Today's Tango Thought #137 – The 'High' Season
(this tango thought may change with time, as you will discover, things change in bsas, frequently)
The ‘High Season’ is a time in Buenos Aires between December 15th and March 15th when you discover two important facts of why is called that: Reason #1: It really is hot. As in the kind of heat that makes you wonder if water is wet. That kind of heat. More on this later. #2 Because every tango talent shows up in Buenos Aires at this time of the year.
Usually, at this time of year, several things happen all at once. Most of the more prominent Tango teachers give ‘seminarios’ (including Gustavo Naveira – See Trusim 1024, and Chicho Frumboli – See Truism 1021), a lot of them are in-session working on their own stuff to come up with new routines for performances, and a good deal of them are just chillin’ with their homies.
During this time (and usually anytime of the year) there’s Parrilla. Coke. Beer. Dancing. And then there’s the heat. No. Really. The Heat. That said, there are a few things you should know if you’re planning on going. These are just quick thoughts not meant to dive too deeply into, things to keep in the back of your mind if you’re planning on going during the high season:
1.) Packed Like Sardines. Expect packed dance floors during this part of the year. Insanely so. What does ‘packed’ mean ? You should expect no more than about 1 to 2 centimeters of distance between yourself and the next couple IF THAT, and that’s a lot of room. Realistically less than 1 centimeter, especially at popular milongas and on popular nites!
2.) A Practica & a Milonga are basically the same thing in BsAs. The only difference is in the name. There are a few exceptions to this, the DNI Sat Afternoon Practica is one of the exceptions. The difference is the Milonga and the Practica, depending on the DJ, is that there’s a preponderance of Tangos, no Cortinas, and very few valses and one or two Milonga tandas. However, for the most part, it’s all Tangos. This is not always true. You really do have to listen carefully. Unlike North American practicas where you can stop an engage in a technique discussion, it’s basically a free for all Milonga regardless of what you call it. People dress to the 9’s for the Practica. They ask via Cabeceo like a Milonga. There’s no actual practicing going on, except for practice dancing. So if you’re expecting more than that…don’t.
3.) Close Embrace Dancing Reminder. Now is a good time to remind you, before you go, to brush up on what has become known as “Milonguero” style of dancing. Meaning ? Small, close quarter dancing or what Tango Topics refers to as Dancing In A Small Space (DIASS). We have 3 videos on this subject alone: 1.) DIASS. 2.) The DIASS Addendum. and 3.) Preparing for Buenos Aires. We also have a host of Articles you want to look at with more on the way. It should be clear to you now in case you’re unclear but will be soon enough that you don’t want to spend a private lesson on this stuff about a week beforehand. No, you should spend a few months working with someone that has been there repeatedly and understands the culture, what to expect on the floor, and how to dance there. This is not something you can go to your local teacher that’s never been there. Dancing in, and preparing for BsAs is very different than dancing anywhere else in the world for a long list of reasons! A reasonable amount of time to work on the materials in the 3 videos above ? About 3 months. 😉 YMMV!
4.) Taxis go everywhere that buses can’t. Which is few and far between. Which is to say, know your bus routes to and from your milongas. You’ll save oodles of cash, and get a better view of the city that way. Yes, it’s scary, but you’ll definitely get a better feel for BsAs that way than from the back of a taxi. Oh and you can only hail a taxi on the same side of the street that you’re on, unless it’s very late at night.
5.) Cash. Don’t bring oodles of cash with you to the Milongas or out shopping for that matter. Bring exactly what you need and a little more. Cash, and really the US Dollar, are still KING of transactions. But if you can bring pesos, bring them. You can change dollars for pesos now at most banks with no limits on transactions and you will get a real rate that reflects the actual exchange rate. You can also do a transaction from an ATM there and take out in Pesos. However, expect to eat fees on your bank’s side of the transaction and you may be limited to how much you can take out at any one time. YMMV.
6.) Shoes. Oy. This is a much longer topic, and rightfully deserves it’s own thing, but you’re there to do a little shoe shopping. Usually, the visiting Tango Tourista doesn’t have time to wait around for shoes. However, if you do have the time, get a pair made for you have them shipped to you or brought to you. The reason we mention this here and now is if you go down there and have the expectation of having shoes made for you, understand that it’s the high season, and that it’s generally just one or two guys making the shoes and they’re going to move at the speed at which they move. Which is to say, reset your expectations: Think several MONTHS before they show up. Same thing goes for the hand made clothes. Unless it’s on the rack right there in front of you don’t expect them to show up any time soon.
7.) Sweat. You’re going to sweat. A lot. Especially this time of year. Because it’s not only hot. It’s AFRICA hot. The kind of heat that makes you dream of a cool breeze, any breeze. To that effect – Bring clothes with you that cater to this very real actuality. And we don’t mean ‘perspiration’ and “here, let me get my fan” or a little glistening here and there on your brow. No! We mean torrential sweat that will make Niagra Falls look like a lite drizzle. In other words ? Silk and delicate fabrics…not so much with that! And with that thought in mind it should come as no surprise to you, not to expect A/C in the Milongas or Practicas! And be pleasantly surprised when there is some, which quickly turns into a walk-in freezer the longer you sit. And in case you’re unclear…there will be sitting and not a lot of dancing at first. Mostly because no one knows you or has seen you dance yet. We’ll simply say this about sitting at Milongas in BsAs: Learn to manage your expectations.
8.) Tango in BsAs is unlike any place else in the world but there are certain truisms that you will discover over a long period of time. One of which is that you will find partners at every level above and below yourself. Another that will be really hard for you to understand: There are no beginners, no intermediate, or advanced dancers, those are North American constructs. Some are just starting their journey on the path, others have been there a while. Time matters not in BsAs. What matters is skill, diligence, an the ability to integrate (quickly and expeditiously) what is seen and heard. If they’re dancing tango, and they’re there (obviously), then they’re on the path, the same as you. Some stay on the path for a long time, some do not. People come and go in BsAs a lot. The person you dance with today you may never see again. Some will become life long travelers on the path that you see from time to time. Some you will not care to dance with. Some you will want to dance with and never get the chance. Some you will like. Others you will not. Just because it’s BsAs does not make it the most amazing experience ever. It’s just another Milonga. It just so happens that the Milonga is in BsAs. There are more experienced dancers. There are less experienced dancers. Some have greater skill than others. If these sound like gross generalizations or unrealistic realities, they’re not. You will discover these things on your own, in time. However, you will not discover them inside of two weeks. It’s just not going to happen. For you to discover these things, you have to be there for a long while: About 3 months at minimum.
9.) Ice. When ordering any drink that is not coffee or tea, don’t expect ‘ice’ (Spanish: ‘hielo’. English ‘ice’.) just because it’s hot as f*ck. You have to ask for it. “Coca con hielo!” (coke with ice) or, “Agua con hielo” (water with ice). Further, don’t expect actual ice cubes. The ‘ice’ will be hand-chipped from an actual ice block and served in little ice buckets. Don’t expect cute little cubes. That noise just isn’t going to happen.
10.) Outdoor Milonga. There are 2 outdoor milongas and a third that sort of indoor/outdoor. The two consistent outdoor milongas are: Plaza Dorrego (displayed above) & La Glorieta. Both Dorrego and Glorieta happen on Sundays, but Glorieta happens more frequently. Check Hoy Milonga for details.
11.) There’s only a handful of “After Hours” Milongas in BsAs. The one that EVERYONE shows up at 6 days a week is La Viruta (El V). The ‘FREE’ time, meaning they stop charging people at the door is 3 am on the weekends. During the week, it’s usually free after 1. Expect the floor to be packed at El V on FRI and SAT nites. You’re not going to find a seat. So if you go with a group expect to stand.
12.) Reserving a Table is easy for most milongas, call ahead, several days ahead, and not the same day. Although some days, depending on what time of the year it is, it really doesn’t matter. But during the Hight Season, and specifically in Jan/Feb, it’s a good idea to reserve a table especially for groups of people. Oh and don’t even think of reserving a Corner Table. That’s so not going to happen. 😉
13.) Planning on Privates ? Of course you are. That’s second part of the reason you’re there. (Shoes and Dancing are the others) So if you want to spend time with your favorite teacher: Email ahead of time, weeks ahead of time to set up your study plan with them. Do not expect to show up in BsAs and have them be available. That’s just not going to happen during the High Season. They’re insanely busy! Oh yeah, and BRING CASH with you. The exact amount.
14.) Closing Canning. After 2 am on Monday/Tuesday Nights at Salon Canning (Parakultural) the tango touristas mostly disappear and then after ______ (fill in the blank) closes, most of those folks come to Salon Canning to finish off the night because La Viruta is closed. 🙂
15.) Placed. At certain milongas you will be placed. Expect if you’re a man to be placed with the men, and a woman to be placed with the women. This means you will have to …. eeeek….use Cabeceo & Mirada to indicate your dancing partner selections. You’ll have to be fast too. Usually, the Cabeceo/Mirada happens very, very quickly at the end of the preceding tanda as someone is exiting the floor, and within the first 10 seconds of a song.
16.) “Pan” (pron: “Pahn” like your opening your mouth for a dentist to say “ah, and the ‘p’ is short, and the ‘n’ is quick.”) means “Bread” in Spanish. The rolls you get with a meal are basically white bread rolls. You’re going to have a lot of bread with your meals, whether you wanted to have it or not. You can order meals ‘Sin Pan’ but you’re going to get funny looks now and again. Meals in nicer restaurants usually come with Pan as well as Breadsticks, and two types of condiments. Both of them are “spicy” (by US standards, which typically means more than a breath of pepper….ugh). Oh and ‘Butter’ is “Manteca” (pron: “Man-Tea-Cah”). Sometimes it comes with and sometimes it doesn’t, so you may have to ask for it. “Pan con Manteca por favor ?”.
17.) Stand & Chat. Expect to stand and chat with your partner for the first minute of a song. Don’t believe us ? Watch this! North Americans (and you have to make the distinction, otherwise the Sur Americanos get rather upset when you say “Americans”) and Europeans tend to start dancing immediately when the music starts. Get that little thought right out of your head. 🙂
18.) Orange Juice that you’re used to getting in the US doesn’t exist in BsAs. The closest thing that exists is one brand, and it’s not even what you’d expect. The stuff that you usually get from your usual products isn’t the same in BsAs. It’s very watery, by your standards. Almost like orange flavored water. Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice in BsAs is “Naranja de Exprimido” or say just “Exprimido” which really means Squeezed Orange. The ‘Fresh’ part (Recien) is implied.
19.) Airport Pickup. Can’t stress this one enough > Reserve a CAR to pick you up and drop you off at EZE. We recommend Dante Proaño. He’s the bomb for so many reasons! Email him a week or two before you go. You won’t be sorry. He’s also a pretty good guide and if you ask nicely, he’ll even get you a sim card for your phone.
20.) Walking Between Milongas. You can literally walk between Salon Canning, La Viruta, and Villa Malcolm, that’s how close they are to each other. 15 minutes walking…tops. You do not need to take a cab. Usually, there’s a crowd on a Sunday night after Villa Malcolm closes that ends up at La Viruta to close out the night at 5 or 6 am. Another quick walk between Milongas is between El Beso and Porteno y Bailarin. They’re both on Riobamba, and a short 2 minute walk from each other. Just cross the intersection of Corrientes and you’re good to go.
Have you seen Dancing In A Small Space (DIASS) ? If you’re planning to dance at a Tango Marathon, Festival, Encuentro, Buenos Aires, or your local Milonga is a very crowded and you want to know how to dance well in a small crowded space, then this video is the key to that process.
See > Dancing In A Small Space
21.) La Milonguita and La Viruta do a 2 for 1 Milonga on Wednesdays. 🙂
22.) Shoes At The Table. You can change your shoes at the table at certain Milongas. And at other Milongas it’s advised that you change them outside or just NOT at the table! Some folks advocate going to the Milonga IN your Tango shoes to alleviate this issue entirely. Some change their shoes in the doorway. And some actually go into the bathroom to change their shoes. Some do it under the table discretely. Some don’t give a rat’s f*ck. Know thy Milonga, and know it well!
23.) Meh! You may find this hard to believe because it’s BsAs, but do not expect amazing dances. Expect lots of ‘meh’ kind of dances. And don’t expect to dance with the ’Argentines’. There are several reasons for this, most notably is that the milongas are too expensive for all but the teaching and traveling variety of Argentine Dancer. And then there’s the fact that the city itself has ‘priced’ out a lot of locals so they quite honestly have to travel upwards of an hour or more just to come in and dance. Do, however, expect to dance with a lot of other people from around the world, Asia, Russia, and Germany! Also, there’s a huge Russian contingent in BsAs. Massive.
24.) Cats. There are Feral Cats all over one particular Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays), and the Recoleta Cemetary in Buenos Aires, and some kind souls feed them every day. These are abandoned or stray cats that have taken up residence there. And when we say some cats, we don’t mean a stray here and there, there are hundreds of them.
25.) Lead Cabeceo. Tango Topics advocates the ‘Lead Cabeceo’ methodology for entry into the Line of Dance. BsAs is a different beast all its own. While the Lead Cabeceo idea can be invoked in BsAs, it just has to be invoked really quickly and then you move on. FAST! The line of dance moves very quickly, which is putting it mildly. (Lead Cabeceo ?)
26.) San Telmo Market. Every Sunday from noon to six the San Telmo Market takes up the LENGTH of Defensa, which is quite a long street in Buenos Aires. The street is covered end to end in every vendor selling everything you can imagine and then some. Street food, old records, silver work, glass, leatherworks, old cell phones, you name it. You’ll find it there. The San Telmo Market starts nearest the Casa Rosado, or the “Red” House (actually that translates as the ‘pink’ house), sort of like the White House in the US, only it’s Red! Take the Catedral Linea D to get there.
27.) Long Tandas. Depending on the Milonga, you’ll find that 4 song tandas are the standard except for Milonga Tandas. At some milongas, you’ll find 6 or 8 song Tandas. So it’s a good idea when you arrive at a Milonga, to sit and watch AND LISTEN for a little while to get the Tanda count before you Cabeceo/Mirada a particular partner. Especially for those LONG Tandas.
28.) Ice Cream. You will only get ONE warning about this one > Ice Cream (or as it’s affectionately called ‘Helado’) in BsAs is E. V. I. L. And the flavor you want to try is Dulce De Leche. And once you’ve tried it, you can die. There are other flavors and combinations, try them all. You can try whatever you want in most places. And there’s nothing like it anywhere else and that includes Italy. There are Ice Cream shops on nearly every other corner. The best places to go, come and go like the wind in BsAs. There are chains of Heladerias all over the place, checkout the heatmap like this one for what’s popular this week. One more thing…bring an appetite. Don’t go immediately after dinner. You won’t handle it. Oh and that CRAP that you get at restaurants isn’t worth the time of day. Don’t even bother with it.
29.) Jabbed. If you’re a Lead and you keep getting jammed in the back by a series of older Leads, there’s a reason for that. It’s not because you’re moving too slow. It may mean that as well. However, it may mean something else. You’re being tested. Especially with the older guy in the line of dance behind you. He’s essentially calling you out. And you can NOT be polite about your response. Your response is to push back, jab him in the back with your elbow as he’s turning. This is one of those BsAs things. So a good rule of thumb to figure out if you’re being tested is to after you’ve been pushed with an elbow and you move along very quickly afterwards, is if it keeps happening and you’ve got nowhere to go, you’re being tested. It’s at this point a jab with your elbow in his back will alleviate the problem. You’ve been warned.
30.) Palermo Soho. Arguably the best place to stay in BsAs is Palermo Soho. The reason ? It’s closest to all the hot Milongas that you’ll want to go to. As you become more familiar with the city and how to get around, that’s going to change. You’ll want to explore all the Milongas. And for that, you really do need HOYMILONGA.COM or the APP on your phone. At the same time, expect to pay a premium for the priv of staying there. It ain’t exactly cheap. On the other end of town, where all the barrio milongas are at, San Telmo, don’t expect cheap either. It’s also away from most of the Milongas you’re going to want to go to. They see you coming a mile away. You’re their bread and buttah. You’ve been warned. Best suggestion: AirBnB, that and asking around. However, Palermo Soho is where you want to be. Just sayin’. And in case you’re not clear where that is at > Think Salon Canning, Villa Malcolm, and La Viruta. 😉 They’re all close to Scalabrini Ortiz y Cordoba. You’re welcome.
31.) Classes. There are classes before the Milongas, just like where you live. The only difference is that instead of 3 or 4 people, there are at least 30 or 40 people there. It’s a good idea to go to all the classes on a given night at a particular Milonga. Why ? The reasons are really simple ones and not because you have to jam everything into 2 weeks! No. You go because you may discover things in a very different way that you hadn’t heard before or seen before, even though you think you’ve heard it a thousand times. It should also be pointed out that sometimes these classes are in Spanish, sometimes in English, and sometimes in Spanglish. 😉 Don’t just cherry pick the advanced classes, because you think you’re way beyond that. You’re not. No one is. Those ‘beginner’ classes are where you find out what X teacher thinks and how they see the dance. Believe it or not that’s where you find out if the person you’ll see performing later has their collective tango shit together or they’re bullshitting you. It should also be noted that you’ll also find a whole swath of classes that aren’t before the Milonga. Classes on Steps, Patterns, and Figures (for the touristas). Classes on Follower Technique. Classes on Foundation. Classes on Musical Interpretation. Honestly, if you want to get the most out of your trip, go to the foundation and technique classes only. Why ? Because they teach you about your own foundation and how it can change for the better. Where do you find these things ? HoyMilonga is a good starting point.
32.) Veggies. You will find fresh veggies on nearly every other street corner stand. The veggies in the supermarket are all…the same. However, the street veggie vendors are where all the variety is at. Then again you’re never entirely certain what you’re actually getting. So it’s a good idea to wash everything when you get it home. If you’re going to the supermarket chains in BsAs: In the US and Europe, everything is preweighed and pre-priced. And if you get loose fruits and veggies they’ll allow you to weigh and price your veggies at the checkout. In BsAs you have to weigh and price them in the veggies section of the store. There’s usually someone there to help you with that. Don’t expect to weigh and price at check out. They’ll make you go back and do it. Also, don’t be too surprised if you have overripe fruit that lasts about as long as it takes you to get it home. Whie we’re on the subject of Veggies, contrary to what you might believe because it’s clearly a carnivore’s dream town, there are actually Vegetarian restaurants in BsAs. (look here, here, and here.) We’ve tried a few and they’re well beyond the cardboard, brown mushed mash, and broccoli stage.
33.) Walking Is Cool. The Argentine Dancers have seen and danced it all before. Don’t expect to “wow” them with some cool fancy move that you saw on YouTube or some move that is your signature. They’re unphased by this. You want to impress them ? Walk really well. Not kidding. You want to earn some respect ? Walk insanely well! Really, not kidding! Eventually, they may yawn and notice one of their friends in the line of dance behind you, and that you didn’t do something stupid like back up or throw a boleo, or a gancho that has no business in the line of dance. WALKing is the key. In other words, dance to dance, not to be seen dancing.
34.) Smoking. There’s no smoking in the Milongas. Smoke outside. On the street. Also the water that you buy in the little corner bodegas is about 100 pesos LESS than what you’ll pay in the Milonga for the same bottle of water. In other words, stick a bottle or two in your bag and take that to the milonga instead. You’ll be happy you did.
35.) An Open Mind. Expect to find the unexpected. Open your mind to the possibilities that there will be other teachers, with other ideas, with a different way of explaining the same thing that you’ve heard 10,000 times only the 10,001 you actually heard and now you get it. It’s generally at this point that you’ll ask your local teacher “Why didn’t you ever tell me about this….???”. Where upon they’ll reply that they have, several times. It’s not that you’re stupid, it’s that you weren’t ready to hear it just yet. That happens a lot in BsAs. Be ready to hear some things that you weren’t ready to hear.
36.) Pah-Ree-Jah. (Parrilla) Say it. Know it. Live it. Let’s get a few things straight. There are VERY few good places to get good Parrilla in BsAs that’s actually like what you’d get out in the countryside or at someone’s home. VERY FEW. Any place that advertises “PARRILLA” is marketing to the touristas! Ummm that would be YOU! So what’s Parrilla ? It’s roasted argentine beef over a grated fire pit. The longer, the better in some cases. It’s where you’ll find what you might call ‘steak’ but way better and usually it’s more than just steak. It’s also blood sausage. Which is something you have to learn to appreciate for well-made sausage. There are lots of bad out there. It’s also different cuts of beef, and cut in different ways to get completely different textures and flavors. If meat is your thing, then this is it. There are typically 5 cuts of Argentine Beef that you will be served. One that is very common and you’ll see on the menu a lot is Bife De Lomo. This is a tenderloin cut, and usually the most expensive and least flavorful of the lot. The one that you want is Bife de chorizo, and ideally, you want the “Butterfly cut”. Say THANK YOU MILES! Another popular cut of meat is Vacio. It’s the more gristle and fatty variety but it’s highly prized for its flavorfulness. However, it’s the Chorizo that you want to get. Just sayin’.
37.) The Female Lead. If you’re a female and want to lead, do not Lead at the more traditional Milongas. That’s not going to go over very well. There’s less stigma over same-gendered couples dancing together at Milongas than there used to be. And while some people won’t bat an eye, some will! It’s best at this stage to either ask the organizer directly if they have an issue with you Leading, or wait for the someone else to dance, and then you can do as you want. But don’t be too surprised to see men dancing with other men at the Milongas or women leading other women. It’s more common than it used to be, but still…. Same goes for the Male Follower.
38.) She Who Sits. This one should come as no surprise, but you will find that there are a LOT of Followers. In a room of 400 ppl at Salon Canning for instance, you’ll find 300 women all sitting and waiting for the other 100 men to ask them to dance. Yes, it is a near 2 to 1 disparity, there are a lot of women sitting, for long periods of time, and waiting, and waiting for the same 25 guys to ask them for a tanda. Tango Topics advocates the advice to walking around the room and engaging in conversation. However, that advice doesn’t work in BsAs. You really do have to stay at your table and wait to be asked, or engage in Mirada. You really do. And you really do have to wait for the Lead to come and collect you from your chair for a whole bunch of reasons. Not the least of which is that it may not be YOU that the lead has Cabeceo’d. Stay in your seat until you are collected, otherwise, there’s going to be some awkwardness that happens.
39.) Live. Expect actual “Live” music on a regular basis. There are several working orchestras, sextetos mostly, in BsAs. And they play out as often as they can. There’s actually a whole bunch of Tango musicians that go to BsAs not for the dancing, but to learn from the Maestros that are quickly disappearing from the world. You haven’t lived until you’ve danced in BsAs to a note for note rendition perfect DiSarli, D’Arienzo, or Calo to LIVE music. There’s nothing quite like it.
40.) Ugh. There’s usually a performance. Usually. 🙁 Gotta give the touristas what they want. There is usually going to be some kind of performance at a Milonga. Sometimes, you’ll get a Zamba performance as one of the 3 dances. Sometimes you’ll get a ‘Rock n Roll’ performance. But mostly you’ll get the standard Tango, Vals, Milonga performance. And as tango matures, you’ll see more and more and more death drops. Uuuugh. As well as things that don’t remember any tango that you see on the floor. It’s a show. Don’t confuse it with what you’re being taught to do. It’s not Social Tango. The reason and this is our own personal opinion which many will argue with, is the distinction: SOCIAL Tango. Meaning what can fit comfortably within the line and lane of dance. To be fair there are a whole swath of performers that can fit their figures in the line of dance. But the key component there is COMFORTABLY without straining to do it. So while we can all appreciate the enormous amount of time, effort, and near superhuman skillz that (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) went into said performance. Remember that it’s just that: A performance and not meant to actually be danced that way.
41.) Watch First. It’s a really good idea to put your shoes on and then NOT dance for a few tandas. Why ? You really do need to get the ‘feel’ of the room and the lay of the tango floor as it were. We know, you’ll be anxious to dance. We get it. You’ll also be scared out of your proverbial mind if it’s your first trip. And even if it’s your hundreth (as if), you’ll still need time to get acclimated. The more time that you spend in BsAs from that first point at which arrive to your 1st milonga the less acclimation time you’ll think you’ll need. This is a mistake. A clear and present one. Three words of advice for you: Take. Your. Time. Got it? Honestly, put your shoes and watch for a while. You’ll be watching anyway for a while because no one knows you or what you’re capable of doing. So don’t get all excited to dance. Chose your dancing prospects very carefully. Honestly ? The worst thing that you can do is jump on the floor and try to impress everyone with your great dance moves. Bad idea. Poor move. Believe it ot not, no one will be impressed with your moves. See
42.) Shops. During the months of December and January you may find that a good portion of the street veggie vendors, and the carnitas vendors, close up shop. Be prepared to not have access to your favorite bodega or corner storefront.
43.) Cabeceo/Mirada. If you don’t use these as a way of asking to dance that’s on you but don’t expect to get a whole lot of dances with anyone else in the room except those people that are at your table. While there are versions of Talkeseo/Chateseo (Talking to get a dance), Walkbyeseo (Walking by someone and nodding at them), Grabeseo (So not cool), Askeseo (Self explanatory), Knoweseo/Letsdanceso (Being familiar with someone already and taking them out on the dance floor without much agreement), and a whole lot of other quaint variations on a theme, the reality is that that at the more established Milongas, you will be expected to use these tools. Look at our Cabeceo videos on Youtube.
44.) Medialunas. a.) Hot, fresh, right from the oven are like Crack Cocaine. b.) There’s nothing like it. c.) Like the Helado above. This one is just as E. V. I. L. if not worse. You’ve been warned. Most of the Milongas sell Medialunas with coffee. However, these Medialunas were made HOURS if not earlier in the day or from yesterday, they’ve been heated in a microwave. They’re hot, and seemingly fresh, but they’re not. There is to this author’s knowledge 1 Milonga that serves FRESH from the Panaderia: La Viruta at 4 am. You see them walking them in with a shopping cart across the floor to the kitchen. And then there is the madrush from everyone in the room to get a half dozen for their table. They usually disappear within a half hour. However, if you want fresh, fresh, fresh then you need to keep a close eye on your local panaderia. Because usually just as you’ll be coming home at 5 am from the Milongas they just opened their ovens and out pops, you guessed it, MEDIALUNAS! It should be noted that a Medialuna is not the same as a Media Luna. One is a bakery item, the other is a turn. It should be noted that you can get Medialunas any time of the day or night, and any time of the year. While we’re on the subject, the best place to get good fresh baked sweets (facturas) is the local Confiterías. The Panaderias sometimes make facturas, but they’re mostly for breads. Confiterias, on the other hand, do make sweetbreads and but mostly cakes and pastries. The place you get your Medialunas ? Panaderias. You’re welcome.
45.) Hyperspeed. The Milongas will seem, at first, like they’re all moving at hyperspeed and it will be overwhemlming and dizzzing. Chillax. Breathe. See Item #41.
46.) Practice Space. Believe it or not, you would think that you’d find spaces to Practice all over BsAs. Nope. There are only a handful of open spaces where you can pracctice on a regular basis. One of them is: Saverio Perre Taller De Tango. This is an old skool tango practica space. They only deal in cash. And you actually have to call them on the phone, meet them in person, and then reserve a space. They’re insanely friendly and very helpful. Don’t be surprised if they’re booked up though.
48.) San Telmo Milongas. They’re small. Cozy. Quiet (ish). This is where you’ll find a subset of dancers that live in a very particular world of Tango. El Abrazo es todos! The embrace is everything! By some standards, these folks are not stellar. Nor are they performers. There may be a few teachers in the room, but for the most part this is the people’s dancing.
49.) Uber Argentina. It’s not really legal. Cab drivers will chase Uber drivers if they become aware of them and even resort to physical violence. Because of this, try ordering an Uber away from the taxi queues in front of your milonga. Because it’s not legal, the Uber drivers expect you to always enter the front passenger seat and make everything seem like you’re entering a car of a friend for the same reason. When dropping you off, they’ll appreciate if you let them also do that 50m before the cab queue at your destination.
50.) Low ATM Fees. Banco de la Nación has the lowest ATM fees. It’s less than 2/3rds of what everyone else charges.
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