After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Magical Moments in Mataderos

Sometimes we experience moments of grace, probably when we least expect them. But they always seem to happen to me at the Feria de Mataderos.

Today we were there with a tango student from Albuquerque. The weather forecast was good, and we had checked several times that the fair was open despite the flu scare.

We arrived early as usual, before the live performances began on the stage. People, ordinary folks, were folk dancing in the street to recorded music. I noticed a middle-aged woman beautifully dancing La Zamba by herself. (Zamba is the national dance of Argentina, and is even more sensuous than the tango.)

Then, while Ruben went to the ArgenChino supermarket to buy our wine for lunch, this lady taught the escondido to a young girl. After a couple of chacareras, another zamba came on. The lady began to dance alone again, and a tall thin, handsome gray-goateed man, bounded out of the crowd and became her partner. (Why didn't I have my Flip video camera with me?) It was so gorgeous and elegant, and like the tango should be danced, so natural. When the dance finished, he disappeared back into the crowd and was gone. That dance was awe-inspiring. Even more so if I fantasized that the man and woman did not know each other.

Off then to our usual parrilla, only to see armadillos on the grill! Our student Raymond was all for trying it, but the asador was just grilling them for a friend and so they weren't for sale.

Look at the dove in the niche of the tree!

Next stop, the Criollo Museum, where we saw a typical gaucho's rancho, a pulperia, and then, in the courtyard where heavy rain suddenly began to fall, a real gaucho brushing his real horse, Rodrigo. The gaucho gave me a sugar lump to make friends with Rodrigo, and I fell in love.

Outside the museum, it was hailing golf balls as musicians rushed under the arcades with their guitars and mandolins, and played and sang folklore; the crowd, waiting for finer weather, joined in, Ruben belting out the familiar sad songs with gusto. It was a very special moment.

We also ran into fellow-bloggers Sallycat (with her Carlos) and Debbi, thanks to the miracle of text messages.
Que dia hermoso!


Debbi said...

It certainly was a moment! Wasn't it! I will certainly go back on a clear, calm day to experience the festival - but it was also a wonderful experience to be huddled with so many people under a shelter and yell at the sky, laugh at the children who delighted in the hail (some a little too much, one little boy thought it was helado and ate them!) and chatted together while we waited out the weather.

So lovely to see you in your gorgeous poncho! See you soon!

n a n c y said...

OOH I want to go again. Missed the Criollo museo.

Anonymous said...

This is precisely why ALL my shoes can work as tango shoes. You never know when a tall, gray-haired man will emerge from the anonymous crowds and dance with you :-)

tangocherie said...

Johanna, you are SO right!! :)