Journal 1 - December 16

buenos aires journalHere I am in Buenos Aires! It's already two days since I got to this city. Quite different from what I imagined, but very interesting... anyways, I thought I'd keep a little journal of what's going on, so please read on if you're interested..!

When the plane made the landing at Buenos Aires Airport, the sky was cloudy and it seemed quite cold outside, contrary to what I expected from the southern hemisphere. I walked off the plane, into the orange, brown, grayish color terminal, a dusty smell reaching my nose. The impression was much more retrospective than what I had in mind. It almost looked like those photos from an elementary school social studies textbook which introduces the city but not quite today...

I got my two heavy luggages stuffed with all the clothes for the month. Gabriel and his mom welcoming me to my starting adventure here in Buenos Aires. The taxi drove away from the airport in the surrounding greenery, passing the small cars, motorcycles, stray dogs, and unexpected pedestrians. As we got more into the city, an interesting sensation of familiarity spread inside me. The city reminded me alot of some local areas in Tokyo or Osaka in Japan. You could also say, Europe, or Queens NY... maybe, but to me, more like Japan...! Stores all lined up on the streets mixed with high buildings and short, electric lines running overhead, signs all over the building walls, motorcycles and pedestrians. This was something very surprising...!

We got to Gabriel's mom's apartment in Belgrano. The security man greeting us, there is a security man in almost every residential apartment here. We got into the elevator, opening a door which looks like you're going to go into a closet or a storage room or something. The house was nicely decorated with art pieces, and a terrace full of green and fruit plants, giving a very warm cozy feeling. She served us right away with some home made empanadas, they are the best!

We then hired a pick up truck to pick up the furniture and luggage to get to the apartment we were staying at. My god, what crazy traffic! The cars have the right of way, it seems, how they speed and just barge into pedestrians ready to cross the streets...! The biggest surprise being, the traffic lights changing, GREEN, YELLOW, RED, then "YELLOW", GREEN....? I hear, they get ready on the Yellow, so they can start right away on the Green!

buenos aires journalThe apartment is several blocks down, I'm not sure exactly what this area is called... A nice apartment, with nothing but a table, chairs, shelves, and a 15years unused refrigerator... Gabriel used to live here. We cleaned up, made the place all spick and span, then left to the supermarket around the corner. It was strange, everything was in Spanish, naturally, and the people were Argentinians there, naturally. We got some Dulce de Leche, Quezo Blanco, and the other necessities. For all we bought, it only came up to $30 US Dollars...!

The moment we stepped out, we realized it was raining, and it was very cold. Being almost 9:00pm, it was already dark, too. We scurried along back to the apartment, dropped the things and threw on a jacket to leave for dinner. We found a restaurant 10 minutes away, nice soft lighting, high ceilings and great service. Since it was Monday, there were hardly any other customers..., okay, we were the only ones. So, they served us house compliment empanadas to start off with, then we ordered two dishes of fish. Salmon with Vegetables and Fish Steak with Roquefort Sauce... mmmmm yummy! I guess it was service again, there were two fishes on each dish, which made us really really full! But of course, you know, I can't forget my main dish... a flan with Dulce de Leche! Thinking I would be doing a diet and working out in Buenos Aires, might have been a mistake.

Full and happy, we got back to get ready for the first milonga night! This was at Cannin. How different the milonga is. It just struck me as a shock. I knew it would be different, but not as much as this! High ceilings, walls covered with colorful artworks, a good size floor covered with moving people (in Japanese you would say, squished "like you were washing potatoes" in a container), around the floor were tables and chairs also packed, and then the cigarette smoky air. We walked around trying to find a chair to put our stuff down, in vain. Crushed between people, we finally got back to the entrance. We saw; Gavito sitting at a table right near the floor, with his buddies talking and commenting about the dancers, and as usual young girls coming up to him to say hi ; Julio standing by the bar greeting Gabriel and I; someone we knew from the US... Lots and lots of people, young and old. Finally we got to the floor, started to dance, hardly moving. Honestly I could not get myself into it, being distracted by the people right next to you or bumping into you. My first impression was not the best, hopefully I will find the truth of the beauty of dancing in Argentina, soon... I guess, it was a special night, too. At the cortinas, they would start the show, or the orchestra, which was Narco Tango. One of the couples were amazing, the other not really... The amazing couple was young and you can see that they were both trained in other dances. The girl was light and quick, flying around her partner on the ground and in the air. Boy, I wish I can dance like that...

We got home satisfied and tired around 4:30am.

Next morning (lunch), we woke up around noon, which is not bad considering the fact that LA is 4 hours behind. We got ready to take our first private lesson with Jorge Dispari. We headed for Gabriel's mom's house. We had a decent breakfast of bread with homemade dulce (jam) and quezo. Now, I just have to say, his mom makes the best fruit jam ever...!

As we were warming up on the top floor of the apartment, Jorge came with his partner "La Turca" Maria. They gave us a quite difficult sequence to work on, with boleos, sacadas, and then enrosques & lapis for the guy. They were very technical and was what you would call a quality lesson. They advised us to work on the patterns, then when we really got them down, to take the next private class. We stayed after the lesson to practice more, looking and feeling a little better.

We are now at the internet cafe right nearby, there are quite alot of these places here. It's smoky in here as well!