Tango is Argentina’s national dance, passion and blatant obsession. It is everywhere in Buenos Aires. There are lavish shows in huge theaters, performances in tiny cafes, impromptu dancing on sidewalks when the music wafts within audible range, and on any given night there are milongas — public dances — throughout the city. Young and old, novice and professional come to tango for the sheer joy of it. At 11:00 p.m on a slow Sunday night, the millonga at Cafe Ideal, one of the oldest cafes in Buenos Aires, was just getting started. Nearly a hundred people were sipping drinks, enjoying the live music and dancing what has been described as the closest thing to having sex with clothes on. These are “real” people who just want/need to tango. Had we remembered to pack our dance shoes, we’d have been out there swishing and swaying with the rest of them.
LA BOCA & RECOLETA
Despite Lonely Planet’s paranoia-inducing warnings, we loved the portside, touristy little barrio of La Boca which is full of colorful cafes; wild murals; rich, gritty history; and, of course, lots of tango.
Although it is only a small fraction of the size of Paris’ famed Pere Lachaise, Recoleta Cemetery boasts some lovely, elaborate funereal architecture… and is populated by a few gentle cats who seem to receive more food than the other permanent residents receive flowers.
There is so much more to explore and enjoy in Buenos Aires but it’s time for us to trade our Tevas for hiking boots, head southward and test our Patagonia threads in the real Patagonia.
Next up: TOTALLY COOL