marzo 08, 2004

Tango Y Tramites

Hola, todos -
Now that we've been in Bs. As. a couple of weeks, we've picked out some of the choicest meat and chewed some big, bureaucratic gristle. We were lucky enough to get here during the VI Tango festival of Bs As and got to see a free concert, take some lessons, stand in a bunch of lines to get turned away for tickets, saw an incredible musical, and the salon tango championship. The tango finals were awesome - it was like watching 25 tango shows in a row. And Maria Nieves, who is an old, venerated tango star (also in the musical we saw, Tanguera) was there and gave a little free performance. My, god, if only I could be that talented at any age, no to mention 65!

Living in the big city is great in that there's always something to do, and usually something free. What kind of bites is spending two hours a day on the subway/bus, walking 2 or 3 miles in addition and standing in huge lines all the time. Basically, Argentines hail from Italy, which means nothing here works efficiently - or on time - and no one is really concerned about helping you out much. Yesterday on the way to the tango finals, our bus driver just decided to stop the route halfway through. There had been a futbol game in the neighborhood so approximately 60,000 people were trying to get back from that and approximately 10,000 were trying to get to the tango finals. Instead of sending out more buses, their solution was to cut bus service to that part of town entirely. Also, we've learned that if you're involved in a traffic accident, you must PAY THE POLICE to give an incident report - not for a copy, but for the privilege of waiting three hours in a sweaty line to tell your story about being mowed over by a taxi. This didn't happen to us personally, but it was going on while we were at the police station during one of our many hours of errand-running to try to get a bank account.

So, there are also things we love:
- being able to meet an old guy in a park in the middle of the night and having him teach us how to dance Argentine folkloric dance. Then he took us to a folklore show with bands from different parts of the country, shows, and couples of all ages dragging us out on the floor to learn more folkloric dances.
- being the only english-speakers within a ten-mile radius of the folklore show.
- going to a bar at 2 am and seeing five year-olds eating dinner with their parents.
- waking up at 8:30 in the morning and hearing people finally crawling home from the bars.
- buying a decent bottle of wine for less than a dollar.
- seeing no less than five couples making out in the park every time we go.
- huge craft fairs and free museums
- summertime!
- buying two humongous steaks for a dollar
- hanging out on the top of our 8-story apartment building (and not being able to see more than two blocks in any direction)
- also, Randy loved it when we saw a play with naked chicks mud-wrestling. I also thought, 'hey, not bad...'

I (Anna) am looking forward to taking only four classes this semester, and only having one of them per day. One of my fellow students tells me, though, that some of the classes can be from 8-11 at night. I'm hoping to avoid those, especially if it were followed by one the next day from 8-11 in the morning.

We have a lot more to tell you, but it's impossible to condense three dimensions of constantly new stuff into a few email lines. Sorry for the mass email/form letter thing, but if any of you write back, I promise a real letter!

anna (with snide comments from randy in the peanut gallery)