypts, holy cow there must be at least a vampire or three in there somewhere. I knew it!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Yesterday in La Boca I had an amazing idea for an art quilt. A while back, I did this little experimental quilt using some fabric sample things in vibrant blues and greens. It reminded me of La Boca, so I called it Dreaming of La Boca. Taking photos yesterday, I thought of revisiting the idea but with photo transfers (or actual photos) and the same vibrant colours. Will have to wait until I get home to work on that. The wonderful heat here has snapped me out of hibernation and I can hardly wait to get back to working on things again. Hopefully it will actually be warm when I get home.


I’ve noticed a number of changes this time. There seem to be boarded up shop fronts and a number of stores that I remember are no longer open. I went to La Boca yesterday, partly in quest of a replacement for the shawl I lost in the airport the last time, and partly to take photos. I’d forgotten it was Good Friday and wondered if anything would even be open, but instead there were tour buses, bodies and some kind of festival in progress. But the one place I kind of remember wasn’t there. There don’t appear to be any shawls like I remember this time around—of course maybe I just don’t remember it accurately.

On my second day here, I walked along Sarmiento from Abasto. Two years ago, there were blocks and blocks of lingerie shops. This year, there are only a few. I’ve noticed that other places as well.

It might be the season. It is fall now, so maybe traditionally the tourist industry drops at this time of year. And it could be that it is post CITA. I remember taxi rides last time were a daunting experience with so many vehicles jockeying for position in limited space, but haven’t had that so much this time. Although they still love to drive fast, at least this time they aren’t trying to drive faster than the next guy.

Prices have also increased from the last time I was here. I remember buying a large steak for anywhere from twelve pesos up. Now, it would be impossible to find one for less than twenty pesos. Sigh.

It does surprise me to go a milonga and find it almost deserted though. That is something else that has changed from last time. I don’t remember there ever being a time that one was less well attended than home. But so far three have had poor attendance. I also wonder if this is a post CITA lull. Unlike last time, I’ve only danced with milongeros so maybe some of those milongas that were crowded previously were mostly tourists.

And the dancing has changed for me. But that is a good thing. Now the cabaceo works easily and well, I’m getting dances until my feet almost feel like they might die, the men are trying (sometimes without success) to tell me where to find them minana. Tonight, I'll try Club Leonesa. Maybe that will be the right one. Not like last night.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Kiss the Boys—or Not

Okay, I know I said I want all the boys to kiss me. But really, I only meant some of the boys. Or maybe it is the whole falling in love thing. Them, not me. What is up with that? On the dance floor last night, one decided to lick my neck in the middle of a dance. Talk about an uncomfortable embrace. He had his head all craned around trying to nibble and I’m trying not to get neck cramps.

Then the next guy (or should I say first as he declared his undying love before my ass even hit the chair) bought me coffee, then wanted to kiss me on the dance floor. Hey—that whole coffee thing doesn’t mean the same when purchased at a milonga does it…

So I’ve changed my criteria. Only the hotties my age are allowed to kiss me. Like the guy with the hat.

The milonga last night was the best yet. The venue is fairly new, only a little over a year old. And huge. There are three separate areas to dance, tables so far away from the dance floor that you couldn’t use cabaceo from the back tables if you tried. It turned out it didn’t make much difference. Where I sat, the guys streamed back and forth from the dance floor to… I don’t know somewhere. All I had to do was watch them as they came past. I didn’t get there until three hours after the milonga started for reason I’d rather not go explain, but it didn’t really make much difference. One of the fellows told me the he’ll be at Gricel tonight. Might have to check that out.

I wonder if the guy with the hat will be there

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Banking Problems--Again

Once again with the banking issues in B.A. One bank spit my card out telling me I wasn't allowed to bank there, another told me the transaction or card number were invalid. Like last time, I've emailed the bank to ask if there is a way to access my money. Maybe they only need to verify I'm actually where I'm trying to use my card. Aargh, no pesos = no milongas. And limited anything as most places only deal in cash.

Went to Maipu 444 last night. Another horrible milonga with only a few people in attendance. Not fun. Not like El Beso with wall to wall bodies. So I'm going to compile a list of places to dance as well as places to purchase shoes.

I found two new shoe stores yesterday (ooh, bad girl), but mostly only tried on shoes. One (ToDo Tango located near Darcos and Flabella) has wonderful sexy shoes for only 310 pesos. The red pair I found were about the same (hum, name of store slips my mind and I'm in a cafe so can't look at the shoes for the name).

My time here won't be much fun without pesos, so hopefully this gets sorted out soon. Last time I was here, many machines had no money and won't let you complete a transaction, but with the one machine spitting out my card, it makes me wonder. Ah well, things always work out.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Still Here--And Alive

I arrived safely in B.A. (although more than two hours late). My ride gave up on me so I had to hire a remis and try to contact him when I got to the apartment. Try talking to a person that speaks only Spanish when you speak only English! Ha, that was fun. Thank god for the taxi driver who could act as an interpreter for me.

The apartment is small but serviceable. For the price, it is very nice. No stove, but a hot plate and a fridge that sounds like an airplane when the compressor kicks in. I can still sleep through it.

So much to say, and so little time. Here are the highlights:

Jose, the apartment owner, took it on himself to take me to Gricel my first evening. Old time milongeros. I managed to dance fairly often as he knew a woman that introduced me to people after she danced. And okay, some might be lower on the dance order, but still wonderful.

Saturday evening, I decided to go to Ideal in the hopes of connecting with friends from Victoria that I know were there. Except they were at the dinner theatre at 9pm. I saw them from the balcony (along withEduardo), but not at the milonga. Bummer, Nino Bien is apparently the best milonga on a Saturday night. Now I know for next week though.

At Ideal, someone fell in love with me. At least that is what he said. I understood enough Spanish (and his few words of English) to know I'm the love of his life. As he said: "I love you for you." Whatever the hell that means. But he could kiss fairly well. He thinks I'm going back to Ideal next Saturday, but the dancing was so bad that isn't likely.

Went to El Beso last night. The woman sat me at the back so I knew I wouldn't dance much. But I saw Marissa. That hit all my happy buttons (and enough that not getting to dance didn't much matter). One fellow from Friday night was there and was more than willing to dance with me.

Bought three pairs of shoes already and only one were on the promised "I'm only going to buy two pairs of shoes). Oooh, sexy black half pump, half open toe. They are so exactly what I wanted for a black shoe. On an interesting note, Neo Tango is so close in price to Comme il Faut now (only 40 pesos different). Susana Villerolle is also only in the same price range. It makes Comme il Faut an acceptable purchase.

So much to do! I'm taking more pictures this time and hopefully will get to upload some to my computer in the evenings so I can post them as I go along.

Stay tuned!