Day 106

Today we were in Buenos Aires, the capital and most populous city in Argentina. Greater Buenos Aires is home to about 17 million people and is the most visited city in South America. Founded in the 1500’s, it is known for its preserved Spanish/European-style, architecture, and rich cultural life. We began our day by attending a tango master’s class with about 14 others in the southern part of town.

The bus passed by many municipal and federal government buildings and churches, all with elaborate carvings and columns. There is massive construction going on here. They are doing their version of “The Big Dig,” making underground roads to alleviate some of the current traffic congestion. Our supposed 15 minute drive to La Ventana for our lesson took almost an hour.

Our tango lesson was more fun than I anticipated. We began by learning the basic 8 step tango; we girls lined up behind the female tango master and practiced our steps, while the guys practiced their’s. After running through the steps, we got together with our partners and tried dancing together. After some initial missteps, we seemed to get it. Then, the instructors introduced the ocho, a figure eight move with four turns. It felt pretty good to put the steps together without stepping in each other’s way. We weren’t nearly as graceful as we had seen, but it was a start. We did a lot of laughing.

This afternoon was our third world cruise event- an Afternoon at Zanjon de Granados. Since the venue was only 5 blocks from where we were already, 10 of us worlders walked there. This was an 1800’s hotel and apartment building that was built on top of 1500’s adobe buildings and water tunnels. This was rediscovered and excavated in the 1990’s, as the upper portion was converted to a lovely function and theater area. We were some of the first arrivals (the buses from the ship were bogged down in traffic and even had to circumvent a protest in the area) and had a wonderful tour of the tunnels. In one spot, the lights went out and a special light showcased a couple performing a special tango for us. As each bus arrived, the passengers received their tour and then entered another room for drinks and appetizers. There was even some entertainment here.

 

After about an hour, we went upstairs to a lovely dining area with a surrounding balcony area for performances. We had a delicious steak lunch (really was our dinner). Beef is a major export and staple in Argentina. While we were eating, four excellent tango couples demonstrated the tango in 1900, 1930, 1960, and 1990, with costumes from that era. Later the dancers came down from the balcony, danced right between the tables, and took passengers to dance with. Mac and I were both chosen and did our best. Our one lesson was coming in handy already. This was fun and a good photo op.

While we were having dessert, a singer in a ball gown performed several songs from Evita, while waving from the balcony.

The entire event was wonderful and well executed. Everything flowed smoothly. We were on the last bus to leave, and returned to the ship about 5:30.

We passed on supper and relaxed a bit, even watching a movie. We didn’t want to miss tonight’s show, The Pampas Devils, an Argentinian group on the ship for a few days. They performed a South American gaucho show that included some tango, tap dancing, drums, and bolas. The bolas are balls on a rope that gauchos used to take down an animal by lassoing it around its legs. These bolas are used for entertainment by twirling them, hitting the floor to make noise, and swinging them in different directions. It was a very dynamic show.

Tomorrow we are in Punta del Este, Uruguay, heading north towards Brazil.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac

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