Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TG DOES BUENOS AIRES: A Thursday Night Detour into The Love Zone

I hadn't been in the mood for our usual Thursday night ritual at El Beso in the last few weeks. The residency papers debacle, a bout of the flu, and doing away with the Italian grandma style from every room of our 12 year old apartment (Begone, flowery beige chintz!) was enough for me to avoid the scene for a while. But that didn't stop The Man from being in the mood...for love.

Under the ruse of wanting to go to quiet place with me to talk and have tea, he ended up wisking me away to one of the ubiquitous love motels in our hood. Now, why we couldn't just get it on at home where I know the sheets are washed was beyond me. But I was game to play the high priced call girl for a few hours.

The love motel, known colloquially as the albergúe transitorio or hotel transitorio, is Porteñan institution because, man, Porteñans are into sex. Just walk by the myriad kioskos, turn on a local TV channel, or check out the charmingly named porn shop, "Buttman", on Corrientes. And let's not forget tango and it's origins, my friends. I´m not talking the namby-pamby, aromatherapeutic "making love"; they're into sexing up. To accomodate all this heat, there are telos(in porteña-speak, hotels pronounced backwards), within every 2 or 3 blocks. There's one to cater to all tastes, budgets, and schedules, from the Sex Outlet (because why pay more for sex?) to La Cigarra (, there's bound to be one to fit your needs in your neighborhood. Some, like La Cigarra, the first love motel in BsAs to put TVs in every room and to be featured in 2 films, have themed rooms, like the Asian room, Tropical room, and, if your juju is outta wack, the Feng Shui room. Fun! Plus, they offer free coffee for two every day and a very generous 5 hour turno (turn or shift), but you'll have to call them or stop by to inquire about prices.

The albergue is popular with all kinds of couples: "legitimate", committed couples who can't do the nasty with a bunch of noisy kids or annoying relatives in the house, clandestine pairs of all combinations, as well as the usual business couples (read: for the working girl or boy and his or her clients). No questions are asked; no ID is needed...unless you look unusually young, in which case, they'll card you.

Albergue transitorios are not to be confused with the regular hotel or the hotel familiar. There is no nookie-per-hour going on in those respectable establishments, and if there were, people would have to pay for the whole night, thankyouverymuch. One may stay overnight at an albergue, but only if one checks in after, say, 10 or 11 p.m. This would be a decently-priced crash pad for last minute, overnight-only, late visitors to the area, except that one wouldn't be able to use the place solo, There is a couples-only rule for security purposes: you must come in with and leave with your partner. This prevents any sociopath from leaving his or her partner gagged and tied up in the room. It's an interesing and secure option (use your common sense, of course) for tango hook-ups--if that's what you're into-- after a particularly heated tanda of Di Sarli, Calo, o Pugliese. It happens.

We pulled into the darkened playa privada , or private garage, of one albergue promising renovacion on a sunny and warm late afternoon, and were greeted by gentlemen in a drive-through window, the same drive-through window where one would expect a cheery minimum wage worker to ask for one's food order. It works very much like a McDonalds or Taco Bell, only instead of the usual Egg McMuffin or burrito, one gets a key to one's room. In the nest o' luv The Man chose for the day's adventure, prices range from the dollar-menuesque 60 pesos for the most basic digs to 125 for the most luxurious. Payment is made through a drive-through window on the way out of the garage.

I am proud to say that I once rated the 125 peso room in this very same albergue when my partner and I were still in the honeymoon phase of our romance. It was everything you would imagine a room at love motel would be, complete with faux marble statues of gods and goddesses, indoor jacuzzi, mirrors, and an ample sized bed. However, after almost 4 years together, I rate only the 75 peso room. I didn't take it personally. After all, there's an economic crisis going on, and there are sacrifices to be made.

The seedy, worn look of the place was at once frightening and, yet, strangely alluring. From the drive-through check-in, to walls separating each parking space to keep lovers identites secret, to the separate entrance and exits, the love motel owner´s priority is your privacy, leaving you free to concentrate on loving your partner long time.

I wouldn't have been surprised to hear the bwow-chica-bwow-bwow soundtrack of bad 70's porn as we entered the building. The hallways were unusually claustrophobic and dark, lending it a striking resemblance to certain parts of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, but without the spooky pictures of people that follow you with their eyes.

I started immediately working on the lighting because it can make a shabby room look, well, less shabby. With just a few strategic flicks of my finger, the mustardy drapes took on a golden cast in la media luz, and the unsightly, mysterious stains around the bottom of the box spring? Poof! Gone.

Our temporary love nest was outfitted with a not-so-sophisticated sound system tuned into three stations playing rock nacional. The subrate speakers could make Frank Sinatra sound bad. I didn't check out the 20 inch TV, but, come on, who watches a lot TV in a love motel?

The obligatory mirror on the ceiling wasn't a surprise, but the condoms (bonus!) in our welcome packet with comb and hopefully clean robe and towel, was a generous touch. There were mirrors all over the room all for the narcissist and/or voyeur, and a woodlined sauna, in case we weren't caliente enough.

The bed was, well...what do you expect for 75 pesos for a three hour session? However, box spring and mattress thrown hastily on the floor was not conducive to the whole idea of romance. Despite the white, faux leather headboard, the whole arrangement just smacked of beer-and-pepperoni-pizza-perfumed university frat house. However, having the box and mattress on the floor is an inexpensive, albeit cheesy, way to prevent the squeaking that arises eventually from years of horizontal activity. The sheets were obviously not egyptian cotton, and the coverlet had long ago lost its satiny sheen, but I was relieved to discover the sheets are changed after every couple and that the mattress was covered entirely with a thick, impermeable ripstop. Given the number of couples who probably frequent the joint during the course of the day, these are good things to know.

If you´re not into singing your partner to sleep after the lovin´, you can always order room service. However, there's no need to worry about being recognized by the help. The little box attached to the door is made for special deliveries of wine, champagne or the classic sandwiches sin miga. Silent deliveries are made through locked opening outside your door, and remain there until you open the little door from the inside to collect your refreshments.

I preferred to clean up in my own bathroom at home, so we packed up and left our room well before our three hour limit ('cause we're efficient like that). As we walked out into the hallway, we didn't hear a sound. Although the building seemed empty, the parking lot was packed. Could they have soundproofed the rooms? With everything aimed toward customer privacy, I wouldn't put it past them. They seem to think of everything.

Wallet-friendly, discrete, and safe, the albergue transitorio is worth a quickie look for the more adventurous guy or gal.

Monday, August 11, 2008


In the animal kingdom, male lions and wolves attack older, more podrido (rotten, or way past the expiration date) members of the pack to make room for the younger, more virile machos. It's nature's rather cruel way of cleansing the population and assuring the propagation of the species. It isn't just; there is no justice in the jungle, or the prairie or wherever wolves and lions call their home. It's just that darn circle of life Elton sang about.

Things weren't boding well for the TG when she spotted even more white hairs sprouting out of her head while fixing the coiff for the usual Saturday night at Cachirulo. I snipped off as many as I could find, an impossible task when the BF was yelling at me to finish up with the girl prep and get on the elevator. I sucked in the gut, lifted up the un-corraled girls (the chicas deserve a break now and then), did a final lipstick check, and shimmied into the elevator in a new dress I bought earlier that day from one of the Plaza Serrano vendors.

We arrived at Maipu, and Hector and Norma gave me the perfunctory kiss and "Todo bien?". Hector took me by the hand and led me toward the center, then swung left and pointed to my seat. WehehAAAIT a sec...Todo was most definitely NOT bien. This was the second time in a row he put me way down left of center, and I seemed to be moving farther down stage left.

As I sat out the first tanda, I took a surreptitious look around. There were some women to my right, near the corner, and some on the other side of the row. The 10-12 seats in the center--the sweet spot--was still conspicuously empty, but there were numerous, annoying little pink stickies taped to the wall with names on them above most of those chairs for some fortunate women.

I knew my dancing hadn't recently taken a nose-dive, and I dance most of the tandas during our short 2 hours at the milonga. Was I already being weeded out as an undesirable hembra? Dag, 40 is looming just over the horizon, but I still have 2 years and 2 1/2 months to go before I come face to face with it. What gives?

I knew the basic laws of the jungle, and had accepted that my relationship status was a liability. But, add my short, social relationship with Hector, and I am suddenly chopped livah? What about X? She's in a relationship, doesn't dance as much as I do, AND she's older. And what about Y? She's nearing 50, hardly ever dances, except with handsome, young Italians (and, OK, she has an enviable apple-shaped ass shaped by years of butt exercises), and she's smack dab in the middle?

Yes, I was whining.

The BF dared laugh at the Tango Goddess' plight. Lucky for him, I didn't strike him down with a thunder bolt (but he was taking me to exchange a purse at the mall, so I had mercy on him. He's so fantastico.). I wasn't anywhere near podrida, he explained gently, it's just that the other women are "worth more than you." Gee, obviously, he'd never heard of "a spoon full of sugar", but he added quickly that many of them have already a long history--meaning 10-20 years--with Hector and the milonga, and/or many of them are "available". He continued, "Why, X told me that Y has slept with half of the milongueros already and is always on the prowl for younger men. You know X. She's my reliable fuente of milonga gossip." As with most of the pantheon of jealous, insecure, and tempermental gods and goddess, this downlow was strangely soothing to the TG.

However, that didn't take the sting out of seeing the PTYs (as in "I want to love you/(PYT)/Pretty Young Thing") snagging dances easily with one of my favorite dancers. When they or any younger foreigners are in the house and wearing miniskirts, I just need to go home with my tail tucked between my legs to lick my wounds and have some chocolate. I become almost invisible, except to my most die-hard fans.

Then I remembered how it was when I was young(er), newer, and feeling, you know, very fresh in the miniskirt that I'm seriously considering retiring because of the cellulite situation. I was one of them once upon a time, and most women at the milonga looked at ME with suspicion and disdain. I had evolved into a permanent member of the milonga community. Hector can put me anywhere he wants, and, as long as they know I'm at the milonga, people will want to dance with me. They might not seek me out with as much testosterone-driven panting, but I still dance. So, I'm not on the marquee. Does it really matter?

Whether or not you get the best seat in the house is NOT irrelevant. In fact, it is still crucial to one's experience of the milonga, but there will always be someone coming from behind who is fitter, younger, and cuter than your tired, 37-going-on-40 or 50 or 60 year old ass. It's not just; there is no justice in the tango jungle. There are only machos and hembras simmering in a hot and sweaty soup of hormones and pheremones, embraces and meaningful looks, with each one vying to be king or queen of the jungle.

At the end of my night at the milonga, I left alone to catch a cab to go home, my BF having gone to dinner with some friends. As I stood at the corner, a middle aged man, who seemed to be missing a few jugadores (players, as in soccer), sidled up to me and noticed I was wearing tango shoes. "Would you dance with me if I came to the milonga?" he asked. "Of course!", I replied laughing. On the other side of me, an elderly woman supporting herself with her husband's help and her cane chimed in enthusiastically, "Oh, you dance tango? How wonderful! You're so pretty." She smiled so broadly at me and studied my face so intently that I could feel myself blush. I wished them a good evening before crossing, and, as I watched them still slowly making their way across Corrientes in my taxi, a tango began to play on the radio.

We are different from the animals. We can rise above the soup, even as we're stuck in our not-so-desirable seats. We can enjoy the dance whenever and how much we do so. We can offer ourselves to and embrace our favorite partners for those few precious minutes of pleasure. We can.

"Oh, you dance tango? How wonderful!"

How wonderful, indeed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


There are times when I feel extra hot at the milonga, when all the elements come together and just WORK: I've got a great dress on; I'm wearing my expensive support bra from Victoria's Secret that gives me that extra lift and butt-cleavage; I'm not bloated for once; the hair and make-up are cooperating; and people want to tango with me.

I don't know if I also start exuding special pheromones into the atmosphere in these rare moments of hotness, or what, but it is during these occasions when I feel a special schwing-a-ding-ding going on in the nether-regions of a male tango partner or two. It's downright uncomfortable. I mean, surely he notices it. I sure as hell do. What do I do? These are guys with whom I've danced with before. We know each other, joke around, dance, and chau. Now, his little one-eyed monster is saluting me during a tanda. Should I take it as an insult or a compliment?

I like to take is as just a biological, animal heat thing. The poor guys can't help themselves. Their equipment is out there--and, Jungle Sisters, we all know it just takes a stiff breeze to get the boat out of the harbour--and embracing them surely doesn't help matters. Plus, there you are, flaunting your cute Dancing Queen self all over the milonga, whattya gonna do? If they are gentlemen, they will be as as surprised and embarrassed about it as you, so your best bet is to smile and pretend like nothing happened. The moment the tanda breaks, the magic will be gone, and his soldier will be at ease.

The special case, of course, is the pajero (roughly, someone that likes to hacer la paja=masturbate) or franelero (a feeler-upper) who dances with women to get their jollies, in which case, you have every right to cut the tanda short and leave him and his trouser snake abandoned and frustrated on the dance floor.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Drum roll, please! Introducing the Tango Tongue Cleaner!!! Better cleaning, less gagging! Bonus! And look at the pretty colors! :-)

This is even better than a tango video, and a wonderful way to start your day. Enjoy, everyone, and have a fantastic 9th of July (Argentina Independence Day)!

xoxo - TG

Thursday, June 26, 2008


OK, I really wanted to keep this blog completely low-speed, as in no video, photos, music or things flying around. But, ah, I HEART my new closet.

My mortal consort was not anywhere near prepared to co-habitate with someone whose lineage originates in the land once lorded over by the original Queen High Goddess of Shoes: Imelda Marcos. I mean, come on! She and her husband may have completely corrupted that poor island nation, but you have to give the former first lady snaps for her killer shoe collection. I can only dream of having such a collection, but I'm doing pretty well with what I have right now.

Being a tango dancer doesn't help with the shoe addiction. In fact, it enables it! I've been pretty good, though. I haven't bought a pair of dance shoes in about 7 months, the last pair bought especially to match my new year's outfit (and then, hell, why not buy another for good measure? I ended up with two). To date, I have 12
pairs of dance shoes, but that includes 5 pairs I can't really wear because they're uncomfortable. So, really, I've got 7, including 1 pair of flat, black jazz shoes I used in my theater days that I wear once in a while when I'm feeling especially slummy. These are just my dance shoes.

Now, imagine Argentine closets trying to hold all this. Got the picture in your mind?

Add my f**k me heels, hootchie-heeled sandals, flipflops, sneaks, boots, flats, and 1
pair of sensible, black, job-interview shoes.

Finally, add clothes. I'm not talking about what tourists bring for a few weeks. I'm talking about the wardrobe of a clothing aficionada, a bargain hunter with crazy fashion sense, multiple personality disorder, and a credit card.

It was pretty scary.

I started claiming some of my BF's closet space to make room for my classy winter overcoats. I was desperate.

So, I did what any woman would do: I got more closet space! (OK, yes, I did some purging, too.) Here is a picture of the new shoe department in my closet. Don't your shoes rate their own department? So pretty...oh, so pretty. I love it! And I've got some empty cases just waiting to be filled...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I found this wonderful article today from the website Their tag line is "see the world through different Is". Just love it!

Here's the link:


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Animal Planet or Discovery Planet is always on during some point of the day, usually when the BF is home. A few nights ago, we caught a British guy's report on bats. One particular bat species goes into deep freeze--literally--during the winter with ears up and bat wings wrapped around them like a mini sleeping bag.

Every once in a while, these little suckers need to wake up and feed to get the blood going, and, wouldn't you know, the male bat takes the opportunity to get his little bat rocks off with some girl bat taking her winter snooze! Animal Planet generously filmed the romantic moment in infrared, such that the male, all hot at bothered, appeared red, and the female, half-asleep during the (read: his) passionate love making, still glowed mostly blue, except, of course, you know...

What does this have to do with tango? Not much, except that some milongueros can be as sneaky when trying to wheedle a dance out of you. If you're too nice, you may end up with a tango never even wanted.

I thought about the fate of the female bat during Lujos this past Sunday at Plaza Bohemia (444 Maipu). A milonguero I hadn't danced with in about a year or two used the break between songs during a tanda to invite me to dance. I had been away for three weeks, so he broke away from his dance partner to give me the perfunctory kiss. Then he said, "OK, I'll look at you for the next dance," to which I smiled and nodded. All the while his partner stood aside smiling. It's sorta cheesy that he's shopping around before the tanda has even ended, and I commend the partner for being so gracious as he acted like a heel.

Other guys have come up to my table to "chat" with me for a few minutes, then snuck in their invitation. The guy has me right there. He's been friendly, courteous, interested in what I have to say, what I've been doing, so how could I possibly refuse to dance with such a nice guy? I admit to having taken the bait more than a couple of times.

Did I really want to dance with these guys? Not really, so I guess you could have called my spins around the floor with them a "charity tanda". How could I have just let them schmooze dances out of me? The truth? I didn't want them to be mad at me, and I didn't want to be a bitch. Whaa, whaa, whaa! What a sorry excuse! Do you think any Argentine woman would have put up with that?

The problem here is Toxic Niceness. Elizabeth Hilts, author of Getting In Touch With Your Inner Bitch, asks three questions to test your level of toxicity:

1) Have you ever said "yes" when you meant "no"? (Um, yes.)
2) Have you ever wanted to give someone a piece of your mind and eaten a piece of cake instead (or even the whole cake)? (That would be another "yes", as I wipe the chocolate frosting from the side of my mouth.)
3) Have you ever apologized when it wasn't your fault? (Guilty.)

Jungle Sisters, I am a cesspool of niceness.

Hilt proposes tapping into one's Inner Bitch, "that integral, powerful part of [every woman] that is going unrecognized," the one who can smile as she's giving her firm "I don't think so" to any milonguero without feeling like a bad person. These guys may grumble, but the poor mortal milongueros will just have to learn to live with life's disappointments.

Let's summon our Inner Bitch Goddesses to make the milonga a more pleasant and guiltfree place to be.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

CHATTIN' UP: Chiche...just a chiche

Madonna, Prince, and Charo (that mammary-endowed, guitar-wielding songstress from Spain). What do they all have common? They're so well-known that they rate going by their first name only. Chiche--unofficial lord of the (tango) dance, the one, singular sensation--deserves to be among these famous one-namers.

So, what's in a name? After dancing with him for three years, I still haven't learned his real name. And do I care? No. Because chiche just says it all. Dancing with him is like playing with your favorite toy. It's a blast! He explains that when he was born, he was so darn adorable that they called him chiche, meaning a cute thing, a toy. Awww.

OK, so times have changed, and he's not so cute anymore with his pot belly, nicotine habit, smoker's cough, and a slight musty aroma. His dancing, though, is consistently fresh, innovative, musical, and exciting. You never know what you're going to be doing with your feet when you follow him. A few staccatos here. A lovely long line there. It's not that his dance is complicated or flashy, his moves are spare, economized. However, there's an energy that, literally and figuratively, keeps one on ones toes.

Tango, he says, saved his life, pulling him out of a deep depression after a painful end of a romance 10 years ago. Now, dancing tango is part of his weekly routine, along with his nightly 3 cigarettes, a glass of moscato, and a slice or two of pizza. But, like most older milongueros, his tango history begins long before the break-up. It's in his bloodline, his abuelos, padres, and tios taking turns dancing in his large home.

Surprisingly, his great love isn't the tango. It's jazz, which was, synchronistically, created around the same time as tango. "Sale mas cosas" (more things come out) with rock 'n' roll (boogie, swing, etc.) than with tango. He can't explain why this is, though. He could've fooled me, especially when dancing the milonga. Miriam Pincen, a well-known figure in the tango community, says he is one of the few, real milongueros who remain today. These guys, like Ricardo, whom I wrote about in April, have history, experience, a love for the dance, and a dance style that is utterly unique.

However, it takes two to tango, so I asked him what does he looks for in a partner. He says, "No tengo bailarines. Tengo buenas acompañantes (I don't have dance partners. I have good dance companions.). These acompanantes put everything into the dance, releasing themselves "physically and mentally". It bothers him when he doesn't feel this while he's dancing with a woman.

He looks for the same thing when watching couples dance. He spurns flashiness for simplicity. He enjoys especially couples who dance por adentro, roughly "from the inside", when they dancing for themselves and for the dance instead of for an audience. You get the same feeling when you dance with him. The rest of the milonga does disappear, and you find yourself surprised and challenged with every step.

So, what other dance would this milonguero, rock y roller love to conquer? "El flamenco," he replies without missing a beat.

For Chiche, flamenco would just be child's play.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Sigh! I just found this funky blog ( that took a load off my mind! I mean, blogging, like dancing, should be fun, not a chore, especially since I'm not being paid for doing either of them! So, I added a new internet doohickie thinging, also known as a widget (I just learned that word. I'm learning a lot of things lately since I started La Vida Vintage!) that proclaims, "Blogging without Obligation." My blogs will be posted when I feel inspired to do so. Nuf said.

You know, they should have a widget for "Dancing without Obligation". My partner and I go dance tango 2x per week, usually on Thursdays and Saturdays. To tell you the truth, I could take or leave tango at this point in my life. Once the dissertation on tango ended, it was like a veil lifted. There IS life beyond tango. Thank goodness! I still get my tango fix a couple of times a week, and I know it's good for da relationship, but that's pretty much it. It's a thing I do, like going to the movies or getting my upper lip waxed.

Now, "Dancing without Obligation" should be plastered all over the milongas to warn those men, both local and foreign, to use the cabeceo instead of walking up to a woman and basically obligating her to dance or to turn his ass down. I feel badly for the guy, but, really, these guys have to learn.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Every good tanguera needs a nice outfit to wear, right? But why do you have to content yourself to looking like everyone else?

That's why I opened La Vida Vintage on Etsy, a fantastic website shopping emporium for crafts and vintage products, including vintage clothing. Check out my blog by clicking on the widget with the "E" and read the blog. Then click on over to my Etsy shop. Too impatient? Cut and paste this to your browser:

For those of you looking for more modern clothing, I'll be opening up a casa-boutique called FoundLove somewhere around July 2008 in Palermo, so keep your eyes peeled for more information!

Happy dancing, and viva La Vida Vintage!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

CHATTIN' UP: Ricardo, El Milonguero Viejo (whose last name I don't know)

Balding, slightly hunched over, and coming up to just below my eyeballs when I am in my tango heels, 84-year-old milonguero, Ricardo, would probably not fit the profile of an ideal dance partner in any other ambiance but this one. However, his clientele is skewed toward the attractive-under-50 set, a phenomenon that could only seem normal in the milongas of Buenos Aires, where the only requirement a man needs to fill his dance card is to dance well.

From across the room, his eyes meet mine, and he mouths, “Vamos?” I nod my acceptance. He walks across the room, and gives me the perfunctory kiss on the cheek before we embrace to start our dance.

Some may scoff at his limited repertoire. There are no fancy sequences, no acrobatics. Just a few simple steps repeated throughout the piece. For Ricardo, it is all about feeling. “One dances the feeling one has,” he explains, “You can tell when a woman dances without emotion.”

He has had over 70 years to perfect his ideas about tango, May 2008 marking the 70th anniversary of the first time he stepped foot on the pista. He has danced to the most famous orchestras playing live during the 1940´s and 1950´s. His longevity and popularity in the scene has earned him free entrance to many milongas, he notes proudly.

“We never took tango lessons,” he says, “We learned on the danced floor, making up steps,” Ricardo is one of the few remaining dancers who can remember what tango was like before it became a cash cow for the local tourism industry. Whereas most of the friends his age have stopped dancing, he still walks or takes the bus to the best milongas several nights a week, a practice he credits for keeping him spry.

One of the main draws of tango is, of course, the chance to embrace and be embraced by many women while dancing to beautiful music. A life-long bachelor, who has had a generous sprinkling of affairs and a couple of long-term relationships, he does not hide his enthusiasm for women, remarking, “I pay attention to women and what they wear. I even notice when they change their perfume.” When asked if he has a certain "type", he replies, "I've dated blondes, brunettes, all kinds. What is most important to me is the woman's skin." He adds with a roguish smile, "Como lo tuyo."

When he mentions how nice my legs are, I am flattered, but surprised by his compliment. Unlike many men who use the tango embrace as a prelude for more horizontal activities off the floor, he has only ever been the gentlemanly grandfather type who, in my mind, could never entertain such thoughts. But he shrugs and chuckles as he says matter-of-factly, “Eh, si, with those legs you should wear more skirts.”

I would call him a viejo degenerado, except that he's such a gentleman when he slips these comments into our 30 second conversations between songs. One can't help but giggle and blush.

Like the archetypal Latin lover, he appreciates women, but it seems his first love will always be the tango. As our set draws to a close, I ask if Argentine women have an advantage over foreign women when it comes to dancing well. “Bueno,” he says thoughtfully, “Not necessarily. First, you need a sense of rhythm, then you need ‘cadencia’,” the ability to feel the music and translate that feeling in the dance. “In fact, there are two foreigners who dance well,” he murmurs, “and one of them is in my arms.”

At 9 p.m., Ricardo is my last partner for the night, my enthusiasm for tango waning with every grumble of my ravenous stomach. For him, though, the night is still young and filled with the promise of more tango embraces.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Last weekend, the BF and I went to Rosario to visit a friend and his family. Of course, bringing the tango shoes along was a given, but where could we go?

Once we got there, our hotel (Hotel Riviera - a Solans Company hotel) gave us Rosario´s tango bible: Rosario de Tango. Honey, there´s tango here every night! This sleepy, almost vintage little town by the river has terrific architecture to gawk at AND a hoppin´ tango scene. Unfortunately, after spending a day cruising the river on a small boat and roasting in the sun, we were pretty beat, just dead tired, so we couldn´t bring ourselves to spend more than 2 hours there. Still, your benevolent Tango Goddess scoped it out to bring back just a taste for YOU!

The Club Sportivo America at Tucuman 2159 (0054-341-155982683), "La Milonga de Rosario," is a typical club del barrio, meaning, it´s sort of like a rec-room, basketball court, and all purpose party room rolled into one. The requisite bad lighting, corregated metal roof, mini stadium seating, metal fans, plastic tables and chairs, and basketball hoops were all there, but once the people arrived--some couples dressed for a night on the town--the place transformed itself to a veritable neighborhood milonga where everybody knows your name.

The dance level is, thankfully, much higher than the milonga in Ushuaia, but don´t come expecting orgasmic tandas to the best music mix. We spent from 10 to 11 p.m. dancing to B-side tracks in a room with only 8 people. Buenos Aires it ain´t. However, if you fear going into tango withdrawal while away from ol´ BA, check this place out. For the bargain basement entrance fee of 7 pesos, you can get yourself a little fix.

The ad in the guidebook says milonga starts at 10, but, hey, remember you´re in South America, not in Switzerland. The people start streaming in around 11:15, usually in groups. The dress code is anywhere from dressy to resort casual, but I didn´t see any jeans there, except for mine. It would be best to reserve a table, as this milonga gets very busy after 11:30 p.m.

Monday, January 14, 2008


´K, so onetotango tagged me to list 7 random things about myself. What the heck, here I go! If you´ve been tagged at the end, write your stuff and then tag other people. You´re supposed to tag 7, but I only tagged 3 at the end of mine.

1. I make a mess in the kitchen every time I cook. This is why I don´t do it. Baking is cool, but I don´t consider that cooking. It´s too much fun.
2. I used to be a nude figure model in the D.C. area. Yes, I´ve flaunted my T&A all over the place and loved it. My favorite job EVER. AND I didn´t have to worry about what I was going to wear to work. AND I got paid for it. Ch-ching!
3. I don´t listen to tango music on my off days. Tango is not any of my playlists. If I didn´t dance to it, I probably wouldn´t ever listen to it.
4. I really love psychology, the theories and ideas. I like playing with them, breaking them down, destroying them, and creating something new. Totally out of the box when it comes to the subject...which generates a lot of strange looks.
5. I am addicted to thrift shopping. I am skilled at finding really cute stuff for myself that would look horrible on other people. Actually, an old college roommate said, "You know, you have the ugliest clothes, but they all look good on you." Um...thanks? I still going through Salvation Army withdrawal...sniff.
6. My bras cost more than most of my clothes. You know, a girl needs a decent bra that gives her a lift. That sh*t costs money, though.
7. Writing is very painful for me. I love it; I hate it. It´s like a bad relationship I can´t and don´t want to get out of. It hurts so good.

OK, I´m tagging the following bloggers:
working artist

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

OFF THE BEATEN PISTA: Milonga at the Fin del Mundo

Happy 2008 to everyone from Ushuaia, Argentina, a small island at the southern tip of the continent and about 1000km from Antarctica. So, yes, while you guys in Buenos Aires are sweltering in the summer "horno" (oven), I´m sitting in front of the hotel computer in ski pants, undershirt, and cashmere sweater.

We decided to ring in the new year here because The Boyfriend just became a new "abuelo" (grandfather) to a bouncing Ushuaian baby boy. (No, no, don´t think of me as a grandma. TG is eternally youthful and glorious!) Since the BF is not the slobbering grandparent type, we were able get away and do some exploring, which included hitting the local milonga! For those of you on your way to or from an Antarctic cruise, this would be a fun way to take in some non-penguin oriented local scenery.

"Milonga del Fin del Mundo" may sound rather apocalyptic, but our visit turned out to be a pleasant surprise, a great way to beat the cold and break in my new dance shoes. We made a reservation for a table right on the waxed ceramic tile pista (killed my knees-you may be better off with dance sneakers) from which we were able to scope all the locals (and some foreigners) dance into the light-filled wee hours of the morning. The crowd is a mixed bag of usual white haired and suited up men, tourists, locals anywhere from their pre-teens through their 50s, most of whom fall in the average dancer category. This is not Buenos Aires, so you should probably expect some invitations "al lado" instead of from across the room. By all means, accept! The milonga takes place every Sunday night from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at the casual Nautico Restaurante (Maipu 1210, Tel: (54-2901)430415) that boasts a great view of the Fuegian (as in Tierra del Fuego) bay and the surrounding mountains.

We stayed at the Las Hayas Resort Hotel for a few days (Luis Martial 1650 Tel: (54-2901) 430710/8), a decent 3.5-4 star hotel at the foot of the mountains with a killer heated pool and fantastic views of the bay. Next to the Resort runs a yellow-marked hiking trail that you can follow all the way up the mountain until you reach the Cumbres del Marial, an adorable ski resort (aerosillas are across street from the hotel) that houses an equally adorable Casa de Te called "La Cabaña" (Luis F. Marial 3560, Tels: (54-2901)424779/434699/434752. Load up on coffee, tea, and baked sweets before your hike back down to Las Hayas or to the road leading to the center of town.

If you managed to work that all off on the 40 minute hike down, check out La Cantina Fuegina de Freddy on San Martin 326 (Tel: 421887) for a grilled merluza negra (LOCAL sea bass) that is as tender and fresh as the chubby thighs of a newborn baby (Sorry for the image! It was the first thing that came to mind!). Seriously dee-lish and worth the 60-some pesos for a slice of pescado heaven. The BF had a terrific king crab soup. The king crab, by the way, is worth ordering just to take a picture. It´s gigantoid!!

Well, folks, I wish all of you the best for 2008. Happy dancing. TG