Archive for April, 2010

Slowing down

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

“Remember, slow down” were Amiee’s parting words as she turned and walked away on Friday afternoon. I walked back into Jardin Botanico, which you can see here from my balcony, and did just that. Sat on the benches, meandered round the paths, stroked some of the cats and took a few more photos (you can see some of them at Flickr).

At Los Consagrados last night, Cherie said something similar, along the lines of “forget the Anglo-Saxon rush, rush, rush. In tango there is time. Take it slowly”. I danced some not-too-shabby tandas after that.

Settling in to the “manana manana” mindset is not easy, at least on the tango front. Since my private lesson on Thursday I’ve done another group class and been to three more milongas. Soho Tango at Villa Malcolm on Thursday, Parakultural at Salon Canning on Friday, and Los Consagrados again last night.

I’m being much more South American about the other objectives I set myself! Still no regular exercise program, still no Spanish learned. And I haven’t bothered to do a blog post about the irritations of life here (which admittedly are pretty trivial). But I will still go to Spanglish on Thursday.

For the rest of this afternoon I’m going across the road to sit in Jardin Botanico. I’ll take the Spanish books with me, just in case. And tonight more tango at La Glorieta.

How was your weekend, what have you been doing? Have you been rushing around in an Anglo-Saxon way, or taking it easy in a South American way?

Faffing around

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

It’s been a very lazy week for me so far. Monday night was Lunes de Tango at Club Gricel, Tuesday evening I did Maya‘s group class at Caseron Porteno, and last night tried TangoLab at Club Villa Malcolm. So it sounds like I have been busy, but I’ve been frittering the days away with reading blogs, daydreaming, facebooking and other non-productive stuff.

I can’t spend 6 months (well, I could!) doing basically nothing; I need some more specific goals, ones to be done during the days. The 2 main reasons for being here are to dance and improve my tango, and learn Spanish. Group classes, private lessons and lots of milongas will help with the tango. The learning Spanish needs more work!

So here are some publicly stated goals for the Spanish –

  1. Attend Spanglish next Thursday.
  2. Publish a blog post entirely in Spanish in 1 month, 3 months and 6 months time.
  3. Achieve at least an 1800 word vocabulary by October.

Another objective is to get back into a regular exercise regime. Tango is not exercise! I’ve made a start on this but need to do more. It’s going to have to be outdoor exercise, there’s not enough money in my budget to go to a gym.

Last week the weather here was great, mid 20s, sunny, blue skies – very nice indeed. The last couple of days have been a different story. Still quite warm but lots of rain – not exactly encouraging for outdoor exercise. We’re back to dry today with showers possible and a forecast of 22 degrees and sunny again tomorrow. Well I am a Brit, we can’t help but talk about the weather!

I’ve got a private lesson with Maya this afternoon and tonight I’ll probably go to Nino Bien at Centro Region Leonesa.

Now, to all those folks at home (especially the non-facebook ones) who wanted to hear about my “adventures” – what have you been up to, what are your goals for the next 6 months?

First night’s dancing – done

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

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.