Unfinished post – Winding down

This post is out of sequence as it didn’t quite get finished while I was in Buenos Aires. I wanted to do a review of my time there. I started to write it two weeks before coming home, added to it at one week to go, then one day before boarding my flight but was too busy to actually finish it. So finally, here it is, several weeks late and still incomplete but never mind.

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2 weeks from today I will be back in the UK. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here over 5 months, and very tempting not to go back at all. I’m making friends here and have settled into city living very easily. However there are sound financial reasons for going back and I’m looking forward to seeing my UK friends and dancing with them again – tango, modern jive and west coast swing.

Some of the milongas have gone a bit quiet again after lots of visitors went home after the festival in August. There is still an excess of leaders in most of them, but as we move into Spring the numbers will pick up again and the balance should improve. It’s a shame I’ll miss out but there’s no doubt I’ll be back here one day.

Coming to Buenos Aires for six months has been a Good Thing.

Back in April in this “Faffing around” post I laid out some objectives for this visit – improve my tango and learn some Spanish. It has been a bit of a roller-coaster on the tango front. My dancing has changed, improved. I’m feeling much more relaxed and my confidence has stepped up a few levels.  It got dented and knocked down a bit more than once but has ended up higher than when I arrived. Taking part in el campeonato was a surprise. Finishing not in last place was a decent achievement but secondary to the confidence boost gained simply by participating. My appreciation and feeling for the music has improved although I’m still not very good at identifying a lot of the orchestras. I rather like Biagi these days. DÁrienzo is now the guy I leave the floor for. And the milonga tandas. Although I have danced a few, and did dance one including “la milonga que faltaba” with Jo, which was another one of my objectives.

I did go to a Spanglish meeting, wasn’t impressed and didn’t go back. More recently I signed up for a “Spanish para extranjeros” course at Instituto de Enseñanza Superior en Lenguas Vivas “Juan Ramón Fernández”. There’s a blog post coming about that. My vocabulary has expanded but it hasn’t reached 1800 words. The blog posts entirely in Spanish objective quietly fell by the wayside. I have managed to get by but simply haven’t worked hard enough to reach the level I would have liked to. I can live with that.

On the exercise front I joined a gym just a block and a half away and I’ve averaged two visits a week. There were some weeks when I went four and even five times, and some – like when Sam and Jo were here, when I didn’t go at all. Gym membership wasn’t in my original budget and something had to give to make room for it. I couldn’t cut accommodation, food or tango, so out went medical insurance. A risk but it worked out OK.

I did a reasonable amount of sightseeing and took a lot of photos but didn’t venture outside of the city. Argentina is a huge country and I didn’t plan to visit anywhere outside of Buenos Aires before I arrived. The point of this trip was tango.  Everything else was secondary/optional/unimportant. I had a vague idea that I might go to Iguazu Falls but wasn’t prepared to pay to fly there, and wasn’t prepared to spend 16 hours on a bus each way. And I’ve seen plenty of other waterfalls. Iguazu might be bigger but they’re still just waterfalls and any photos wouldn’t really do them justice. The furthest I got from the city centre was an empanada cooking class in Adrogue.

I got to some milongas a fair way from the city centre including Sin Rumbo, Club Sunderland and La Baldosa. They were worth visiting once but too far to bother with on a short (say two week) visit or to go to more than once. Being a bit of a techie I kept a record of where I danced and when. In 174 nights I went to 141 milongas. Back in the UK and back at work it would probably take the best part of four years to go to that many milongas.

I read a lot of tango blogs and made lots of new international friends. Next time I’m in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, Vancouver, Istanbul, Minneapolis, Marseille, Bergen, Denver, Napoli or Lecce among others I’ll have tango partners to look up. And next time I’m in Buenos Aires I’ll have Argentine and ex-pat friends to see and to dance with.

Yes, coming to Buenos Aires for six months has most definitely been a Good Thing.

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2 Responses to “Unfinished post – Winding down”

  1. Tangobob says:

    You missed Wales off the places to visit and tango, still not a lot here but there is always Casa Bob on a Monday.
    Leave the floor for D’Arienzo and milonga? are you mad? just as well we do not all like the same things, Y Tienes Huevos I would not have dared to enter the Campionata.
    You now know what it is all about, I hope you can make it clear to all those who think we need more moves, and different music, that BsAs is the absolute centre of the universe.
    Be joining the UK ratrace again myself in a couple of days.

    • Mark says:

      If I’m in the vicinity I promise to pop in and say hello and with your permission take Viv for a spin around the floor.
      Actually, I’ve seen the videos and I think D’Arienzo was probably mad. Me, I’m perfectly sane :-) I blow hot and cold with milonga, mostly cold. I’ll get the hang of it one day, but only after a LOT of classes and a LOT of practice.
      Fingers crossed your last couple of days out there pass a lot more slowly than mine did.

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