Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Le Cirque du Soleil

I saw the Cirque du Soleil - Quidam - and it is COOL beyond belief. Really.
I just might run off with the circus.
Or fulfil an old fancy of mine and take up acrobacy.
Or fire juggling! I have a recollection of an old stone bridge across a wide river, lined with statues of saints, the Gothic spires of the towers and the Baroque façades of the churches on either side covered with snow, deserted on a winter night with only a few passers-by hurrying to their homes, muffled in hats and scarves to protect themselves from the fierce cold; and mid-way across the bridge two jugglers with burning torches flying high in the cold winter air, blazing against the outline of the illuminated castle. I stood there and watched until my nose and toes were numb from the cold.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The gloom seems to be lifting somewhat. Not to be trusted, seeing as the dreaded month of November is drawing near and the mere thought of the cold and the darkness to come makes me shudder; but I am doing my best to concentrate on the brighter aspects of this whole unfortunate affair called winter, such as la fondue savoyarde and roasted chestnuts (which reminds me that marrons glacés will soon be appearing in the shops and I mustn´t miss them!), ice-skating and maybe some skiing - although I find that dancing tango addictively makes me worry a tad too much about the safety of my limbs, which somehow takes the fun out of skiing, especially if you revel in a suicidal skiing style like I do:(
There will also be tango, and that´s a huge consolation these days. I think I´ll go to El Corte to dance the weekend away, and maybe to other places with tango-crazed crowds; I find that lately I tend to dance with the same people all the time, my favourite dancers, plus a stranger every now and then, and while this keeps me very happy and prevents most unnecessary frustrations I sometimes long for more variety and the excitement of discovering a new partner.
I have been looking at various festivals and my heart leapt when I saw who was going to be in Istanbul in November - it´s a dream team, really - and then I almost let out a loud wail when I realized that I couldn´t make it that weekend, for obligations familiales, so to speak.

A couple of days ago I was at a milonga, standing at the bar. And there was this bloke, a teacher and a fairly good dancer, of some international renown. He wasn´t entirely sober - but then, he rarely is. Anyway, at one point, after some staring, he says ´Princess, wanna dance with me?´ Not the kind of invitation that would be difficult to turn down; but I was curious. I had never danced with him, and though I don´t particularly like his style, I still wanted to try it out. We went to the dancefloor, embraced, and started dancing. After a couple of steps, he murmured
´You can dance!´ sounding flustered. I refrained from any comments, but I could feel his increasing bewilderment. After the second tango, he stared at me and said ´You dance really well!´ but not in the usual flattering way people say this. He was flabbergasted. I lost my patience, and said ´Yeah, so what? Did you think I couldn´t dance?´
´I did. Not this well, anyway´
(looking at me as though I were an apparition).
´Why did you want to dance with me, then?´ said I, getting a bit annoyed by this silly conversation. But his answer was disarming - it was so matter-of-fact and sincere:
´Because you´re very pretty.´
I rolled my eyes again - this time at him - but I almost laughed. Though it certainly did not increase my esteem for the man, I preferred this frank and straightforward admission to any silly piropo he might have come up with.
Besides, we were even - after all, I wanted to dance with a hot shot and he wanted to dance with a pretty girl, I wonder what´s worse.
C´est le tango...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The previous post, I realized, goes to show one thing - I am practically unable to write a short post. Really. I digress, get lost in free associations, and end up elsewhere. It is like the stream of consciousness technique, which I have always found interesting, but somewhat lacking in purpose. I never did like Mrs. Dalloway. I liked Orlando, though.


Not amphetamine, in case you wonder. I mean just speed, fast motion where the world around you appears and disappears in blurred patches of sun and shade, and you are the center of it, you move and the world moves with you. It is fantastic.

It isn´t about tango, either, and I think it fair to warn those who come here to read about tango to skip this post. My tango life has been quite dreary, lately. Basically, I go to the milonga to eat, chat with friends, and listen to the music. At this point, not dancing is decidedly less frustrating than dancing. Exceptionally, it is not about me. Maybe I should start writing another, non-tango blog, to keep this one coherent.

In the meantime..

I went roller-skating today.
I know this may sound banal, but I am probably the least athletic person you can imagine. In my adult life, anyway. I hate sport for the sake of sport, for the sake of moving, for the sake of - God forbid! - burning calories (ok, I was born with the genetic predisposition to be slim, it runs in the family - the older, the thinner; I´ve always imagined myself, in some forty or fifty years, as one of those tiny, frail and almost transparent old ladies - you know the kind, that look like a gush of wind might carry them away - and I am quite looking forward to it; hence my laziness, probably). I could never ´go to the gym´. The mere thought of the machines and the sweating people makes me nauseous. On the other hand, I love swimming, sailing, skiing, skating, yoga, contemporary dance - as long as it is not perceived as a sport, but an entertaining activity. I like bicycles, but for me they are a means of transport (city transport, preferably). Those people capable of spending their holidays on mountain bikes, cycling forty of fifty kilometers every day, simply puzzle me. Why???
Another reason may have its origin in my childhood. I had an active mother who signed me for classes of practically any activity I had shown any talent in. Unfortunately I was reasonably talented in many spheres, and so I spent my afternoons in all kinds of sport and artistic activities (which I all liked, to be fair). By the time I was fourteen, I´d had enough. All I wanted to do was hang out on the street, like my best friend, who was from a single-parent family and never did anything else. She was also allowed to wear make-up and hot pants that made her the dream of any pedophile. Her mother was very young - practically my age now - and too busy with her own messy love life to mind her teenage daughter, which I then thought was cool (now I feel sorry for her - I find my life complicated enough as it is, without a teenage daughter. The mere thought makes me shiver.)
But how on earth have I got here?

I was saying, I went roller-skating. I prefer ice-skating, actually, because one can develop greater speed, which I assume must be due to lesser friction (hear the amateur physicist!). And for some reason, speed has an almost theraupeutic effect on me. I sometimes go ice-skating after work, during the winter season. Like tango, fast motion makes me forget everything, get rid of any accumulated tension, and joyfully concentrate on the now and here.
I don´t know why.
Is that why people drive fast cars?
There is a large park near my home with large patches of lawn, grown trees, shrubberies, lakes, a fountain, and even a tiny neo-gothic manor house. And a cycling/skating trail. So far, I have only made use of the park to fling myself on the grass with a book, or sit on an old tree and drink mate, or to picnic. But I think I´ll join the rangs of the roller-skaters, every now and then. The thing is, I love skating and listening to Kevin Johansen;) it´s exactly that kind of music..

I will soon be changing my geographical coordinates, so there´s a slight hope for some better tango. Or not.
I am just somewhat tango-depressed.
Why else would I go roller-skating?

Friday, August 01, 2008


.. are magic, aren´t they?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Colours and Tango

I have a cold, in the middle of a hot summer. I hate that. Apart from other things I had been looking forward to, like having picnics in the park, swimming in a lake, throwing dinners, mingling with the tourists in the lantern-lit medieval streets of the city centre on warm summer nights or sitting on the ramparts of the castle overlooking the river and the city, I shall also have to stay away from the milongas for a while. On the bright side, I have the time to read tango blogs. And so, sitting here and sipping mate (as a universal panacea), I came upon an interesting post of Debbi´s where, among other things, she mentions being told that always dressing in dark coulours makes her ´invisible´ at a milonga.
Hmm... I read the numerous comments and started writing one but then realized it would be too long, so I decided to write a post instead.

Should you wear bright colours to a milonga, in order to be seen?

The question had never occured to me before. But then again, I do dress in bright coulours, both in and out of the milongas. Not to be seen; I just like them. And I think there isn´t much of them around. Our culture, in this age, tends to avoid bright colours rather than encourage them. For some reason there is this widespread belief that to look good and cool, black is the best choice. I don´t know. I, too, like black, sometimes. But too much is.. too much. Why don´t we wear colours?
I love the clothes worn by the women in African neighbourhoods, the vivid colours and beautiful textures like brocade that they wear with such grace. I do realize that not everyone can get away with such colours, but then again, the various combinations of grey, brown or navy blue are not particularly flattering, either.

Colour preferences are, of course, very subjective. I like surrounding myself with colours, they make me feel good, and I like exploring different colour combinations; among my favourites there´s orange with bright white, apple-green with black, pale violet with silver, and, my latest fancy, bright red with dark purple. The only drawback is that such clothes can only be worn with black shoes. Now, the last time I wanted to buy simple black tango shoes, I came back with these:

Yep. You get the idea.
They are called Las ondas amarillas and it was love at first sight; but they can only be worn with black, which I find rather limiting.

And so I do, sometimes, dress in black to go dancing. And, frankly, I haven´t noticed any marked difference in the number of invitations I get.
It is a pity no man commented on this aspect of Debbi´s post, but it seems to confirm my theory:
From my experience most men, starting with my brother and including friends and lovers, are fairly conservative as far as fashion is concerned. My understanding has always been that I dress up in crazy colour combinations in spite of men, rather than for them. Let me explain - they like it, of course; but if I actually asked them whether I should put on a black skirt or a bright orange one, 9 men out of 10 would go for the black one. Luckily I am not so foolish as to ask a man´s advice in matters of clothing, so I will just put on the orange one, because it suits my mood, and get an admiring look with ´You look so lovely today!´.
Men. :)
I think it is best to dress for yourself, even if, obviously, you are going to a milonga to be invited (ergo: liked) by others; because after all, if you feel good, and beautiful, you come across as beautiful. And if someone likes your dancing, they will probably notice you even if you´re all in black.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mientras que milanesas...

.. y panqueques NO lo son!

And neither is the wolf-whistle!
(Btw, what do you call the wolf-whistle in castellano? I´ve never heard it named in Argentina, just whistled:)
All these things, and more, I have heard Argentines believe to be of their own invention, typical and unique to their culture. And they were mighty surprised when told that, ehm, the wolf-whistle IS a pretty common and internationally intelligible way of expressing appreciation for a woman´s looks, they DO have panqueques in France, because they, ehm, actually invented them in Brittany, and milanesas? well, what do they sound like to you? No matter whether you call them cotolette alla milanese, or Wiener Schnitzel - because yes, that´s where the Italians got the idea from, Milan being very close to the Austrian empire, and then took this way of cooking meat overseas to Argentina, see?
It all came back to me when reflecting on the almost irrational pride in their country displayed by many Argentines. There are some cultures like that. I know a couple from quite close, so I can understand it very well. Then there are cultures that consider such a stance ridiculous, if not inappropriate; there are countries where nationalism is considered almost a swear word, and often for good reasons.. it is obviously a cultural matter that might not have a rational explanation, although I think this ferocious pride and conviction that one´s country is the best in the world is more often than not seen in immigrant cultures, which, I suppose, might feel a greater need to assert their traditions and history (or lack of thereof?).
Aaaaaaaaaanyway, forget about my amateur attemps at sociology.. and think: what is the biggest compliment you have ever got from an Argentine?
When I was in Buenos Aires, I was often told that I looked like a porteña, and judging from the way people behaved towards me, it was probably true. I didn´t really pay any attention to it, because I know I happen to have a faculty of blending in which can confuse most observers - it is a talent developed in my childhood which has now become an instinctive reflex. Besides, being a mixture of the north and the south, with my brown hair, pale skin and green eyes I can usually pass unnoticed (in the good sense of the word;) in most (European) countries, the extreme south and Scandinavia excluded, I guess (in Argentina it was only just in Buenos Aires that I didn´t stick out; I had the most marvellous experience in Salta... but that is another story:)
But, to get back to my point, I was once in La Viruta, dancing on a packed dancefloor (and you know how it is when the dancefloor is packed in La Viruta, it isn´t exactly Niño Bien), and on our way back to the table, my partner said, with a hint of disgust in his voice -
´Hay muchos extranjeros en la pista, no?´
This happens; people will sometimes criticise foreigners in front of me, apparently forgetting that I am a foreigner myself.. I reckon it is flattering, in a way, but I still find such situations somewhat embarassing.
So I smirked, and said
´Si, y estas bailando con una de ellos.´
He didn´t hesitate for a moment (I like this about Argentines:) and with a wide smile and a deep conviction in his voice he said -
´Noooo, vos no sos extranjera, vos sos argentina!´
Another example: at an international tango event, people from all over the world, we were talking about who was from where, guessing, looking for a common language to communicate in, when an acquaintance pointed at me, jokingly -
´So, where does she look like she´s from?´ (It usually proves a tough one to guess.)
And Andrea, putting her hand around my shoulders and saying, in a matter-of-course way -
´Ella? Ella parece argentina. Si, parece porteña.´
Andrea, of course, knows full well where I am from.
Of course I am not Argentine. I might look like a porteña. Or not.
But you see, that´s not the point. Because, I realized, in both cases, the assertion of my argentinidad wasn´t so much about my looks, my castellano, or even my ability to dance tango. No no no.
It was a mark of affection. Like saying ´She´s ours.´
And that felt so good.
Mind you, not that I wouldn´t want to be Argentine:) when it comes to that, there´s plenty of things in the Argentine culture that suit my nature de maravilla - like, boy, was it tough coming back to Europe and having people reproach you for arriving 15 minutes late, when back in Buenos Aires you could take your time, no stress, arrive whenever you arrive, and no problem, not even a glance at the watch.. aaaah, Argentina...:)))

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mafalda es argentina!!!

..and I had no idea! Aaaaah... not only did Argentina give birth to tango, but also to one of my favourite comic strips! The creator of Mafalda, Joaquín Salvador Lavado, known as Quino, was born in the province of Mendoza, 76 years ago; who would have thought so?
:) Well, in any case, one more reason for this fanatic of la BD to love Argentina!

(We´re screwed, guys! Turns out that if you don´t hurry up and change the world, it is the world that changes you!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tango et câlins

There is an open air milonga in the park, a very pretty place, a kind of a bower which actually looks almost exactly like La Glorieta in Belgrano, only the floor is not tiles but wood - and pretty rough at that; I wore a pair of shoes that had the privilege of only having trodden the beautiful Canning parquet, so that after dancing in them nights on end the soles were practically intact, whereas now, after a few hours they´re all coarse and scratched. Ah, Canning... my feet have had a passionate love affair with its dancefloor; no matter what you think about Canning, its parquet IS the best in town, and the best I have ever danced on - apart from the corner in front of the bar, where the parquet is damaged and uneven.. but I digress. So there I was sitting on the stairs and putting on my shoes and next to me there was a young woman with a little girl and a little boy, all of them watching the dancers, and then the little girl said, pensively -
´Ils font des câlins
Her mother shook her head at her question and said ´No silly, they aren´t cuddling, they´re dancing!´
I laughed. And I told the little girl ´It is tango, they are half cuddling, half dancing.´
I wish I had seen someone dance tango when I was 5; I wonder what I would have made of it..?

Monday, June 30, 2008

An Elegy for Lost Blogs...

With some delay (I didn´t have much time lately so my visits to other blogs have been scarce) I have realized that another tango blog has been taken down this month. It has happened with others before and I just quietly, if with regret, removed them from my blog roll; but this time I would like to say a couple of words, not concerning this case in particular but this whole public vs. private blogging dilemma which apparently often leads to blogs being discontinued or even taken down.
It is always a loss when a blog you read disappears. And they were all really interesting blogs, so I can´t help thinking the blogosphere has lost something. And even if you don´t personally know the writer, you do develop some kind of an affinity with them, especially if it is a blog you read regularly, you come to know their personality as it gleams through their writing, and when it is no longer there, it is like loosing an old acquaintance. It is sad.
I have no intention to question the reasons which lead those bloggers to end their blogs. I don´t think it was easy for them, either. I am just saying it is a pity for everyone.
And of course it depends on why you blog, what you want your blog to be for you and for whomever might read it - because you must always assume someone will read it, it is on the web and therefore, while very personal, quite public. But this seeming contradiction has actually been the reason why I started to blog: I have my own Journal Intime, written by hand, in a notebook, where I write about my intimate life, about people and things that I would not care to discuss with public, some perhaps not even with my closest friends or family. The reason I created a blog was that, apart from the obvious technological advantages a blog presents over a simple diary, I wanted to learn to write about my experiences, my opinions, my life in a way that would be personal and yet suitable to be read by anyone who cares to read it, to find and never cross the line between what is my way of seeing the world, which I will gladly relate, discuss, even defend, and what is private and so intimate I don´t care to share it with others. It is not easy for me - I love writing, but had before only been able to write either essays, well-reasoned, scrupulously objective and elegantly impersonal, or personal journals with very intimate details. I find a blog is the perfect space for one to do something in between, if you want to; I am not saying I have entirely managed to strike this precious balance, but I am trying.
Anyway.. the rest of you, keep blogging, or not, if you no longer find it amusing or satisfactory - but don´t forget your readers;)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A faux pas, or a new trend?

On a more frivolous note -
a couple of weeks ago I attended a big tango event and apart from the fun of getting to dance with people from all around the world I also had the pleasure of watching the show of the teachers, among whom there were some of the greatest couples of both Argentine and international renown. The performances were great, I enjoyed them so much! The last time I had seen these people dance was months ago at the milongas of Buenos Aires, either performing or dancing socially, but here such treats are harder to come by, so of course one appreciates them more;)
Anyhow, there was one aspect of the performances which at first seemed harmlessly amusing but became quite bewildering as the shows went on and I realized this was a recurring feature: in three out of five couples we got to see a lot of the woman´s knickers during the dance - and I don´t mean a glimpse here and there during a particularly high boleo. The fourth couple broke the pattern because nuevo dancers rarely wear skirts, and the fifth one were two men who both wore trousers.
With the first couple it was, by the look of it, a case of a very beautiful dress of an unfortunate cut and material with a very high slit which was to show off the girl´s thigh but, as it slid around her body during the dance, ended up showing off a completely different part of her body, luckily covered by her knickers. Oh well.. that can happen. But as the performances continued, what with high slits and ultra short skirts, the trend became clear.
I certainly don´t mean to criticize the waning morals of our age:) I just think the matter is noteworthy and cannot be waved aside as coincidence. It might even be a new trend in tango fashion, so I point it out here for those of you who want to be up to date;)

BTW, seeing as Eugenia was the one nuevo dancer who wore wide pants and did not show her knickers, I can name her without compromising her, just to say that she is really incredible; the chica is so graceful you can´t take your eyes off her when she´s on the dancefloor, regardless of whether you like tango nuevo or not. I don´t particularly like her style of dancing, but her moves are so full of grace, it is simply a pleasure to watch. And I really liked her with Ezequiel, they have a lovely connection and on the dancefloor they are just two beautiful people.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

El poema del día

Muere lentamente quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito, repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos.

Quien no cambia de marca, no arriesga vestir un color nuevo y no le habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente quien hace de la televisión su gurú.

Muere lentamente quien evita una pasión, quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco y los puntos sobre las “íes” a un remolino de emociones, justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos, sonrisas de los bostezos, corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo, quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño, quien no se permite por lo menos una vez en la vida, huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente quién deja escapar un posible amor, con tal de no hacer el esfuerzo de hacer que éste crezca.

Muere lentamente quien no viaja, quien no lee, quien no oye música, quien no encuentra gracia en si mismo.

Muere lentamente quien destruye su amor propio, quien no se deja ayudar. Muere lentamente, quien pasa los días quejándose de su mala suerte o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente, quien abandonando un proyecto antes de empezarlo, el que no pregunta acerca de un asunto que desconoce o no responde cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas, recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor que el simple hecho de respirar. Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos una espléndida felicidad.

Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tango and horns

Fontanelle e motorini.
The epitome of the Eternal City.

Neither the Sistine Chapel, nor the Capitol, the Fontana di Trevi, or the hundreds of other sights, architectural marvels or works of art that Rome abounds in, but the omnipresent fountains with excellent drinkable water all-year round, while the South is struggling with drought, and the likewise omnipresent scooters, largely responsible for the insomnia of the inhabitants of the city centre; yet without them, Rome wouldn´t be Rome, would it?
In keeping with my private promise to go back every year, I have spent the weekend in the Eternal City, to see dear friends and catch at least a glimpse of the ochre-coloured city whose streets I know by heart.
Rome has undergone some changes since my student years, some good and some less good; but, seeing as it is eternal, its centuries-old charm remains unharmed (though the traffic in the city centre really should be banned, or at least drastically reduced, before the smog turns even the Vittoriano black; mind you, it doesn´t look like that will happen now, with the new mayor.. but that´s another story). I did all the right things - long breakfasts with latte con caffè, an exhibition of Renoir´s paintings in the Vittoriano (the real reason of my haste, incidentally, as it ends in June), a walk up the Via del Babuino and Via Margutta to Pincio and then back downtown, a stop to see Caravaggio´s lovely Madonna dei Pellegrini in a side-chapel of a church where a wedding was taking place, an evening stroll down Il Corso, several cones of my favourite rice-and-cinnamon ice-cream, and a stop at Feltrinelli´s:)
And a milonga. That evening, Roma had beaten Inter, and the city went bonkers; the milonga was taking place in a lovely location, a beautiful room with a splendid shiny parquet and large mirrors in gilt frames. It was quite warm and so the high windows and the balcony door were thrown open, to let in the indescribable racket from outside! While dancing, we could at times hardly hear the tango music, drowned by the sounds of horns and cheering outside..
Tango romano?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Just like BsAs

Not the tango.
Although I can´t complain, I´ve had some really nice tandas yesterday. So nice, actually, that I stayed much later than I had meant to; when I arrived to the métro, the entrance was already shut for the night.
I had been chatting with this fellow at the milonga, and when I was leaving, he insisted on walking me to the métro - just across the street, but the neighbourhood doesn´t have a very good reputation, and he seemed upset at the idea that I should take the métro alone at that hour - apparently Spaniards are gentlemen, and courtesy towards women ought to be encouraged, so I gracefully let him accompany me.
Seeing the entrance shut I decided to take a taxi, so he walked with me to a nearby taxi station. The taxis are all in uniform colours, with the emblem of the city, registration number, etc. My companion suspiciously squinted into the one I was going to take, and said with a solicitous expression: ´Hmm.. the driver looks ok.. I hope he´s a serious person..´
I laughed, shook my head, and thinking something about over-protective gentlemen said good night to him and got into the taxi.
The African driver was very amiable, we chatted on the way, and when we arrived, I got off on the roundabout, because my street is a one-way one, and my house is about ten metres from the roundabout. It is one of the expensive and posh neighbourhoods, with boutiques and cafeterias, very calm and generally considered safe.
As I was getting off, the taxi driver said, approvingly: ´Aah, the street is very well lit; you shouldn´t get mugged.´
Excuse me?!!
For a split second, I felt just like in Buenos Aires.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

More Milonga Musings

Tanguillo mentioned in his comment to my previous post that one must ´tener el sabor (de la milonga)´ to dance it well; I say that to dance milonga well, you must love milonga, nothing less than that.
It boils down to the same thing, really.
If you´re not confident about the way you dance milonga, if you´re insecure about it, if you dance it tentatively rather than with gusto, in short if you don´t revel in dancing milonga - then you are not dancing milonga. IMHO.
You can always tell from your partner´s reaction when they hear the first notes of milonga:
´Oh - uhm - milonga..´ (eyes going wide with horror)
´Oh - milonga.. well, shall we try?´
and other like reactions generally bode no good.
´Milonga!!!´ (usually exclaimed by both simultaneously, with delighted smiles), at which point the couple quickly embraces and starts dancing without further ado because milongas are too short to waste time with words.

Once, I met this bloke (on the dancefloor); I had never danced with him before, didn´t know him at all, and our first tanda ever was MILONGA (risky, I know.) But we clicked, it was great, and in the pause after the first song, smiling delightedly and unable to believe our good luck, I said ´Adoro la milonga!´ to which he answered, ´Bueno, agarráte!´ And off we went.
THAT is milonga attitude. Not ´uh, well, shall we...?´

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Better than sex?!

You know how people sometimes compare sex and tango? And how some will go so far as to say that a good tanda is almost as good as (if not better) than sex?

I have always been firmly convinced that, if comparisons must be made, then (good) sex is BETTER than tango.
But I am beginning to foster some grave doubts as to whether sex is really better than -

a really good MILONGA!

Yes, I´ve had a couple of fantastic milongas yesterday, and by the end of the set I was in that state of insane bliss (you know, that one..) and floated home sur un nuage, insanely smiling at the few loosers sharing the last métro with me.

I have become something of a milonga addict. And I think men who also love milonga can feel it.

I have a hunch though that men who CAN dance milonga (I won´t say dance it well, with milonga you either can dance it, or you cannot. Full stop.) are really thin on the ground - perhaps more so then good lovers.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

You think you´re a tango addict? Think again...

I found this article some time ago, leafing through the March edition of El Tangauta, where it was published in the section Renegando con René (a humourist fiction page, basically); I still remember that, reading it back in Buenos Aires, in the whirlwind of the milongas, I didn´t find it remotely funny, but deeply disturbing (not the article as such, which is a bit on the ridiculous side, but the addiction itself, which is pretty well described there, and its potential to mess up people´s lives). The notion of tango addiction had acquired a whole new dimension, and it no longer seemed the harmless (and rather cool, admit it) quirk it mostly is outside of Bs As.
At that time I read it with a shudder and put it away. Now, with some detachment, I think it´s quite interesting, though I still believe it will not seem all that funny to those really addicted to tango, or close to someone who is (unless they are in denial, of course).
The English translation provided by El Tangauta was not up to the high literary standards of this blog; I have therefore taken the liberty of translating it myself:

Grupo Carriego

(´...curdelas de caña y locas de pris...´)

First of all I would like to thank the doctors here for all they have done for me... I would like to bear witness, because the doctor asked me to, and I cannot fail him... well, I hope this can be of some use to somebody... what I want to say is that I am not doing this to torment myself, but in case someone should identify with another´s person´s misfortune, right, doctor?... I´ll go on; should I say anything wrong, stop me... I wanted to tell you that I also used to be a ruin, like you... I had ruined my life, altogether. First I lost my job, then my friends, lifelong friends they were... then my girlfriend left me, and she was a great girl and a beauty... never again in my life will I get a girl like that again... The thing is, I didn´t realize what was happening to me, it seemed normal to me and I thought it was the others that had a problem. I didn´t realize that I was ill, that I needed help... In the beginning of my troubles, those close to me wanted to help me. Because, to be fair, I must say that more than one person came to talk to me... People who would come to me and tell me I seemed odd, untidy, unkempt. And I would tell them that was what was fashionable at the time, that there were many people who wore white shoes, and that those shiny shirts were worn by all the cool guys... They were trying to help me, right, doctor?... Now I can see it all clearly, but at the time I wouldn´t listen to anyone. I changed the way I dressed, I changed friends, I stopped doing the things I used to do: I stopped going to the football matches, for example, because I just couldn´t get up on Sundays. In short, I was a real addict, a guy with a serious problem... Thinking of the dancing, all day long, imagining steps, thinking I had invented stuff; I couldn´t stop... The thing is, at the beginning one thinks one can cope, but then one realizes that he cannot. I even see foreigners who come here, again and again, and they will sell their own mother if needs be but will come every year – they can´t stop, just like I couldn´t... Until, one day, they found me with a compass, a ruler and a notebook full of notes, examining a turnstile in the subway. I tried to explain, but they wouldn´t listen; they gave me a shot and then brought me here to this farm. I have been here for three months, and I truly cannot complain – they take care of us, they teach us crafts, organize activities for us... Just the other day we played a football game with those from the Grupo Andrés. And the doctors are fantastic, they have helped me a lot to deal with my problem... And no tango, none of it – they keep us in shorts and flip-flops, and send us to bed at ten o´clock. And if someone gets a fit, the only thing they will let them dance is the minuet... It´s tough, but you´ve got to endure it... Now, in a couple of weeks I´ll be getting leave permissions, but just for the day and will always have to be back in the evening, to avoid the temptation... Because, once you´ve tried it, you remain hooked for life... right, doctor?

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Embrace

I haven´t really written anything about my tango in Buenos Aires. I have posted about all kinds of silly stuff like buses, coins, security, but I have completely left out the tango - and that despite the fact that I probably spent about 70% of my waking hours there on high heels :) so much so that when I came back, for a while I had this funny feeling of being shorter, all of a sudden; as though tango shoes had become a part of my body which extended my legs and reshaped my feet in a somewhat curious, but fairly comfortable way (for dancing, that is; it all depends on your perspective, but if you spend more time dancing then, say, playing football, you´ll feel more comfortable in high-heeled shoes than in sneakers, clearly).

To be honest, I have been reluctant to write about tango in Bs As. For one thing, once you become a part of the milonga world, it makes no sense to post about it as if from an outside perspective. If you´re a part of the zoo, you no longer find the animals´ habits strange and intriguing, to be described and analysed. Also, it would be quite inadequate to say that ´the porteños do this, and the porteños would never do that..´ - they are a fairly heterogeneous bunch, the porteños, and besides there are different groups and tendencies within the world of the Bs As milongas, some places where the codigos are on the wane and some where there are no codigos in the old sense, but there are still some rules which may be completely different and will leave those travelling tangueros/as who came equipped with a perfect knowledge of ´los codigos´ entirely flabbergasted. I mean, just watch your surroundings, listen to people around you (but don´t believe everything they say) and use common sense, it should be sufficient. Actually, when you think about it, even most of the old codigos are just logical consequences of polite behaviour and common sense, not all that specific to tango.

I haven´t written about my learning experiences either, which was perhaps a bit selfish, but I first needed to absorb it all and, you know, me ranger les idées.. I´ve learned lots, and I think that I´ve come back with what I had been looking for - my own style (or what I want my own style to be like), the tango that ´I´ want to dance, and the confidence in that. It feels nice. Also, dancing in Bs As was like a trial by fire for me - content as I might have been with my dancing before going to Argentina, I had naturally been curious to see whether it was good enough for Buenos Aires. I emerged from the trial unharmed:)

What sometimes worries me a bit is that, dancing with people who cannot dance - or who dance ´differently´, to put it in a more ´correct´ way:) - could eventually ruin my own dancing and make me loose all that I have learned in Bs As. Javier told me quite uncompromisingly ´Don´t dance with blokes who can´t dance. They will ruin your posture, and your embrace. You won´ t enjoy it. There´s no reason why you should do it.´ Surely that sounds somewhat harsh (not if you know him and the way he has of saying things; but it does, written down like that, or said out loud at a milonga in Europe). It is good advice; it cannot always be followed strictly, but, on the whole, I dance with fairly few men now, but get really good dances and come home from the milonga feeling happy and content.

But I am getting to my point: Yesterday I went to my favourite milonga, and danced with this bloke whose dancing I really like; he goes to Bs As quite regularly, and just got back a couple of weeks ago. After the first tango, as we broke the embrace, he started laughing and couldn´t stop. ´Oh yes,´he said ´I recognize the embrace. You sure do embrace like a porteña!´ Ha!
:))) So I guess I haven´t forgotten.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Recovering... slowly

It has been three weeks since I left Buenos Aires.
The pain is less acute now. I am getting used to my European life again, and I am surprised to see how much I like it. I had forgotten I liked it so much. It doesn´t take away the pain and the feeling that a part of me is still back in Buenos Aires (and also my favorite jeans jacket that I left at La Baldosa and which was never found - I decided it would draw me back to Argentina, like the coins that people throw into la fontana di Trevi) - but it feels reassuring to walk past beautiful old buildings, ranging from Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance palaces to Baroque churches and Art Nouveau houses, to sleep in a comfortable bed, to be given precedence by drivers as a pedestrian; and then the food... the food! My appetite has come back in no time at all:) The only thing I miss sorely, foodwise, are the churros en chocolate; but they are hard to come by even for those who live in BsAs, after 8 o´clock in the morning; I wonder if the government has issued some kind of quotas on them, perhaps as a part of a national plan to fight obesity in the Argentine population..?
I still drink loads of mate, I am afraid I´ve got myself another addiction. It is, together with my other stimulant, chocolate, wonderful for keeping my brain alert and quick at work while fighting the sleep deficit, for I still haven´t quite overcome my Argentina habit of living at night, only now, I have to work during the day... And I listen to tango most of the time, and against my better judgment; it is rather painful because now, much as I try, I cannot block out the lyrics, and they keep rubbing it in... but then again, they are really beautiful.
..dejame esperarte, nada mas, ya que comprendo que esperar es un pedazo de recuerdo...
I danced to this song a couple of days ago, and I had to tell my partner to please not say anything and not do any nonsense (like boleos, ganchos, leg wraps, etc.) because this song makes me very, very melancholy and I just want to close my eyes, embrace somenone, and dance (and maybe cry, too, but I didn´t say that). He kindly obliged, but seemed puzzled. Ah well.
Fortunately, there is cumbia. It reminds me of Buenos Aires, but there´s no way you can listen to cumbia and be sad. No need to discuss its lyrics;)
Thank God for cumbia!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

La pensée du jour:

Contrary to what some tangueros like to say, and although some milongueros would never admit it -

La vida no es un tango; y el tango no es la vida.

Just a thought...
They do merge sometimes, though.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I have just watched this film. I loved it.
It´s a really cool film; plus, it provides a great insight into the porteño mentality.
Living in Buenos Aires, I used to think they were all just paranoid.
Don´t walk around at night, you´ll get mugged!
Don´t keep the windows open, thieves could get in!
Do lock the door at night, see previous..
Keep an eye on your purse, there are pickpockets everywhere!
Do not trust anyone, especially not the taxi-drivers!
And everyone always checking the paper money to see if it´s not fake (ok, I can understand this with 100 pesos bills, but I have seen people importantly squint at 2 pesos bills against the light.. I mean, honestly...
I also understood the change obsession was not really due to the need of coins for the bus ride, but the fear of emerging from an exchange of smaller and larger bills with less money than is due to you, if you are not vivo enough (see the starting scene of Nueve Reinas).
But I refuse to live like that. I think that a certain amount of trust is necessary. Some may call it naiveté, but to me it is a matter of attitude. I can´t live in constant fear of my surroundings. To me, the porteños´ attitude borders on paranoia.
Especially since I did walk around Once alone at night and - nothing, we did keep the windows open, I did not lock the front door at night (though Tina did, so it depended on who got home last:), my purse is so messy that I dare any pickpocket to find anything of value in it - it takes ME ages to fish out my phone or money - and I have never met friendlier taxi drivers than those of Buenos Aires.
Surprisingly, I never even got fake money in change of my 100p bills:)
I found the locals´ paranoia quite amusing, if exasperating at times; I put it down to hard times in the past, and an overall tendency to paint things black. Having seen the film though, I understand much better!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Missing BsAs

I got back two days ago.
Paris was all grey when my plane landed. As I was walking out of the airplane, a young Argentine next to me was calling his novia to say he arrived well. ´Te mando un beso, mi vida´. My heart sank. The familiar sound of my beloved French irritated me - I longed to hear castellano, with the porteño accent I had become accustomed to, and came to love.
I am still feeling sort of - confunded (yes, as in Harry Potter). I have been falling asleep most of the time, and randomly unpacking in between, listening to tango, trying on tango shoes, drinking mate, listening to tango, dreaming, drinking mate, writing mails to BsAs, listening to tango. I know I shouldn´t listen to tango, but can´t help it. Besides, I need to get all the CDs I´ve brought back with me into my iPod, and that takes time.
It is cold here. That doesn´t help. I miss - many things. Too many. I am still too stunned and numb with pain to plan going back. There are so many beautiful places in the world, and only so many one can keep going back to. And the emotional ties are too intense. I don´t want to go back one day. I want to be there, now.
I can´t help thinking that at this moment, I would be having breakfast at La Viruta, and then taking the 151 home - it would stop right in front of the door to our house.

:)Oh, but don´t feel too sorry for me. It was worth it, every bit of it;)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Still here

Help yourself, as they say, and God will help you.
I am still here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE! I want to stay here, but the airlines won´t change my ticket!
Please, please, may the workers on Ezeiza go on strike tomorrow!
May my flight be cancelled!
I cannot leave. I just cannot!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

los bondi

Meet my latest crush... :)

Are they not fabulous?
They are probably the most beautiful thing I´ve seen here. Seriously. I fell in love with them the first day, and I have since braved all kinds of inconveniences to travel in them (inside they are just as fascinating and decorative as on the outside).
I have worked out the Guia de bolsillo, which is singularly user-unfriendly. To my knowledge, there is no map where you could see through which streets the buses actually pass - from the Guía you only get a rough idea of the neighbourhood that they are passing through, but you cannot tell which streets, nor where the stops are. And since most streets in Buenos Aires are one-way, when you arrive somewhere and want to take the same line back, you must face the challenge of finding the bus stop in the opposite direction, which can be just about anywhere. It is a tricky business, but not altogether impossible, with the massive cooperation of the locals (who mostly give you loads of interesting, but unfortunately not entirely relevant information about OTHER bus stops -
Question: ´Hello, would you know where the 59 stops, in the direction to Palermo?´
Answer: (helpfully) ´The 59? No idea. But two blocks away from here there is the bus stop of 3 and 112.´
Question: ´Do these go anywhere near Palermo?´
Answer: ´No, no, no.´
But to be fair, if you are lucky, you do meet people who actually take the same bus as you do sometimes, and they help you. The best people to ask have so far proved to be the policemen - they seem to be singularly well informed about where the different buses stop.
Another challenge which taking the colectivos presents is the constant need of change. Coins. Everyone wants them, nobody has them. I think the Central Bank of Argentina ought to give this matter some attention, and perhaps consider issuing more coins. You can only pay for a bus ride by throwing coins into a machine. If you don´t have coins, too bad. Asking people on bus stops for change seems inappropriate (they need it themselves; I have been given a peso for my bus ride, rather then getting it in change of my five pesos bill, because the lady needed the coins she had for tomorrow!).
Nevertheless, impossible as it seemed at first to get enough coins for the public transport, it soon became a kind of a game which I cheerfully joined in with the locals.
The waiter, saying with a pained expression, when I payed a 13.50-pesos bill with a 20 pesos banknote: ´Have you really got no change?´ (a 20 pesos banknote, mind you; it´s not like I wanted to pay one beer with a 100 pesos banknote - which an American tourist at the next table did; and since he spoke no Spanish, the waiter didn´t have a choice and coughed up the change!) ´None at all, I am so sorry´says I, careful not to jingle the 1 and half peso coins in my wallet. ´Ah... all right then...´ he sighs, handing out the change he had had all along, of course.
The rules of the game are: never admit to having change, always ask for it. My man thinks it is a silly game and laughs at my recent obsession with coins, but I now have plenty of coins in my wallet (so many that I will occasionally break the rules and actually give change to someone who needs it:), while he gets to walk a lot:)))

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fast forward

a parenthesis of [my first week in Buenos Aires - recovering from a nasty cold (three days in this climate and I was fine - really don´t see why people complain about the heat, I love it:) and then just messing around, getting the hang of the place, trying to work out the colectivos network (and becoming obsessed with change as a consequence - the buses here certainly deserve a chapter of their own, coming shortly), getting used to speaking Spanish, buying a mate and some yerba to drink in the afternoon in the Jardín Botánico, and going to a couple of milongas - La Viruta, Villa Malcolm, Tan Piola y Cajetilla, Plaza Dorrego - La milonga del Indio, very nice except for the floor, ah well, but spending the afternoon in the Bar de Plaza Dorrego and watching the people passing by was just as good:), my first dances, mostly with Argentine blokes (which is surprising I guess, I was told that I will mostly dance with foreigners here, but I seem to come across more locals then tourists), some wonderful tandas and embraces (you know what I mean, Tina;) some fairly good, some indifferent; only about two were really bad; and buying shoes, shoes, shoes, of course:)]
then another parenthesis containing our trip to the Northwest [fabulous landscape, insane living conditions in the Puna, an altogether different country that seems to have nothing to do with Bs As; flying to Salta, staying there for a while, seeing the track of the Tren de las Nubes, and going up into the Andes, S. Antonio de los Cobres, la Puna, las Salinas Grandes, then S. Salvador de Jujuy and further north to la Quebrada de Humahuaca which is incredibly beautiful]
and so here I am in Buenos Aires, and honestly I like the city more and more. Right from the beginning this place has reminded me - and it still does - of a city where I spent a large part of my childhood and adolescence (the heat, the traffic, and the smog, the modern houses mixed up with older, 19th c. ones without any discernible pattern or purpose, the smells of food and fruits and flowers, the dark-haired amiable people, the courteous men, the chaotic public transport; the only thing I miss sorely is the smell of the sea; the delta of the Rio de la Plata is not worthy of that name.
The funny thing is that that city is an ancient one, its modern buildings standing on the ruins of a 3000-year-old civilization, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the fairly young Buenos Aires.
And I had a feeling of triumph today, as I strolled down Avenida Las Heras and a boy came up to me and asked for directions (and he wasn´t a tourist or a foreigner either) - this is a specialty of mine; in every city I have lived in, within a couple of days people start coming up to me on the street and asking for directions; I just seem to look like I know - and what is best, I did know this time!!! I pointed him to the right direction, and my, was I proud of myself:)
A couple of hours later I walked into a place to buy an empanada; ´What have you got without meat (sin carne)´, I asked. The bloke reacted immediately ´Pollo - ..´ ´No, no, soy vegetariana (with an apologetic smile)´ ´Ah... entonces (names several types of empanadas, ending with La Napoletana)´ I wanted to know what is in La Napoletana (I have learned to be wary); ´Jamon, queso, tomates.´ ´Qué?!´ not sure I really heard what I heard ´Jamon, queso, tomates´ he repeats patiently. ´Ah, no, yo quiero algo sin carne...´ ´Sí, claro (encouragingly).´ I have a moment of confusion, but then decide to be assertive ´Jamon, pero, es carne!´ He gives me an incredulous smile, and then it dawns on him ´Aaaaah.... Sí...´
I got a caprese, and it was excellent. But, honestly...
Will be good and post some more, if I have the time.. The thing is, there are so many things going on, and I need to absorb them first..

Friday, February 01, 2008

Quote du jour

Dijo Susana Miller:
(El tango) es primero que todo un "abrazo que camina".
Au fond, c´est ce qu´on aime le plus, n´est-ce pas?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Traveller´s hysteria?

Two more days... I can´t wait, though I´m dreading the overseas flight. I have never taken sleeping pills in my life, but maybe I could have some now, to knock myself out for the night flight, so that I don´t have to think about the abyss below, and the depths of the ocean? For some reason the idea fills me with horror, similar to the one I feel when sailing on a ship at night, and thinking of the terrifying depths of the dark sea below, from which I am only separated by the thin bottom of the ship; and that is my beloved Mediterranean I am talking about, and not the gloomy grey Atlantic! It is a sort of a vertigo (which I do not have, but I imagine it must feel like that).

Now now, I am growing macabre.

I am so looking forward to Buenos Aires and the summer. I must have forgotten what it looks like. And the travelling. We are planning to go to the Noroeste, Salta, Jujuy. I have been reading some stuff about that region, and it´s fascinating. Now, this is not a travels blog – I find they tend to be rather tedious to read – but it is, after all, where my chemin du tango is taking me (theoretically; in practice it is my man who has this thing about pre-Spanish Latin American cultures:)), and I have a couple of questions for those tangueros, or porteños, who have ventured out of the capital into the northwestern provinces:

First and foremost, should I bring my dancing shoes, or am I not to bother?

And what about the water? I drink tap water (c.f. Tagged), but the guide mentions that the water in the northwest (and only there, it seems) is ´not reliable´ - and also says to beware of salads and fruits and vegetables if you don´t know what water they were washed in (well, show me a restaurant where they wash vegetables in bottled water..) – so, am I to drink bottled water and starve during the trip? Then again I don´t know how ´reliable´ the guide is – I always read guides to places I know well, out of curiosity, and there are always both really useful tips and complete nonsense and paranoia. Hmmmmmm....

But it is all my fault. I have just realized the other day that since I want to travel up north, I should perhaps consider some vaccination (I know, silly me, but it never occured to me for going to Buenos Aires..). I called a health center and they confirmed this and told me off for thinking of it so late.

I am going through the profile of Argentina on the website of the Pan American Health Organization, but will stop now, because it is seriously scary. All epidemics seem to break out in the Salta or Jujuy region, where many horrible diseases are endemic, apparently. Right; I don´t think I want to know this.

Ok, there is definitely something wrong with me tonight. Should have gone dancing.

Speaking of dancing, I have victoriously emerged from my post-New Year-depression. Last week, as a matter of fact, I had two fabulous tandas with two fabulous dancers; and apparently, the pleasure was mutual;) Can´t wait to dance in Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


It is spreading like the plague:) Tangobaby, I don´t think I can link to seven more blogs, unless I tag people who have already been tagged.. it is a small tango-blog world:) but I´ll do my best. Anyway, it is quite an interesting exercise. I certainly enjoyed reading other people´s responses.

So, for those of you who don´t, as yet, know, here are the rules of the game:

Share seven random and/or weird things (you can decide if they're wierd) about yourself. Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here go mine:

My favourite drink is water. I just love its taste (for those of you who think water is tasteless – it is not!) I cannot think of any liquid the taste of which could rival good tap water (mineral water isn´t half as good). As a child I used to get seriously annoyed when well-meaning people would try to force Coke/Sprite/orange juice on me, assuming I was only asking for tap water to be modest.

I like cooking. I find it interesting, fun, creative, and very rewarding:) As a matter of fact, cooking is the only house chore that makes any sense to me. I also like reading cookbooks.

I am left-handed, and I am irrationally proud of it. Maybe because my mother, who greatly admired Leonardo Da Vinci, was thrilled when I started drawing with my left hand and later, when I was four, writing from right to left, ´mirror writing´ certain letters; she never once thought of encouraging me to use my right hand instead. And well until my school years I would occasionally use the mirror form of a letter – certain letters just seemed ok both ways – and I can still write from right to left quite effortlessly.

I have green eyes. Like my mother, and her mother. I used to think it was just the women in my family who had them, until I found out that they come from my great-grandfather. Not very popular in the family, he was what they call a Hochstapler, an adventurer. A very good looking man, who owned and ran several pubs (always went bankrupt in the end) and after he had squandered his wife´s dowry he embarked on a boat to Buenos Aires, with high hopes, it seems, only to return to Europe as penniless as he had left. I wonder if he encountered tango there...

I am a vegetarian. I never really liked eating meat in the first place – I have always found it rather suspect and vaguely disgusting – but after a rather disconcerting experience (a work assignment including visits to abbatoirs – I found out too late and couldn´t refuse) I would no longer put up with it and announced I was a vegetarian. The advantage being I can now tell people I can´t eat meat, because I am a vegetarian and they don´t get offended, which they would if I said I´rather starve than eat that.

Dogs like me and they don´t bark at me; I love dogs and I think they can tell. When I was little I would stroke and cuddle every dog I could get hold off, including very big and very dirty stray dogs, abounding in the country of my childhood; my mother was terrified I would get bitten, but I never did.

I got my degree in historical linguistics, the history of the English language, to be more precise. I studied Old English –

Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum,
þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,
hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.

- that sort of thing – and I was fascinated by the medieval world of Alfred the Great, the Lindisfarne monks and the Anglo-Saxon warriors, and their grim, funny, bizarre and delightful verses.

So, that´s it:) And I am tagging: The Tango Goddess

Terre Inconnue




Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy New Year

Haven´t written anything in a couple of weeks, and, what is worse, haven´t danced either:(

And not so much because of the frenetic social life that usually accompanies this time of the year, but rather because – like so many others both around me and in the blogosphere – I got ill a week before Christmas, and spent most of it coughing and sneezing, wrapped up in warm covers on the living room sofa, staring wistfully at the lovely Christmas tree which, I was told, gave out a beautiful smell of winter forests – only I couldn´t smell any of it because of my cold:(

I have been reading tango blogs though – they are such a consolation when I cannot dance myself:) and I have updated my blogroll accordingly.

Then, last night, I went dancing. I am pretty much ok now, though still feeling a bit weak; I didn´t expect this pause of two weeks to influence my dancing very much... but it has. It was awful. My legs were weak, wobbly, I moved with uncertainty, got tired quickly... simply awful. I think (and hope) it isn´t so much my dancing skills reduced to nought in such a short time, but the muscles of my body that have gone soft because of a lack of exercise. But how can my body be so unreliable? I mean, a stupid dragging cold and I get all shaky with the least physical exertion!

The least.. well.. I guess I shouldn´t have begun the evening with a long Gotan tanda – I didn´t want to, either, but my friend insisted. Should have only danced to slower and more soothing music. And then there was the vals tanda – but I do so love vals, and it was with one of my favourite leaders – only somehow it didn´t come out as lovely as it might have. Oh well. Around midnight I decided to call it a day and catch the last metro home.

What grieves me most about this is that towards the end of last year I was going through a very good tango period – I was really quite happy with my dancing, all seemed to go so well. Last night, I felt terribly downhearted as I climbed the steps to my flat on the fifth floor, after the first milonga in this year, and full of doubts about my dancing and tango.

Have to exercise, to get back in shape. And dance, to get back into the right frame of mind. And think of my trip to Argentina.