Journal 2 - December 22

Day 2 in BsAs!

Last night's milonga was not exactly what I expected. Something was missing. Either me, or ?? I got to Nino Bien, and it was a packed milonga. Warm night, tons of people, and you can feel the humidity in the room. We don't have a table so we walk in and look around. Fabian greets everybody, he must know almost everybody except the foreigners. Well, the truth is, the room was filled with probably more than 80% foreigners, including me! Nino Bien is not the most popular among the locals, but there's really nothing else on Thursday nights.

We see, Carlos Copello and some of his pals chatting passionately in Castellano, with their grand hand gestures and strong accent. Carlos Copello is one of the dancers that I somehow have a strong connection(?) with. Connection meaning, that I meet him in many different cities for some reason, and I know him since the beginning of my tango dancing. And here I am seeing him on my first night out again. He seemed very occupied in his conversation, as he always seems to be...! We sat at their table, and I felt quite anxious!

Fabian asks me to dance, and I get on the floor. He's a wonderful dancer! I, on the other hand, for some reason, is very very tense...! ugh I am nervous to be back in BsAs dancing again. The embrace is close embrace, and for some reason feel my center of gravity is off. I'm too close, or too far. Something is very wrong...! Maybe I'm too conscious? Anyways, I felt like a total beginner again. So unsure of my own steps and couldn't relax into feeling the dance with my body. My head is like working 100 miles per hour and wouldn't quiet down, I can't hear the music.... ugh.

I thank him and we sit down. The air, is cleaner.... I realize then. Milongas used to be full of smoke and you would get headaches in a couple of hours. Then suffer from coughs, teary eyes, drying contact lenses, and smelly hair & clothes. They had changed a law, and now smokers must go to designated areas outdoors to smoke. It is wonderful that the air is clean! But, it also seemed like the milonga didn't have that same feel to it. It was kind of strange. It was missing something. The smoky air had some sort of ambience to it, giving that mature night feel, and the historical tango feel, and that smell was connected to my remembrance of BsAs tango. I never liked that smoking, but for the first time, I sort of missed the smoke??

A couple of people come up to greet me. Dancers from Japan that realized it was me, a dancer from Hong Kong, that I had met last time I was here, and then the argentinos that remembered me from 2 years ago. I kept sitting and started to realize that I need to start doing my cabeceos...! I had gotten so used to LA, sitting and getting asked to dance or going up to someone and getting a dance. I look around trying to figure out how to start. Make eye contact, nod your head, smile and stand up and walk to the floor. All of a sudden I felt shy and I would look around the room too fast. hahaha I would sort of meet eyes with people but then swoosh my glance right past. Wow, it felt quite scary. I will need to get used to this again.

I saw my friend Bryce walk in with her partner. Later on, I go to her table and we chat. So much to talk about, but it's always difficult holding a conversation in a milonga. Too much distraction. I finally get some cabeceos, maybe the fact that I was sitting with Carlos Copello didn't help me from getting dances? ;) Gradually I relax into the dances. I dance with the organizer of the shows at Cafe Tortoni, and some other milongueros here. After probably 3am or later, some of the professional dancers come into the milonga, probably finishing their shows. There's Daniel Escobar, one of the younger dancer friends. 2 years ago, he had just started dancing in shows, and it seems he is right in the middle of it now. He's dancing at a show called 'La Ventana' at the Michelangello Cafe. He has longer strides than the other milongueros and feel quite refreshing to dance with. Some steps were lead in quite interesting angles that I haven't felt. Interesting...

We close off the night at Nino Bien, and it's 5am. Well, it's only 12am in LA time, so I'm still energetic. I was glad to crawl into bed though...!

By morning, I had such a great sleep, I felt so refreshed. I got up, to head to Neo Tango shoes to meet up with Bryce. Today, I am on a mission to buy tango shoes! I guess, I got up a bit too late though, so instead of taking the subte, I decide to take a taxi. My knee is slightly hurting also, so I give myself a reason to use 10 pesos on a taxi rather than 70 centavos for a subte. I arrive at Neo Tango and a colorful shelf lined with shoes presents itself. It is like sitting at a table with gourmet dishes lined up. hmmmm Irresistable! I was on a mission to buy tango shoes. So therefore, I just pick out like 10 shoes that I liked. I try them on 1 by 1. Wonderful, all of them! I wish I could get them all! I settle down to 3 pairs. A dark blue satin with some beautiful design stitched(?) into it, a shimmery redish shoe that had a pretty ribbon like style to it, a light purple shimmer shoe with beautiful design. It's hard to explain, but they're just a piece of art! Neo Tango definitely sent out a happy customer.

Next shoe mission stop was Comme Il Faut. As they say, the Chanel of tango shoes. It's really a boutique. You walk in, and the attendants bring out shoes for you. They don't have all the shoes lined up. They look at you, they ask you what you want, and they bring the shoes out for you. So, good or bad, you get only a limited selection of shoes to try on. Good side is that not everybody will have the same shoe as you, the number of shoes for each design is limited. Bad side is, maybe you would have liked something else more, but you would never know. The best way to do it is, to always keep an eye out on what other people are trying on. Once again, I end up with 3 pairs of shoes. I thought I'd choose only 2, but it ended up being 3. I can't choose, they're all too pretty, like jewels for the feet! I got really nice fusia colored ones, very pretty, and bright blue with silver, and then an interesting striped color one. Again it's hard to explain so you'd have to see them!

Bryce, her partner and I head out for our late lunch. It's past 4 already. We've shoe shopped for about 3 hours! Time flies when women shop, eh? ;) I recommend us to go to Cumana, located on Santa Fez y Rodriguez Pena. It's Argentine food (pizzas, empanadas, ensaladas, cazuelas, etc) and it's yummy and very reasonable. Normally, there's a looooong queue outside the door. When we were just about there, getting the car into parking, the car stops. The engine doesn't turn on anymore. His car needed some gas, but not the normal gasoline gas. I couldn't quite understand what kind of gas? but some specific gas that you can't get at normal gas stations. So the car shut down. We get out of the car and push it into it's parking. I never thought I would be pushing a car in BsAs. The 3 of us pushed the car, it was lighter than I thought, my first experience pushing a car...! We leave the car behind, and head to the restaurant. Cumana was not serving at that time anymore so they recommend their sister restaurant right next door. This one is slightly more upscale, they serve parillas (grills). I head to the restrooms so that I can wash my hands. The sink does not have water... the mens room too... I ask for water and they give me water, the carbonated type! So, I wash my hands with the carbonated water. haha We order some grilled plates, I got myself a bife de chorizo, and a salad. It was so yummy! Argentina definitely has really good meat. And I love their salads, where you can choose the ingredients and you season it yourself with oil, vinegar, lemon, salt.

We had a good decent meal and head back to the car. It's really hot here, 6pm. They tell me that I should head back because they'll need to figure out what to do with the car. I hope they were able to get the car to a station. I head off trying to find the callao station on linea B, so I could get home. I guess, I headed the totally wrong direction, and realized too late. Walking in the heat, and the uneven pavement with a big bag of shoes. Not in best condition to turn back, I just head to the next station. I buy a 70 centavos ticket to the subte and ride. The trains here use recycled trains from Japan. Did you know that? Sometimes you find scribblings on the train and they're in Japanese. It feels quite like home when I ride the trains here. ;) I arrive at my station Malabia and drag myself back to the apartment. Wow, I'm exhausted, all the walking that I'm not used to doing, and the heat, and I guess food coma. I fall into bed and get a good nap.

Now, it's almost time to head out for tonight. I plan to go to the practica at Villa Malcolm called Tango Cool. All the young dancers, professionals come out to practice the nuevo style tango. Then we head to Caning around the corner, then La Viruta to finish off the night. Let's see what happens tonight!!