My family and I arrived in Argentina yesterday, and the flight in an of itself was a bit of an adventure. We had a truly embarassing amount of luggage--each of us had tow suit cases (not including carry-ons). I was slightly mortified. Our physical appearance screamed "Americans" which is something I've always tried to avoid.
Claudio, our guide here in Buenos Aires, met us at the airport and brought us back to the hotel for a brief nap before we taking us around parts of Northern Buenos Aires in order to get our bearings. Among other things we visited what was a theater but has now been converted into a book store, a mall called Galerias Pacificas, la Catedral Metropolitana and the Casa Rosada.
In the evening my mom and I headed over to Rinconado Carlos Gardel--where my dad and brother would later join us for diner--for tango lessons. We thought it was a class, but ended up being just the two of us and our two teachers (Diego and Celia) on the stage in the middle of the restaurant. All of the waiters who were setting up for dinner were watching. A little intimidating to say the least. In the beginning I appeared to be a natural. Well that's a bit of a lie; I looked pretty good in comparison to my mother who has two left feet. I love her dearly but dancing is just not one of her strengths. However, my mother gave up on the tango about ten minutes into the class, leaving me on stage with the full attention of my two instructors. Suddenly I wasn't so skilled any more. Diego had very high expectations for my dancing abilities and was never pleased. He kept scolding me for trying to think. Woops. "You don't think. You feel the tango," he told me. He proceeded to make me dace around stage with my eyes closed so that I wouldn't think so hard. It must have been quite the site to see.
After my lesson in which I only barely picked up on the most basic steps we stayed for diner and a tango show at the restaurant. I was expecting the restaurant to be filled with Americans, but we were actually the only English-speakers there. The tango show itself was truly spectacular. I'd seen the tango on tv before, but nothing quite like this. I don't think the word 'sensula' begins to describe it. I felt like I was watching some very intimate scenes. Intimate scenes that were not intended for viewers.
This whole first day (and even my second day) have been rather surreal. It's quite strange to arrive in a country that I've never visited before and to think that I will be spending the next five months here. When I studied abroad in Zaragoza for a year I had already been to Spain. I was familiar with the country. I understood the lifestyle. I knew what the cities looked like, but here in Argentina everything is brand knew and waiting to be discovered. It's a little overwhelming but very exciting.
Everyone says that Buenos Aires is "the little Paris," but it reminds me a lot more of Madrid than Paris--the manner in which the streets are laid out, the types of shops, even the architecture. And that's a good thing. I LOVE Madrid. And I'm beginning to fall in love with Buenos Aires as well.