Well, all right - an email from N ("Shoes! Lets hear some news on the dancing, moments, life and love!"), this blog will stray temporarily (but enthusiastically) from its style brief.
Last Tuesday evening, El Aranque - our first milonga, and still our best so far. The usual early crowd of older people, and a relaxed, good-natured atmosphere. The women variously turned out in everything from office pants to glitter, but the men, as usual, sleek in their suits and ties, and smelling delicious. If only older New Zealand men understood that they could be well-groomed without sacrificing their manhood.
Some nice dances, and even one of N's "moments" with someone whose name and face I will never remember when we go back tomorrow. Charlie, or Oscar or Hugo. It was a vals, I do remember that, and if I'm ever to have a moment, it will be during a vals. We were distinctly nervous beforehand, but left after a couple of hours well-satisfied.
Wednesday night, late - El Beso. We came here on a Tuesday on our first visit here at Easter and were entirely underwhelmed. Sadly, this time was no better. We were given a good front row table because we were early, but alas caught the eye of no-one. The better male dancers survey the floor from either end and (so we felt) from down their noses. There were quite a few couples who never broke rank, and an excess of women. We danced one tanda each with a short, slightly mad Italian, who stood in front of us with an extended hand rather than cabaceyo-ing, then proceeded to fling us about the floor in open embrace. We could only imagine how much good this did our credibility with the alpha males. The attmosphere was "show and judge". Exit left, grumpy.
Thursday night we skipped, can't remember why. Still jet-lagged, I think.
Friday night - Canning, to be greeted by Alejandro and his friend Horacio. A asked if we'd like to sit at a separate table, but we declined - I think we both liked the idea of conversation between tandas. A poor decision, as it turned out, since tandas were rare, H spoke no English and we no Spanish beyond "cafe leche, por favor". The men were kind and frequently left us alone us at the table to find dances. Sometimes it worked, but we think we were pretty much marked down as "being with" the men. The crowd was much more varied in age than at the afternoon milongas, and there were large groups of friends and much meeting and greeting. By 1am, the dance floor was too tight to move. We might try Canning again at an earlier time.
Saturday we subte-ed all the way out to La Glorieta in Belgrano. It was a cold evening, with a nasty wind blowing through the band rotunda. Mid-dance with Robert from Montreal (a nice dancer), the wind caught my ponytail and slapped it in his face! Lots of action here, some good, some not so. But the atmosphere is fun, and we'll definitely go back. Locals and tourists, young and old. A showy young Romeo with a ponytail whizzed Suzanne around with giant strides. A small, perfectly formed woman in red heels, black tights and short denim shorts swivelled in front me and revealed a much-worked on 60-year-old face.
Robert, with characteristic North American frankness, said I leaned rather hard for his liking - he wanted to open up so we could "do more", adding that "Nevertheless, you are very pleasant"!
We wrapped up a cold evening with hot chocolate at a nearby cafe, but my submarino - two small blocks of chocolate melted into hot milk - kept me awake most of the night.