|The Ballroom at Los Patios de Montserrat|
Rested, clean, and dressed in our best, we set out for dinner, tango, and cigars, an evening talked about excitedly since the day our flights were booked. For me, it felt fantastic to shed winter clothes and put on a sleeveless dress, which I paired with my finest flip-flops (remember, we were backpacking after all). One of my favorite things about Buenos Aires and South America in general is the lack of air conditioning: you never have to worry about freezing to death inside a restaurant when it's eighty degrees outside; a threat particularly prevalent in the state of Florida. We found a little restaurant around the corner which met our simple criteria: they had a wood burning oven. At "Parilla la Posada" we had a lovely dinner served by an enthusiastic and sincere waiter. I spoke Spanish; he spoke English. Eager to be on time for the tango show, we departed in a hurry and hoofed it across town to Piazzolla Tango. The show was delayed so our arriving ten minutes after said show time didn't matter. In fact, the guests who were there for dinner as well were just served their main course as we sat down in the opulent hall, reminiscent of the grand old theatres of Europe.
The exact origins of tango - both the word and the dance are lost in myth and unrecorded history. It is generally agreed upon that this dramatic and sensual dance was brought to Uruguay and Argentina in the late 1800's by poor European immigrants, and that the music reflects their sense of loss and longing for the people and places left behind. The more affluent classes encountered the dance in brothels and dance halls; the only place they interacted with the poor, working class. Inscribed onto the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, the popularity of tango has fluctuated with historical economic conditions, but has been widely celebrated since the mid-1980's.
After a wonderful performance, we paused for coffee and dessert at a local bar/cafe, amazed at the number of people partying on a Tuesday night. Bars were full and happening at 1:30 am. When do these people work? we wondered. The next morning we noticed that the clock over the reception desk was one hour behind ours and we quickly realized why we were alone in the restaurant, early for the tango show, and had plenty of company at the bar so "late"...
We had both been to Buenos Aires before and felt no urge to see all the historical sites again. We wanted to take in the city on the street level, so we walked. For hours. Dodging summer rain showers, children blowing soap bubbles, and aggressive sales men offering leather goods, currency exchange, and the best parillo in town. In the afternoon we headed over to the bus terminal for the next southbound leg of our journey.
|The Original Terminal|
We were southbound again, cruising down paved roads in wide, comfortable seats that folded down 180 degrees, with on-board service that put any airline to shame.