Alive!

collage Last night I needed to remind myself why I came to Buenos Aires. I had to get out and dance!

We decided to go to Maipú 444. It’s a great Saturday night venue: perhaps it is THE Saturday night venue for single dancers in Buenos Aires. Last night it certainly was. El Beso is closed at the moment… something to do with regulations and so the El Beso crowd joined the Maipú regulars and when me and Carlos arrived at maybe 12.30am, it was packed. Luckily I saw my mates: Yasmin, Anne and Donna had seats at the front (we hadn’t reserved) and miraculously, by the time we had gone back to leave our winter coats with the cloakroom and change our shoes, two seats came free. Me and Carlos sat next to the dance floor: perfect. Even more perfect was that Tina was sitting yards from us in her very own seat against the ‘women’s wall’ and so there I was, soaking up the glorious tango music surrounded by the love of my life and four of my beloved Buenos Aires tangueras.

Maipú 444 Saturday IS Buenos Aires tango to me: the downtown street entrance with its slightly seedy feel, always crowded because there is a bus stop right outside; the mountain of carpeted stairs that are the ‘time tunnel’ between my daily life and the tango that injects vibrancy into my soul; the loud music which floods my spirit; the yummy empanadas that seem ‘home made’; the dancers who are as fun to watch as to dance with; the traditions that mean I can sit back in the security of the tango codes I love: no unwelcome ignoramus  is likely to stand over my table demanding that I dance… Here, if I don’t catch anyone’s eye I will be left alone to enjoy my lover and my friends.

The dance floor was packed for a while, indeed there was even an announcement about keeping to small steps and following the line of dance, but as always there was more space when the milonga tanda came on, and we enjoyed that gift. Perhaps my happiest moment was dancing the Chacarera with Carlos, I felt my energy start to soar and our smiles grew with every step. Tina was dancing in the line next to me and that felt great: tango blogging friends from different lands, enjoying the folk dance of our adopted country, together. By the time the Los Reyes del Tango tracks came on to end the night, the floor had emptied a bit and I was able to enjoy every beat. I said to Carlos, ‘I feel like I have woken up from a long sleep.’ It was nearly 4am.

Our noisy little party was last to leave the venue but eventually we ambled out onto Corrientes, stared at the Obelisco lit in the night. The girls around me were chatting about their tango, giggling at the slick chat up lines offered by some of men along with the unwanted invitations to Niño Bien, comparing the success of their newly purchased tango shoes, reliving the highest and lowest moments of the night’s roller coaster ride. I was suddenly overwhelmed by gratitude for the life I can have every day if I want it. I yelled, ‘Hey chicas, we are in BUENOS AIRES, it’s 4 in the morning. Bloody hell we’re ALIVE!’

We stumbled in to a café on the corner with 9 de Julio, ordered Submarinos (hot milk with a bar of chocolate to plunge into the froth), café con leches, and a Cachamai tea for Yasmin, our beloved ‘yogi’. We talked about ages, star signs, birthdays, discussed focusing on the positive, taking responsibility for our own happiness, celebrating life. Carlos kept us laughing with his newly learned parts of  English phrases: ‘If I…’, ‘I mean I…’, and his unashamed direct question to Tina, ‘How many old?’

We realised that it was June 21st, the summer solstice in England and so the winter solstice here as we fell out in a noisy circle of friendship into the freezing street. We wrapped ourselves in farewell hugs. Everyone said they were happy I had made it out at last (I have been very busy lately) and I laughed, saying that I do in fact exist. Sallycat is not made up, she does actually live in Buenos Aires and she does still dance tango. I felt loved and welcomed back into my dreams by my friends. Of course the taxi driver had the air conditioner blasting all the way across the city. By the time I got home I was frozen solid but the warm glow of this precious night did not leave me.

This morning, Carlos has popped out to get me a special surprise: bacon and eggs for breakfast… truly the A1 end to a night from tango heaven. And so he has granted me perfect start to a new day: the present, today, a gift from God. Last night we girls talked of how important it is to focus on the here and now: no comparisons, no looking back to how good it was two years ago, last year, last week. We make our present every minute that we breathe. I am glad that I have been reminded of that. Today is gonna be a fantastic day. The simple fact is that I live in Argentina by choice, I am alive and I have the power to create the life I want, every single day. And, I will. Believe me, I will.

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22 Responses

  1. Wow, Sally, once again another heartfelt, beautiful and positive post! I’ve missed your posting lately, and was so glad to read about your tango night. But why not La Viruta? I know you guys love it there.

    Last night after Los Consagrados, Ruben and I went to Glorias Argentinas in Mataderos with friends. We got home at 4 a.m. and we are DEAD! Another thing is that dancing on hard floors really takes its toll. We’re spoiled with forgiving wooden floors like in Region Leonesa, Gricel, and Maipu.

  2. Ah well Cherie,
    for an earlier start to a Saturday night than Viruta (where I don’t like it before about 3am) Maipú is my favourite option. And I knew T. would be there. And my other mates told me they would go. So for me last night it was the only choice. At about 3, feeling stuffed with enthusiasm, I said to Carlos, ‘Shall we go on on to La Viruta?’ but when the time came, I was really only up to the after milonga chat over submarinos! So happy you had a great night too.

    Yeah the floor is great at Maipú. Gorgeous smooth wood that I could dance on forever.

    I hope we dance on the same floor on the same night very soon! Hugs, SC.

  3. It was so much fun to read this and relive the glorious night we improvisationally spent together! 🙂

    I hope it happens again! Your friends are great – please give them my contact info.

  4. Tina,

    I always think that the best nights turn out to be the ones you don’t plan: the spontaneous decisions, the going with the flow… and here somehow that happens so easily. Last night was one of those nights and it was FAB to share it with you! Hasta pronto, SC

  5. This post was the highlight of my day – it put a big smile on my face.

  6. Caroline, whenever I go to Maipú I miss you. Hugs, SC

  7. Good to have you back!

  8. Hi, Sal.

    Would you please say Hi to Yasmin for me? It was neat to see a photo of her here. I met her at Ideal with you that one time and I liked her a lot.

    – the gringo with the familiar last name… 🙂

  9. Jo, yep I am back! And here to stay! Love you little sis.

    B. Course I will say hi for you. Are you still here???

    SC

  10. I came home in May… 😦 Argh! I read your stories just to torture myself.

    PS do you know what became of Kate? Still there? Curious.

  11. Where did he get the bacon? I couldn’t find bacon anywhere!

  12. What a great recollection…it makes me feel like I was there, too. (I have a good imagination.) What a great evening you had.

  13. Psyche, he gets the bacon in the chinese mini-market at the meat counter, but I’ve no idea what he asks for. It’s thin and cooks crispy. Perfect!

    Tangobaby, yes we did have a great evening and I feel very fortunate that I can have that kind of night whenever I want, if I just get out there and LIVE!

    SC

  14. Love what you say: “Hey Chicas….etc.”
    We are alive. Happy winter. E

  15. Elizabeth, exactly.
    It was a great feeling to be walking on an empty Corrientes just yards from the Obelisk, freezing but wrapped in the warmth of tango and friends. I just had to shout about it! Now I am in the grip of flu… but trying to still keep the ALIVE feeling! Besitos. SC

  16. [quote] Last night I needed to remind myself why I came to Buenos Aires. [/quote]

    You came there to become a tango performer. Dancing tango on a stage for an audience.

  17. Loved the post. Because of the bureaucracy I had to miss my June trip, this story put me right there again, I could feel the joy. Maybe we will meet on the dancefloor when I return in August.

  18. Hey Sally–thanks for the 2x4pie site. Just by chance, I saw their ad in the milonga magazine the same day you posted.

    When you see Yasmin, would you give her my URL? I forgot to get her contact info when we met.

    Cheers,
    Mandy

  19. Ken, well dancing tango on a stage is not actually something I’ve got round to yet, and I am not too sure it’s on my agenda… but never say never eh?

    Bob, look out for me when you get back here and save a tanda for me!

    Mandy, yes of course I will pass on your URL and am glad you found the tango shoes…

    SC

  20. [quote] We make our present every minute that we breathe. I am glad that I have been reminded of that. Today is gonna be a fantastic day. The simple fact is that I live in Argentina by choice, I am alive and I have the power to create the life I want, every single day. And, I will. Believe me, I will.[/quote]

    I’ve moved to Belgium two years ago and going through a mini tango crisis and (Im shamed to admit) am fighting creeping negativity but those words struck a loud chord.

    Love your blog. You tell it like it is.

  21. Sally, you should create a book proposal from your life (here and perhaps before). You are a fantastic writer.

  22. Hippy Bogus

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I am happy I struck a chord for you and I will always try to tell it like it is.

    stilllifeinbuenosaires

    Getting your comment lifted my spirits. That book proposal is something I do have firmly on my agenda. I will not have lived my dream until my book is written and published.
    Receiving comments like yours makes me believe my dream is achievable. Thanks so much.

    SC

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