On any day of the week, San Telmo is the best spot in Buenos Aires to go antiques-hunting. Dealers hawk everything from chandeliers to ancient books in shops which blanket the neighborhood. But the Sunday antiques market in Plaza Dorrego has become a phenomenon; all San Telmo comes out to party along with thousands of visitors in a celebration of curbside capitalism.
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.
“Revés” is Spanish for reverse and, if you say its syllables in reverse, you get vesre: a strange little word game that has worked its way into the normal speech of Buenos Aires.
“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.