The city feels different this visit. It seems cleaner: less dog poop on the sidewalks, less trash. There are BIKE LANES all over the city, not something I ever expected to see in Buenos Aires! However, the people seem more subdued than before.
A lot of people are nervous about the change of government next week. Whether they supported Macri, the winner, of Scioli, the loser, they are concerned about how things will change. Some are jubilant and sure that a change means good change. Others are downcast and predict change and doom.
Whether change is good or bad, here are some changes I saw today.
Cheek to Cheek (practica)
- El Juvenil, Av Corrientes 4534
- Entrada: 30 pesos
- 3-7 PM
This afternoon, I went to a practica that is new since I last visited Buenos Aires: Cheek to Cheek. There were a lot more tourists there than at De Querusa last night. I danced with and/or talked to people from the USA, Norway, Germany, France and Japan. Most of the dancers were in their 20s and 30s, but there were some of us middle-aged folks, and a smattering of older people. The level was mostly high, with a few advanced beginners (tourists).
I had been told that the practica was stopped at 5 PM for a short lesson. I was skeptical of the idea, but the organizers offered up a complex move, showed it a few times, and then let people dance. After a few minutes, they showed it again, with a few details that people needed to get in order to be successful. A while later, they showed it to the other side, and left people to their own devices.
I always try to lead at lessons because I remember the moves better if I have to lead them. I grabbed someone I knew (yay!). The combo was at a nice level for someone like me (if only I hadn't been in heels!), and several really good couples could do it by the end of the session. My partner wasn't at a high enough level to get the combo smoothly, but she cheerfully kept trying. I appreciated it, as I think I can remember it for Portland because of that.
Things started to wind down around 6:15 because of the intense humidity in the space: men were wiping their faces, heads, necks, and women were fanning themselves. When some Fresedo started, I decided to lead, and led a few dances before heading home to shop before dinner.
What I liked best: the high energy, slightly crazed lesson delivery (I think some of these guys may be actors too), the good music, and the general energy of the organizers.
There are definitely changes in where to shop from three years ago until now.
Tango Imagen (Dr. Tomás Manuel de Anchorena 606) is still open. The space is much smaller, with fewer clothes and fewer sizes available. I just don't fit into a size 2; never have and never will.
Tango 8, which used to be next to Tango Imagen, is closed. The store across the street, whose name I can't remember, is also closed.
I tried to go to Susanna Villaroel's Artesanal store, but it was also gone. At NeoTango, they told me that they think you can call and get an appointment, but the store is gone; she has moved to an apartment/store. More on this as I keep looking.
Good news (somethings don't change)
Neotango (Sarmiento 1938) is still going strong. Ariel (the salesman) remembered me, and even managed to remember how long since I had been there. I must have bought more shoes than most people...
I have the widest feet on the planet. When barefoot, they almost look square. After trying shoes all over town, and every style Neotango has, I know what I need without much extra, "Oooh! Look at THOSE!" I bought my standard replacements for the shoes I have worn out: black and pewter. They were out of silver in the model I like, so I am the owner of a pair of platinum heels. I also bought a pair of black trainers, as I had forgotten to pack my leading shoes.
At this point, the blue dollar rate is so much better than the official rate, that it makes sense to exchange money and pay in cash. There is also a small cash discount for paying in cash.