After our great experience at El Querandí, we were all about tango. So the next day we decided to visit the Carlos Gardel Museum in Abasto. We showed up at the perfect time: a free tango class was just getting underway in the foyer of the museum. As we lumbered into the middle of the group, grinning from ear to ear and looking for pretty ladies, shrieks of terror echoed through the hall.
There are a few ways to experience tango while in Buenos Aires. Milongas are probably the most popular option, where people of all skill levels join in the dancing. And there are recitals with excellent music, usually no dancing, but possibly the most authentic. Or, you can choose the full-on tourist experience of the dinner show.
Allow me to introduce Juan Carlos Balvidares, the “Caminante Argentino”, who’s been around the world, sharing his music beyond the borders of his native land. We met him in front of the Recoleta Cemetery, where he was performing. Finding out that I’m from Germany, he told me that he’s been there and also walked across the rest of the world, making money by playing his original songs on the streets. Usually, you can find him in front of the cemetery, but on Sundays you might run into him at the Antique Market in San Telmo. Visit his site to hear some of his music. And if you run into him on the streets, strike up a conversation! He’s more than happy to share his stories.
“What do you know about Buenos Aires?” That’s the question posed to Barcelonan detective Pepe Carvalho at the beginning of Manuel Vázquez Montalbán’s excellent crime novel Quinteto de Buenos Aires. Carvahlo’s response mirrors what mine would have been: “Tango, desaparecidos, Maradona”. I suppose I might have added Evita. Not much else.