Thursday, July 17, 2008

Living, Dancing, and Friends in Latin America

Patricio, my Spanish teacher. When I set off on this trip, I really wanted to experience life in Latin America. To get to know the culture, the people, and, of course, the language. Living here in Buenos Aires for almost two months, my hopes have been met, if not exceeded.

Numerous times after several different dance classes, I have gone out to eat with the instructors and other students. What a great experience just to hang out with locals, almost as if I'm one of them.

A couple weeks ago, one of my Salsa classes had two guest instructors. We had a shorter than normal Salsa lesson, then the guest instructors taught us some introductory Lunch with Patricio.Tango. We were then treated to a Tango performance. The male Tango instructor, León, has been friends with Henry—the Salsa instructor—for years. In fact, he was one of Henry's Salsa instructors. Four days later, I attended the actual Tango class. After that class, the instructor invited me over to his house, along with his partner and his girlfriend. We just hung out, talked, and of course ate. After all, it wasn't even midnight yet—barely past dinner.

During one of my first Salsa classes here, I met a guy named Adrian, another photography addict (he really likes my D3). We became friends and have seen each other numerous times since. This past Thursday, we met at the Obelisk in the downtown area at 9:30 P.M., hopped on a bus, drove across town, and went to his apartment, where he lives with his mother, a very sweet woman. She fixed us dinner and we hung out, chatted, and watched some dance videos.

My Salsa class at Club Mambo—Henry, on the right, is the professor. My original plan was never to stay in one place this long, but having to wait a while to get my gear in the mail turned into a blessing. I've made lots of good friends and gotten to live in Latin America. I couldn't have asked for more.


Andrea, from Salsa class. Soledad, Henry's partner. Carina, from Salsa class. León and Nadia, Tango professors. Juan Manuel, one of my favorite Salsa professors. Pablo, my other favorite Salsa teacher. I also go to his Rueda de Casino class. Adrian and his mother.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, this is good on two fronts:

1 - Unlike "The Noble Claudio" from Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing", I wouldn't say that "...silence is the most perfect herald of joy...", so it's good to see that you're still there (hadn't seen anything posted for a week).

2 - It's encouraging to see that you're getting exactly what you went down there for, to connect with people and culture.

So (as usual) I will ask your pardon for injecting some yang into the yin...

It seems that there is much to hold you there and little to cause you to return home. But you're describing yourself as a cultural observer.

It's kind of like meeting people on the train to LA; you meet someone in the dining car, strike up a conversation, and you get a sense of connection that can't exist at home, mostly because you can share [semi-] private things you would never let drop with the people who know you better. Yeah, the sense of reserve that is necessary in order to prevent the assumption of a loci for gossip...

So there is a sense of a deeper relationship because of the additional things that you are free to share; but it's because you know that after the trip is over, you'll never see those people again.

So, you get the yin/yang dualism; you cherish the time because you know that it's special and can never be repeated...
...and you feel relieved because you're just another vague memory to the strangers who know some of your innermost secrets {and could disrupt your ordered existence by possession of same}.

Does this sound like the sage advice of someone who got on the Coast Starlighter and struck up a conversation with a total stranger in the Pacific Parlor Car? Yeah, well...

So I can't help but wonder if you're living in some kind of odd suspension of life, trading the normal for the exotic and the unknown.

In other words, I'm glum because all I have to show for this summer so far is a sunburn and a near-miss by one of the Lance clones who rode into Portland last week with a bone in his teeth, hoping to blaze thru the Seattle-to-Portland's grand finish line at 50kph, waiting to be rushed by the cheering throng.

They seem to have forgotten that the Formula 1-style umbrella girls only show up for cyclists if they're arriving in Paris a few days from now...

Ah, vanity, thy name is...