First night’s dancing – done

I’d forgotten how intimidating the Buenos Aires milonga pistas (dancefloors) can be. But thanks to encouragement from some friendly tangueras I did dance a few tandas and a chacarera last night.

I arrived at Los Consagrados at about 6.30 after a short taxi ride. The taxi prices have gone up since I was last here. The meter started at $4.60 instead of $3.80. What I guestimated as a $12 peso ride actually came to few centavos over $14. The taxi driver didn’t want a $100 note – they usually don’t – but accepted a $10 and a $2 which were the only other notes I had. So that was me $2 up on the evening. Do that about another 100 times and I’ll recoup my pickpocketed loss.

The floor wasn’t too crowded when I arrived, but my friends weren’t there yet. The hostess seated me at Ruben and Cherie‘s table as I asked. I had plenty of opportunities to cabeceo the ladies seated on the other side of the room. But I was content to watch those dancing and maybe pick a few out to cabeceo later. That might have just been an excuse to cover up feeling intimidated.

Ruben arrived some time later, without Cherie who had stayed home. Ruben speaks about as much English as I do Spanish so we managed “hello” and a couple of pleasantries and that was it. I started work on my Spanish today!

Some of Ruben and Cherie’s students arrived, including Carol and Martin, Flo, and Cheryl. My friend and part inspiration for this crazy trip, Sally, also arrived. So I had some friendly faces to dance with but remained glued to my seat. I wasn’t really enjoying the music – lots of valses, Biaggi and D’Arienzo type of stuff. I prefer the likes of Di Sarli but most of the milonga DJs don’t. And the floor was more crowded and more intimidating. Carol was the first to persuade me out of my seat. We danced the last tango of a tanda and a litle while later I had part of a tanda with Sally.
After the lottery draw  (none of us at Ruben and Cherie’s table won anything) came the chacarera. Sally had commented earlier in the evening that she liked the chacarera but rarely got asked to dance it. I like it too (it’s an Argentinian folk dance which reminds me of a barn dance) although I’m not great on the steps. But that doesn’t matter, it’s just for fun. So we danced the chacarera and I think I only went wrong once. Later I danced a vals tanda with Cheryl and a Di Sarli tanda with Sally. The piso no longer seemed so intimidating and it was just the music keeping me in my seat. I’ll have to work out where they play the music I prefer, or better still, adapt.

I’ll be dancing outdoors in the bandstand at La Glorieta tonight. I hope it’s not as windy as last time I was there. Knowing it might be I’ll go prepared.

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5 Responses to “First night’s dancing – done”

  1. jamesy says:

    Hi Mark
    Hope the dancing made up for the wallet loss
    Suzanne and I are so glad that you have started blogging your journey and we expect you back a fully fledged Milongero

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks, Jim,

    I'm never going to be a fully fledged milonguero, but hopefully I'll come back more competent than when I arrived here.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.I'll try to make sure the entries are worth reading.


  3. Peter says:

    Hi Mark,
    I'll write more when I have a bit more time – especially about the "Biagi and D'Arienzo type stuff!" Just back from Tango fairly late on Wednesday evening. But I just noticed your mention of offering $100 note to a taxi driver. I've always found BsAs taxi drivers friendly & honest but I was told of a scam you might like to be aware of – especially after the pickpocketing thing. Apparently there are lots of forged £100 notes around and it can happen that a driver takes your note, seaches for change, then returns it saying sorry he can't change it. Except that in the meantime he has exchanged your good note for a dud. Not sure how widespread this is but it might just be better avoiding the possibility of it happening at all . . .

    Good luck with the Milongas!!


  4. Mark says:

    Thanks, Peter,

    I had heard of the scam but nobody in BsAs likes taking $100 notes and you have to spend the damn things somewhere!

    I did get stung on a taxi ride from Caseron Porteno to Boedo last time I was here. The driver took me on a bit of a magical mystery tour and the ride cost about $6 more than it should have, but for the sake of £1 I couldn't be bothered to argue. And that was just 1 ride out of about 50, so yes, they're mostly honest.

    I'm just going to have to adapt on the music front. So far this trip the only place I've been happy with all the music has been La Glorieta. Guess where I'll be most Sunday nights!

    Hasta Octubre…

  5. Peter@tangosouth says:

    I love the Milongas at La Glorieta. And they do (or did) a mean Chacarera.
    First time in BsAs I stayed just round the corner in a very down-beat part of Belgrano. If you go down the hill from La Glorieta towards the station and turn left you'll hit . . . Chinatown!
    Very good for Argentinian style Chinese food!

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