Friday, June 26, 2009

Hidden Gem

An absolute MUST visit when you come to Buenos Aires is Palacio Barolo in the heart of the city, not too far from the Obelisco on Ave de Mayo 1370. It is a gorgeous old building, built as a tribute to Dante and his Divine Comedies. The lower floors are put forth as, although not evocative of ;o), of "hell", you then travel up through "Purgatory" to the top most floors - "heaven" and there is a light house at the top that is representative of "God". The tour is about an hour and is well worth the 20$ pesos to walk through this amazing building, built, by the way, by Masons, so there are Masonic symbols in various areas. The architecture and the details in the building are breathtaking and awe inspiring. The elevators alone are worth the trip!

When you reach the end of "purgatory" and enter "heaven" there are tiny little balconies, barely big enough for two slender people, to look out over Buenos Aires in 360 degrees. We were luck and went on a fairly clear day and could see for miles.

I, being me, naturally did not bring a camera with me.... true Sagittarian that I am, and so the web site's pictures will have to suffice to entice you there. Believe it, it is well worth the visit.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

News Flash!!! Food Find!!!

Sorin and I just had the most delicious meal in Buenos Aires to date!!!

It is at the gorgeous Moroccan restaurant in Palermo, Bereber, on Armenia 1880 and Costa Rica. It is the first time we have both thoroughly enjoyed our meals at the same place. The menu was truly Moroccan, and it had vegetarian options, which made me very happy. I am not vegetarian, however I have such restrictions on food, that to go to a restuarant and have options makes me a happy camper in all aspects.

I had this amazing dish of goat cheese and nut stuffed grape leaves, steamed with couscous, tomato sauce, raisins and whole spices in a earthernware pot.




















Sorin had possibly the most beautiful plate of food I have seen in awhile. Lamb medallions cooked with fresh herbs, and in the center home made pita chips glazed with honey sauce and a mixture of fresh veggies and goat cheese. Here's a clue how good it was, the meat was rare, and I mean blood red cool in the middle, and Sorin likes his meat well done, but he did not send it back, he ate almost all of it.





















And the bread..... that bowl in the center of the table which was served with your meal, I did not even discover until I had all this sauce and stray couscous and needed some way to get it in my mouth.... it was fantastic. Soft, savory, with poppyseeds baked in for a slight crunch.

So if you are in Buenos Aires right now, or in the forseeable future, make a note of this place and GO! You will not be sorry you did!

Continued adventures

So, after a couple of days struggling with a massive allergy and asthma attack, I prescribed prednisone and antibiotics for myself and am feeling much better. So today I went exploring Barrio Chino with the lovely Ms. Jolie and her charming daughter, who immediately won my heart as she reminded me so very much of my goddaughter at that age, whom I miss incredibly.

Although the Barrio is really just one street, it was like heaven to me food wise. Here was everything I had been missing! Soy milk! Soy products! Goat Cheese! Fresh fish with clear bright eyes nestled on ice! Peanut butter! Piles and piles of fresh herbs! I really should know by now that no matter where I travel to, I need to find the ChinaTown and do my food shopping there. The days to go to Barrio Chino, according to one of my local fonts of wisdom, Ms Jolie, is Tuesday. Mondays they are closed and Tuesday everything is fresh. It was lovely. We nosed through rows and rows of spices, pickled veggies, and packages of unknown contents because our Mandarin is rather lacking. But every eisle I would exclaim and happily pluck something from a shelf. From this day forth, every Tuesday afternoon I can be found in Barrio Chino purchasing the food for the week. As we speak I am enjoying a cafe con soja leche, and it is wonderful. The Soja Leche was 3,50$ pesos for a liter.

I have not danced since Saturday due to the aforementioned issues with breathing, and I think I am not going to push myself tonight, but tomorrow I will be revisiting Sueno Porteno in Bodeo. I went last week with two chicas and we had a grand time. It is a traditional milonga, but with a relaxed twist. Everyone is seated together, no separation of men and women, and it is acceptable to approach someone for a dance. Cabeceo is also used, but not as much because there are three dance floors and the seating is sort of wrapped around the center stair case, which is enclosed. Yes, three dance floors, all on the same level. Two of them are really connected by a short divider in the middle of the floor, and the third is sort of over in Timbuktu, but it seems to be a safe place to go if you (meaning a leader) want to do some more athletic moves (boleos, volcadas, etc) that one would not normally lead in a traditional dance floor. I had some fantastic dances and really enjoyed being with my two friends. So if you are interested in a relazed, traditional atmosphere, this seems to be the ideal place to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

One view point

I have been asked since I came here by several people why I like dancing with the old men.
How to give body to the intangible. The explanations and quantification of dancing with the old portenos vs the new generation. Both have their merits, I enjoy both immensely, and yet my preferences align with the old men.

This is not to say that there are not young men who are filling in the porteno circle, they are capturing the same feeling that the older generation emits, and they are good. But the old men are great. Not because of what they do or don't do, per se, but more because of who they are. They are tango. Not only do they know every note of every layer of every song, and seamlessly move from layer to layer when dancing, but most of them (perhaps all) saw the maestros when they were young. One porteno I danced with told me that his papa brought him to see DiSarli play in the 1940's. He was 8 and he listened to the Maestro and watched his papa dance the whole night. The very next day he demanded his father teach him to dance tango. He has been dancing ever since.

This is why their tango is so amazing. You are not just dancing with a man. You are dancing with history, with culture and with decades of understanding. These men know that tango is more than learning how to wrap your partner's leg around you every which way until Tuesday, they know that it is about connections. Connections with the music, with your partner, with the other dancers with whom you share the dance floor. It is about making the absolute most of the next 10, 12, 15 minutes because that is all you have together. They may invite you to dance again later that night, or another night, but it will be a different moment then, different connections. They are instead focused on the here. The now. The present. The moment.

These men learned tango when the world was at war, and I can not help but think that this sense of "Live for today, for tomorrow may never come" is infused in their dance. It is this infusion that makes dancing with them so very sweet. The athleticism that is asked for when dancing with the younger generation is never requested from the older. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy dancing with the younger crowd, I enjoy the different tango that they offer and share. But it is just that, a different tango, a different dance to me. The tango of the portenos is what has captivated me here most of all, dancing with an era long gone by and yet still very much alive.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Random Observations

Buenos Aires is unlike any city I have ever been to. Not that I have traveled extensively, I have not, a situation I hope to remedy soon....

However, I am constantly aware that I am in another section of the world. Every day there are a myriad of things or events that enforce this. For example, I buy my eggs, fruit and vegetables from some Peruvians who do business from a hole in the wall. Literally. There is a hole in the wall of a building and they have set up shop there. The prices are three times less than the market, and the quality is a hundred times better. Although everything is straight from the farm, unwashed, so I have to wash everything very well when I get home. They speak no English, and apparently my accent is too thick for them to decipher, so we have a game of charades every couple of days. It was very funny the first few times when I would point at some vegetable and say "Como se dice?" They would rapid fire say it, I would ask them to write it down, I would repeat it, they would laugh and bag it up for me. I also always give them whatever centavos the amount comes to. If it is 5 pesos, 50 centavos, I give them the coinage. And since I have been doing that, they give me better veggies. I also bring my own egg cartons to them, and they give me bigger eggs. It is a reciprocal society here.

Some things that have struck me about this city, be they good or bad or indifferent.

Dog poop. Let's just start with my one biggest complaint about this city. About 75% of the populace seem to own a dog. Of that, I would say 90% own a BIG dog. And there are BIG piles of poop everywhere. I walk every day around the different streets of Palermo, and I have come to master the looking down while looking up technique. I want to take in the buildings and the sights of my barrio, but I have to keep one eye on the ground so that I don't put one foot in a slippy pile of poop. Despite trash recepticles on every corner, no one picks up the poop. Yuck.

Perhaps because of the above, everyone washes their sidewalk in the mornings. It is lovely. I see all these folks out when I manage to get myself out before 11am, washing down their sidewalks, chatting with each other and making the front of their house look clean and neat. I love it.

Driving. I think that when I get back to the States, Sorin's driving will not give me one moment of concern in the passenger seat ever again. Being in a car here is an experience. The only speed limit is the limitations of your car. Those lovely straight lines that they paint in the streets? Decoration apparently. Headlights and blinkers come standard with every car but are optional for the user. You're in the right lane and realize you need to take a left? Now? 5 lanes over? No problem, take it! And pedestrians? You better be aware and fast. Pedestrians do not have any rights. In fact, I think that drivers consider them as much of a nuisance as those pesky traffic lights.

Weather - It is winter right now. And I am loving every single day of it. Sunny most of the time, in almost three weeks we have had 2 days of overcast weather. Most days it has been 60-ish degrees during the day and at night the coldest it has been was around 45 degrees. This is a winter I can handle. Although I have to laugh every time someone tells me "Manana sera el frio." I have to say "Not to me, to me it is lovely."

Time is a fluid thing. Oh so very true. Nothing ever starts on time. Nothing. Every class I have gone to has started between 15 and 30 minutes late. And it is no issue, that is just the way it is. Almost 3 weeks in and I still show up on time, worried that the one time I come late, they will have started on time. This, I think, will never happen. And restaurants? Dinner service starts around 8:30 at the earliest. Three of us went to a really good Argentinean BBQ restaurant at 7:30 starving, hoping for dinner before a class. The waiter looked aggravated with us, and told us we were very early, but we could order wine and drink until the kitchen was ready to serve. True to form, one hour later we got our dinners. It is just the way it is here. In the States the expectation is that the kitchen makes it self ready for the patrons, here, the patrons wait for the kitchen to make itself ready. A few shops that I have gone into when I ask what time they open in the morning the response invariably is "Mas o menos 11 o 11:30." There is no exact time, there is Mas o Menos.

Speaking Spanish. Or, more precisely, Castellano. You really really really do need to have a basic grasp on Spanish when you come here. I brushed up before coming with a computer program, which was helpful, but since I was not using it every day, I was still rusty. After almost three weeks here, I am comfortable with basic conversation skills. I can hear the language better, and I have stopped saying "Mas despacio, por favor" to all but the really machine gun talkers. The woman at the bakery across the street complimented me this morning on the fact that I ordered and answered her questions perfectly. She said that I had been coming in for weeks now, and today I did not look confused or slightly lost when talking. Whoo hoo! I even answered a woman on the street where Calle Costa Rica was. She did not believe me. And asked someone else, who told her the same thing as me. ha!
But really, if you come here, learn Spanish. It makes things so much easier. Especially when dancing. The younger generation speak some English, but the older generations do not. And standing there in silence in between songs can be painful. Whereas if you can hold a basic conversation, with or without charades, it makes it much more enjoyable.

The tango. What can I say. It is amazing here. Not that everyone here is amazing, that is far from the case. There are the exact same characters here that you know from your local scene. It is just that there are thousands of them here instead of dozens or hundreds. The main thing is that whatever you prefer, whatever style you like, you have options every night of where to go. Very quickly I realized that I much prefer the more traditional milongas. And Sorin prefers the younger generation's milongas. So, we go where we are happy, and then we confer at 3am and hear how the other's night went. Folks are amazed at this. I have been asked multiple times when dancing "Donde es su novio?" I'll reply that he is at Villa Malcolm or La Viruta and they ask how it is that he allows me to go out without him. My answer "Well, actually, it is I that allows him to go out without me." That always gets a huge laugh.

My name is apparently difficult to hear and say here. Especially for the older generation. It is not a name most if not all of the people I meet have ever heard, and they can not pronounce it. I have given up introducing myself as Debbi, and I try Deborah. That sometimes works. But not usually. One gentleman at a milonga decided my name was too difficult, and called me RedHead. He even introduced me as The RedHead to his friends when we stopped in between songs at his table. So at this milonga, I am known as The RedHead. Which I find hilarious. And I am told by a friend who lives here that it is a compliment when the milongueros give you a nickname, and it is very common that they chose a physical feature to name you by. Be it your height, weight, nationality, or, apparently, hair color. I had one octagenarian tell me that he prefers blondes, but redheads are his second favorite. What could I do but laugh at that?! :o)

Speaking of which. Hair. I have never had such great hair days in my entire life. Seriously. This may sound shallow, but I am amazed that my hair is behaving so incredibly well. I don't know if it is the air, the water or the Argentine shampoo and conditioner I bought, but really and truly, my hair is curling perfectly and behaving gorgeously every. single. day. It is unreal. It may be a reason to move here.

Destination Unknown

My friend Sally wrote this wonderful story for a travel journal in Britian - and I have to share it with you. I know exactly what she is writing about, and I think you may too....

http://www.bradt-travelguides.com/infopage.asp?PageID=108

More from me soon.....
:o)

Well done Sally!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BA to date

So far, it has been a good trip, there are things I really like, things that amuse me, and some things that I don't like at all. All of the above is subject to change without notice however.... ;o)

I have to say that I really really love the traditional milongas. The vibe is great, whether I am at a large table of new friends or a small table with a couple of friends, I like the atmosphere. And I like cabeceo. It took me exactly two nights to get it down, it is not hard at all, I just had to get over my North American training that staring is rude. It is. Unless you are in a milonga! :o)
I have had some amzaing dances with men who have been dancing 50, 60, 65+ years. There are no volcadas, colgadas, no -adas period. But their musicality is amazing. They know every note of every layer of every song, and they will dance on whatever note they most fancy. Most will sing or hum to their partner, which I find incredibly sweet. The embrace is firm, yes, but completely unrestrictive. I can pivot very easily, although dissassociation is an absolute must when dancing with them. And I can actually feel them dancing not only with me, but with those around us. Navigation is not even an issue. I have also danced with several young "old milongueros" in-training, and it is nice to see the traditions being passed down.

I thought that perhaps in dancing with the milongueros, I would have to become "passive" again, give up being active. And that is not the case at all. As with all leaders, active following may or may not be welcome. But I did find that those leaders who have a sense of playfulness in their dance welcome an active follower, and in fact, will up the ante on you! It is great, and challenging, because one has to become active without a large "vocabulary"- it is mostly in embelishments and musical phrasing.

The Young Generation milongas. These are extremely tough, at least for me they have been. The younger generation milongas, Villa Malcolm, La Viruta, Praktika8 - are more of a social outing for friends. People arrive in a group, or quickly attach themselves to a group dance with each other and sit together as a "pod" for the whole night. Most of my experience is that they really do close ranks around each other and rarely look around the room for anyone else to dance with. This is not to say that there are not individuals sitting with an open body language for dancing, there are. Unfortunately, the good individual dancers are all trying to get the attention of the really good dancers in the pods. I have had some good dances at the younger milongas, but they are usually about an hour or more apart. And I find it extremely taxing to sit for hours, look interested, look interesting, and not turn into what Sorin calls "The Mona Lisa" - where I get a slightly bemused, tiny smile, cross hands in my lap, and look vaguely distant. Mostly this happens when I have been sitting for a long time and I am trying hard not to yawn or glaze over.

It is tougher for me at the younger milongas, plus, everyone tell me to wait it out, eventually they will dance with me after they have seen me for a few weeks. But you know, my reaction to that is why bother? Why would I sit and sit and sit for weeks, dancing two or three tandas a night, hoping that I will soon be seen as interesting enough to break away from a pod and dance with when I can go to a traditional milonga and have great dances all night? Granted, no one at the traditional milonga will ever compliment my boleos as none of them would ever lead one, but that is ok with me. I am led in many boleos in class.

Classes. I am taking classes at DNI. And you know, I really like them. Even though they are a nuevo school. Why? Why would I like nuevo style classes when I prefer to dance milonguero? Because they trick you at DNI into learning technique. I love it. They teach a sequence part by part, they talk about body posture, foot placement, foot technique, weight transfer. They go around to everyone and help you with the technique of the sequence. And if you are paying attention, you learn technique that will help you in your entire dance. Sneaky sneaky. I have had two conversations now with leaders in the classes who were complaining that the sequencec they have learned they will never use on the dance floor, and I have asked if they would use this section of the sequence, or did they find that using this posture for the orcho cortada was helpful, and they agreed and then went back to their original assertion that the sequence was unusable. I had to laugh. But as long as they keep coming back and keep learning the technique that is hidden in the steps, they will do fine.

So that is it for now with tango. I will write another post soon about non-tango reflections (food, shopping, pollution, the city, etc).

Oh, and for those who are interested, I have already exceeded my shoe quota of 3 by one. But in my defense the 4th pair were actually very inexpensive and comfortable ($200 pesos - about $55 USD) so in my mind, they don't really count..... ;o)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I SO get it now!

I got it a little at Los Consagrados this past weekend. But I REALLY got it tonight at El Beso!
By "it" I mean that elusive "Argentinean" thing that everyone talks about and swoons over. I had tanda after tanda of it tonight.

Every dance was different, as was every embrace, and yet most of the embraces shared a common quality of Care. Regard. Connection. Each man I danced with made me feel as though I was the only woman they were going to dance with that night so they wanted to make it count. I got this from the 80 year old as well as the 28 year old.

I danced for hours tonight, and everyone I danced with was a porteno. I was not expecting that for some reason, but there you have it. Every one was musical in their own way. Some had a vocabulary I could count on one hand. Others wove together intricacies in a way that meshed with the music that made me smile. Yet every single one I could follow with out hesitation and enjoyed dancing to what they were hearing and enjoying.

I can not really articulate better than that. I may be too close to the dances. Maybe in the light of morning I will have better words. But right now, all I have is...
Happy Feet
Happy Heart
Happy Head

Monday, June 08, 2009

coming round the bend...

I did not come to Buenos Aires to be sick and in our apt constantly. But that has basically been this past week. My system was overthrown by allergies when I stepped off the plane (literally), and then I contracted some hideous sore throat/laryngitis/chest ailment. When I realized I was taking 4 or 5 hot showers a day in order to breathe, I e-mailed a friend of mind who is a prescribing RN and asked her what to get at the pharmacy, she told me, I got it, and after one dose I already feel loads better. It is funny, though, my morning line up with my tea is Vitamin C, Allergy pill, decongestant, antibiotic, and now a multi-vitamin with Iron because apparently it is difficult to get plain Iron supplements (according to the local pharmacist, and I was too tired to walk to another pharmacy to see if I could find it there).

So, tomorrow, I am determined to get back in the swing of things. It is depressing watching Sorin go out and then waking up to eagerly listen to his retelling of his night when he gets back just before dawn. I want to be going out too!! So, on the agenda for tomorrow, post-pills, is class at 2, shoe shopping with a new friend - we are going to go back and try to hit the stores that were closed when Sally and I went - and hopefully, hopefully, dancing at night. We'll see how I do after the class and shopping. I am hoping that I can get out to at least one milonga tomorrow night. I seem to do well at the trasitional milongas, at the younger/hipper milongas, I am not of much interest to the leaders there. So any suggestions of traditional milongas to hit in the beginning of the week are very welcome!

Cross your fingers for me that I am out of the weeds!

On the plus side, I have been taking short excursions when I am feeling on an upswing around our neighborhood, and there is so much here that is interesting! The buildings, the shops, the people, the artisans, then there is the bakery diagonally across from our building.... oh.... the smells in there! Thank fully I can only eat their bread, their pastry displays are so gorgeous you just want to gobble them up, and when I bring Sorin media-lunas from them, they get devoured within seconds. It is funny, this is one of the few places I do not have to play the centavos dance with. Most places ask you for exact change because of the shortage here. But at the bakery, they don't even ask you, they just give you the coins. It is amazing. I plan to start using the Subte and Collectivo, so I have started hoarding my coins. I even bought a cute little coin purse from one of the weekend plaza fair artisans.

Although so far, my favorite has been the cat. We have this golden and orange eyed cat that lives in the apartment beneath and across from us, and every morning she is on the porch roof meowing in Castellano. You think I joke. I am not. She meows in a way that is very un-cat like. I will video her one morning and post it because she cracks us up, especially when she is particularly intent of telling us about her day.

So far, what little I have seen of Buenos Aires, I like very much. And I am looking forward to seeing more and more in the coming weeks.

:o)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

U-turn. We are back on the road folks!

Today was more like it!

I went shoe shopping with the ever lovely Sally. I had such a blast tooling around Recoleta with her. First stop was, naturally, Comme il Faut. Where I first bought shoes for friends, and then got down to business. Me. hee hee. I told the girl who was helping me size 37, peep toe and color. Green. Blue. Red. Purple. She brought out a stack of boxes, and Sally and I immediately both gravitated to this gorgeous lime green suede pair of retro style sling backs. I think I might have drooled a little. I turned them around in my hands, admiring the details and the supple feel of suede. Then I eagerly put it on one foot. Curses! My heel was hanging over the edge. The girl immediately popped in back and brought out a 38. Again, eagerly slide my foot into one. This one was too big. Was I to be Goldilocks this afternoon?!?!? The girl cocked her head to the side, looked me over, and said "Uno momento" and came back with the absolutely perfect pair for me. Black satin with a high heel cage and just a touch of sparkle down the center of the heel cage. This time, I actually drooled. I wasted no time admiring, I slipped those puppies on. Stood up. Perfection. I asked Sally her thoughts, she approved, and I turned to the girl and said "Esta bien! Finito!" She laughed, scooped up my treasures, and went off to the register with three boxes and one credit card. Sally turned around and was surprised to see I was finished and ready to go. Apparently, most people try on 5,000 pairs and can't make up their mind. But I knew it when I wore them, so why try on more?

We walked around Recoleta, looking into the closed shops. Apparently everyone closed down for the futbol game today. It was a little disappointing, only getting to go to one of the shops I wanted to, but that just means I will spend my money a different day, it was not meant to be. And instead Sally and I walked and talked and had a grand time.

And tonight. Tonight was wonderful. I met another blog queen whom I felt I already knew, the effervescent Cherie. We joined Sally, My friend Caro, and Cherie and Ruben and their other guests at Consagrados. Ruben was ebullient, Cherie was grace incarnate, and everyone was so welcoming. And I danced. Can I say this again? I danced. It was wonderful. I danced with locals, I danced with visitors, I danced with Sorin, and the highlight of my night, I danced with Ruben. The cabeceo is still tricky for me, I did alright sometimes, and other times Ruben or Sally would bring my attention to someone who was trying hard to get my attention. I'll get used to it soon I think.

There were no rock stars there, and almost every dance I had was lovely. Some were challenging, some were comfortable, some were playful. It was exactly what I needed after last night. And I can't wait to go back.

My health continues to give me the finger however. I developed a raging sore throat, and by the end of the milonga, my voice was well past sexy film noir star and into 55 packs a day. So instead of continuing on, I am home, resting, with a mug of tea. I am hoping that with enough advil and tea, I'll be fine in a day.

My other highlight - I had an entire conversation with my taxi driver back to the apartment. Granted, there were some miming, I did say "mas despacio por favor" multiple times, as well as "commo se dice...." but a basic conversation we did have about tango, Buenos Aires, futbol (there was apparently a huge game today) and Carlos Gardel.

My detour is over. I'm back on the road folks!

Down, but not beaten!

It is very humbling to sit for hours on end and leave before the end of a milonga because you are too pissy to dance with anyone.

I still remember vividly as a beginner, sitting and sitting and sitting, and being told to smile and smile and smile until I thought that my face would crack into a million fissures. I am back there. I had better luck at the traditional milongas. Spent hours sitting at Villa Malcolm, danced only with Sorin, and could not get a cabeceo returned to save my life. I thought about trying to cabeceo cross eyed for the last hour. Maybe that would make a difference. I was sitting with a new friend, and she managed to cabeceo a guy whom I could not get to hold my glance if I had sent up a flare and stripped to my panties. Don't get me wrong, I truly was thrilled for her, it was her first cabeceo, and it made her night. But that was the last straw for me. My fissures were showing.

Since it was on the way home, I stopped at La Viruta. It was packed, the music was not really to my liking, and after what seemed like 5 years, I realized it was not going to happen. Everyone there already knew everyone else, and the "kids table" did not look promising in the least. Plus I know myself, I do not do well in rooms where I do not know a soul. And walking in without a good mood does not help matters. So I left. Without dancing.

Despite all this though, I am determined. I know it takes time, and I have lots of that. I will keep taking classes where I am being challenged. I will keep going to milongas and doing my best to keep the fissures from showing. And eventually, I will crack the cabeceo code. Hell, I figured out the DaVinci Code in abut 8 chapters, so the cabeceo code can not be that much harder! ;o)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

first post from BA

Well, we arrived in Buenos Aires safe and sound after an exruciating 14 hour flight. I got maybe 2 hours sleep and Sorin got none. So you can image our relief to get off that plane! The ride to the apartment was fun, apparently things like speed limits, lane markings, signs, and just about everything that goes along with driving is more of a suggestion, and a weak one at that.... But no one seems to have problems. Everyone drives like they are a bat out of hell, so everyone knows that the other drivers are as crazy as they are. It works. But I won't be getting behind a wheel any time soon!

So, we get off the plane, and my allergies go haywire. I was miserable. I thought for sure they would refuse me entrance through customs because I looked a wreck, I figured they would point and yell "Swine Flu!!!" but it was fine. They had this high tech infa-red device that shows any hot spots on your body. I went through no issues. Well, no swine issues, I was still a mess. And it just got worse and worse - I was popping Benadryl like it was candy and it barely helped. I was so upset and nervous that this would be my two months in BA - incapacitated by alergies. Well, yesterday I went to the Farmacia, and manage to try to communicate my problems. They gave me some wonder pills that work beautifully. It is also good to know that if I develop a sinus infection, I can purchase antibiotics without a prescription.

Tuesday night I was planning on going to Praktika 8 with Sorin, but I was such a mess, I just stayed in bed. So yesterday was my first dance in BA. In the afternoon we went to Confiteria Ideal, it was so sweet. It was full old old couples dancing. I enjoyed watching them, it was lovely. Sorin and I danced a few tandas, so my first dance in BA were at a historic milonga setting with the man I love. Could it be better? :o)

Last night we went to El Beso, and I think it was not so bad for a first time out. Once all the regulars danced with all their regulars, they branched out and I had some nice dances, and one really great dance. It was tough to sit and sit and sit and smile and smile until interest turned my way. But I was lucky to be sitting with friends, one new and one old, who I could chat with while I waited and waited. I danced more than I expected to.