Saturday, January 30, 2010

An Argentine Man's Corazon

So today my elderly pharmacist gave me a kiss smack on the lips. A beso on the boca. I wasn't expecting it, just the usually kiss on one cheek. Dirty old pharmacist! After I bought my face cream he said he and his heart would be waiting for my next visit. I bet I could work that man for every good drug in his pharmacy, if I was that kind of girl.

Why couldn't it have been Dr. Handsome, my dentist?

These Argentine men and their "corazons." I have a nuevo tango CD where a man continually bleats about his "corazon" over the music. Bleats pathetically.

The men here are suppose to be very romantic, but every man who ever sweet talked me spoke not a word of English. I got the gist, however, and I don't buy a word (even though I didn't understand a word).

An expat last night told me this: Here's what to expect on a date with an Argentine. The first time he will buy your drink, and try for hours to talk you into bed. If he doesn't succeed, you will never see him again. If he succeeds, you won't hear from him for weeks, he'll show up, go to bed with you, and you get to pay for your own drink.

He said an Argentine man will borrow money from one woman and use it to take out another woman.

Married men chase as much as the single men. There are little "love hotels" all over the city where you can rent rooms by the hour for trysting.

Frankly, I don't know where they find the time. Between working, siestas, going to the gym, going out to dinner at 11 with the wife and kids (plus all the extended family get togethers) they must take their romance breaks during the day.

For me, I intend to keep this mystery, well, a mystery.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Very Palatial New Years

New Years Eve .... A Continuation

I walked through the spacious grounds to enter a grand mansion, former home of the Russian Embassy. The original structure, built in 1776, is the same year the United States became an independent nation. Amazing to think of it that way.

The estate had three levels, with terraces upon terraces, and a pool. Inside, the tiles were handpainted yellow and blue, very Spanish, with Morrish chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Varieties of eye candy wandered around as did many expats and Argies who spoke English.

At midnight, a Champagne toast, of course, to the New Year. I felt a little teary thinking of the coming year .... the hope of it being better than the last four making me feel whistful and sad. The last four years of my life have included a divorce, a job layoff, the loss of a home, death of beloved pets and my son leaving home for college.

"Up to the roof!" said someone as the fireworks began in earnest. We climbed up a narrow ladder to see the whole of Buenos Aires lit up with fireworks in dozens of locations. "There will be a lot of people in the emergency rooms tonight," remarked someone, the fireworks being of the do-it-yourself variety.

A full moon, a blue moon, to be exact, complemented the magical night sky. A Brazilian thing went whirring by .... it wasn't exactly a firework, but an orange paper lantern lit up inside with a candle, a rather errie site. A palm tree caught on fire below us.

Behind the mansion, a man stood on his roof and waved to me. I waved back. He blew kisses. I blew kisses back.

"You've still got it," commented the home's owner.
"Yeh, right," I replied. "It was so dark I could have been a man in drag."

Dear Reader, after the fireworks stopped booming and popping, we guests danced the night away in an elegant great room--all ages and every type of music--until early morning.

When I arrived home at 4:30 the house across the street was still rocking!

At home, in Minnesota, New Years would have been quiet and cold ... people staying off the roads in fear of drunk drivers, and ensconced in front of the television with some California Champagne and a bag of chips. I would probably have been alone.

This New Years will be one to remember into my dotage.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To Hades in a Taxi

Miz Boom Boom got invited to an expats party, one that involved traveling to a new neighborhood with which she was unfamiliar. Here is her night of adventure:

Dear Reader,

It seemed simple enough ... dress up in my best party clothes (including heels) and hail a taxi to take me straight to the door. Nothing is simple in Buenos Aires. Nothing. Have I not learned that by now?

I carefully walked to the corner and began in earnest to hail a taxi with its "Libre" light on. Taxis zoomed by with their lights off, indicating passengers. Suddenly, in the next lane, a beaconing "on" light! Can I catch his attention? If I step into the street .....

I stepped into a puddle of mud, sinking my new tango shoe into the filth and upsetting my balance causing me to flail and pinwheel my arms for balance and yell, "Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!" to the horror of two teenagers who stepped away so I wouldn't glob onto them for support. No, I didn't fall, but it was close.

This was just the beginning of a stellar night. My next taxi driver was a cheerful "No Englaise" Columbian with cumbia music blaring from his radio. But when I showed him the address, he kept repeating in a disbelieving voice, "Capital Federal? Capital Federal?" like I'd asked him to drive me to Hades.

Don't worry, I assured him. I'll pay. So what if it's a 20 minute trip? Ah, wrong.

The driver pulled over to a street and pointed to it. This was probably my street and he couldn't drive down it because it was a one way. No problem ... I can walk a short distance in my heels. Then the bastard took off.

I was in the middle of no where and this was NOT my street. I called the party giver to ask him where I was. "Goddamn these taxi drivers," he answered, "He dropped you at the city limit. They don't get paid if they go outside the Capital Federal." Can I walk 10 blocks to his house? Not in heels, not even on a good day.

The next driver didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, as they say in Detroit. He drove round and round, talking on my cell phone to the party giver who was trying to pull him in like a vector guiding in a jet at JFK.

We arrived 15 minutes later at a palatial mansion on a quiet street.

But THAT story is for my next post.

Miz Boom Boom Finds Her Argie Son

So I hired a taxi dancer named Louis on the recommendation of a fellow tango dancer. Louis turned out to be very young, handsome and enthusiastic. However, our age difference warranted some kind of story, so I made one up.

I told Louis, if anyone asked, tell them this: Many years ago on a visit to Argentina, I was seduced by a gaucho. It was dark. I was young. The result was him. Reluctantly, I gave him up for adoption and returned home. Now, I've returned to Argentina to find my long lost son. And tonight, my son is sharing his love of tango with his long lost mother.

Louis and I went to Salon Canning on a Monday night. I figured it would be a slow night and we could dance on a fairly empty floor. It was like walking into the Minnesota State Fair on a sunny Saturday.We couldn't move without getting elbowed or stepped on. Such a shame! And not a cheap night either.

But a mother will do anything for her son.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Turn Right at the Cow

Paraguay ... I just spent a week there in the poorer parts of the city visiting a friend.

Some impressions:

A beggar kneeling on the center line of a busy highway

Horses pulling fruit and vegetable carts

A dirty child sleeping on the steps of a major department store

So many mango trees the fruit lies rotting in people's yards

Finding a residence at night by the black and white cow in the yard ("turn right at the cow.")

An insect called the cigara that makes a loud noise like the sound of an alien with it's appendage caught in a spaceship door

Heat so thick you can swim in it

City roads so rutted and uneven, an all terraine vehicle would be the ideal mode of transportation

Open and friendly people: being invited to an asado (cook out) by a couple on a bus ... sharing a bean lunch with a poor widow.

Green, lush vegetation ... like Hawaii without the ocean

Beautiful cotton dresses made of organic cotton with intricate embroidery and crochet

Dogs, dogs and more dogs

Families on motorcycles ... one family of parents and two kids with no helmets and NO LIGHTS driving on a major highway at night

My friend having to take her porch chair in everytime she leaves so it won't get stolen