Day three: Shopping, dancing and cab drivers


Today we wandered over to Zival's (Corrientes y Callao). I wanted "Noche de Cabaret" with Varela's orchestra, which I found on a nice double CD. Gayle wanted Donato's "El Gato" milonga, which was not there. The guy at the information counter said, "It's not our fault we don't have it! If it isn't produced, it's not available." I already had the Donato CD that was there, and so did Gayle. No Lomuto at all :-(  We agreed today was not the day to browse in the store: we will save that for a rainy day when we have nothing to do.

We dropped our shoes off at the shoe repair to get cromo (suede) on the soles on two pair a piece. I have some plain and some with cromo, so if I go somewhere where the floor is sticky, I take leather soles, and for slippery floors, cromo. We will get them back by Tuesday, which is way better than the place I found last year that took a week. I forgot to photograph them before they were dropped off, but I promise to do that ASAP Tuesday.

Grr...I wrote six more paragraphs, and the internet went down when I pressed save.  Grr.

I bought practice shoes at Fabio Shoes for leading. My old men's ballroom shoes have finally worn through the leather after about fifteen years of use. These have a Cuban-style heel, but a bit higher than a man's Cuban heel. I am not sure if I like them; I may sell them. I am so used to using men's shoes for leading, that these seem a little frivolous!


Tonight we went to Cachirulo, but in a new location. Last year, it was a short shot down Corrientes to get to Maipu. Now, it's a twenty-minute taxi ride (30 pesos) to the Villa Malcom Sports Club (Cordoba 5064). Since it was pouring rain, we abandoned our walk to the subte and grabbed a taxi.

When we arrived, the ration of men to women was perhaps 1:15 or 1:20, and it did not improve much. We were seated in the second row and on the end, where it was almost impossible to see the men for cabeceo. Given those odds, it's probably a miracle that we each danced six or seven tandas. There were a lot of women who we never saw get on the dance floor, and who left early, only to be replaced with more women.

The level of dancing was higher than at Nino Bien or Entre Tango y Tango. It wasn't that there were better dancers per se, because a lot of the same guys were at Friday and Saturday dances. However, there were fewer lower-level dancers, both male and female, so the entire room looked good dancing (apart from some scary dresses, but that's another story). The musicality was more evident because the whole room moved better together. A few guys crashed in the middle, but most danced competently in two rows around the outside.

When we left, a guy teased us about leaving early. Gayle decided to give him a hard time back, and made me tell him she had waited all night to dance with him. He promised to dance with us tomorrow, as we are going to the same place. Then, a salsa came on, and I danced in my street shoes right there in the back of the room with him. I needed that! I often play hooky from tango in Bs As and go salsa dancing one night while I'm here (Azucar Club is good).

Cab drivers in Bs As

I am fond of cab drivers here in Buenos Aires. I don't know if they are as well-spoken and educated in other places because I usually walk places or take the bus when I'm out of Portland. Here, get them talking, and watch them go!

On the way to the dance, we got a cab driver who talked about the traffic and how it's changed in the past ten years. On the way back, we hit a gold mine of economic information. It's amazing how commenting on the weather, or the traffic, or the temperature morphs into an interesting discussion.

On the way home, the cabbie sat in front of our destination for about five minutes, still talking about the past twenty years in Argentina. I tried valiantly to keep up the translation for Gayle while listening and converting it to English in my head. Here are the salient points for thought:

  • Because of recent events in Argentine history, Argentines are realists. They don't live in a bubble that is going to explode and make them face reality, as he feels folks do in Europe and the USA.
  • Since so many bad things happened to individuals in Argentina during the dictatorships, everyone knows that you need to work in solidarity with friends and family and other Argentines to fight for rights. He feels that Americans are concerned only with themselves, and can't work together like this because we haven't experienced enough crisis for us to mature yet.
  • With the hyperinflation in the 1980s of 300-400% per month, the current 10-15% is nothing. He said they can get through this with no problem because everyone remembers how much worse it was before.
  • He told us about how money was not circulating at all at one point, and people went to fairs and bartered goods in order to eat. He said only six people had work on his block, and each would get a different product and share, in order to survive.
  • In 2008, the government took steps to inject money into the local economy. He feels that they have been "immunized" to withstand the current global slide, and suggested that if Argentina took a leadership role, we could reduce the global crisis.

I find this impressive, as an "immature" American who does not know statistics for my own country's economic state during my lifetime. It's time to get educated!