Tango classes in San Isidro.
Well itâ€™s been some time since Iâ€™ve last written, so Iâ€™m going to quickly play catch up and attempt to sum up the entirety of the past week in a short entry, not entirely easy to do. Last Thursday, Lumumba and I attended our first Tango class, an experience that is not to be forgotten (either by us or our poor teachers!) Held in a small studio in San Isidro, the class attracts about ten Argentine students every week and is about as â€śgenuineâ€ť an experience as you can get. Although I quickly found that Grandmaâ€™s subtle reprobation, â€śYou dance like a horse!â€ť applies to Tango as well as to the Polka, we genuinely enjoyed ourselves and resolved to attend every Thursday night.
On Friday, the university ran an organized trip to an estancia at San Antonio de Areco, an old town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Arriving at the estancia, we were greeted by the most schlocky displays of Argentine culture imaginable. Although the experience lacked the genuine taste of Buenos Aires that the Tango lessons afforded me, I have to admit that the traditional dances and displays of physical prowess performed by men affecting the identity of old time gauchos did prove entertaining (probably on account of the unlimited and free wine). While at the estancia, we also enjoyed a huge barbecue (or asado) lunch, a show, horse drawn cart rides, and horse racing. We additionally got to try our hand at being gauchos on a trail ride around the estate. Although providing a bunch of college kids with unlimited free alcohol and then setting them atop horses may not seem like the brightest idea, fortunately no casualties occurred and everyone very much enjoyed themselves.
On Friday night I witnessed yet again the absolute craziness of Buenos Aires and the Argentine people, who I swear to you, can party like no other.
At around 11:00 a group of us headed out to the trendy neighborhood of Palermo Viejo where we had a few drinks at â€śEl Mundo Bizzaro,â€ť a jam packed bar as strange as the name suggests. At around 1am we broke up into smaller groups and headed out to different clubs across the city. Along with Hao and his friend Steve, who is doing an internship in BA for the summer, I made my way to a Brazilian dance club. We walked in to find the bottom floor packed with people all doing synchronized dances that certainly put the Macarena to shame. I can honestly say I have never, in my life, seen so many people move so well. Obviously unable to dance downstairs, we headed up to the top floor where we danced in a more generic room where we most likely looked like total fools amongst a crowd of people who didnâ€™t need oil cans to move their hips. At around 4:30 in the morning we couldnâ€™t take much more, and pushed our way through a the mass of people out into the street, where a long line of people were waiting just to get in.
Locals and tourists alike watch performers outside the weekend market in Recoleta.
We also saw a six year old child on the street with her parents at this hour, a true testament to the nocturnal nature of the city. After taking the bus back home with Hao, I collapsed into bed.
Sunset in Recoleta.
On Saturday, thinking that there was no way that we could pull another all night outings, Hao, Erin and I decided to go to a small local cafĂ©. However, after getting some great coffee and being shocked that this upscale establishment was showing the equivalent of soft core porn on their TV (yes, thatâ€™s right, the Cosmo channel) even as children sat in the restaurant, we headed to the Kick Off Cafer, where the wine is cheaper than water. Somehow after that we found ourselves in a ridiculously chic bar (where we still got drinks for under 5 dollars) and once again I didnâ€™t get home until after five.
General San Martin, the Argentine equivalent of George Washington, gallantly covered in pigeons.
Although it proved a challenge, the next day I dragged myself out of bed, feeling much like I had been run over by the bus that we took home, and met Erin and Michelle to go to a huge weekend market in the neighborhood of Recoleta. The market was a wonderful experience, with venders selling everything from antiques to fine jewelry and dulce de leche filled churros. The market and the park it surrounded was also filled with wonderful musicians, mimes (one of which was inexplicably dressed as a robot and danced to Creedance Clearwater Revival), jugglers, and acrobats. It was truly a great day for strolling and people watching, and ended with one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.
Sunset outside the cathedral.
On Wednesday night we attended yet another shlocky school outing to a dinner Tango show, but once again, despite being overwhelmingly touristy, we had a great time. I unfortunately forgot my camera, which I really regret, as the feats performed by the dancers were truly incredible. Although the food was mediocre, I genuinely myself and figured that with a little practice, Lumumba and I would be up to par. I headed back to lessons the next night.