Saturday, March 6, 2010
Buenos Aires 2008 - Part 12
Sent: March 9, 2008 4:13:25 PM
To: V (-------------------@--------------.com)
Hope you have had a nice time dancing last Friday and that you are enjoying your weekend.
I haven´t had much time to write in the past few days - during the day the computers were always occupied, and by the time we came back to the hotel at night - usually at 5 a.m. - I´d be too damn tired to write!
I´ve also spent a lot of time investigating the various public washrooms in Bs As - I got some food poisoning on Friday afternoon and I´m only starting to get back to normal today. So a lot of my time has been spent running for the bathroom. If you are really interested, I can tell you the results of my research - be careful of the stall doors at the Escuela de Tango Argentino, they don´t have locks so you have to jam the door closed, and then it is a real pain to get them open again - unless you really want to start screaming for assistance. The toilets at Glorias Argentinas have no toilet paper, and some of the seats aren´t attached to the toilet, so don´t try to do the jive while you are sitting down ;-) However, wherever I went, all the toilets flush really well – is it the proximity of the city to Iguazu Falls?
We had breakfast on Friday morning, then went back to bed and got up at again around noon because I couldn´t sleep anymore. We went out to a cake store called "Quebec" just steps from the hotel to get a black forest cake. Why? Because we wanted to give a nice cake and a thank you card to the people at Comme Il Faut.
With the cake, card, Man Yung being charming and of course, his superior fashion sense, the girls at Comme Il Faut are our "new best friends". In case you are going there soon without us :) , the slim lady with the long blond hair and the cool hip look is the owner, A. ; the lady with the red curly shoulder length hair is the bookkeeper (and she is also a lawyer, and she lives far out of town and it takes her one hour commute to get in, she doesn´t have much time to dance tango because she lives so far and she is too busy bookkeeping, doing yoga and tai chi - see I have done my homework) and she is called M., and she is in charge when the owner isn´t there. The younger lady with the nosestud and the long blond straight hair is called S. and she lost her expensive french perfume last year, but found it again. We had some very interesting conversations with M.and S. In fact, Man Yung taught M. some Chi Gong while we were there on Friday! Despite all the time we spent buying shoes, chatting and Chi Gong demonstrations, we were in and out of the store in 20 minutes. I know _________ [a self-proclaimed “tango guru” in Toronto] told you some exaggerated bullshit about the prices being three times more this year but Comme Il Faut shoes are the same price, depending on the style they are 290, 300 or 310 pesos per pair.
We always get the best service and we get to look at every single pair in the size and heel height that I requested. And we are really fast and decisive, so the girls are always delighted. I see the other poor customers agonizing over their choices (always poor choices by the way - too conservative usually, in either black or nude colours) and they are always so bewildered why we are getting the best service. Well, I bought another THREE pairs of shoes - a very plain black and red suede pair with three inch heel for practice, a pink and gold sandal pair, and a black and red satin pair with a ribbon design in the front - I seem to be making up for the lack of red shoes I bought last year!
By the way we saw A. at Nino Bien, and if you are curious about what shoes she was wearing, she was wearing a plain black four inch heel pair of CIFs with an elegant black floor length sheath dress.
After shopping at Comme Il Faut we decided to go and gawk at the Peter Kent store just steps away on the corner. The displays in the window are so enticing for a ex-handbag addict like me! I was tempted last year to buy one, but they were pretty expensive - 200 to 400 DOLLARS per bag. If you saw those lovely handbags you would weep – buttery smooth leather, with distinctive designs and in bright colours like mandarin orange, acid lime green, metallic dark blue, lipstick red, corvette yellow etc. etc. However, when I do the math and think “one handbag equals three to four pairs of CIFs” – well, I restrain myself just long enough to walk past the store without letting go of my credit card!
We put our stuff back at the hotel then headed out to Alberto´s place near the Abasto shopping mall for our class at 3:30. We were early so we walked around in Abasto shopping mall, and then went to eat at the food court. Man Yung wanted to eat Parrilla, so we had one to share (37 pesos, and one beer for 5 pesos). I think I may have had some grilled intestines or pancreas that didn´t agree with me, or perhaps I was drinking from a bottle of water that I had been carrying since the morning - either were the culprits for my food poisoning.
I was fine during Alberto´s class though. Alberto taught Man Yung figures, and used the dynamics of the figures to pinpoint the problems with the walk, musicality, embrace and leading. Alberto helped Man Yung out a lot on Friday. In particular Alberto found out that Man Yung wasn´t turning his body to complement the woman´s body when he leads - that´s why when he is leading change of direction, some times Man Yung´s body angle of the turn stops short and I have to make extra effort to do the turn. As I said to Alberto (jokingly), "in Man Yung´s style, the woman has to work harder!"
As for me, I have been keeping Alberto’s advice on following in mind since our previous trip - he told me on the Friday that we arrived that for me, "there was nothing to correct". It is always easier for the follower than the leader.
By the time we got back to the hotel, ate something, slept a little bit, it was time to go to the festival milonga at La Baldosa. I started feeling the effects of food poisoning after my nap - combination of heartburn, gas and “montezuma’s revenge” - fun stuff! We thought we were getting to La Baldosa a little late, 10:30 rather than 10 - in fact, most of the people weren´t there and they hadn´t even started playing proper music yet.
So we were seated with all the festival people and our european friends, Martha and Manolo arrived after us, and we were at the same section of table as they were but further back from the floor. We saw a couple that we saw at Nino Bien - the man wants to dance like Zotto but he is really really stiff and they were always in the way with their big steps, big turns and inability to navigate. Turns out that they are argentinians who live abroad and they host M&M so they are their "friends"! Thank god Man Yung didn’t start a fight with them at Nino Bien.
We struck up a conversation with a norteamericana who was at the festival alone. I know, she was nice and all but I have to say she is really negative. She has been in Bs As numerous times but she is always complaining about the prices and bad service and how the Argentinians are out to cheat her. Somehow she is always getting the worst service (“What’s wrong with THEM? THEY ruined my order of custom shoes, I’M getting ripped off at this festival milonga, WHY isn’t the waitress looking this way?”), the worst time, and taxi drivers are out to cheat her of a couple of pesos by taking the scenic route. Why even come to Bs As when you hate the people and hate the place?
I think I pissed her off because I just tell her we always get the best experiences - getting a free pair of shoes at our favourite tango shoe store after a shoe mix-up (and we didn’t even demand or argue or haggle, we were polite, pointed out the problem and asked only for a repair – instead, the store decided to just give us a free pair), for example - that really raised her eyebrows. She was so mired in negativity she probably didn't believe me.
R&E, M&M´s friends whom we met last year, also came, because I had emailed them and they wanted to see M&M and also see whether they could see us. They are so nice, R asked me to dance three times, and E danced with Man Yung. E said Man Yung danced with a lot of feeling and with a very clear lead. I´m glad that the argentinians are enjoying dancing with Man Yung this year - he has improved a lot, and he has improved even more during this trip!
I was really watching the clock, waiting for the performance to be over (M&M and Roxina and Adrian performed at 1:30, one hour later than expected, and then all the festival students performed together. Can´t see much of the performance by the way, there were rows and rows of people blocking the way) and then the live band, a Tubatango-esque outfit, started playing. Man Yung danced with our european friends to the live music, and then we hot footed out of there. Why? Because we want to get to Sin Rumbo in Villa Urquiza!
(to be continued)
Martha's Apartment in Buenos Aires
A Non-exhaustive set of Tango links in Toronto
- La Cachila - weekly milonga
- Paradiso -- weekly milonga
- Practica El Beso
- WE Tango
- Tango Sur - classes, shows
- Rhythm and Motion - classes, milonga, practica, annual Toronto Tango Festival
- Tango Obsession - classes, weekly Practica La Coqueta
- Tango Lirico - classes, practica, weekly milonga
- Tango de Oro - classes, shows
- Tango Soul Productions - classes, weekly milonga, shows, El Congreso annual Tango Festival
- Vivatango - classes
- Tango Argentino - classes
- Club Milonga - classes, special events
- Alternatango - classes, weekly milonga
- University of Toronto Tango Club - classes, practica
- El Abrazo - classes
- Tangoloft - twice monthly milonga