tangos and thunderstorms

Five of us and the riverThe weather is crazy, properly loco and not even the trusted bbc is up to the task of prediciting what will happen tomorrow. On Tuesday we awoke to blue skies, sun shining, warm with a lovely cool breeze. There were a few odd grey clouds on the horizon, but nothing to be concerned about, or so I thought.
After school Nero, Rebecca and I headed out to San Telmo which is the part of the city that looks most like you imagine Buenos Aires: cobbled streets, cafes, music playing, antique shops with a definite raffish charm. We stopped for beers along the river in Puerto Madeiro which is an area of converted warehouses along the river with views across the city. By now the sky had started to turn a very strange shade of luminous grey but I ignored it and hurried off to my first taste of tango in the centre and got there just as the heavens opened.

Tango was awesome, really good fun. I managed to convince Basha and Tarell to come with me and there were two other beginners and about 7 or 8 portenos who were rather more advanced. We were taught by a stout little guy all in black with an impressive moustache. Outside the rain poured, the thunder roared and the sky was starkly illuminated with flashes of lightening while inside the tango rhythms played on the stereo and we stumbled through the first three or four steps. As Basha and I were both sharing Tarell as a partner (who was pretty good) I got to dance with our teacher quite a bit which was fantastic especially as, with the other guys, I got told off for trying to be the boss (I mean, can you imagine?) where as with someone who is good and confident, you totally follow their lead without thinking. The basic steps are not so difficult once you get the hang of them and you get to do some cool little foot twiddles which look very impressive! We are definitely going back next week.
Unfortunately due to the torrential rainstorms the subte (underground) flooded and then stopped when I was half way home and all the taxis were full, it took 20 mins in the rain to find one, and then, they charge you extra due to wet weather. I may never complain about public transport in London again!

Wednesday was hot, sunny and beautiful so we all fled up to Tigre as soon as class finished to go and do the boat trip we´d planned for last saturday. It was wonderful because the whole river delta area is heaving at the weekend when the weather is good with hundreds of boats. But on a wednesday afternoon in autumn, apart from the odd rower and occaisional small ferry, I felt like we had the river all to ourselves. Just five of us, a mini inflatable speed boat, our guide and the jungle.

Jungle river delta from Tigre

Tigre is a town on the end of a large maze of rivers that go through the delta of the Rio de la Plata. And along the main waterways are hundreds of houses, bars, cafes,  few churches, a floating petrol station, poilce station and three schools. Most of the houses are weekend houses but some people live here all year round and the only way to get around is by boat. The further out you get the more remote and infrequent the houses become until suddenly all signs of civiliastion vanish and you are alone in the jungle with the turtles, kingfishers, dragonfiles and the mosquitos. We boated around for about two hours in all the tiny channels and wide cross rivers of the area, skating around huge expanses of floating lilies. Heading back to the habited part of the Delta we stopped in a riverside bar for beers and snacks – being 5pm I did point out that it was definitely beer o´clock. We headed back into the marina just as the sun was setting behind the ferris wheel in Tigre.

In theory we should have chilled out after Tigre but there is a big after-work club night in San Telmo on wednesday evenings which everyone from school was going to. It´s a fairly big club called Museum which kicks off from 8pm, gets going about 11pm and continues until 2am which is really early for this city. For 20 pesos (about 4 pounds) we got entry and a speed and vodka (speed as in a type of red bull that is!). There were huge mirror balls hanging from the ceiling, galleries of seats occupied by the professional late twenties and thirties local crowd, a lot of guys still in work suits, very banker style, and bubbles pumped continually over the entire mid section which formed the dancefloor. I think we danced to everything from the Rolling Stones to Madonna, House of Pain to Scissor Sisters and even Flashdance! It was a very entertaining evening especially as being ´touristas´ we attracted a lot of attention from the portenos. I even got seranaded to Duran Duran! I think what was more incredible is that I only had about three drinks all night and woke up this morning, a little tired, but otherwise feeling quite perky which, after a night clubbing in the UK, would definitely not be the case. Either this is a sign of my growing maturity (no really you can stop laughing) or I´ve just finally settled into the pace of life in Buenos Aries.

My Neighbourhood in Palermo

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