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.