Day 4: Recoleta Feria, Tango lesson, Tango music

Trip Start Dec 02, 2008
1
5
33
Trip End Dec 26, 2008


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Flag of Argentina  , Capital Federal District,
Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 4: Recoleta Feria, Tango lesson, Dinner and music at Torquato Tasso
Buenos Aires
Art Suites, Saturday, December 6th

On our BA possibilities today (written before leaving home), we have the Recoleta fair, Recoleta cemetery, walk around Recoleta neighborhood & shopping and visiting the Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore.  After our city tour with Eternautas, I revise the possibilities and over breakfast I offer the following to Harvey:  Museum of Decorative Arts to see the building interior, walk around Palermo Vieja, MALBA museum and the outdoor market at Recoleta, where I believe there will be music.  After last night's late night, we're dragging.  We're glad that we moved breakfast to 9:30!  Our barometers this morning:  physical condition is fair - tired, not really functioning well and emotional/spiritual is fair.  We aren't used to staying out so late!  All and all, we choose to make it a slow day.  We decide to walk to the Recoleta market, come back to rest for awhile before returning to Tango Tasso for a tango lesson and another tango music concert.
Harvey plays Tango in Sky by Roland Dyens, a French composer, on this guitar.  I take a shower and wash some of our dirty laundry. 

We walk over to the feria at Recoleta on this beautiful sunny warm morning.  It is late morning and the booths are set up, but no major crowds of people.  Thank goodness! The offerings are somewhat similar to the artisan fair yesterday.   Some photographs catch our attention and we browse through the collection. It is interesting that many of the photos use out-of-focus or blur creatively to imply motion of dancers or musicians.  As I look at these photos, I realize that I need to do an attitude change with regard to my point and shoot camera.  I usually travel with an SLR that has a fast shutter speed and low light capability; it takes great pictures.  For security reasons, I did not want to scream "tourist" and am walking around with a little point and shoot camera instead.  It takes good pictures when there is bright light and the subject is still.  Unfortunately those are limitations and I've not been happy with a number of photos because of camera shake, either because of low light or my ability to keep the camera still.  Looking at these photographs, I realize that I need to work with the camera's limitation, as a frame so to speak, and create images that use the strength or deliberately use the limitation, camera blur creatively.  Realization time. Use it, don't bemoan it.

We find a bench under a large rubber tree and just watch people come and go.  There are lots of tourists, but also portenos that have come from church and are all dressed up.  We listen to an accordian player dressed as a clown and an old man who is setting up his guitar, but not playing.  We blend into the scenery.  After some time, we have lunch at a small café a block or so away from the feria. I am under the impression that there was to be live music at the feria, so after lunch, about 2 PM, we stroll back to see if there is any.  We don't hear any, and we decide to go back to our apartment to rest.

A luscious nap!  We dress for our tango lesson, wearing our shoes that have leather soles that can slide.  For both Harvey & I, the shoes feel tight. We found these shoes buried deep in our closets at home and had packed them with the anticipation of a tango dance lesson.  We're glad that we have them!
We walk into Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso at 6:30 PM and there are already four students with two instructors.  The female instructor sees us and immediately walks over smiling and kisses me on both cheeks, then Harvey.  Harvey melts. The male instructor walks over and we also do the two-cheek kiss. They ask if we have danced before and you should see their faces now when we say that this is our first time!  Actually, this is not just the first tango lesson, but our first ever dance lesson!  They recover quickly and include us in the lesson.

The male instructor immediately demonstrates a sliding, gliding walk which we practice.  He is so graceful, fluid, and swaying.  The idea is to just relax.  Over the hour we learn a few steps and fortunately I don't step on Harvey's toes too many times.  It's just hard to remember the forward, back, side...no it's to the left again!  Harvey is better at this than I, and fortunately in tango the man leads. Before the class ends, our instructors perform a dance for us.  It is so beautiful to watch!  For 15 pesos per person the dance class was really fun and enjoyable.  We are so glad that we did this! www.torquatotasso.com.ar

Other students brought their regular shoes with them and changed when the class was over.  We, however, walk outside on the cobblestone streets, and I am barely able to walk in these not-quite-the-right-size old shoes.  We see a mass of people carrying flags and banners and hear loud drums one block away.  We make our way over and gather that there is some kind of African festival. How cool is this?  Someone walks up to Harvey and hands him a paper about the African diaspora and three condom packets.  I don't know what he does with these, but the next time I look they are not in his hand.  We are standing in front of an ice cream store and check out if they have sorbets, which they do.  We sit on the bench in front of the store, letting the sound of the African drums course through us.  We have to shout to hear each other and we are sitting right next to each other!  It seems that we are at the end of the parade. We take photos of scantily clad women dressed like at a mardigras.  There are throngs of people and as each band group reaches our corner, the end of the parade, their music reaches an especially loud crescendo.  The rhythms are amazing!

It's time to go back to Torquato Tasso, and we note a rather long line of people queing for entry, which we join.  We meet some Argentines that tell us about other areas of Argentina, particularly the Salta area and the color of the mountains; they are going there next week for vacation.  They talk about the beauty of the mountains at Calafate and the Perito Moreno glacier.  Another trip! As we continue to wait in line, Harvey says "tengo hombre" and he wonders why people seem to be moving away from him.  He meant to say "tengo hambre", I am hungry.  Instead he said I have man.  What a difference one vowel makes. For portenos, we must be quite a challenge to converse with - all the translation they have to do and still, they keep their sense of humor and patience with us.

Evidently, there is a problem with the sound system, so more and more people are waiting outside and we learn that tonight's performers have quite a reputation.  With much anticipation, the doors are finally opened.  We pay our 160 pesos for the show and are shown to our table.  Another couple is at the table and it is immediately clear that they expect the table to be just for them.  We gather this by their body language and tone of voice, although we don't understand what they are saying.  They talk to the waitress and the greeter and are told that this is how it is.  We sit down and don't say anything.  The coldness feels like Antarctica.  I finally say to the man, in the best Spanish that I can muster, that I'm sorry but we are sitting here; he taps me on the shoulder and indicates that it will be OK, the problem isn't us, but the management.  Or that's what I think he said.  Our four chairs are around a very small table and all their dinner drinks and plates are spread out over the table.  I wonder how we are going to fit our dinner plates and drinks!  Finally, Harvey & I decide to talk with them in a friendly sort of way.  When we ask if they dance tango, they light up and we learn that they have been married for 50 years and dated for eight and have danced all these years.  They have two sons in the U.S. and that they speak English quite well.  And so we learn more about them and the ice around the table has been broken!  When you see their photo and their big smiles, you will not believe that they started out so cold to us!

The tango music tonight is of an equally high quality to the previous evening.  We listen to a bandolin, saxophone, and two guitars in a jazz style.  The total for tonight is 170 pesos, including the show admission, salad and beef steak that we share.  A really enjoyable evening!

Today's photos!
http://www.margieswebgallery.com/galleries/argentina/Day4%2012-6-08/
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