Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day 2 - Florida and Tango Brujo

Woke up at a reasonable hour (perhaps due to the circular saw being employed in the renovations downstairs) and took a few minutes to figure out my antiquated keys. The apartment across the street is completely overgrown by vines and there are always pigeons roosting the flowering tree outside.

Had breakfast at Malasartes ( at Plaza Serrano. I had the "Americano" and was treated to a ginormous (wow! that word is in spell check!) breakfast of two thick slices of multigrain with melted gruyere, three scrambled eggs, something like a quarter pound of bacon, fresh orange juice, tea and the usual tiny glass of aqua con gas. So in the span of 24 hours, I have eaten half a dozen eggs. Sorry stomach, I apologize profusely, I will treat you better in two weeks.

I managed not to throw up after stuffing down my breakfast and wandered around Palermo for a bit. There are cute shops and cute clothes everywhere. The vendors were starting to set up their stalls for the market on Saturday in Plaza Serrano and the sun was ever so warm and nice.

Walked down to the subte and made my way over to Tango Brujo, stopping along the way to marvel at these oversized macaroons stuffed with dulce de leche. The Tango Brujo staff is uber nice. I chatted with the sales senorita about the US:

Senorita (with concern in her face): So, how is the situation in the US?
Susan: Well, it kind of seems like the US is collapsing. It's a little scary.
Senorita: Haha. Don't worry. It's like that here all the time. It's just a new experience. Just enjoy it.
Susan: Yes, you're right. I'll try to enjoy the experience of economic collapse in the US.
Together: Hahaha!

I finally got a pair of those sexy harem pants with slits on the side and enjoyed a class with Martín Gutiérrez ( where we learned a nifty barrida, volcada, gancho, lean sequence. You can get a glimpse of the gancho and lean from 3:49 to 3:55 on this video:

except, instead of ending in a sentada, we kind of just leaned and then walked out. There were way more followers than leaders and after a great inner debate, I tried my hand at leading. It was great fun! I met Caroline, a great follower from Belgium, who was so kind and encouraging about my leading and who helped me figure out how to make the sequence work.

After class, I walked along Florida and experienced the craziness and the shoppiness. I showed great restraint by buying only one cute shirt along the whole pedestrian mall. Let me go on a little tangent here about cafes here. I stopped at Cafe Habana on Florida and ordered te con limon and an alfajores and got this:

Let's see what we have here. So, first of all, everything is served in nice ceramic mugs and carafes. None of the paper cup crap here. The limon is peeled (weird since the zest is the good part, maybe because they're concerned with hygiene?). There is a tiny glass of aqua con gas (trying to figure out what for). And at the bottom there is my alfajore, two slices of cake sandwiching thick dulce de leche and nuts, then dipped in white chocolate. Immediately after I ate this confection, my heart rate and blood pressure seem to double and my whole body was shaking from the sugar. Thank goodness I'm not a speed freak or else that rush could be addictive!

Okay, let's get back to the main program:

I stopped to take in the (ever so macho) obelisk before tunneling into the subte and back to Palermo.

At night I went to Practica TangoCool and Milonga Parakultural.

TangoCool was just as the name described: very cool. Populated by young hip folk (some with mullet mohawks!) doing all sorts kerazy moves. Also located in Villa Malcolm. I got no dances with the Argentines but I'm thinking that this will be the case until I meet some more people through classes. Ladies with experience, feel free to chime in with advice. Since this is a practica, there are no cortinas even thought the music is structured in tandas. The atmosphere here is welcoming, lights are low, big stone dance floor and there are plenty of tables to sit at. I even saw people actually stop and work on their technique/steps/moves/whatever - just like one should at a practica .

Parakultural was described in my Rough Guide as "young, bohemian". Well, the Friday night at Salon Canning was pretty traditional if you ask me. The room is large, ornate, shiny but most of the space is given to tables. The dance floor is in the middle, pretty small and completely packed. Sridhar would be in heaven. Or not. I don't presume to know. All the tables were full when I got there so I stood awkwardly for a while while a live orqestra played and then was able to nab a seat from a couple that left. People were much more dressed up here. Men in shiny suits, women in their shimmery shimmies. The music was good and there was a nice performance. I was getting tired and thought that I'd turn in early.

I got back to the apartment and checked the clock: 3AM already. Yes, it's time for bed.

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