Friday, October 10, 2008

Falling, Falling, Falling...


I've been too busy to read tango blogs lately, but I wonder if anyone has made a comment recently about the impact of the financial crisis on the tango scene? It is a timely and relevant topic, I doubt that anyone can think pure tango thoughts anymore without a goodly dose of worry about falling stock, falling property prices, falling pension values, imploding financial systems....

I just read in the paper that the Canadian dollar's value has fallen to 83.41 cents US. That's 26 cents less than the all-time peak of 110.3 cents US in November, 2007, less than a year ago. And there's no indication that the downward slide will halt anytime soon.

The Canadian Dollar today will definitely buy less Comme Il Fauts than a year ago!

I am aware of two schools of thought regarding foreign currency vs. prices in Buenos Aires (I'm sure there are more, but I won't get into that now). In these current dire worldwide economic conditions, the proponents of the 1st school will definitely bitch about the rising prices, how everything costs more, why isn't Buenos Aires cheaper, how misled they were now that Buenos Aires is so expensive etc.

I recently read somewhere on the internet a description of disgruntled tourists, loitering in the cafes, mortified at the prices and regretting their trip - "But we had already booked it months ago, we couldn't cancel so we had to come anyway".

The 2nd school of thought (which Man Yung and I belong to), would be concerned about the prices in Buenos Aires and the buying power of the dollar too. After all, we are planning to return next year, and the last time we checked, we hadn't won the lottery.

But more importantly, we are more worried about how our friends in Buenos Aires are doing, whether they can get enough income from their teaching, whether they can meet their day-to-day expenses - in all whether the economic crisis is adversely affecting their lives. Buenos Aires is their home - whatever the economic outlook might be, they must live with it, and it is not a question of booking a one-way plane ticket out of there.

Yes, lodging and transportation and everything is going to be more expensive the next time we go, however, we are fortunate in that going to Buenos Aires for us will never be about how much stuff we can buy, how many milongas/classes/festivals we can attend, or how many fancy meals we can afford.

A nuestros queridos gran amigos porteños: We love you and we are thinking about you every day. We pray for your good health and happiness, hope that everything is ok, and we look forward the joy we will feel when we embrace each other again in Buenos Aires. Hasta entonces,

Irene y Man Yung

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Alberto Dassieu

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