Monday, February 14, 2005

It's not adios, it's hasta luego

I've now left Buenos Aires and I'm feeling wistful about it. I will certainly have to come back one day. In my last days, I did some more tourist stuff...went to the cemetery in the Recoleta neighborhood, which is filled with impressive mausoleums (i also finished the Evita portion of my tour by visiting the simple Duarte family mausoleum where she is buried). Yesterday I went to two markets. If you visit Buenos Aires, make sure you are there on a Sunday; the markets in Recoleta (filled with artwork and handicrafts) and San Telmo (antiques and artwork, and many street performers) are worth a couple of hours' ramble each. The market (feria) in San Telmo has a great atmosphere, with different kinds of music coming from all sides: guitar or mandolin players, reed pipe players and even a youth ensemble playing tango music. It's also filled with people dressed up like various types of statues. And if you need an antique silver fork, or a Princess Diana commemorative stamp from Thailand, that's the place to go.

Friday night I went with two friends from the hostel to a Milonga, or tango club. It was really wonderful. Though Celia and I had taken lessons (8 between the two of us) we each tried one dance with a guy who came over and asked, but we were just no good so he politely escorted us back to the table. Basically, there's a dance floor in the center and chairs and tables all around. The way it goes is people partner up for 3 or 4 dances at a time and then change. The dancing and music was beautiful. Most of the people were in their 40s and 50s, I would say, but as the night went on (we didn't get there until almost 1 AM) there were more young people. Some were all dressed up and some were in jeans and everything in between. At the end, just before it closed at 4, they picked one couple to dance solo and it was like going to a tango show. It definitely inspired me to try to learn some more. The only funny thing was that in between sets of 3 or 4 songs they would play some random song, like from the Cure or some popular band, but the craziest was that at one point they played...wait for it...Tom Waits' version of "Waltzing Matilda". (Tim, I bet you never thought anything in a tango club would make someone think of you, but there you go.)

I am about to head off to see some very large waterfalls in the 90 degree heat. Stay tuned for a report on the bus ride up here.