What makes us happy? A hard thing to define. We set out today just to wander around the shops and do very little. Most people, on holiday sit around, by a pool or on a beach and do nothing. We however rush around a big, noisy, dirty city, just to keep a place going that allows us to tango every night. So today we got some keys cut, then wandered off down Lavalle.

Towards the very end, nearest to us, Lavalle is a bit run down, broken pavements, derelict buildings and rubbish in the streets. It is three or four blocks before you get to any shops, yet here I was walking arm in arm with Viv with a giant smile on my face. I have often said “I do not know what makes me love this place” yet I do. It would be a foolish man who denied it’s faults, there are many and for those who live and work here they are magnified. Yet from the many who escape and earn good money outside, there are few who will not return. I could spend all my life wondering, but instead I will just enjoy. If I do not know why I am happy it does not make my happiness less.

We passed the ferrias americanos (second-hand shops) Viv giving them barely a second look, quite unlike her, but she was ecstatic about all the shops selling manaquins. I am not quite sure what she enjoyed about them, perhaps it was the naked men with no equipment, or the children with pony tails, but she was happy. We walked then along Pueyrredon passed all the street sellers and hawkers. It can at times be quite intimidating, but often just the inability to communicate is enough to put them off. Viv found a shoe shop and managed to replace her old trainers, now this one I understand, woman plus shoes equals happiness. When I can get this for a hundred pesos (less than twenty pounds) then I also am happy.

I am not a great fan of Salon Canning, but getting lazy, we can walk there. On the way we pass Tomato, a cafe bar we used to frequent often in the early days. Now though it is somewhat off our route, so on our last visit we only went once and that was over a year ago now. As we walked past the great expanse of glass that forms the front our favourite waiter waved to us from inside. I was totally gobsmacked from right inside the ber he had seen two strangers from long ago, recognised them and took a moment out to wave. It was too much for me we turned back and went in for coffee, I just could not ignore him and pass.

We were still early for Canning it was only quarter past eleven, and they do not open untill eleven. The music was good, but as usual the dancing was a mix of good milonguero, nuevo posuers, total beginners and still the odd tourista. Viv said I am turning into Victor Meldrew as I complained about people crossing lanes or taking half the floor for one move. Having spent much time now in these milongas I have got the knack of ensuring that charging bulls get a heel from Viv rather that one of us getting a heel or just knocked off the floor. These people have not yet learned the first priority in a miloga is to protect your woman, or how to dance in a limited space.

All this said, we thoroughly enjoyed our night, even the demo which owed more to the circus than tango, it afterall gave us time for rest and another coffee. When Viv asked the time and I said quarter past two, she could hardly believe we had been here three hours, time flies when you are enjoying yourselves. We danced a last milonga and headed home to bed.

Time then to reflect on why I am suddenly so happy, I see Viv come out of the shower and think how lucky I am to be with a woman so awesomely beautiful, still after thirty eight years together. I have come to Buenos Aires, learned Tango, learned to hug people I have only just met and even kiss men. And more importantly I think I finally understand “Lo pasa nada” Not to forget of course; all the friends that I have now in this great city, who email me all the time when I am in The UK to beg me to return.

I nearly forgot to add I would not have these feelings had I just stuck with the European Tango Festivals, even though  many of my friends here are French or German, the tango feeling that permeates everything here breaks down stereo types, so that,in the end, we all become Portenos by adoption.



Filed under Argentina, Tango

7 responses to “Happiness

  1. tangobob

    Glad you enjoyed it, I love writing when I am here. Hopefully I show how much I enjoy it. Europe now thinks it owns Tango, it never can, and while you can get good dancing in some venues sometimes in Europe, no one who has not been here can understand how much great dancing there is every night and every day. If you had the stamina (which I do not) you could dance from dawn till dusk 24/7.

  2. The way everything is infused with Tango is the thing that those who are not interested in BA are missing. While great dancing can be had in many places around the world, going back to the source offers more than that. Loved this post, and made me miss BA even more.

  3. Arlene

    You are right Bob, what I say about diving says a lot about what I need right now and diving holidays con mi Amor are just that (he doesn’t dance). (It also doesn’t help that I am not employed at the moment either!) People will spend their money on what they think is important to them at the time and going to BA to dance and everything else that you do there is important to you, but not to some people. Each to their own.

    I don’t have a downer on BA at all and I do not think that you can get what you need from Tango by dancing in Europe unless you are only thinking of it as a dance and nothing more. You don’t have to visit BA to agree that the dancing will be different or the city. I will get there one day and I might get hooked and then will probably have to make tough holiday decisions.

    Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  4. tangobob

    Arlene, OK in part it was a reply, I would have done a post just on that, but Buenos Aires got in the way. When you say you could go diving for less, that says more about you than BsAs,nothing wrong in that, you are just not as hooked as me. I will scrape every penny together to get here and will be paying for my place here until I retire. Your reasons are valid for not going, I respect that, what I cannot accept is those, never having been, who say that tango in Europe is as good. It never will be we do not have the history, passion, or the dedication.
    Thanks for the comment, hopefully the post shows how happy I am to be back.

  5. Arlene

    Bob, I think I know where this came from! 😉
    I am happy that you love BA. I would really love to go there, but I can’t justify spending the money just for 2 weeks when I can go diving for the same or less. It just isn’t a priority right now. And I think that is what it is for some people.
    I already moved from the land of my birth to the UK and am now making a second start in a place where some people wonder if I have lost my marbles. And there isn’t even any Tango here!
    I will get to BA eventually, but for me to justify the expense of the trip, I also want to make the most of it and see a bit of the country. I don’t rule out BA. I just prefer to do other things now and instead am happy to live life in BA vicariously through others. 🙂

    PS: I love what you said about Viv. That is so beautiful.

  6. tangobob

    We would say preaching to the converted, but I know what you mean. I hear what you are saying, there is much in the city to dislike, but I bet you would miss it like hell if you had to leave. It is one big enigma or a love hate relationship.

  7. Amen! I like this, but then you’re preaching to the choir (at least the tango part–living here as I have for 7 years, I’m not that enamored of the city itself.)

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