Hello Blogland, long time no see!
After a sad month without Club Espanol, Julio opened up Chique again at Club Galicia, smaller & not as elegant but fingers crossed for him. I met a lovely man there and have been too busy falling for him to do any blogging. It's been bloody cold here & I had a quick bout of 'flu. Fantastically excited now because my lovely friend Chris is coming out next week for a short visit. Had a couple of brushes with bureaucracy & seen a bit of Argentine democracy. We have had some incredible biblical weather here and it transpires my flat needs a bit of weatherproofing.
Alright, so I won't go into all the details, partly because it has been 2 months - thanks for pointing that out, Elizabeth! - and I don't have either the time or the stamina to fill you in on all of that.
The post-Club Espanol period was a bit odd. I did have a feeling of mourning, albeit more at the level of a lost hamster than a dear friend. Clearly, life goes on but it was interesting how much I had fixed on that milonga as a point of constancy in mine. While it was absent, I went to a few other milongas - some familiar, some not - but nothing else really does the same thing for me. Nino Bien - well, I never really liked that place anyway but we went the night before Good Friday and it was packed to the gunnels with strange people; kind of a Sunday driver syndrome, very uncomfortable on the floor and off it. A couple of good evenings at Porteno y Bailarin, including one when Alberto Podesta sang. He used to sing with the di Sarli orchestra. Amazing to hear him singing at the age of 85. Had a lovely evening at Club Sunderland with Francis, Carmen and some American ladies. There I saw Miguel again after some months and we danced a couple of tandas. I also went to a new milonga with Kikki & Eduardo, called los Mareados. It is in a conference room of a modern hotel and probably needs to build up its ambience a little. I danced there with a young man who almost dropped me when he realised, thanks to his friends' laughter, that he was tangoing to a milonga. Yikes. Old favourites like Gricel and El Beso provided some better times.
I took a short trip out of town, which was nice enough, though these long bus rides are no picnic. Once again, sooo grateful to have a happy knack for falling asleep in strange places. I went to a place called San Luis, which is not on the tourist trail and for good reason. It is a dreary little town but has some very nice countryside around it. I rented a car while I was there, which was interesting and in fact just as well given the dreariness of the town itself. Driving was not at all difficult, although I did try to change gear by fumbling about with the door once or twice. It makes me want to travel Argentina more, there are some stunning landscapes to be seen.
Then on the 4th May, Chique - the milonga formerly held at Club Espanol - started again in its new home, Club Galicia (San Jose 224, esq Alsina). Well, what can I say? It was a very exciting evening and deeply satisfying all round.
The anticipation walking the three blocks there from my home was lovely in that tingly slightly nervous sort of way. It was great to get in the door and be greeted by the same staff who were always there at Espanol. I had little chats with a couple of them while I waited for a tanda to finish & Monica to show me to a table. It was lovely to see so many familiar and friendly faces dancing by and I greeted a few people on my way down the dance floor.
The venue itself is nothing like Espanol. It is about half the size and has none of the elegance and little of the charm, so whatever evolves from this, it will be a different milonga. Where Espanol has wedding cake plasterwork, wooden pannelling and ornate gilded mouldings, Galicia has a rather rustic finish and huge gloomy oil paintings of Spanish peasants hanging on the walls. The floor is probably its best feature - large, well-worn wood and really lovely to dance on.
The music is still the best in Bs As in my opinion, provided by DJ Dany and one gorgeous tanda after another. There were several but not all of my favourite geezers there and I danced with most of them. I danced with Julio and he was obviously relieved that people had come out to suprt him and said he was a bit nervous about how it would all pan out. Other people I spoke to were excited that it had opened again but not very enthusiastic about the venue, so we shall see if it really gets off the ground.
An odd thing happened. Early on in the evening, I noticed somebody watching me dancing quite a lot. Obviously people watch but this guy was staring and clearly talking about me with Teresa. Anyway, I let it go but later he came up to my table to introduce himself. Normally I give people pretty short shrift when they come up to my table but as he started off by saying he was a friend of Teresa's I heard him out. Anyway, long and short, he wanted me to dance with him in the Metropolitan Tango Championships. As you know, I've heard that one before! Still, he was quite cute, so I said that I knew I could dance but we should see if we could dance together before agreeing to anything. So two half tandas later, I had agreed to meet him at Nino Bien on the Saturday night and enter the heat.
All in all, the first night of the new Chique was very exciting. It was accompanied by a massive thunderstorm too, which I merrily walked out into when hunger overtook me around ten. Not befoer I had sung a couple of bars of 'my favourite things' to a cluster of Americans cowering in the doorway searching the deserted street for a taxi. Great to live within walking distance and I celebrated that by walking home singing at the top of my voice! Well, the storm easily drowned me out and anyway there really was noone around to hear.
So, I went to Nino Bien on the Saturday and met up with the mystery man. Linda came along for moral support and made a couple of little videos which are on youtube now. We didn't get through - not surprising after so little dancing together, plus some artistic differences about the hold which left me very uncomfortable (you can see this on the video). The people who won were fantastic too. Anyway, after the competition, we danced on and it turned into quite a romantic evening - lone couple tangoing til the Cumparsita plays, everyone else long gone and the staff clearing away the tables... then walking home hand in hand through the rain. Then sending him packing to find a bus out to Nunez at five o'clock in the morning! Hey ho.
We decided to try again in another heat but in fact started dating and didn't get round to doing that for another week. By then of course, I had persuaded him that a close hold is the way to go!
That time, we entered in barrio milonga out in Urquiza and amazingly enough we did get through to the semifinals. I was exhausted and got a bit cranky with him when he wanted to enter the milonga section too and would not stick to my provisos that there would be no traspie or trick footwork. I just stopped dancing and glared at him. In fact, I almost walked off the floor. Still, luckily by that time the votes were in for the tango section and nobody could be put off by the total milonga meltdown.
So since then, I have allowed him to move into my flat, closely followed by a German film crew who were making some short piece about the tango and tourism. I really won't go into any details but it has been an exciting time. Not at all what I was looking for but what the hell - I followed my nose to Buenos Aires and am following it with Eduardo too. It all seems very right for now and we shall see what happens.
I had a lovely birthday and a party with lots of ladies here and lots of food, including two lovely cakes, hand-made by Eduardo. Then I had the flu when we got a sudden cold snap here and for the first time in I don't know how long, had someone to look after me, making fresh orange juice & interesting soups. Fab. I could get used to this boyfriend business!
Best birthday present was finding that my friend Chris's lovely husband has given her a birthday gift of a ticket to Bs As, so that she can come and visit me next week. What a star. I am so excited and can't wait to see her. Though she may arrive grouchy as I have rather taken the piss with her baggage allowance and made all sorts of requests, including a suitcase full of my old sheets & towels... we shall see.
There is a whole tedious story about endless rainstorms here in the Autumn and cracks in the rendering of the building and great patches of damp on my newly decorated walls and the apparent impossibility of the managemet company to do anything about it and my general feebleness in tackling them... but I think this is enough of a catch-up for now.
Chin chin, R