Lujos (at El Beso), 11/29/12
I arrived this morning, with no sleep. I've never stayed up the entire flight. I did try to sleep, but without any results. With a two-hour nap under my belt, I headed out to the newly reopened El Beso.
El Beso had been closed because of failing to meet saftey codes. As far as I can tell, the new "safety features" only include a wider door to the outside, but I assume there are more. It would be nice if the speaker in the far corner were turned down; another safety feature to protect our ears!
I arrived between 7:30 and 8 PM. I had planned to go earlier, but didn't. The milonga starts at 6 PM, and Georgina had suggested going around 6:30 to get a good seat, and to have a better chance of dancing, before the regulars all arrived. I got a seat in the middle of the far wall, on the second row (the front row are regulars) Between 8 and 8:30, many of the regular women did show up, but it didn't seem to change dance opportunities. When a regular sat back at my table, the other women asked her why, and she told them she was tired and didn't feel like dancing!
It was great to see a bunch of familiar faces. I sat out only one or two tandas the entire evening, thanks to that. The dance level was better than last year, perhaps because several of the guys I danced with last year have gotten a LOT better over the year. One grinned at me and said, "Well I do go dancing every night!"
In terms of dance style, I saw a lot less extreme apilado (leaning style) than was usual ten years ago. I would say that half the guys danced with a V that allowed me to pivot my hips and actually dance. About half insisted on holding me as if we were dancing apilado (square), but then danced on their own track. This is harder on my body, but I can extricate my legs from back ochos, etc. when I have to. I know I keep telling you guys in Portland not to walk in front of me: NO ONE danced square in front of me. After all, there is no room to maneuver.
This was a friendly crowd. Only one guy decided to correct me on my dancing while we danced. After I was goaded into saying, "I was on that foot! I did what you asked; I just added an adorno!" he chuckled and left off teaching as much. I don't plan to dance with him again. Here is the catty comment I managed to avoid saying: "If you would actually lead me clearly, we would both be having a better time of this!"
I went home early at about 11 PM. When my stomach started making audible conversation with my partners, I figured it was time for dinner and more sleep.
in 1999, the first night I ever went dancing in Buenos Aires, I danced almost all night, despite being in street shoes (Clark's) and not being dressed to dance. My friend, Silvana, took me on a tour of places to dance in the neighborhood on the way to dinner, and we never made it to dinner because she convinced me to have a glass of wine at Almagro (I miss that place!). She doesn't dance, despite having taken tango from me when studying in the United States, so when someone came over and asked her to dance, she made them dance with me. After that, I danced a bunch before finally going out to dinner a few hours late. I was in heaven!
My favorite dance of the evening was with a tiny, wizened old man, who stopped in the middle of the dance and said, "Did you see that? That's my step! I made that up!" and then kept dancing.
Food for the day
My favorite food in Buenos Aires also comes from that first day in Buenos Aires in 1999. Silvana made me a tarta pascualina, a pastry shell with either swiss chard or spinach and egg filling. Last night, I picked up a hot slice at La Americana in the 'hood, and went home to eat. Oh, and a cheese and onion empanada. Yum!
Prices are definitely higher than last year. The water at the milonga was 14 pesos. Last year, water was 6-10 pesos. My dinner takeout was 24 pesos, also higher than last year.