Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 26 - June 1

Thursday, May 26, 2011
A text message woke me up from my not-so-sound sleep around 1 a.m. It was American telling me that the flight I booked months ago to Buenos Aires using 80,000 frequent flyer miles was cancelled. Yikes!!! I got on the phone, dialing their number ASAP. While on hold on my land line, they called me on my cell, stating that the flight had been rescheduled to the next day, and instead of going through NYC as originally planned, they routed me through Dallas. I went ahead and accepted their change, as it seemed easier than to wait on hold for hours on end. The day before Jr. Scout Extraordinaire asked about my flight and if it was OK since hers was cancelled and rescheduled for the following day (American cancelled 600+ flights from Dallas on Wednesday due to storm damage to the planes, and seemingly pushed everyone else's flights out a day, even if we weren't flying through Dallas). As I checked out the computer to see what they had on my record, I was annoyed to see that my new flights were all in coach, whereas my original flights were booked on business class on the outbound, and coach on the inbound. Too tired to be strung out about it, I just went to bed instead, already mentally composing my note to American customer service requesting a mileage credit for the change in classes.
When I got up, I was pleased to see my new seat assignments were on first class on the leg to Dallas and on Business Class to Buenos Aires, but with a very high (4) row number. So everything turned out all good.

With a free day, I did what all good daughters should when they have a free day to kill... I went to see my parents. My mother must have been on some weird cosmic connection with me, because believe it or not, she had a couple of slabs of Liguria Bakery foccacia -- my favorite onion and the merely OK to me pizza, though she hasn't bought and given it to me in at least a couple of decades and I certainly didn't ask for it, and she surely did not read my blog last week and how I had some at the Italian American Club milonga. So go figure.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The flight to Dallas on American Airlines first class was OK. It was nice that American also allowed me to use their Admirals' clubs before my flights to Dallas and to Buenos Aires. They are both clean, luxurious facilities with bar service (very generous in Dallas, not so much in San Francisco), with free sodas, coffee/tea, Internet access, snacks, shower facilities, and magazines that have to do with golf or other luxury interests. One small area for improvement was that I wish the bathrooms had hands-free faucets. While I totally understand the bling appeal of Grohe, it is spanked down by me being skeeved out by thinking how many folks' hands have touched those faucets before me, executive or not.

The flight to Buenos Aires was great. The Admirals Club in Dallas greeted me with two premium drink tickets. The chairs on that flight were the fully reclinable barcalounger luxury types. The entertainment system top-notch once it got going. (I watched the new Karate Kid with Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan, which was excellent. I am sure Jayden Smith will be a future movie action hero in the near future with his amazing physical capabilities. I also watched the first bit of Country Strong, and I am amazed at how talented Gwenyth Paltrow is. It makes me want to run out and buy her cook book, even though it was a movie that featured her real singing.)

But even with the barcalounger chairs and nifty amenity goody bag (filled with eye patch, ear plugs, pen, socks, small pack of kleenex, Burt's Bee's lip balm and Burt's Bee's lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, and tooth flosser a la Plackers but not specifically Plackers branded), I had a very hard time falling asleep and remaining asleep. If anything, I had a horrible nightmare with me having some weird bug and worm like growth things coming out of my arm, which totally made me wake up because it was so upsetting.

The food on both flights was excellent, but more so on the Buenos Aires flight. It was all delicious and ample. In fact, I ended up on that flight just not being able to eat another bite, I was so stuffed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The flight arrived in Buenos Aires right on time, and I waited for Dante to pick me up at the usual spot. Only the usual spot had changed because of all the construction they are doing at that terminal. Dante saw me though, so he got me straightaway as I stared around cluelessly looking for the coffee shop that used to be where new ticket counters are going in. I've thought about taking the regular remise services from EZE to BsAs, but decided to pay the few extra dollars and have Dante pick me up as usual. There is something comforting about him meeting me as usual, and telling me all the goings on in BsAs at that particular moment. We catch up on our respective lives, and he tells me what he knows about the current places that I stay at.

Arriving at a Very Nice Tango Residence that will go unnamed since I don't want it to be overrun was a breeze since Dante knows the area so well, and it's not in any weird or obscure area. The kitchen was clean and orderly, so based on my experience at another BsAS tango residence, it was obvious to me that either the guests were considerate and conscientious and/or there is regular maid service that is active and enthusiastic, both of which made me let out a huge sigh of relief. The owner/manager was here to meet me exactly when I arrived, gave me a quick but thorough tour of the facility and overview of the house rules, handed me the keys, and left me on my own. In short... it was perfect. I certainly could not ask for more as a short-term boarder.

The bathrooms are clean and modern, and downright luxurious (albeit small since they had no bidet) by BsAs standards, and pretty nice by U.S. standards as well. The showers, in particular, thankfully do what they are supposed to do without making the entire bathroom all wet (which is what happens in many other BsAs bathrooms I've been in, some at some very "luxurious" places).

I was still pretty wired, so I did not bother to take a nap or shower before I headed out to explore.

My first stop was to Asignatura Pendiente on Corrientes to see if I could replace a pair of Negra y Portena tango shoes that I completely adored but which had suffered a horrible fate at the hands of a dastardly scoundrel. No such luck. Not only did they not have any Negra y Portena tango shoes in my size, but they also conveyed to me that their shoes are very exclusive in that they only make one size in any one model they make. So a shoe design will only have 1 in size 35, 1 in size 36, 1 in size 37, etc. So I was totally out of luck. Being a little disheartened, I headed out the door. But the sale rack of dresses caught my eye, and I got one that fit perfectly for $150 pesos (about US $39, based on the rounded exchange rate of 4 Argentine Pesos = US$1). I tried to pay with my credit card, but was told it would be 10% more. I thought this was way too steep as I was used to hearing percentages in the 3% range in the US, and though they exist, extremely few US merchants charge additional fees to use credit cards.

Then I made my way to Lolo Gerard on Anchorena since I was getting a little hungry and had to buy my food for the next few days. I figured I could swing by there first before I made my way to the Abasto Coto hipermercado. I was not disappointed. I was able to find literally, THE PERFECT fitting shoe in the PERFECT non-blowout material. SCORE!!!! Normally, I don't buy shoes on my first day in BsAS and strongly encourage everyone else not to as well since our feet are usually quite swollen from the flight. However, since my feet weren't swollen at all thanks to the barcalounger chairs, I threw caution in the wind. This sale shoe was $290 pesos (about US$72), but the thing about their sale items is that they demand payment in cash (effectivo), and will not accept tarjeta (credit cards). More about the rationale behind this later... Yikes!!! I was pretty sure I didn't have $290 since I went out with very little pesos since the residence manager warned against pick pockets pretty forcefully, and again reiterated what I have heard from many other group leaders I've come to BsAs with, and that is DO NOT GO OUT WITH A HUGE AMOUNT OF CASH, ONLY BRING OUT WHAT YOU NEED. I've personally never had a problem with pickpockets, but having heard this same warning over and over, and quite forcefully, does make one pretty cautious and weary. I also didn't want to walk around with any more than I had to, and I thought I had enough pesos to last one afternoon, so only had my credit card and photocopy of my passport with me (i.e., no ATM card, no California ID)...more on the problem that would arise because of this later.

Anyway, so I dug around all the many pockets of my bag and managed to scrounge together $267 pesos. The shop woman was very kind and understanding, and she said that was fine. I was relieved. My Spanish isn't good enough to have explained to her that I would have returned with all the pesos if she could hold my shoes, but I am glad that wasn't necessary. She was such a sweetie. Lolo Gerard's nonsale shoes are around $450 pesos (around US$114). I am sure it will be one of the last stops I make in another week or so before I leave BsAs.

A trip to BsAs would not begin without a trip to the Abasto Coto. I bought lots of my usual favorites (grilled red peppers, fried calamari, milenesa de terna, torta de acelga, and they had a huge vat of mondongo on sale -- a real bargain, and all the locals were lined up to buy some). When I got in line and finally at the register to pay for it, the cashier told me she could not take my credit card since I did not have an ORIGINAL ID document (just a photocopy of my passport). She called over a manager, who looked over at what I bought -- none of which was easily "returnable" to the buffet table without wasting all the containers and plastic wrap and just being a huge pain to do, who eventually OK'd the purchase with a warning that next time I paid with a credit card, I needed to have an original ID document. I was hugely grateful and relieved as by then I had no more pesos on me and my stomach was growling and my head getting light headed. So when I finally got the bill, I was surprised that it was for $109 pesos instead of the $120 that showed on the register screen. To me, that was all very bizarre, although I assumed the cashier knew what she was doing as I wasn't one of their routine transactions. Later as I looked in detail at the receipt, I saw that there was a 10% DISCOUNT for using a credit card. Now I was totally confused by BsAs credit card policies, after Asignatura Pendiente told me it would be 10% EXTRA to use my credit card, while Coto was giving me a 10% discount for using a credit card.

I got back home and put away my food after I had taken a lunch size portion of each item. It was all very delicious, just as I remembered. Then I went to lie down for a bit as the plane travel and morning events had begun to make fatigue seep into my bones.

After a short nap, I decided to hoof it down Corrientes, and made it all the way to the Subte station 5 stations away before heading back home. I had to pick up a bar of soap ($6 pesos for cucumber Dove) since none was provided in my private bathroom, and also some fresh veggies ($16 pesos, about US$4 for 3 red bell peppers, 3 kiwi, and 3 bananas), since there are many veggie markets near where I live and they are much cheaper than veggies at Coto or Disco.

Finally, I took a shower to wash all the travel grime and running around BsAs grime from my body before my dinner engagement, which was at an closed-door/underground restaurant called Casa Saltshaker.

It was US$50, which is very steep by BsAs standards for a meal for one person. I thought it was a decent value as the food was excellent-- very gourmet, and the company and conversation excellent (all English speakers, mostly from the US, although the Queen-loving countries were also represented).

The menu theme for the evening was "Vincentennial" -- Vincent Price, since the day prior was what would have been his 100th birthday if he had still been alive. I am a big fan of the Vincent Price Treasury of Great Recipe book, having had three copies and still possessing two after giving one away to a friend in the SF Bay Area, who has his own supper club (underground restaurant). The dishes were not from any of Vincent or Mary Price's recipe books, but were done in modern style, interpreting dishes they made or would have liked based on their historical written word.

We had:
Salted Cucumber Caesar Salad with Green Tomato Croutons
Red Bean, Rocoto & Swiss Chard Soup
Smoked Herring & Onion Trio Risotto
Crispy Skin Salmon, Prawn, & Miso Sabayon
Chocolate, Berry and Meringue Tower (like his famous Boccone Dolce)

I was not going to have the wine pairing, opting instead for the cheaper US$35 option of the meal and welcome drink and water/coffee/tea. But after seeing the menu, I changed my mind. The wine pairings were good, and I loved how each pairing was served in its own proper glass.

Dan, the chef/owner had many suggestions about which other underground restaurants in BsAs we might like to try, as well as the conventional, mainstream restaurants. He also was a fountain of information about what it is like to buy property in BsAs, and he explained the whole upcharge/discount thing with credit card use, the best way for us newbie gringo visitors to get to the Mataderos fair on Sunday, and the Murillo street versus other areas of BsAs to get leather.

Sunday, May 29, 2011
I got up around 9:00 a.m. thinking that Jr. Scout Extraordinaire would arrive soon, as I did at the same time since I was on the same flight the day prior and picked up by reliable and trustworthy Dante, who does airport transfers (, and who I and JSE ALWAYS use the services of when we are here. And so I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally I checked the airline web site and saw that her flight was delayed by an hour. Still, it had been two hours since the plane had landed, which I think is more than enough time to pick up baggage, go through customs, and into BsAs centro from EZE. Finally, around 11:00 a.m., they arrived.

It was a very nice reuniting, and I was glad that the flight and everything else was OK despite the delay. So having a very light brunch snack and after being chatty Cathys for a while, we decided to go out to the ATM to get local pesos and other errands. I only get pesos from machines marked "banelco" (no need to search for star, link, plus or any other names that really mean nothing to me in the US). So we went to one a block or two away from home, and got our pesos. We then made our way to Farmacity (as ubiquitous as CVS in the US) to pick up a few items for her and me (call me the panuellos queen-- big boxes, little boxes, purse-size packets by the half dozen, I had to have them all).

We had talked about going to the Mataderos Fair by bus and JSE was game, but the clock was quickly moving fast and it was already 2:30 p.m. The bus out was at least another hour, and despite our looking on the Internet, we could not get a good answer on which bus to take. So we decided to just suck it up and take a cab out. The fare came to 40 pesos (US$10) from where we were, but we split it, so it wasn't that bad. I was glad that the cab driver didn't blink twice or give any push back about our destination as I had heard some cab drivers do.

I had heard and read about Mataderos for years, but this is the first time I had the opportunity to experience it firsthand. It was a typical street fair, the emphasis of which was the local gaucho culture. So there were lots of folkloric dancing going on, mostly Chacarera with vastly superior dancers than I had seen in my life since this really was a way of life for them. So their arm styling, costuming, etc., was superb. It was the real deal, as were the musicians.

There were lots of artisan craft stalls with knives, woodwork, knitwork and other handcraft items made from all sorts of different materials, made into clothes and decorative housewares. There was also food, lots of food. This was the first choripan I had experienced on this trip in Buenos Aires, so I was a little surprised at the 10 peso price. But it was delicious, and there were ample condiments of ketchup, mustard, chimmichurri sauce, and a salsa-like sauce that was heavy on the onions, and shredded potato chips. JSE had the brilliant idea of splitting it, and I was happy that my castellano did not fail me and I could verbally request that it be cut in two without the visual aids of chopping hand motions and holding up two fingers.

We spent an enjoyable afternoon strolling among the artisan stalls and noshing on a few more things, and I just kind of looked at everything (humitas, empanadas of course, chorizo, morcilla, a ton of different types of pastries that made me want to check my blood sugar after just looking at them, and even some more unusual things like pickled meats (among lots of other pickled items). One food stand had this interesting thing called Locro, which I had never heard of before. A quick search on the internet afterwords said it was a corn stew.

After a while, JSE started to fade a little since she had not had a nap yet after her long flight from the US so we decided to call it a day. Somehow we had a crazy burst of ambition and decided to take the bus. But the buses are a bit bizarre here, and after a few people in front of us pushed in and got on, the bus started to leave as we approached the door, even though it was still open and people were on the stairs. We also weren't quite sure which bus to take, but figured all of them would get us closer to home than where we currently were. We also had our trusty free tango maps with us, and had just each just purchased Guias that afternoon (8 pesos each), so we figured that between the both of us, we could figure out how to get home reasonably well.

We took the no. 80 bus because it said "Sarmiento" on the front, thinking that it would take us to Sarmiento street (near where we are staying) at some point on the route. Halfway through the ride I decided to cross check the route against the big tango map. Uh oh. It was going to take us to Barrio Sarmiento, which is nowhere near where we were staying. So I quickly did some more analyzing of the map and cross checking it with the Guia and decided that we should get off at Las Incas and just take the Subte directly from there. We moved to the very front seats of the bus so we could see where we were going better. Since when we got on the bus initially, we never told the driver where we were going, and no one else was getting off at the Los Incas subte stop on Corrientes, he drove on by. Ugh! So that's when I piped up. Thankfully, we were only a half block past where we were supposed to get off, and the traffic was cooperative enough so that the driver let us off right there.

After that, we got to the Los Incas subte stop and took it to where we needed to get off, which is still a 3-4 blocks away from home. It was clear at that point that JSE needed a shot of sugar or caffeine, or preferably both. So we went to the heladoria and café to fuel up, where I got a Fernet y soda (total was 25 pesos, a bargain by US standards).

As we finally made our way the last block to home, I was disappointed that the Peruvian veggie store next door was closed for the evening and I just HAD to have sliced veggies for my lunch the next day. So she went up to shower, rest, etc., before a night out at the milongas, and I went around the corner to another veggie market. Thank goodness there are so many of these wonderful shops around so that it is super easy to always have access to fresh veggies. So I had my veggie store adventure, asking for some cherry tomatoes, but wondering out loud why they are called "Cherry" and not "Tomate Cereza" and asking for "Lechuga mas bonita" and being told that Lechugas are not bonitas, but Chicas are. It was a fun little conversation, so after my purchases (sliced veggies, cherry tomatoes, and two heads of lettuce, all for 13 pesos), I made my way back home.

Having more than my fair share of travel with another partner or in groups, I know the luxury of being able to be by one's self occasionally, so I decided to let her have the room all to herself for a few hours while I went down to the living room to blog blog blog. I gotta tell you, I am totally appreciating all the thoughtful touches here at the Place That Shall Go Unnamed including and especially the free Internet access on a decent computer with a decent keyboard (albiet South American with its different key locations and extra alt options, and a very difficult to access "at" symbol), and that the owner/manager is very responsive and quick about things that go wrong (and believe me, this is Buenos Aires, so infrastructural things DO go wrong, no matter how upscale and expensive the lodgings). In short, it's only day 2, but I am finding that I really love this place that I am staying at.
We got ready to go to the milonga, and I wanted to go to on Loca at Club Chalmers on Niceto Vega. But we got there at the absurdly early hour of 10:30 p.m., and saw that it was completely dark. Closed. Shoot.

We decided to go to La Viruta since it was only a few blocks away and we could walk there, but when we got there, they were doing Rock & Roll (Swing). Apparently, though this is listed as a milonga that starts at 11:00 p.m., tango dancing actually doesn't start until 1:00 a.m. and lasts until 6:00 a.m. Go figure.

We didn't want to wait that long, so we went to El Beso instead. We had a nice time there, with JSE dancing with some folks she already knew, and me being effective with my laser beam cabaceoing and getting my fair share of dances with no one I knew. One porteno said he would not normally have asked me to dance, but I was so insistent with my cabaceo that he felt he HAD to. I wasn't really sure how to take that. But he was happy with my dancing, and he told me I would do well at milongas and that that was not the case with shyer gals, no matter how skilled dancewise.

Monday, May 30,2011
Luciana Valle Intensivo C - Day 1. The topic of the day was the quality of movement, and consisted of a lot of exercises focused on power, presence, and dynamics, and the Follower feedback being clear to the Leader. In short, we were trying to clean up the details of our dance and try to be more powerful, more elegant, and have more presence in our dance.

I'll write my detailed notes after I get back home since it would make this crazy long post even longer.

I don't know why but I was inspired to walk home afterwards, which took me an hour. Big mistake. But oh well. At least I got to explore the lay of the land.
I stopped by at Noble & Natural, on Corrientes right out side the Angel Gallardo Subte station, a local vegetarian takeout store with lots of hot steam-table items, prepacked and priced, mostly around 12 pesos. I picked up a bunch of vegetarian items (noodles, rice, mixed veggies, a mixed veggie thing with tofu, pot stickers, and interestingly, seitan, olive, and red bell pepper whole wheat empanadas). It was all very yummy, and really hit the spot since the local Disco near home doesn't have as many steam table items and prepared foods as the Abasto Coto.

JSE and I had planned to go to the Women's Technique class taught by Virginia Pandolfi at the Carlos Copello school on Anchorena by Artesanal, Lolo Gerard, et al, and she was still game since she was fresh and enthusiastic since she had not taken the Intensivo C. I was really dog tired, but went anyway as curiosity got the better of me. Generously, the school allowed me to watch, as JSE paid the 30 pesos (about US$7.50 to attend).

They began with stretching exercises, starting with the head and going all the way down to include the feet. Then they worked on the front crosses and back crosses, making them pretty and rounded, and then adding the side step.

Then they worked on molinetes, first starting out doing the footwork in a linear fashion of doing forward (front cross), side (open), back (back cross), side step. Their goal was to make a smoother pass of feet by each other, and not a hard, abrupt, militaristic collection because it stops the fluidity of the turn.

Then they worked on the molinete footwork, all in a circle, arm in arm, clockwise and counterclockwise, and changing back and forth. The Follower needs to have tone in her embrace and and push against the Leader to be able to pivot a lot. She can also practice this against a wall.

The adorno they worked on was a big lapice of the free leg to cross in back to pivoted change of direction of the turn.

It was an excellent lesson.

After that, I went home and to bed while JSE danced the night away at a milonga.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Luciana Valle Intensivo C - Day 2. Notes to follow later.

After class, I made it over to EAT (Escuela Argentina de Tango) at the Galerias Pacifico to take Marta y Manolo's Canyengue class. I had stopped beforehand to pick up some flowers (15 pesos) since it was Marta's birthday.

When I got to the school, I was shocked at the new prices:
1 class 39 pesos
4 class card 144 pesos
8 class card 273 pesos
12 class card 390 pesos
I was going to buy a 4 class card, but since it was so expensive, I just decided to pay for the Canyengue class.

The class was good, as usual, as I got to partner with a nice man from Uruguay who now lives in BsAs and has a bed and breakfast in San Telmo. His Canyengue was already good, so it was nice to be able to work the material with someone who knew what he was doing.

Marta did not arrive to teach as she was having health issues. So I gave my flowers to Manolo to give to her. He was very touched and said she would be too.

The other couple in the class were brand spakin' newbies, portenos who now live in Idaho Falls. In our small talk chit chat after class, they asked where I was from, and when I mentioned the San Francisco Bay Area, they mentioned Homer and Cristina and how they loved their videos and notes. I told them who I was, and they absolutely gushed with appreciation for the notes, which made me blush as Manolo looked at us curiously seeing our exchange.

After class, I went over to Galauno, where I got a choripan (8 pesos) con lachuga y tomate (an extra 3 pesos). It was as delicious as ever, although I was slightly disappointed by the higher price and the lack of Carlos at the restaurant on this particular night.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Luciana Valle Intensivo - Day 3. Notes to follow later.
I took a cab all the way home after class, since JSE and I had planned to take the 6:00 pm Josefina Avila/Bermudez's Women's Technique class at the Carlos Copello tango school on Anchorena. This being Buenos Aires, we got to the school on time, only to find out the class was cancelled because maestra was travelling. Since we were skunked in this endeavor, we had no choice but to go shoe shopping instead as the stores would be open one more hour until 7:00 pm.

Since we were just a block away from Lolo Gerard, of course that was our first stop. JSE found a great pair of shoes, but didn't have enough cash or her credit card on her, so she paid a 100 peso deposit and will return with the rest the next day or two.

Then we made our way to Artesanal since we remembered their advertisement of their sale of buy one pair and get the second at half off, which they were having in JSE's size (but not mine). The cats were all still there, and inventory seemed a little leaner. We didn't find any shoes that we liked, and with a half hour until 7 pm, we decided to take the Subte to NeoTango on Sarmiento.

When we approached NeoTango, I saw that the sign was not lit, and made a comment to JSE that that was not a good sign. Sure enough, when we got there at 6:45 pm, the gate was down, and the shop looked under construction. Then we saw the sign out front that said they were remodelling, and would open on June 2, 2011, the next day. Being no stranger to construction, I had serious doubts about that, and pointed out to JSE how the opening date kept getting crossed off and pushed out later. Then a man came out and spoke to us, assuring us they would be open tomorrow afternoon. We thanked him and told him we'd be back, although realistically, we won't return until the weekend, and hopefully by then the store will be open for sure.

We then made our way over to the Galerias Pacifico and the Borges Cultural Center to take in one of the 3 tango shows they are currently running (all shows are 60, 80, or 100 pesos, though as I told JSE, it doesn't really make sense to pay for the 100 peso seats since they are not appreciably better than the 60 peso seats since the theatre is so small).

We ended up watching "Bien de Tango" and as JSE was reading through the program, we discovered that two of our friends who we know as Luciana Valle's Intensivo assistants were two stars of the show. So that was exciting!

The show was traditional in nature with lots of dance scenes, orchestra scenes, and singers both male and female doing their respective solos and duets. It was super fun seeing Quique y Jime performing; we both thought they were the best dancers, though of course we are both quite biased. :o)

The male singer in the show, Maximiliano Bayo, did a wonderful rendition of Remembranzas that brought tears to JSE's eyes and chills down my spine, it was THAT good.

Seeing our friends perform, and talking to a lot of the assistants in Intensivo C and hearing about the shows they perform in, and bumping into another of them (Nicolas) at EAT since he was subbing for one of the regular teachers, makes me realize just how HIGH quality, amazingly skilled dancers/performers/teachers the "assistants" are. I used to understand that on an intellectual level, but actually seeing them perform is truly a humbling experience to know how fantastic they are, and how they are...ummmm... kind of slumming it dancing with us tango hacks from around the world.

JSE had a very good time watching the tango show at the Borges Cultural Center, so much so that we are planning on seeing their other tango show, "Con Alma de Tango".
When we got back home, there were a bunch of people in the kitchen, as there often is at that time of night. It is such a nice, fun atmosphere to be in, where everyone is cooking or preparing food to eat, talking about tango, and sharing life experiences cross culturally trying to communicate with each other when often times English/Spanish is our second (or third or fourth) language. It's a wonderful experience.

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