Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Buenos Diaries Pt. 1

The following is a really bad attempt at keeping a brief account of my time here in Argentina. Why is it brief? I want to make it seem as though I am too busy with hot sexy milongeuras and only have the opportunity to type with one hand because I'm dragging some girl to the dance floor with the other. Normally this process of writing takes me far longer than it does for you to read it. This time around I'm just opening notepad and hammering down whatever I thought was funny. Expect gibberish and garbled syntax. Here's the first week.

Day 1 Flight to BA

[Joining me on my journey is Andrey, also at the same school as me, and Irina, who is from Nizhny Novgorod. Due to personal matters, Anton's arrival is delayed by about ten days :( The whole thing will last some 15 days]

Delayed at Moscow Domodedovo airport by one hour. Flights to Central Asian states aplenty, meaning there are Tajiks and Uzbeks everywhere. For some extremely weird reason - might have been the breakfast omelette - I break into a vicious sweat for about ten minutes and nearly vomit on the way to Madrid. Bought some swiss mega-adapter, so my camera and netbook will be with me throughout this little jaunt halfway across the world. Despite delay, arrive in perfect time for boarding. 12 hours of sitting about lie ahead. I really need a drink for this.

Nowhere near as bad as return flight from Shanghai, during which I had no netbook and nearly went nuts. Iberia are okay. Steer clear of the moussaka, and the red wine is like grape juice.

No problems getting through immigration (unless you're Canadian, American or Australian). Zhenya, our guide, meets us with a driver. It is a muggy 24 degrees on our arrival.

A forty minute drive gets us to our apartment building, which is in the swanky district of Palermo. Flat is sparse, but towels and soap are in abundance. Zhenya gives me a SIM card and we discuss other stuff.

I don't have any shampoo, this is my hair.

Day 2 Welcome to BA

Wake up, hair is still a disheveled clump on my head. It rained last night. View from my balcony.

Trees lining the street are somewhat of a novelty for me, having spent 3 years wandering Moscow's dusty pavements.

Meet my fellow milonguero/as for breakfast. One of them is having a couple of medialunas (lit. half-moons). A medialuna is a sweet croissant.

Stood in dog shit. Bought new tango shoes, very fancy. Tailored suit and trousers incoming next week. We drink two bottles of malbec over lunch. Beef is glorious. Shopping now. Wait, it's raining. Supermarket is called Disco. Try to take money out from ATM with my card, doesn't work - mostly due to the fact that I was guessing which friggin' button I needed to push. Credit card still works at the till.

Chill for the afternoon. Milonga in the evening. Didn't have glasses, couldn't see shit [Editor's note: Eye contact is vital during such events], still had some good dances, new shoes kick ass, nuts half-time performance by a professional couple, left my goddamn wallet on the table like a knobend, Andrey looked at my wallet and then at me as if I was a knobend when I came back to the table (quite rightly so).

Day 3 Settling in

Drag my ass out of bed. Lost my key, duh. Ended up leaving it in the door, security guard took it. Sheepishly march to admin, lady puts fear of god into me "someone could have come into your apartment!" even though there's a glass security door, a guard monitoring it, and five stories separating me from any potential bandito.

Call Mike. Meet for coffee outside, reminisce, talk about dogs, head back to his for lunch with his girlfriend. Sunburned. Ouch.

Another milonga tonight - hopefully getting dinner with Andrey and Ira. Beef!

No beef, huge chunk of salmon instead. White wine.

Milonga in old dance hall. Not as good as yesterday's. Ironically most of the people I danced with weren't Argentine at all. Italian, English, Asian/Australian, Danish and I forget who else. Get home at about 3 AM

Day 4 Friday hangover

Wake up feeling like crap. Need to get washing powder. Washing powder aquired. Washing machine sucks, gonna resort to hand washing shit from now on [Editor's note: He doesn't].

Cook pasta. Eat far too much ice cream because freezer is too small. Oops.

Heading out for class and milonga. Class lasts two hours. Milonga straight after. Not particularly wild on one of the movements that was focused on, which was a sort of amagi/kunita for the milonguera and a perpendicular side step for the partner.

Class made all the better by the presence of Fernanda, whose embrace I shall not forget for quite some time. Instructor guy was a teensy bit too flashy for my liking. Cool beard, though.

Milonga afterwards involved two encounters with Argentineans, a Japanese and Bulgarian. Head home early because dance floor gets way too packed, and have no patience to wait another hour for it to calm down. Bottle of Terrazas Malbec waits for me at home.

Day 5 Just Saturday

Sunbathe only a short while considering how red I turned in such a brief space of time the other day. Venture out on a little walk for an hour or so. End up on some main road (Avenue of the Liberator?)

with loads of trees and stuff everywhere.

Take a few snaps. Wander into some coffee shop by the zoo, order a chocolate alfajore which is similar-ish to Halva.

Waiting on early class tonight. Weekends are down time for milongas and lessons. If I can't get a personal instructor sorted tonight, gonna end up traipsing across the whole city next week to as many group classes as possible, if only for the fact that the quality of partners here is incredible compared to Moscow.

Turned up hour late for class (listing was incorrect). Met Damian Eselin. Apparently I'll be having a private lesson or two with him.

Milonga is a bit weak, but of all things Damian and his partner Nancy (along with another pair) are performing at this club. Rather than talk about the fact that it was not a young crowd in the slightest, I have videos of all their routines. Joy of joys is that the wifi in the apartment building is brill, and my upload speed is through the roof (sort of). Certainly way faster than Moscow. Anyway, enjoy.

There's a whole bunch more on my youtube channel.

Day 6 Souvenir Sunday?

Hang around flat til midday. Call Anton. Go to Parque Centenario to meet Mike. Eat a chorizo hot dog thing. Eat a churro. Eat some cake handed out by a couple of girls. "Spitting" trees. Attempt to buy souvenirs from flea market. End up settling on a set of nail clippers.

Drink a bottle of Quilmes local beer. Nothing exceptional. Might try and eat at the french brasserie tonight that my dad recommended.

A glorious chunk of cow is preceeded by a red tuna carpaccio. Creme caramel to finish. Wine with all three courses. I am full.


Next time: the lessons with Damian begin...

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