Posts Tagged ‘Buenos Aires’

Back in Buenos Aires

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Almost eight months after leaving the UK I am back in Buenos Aires – briefly. The travel bug has well and truly bitten and there are places I want to see and things I want to do in Argentina. So I’m here for two to three weeks and then I’m heading south to Ushuaia. I’ll travel from there through Patagonia and back to Buenos Aires again for an indefinite stay.

When I left home the objective was to get back here to dance more tango. After nearly eight months of travelling with only three milongas attended the compulsion to dance every night had worn thin. I’d been here nearly a week, been to three milongas and not danced. I felt rusty and scared and unwilling to inflict myself upon unsuspecting tangueras or my friends.

Well that couldn’t continue. I remembered what I wrote in July last year – attitude is everything. I gave myself a good talking to, turned up at La Milonga del los Consagrados earlier than normal, got off my arse and onto the pista. Happily I found I can still dance tango. Yes I was rusty. Yes I’d forgotten some vocabulary. But noone gave me an early “gracias” and  I got several “que lindo”s. There are some things I need to work on but there are always things to work on.

I’m going to bed happy.

Santiago de Chile

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

My Santiago story came in two installments. Like slices of bread around an Easter Island filling and with about as much substance. Both were flying visits.

The first slice after crossing the Pacific Ocean from Auckland lasted just under 24 hours. Santiago has an efficient airport bus service which got me to four blocks from my hostel in about 40 minutes. I joined a free walking city tour in the afternoon. Felippe our guide was a passionate guy full of interesting information about the history and current affairs of Santiago. He struck me at first as angry young man full of the socialist ideals of the students who protest regularly in the city. They protest about the cost of education and the vast inequalities between the rich and poor in Chilean society. The kind of things students all over the world protest about. It turned out he’s an actor as well as a tour guide. Was it passion or was it performance?

Santiago felt much more vibrant and alive than Auckland or anywhere else in New Zealand. That shouldn’t really be surprising; the population of the city is more than twice that of the whole of New Zealand. Next morning the bus whisked me back to the airport for the flight half way back across the Pacific to Easter Island. It seems a bit crazy to have to fly past the place and then back to it but that’s the way the airline routes work.

Five days later LAN plucked me out of one time zone and plonked me back down in another in Santiago. They wouldn’t let me check my rucksack all the way from Easter Island to Lima even though my stopover in Santiago was only twelve hours. Sleeping on a bench at Melbourne airport was pretty uncomfortable and Santiago airport had looked pretty hard and spartan on my first visit. So I repeated the bus ride into the city, stayed in the same hostel again and took the bus back to the airport the next morning. There was no time in this slice to do anything other than eat and sleep. The return ride took a different route than usual because of a student protest somewhere along one of the main routes through the city – the surprisingly named Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins. Felippe had explained how a city with otherwise standard Spanish street names had a main street named after an Irish guy.

Thirty six hours in Santiago is nowhere near enough time in the city, never mind Chile. As Arnie said, “I’ll be back”.

As always, there are some photos at Flickr, in my Santiago de Chile set.

There are millions of people who do a lot more flying and time zone hopping than me. After jumping backwards and forwards between five different zones in quick succession I feel a little like Sam in the TV show Quantum Leap. I’m going to enjoy being in only one zone for the next three weeks. Sam was always hoping his next leap would be the one to take him home. My next leap will take me back to Buenos Aires. I hope I won’t have entirely forgotten how to tango when I get there. Before then I will scratch the surface of another country – Peru.

More Beijing tango

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

After Tuesday night’s successful foray into Beijing tango I decided to have another outing. It’s not like Buenos Aires with a choice of half a dozen or more milongas on a weeknight, but there actually is some tango somewhere most nights of the week. On Thursday night it was the “Tango at it’s core” milonga organised by Beijing Tango and held above the Sino-Chu wine bar. Their website hadn’t been updated for a while but a phone call confirmed it was on.

I went with Dawn and Phillip. We got there for the last hour. There were only four couples and a couple of spare leaders when we arrived, dancing to traditional music organised in tandas. The standard of dancing was a little higher than on Tuesday, not that it mattered much to me. I’m so out of practice that I brought the average well down. Another couple and a single follower arrived after us. Amazingly Dawn knew the lone follower. It’s a small world!  Unlike on Tuesday night, most of the dancers there were foreigners, although all seemed to be resident in Beijing.

It was another fun night and I was tempted to go to a third milonga on Friday night. Instead I ended up at a couchsurfing meeting/meal and afterwards a jazz/swing club. The music was good and there were dancers there, but they were doing lindy hop or east coast swing so I just watched and listened. Nevertheless it was a good night out.