MILONGA? WHY NOT?
Before coming to Buenos Aires the connotations I had with this city were the tango and the song Boskie Buenos performed by the Polish pop singer Justyna Steczkowska in one of the popular TV song contests. Quite funny is the fact that this song is not at all about Buenos.
We spent a few days wondering around the city. We were quite surprised how much European it looks. It reminded us a bit of Vienna or Paris. The buildings, the night life, the people rushing in different directions. It all seemed familiar, yet also different at the same time.
What I found most exciting was the milonga we went to with Adri – our host in Buenos Aires. Milonga is a place where people dance tango. The one we went to was in a very big club that looked like an interior of a big barn adapted for dancing purposes. The milonga starts with a lesson for beginners where you can learn the basic steps. As soon as this part is over the real dancing initiates. What is interesting, and very different to salsa parties I go to in Warsaw, is that the light is turned on when the tango music is played. It is done so, so that the pairs dancing tango don’t bump into each other. Another important element of tango is the way of inviting to dance. It’s always men who ask the girls and they do it by looking straight into the girl’s eyes and nodding their heads. No words are needed.
You can find a bit of the tango in La Boca which is a pretty, colorful, old port neighborhood. There are numerous restaurants where tango is danced by Argentinean couples dressed in a traditional tango costumes. Moreover, souvenirs and postcards having tango as their main theme can be bought on each corner. However, it is all prepared for tourists and it doesn’t have anything of a true tango spirit.
When in Buenos Aires you should go to the Recoleta Cemetery. It is the most interesting graveyard I’ve seen so far. It looks more like a ghost town than a cemetery as there are aisles of small houses all around. The small houses are actually tombs with coffins laying on the shelves one above or next to each other. You can see the coffins through the glass-door guarding the tombs. During a sunny weather this is really a nice place to go for a walk but I imagine that it gets creepy at night as some of the coffins there are not protected by anything.
We liked Buenos Aires. We even thought that it would be a good idea to come and live here for a while one day.