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  • Day18

    Tango with an Irishman in Argentina

    November 10, 2017 ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Our first Tango lesson in BA was a huge success....until we had to put it all together at the end of the class (in front of the class). Too much pressure!

    Lucía and Gerry were wonderful teachers. Lucía is from Argentina and Gerry is from Ireland. We will forever hear their voices in our heads saying, “Relax, enjoy”. Still working on that! Wendy came with us and picked up the steps quickly. Our classroom was a studio on the second floor of an old building in the San Telmo area. Floor to ceiling French doors opened to a Juliet balcony. With the chandelier and the highly polished floor, it looked like a movie set from the 30’s.

    After a 90 min. lesson, it was off to the milanga, a tango dance club. Did I mention that our class started at 8:00 p.m.? We arrived at the club around 10:00 ( my usual bedtime). Even on a weekday evening the floor was packed. The dress code seemed very broad; not many of the women had “tango dresses”. But the shoes! Not a bad pair to be seen. As Wendy said, a shoe lover’s heaven. Gerry gallantly danced with all 5 women from the class and Lucía got most of the men on the floor. There was a second, small floor which Brian and I used to practice.

    The highlight of the evening was the tango demonstration. Beautiful, intricate foot work in 3 very different versions of tango. The live band was scheduled to BEGIN at 12:30 but we made excuses and got back to the hotel at 1:15. Really fun! We are looking forward to our next lesson on Sat. evening.

    This morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed and Wendy and I went to the Palermo region for cooking class. Palermo is an increasingly desirable neighbourhood. Heavily treed along narrower streets; it reminded me of the Bloor West area in Toronto. Fernando and Veronica welcomed us into their apartment for 4 hours of cooking, wine and conversation. Fernando, the chef walked us through making bread, chorizo sausages, salsa rosa, chimchuri and a wonderful Argentine shortbread sandwich cookie with a con leche filling. All outstanding. We brought home cookies for everyone.

    We also learned about mate, the green herbal tea that is part of Argentine culture. It is grown only in the extreme northeast. It is a morning and afternoon beverage, drunk very hot and filtered through a special straw. The traditional cup is made out of a small butternut gourd.

    Brian went with the rest of the gang to the cemetery to see the grave of Evita. Acres of tombs and mausoleums challenged our map reading skills and we only saw about 10% of the grounds in an hour and a half of wandering.

    BA has impressed us all with it’s progressive approach to celiac disease. One of our group has made us very aware of the challenges this disease presents. In Argentina, however, restaurants are required to have at least one item on their menu that is guaranteed to be gluten free. Also, all restaurants and food producers must clearly identify all gluten free items with the symbol TACC. No symbol, no eating for our friend. Fernando gave us some tips for substitutes for flour in a variety of recipes so Wendy and I are planning a post-trip dinner for the group.

    After a lengthy nap, we are off for a steak dinner. Tomorrow we move to the ship.
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