Monday, February 26, 2007

Postcard from BA

Hi Liren,
glad you are having a good time. Keep a journal so you can remember all this and tell me when you come back!


It´s hard to keep an journal. I feel like i´m doing so much and there is so much more to do! Bariloche is absolutely breathtaking! I took the ski left and hiking one of the major montain here and got an amazing view of the Andes and the surrounding lakes. There are lots of glacier lakes here and the water is very cool and clear.
I´ll be leaving tomorrow morning at 6 to go farther South, El Chalten. It´s very close to the glaciers and on the border with Chile.
This has been the most amazing trip. I think I´m going to spend another two months in Europe when I´m done here. Traveling is addictive. I got get one of those light carbon fiber guitar case for next time.


Friday, February 23, 2007

A Vacation from My Vacation

I'm still having fun here, but I'll leave soon for a bus trip to the south. As much as I love Buenos Aires, it's nice to take a break from the city. My 20-hour bus ride will take me to Bailorche, a vacation spot southwest of here. I'll be staying there for 3 nights and taking another 20-hour ride to El Calafate to see the glaciers. Fortunately I'll be flying back to Buenos Aires on the 6th instead of another 50-hour bus ride!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Itinerary - Trip to Patagonia

23/02 Day 1: Departure from Buenos Aires by bus to Bariloche. The bus
leaves at 7.12 pm from retiro. Food on the bus is included.

24/02 Day 2: Breakfast on the bus. Arrive to Bariloche. Reception at the
bus terminal and transfer to the hostel. Free afternoon. I recommend you
to go to Cerro Otto to see the sunset. Night in Bariloche.

25/02 Day 3: Breakfast. Full-day excursion to Circuito chico backpacker.
The excursion includes trekking and kayaking Back to the hostel in the
evening. Night in Bariloche.

26/02 Day 4: Breakfast, free day in Bariloche. Night in the same hostel.

27/02 Day 5: Early bus from Bariloche to Perito Moreno. The bus leaves
from Perito moreno n° 115 at 6.45hs in the morning. Arrive to Perito Moreno in the
afternoon. Night in Hotel Belgrano.

28/02 Day 6: Breakfast. Bus from Perito Moreno to El Chaltén. The bus in
el chaltén will leave you in the hostel Rancho Grande. There you’ll have the
accommodation. Night in El Chaltén.

01/03 Day 7: This day is free for you to trek in the area. We suggest
trekking to the base of the Fitz Roy Mt. This is an 8-hour route with an
amazing view. Night in hostel.

02/03 Day 8: Free day. In the morning at 8am you take the bus to El
Calafate. Accommodation in the same hostel in El Calafate. Arrival in El
Calafate. Transfer to the hostel is not included. You’ll meet Rose and Gary.
Accommodation in the same room.

03/03 Day 9: Full-day excursion to the Moreno Glacier. In the evening, we
recommend you to visit Laguna Nimes to watch the marvellous regional
birds. Night in a hostel.

04/03 Day 10: Full day excursion to the Upsala Glacier. The excursion is
called Rios de Hielo. You’ll have the pick up for this day trip at 7.15am. It
goes back to the hotel in the evening. Night at the same hotel.

05/03 Day 11: Free day in Calafate. Night in the same hostel

06/03 Day 12: Breakfast. Free day. Transfer to the Airport in the
afternoon. End of our services.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Dancing was really great today. Went to a class in the afternoon and met up with that assistant guy again. I have no clue what his name is, but we danced few times before and he's very good. We danced for 2 hours at Ideal and then I went to a milonga at la Nacional. The dancing was pretty good there. I danced with mostly younger people so I didn't have to do the same 4 steps over and over again! Thank god. I was going to quit dancing if that keeps happening for another few days!

I got all my tickets for the trip and Rose is coming with me on the 19-hour bus ride to Bailorche after all. We had great time hanging out this afternoon (again).

The traffic is pretty funny here. First of all, almost all the streets are one way. The light turns yellow before green, and half of the cars don't turn on their head lights at night.

Tomorrow (or later today, I should say) I'm going to check out the class at Tango Brujo. Then I'll meet up with Rose to do more shopping and go out to dinner together afterwards. We're going to Ideal for a milonga tomorrow night. I love that place, but it needs AC desperately!



In order to receive calls from overseas they have to dial 45-9-11 and disregard the 15 in front of the cell phone number! Who the hell would have known that?

The tango-wear place can't see us because they have a important show next week (WTF).

Nico is going to be in the office tomorrow from 3 to 6:30 in the afternoon. We can go a little earlier and walk around Florida street. I still want to exchange my ugly green sweater for something else.

Here's my dance schedule for tomorrow:

7:30-9:00 Class @ Tango Brujo (Esmeralda 754) w/Mariela Sametband
9:00-10:30 Class @ Confiteria Ideal w/Eduardo Saucedo y Marisa Quiroga
11:00-4:00 Milonga @ La Nacional (A.Alsina 1465, Pasco)

See you tomorrow. I'm going to pass out now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Juan Fangio

From Dave:

Here was the quote [on driving and tango]...

"Not always, but sometimes when you're driving one behind another - climbing, descending, dipping, turning - it happens, and you are dancing. The cars are connected. Viscerally, not visibly. I think of a tango I was in a Buenos Aires nightclub. The dance is in the moment. Time does not pass; the Now is simply extended like a held breath."

The one picture has the author of those lines (in the helmet with the polka dots) with Juan Fangio (Formula One driver from Argentina - dark short-sleeve shirt with arm extended. Epic driver.

La Schedule

Hola Garry y Rose

I'm planning to take more classes next week. I spent some time this morning organizing a schedule of classes and milongas for next week. Let me know if you guys would like to meet up for any of them.
I'm going to take a shower and give you guys a call to see if you want to meet up for lunch or dinner later.

Monday 2/12
6:30-8:00 Class @ Villa Malcoim w/Dina Martinez y L. Valle (Av. Cordoba 5064)
8:00-12:00 Practica @ Villa Malcoim
12:00-4:00 Milonga @ Salon Canning

Tuesday 2/13
1:00-2:30 Class @ Tomas de Anchorena 575 (Lavalle) w/Cecilia Gonzales y Alejandro Chavez
2:30 Tango8
3:00-4:30 Class @ Confiteria Ideal w/Cecilia Gonzales y Eduardo Saucedo
9:00-10:30 Class @ Villa Malcoim w/Dina Martinez y L. Valle
11:00-4:00 Milonga @ Salon Canning (Performance by Eduardo Cappussi y Mariana Flores)

Wednesday 2/14
6:00 Pick up tickets at travel agency
7:30-9:00 Class @ Tango Brujo (Esmeralda 754) w/Mariela Sametband
9:00-10:30 Class @ Confiteria Ideal w/Eduardo Saucedo y Marisa Quiroga
11:00-4:00 Milonga @ La Nacional (A.Alsina 1465, Pasco)

Thursday 2/15
1:00-2:30 Class @ Tango Brujo w/Mariela Sametband – Kara Wenham (Tecnicas para la mujer)
7:30-9:00 Class @ Villa Malcoim w/L. Valle

Friday 2/15
1:00-2:30 Class @ Tango Brujo w/Pablo Giorgini – Noelia Coletti
6:00-7:30 Class @ Tango Brujo w/Guillermo Cerneaz – Paula Rampini
Let's meet up for dinner at Cantina Pierino around 9:30 or 10 (Lavalle y Billinghurst). They've got amazing raviolis.
12:00-6:00 Milonga @ La Viruta

Sunday 2/24
3:00 Class @ El Beso w/Cecilia Gonzales (Tecnicas para la mujer)

I'll be leaving for Bariloche on Sunday the 24th at 7.



How cool is that! I´ll definitely be joining you for some of these endeavors but I´ll email you the night before, day by day -- except maybe the ravioli date which I can firm up right now (you can see where my priorites are!). Lunch or dinner today sounds good to me...

Soon, Rose

From Meghan

Hola mi amiga! :)

I'm tangoing pretty much every night, sometimes until 6 in the morning. I sleep during the day and when I get up I usually go look for good restaurants and shoe shopping...I'm in heaven!

Thank you so much for help on my spanish. How do you say "can you teach me some Spanish?"

I'm going to take a long bus trip to other parts of Argentina from Feb. 24th to Mar. 6. I'll have a 19-hour bus ride to Bailaroch and then from there another 20-hour ride to Calafate to see the Glaciers. Luckily I'll be flying directly back from Calafate to Buenos Aires (the bus ride would have been way tooo long!). Maybe I'll sit with someone friendly who can teach me few sentences in Spanish. People are very nice here in general, except the guys can be overly friendly on the streets.

How are you doing in NYC? Is it cold there? Do you have any plans for the summer yet? I'll definitely come visit if you're going to be around.




Puedes ensenarme (squiggly over second n) espanol (sqiggly over n)? or
puedes... un poco espanol? (first one is can you teach me spanish,
second is can you teach me a little spanish?

Wow! That is a LOT of Tango. I'm jealous. I was telling my mom how i
wish i was as much of a free spirit as you. She told me that I ama free
spirit, but I said that you can't even come close to comparing me to
you! How are the restaurants down there? I'm really only familiar with
Spanish and Mexican food... is it similar to one or the other? Bring me
back something small and cheap and very argentina like!

I'll be here this summer. I'm taking a class and working in the same
building. LEt me know if you do want to come down. You are welcomed to
stay whenever and it's free and it's in the heart of NYC! Miss you babe!
Hope things are going well.



The food is amazing here. Animals taste great! The steaks here are unbeliveable. Their speciality is asado: lamb, goat, ribs, sausages etc. How what in the world is "sweetbread" or mollajas? The empanadas here are also very good. Since there are a lot of Italian immegrants, they've got good pastas and riviolis too.

Here are some pictures.

Mucho gracias mi amica!

Short Exchange

Hola Dave
I've been having too much fun here dancing and shopping for tango shoes! It's been surprisingly busy between going to classes and dances until 5 or 6 in the morning! The weather has finally cooled down a bit here so it's getting more comfortable. It's noon now and I just got up. I'm going to get some lunch soon. The food here is just amazing!
I'll keep you updated. Ciao

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Hey Liren,

Missed seeing you today but as it turned out, I got quite busy going to Once to pay the deposit on my apartment, having lunch with my landlord(!) and then going to see my former Spanish teacher in San Telmo to talk to her about Brazil (she´s been there many times). And, last but not least, my film friend firmed up a film date with me for later this evening.

Anyway, yes, I´d love to have dinner with you at that place in San Telmo before the milonga. I went by that shoe store in S. Telmo today but they close at 2:00 on Saturdays. The Monday plan sounds great as well so far... and, I´m definitely down for the Belgrano shoe excursion.

Finally, can you tell me when your trip starts? I have no idea when you´re leaving.

Call me tomorrow (Sun.) if you want to hang out before dinner, I don´t have any plans yet.


Reply: Liren Chen wrote:

Hi Rose

The Italian Restaurant I went to last night is called Cantina Pierino, on 3499 Lavalle (about 4 blocks from Tango8). We should meet up there next time we go to Canning or Villa Malcoim (for a class). There's a class at Villa Malcoim next Monday at 6:30 with Luciana Valle. She's a very good dancer. I might go check it out. Cantina Pierino is not open until 8 so we can go there after the class if you want.

I emailed Tango-wear on potentially going there on Tuesday at 3 pm. They are all the way out in Belgrano R district at the end of the green line.
Let me know if you still want to go to the milonga at Tasso tomorrow night at 10. Maybe we can have dinner together before the milonga.


Liren Chen to Rose 2/11/07
Hola Rose

Sounds like you had a pretty busy day. I found a good pasta place near me for lunch and rested a bit before going to Gricel for the lesson. I don't think I'll be going there again. I still don't get a good vib from those people. Although they are good dancers and teaching some good moves I just don't think I'm learning much with them. Gary and I had dinner before going to a milonga at Peron.
We're thinking about going to Grant for lunch tomorrow. Let me know if that's ok with you. We can all meet up there sometime in the afternoon (if they're open).
I still want to go buy those black shoes at NeoTango...I think I need to find a support group for shoe addicts like me!

Anyways, hope you had fun at the movies. The milonga was ok. I didn't get many dances as usual. I'm going to go to more classes and practice next week. At least I get to dance a bit more at those and hopefully learn something.
I'll call you tomorrow around noon.


Friday, February 9, 2007

Another Day in Heaven

Another whole day of hanging out with Rose, shoe shopping and going to the milonga. This must be what heaven is like if there is one (well, minus few minor details)! Surprise, surprise...I bough another pair of shoes! They are beautiful.

We met up at Cafe Tortoni at 2 after I talked to you on the phone. It's the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, very special place. We had lunch there and went to different shoe stores again!

Rose and I also went back to the travel agency with Gary. As we expected, he's not so crazy about the bus trip, but he will consider it. We're thinking about leaving on Sunday afternoon at 7. The 19-hour bus ride will take us to Bailaroche and we'll stay there for 3 nights before going to Calafate (20 hour bus ride splite in two days). After staying in Calafate for 3 nights we plan to shorten our trip by flying back to Buenos Aires on the 22nd. Hopefully we'll make the reservation tomorrow and have everything worked out by the afternoon. I'm very excited about the trip, not so much to see the lakes or glaciers, but the long bus ride. Weird, I know.

Rose recommended to stop by the milonga at Club Espanol which lasted from 4 in the afternoon to 11pm. Although there was an older crowd at the milonga, I was glad to have been there for the rather elaborate interior. Later we had dinner at the Club Espanol restaurant before going to another milonga at Nino Bien. The restaurant was just gorgeous, and the food…my god, I feel like that woman on the travel channel. I had the best steak there tonight and for very reasonable price. Oh, yes I also had great potato salad at Café Tortoni. They call them Russian salad, but I don't think they're quite the same.

Pictures say it all.

1. Cafe Tortoni

2. Milonga at Club Espanol

3. Resturant at Club Espanol

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Tango Shoes

Hi Liren,

What time do you want to go see shoes and where shall we meet? Rose

Reply: Liren Chen to Rose

Hi Rose

Sorry I didn't get your email until now. Are you coming to La Viruta for Chicho's class? He's very good.

If you want we can meet at Tango8 tomorrow at 2. And then we can stop by some where for coffee and make some decisions about the Patagonia trip. I'll bring my guide book with me.
There are few other stores around that corner. I went to 4 other shoes stores today! They're all one block away from Confiteria Ideal.

hope to see you tonight.


Friday, February 2, 2007

Recollection: Buenos Aires, AR

10/23/2010: My recollection of 2/2/2007:

The plane touched down at Ezeiza International Airport, Buenos Aires, Argentina late this morning. As we approached the runway I saw large fields of lush greens, brown soil. Even though I will have traveled to many far away places in the future, Feb. 2, 2007 was the first time I had traveled alone other my trips between China and America. The trip is like a crusade to the holy-land of tango. Exciting at first but soon I was confronted by the fact that for the next two months I'll be a stranger in a strange land. I speak no Spanish and I know no one here. I walked out of the terminal along with all the other passengers into a calm and empty atrium for customs. It was a very sunny day and as I stepped outside of the building I was greeted by a rush of hot humid air. I grabbed a taxi and handed over a paper slip with the address to my one-room rental in the heart of Buenos Aires. The driver spoke no English but I wasn't worried. Somewhere between the airport and the city my nervousness was melted away by a true sense of excitement, the beginning of my greatest adventure.

The first thing I did once I got into my room was to check for the internet. And it worked! I felt relieved and connected. No matter what happens I can get online. I was sticky and hungry. The hostess pointed to a few nearby restaurants and tried to get me oriented in the big city. Having reviewed the map literately a hundred times before even getting on the plane I wasn't worried. I practically have the city memorized by now, sight unseen. I know the names of the streets, their orientation, the milongas and the shoe stores.

I went for the safest choice for lunch around the corner: ravioli at the Best Western (figure they might speak English there). The city have waited for me this long and there is no hurry today. I took my time and rested until the air cooled down in the early evening.

First time walking on Corrientes Ave. towards the focal point of the city: 9 de Julio Avenue and Obelisk was magical. I'll never forget that those were the first steps towards a life long passion for travel and adventure. Looking back it was kind nuts but the trip was a major pivot point of my life. Sometimes when I laying awake at night I think about all the things that happened prior to the trip that had led me to it: coming to the US, a flyer at Indiana University for guitar lessons, my mom happened to have walked by it and mentioned it to me, first I fell in love with the guitar, then I fell in love with Piazzolla at Ricardo's concert, I saw the movie Tango Lessons, it took three watches to inspire enough curiosity to try it myself and then I fell in love with tango. There were countless sliding door moments and somehow I landed in Buenos Aires. The rest, as they say, is history. Everything that followed in my life depended sprouted that pivot point. Everyone should have one true great love in life and for me that's Buenos Aires.