2009, March 15

Yesterday I noticed a sign on an old building near my guesthouse.

Saturday milonga at 23.00.

I checked in El tangauta and BA-tango and found nothing about it. There was no class on my agenda at 23.00 and  I could walk home in five minutes if I disliked the place. Why not then.

No door at the entrance. A corridor, stairs (wooden, narrow, creaky, dark…) and at the last floor a desk and a lady. Yes, she says, there is a milonga here, I can have a look and come back to pay if I want.

Several rooms to traverse before getting there. Large, empty, unmaintained. White wall hangings flapping in the draught. It reminded me of the castle´s closed down rooms in the Leopard movie by Visconti.

And then the milonga. No tourists here, but not many locals either. Twenty tables, most of them unoccupied. Lots of pictures at the walls, many  tango-related but the biggest one shows a blond woman. Who is this singer, I wonder, before recognizing Eva Peron. Oops. But who knows, maybe in her younger days she used to sing.

Everything is old, or broken, or missing. I like it here. Much, much space to dance but the regulars need a lot of rest after each dance and there are at best three couples at a time on the floor. Maybe there has been a time when they were good. Maybe thirty years earlier this kneel’s touch on the leader’s ankle would have been a gancho. Now I can see a gentleman at the next table stand up and come to me, five minutes later he’s here, granting me the permission to invite all the girls who are at his table. I thank him, he turns back, another five minutes  and  he reaches his table and his friends.

Todas las chicas. He does not see them the way I do. Any of them may have known Eva Peron.

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