We started the day with a slow bus ride to Recoleta followed by a speed-walk to Buenos Aires Life Centre (formerly, Happy Sun Yoga), a studio where Lisa used to work. There I would be receiving a nice, long massage from the talented hands of her friend, Jennifer. After the massage, the three of us went around the corner to a tiny, unassuming café. Jennifer suggested I try the locro, a slightly spicy and very flavorful cassoulet-type stew with different types of meat, sausage, corn and white beans. It was served with a large, soft cracker-like piece of bread. It was a wonderful way to top of a relaxing massage.
Then Lisa and I visited the Recoleta cemetery where Evita Perón is buried. We wandered around at a leisurely pace and had a look at some of the more interesting graves.
We found Evita's fairly plain tomb being swarmed by excited tourists, some of whom posed for pictures next to it.
I was more interested in cooing at the resident cats:
After our short visit, I grabbed a cab back to Chacarita and Lisa went to one of her work gigs. My cab driver was very nice and we chatted the whole way.
I relaxed at home for a while until Lisa returned and then we set out together for La Catedral to check out some tango. The building itself is cavernous, dark and covered in modern art and graffiti, barely lit with sparse multi-colored bulbs. We sat in the building's restaurant/bar area facing the large, central dance floor. A beginning tango lesson was taking place so we ordered a couple of drinks and small pizzas and watched them practice basic steps and then move around the floor apprehensively.
Then the milonga started, an open dance event where tango aficionados of all levels are free to join and partner up. Most of the dancers were quite good and many of them were insanely attractive. The dance itself was very sensual and slow and I was amazed at the intuition with which the dancers seemed to move in relation to one another. Women nestled their noses in the soft skin just under the men's jawbones. The men grasped their torsos closely and then the pair would float on their slow-moving legs around the dance floor. Their upper bodies remained upright and still, as if suspended in time. Meanwhile, all of their faces had taken on a glazed-over trance-like expression. Had I been in any of their places, many toes would have been trod upon.
Practice steps during the lesson
Folks danced to recorded music for a while and then the show that was planned for that evening began. First on deck was a folk group that sang in what we thought was Italian, but we never did manage to find out. After that, a couple of dudes who reminded me of a dark-haired, Argentine version of the band Nelson came out and performed some impressive drumming and flamenco-like dancing. One unusual dance involved swinging around what looked like small weights on a chain and smacking them on the floor in a rhythmic fashion while also doing some fancy footwork. It was a feat of multitasking if I ever saw one.
The the main show was a group that played traditional tango music. When they took the stage, the people who knew how to moved accordingly. We were then joined by Lisa's lovely friend Nikki, a boisterous, friendly woman with a passion for life. She also happened to be a damn fine tango dancer.
Nikki in the moment
After the tango group finished, loud cumbia and salsa started blasting through the sound system. I love to dance, so I decided to hop up and give it a try. My footwork is abominable and I can barely even stomp out a decent cumbia, so I just ended up standing around and swaying my hips to the rhythm as best I could. It was fun anyway and we spent the entire evening there, not arriving back home until 3:30 am. It was like being in college all over again.
The following day we slept until almost noon, relaxed and watched a movie. Then we packed up some things and "moved" to the apartment of Lisa's friend, Kristin, in Palermo. Kristin was going to be traveling out of the country for a few days so she lent us her cozy space for the remainder of my stay. The place was gleaming with sunlight when we arrived. We were starving so we made ourselves sandwiches and then took an afternoon nap.
That evening we went to the impressive home of Lisa's friend, Jessica, for a dance party with her weekly women's group. She lived along Avenida de Mayo in a large, multistory apartment with high ceilings and big windows and doors. I had already met several of the women in attendance that night so it was good to see some familiar faces. I don't know how I had the energy for another all-nighter, but somehow I managed. I spent the first part of the evening trying to win the heart of the black and white house cat who was supposedly unpredictable and mean. At most, he was indifferent to me, but later I saw him try to attack his owner (with some provocation, to be fair). The other women and I danced, chatted, and snacked on appetizers. As the night progressed, the movements became more yogic due to the large number of yoga teachers present. I became worried about the noggins of the wine-smitten women who were now attempting handstands against the wall. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Everyone stayed so late that soon folks were drifting off to sleep. It was then that Lisa and I made our way back to Palermo for a good night's sleep in Kristin's fluffy bed.
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For the especially curious, here's the song that inspired the title of this entry.