Thursday was to be our day to travel to Uruguay and visit Colonia a UNESCO city, but the weater looks risky, there are impending thunder and shower storms and I am not partial to traveling for an hour on a ferry if that is the case. We settle on Plan B to visit the Evita Museum .
Evita is as much a paradox as the country that loves/ed and hates her. She was a social climbing, stylish socialist from what I can gleam. She did wonders for Labor rights, women, children, healthcare, and education in a very short time. In my book she was kind of amazing, but she also did some not so nice things, like destroying a former rival actresses from her days of being an actress, once she was in power by banning her films and effectively destroying her career.
The museum had some of her wardrobe which I very much enjoyed seeing and various film clips that were quite engrossing and learned some the very unsettling information about what had happen to her corpse after it was taken away by the Military from the CTG hall (her former office) where her embalmed corpse had been on display for two years. Mutilation, necrophilia, and a 16-year international journey shrouded in mystery, including being on display on her husband’s dining room table in Spain before returning to Argentina and permanently entombed at The Recoleta Cemetery.
I could spend hours reading and researching the topic of Argentina and the cult of necrophilia, as it is a diverse tradition here. This is a country where dead bodies are used for political statements. For example in 1987 thieves broke into, Gen. Juan D. Peron (Evita’s husband) tomb, sawed off his hands, and demanded $6 million in ransom for them. Causing an obvious hubbub, his hands are still missing today.
From the museum we were go to go to the Japanese Garden on of the biggest outside of Japan, but the skies looked foreboding to me and we return to our home away from home San Telmo and went on an adventure close to home. I found a great lamp fixture for my dressing room and am curious how it will be trying to get it home in one piece as it is blown glass and hoping that TSA in Houston does no think I will try to do harm to an airplane with it, as I think the only solution is to carry it on board. We find an antique shop that has amazing turn of the century dresses and hats as well as pristine gaucho wear form the 30Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and 40Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. It is more like a textile museum and the prices are all in US dollars and spendy. We come home and change to go out to dinner with Niek, his wife and son for Sushi. I met Niek several years back in Marfa, Texas at the wedding reception of his niece Valerie, and Don my dear friend who formerly lived in Seattle. He is Dutch and has been living here for 22 years and is married to an Argentina. Sushi in Argentina leaves much to be desired, as I had suspected. Niek explains that you will not find Hamachi here as it is all sent to Japan and the US after being fished out of the ocean. One is limited to salmon, shrimp, salmon, octopus, salmon, the occasional white fish, salmon, and more salmon. Every once in a while you may encounter pink tuna!!!!
We have some ice cream next to the sushi bar to chat some more, as they are quite charming. I express an interest to have a great glass of Malbec before going home, Niek and Estella to tired to continue decide that Rachel and I should go to Cafe Danzon. They drop us off and we are at a swankyish pick up joint mostly patronized by locals.
As I sit and write this Rachel has been working on choreographing Coppelia for her 4 to 40 year old span of dancers at one of the schools she teaches at back in Seattle. She has her I pod attached to her head and her arms are gracefully flying about while prancing on her toes all while seated in a chair, on occasion she gets up and executes and arabesque. Adorable and hilarious! She tells me that it takes 1 hours to chorography one minute and the ballet she is working on is going to be 1 and half hours long.
Back to the bar! We meet an Argentinean gentleman who’s last name is Santorum and works for the UN in East Timor. He is home on holiday to visit family and friends. He winks a lot, Rachel thinks it is because he likes me. I think he has a twitch. After our wine and conversation we are ready to head home.
Friday we get up late, how unusual!
Rachel is meeting her friend Nate to discuss a project and I mull about until 6PM when Rachel and I are to attend our first Tango class at The Dandi Royal conveniently down the street from us. She has not returned and I decided to go on my own, the class costs $12 pesos for an hour and a half.
It is an international mix of students and I am a little nervous. I got through my first class it was fun and humbling all at the same time. I moistly danced with a middle-aged man named Hugo who kind of reminded me of Peter Lori. He stood about 5’4″ and I am 5’8″ in heels. He was very patent with me and wanted to practice his English between songs, which I was happy to do in exchange for his helping me tango. At one point the bartended decide he wanted to take me for a spin around the dance studio. He was quite an excellent dancer and I could not help but feel that he must have felt like he was navigating a truck around.
Later that evening Rachel and I go back to the great Thai Restaurant Lotus that we went to our first night here and after dinner at 1 AM we decided t make the plunge to go to one of the traditional Milangas at
Rachel and I both were asked to dance a few times and I felt like a butcher. But we both did get to dance with Mister Panama Hat and that was fun.
The next day we went to our version of breakfast at 3:30 PM to Cafe San Juan and it was great! Then we attend a 3 hour-long Tango class taught by Stella Barba my current favorite teacher. In our class there is a young man of 19 is name is Raphael and he is smitten with Rachel. The two short 60’s ladies from Switzerland and smitten with him. Me, I just enjoy watching the little dance they are all doing. But Raphael reminds me that many Argentineans have the most beautiful eye color, bright blues to the most unusual greens, his are of the blue variety. We rush home after class to met Niek and Estella for another dinner out this time a raw food vegetarian restaurant whose owner and head chef are one in the same named Diego. The food was great! But I am still in search of the perfect steak.
Cars always pullover to the right for entering and exiting the vehicle. Not like NY where the taxi stops at an angel blocking the street. Most streets are one way. Kind of a good thing as Argentines are aggressive drivers and I enjoy that.
We have had very good experience with the cabbies here, they usually laugh at us and our primitive address giving.
My phone fell out of my bag in one car and the driver came up to the Milanga I was in to find me and give it back.
While driving down the Avenida 9 De Julio the largest boulevard in the world, I spot an aspiring drummer with his kit set up next to the street to practice. He has terrible rhythm and no syncopation, which leads me to believe that his girlfriend told him if he wanted to learn to play drums he needed to go elsewhere.