Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tigre and Tango

On Saturday morning I woke up early to meet up with my friends Valerie, Dan, and Alaina to go for a river boat tour of the Tigre Delta. Tigre is a city about 35 kilometers (16 miles) north of Buenos Aires. It once was a weekend retreat for the wealthy upper class of the city, and though it no longer carries that image, it's definitely a place where the wealthy can show off their sailboats, jet skis, and speedboats. This is a place for water sports, for sure. We took Sturla Viajes on a two hour tour up the Río de la Plata and into the Tigre Delta's muddy and dark waters.

As the city faded away, the landscape changed pretty quickly, and once we got near Tigre it was subtropical. The day started off overcast, but soon the sun broke through and it was a warm and clear day. Houses on stilts presented themselves as boats zoomed past with weekend retreaters. Once we got to Tigre we disembarked and walked through the quiet town to the Fruit Market, which is known for having all kinds of goods to buy. Tigre also has Argentina's largest theme park, which seemed almost out of place with large roller coasters in the distance.

Throw in the random waffle houses and Swiss architecture, and Tigre seemed like a pretty eclectic city. It was clear that it was peaceful and would make a night or two away from the city very relaxing. To truly make use of the fun in Tigre, though, you must have some kind of boat access. Tigre gets its name from the jaguars that once inhabited the region, yet now all you'll find are the friendly locals and tourists coming in. As the boats pass by, everyone waves. Dan said it reminded him of his image of the bayou in Louisiana or somewhere in the south, and I agreed that it reminded me of the Florida Keys.

We got on the 4 pm boat back through the delta and the Río de la Plata, all while dodging heavy boat traffic. There was literally a navy of sailboats to get through, along with kayakers, jet skiers, windsurfers, tubers, and on and on. I don't know how there wasn't an accident, but at one point a catamaran cut in front of our boat and we nearly hit them. Sitting on the back deck of the boat, the sun burn continued and by the time we reached Puerto Madero I was a lobster.

I had to rush home because I had tickets to for dinner and a tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel, a famous tango show in the Abasto neighborhood. This tango show is a bit more traditional, and in a large theater which holds more guests, making it less intimate than the experience in El Viejo Almacén. Nonetheless, the dinner was delicious, and my steak went well with the read wine and flan with dulce de leche for dessert. I had a booth on the upper floor, which gave a good view of the stage and band which hovered above the dancers.

Unfortunately, just before leaving I heard some bad news. My good friend Lauren from my volunteer time in Cuenca, had rushed home to be at her brother's side because he was ill with swine flu and pneumonia. On Friday night, Chris Patterson lost his battle and passed away. Though I never knew him, it affected me just the same, and I was in no mood for a tango show. So while everyone was cheering and getting into the show, I was elsewhere. Even with my mind on other things, I could still attest that it was a good show and worth seeing if you are in the city.

After the show I met up with my friend Kristian, who will be returning home to Norway this week, and we went out to celebrate. Following up with a lack of solid sleep, I went to La Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) today for a free tour of the inside. I can honestly say that it's pretty unimpressive on the inside, and you can see paint chipping off the walls, drab colors, and over the top rooms designed to look like European castles. It's a lot nicer from the outside, for sure. So another weekend went by, but I was able to take full advantage of it and do some touristic things. Up for next week, another tango show and possibly a bike tour.

Dedicated to Chris Patterson

Above: Photos of the Tigre River Delta, Esquina Carlos Gardel, Casa Rosada


tangocherie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.
The thing is with the "real" tango--not the choreographed acrobatics of young stage dancer--local tango dancers go to the milongas to dance socially can dance out their sorrow and sadness, their disappointments as well as joys and loneliness. That's why tango can be so addictive; you feel better afterwards, and I think part of the reason is the embrace. Social tango is therapeutic!

Jon said...

Hi Cherie,

Thanks for you input. You're definitely right that the tango at a milonga is quite different, maybe more representative of what the dance should be about. Unless accompanied by a local, most tourists probably won't know how to find a milonga, and I myself have only been once. But the larger shows are good to at least give them a taste of it.

Anonymous said...

What an incredible place the casa rosada!! the architecture there is amazing!!
I rent an apartment in Buenos Aires I wish I could go there