Since we practiced pretty hard yesterday, I woke up today with my body aching all over. It was one of those days where your body feels like it’s carrying tons of weight and all the muscles in the body feel like it’s been covered in thick plaster. I can also feel the humidity in the air. I knew it was going to be a long day in Caminito.
I wake up at 8:30am to get ready, do my make-up, do my hair. Hop on the “colectivo” or “bondi”, the bus, at around 10am to get to Caminito around 11am. We start dancing about 11:15am-ish. The sun is hitting really hard at this hour. I’ve turned at least 5 shades darker now over the past 2 weeks of working here, my shoulders are much darker than my face. The sun is too bright for Tangueros. It is strange to be dancing in bright sun, squinting eyes, and perspiration continuously growing on the face. By 12pm, I have a slight head-ache from the sun. Usually, the folkloric couple comes at 12pm, but they’re right now in Cosquin for the annual folkloric festival, the biggest one in Argentina. The boleador, Nico, came so we were going to be switching back and forth with him. It makes a big difference whether there’s that 3rd pair or not, when it’s just 2 pairs like today, it’s tough… We switch out every 15 minutes until 6 or 6:30pm.
So today was one of those days. One of those days that the challenge is how to keep yourself motivated enough so the day doesn’t feel longer than it is. I remember I had those days when I used to work in the office. In a dancer’s case, it’s more physical, we have to move the body and perform in front of the people even if the body is screaming “I don’t want to be moving…!!!”. Yes, today my foot has a blister and the skin is peeling in one area, I have like 10-20 mosquito bites on each leg and it’s really itchy, my back is aching, my muscles are sore, it’s hot, I’m sweaty, my head hurts, I want to be eating ice cream and on and on…
By 2pm, I’m already wishing I could leave, and then I’m also hungry. They don’t feed us until 5pm. So we usually walk on the cobblestone streets, which is tough to walk on with tango heels, to the kiosco or market around the corner to buy a bottle of water and some biscuits or crackers to snack on until that time comes. Occasionally, there is the lady that comes around selling the “Ensalada de Frutas”, fruit salad in a cup, and we all like to get a cup from her. Once there was a guy that was selling pizzas by the slice, so we bought that, but we haven’t seen him since. There are no fancy food trucks like in LA. I wish there were…! Today, I decided to buy a “Sandwich de Miga” which is a sandwich with the edges of the bread cut off, this time with ham and cheese. I ate that and an apple that I had brought. I think starting tomorrow, I will bring my own sandwich. I can’t keep losing weight!
I don’t know whether it was because we were so tired and unmotivated but somehow the audience today was not so excited. There are days when the audience is clapping and interested in our dancing. Today, not really. We did get some kids that wanted to dance and we gave them a mini tango experience. Then several tourists who wanted to take pictures with us so we would show them a tango pose and take photos with them. When the audience isn’t really reacting, it doesn’t help with motivation.
When they call us in around 5pm-ish to feed us, I’m always surprised that we’ve survived. I was so relieved when they called us in today. They fed us grilled chicken and salad, pretty good! I shouldn’t complain but sometimes the food is really not that appetizing, today was one of the good days. I am very thankful though considering the situation of how some are in Argentina, we are lucky we are getting fed. After we finish eating, we usually have 1 or 2 more sets of dancing left. It’s the last spurt of the marathon.
As Nico was performing Malambo, we saw Mayumi and Shino show up. Mayumi is from San Francisco, living now in Buenos Aires, playing around the country with various tango orchestras as a violinist. I met Shino for the first time, but she plays the piano and is now living in Buenos Aires as well. So many people seem to end up giving up their return ticket from Buenos Aires. My return ticket is in September, let’s see how that goes!
6, 6:30pm-ish, the day was finally over, so we changed back into regular clothes and decided to hang out at “La Bachicha”, one of the other restaurants in Caminito. “La Bachita” has later hours than “La Piccola” where we work, so the dancers were still dancing there. Not much audience at the hour, so we ended up fooling around and dancing with the dancers there on stage.
After the beer was gone, we decided to start heading home but instead changed our mind to stop by a Colombian Arepa place for an early 8pm dinner. It’s a casual stop-and-go kind of a place, no formal sit-downs. It was pretty good. If you ever feel like a quick Colombian Arepa, try “I LOVE AREPA” located on Rodriguez Pena 25 TEL: 4382-6465.
By the time, I got home it was close to 10pm. Exhausted. The thing I don’t like about this life style is that I can’t really go out to the milongas, maybe twice a week. I guess, I’ll stick to this for a little more and then hopefully, we find a way to go out dancing more.
Tomorrow, I wake up at 8:30am again. It’s 11:30pm and I am feeling quite ready for bed…!