...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, July 22, 2005

Simran,Katie J, and Sarah, you would absolutely die

I seriously have a list of things to write about, but right now the most important thing is: I found a tango class!!!

The other night, I met some people from my group at La Piedra Feliz, this bar on Avenida Errazuriz in Valparaiso, since Wednesdays are jazz night and whatnot. (On a side note, whenever I´m able to get myself anywhere new, it´s an achievement. I´m always amazed and proud of myself when I can find someplace I´m trying to get to. But more about that later, because transportation is one of the things I´ll be writing about.) When I arrived at the bar (and yes, it does mean ´´The Happy Stone,´´ and no, I don´t know why), the guy at the door gave me this little flyer of upcoming events and groups who would be playing there. I noticed that it advertised tango classes every Thursday at nine pm and my friend Mariah from Lewis & Clark said that she would go with me.

Our first class was yesterday, and I absolutely loved it. The teacher, Francisco, is the most stereotypical tango teacher that you can imagine: tall and thin (he was probably about six one or two--pretty much the tallest man I´ve seen here), with long gray hair pulled back into a ponytail and dressed dramatically in gray, black, and red. The venue itself was just as you would picture it, wooden tables, red curtains, vintage posters and advertisements on the walls, dim and smoky, the works. There were less than ten other people there and they were all regulars who had been dancing for years; Mariah and I were the youngest by, oh, about twenty-five or thirty years. We started from the very beginning. Francisco was a great teacher, but very intense. He gave us exercises that we´re supposed to do at home to strengthen our ankles, recommended that we start listening to tango music to familiarize ourselves with the genre, and told us that we should start coming to La Piedra Feliz on Saturdays to watch the tango dancers and see how they dress and behave. After the class, we stayed for a little bit and talked with two of the women about what we were studying and stuff like that. Everyone was incredibly friendly and supportive and kissed us goodbye and told us that they hoped we would come back. I have a wonderful time. Plus, the entire class, which lasted from nine until midnight, was only two thousand pesos, less than four dollars.

The funniest thing, to me, was that I totally thought that Francisco was, like, a professional tango dancer, but he told us that he was actually a veterinary surgeon`. You just never know.