Journal 3 - December 23

The roads are wet with the remains of the rain a couple of hours ago, and it's loud and noisy with the young kids practicing their fire crackers for Xmas??

Day 3 of BsAs!

Last night, I went to the practica TangoCool at Villa Malcolm right nearby the milongas Caning and La Viruta. "Tangocool", great name? ;) I guess it is one of the really popular practicas here for the young dancers. Gabriel, is the organizer. If I remember correctly, he was or is? an accountant, and I know currently DJs and hosts this practica. I get there around 11:15 after the classes were done, and find a seat. I didn't know whether to wear my heels or dance sneakers, but all the girls seemed to be dancing in heels. I wasn't too sure if I'll catch any dances, because sometimes people in the practicas really practice with their own. After a few seconds, I spot Dom! Dom is from San Francisco and is now there to study Bandoneon.

He sees me and comes up after finishing his dances. Great to see a familiar face! I start dancing with him in my new Neo Tango shoes. Which I then realize is not too comfortable. The heel part is loose, the strap that supports the heel was not that secure, and made the whole shoe rotate under my feet. Thus, the heel part of the sole of the shoe started to hit my opposite insteps on both feet. By dance 3, I felt a bruise growing on my insteps. Ouch..... but unfortunately, I didn't bring any alternative pairs. Other than that, Dom was smooth, light lead, and totally nuevo style. It was awesome. His musical career played out in the dance as well, he leads some moves in rhythms that are right on, and somethings that you wouldn't expect. He tells me that he only goes out dancing maybe once a week or so because he normally has to practice his Bandoneon early every morning, but considering that, his dance was so far the one I had enjoyed most. He is in an orquesta tipica called La Furca and performs with them as their regular Bandoneon player. It's pretty amazing that he, as a non-Argentine, is in one of the groups here playing Bandoneon. He told me that he thinks he's the only non-Argentine that's playing in the tango groups here so far. Cheers for Dom, I hope he'll come back to the US and start up a great tango orchestra!... or will he not return?

While I danced with Dom, I spotted a figure distinct! Pablo Rojas!! It's now 1 year and a bit since he left LA. He looked quite the same, and seemed very himself in the Castellano atmosphere. He currently hosts a TV program in the mornings from 9-11 Channel2 or something. He demonstrates and sells "American" products made in China. hahaha It's funny, I think it suits him well! He's also doing lots of tango comedy with his experience in clowning/miming/acting, and then rents out apartment space for visiting tangueros. After some conversation, we dance. It's Pablo! It's interesting how you reconnect again, once you know someone's dance. His embrace seemed more gentle and softer then what I remember in LA, but the same clear and firm lead. We danced about 1 tanda and he needed to get ready for his performance, yes, he was performing his tango comedy that night! What a happy coincidence to be able to see him perform!

I danced with a couple of more different people. Someone from Germany, a guy called Mike from NY who actually is staying at the same tango house, and then Damian, an Argentino that I know from my first trip to BsAs! Damian took some important roles in my social dancing experience in BsAs. He was the one who I danced my first milonga tanda with, when I couldn't actually dance it. He was also the one who saved me from when I was having the worst tango night ever on my second trip. That night was horrible and it still ranks top as worst. Every single guy that would ask me to dance that night, could not even walk straight, would keep doing high school dance, and could not even hear the music that they would not stop dancing even if the music stopped. I probably had like 6/7 people that I danced with, thinking that maybe the next person would be somewhat better. By the time he came into the milonga that night, I was about to cry...! He noticed that something was wrong and saved me into a comfortable good dance. So, there he was again and I greeted him with joy. Actually, he isn't going out dancing much lately, was what he told me, so I was pretty fortunate that I saw him. We danced some good ole, milonguero type dances.

Pablo's show started up at some point during the night. It was on the stage there. His partner was also tango comedy and actress it seems. There were alot of narration that seemed to be humurous because people were laughing, but I couldn't catch any of the slang talk. They did 3 numbers, pretty good! It was something different from the famous tango comedy couple (I forget their names) and the crowd seemed to like it. Big applause!! I was very content to have been able to see Pablo perform! :)

At 3am, the practica closes, and we all flow into Caning or La Viruta. I walk over to La Viruta. There's tons of people hanging out outside of the Armenian Association where it's held. At 3:30am the entrance fee becomes free. I meet the guy from Hong Kong, chat for awhile and we walk in together. It took me by surprise that La Viruta was not that crowded!! Usually, La Viruta is packed with people that it's even hard to walk around the room to find a seat or table or any space to put your things down. There were actually plenty of open tables. hmmmm Something told me that maybe it's not going to be the best La Viruta night there. I danced with the guy from Hong Kong (sorry I don't remember his name!) and then some other people I never danced with before. They all danced close embrace which they all did very well but for some reason didn't excite me too much, but it was good because the floor was very very slippery. The practica was definitely alot more fun with nuevo style dancers. Do I like nuevo better now??

I see a few familiar faces. Billy, who does the website Fernando who used to be a dancer in Esquina Carlos Gardel and I think currently performs with Tanguera. Carlos Copello again, and my favorite old milonguero "El Nene" that I danced with alot in my previous stay. I greeted them and chatted with them but didn't get to dance with any. I didn't see anyone else that I knew. Where were they all?? Maybe Caning??

I got myself some desayuno(morning) set, with Media Lunas(croissants) con Cafe con Leche. This is the typical Argentine breakfast. I was starving, I didn't have dinner...! I took a few sips of the delicious coffee (I think Argentina has good coffee) but kept from drinking it all because I would need to get my sleep at 7am. The media lunas were great! By the time I finished eating them, it was 15 min before 6am, and I danced the last songs with Damian. The second to last song, the lights go off and we dance in darkness with blue lights. The last song is the cumparsita where the lights turn totally off and then as soon as the song starts, all the lights go on. Quite dramatic. I sort of think it's fun. Then afterwards, they play some swing songs that some people dance to.

I had a good night dancing, not the best, but it was good. I really enjoyed the practica...! I fall into bed at 7am.

I woke myself up today at 12:30, so I could head over to Recoleta. Also, I needed to see if I could go buy shoes for my boyfriend and also do something about the loose shoe that totally bruised up my feet into purple. I call the shoe places and they're all closed tomorrow and Monday for Xmas. I decide to go to Susanna to get my the shoes. It's his first pair, so Susanna usually has good traditional shoes. Let's not go too crazy in the beginning. I get off at Abasto station on the subte, and walk over to the store. I don't look at the ladies section, no mas for me! :) Men's shoes... I've never really studied their shoes so much, so I'm not exactly sure what's good, but oh well. I've chosen black suede with some decorative holes(?) on them. Hopefully the size fits well, since I just took a outline of his feet and that's what we based the shoe size upon. I ask the attendant how I get to Recoleta by collectivo (the bus).

Linea 93. I find it and wait in the burning heat. It's hot... I stand in the shade. I was anxious if it will take me to the correct place. Without a guia(guide), I have no clue what the bus route is. It goes down Billinghurst and then turns on to General Las Herras. Yes, this is the area that I stayed during my last stay for 4 months. So familiar. I felt back at home. The trees, the chinese restaurant that I went to with my mom and sister when they visited, the cafe on the corner, the bus stops... I remember I'd run to catch a bus sometimes to get to the Japanese restaurant that I worked at for a short period, or to catch the early class which I had difficulties waking up for. I like this neighborhood. The bus comes up to Recoleta area as said.

I hop off, go into Buenos Aires Design Building which has alot of upscale shops and restaurants. This is where the rich people come it seems. Everything is quite costly. I get a jamon y queso media luna sandwich with orange juice and it costs me 12 pesos... wow. Then I head into the feria. There's tons and tons and tons of artesanal stands. Jewelry, belts, bags, clothes, decoration, etc. etc. etc. The feria was slightly quiet compared to how it was before. I found out that they cut down the stands and so there's now less stands, and the ones that had to leave, created their own feria right across the street. There's still so many of them, so I walk for 3 hours, purchase different little things. Really nice.... This is a must go, at least once during the stay. Saturdays or Sundays.

Tired from walking and carrying the tango shoe, and other purchase stuff, I take the collectivo all the way home. Fortunately, the collectivo I took, which I thought was the one I had taken before (?) took me to where I live instead of Abasto area.... I get off the bus, and it's raining. I need to walk a couple of blocks, and I'm getting wet in the rain. Who cares...! I just be careful of slipping and falling. I arrive back to the apartment and drop my heavy load, get into dry clothes and nap time...

Tonight I'll be going to Sunderland milonga, out of the central BsAs. Then to La Viruta...! Gotta get ready!