05 Apr 2007
It is now Thursday. In England I suppose it is Maundy Thursday. Here it is a quiet day, shops closed or struggling to keep open in the relaxing afternoon sunshine, and many Argentines preparing to go away for the week. I managed to find a Locutorio Internet which is open here in Corrientes, a main thoroughfare leading from my apartment down to Obelisco. Apart from a few students, the cafe is unusually quiet.
I have taken my 7th and penultimate class for the time being with Oscar, my dance master. He and Mary leave for Toronto on Sunday, then to Chicago to teach at a festival. Ultimately they will return, but are making plans for my time alone without his supervision to keep me going. Tonight I will attend two milongas. One where I will dance with Lucia, a friend of Mary´s who acts as a taxi dancer. The second is a family and friends farewell party. Probably dancing until 3 or 4 in the morning. I will be seated with them, and again expected to dance. I had better get some rest before I go!
Once he has gone I will start Spanish language classes, my next important objective. I have picked up bits and pieces through listening to Tango radio Dos Pur Quatro and just getting about here requires some Spanish enterprise. Again Mary to the rescue: her language instructor Mabel Marcial is available, so I hope to book some time with her.
The changes to my life are dramatic from the point of view of being free from work and the routine life we all take for granted. But more importantly are the small, at times imperceptible changes in outlook and attitude, and especially in values. Here, most people have very little in the way of possessions but need little. Values are so different from England. On the one hand is the terribly important issue of survival. In the UK we don´t need to survive because there is no real poverty. The ´safety net´is not at all apparent here. If you don´t make it, you end up on the streets and beg for a few coins, and those coins make the difference between eating or not. The other change is in relation to friendship. Friendship is taken very seriously by Argentine people. As is conversation between friends. It is the life-blood of how people work here, as witnessed in Oscar´s lunch with the milongeros video.
Now off for lunch. Is it late or early at 1415 hours BsAs time?