08 March, 2012

My first Milonga experience in Buenos Aires

In Salon canning, did I get enough dances? I did not sit even for one moment. My feet hurt- no burnt, at the end of it and yet, there was no single break. It felt good. 

The above picture was the one I took with my iphone before entering.

And this was the one and the only moment when I sat, for a picture shot and to change into my Tango heels. And after that, there were just dances. Pure Tango happens there.
But something very unusual and very interesting was, that they also played what they called "tropical tango" for 10 minutes in between. Each 10 minute was a different genre ranging from rock and roll, jive, salsa, lambada, merengue, bachata, etc. It was so much fun. Another dance form that I learnt and did for the first time was chacarera. It is a dance of Argentine origin from provincia Santiago del Estero. 

After a dance, the moment anyone tried to strike a conversation/do a small talk, I/we were at loss. They would speak in Spanish and I would have to say, "English please." They would try hard to say something and then give up and we would just dance. 
Another interesting thing- ALL OF THEM, started the conversation by asking-paĆ­s. Initially, I was confusing it with peso (the Argentine currency) and wondered what they were talking about. Then I got to know that they were asking me as to which country I had come from. Later, the moment someone even started the conversation, I would just reply "India". Then they said that I did not look like an Indian. 
Their next question would be- how many days are you here for?
Then they would ask, Is Tango popular in India? These were standard questions that EVERYONE asked. They asked if Milongas happened in Delhi. Somehow, people have an image of India as a very conservative and backward country. Something like a Afghanistan. I was told, that they had visitors from different parts of the world, like USA, Australia, Europe, Turkey, etc, who came there for Tango. They had seen Indians from USA but rarely anyone from India.
They wanted to know if there were good Tango teachers in Delhi. They asked me who I had learnt from?
Very few people speak in English and no one speaks fluent or good English. Few women spoke better English. And men asked them to convey to me that I was very beautiful, that I danced so well, that it was a pleasure to dance with me, someone even said that I looked like a Princess (that was very flattering). I politely and smilingly told them, "muchas gracias"(Thank You).
Some people wanted to know if I lived with my parents. Ha ha! they were politely trying to know my age or whether I was single or married. And I was in no mood to reveal any personal life. Yes, I reveal a lot on this blog. But in a Milonga, that too on first day in BA... I was there to dance and not to tell about my family history.
I met a girl from Germany, who like me, was on vacation for Tango. She and her husband, both danced Tango and she sat separately from him. She said, if she sat with her husband, people would not ask her for dance. Thankfully she spoke English and we could chit chat towards the end. I was so tired by the end. I actually sat looking down- almost under the table. Because, if I looked up, someone would again ask me for dance by giving Cabaceo. To know what is cabaceo, check my blog post here.
Men and women sat completely separately. I found it strange in the beginning. Then I realized, that if they sat separately, it was easier for a man to ask a woman for a dance from across the room by Cabaceo.

These were some posters that were outside the milonga.

And after coming out of the milonga, even when I had changed my shoes and was just clicking the posters, people wanted to get picture clicked with me. 

I went for a small quick bite of salad and then later to another milonga- La Veruta. Next day onwards, my training with very well known teachers was lined up. I had met them in milonga and we had danced together and they told me that I was so good.

While I ate this salad, I saw few girlie groups sitting together and I thought of my girlfriends in Delhi.

Few more interesting facts about Buenos Aires

They also have similar, rather worse, traffic jams as India. 
They honk unnecessarily while driving.
They change lanes while, as and when, they please.
* I was almost tempted to rent a car and drive myself. I thought I could drive better than the cab drivers. And I knew the routes well.

People from USA fly to Argentina primarily for two things-
1. Tango
2. Cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is so popular, common and cheap in Argentina. Women look sexy. They really take good care of themselves.

I was told by people that they could understand my English. They asked me to speak each word slowly and then they could follow what I said. They told me that they just could not follow english that people from Australia or UK spoke. I guess it could be because of heavy accent.