Journal 9 - December 30


buenos aires journalI'm starting to fall in love with this city,....

After our long night at La Viruta, December 27 Saturday was our day for the 5 hour class with Jorge! Workout!!

We headed out of the house, and we planned to stop by the shoe store "Comme il faut" Ever since, I've been here and asking around about good tango shoes, most all girls recommend this store, as a top brand like Chanel or Gucci. So I definetely had to see! It's located on Arenales, which crosses with 9 de Julio in downtown. It was a small room in a building compartment. We rang the bell and entered. Despite the small room, it was buzzing with people trying on shoes, and the store attendants bringing out shoe after shoe. This place has the most original shoes! In all different colors, high pin point heels, very elegant and comfortable! I loved it! Every shoe in their catalogue was something I didn't mind having! They have a reputation for having limited numbers of shoes for each design. So, you don't see other people wearing the same one you have. Since, I love being original, it was just great! I already had black shoes for practice and regular wear, so I was looking for something fun. They brought out animal prints, or pink & black funky shoes, jeans material, and so many others. I finalized my decision to two pairs, hehe, couldn't make it any less. One pair, with 2 tones of bronze-gold, and pink-gold, all glamourous looking, but not too much. The other pair, 3 tones of red, purple, blue with big polka-dots here and there, red heels, and just fun but fancy and could be casual. I was the happiest person on earth, walking to Jorge's class. They definetely made another happy customer!

We got to the class almost an hour late, I enjoyed myself too much at the store, but Jorge & La Turca took a look at the shoes and understood the reason. Jorge complimented "Hermosa" and La Turca took the shoe and exhibited it to all the girls in the class! Of course, I put on my regular shoes for the class, this was for later! We did another sequence with sacadas and boleos. We danced and practiced, feeling pretty tired with our tough schedule these couple of days. Gabriel brought the Yerba mate cup and hot water. He brewed some, and it called some peoples' attention. Mate seems to strengthen you up. We continued with milonga practice and more tango. We knew, we needed to save some energy for the night, so we took short breaks, and myself massaging my aching feet. Sometimes chatting with Jorge or others. Jorge was saying some interesting things which Gabriel later on translated. That, tango was like playing chess and mathematics, which is exactly what I think, you know the geometrical thing that Gabriel & I always talk about. It added on to my thinking of this concept. The long class was finished at 8.

buenos aires journalWe stopped by the Cafe Havana to buy some of those yummy chocolate and dulce de leche delicacies. I couldn't resist, and I ate a cone made with chocolate filled with dulce de leche on the subte ride home. The thin covering of chocolate just melts on your palette, and the rich dulce de leche inside, sweet and so delicious! This is the best combination! Okay, let me stop right here, so I don't torture anyone, and I can definetely continue explaining how yummy this was!

We got ready for La Viruta for the night. We were going to be there early at 12. We reserved a table for 6, including Gabriel's father. This was a night with the spectacle, of seeing Osvaldo Zotto and Lorena perform. Osvaldo is supposedly one of the highly appreciated maestros, he is still not that old but he has made an era in tango, dancing with Milena Plebs (she was once recognized by the country as the signature cultural person, female tango dancer). The place was packed with the students from the class, and others. We had a table reserved, but it was all the way at the far end, near the entrance. I guess, we were too late in reserving a table for a big night like this. We tried to dance a couple of tandas, battling on the floor. There were many dancers that did not really know how to dance, just bumping into you and stepping on you. You really need to know how to navigate here in BA. We met Nancy there, and we sat at the table chatting and just waiting for the performance to start and the not really fanatic tango dancers to leave. I guess it was around 2:30 when the show started. I was really looking forward to the performance. To my disappointment, it was not as strong as I thought it would be. Lorena's dress was a long white one with pretty strips on it, it looked very fancy... but as soon as they started dancing, the strips started to fall apart, and Osvaldo trying to kick it off the floor, so that they don't slip on it. They got some applause for the way Osvaldo was doing that, but that was too much distraction for the tango itself. Lorena did not impress me much, she was too stiff and you don't get the feeling of emotion or connection with Osvaldo, like an icecube. Of course, both had great technique, but something was missing. Afterwards, Nancy and I were having a conversation, it is very scary, that in tango, people can tell right away, if the couple is in good relation or not, you can never ever fake in tango. For awhile, I was not into dancing that night, having a seat faraway I couldn't seem to get any dances. Then, I see Carlos Copello walking in through the entrance. I run up to say hi, and he doesn't comprehend who it is for a second. After like 20 seconds he finally realizes that I am the girl from Los Angeles. He pulls me to the floor and danced. It was a great dance, you can feel the right embrace and the music, and tango. It was something that I never realized when I danced with him in LA, probably since I've grown to understand the tango more. It was a beautiful feeling and the dance was great, I think I've acquired something from dancing with him that night. Again it was almost 7 by the time we left La Viruta...

Next day, we got up to do some sight seeing. We took the train and collectivo to the San Telmo area. This used to be one of the main areas of Tango. It is an old part of the city, but very pretty, with many antique shops. Alot of people had little stands on the streets selling antiques, or artwork, or accessory. People were performing music, dancing something that is supposedly tango..., and others. It was a cute lively place. After looking around for some hours, we went to a cafe and had a late lunch. This cafe is located right on a corner, very small, but very chic. Tables and chairs made of wood giving a country feel, and then contemporary decoration giving it an urban feel. It was the right balance, and we felt relaxed. We had some good sandwiches and drinks, that's when I really felt that I like the city alot. Here they have culture, and good sense of fashion or design, latin passion, and of course tango. It's almost half way through the trip, and I am scared for it to go by quickly...

buenos aires journalWe took the collectivo and train again to the park where they have the milonga and salsa. La Glorietta is what it is called. It was about 9 when we got there. We can hear the melody of tango flowing down to us, and on the other side, the rhythm of salsa. I am dying to dance some good salsa, so I decided to take a look at the salsa first. No no.... there were no dancers in there unfortunately.... nothing inspiring at all! I was watching for awhile to see if anybody showed up. Then a girl came up to me to ask me if I wanted to dance. She thought I didn't know how to dance and started to teach me the basic steps, I told her that I know how to dance, and she had a guy dance with me... they danced cuban style, but they were not cuban and it didn't feel the same. I did get worked out with 2 songs, salsa is very athletic, but I didn't feel any fulfillment, I guess I need to wait until I get back to LA! Definetely, Argentina is not the place for salsa. I walked back to the tango side. It was small, but alot of people were dancing. A different crowd from the usual. After dancing some, I was dancing with this man, and he started to explain something in Castellano. I didn't quite get it, he said something about a Japanese friend, and Bonsai or Bonzo or something of that sort, and Fuego..... Between songs, we usually try to have conversation, people don't start dancing right away when the music starts. So, he was trying very hard to tell me something, and I could not get it at all! Usually, I would get some kind of nuance of what they were trying to tell me, or it would be general questions like "Where are you from?" or "How long have you been here?" "How long have you danced tango?" "What's your name?", that kind of thing. Because I couldn't comprehend anything at all, I had to bring him to Gabriel and ask him to translate. Then, I can tell something was weird from the expression on Gabriel's face, and he asked the man if he really wants him to translate this to me. I found out that the story was; his Japanese friend in BA got very sick and killed himself Bonzo style (? I still don't know what this is) and burnt himself with gasoline!!! Now why would anyone say such a horrible story between dancing tango! This was totally out of the league! Definetely, I would never dance with him again. In tango, you do make conversation, and I guess this is also part of tango. You need to know how to do this good as well, in order to dance... hey, I'm learning to do this in Castellano too...! At 11pm, the milonga finished off. The air was quite cool, and I can feel a cold creeping up to my nose and throat. We stopped by for a drink, and headed to Torquatto Tasso Restaurant Milonga in San Telmo. I wore another layer of clothes from Gabriel, I was feeling quite dizzy... not good symptoms. We saw some familiar faces, the italians, and sat at their table. I was not really in the condition to dance, so I would occassionally dance with someone from the table, and then chat. It's really interesting, we all don't speak each other's language, so we would speak in broken Castellano, and hints of Italian, English, French.... and get some conversation going. I don't know how this happens, but the will to converse, allows you to do that! It was the last night for one of the Italian guys, he took classes together with Jorge. So, we wished him a good trip back to Italy and we left the place around 3. Earlier than the other nights! The Italians headed to another milonga, we headed home, and especially to recover my cold.