Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scouting tour from Buenos Aires continues...(+ random notes on life here)

Thursday, 10 de Abril
Milonga con traspie class by Demian Garcia and Laura De Altube @ EAT Gallerias. I thought this class was OK, but it didn't knock my socks off, and I don't remember anything specific about it.
Chiche y Marta tango class @ EAT Gallerias. Another great class taught by Chiche (Marta was ill).

Friday, 11 de Abril
Hugo Daniel @ EAT Gallerias class on axis, balance and equilibrium for men and women (note that men were listed first). This was a truly excellent class, with exercises only (no steps taught) and strong emphasis on musicality. We began with posture, first centering ourselves above our feet and then having a slightly forward intention. Then we did a variety of walking\stepping exercises, changing the size and tempo of our steps (doing side and diagonal cross steps in tango and milonga rhythm and the basic milonga baldosa box with milonga traspie, milonga lise, and milonga canyengue feet\body styles).

Saturday, 12 de Abril
Hugo Daniel workshop @ EAT Gallerias workshop on axis, balance, and equilibrium. We did many of the same exercises as yesterday. One interesting thing we played with was the ocho movement, playing with the different areas of where the energy intention could be and how it made the ocho look entirely different. The three areas we played with were energy intention in the chest, in the hips, and in the knees. It was truly amazing how different the ochos could look based on where the energy intention is located, and I was amazed at how different my body felt (more stable in some places, less stable in others) depending on where I directed the energy intention. Personally, I think these classes\workshops are among the best ones offered at EAT. He is a maestro who teaches how to dance (not just another pretty sequence).

Sunday, 13 de Abril
Hugo Daniel workshop @ EAT Gallerias workshop on axis, balance, and equilibrium. We continued our work from yesterday, and so practiced more movement and coordination exercises with a special emphasis on playing with the rhythm and timing of each step, depending on what we were dancing to (tango, vals, milonga, canyengue). I found the canyengue upper body movement especially challenging to master (and certainly have a long way to go before it looks anywhere near natural).

Tuesday, 15 de Abril
Chiche y Marta @ EAT Galerias. Another great class with Chiche (Marta's been ill).
Carlos & Maria Rivarola @ EAT Galerias. Los Maestros taught one of the same sequences as last week (that's OK though, I needed to clean up my foot/bodywork on it) and some new ones as well. The followers spent time with Maria at the barre working on our floor boleo footwork with an emphasis on it being loose and fluid. Maria made it clear that high boleos should not be done at the salon (milonga), that it was dangerous and rude.

Wednesday 16 de Abril
It was horribly smokey here in Buenos Aires because of a nearby fire, so I stayed in the apartment all day.

Random Buenos Aires comments for those coming for a visit.
Regarding the food, though the grilled meats, empanadas, and dulce de leche are all delicious, a steady diet of that over several weeks can get a little old (or damaging to the waisteline). So with that in mind, I´ve been sprinkling in ample trips to the local supermarkets here (Disco, Coto, and Carrefore). They all have amazingly large selections of prepared foods along with the ubiquitous roasted chicken (a la Costco and Safeway). They are hot and cold, in ample tables with plastic cartons next to them for you to fill with the quantities you desire. You bring them up to the serviceperson there who covers it with plastic wrap, weighs it and prices it. This same bagging\weighing\pricing procedure is used for fresh produce as well.

Subte versus taxi:
I used to take the cab from my apartment in Palermo to the EAT studio in the Galerias Pacifico on Florida, but found that it really racked up the expenses (20 pesos one way) and I often got stuck in horrendous traffic. Now I just take a cab to my local subte (tube) stop and take the subte to the Florida station (90 centavos one way). It takes a whole lot faster and is much cheaper. I just have to be extra aware and careful not to get pickpocketed.

Laundry services are super cheap here. It´s 7 or 8 pesos per load (bagful) of laundry, usually available the next day or same day if you drop off early. Lots of places will also pick up and deliver your laundry free of charge.

Computers & Phone:
They have these places called Locutorios where you can rent computers with internet access for 1-4 pesos per hour (the 1 peso per hour places are usually crappy, so I wouldn´t pay less than 2 pesos per hour). These locutorios are located all over the place, so you are never too far away from your gmail. The locutorios also have phones you can use to make local or international phone calls and are quite reasonable. If you are on an even tighter budget, you can buy a phone card at the locutorio, and then use it in one of the booths to make a call. But if you are making an extremely long call to the states (like to the airlines to change a flight or bank because of lost ATM\credit card) and don´t want to be cut off because your minutes ran out on the card, just dial direct from the phone without the card. It will be more expensive, but at least you will not be cut off.

The Roving Entrepreneurs:
It is quite common when you are eating dinner in a restaurant or sitting in the subte to be solicited by the ever-present budding entrepreneurs, who go around leaving whatever they are selling (hair bands, pens, notebooks, screwdrivers, bungee cords, tap measures, etc.) on your table or in your lap for you to take a minute or two to examine. If you want to buy their item, that's great. And if not, no worries, they just come by a minute or two later and take the item back and move on to their next destination. These roving entrepreneurs might also try to sell you something when you are in a cab. At first I was surprised and amused and thought their behavior a tiny bit intrusive, but they are quite convenient and I've bought several items from them (a nifty pen with built-in light [5 pesos], and a small notebook with pen [2 pesos]).

How to get small bills.
The ATMs usually dispense money in 100 peso bills, and you usually can only take out 300 pesos per transaction (though you can have multiple transactions in a day, one after the other on the same visit). The problem is that cab drivers and small businesses prefer small bills near whatever the tab comes out to be. One way to get smaller bills is to take out money 290 pesos at a time. That way the money will come out with 2 100-peso bills and 90 pesos in smaller bills (10s and 20s). I highly recommend that if you go to a restaurant and the bill is more than 50 pesos, to pay with a 100 peso bill.

Besos y abrazos,

Ana de Buenos Aires

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