Apartment Rental, Special Events and Trips

Gorgeous Belle Epoque Apartment in Palermo/Recoleta Area Available for Rent

What's not to like about an airy apartment with French windows/balconies in every room, period detailing, ceilings up to the heavens, and alabaster chandeliers?  This apartment has been completely remodelled while retaining its Old World charm.  It occupies the entire third  floor of the building, has a French ironwork lift, and porter.  Across the street is the metro on the D line, Canning milonga  is a 5 minute cab ride away, and Plaza Francia a 15 minute walk.  The apartment sleeps six people, one queen bed, two twins and a double sized futon.  There is air conditioning,cable TV and internet,  washer /drier,  complete kitchen and best of all, hard wood floors with one room just for dancing. There are two complete bathrooms.  Sheets, towels and kitchen ware all provided for use.

In other words, this one of a kind apartment has all the modern conveniences and accessibility of today, but with the reminders of the sentimental past, and the beautiful workmanship of yesterday.  Perfect for a tango holiday or simply for exploring the wonderful world of Buenos Aires.

Rents by the week or month only.  Rental includes weekly cleaning service.  $1200/week plus additional  security deposit.  Monthly rates are also available.  Contact Stella for more information : stellamialing@gmail.com.  Photos available upon request.

Buenos Aires Tango Trip

with Alejandro Tosi and Alex Krebs

August 22-31, 2005


Alejandro Tosi and Alex Krebs are two of Portland’s most well-known and beloved tangueros.  Alejandro has traveled the world in search of meaningful tango moments, is an excellent leader and a native Porteno.  Alex Krebs teaches tango,  DJ’s, runs the popular milonga at Club Berretin and plays the bandoneon in Conjunto Berretin.  He is the chosen partner for some of the top female dancers in the world.  Together they will ensure that your trip is spectacular.

Comments:  It was a great trip with lots of dancing with two of Portland's top leaders.  It was very well organized and I got to see some places in Buenos Aires that I had never been to before. It was also fun to let someone else do the planning and work for a change!   The teachers were all excellent, Luciana Valle, Mariana and Fabrizio and Ana Maria Schiapira.  They were the highlights of the trip!  Also some very nice folks who I hope to meet again someday as well.  I had some of the best dances of my life with Argentinian, Italian and Spanish leaders.



First Rio Tango Festival

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Oct 1-10th, 2005


Comments:  I have to admit that this was one of the most disorganized festivals that I have ever been to.  Even Brazilian and Argentinian charm failed to salvage  the disappointing lack of organization.  All along the organizers  had said that Paulo's classes would be part of the festival but when we got there, found out differently.  The classes in Brazilian dancing, forro, samba, lambada and zouki were brilliant and fun.  However they put all  three levels of tango classes into one room and expected the teachers to shout above the music from the boombox.  Even the teachers became frustrated with this and a lot of time was wasted.  In general the level of the classes was not as high as that in Argentina.  However the teachers were friendly and even participated with great enthusiasm in the Brazilian dance classes.

All the milongas of the festival had incredible shows, mostly of Brazilian dancing.  Wild samba by scantily dressed women in 5 inch high stilletos.  There was also some beautiful Argentine folkloric dancing and my personal favorite was the tango by Alice and Andre, assistants of Paulo.

The weather was lovely and for the most part cooperative.  We got to walk around the Lagoa, around Niteroi, and to see a real live samba school, La Mangueira, which is part of a favela of the same name.  It was hot there and noisy and crowded and our car got stuck inside the parking lot.  But hey, that's real ambiance for you!

Prices were even higher this year than last, about 40-80% higher than BA.  The beach was still lovely, water the perfect temperature for swimming and surfing.  We discovered some good new restaurants.  I had a lovely time as usual, although we really did miss getting to have some classes with Paulo.  However he promises me he will be back in the Bay area in January!  Yay!  To check out photos of the event go to momentosdetango.com.br.


Buenos Aires Trip, March 2005:  CITA and Oscar Mandagaran


Two weeks in Buenos Aires always flies by much too quickly.  The lady does not fail to charm even after more than a dozen visits, a part of my heart is always remains there, and even this last time I had so many things to do before leaving that my remise driver had to wait 15 minutes for me to finish packing.  We rushed to the airport  through rush hour Easter week everyone-off-to-take-their-holidays traffic, and I made it through  horrendous lines for immigration, security, customs, and exit taxes just in time for boarding with not a minute to spare.


What I love most about Buenos Aires is the juxtaposition of the old, the young, and the proper mixed with the improper.  Nostalgia mixed with mischief.  Piropos (compliments) are an art form there.  As I was eating my deliciously hot “papas soufflé” (puffed French fries which I haven’t found anywhere else in the world yet)  in the Palacio de las Papas Fritas,  with its old world  wood paneling, proper table linens, and starched waiters, I realized that I was eating in a restaurant that had been there for almost 100 years!  Café Tortoni with its marvelous mix of marble, wood, and painted glass skylights is nearly 150 years old.  They built buildings to last in those days.  And in the newly refurbished Museo de Bellas Artes, the gray-haired guard came over,  not to tell me I was standing too close to a painting,  but to whisper mischievously in my ear “From where I was standing you looked like a young girl of 15 or 16 years in your short skirts.”  I retorted “And now that you’re closer?”  He laughed and said “Like a young girl of 25 or 26.  And then he added, I like your legs.”  Oh those Portenos!


I had not been to CITA since the first two years in 1999 and 2000 when I was first beginning tango.  At that time, it was an overwhelming but exhausting experience.  I wondered what I would feel like this time going back. I found that some things never change: the extraordinary lack, one might almost say purposeful lack, of organization in some things.  Performances that were supposed to start at 11 p.m. started at 3:30 a.m.  Not enough tables and chairs for all participants, not enough room, waiting to get into shows, the smoke from cigarettes being blown right into your face, the lines for service with only one office worker.  Also in the first CITA’s we were very lucky to be able to have live music from great orchestras every night.  For the first time this didn’t happen supposedly because of the recent fire tragedy in Buenos Aires.  The teachers were still good, many of the same high excellent caliber as at the first CITA’s.  Robert Reis and his new partner Lucila Cionci were extraordinary, as were Chicho and his new partner Eugenia.  One performance which I will never forget was created by Chicho and Eugenia dancing on stage to the music of a solitary bandoneon and at some moments only to the sounds of the breathing of the bandoneon mixed with human breathing.  It was truly incredible, one of those things that you can experience only in person.  However some of the older couples no longer made the grade and many of the younger couples just were not the world class one would expect from such a festival. 


In order to gender balance there are assistants both male and female who attend the class and dance with the participants.  In addition students are allowed to hire “taxi dancers.”  There are generally more female students so most of the taxi dancers are male.  I am not sure how I like this development.  I suppose that it is a fact of life that the male:female ratio has been reversed.  When I first started coming to Buenos Aires I remember that it was such a dream to have more men than women.  Because in order to feel truly feminine I think you have to feel that you are being cared for and sought after, rather than vice versa. I think this is inherent in the roots of tango, in the dance, in its history, and even in the way women are asked to dance in the milongas.  A male taxi dancer is not congruent with the emotional resonance of the dance.   Now it seems that the economic reality is that these young men need to make money some way, even through something they passionately love, their dancing.  I had many discussions with both male and female assistants and “taxi dancers” about this, the pros and cons.  In a way both the students and the “taxi dancers” feel used.  But perhaps given the economy and the gender imbalance this is the best that can be done at this time.  I’m not sure.  I met many delightful students and assistants and had many wonderful dances in the classes, but I never hired any “taxi dancers” for myself, although I would agree to do this to help out some others.  So is this a mixed moral message? Yes I guess it is.


We had some wonderful classes with Oscar Mandagaran, formerly star of Forever Tango.  We went to his home for dinner and got to meet the 3 dogs, 1 cat,  two children and his wife.  After dinner he showed us the newspaper articles of his charity organization “Mission Tango Guri.”  He continues to have benefits in Japan where he works up to 6 months out of the year, and to donate funds to help the children in orphanages in his hometown of Missiones.  Here in San Francisco we had two benefits for these children when he was here a couple of years ago.  He showed photos of the wood burning stoves that he brought them, as well as shoes, clothing, medicine and food.  He showed the cramped housing and poor conditions that the children were living in.  He said that if he can obtain a visa he would love to come back and teach here in the US in the future.


There are some excellent practicas happening in Buenos Aires just now.  The entrance is just a few pesos, the students are usually young and adept, style often tango nuevo, clothing casual.  The three that seem to be the most popular just now are: Luciana Valle’s practica on Monday 8 p.m. to midnight,  at Cordoba 5064, Tuesdays 9 p.m. to midnight with Pablo Inza at Anchorena 647, and the TangoCool practica on Fridays with Guillermo Cerneaz and Paula Rampini 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., again on Cordoba 5064.


Because a number of milongas are still closed, the remaining open milongas are even more crowded than usual.  El Beso, La Viruta, Canning, Nino Bien, Ideal, Sunderland, Club Espanol were all open.


Happy Dancing


Paulo and Stella in Oakland, Sept 2003 photo by E Casati

Rio Tango Trip

 "Bem Legal:   (Very Cool)  

Nov 4-13, 2004


From the air Rio presents a spectacular sight, azure waters ringed by a circlet of uninhabited rocks, the city with its skyscrapers pocketed off into distinct zones by the necklace of  verdant mountains, the dazzlingly white stretches of beach, and the favela shantytowns clinging to the sides of the mountains.  It is truly one of the most beautiful cities to fly over with sensational contrasts of mountain, ocean, dwellings, jungle, waterfalls and islands.  Almost at once my heart began singing and I felt like I was a character in one of the old crime movies where the handsome huckster villain-hero with his illegal millions says to his bella dama “We’ll escape to Rio honey.”

Yes, there is an air of uninhibited, totally unrepentant, and unselfconscious sin about the city, from the gorgeous transvestites and prostitutes who parade openly on Copacabana Beach and in Lapa (the nightlife section of town) nearly unclothed, to the fact that no one stops for red lights (the traffic kind) while driving at night.

But it is also a great city for tango.  We started our  classes with Paulo who was warm and encouraging and made time to talk to everyone individually in the group.  During our week there we had several group classes at Cafe Xango, his studio in Botafogo and 14 hours of semi-private classes.  The classes were amazing, as all his classes are.  We learned his basic tenets but also had time for a lot of private correction which is impossible in the large classes. We particularly concentrated on slowing down our movements and analyzing them, so that we could correct bad, habitual patterns.  We became very aware of where our weight and balance were located, and the specifics of where each step needed to begin.  Depending on where the weight and balance are of the follower (feet together, unweighted foot forward or behind, or weight in between both feet), a different step can be led from each position.   His studio is the top two stories of an unmarked building at 172 rua da Passagem, and has a lovely view of Pao de Azucar (Sugarloaf Mountain).  It turned out that bus 119 ran directly from our hotel in Ipanema  to the Rio Sul shopping center, a 2 reale ride (2.75 reales = $1 US currently).  This bus runs every 5-10 minutes.  From the shopping center it was only a few blocks to walk to his studio, and this became our daily routine.

Paulo has wonderful teachers who share his studio.  Andre and Alice are a young and enthusiastic couple who help teach the tango classes while Paulo is away traveling and teaching 8 months out of the year.  Andre has a background in contemporary dance as well and Alice is a personal trainer and conducts stretching classes and can recommend massage therapists if you need one.  They took us samba dancing to an old traditional and very famous “gafeira” one night called Estudantina in the center of town.  This gafeira was an old wooden structure with no air-conditioning.  It was a warm night, like summer (the temperatures in Rio are at least 10 degrees warmer than Buenos Aires for the same time of year) and people were sweating like mad.  The live music at this particular night was mostly blues and jazz.  The samba and forro that they danced had a particular lilting quality with a lot of up and down and circular movement that we are not used to in tango.  There is a lot of pelvis to pelvis contact.  People are laughing and friendly and drinking their delicious Brazilian beer, not the serious, introspective expressions that you are used to seeing in tango.

We went to a tango milonga almost every night and got used to meeting the same tango addicts over and over again.  There are numerous tango teachers in Rio.  Luckily most of the milongas were fairly near our area, because Rio is quite spread out due to the interspersed mountains.  Folks were friendly and it was quite common for women to ask the men to dance without the censure that often happens in a BA milonga.  “Cabeceo” was used, but often the men simply walked over to the table.  We were invited to private tango parties and celebrations.  People gave us their phone numbers and offered rides.  The tango itself was not at as high a level in Buenos Aires, but each of us still had some very good dances, enough to tire out our feet. 

A very helpful source for locating each milonga is the  Riotango website: www.riotango.com.br which incidentally also has photos of our group there.  This website is run by Americo and Raquel.  The only caution being that sometimes the information is out of date and you should call the organizers to double check  before going.  One Sunday night for example the milonga was listed as ending at midnight, however at 10:30 p.m. everyone started leaving.  Since we had just arrived at 9 p.m. we wondered what happened.  It turned out that the hours had changed and that the milonga had actually started at 6:30 p.m.  In addition the Wednesday milonga is now at a club called Plataforma in Leblon, not the place listed in Santa Teresa.

In addition to tango classes, we took 2 excellent samba gafeira classes from Mauro who also teaches at Café Xango.  Samba gafeira is a slower samba than samba da pe which is the kind danced during Carnaval.  It is a couple dance with lead and follow and close body contact.   There are dozens of samba teachers as you might expect, but time did not allow us to sample them unfortunately.

It is helpful to have at least a smattering of Portuguese, as lots of people do not speak either Spanish or English.  We had 3 great language classes from Lucy, including one at the top of the Pao de Azucar where we almost got blown away by the sudden tropical storm!  From Lucy we learned that a “malandro” is a “street guy” who doesn’t speak grammatically correct Portuguese but who is still a “nice” guy even if he beats his woman.  (The language will tell you more about cultural prejudices than anything else.)  We also learned about “Feijoada,” the national dish, which is derived from the food of the black slaves.  Feijoada is typically eaten on Fridays.  The story goes that leftovers from the Portuguese masters were kept all week and cooked on Friday into a stew to make feijoada.  Originally many different types of left-over meat were used including salted meat, odd cuts like tail or hoof, these were all cooked together into a bean stew. The stew is often served with a bowl of delicious greens called “corve” and a kind of powdery flour called “farofa” and a peppery sauce.  We also made sure to try “carpirinha” a delicious alcoholic beverage made of sugarcane liquor, lime, and ice. Brazilians are very fond of their bodies and body-building, health foods and tanning are national sports there.  They have a drink made from a small fruit that grows in the jungle called acai and you can find acai juice stands all over the place.  This drink can be bought fortified with additional vitamins and other ingredients, much as our jamba juice stands here in the States.  The drink itself is like a purple slushy, actually very delicious and sweet. Another taste treat is the otherwise lowly hot dog “cachorro quente” which has been elevated to proletarian delight.  They serve the cachorro quente there with at least 10 separate condiments including quail eggs, kernels of corn, and various spices on a warmed bun.

I was glad that we stayed near Ipanema Beach.  Copacabana Beach these days, although much cheaper, is much more polluted and often has a bad smell.  It seems that there are more robberies on that beach as well.  We stayed just near Arpoador Rock, the natural division between Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.  This area is magnificent at sunset.  Fishermen go there to cast their nets and you can actually cook the fresh fish right there on the rock.  Adjacent to this rock is the big surfing beach and also a bicycle path which runs all the way along the beach.  I stayed at the Atlantis-Copacabana Beach Hotel which was a great location, 1 block from Ipanema Beach and 3 blocks from Copacabana Beach.  The rooms were pretty basic, but it was clean and low cost.

In general Brazilian prices are 2-3 times more expensive than Buenos Aires prices, so don’t go expecting a bargain vacation.  Some things are less expensive than the U.S., but not all.  Milongas for example cost the equivalent of about $5 USD compared to BA where they are about $2 USD.  Taxicabs are also way more expensive than in BA.  A good meal in a “churrasqueria” with wine, dessert and coffee will cost about $20-30 USD, considerably more than in BA.  Good places to eat are the “kilo” buffets which line the main street in Copacabana called Avenida N.S. Copacabana.  These are all-you-can eat places which charge you according to the weight of the food you select.

Although people are always exclaiming about how “violent” Rio is, we did not personally experience any crime or violence.  Personally I feel that it is probably at about the same level as in BA, but for some reason, has just gotten more bad press.  We went around at all hours of day and night and felt quite comfortable and welcomed.

Two excellent excursions that are a must are the visit to the top of Corcovado Mountain and a visit to Santa Teresa.  Corcovado is the tallest peak in Rio and is crowned by the white statue of Christ blessing Rio.  The trip up the winding mountain road takes at least an hour to complete, but you pass through many interesting neighborhoods of Rio on the way.  At the very top in the forests are the small monkeys which scamper about in the trees.  The view from up there on a clear day is amazing.  I have also heard it is a great place to come at night for star-gazing.  Santa Theresa is the bohemian, cobble-stoned, older part of town.  You take a small gauge tram across the Aqueduct of Lapa to get there.  Once there you can wander around, look at the Museum de Ceu and eat at one of the quaint restaurants which specialize in seafood.  We went to the very top of one of the hills and ate at the expensive restaurant Aprazivel which overlooked the entire city. 

One of the highlights of my trip was my visit to Niteroi, the city across Guanabera Bay from Rio to see the Niedermeyer designed modern art museum.  The museum is designed like a spaceship floating over the water with 360 degree views.  The glass is so perfect without any contortions that looking through you feel that you are actually hovering in space over the Bay.  The views of Rio from there are exquisite.  The other highlight was the motorcycle ride with Paulo into the incredibly lush hills of Rio.  It is unbelievable that  these untouched, verdant jungles exist so close to this bustling, modern city and a tribute I think to Brazilians that they have been able to keep it thus. 

I will be planning another trip back to Brazil because there are wonderful people that I want to see again, dancers that I want to dance with,  more samba and Portuguese classes to cram in, and things that I wanted desperately to do that I ended up not having time for: like fishing off the Arpoador rocks, throwing myself off Pedra Bonita in a paraglider, bicycling around the Lagoa, jumping in the waterfalls near the Chinese lookout pagoda. And of course tango classes with Paulo!   




April, 2004 trip to Buenos Aires

I love Buenos Aires and nothing will ever deter that love, but I must admit that my last trip severely put that passion to a test.  First of all the apartment that I had signed all the papers to purchase did not get bought.  The owners at the last minute decided to raise their asking price.  This was after I  had already paid the "scribano" fees and gone down there twice to sign papers.  So that was an unpleasant ordeal.  But I have to say purchasing property in a foreign country is quite a shocking learning experience.  There is a lot of insecurity involved and  very little safeguards from what I can tell, so different from what we are used to in the States. 

Secondly, I had the unpleansant experience for the first time in all my visits to BA to be mugged.  I was in the Plaza San Martin, one of the lovelier plazas in the ritzy area of downtown Buenos Aires.  There was a wonderful open air photo exhibition of aerial photos from all around the world.  It was midday with a good size crowd milling about and I was wandering undisturbed from photo to photo.  Suddenly someone knocked me down, violently shoving me to the ground and wrenching the watch from my wrist.  They also tried to take my purse but since it was around my neck succeeded only in giving me a kind of whiplash neck injury.  The guy then ran off and jumoped onto the back of a waiting motorcycle.  The two guys drove off before anyone could stop them.  The police arrived a few minutes later, but by then the assailants had totally disappeared.  Since they were both wearing motorcycle helmets it was difficult to identify any facial features.

I had never had anything but wonderful experiences with the Argentinians.  I guess this was my wake up call.  So please, all of you, tourist or non-tourist, be careful, look around you,  make sure you are not being followed, even if it is in the middle of the day with lots of folks around. 

I still have a large size bump and bruise on my arm a month later.  For several days later my neck was stiff as a board, however with lots of massage and warm compresses it seems back to normal now.  Being assaulted anywhere is no fun, but being in a foreign country without family and all your normal resources makes it ever so much more terrifying.



Buenos Aires Dec 2003


I had a week free that I hadn’t counted on so jumped on a plane and took off for my favorite dancing city.


This time instead of a hotel, I stayed at my friend Lalo’s apartment.  His apartment is in Barrio Once, at Viamonte and Pueyrredon, an area that I had not had much chance to explore previously.  The apartment was clean, tastefully decorated, with microwave, juicer and huge wooden dance floor in the living room where I was able to take many of my private lessons.  This area has a large Jewish population so it was not unusual to see kosher butchers and bakers and orthodox  Jewish men walking around with large felt hats, but with the macho swagger of the Argentino (very cute).  Great “verdulerias” and “fruterias” for buying fresh produce.  In addition, his brother Ernesto still lives in BA full time and is very helpful in orienting you and offering interesting tips of non-tango things to do.   If you are interested in renting Lalo’s apartment you can write to him at lzarch@yahoo.com.


I discovered that the studio of  Mora Godoy, (Mora was the original star of “Tango por Dos” and partner of  Miguel Angel Zotto, and recently starred in and choreographed the hit show “Tanguerua”) was located only 2 blocks from the apartment.  Classes there were only 9 pesos and I took several excellent classes.


I also discovered a new, very inexpensive shopping area located on Paso St., between Corrientes and Cordoba.  There were both outlet stores as well as boutiques mixed in together. 


My friend Jean had also given me a recommendation to go to her favorite shopping mall located on Al Corta St. in Palermo.  It was great!  I ended up going there three times in  one week.  They have many boutiques there which specialize in Argentine made clothing and designs.  The styles are cutting edge and great to wear at milongas.

Thank you  Jean also for telling me about a museum that I hadn’t gone to before called MALBA.  It is also located on Al Corta  and specializes in contemporary Latin American art.  Beautiful museum with excellent curating.


I also spent more time in Recoleta than I had in previous trips.  This is a charming  residential area of town with many parks and trees, outdoor restaurants, well-maintained sidewalks.  I discovered a fantastic “tenedor libre” there named “Comer” on Guido St.  For only 12 pesos you can gorge  to your  heart’s content on parrillada, pasta, salads, desserts and 5 huge tables of entrees. This was by far  the most attractive and classiest of all the “all-you-can-eat” type restaurants that I have seen so far.


In general in the past I have usually gone to the biggest most popular milongas at night.  This time I made it a goal to try a new milonga every night (meaning that I tried to go to two milongas per night, a new one and an old fave).  This really worked out well most times since the popular milongas ended up staying open a lot later than publicized.  For example on Thursday I went to Dr. Tango in Belgrano a milonga that my friend Shirley had raved about.  It was a small neighborhood milonga and I had so much fun there that I stayed until 3:30 a.m.  I almost decided not to go to Nino Bien because it was supposed to close at 4 a.m.  But I went anyway and it was still going at 5 a.m.  Another milonga with old time milongueros was El Pial or La Baldosa which is located quite far from the center of the city.  However they had live music and great demos.  I ended up staying until 2:30 a.m. on a Friday night before taking off for Canning.  It was a good decision since that particular night Canning’s air conditioning had broken down and the smoke was especially dense.  On Saturdays the outdoor milonga Calesita has begun again.  It was packed and with lots of great dancers.  I met some nice tangueros that I had met previously at Dr. Tango and we hung out together. The air was lovely and fresh and the night very beautiful. On Tuesday I went to the new milonga “el Cachafaz” which is held in the same location as Nino Bien.  It was similarly packed with all the familiar tango faces.  Javier and Geraldine danced beautifully and there was also live music.


Again I highly recommend lessons with Roberto Herrera if you can catch him between tours, Mario Bournissen, and my perennial favorite Oscar Mandagaran.


What a great week!  My only regret is that I had but one week to devote to tango in Buenos Aires on this visit..



Dancing Feet photo by E Casati

I recently took a group of 5 tangueros to the II World Tango Festival in Buenos Aires. The following is a report that I wrote for Tango-L on the trip.


Report from Buenos Aires :  II World Tango Festival Oct., 2003, Shoes, Massage, Clothes and Real Estate


Sorry folks for my belated report, but a few things happened to intervene before I could get my report out to you, such as a severe attack of bronchitis and asthma necessitating an all-night trip to the  emergency room and a trip to Portland for the as-always wonderful tango festival there where I helped to assist Paulo Araujo with his classes.

But now I’m back and ready to report.


Buenos Aires was wonderful,  as always. Great dancers, great milongas, great orchestras.  What else can be said?   The World Tango Festival is a little different than CITA. Although both festivals share many of the same excellent teaching faculty, the actual number of classes that most students take is about half that of CITA. This is not a bad thing, as I think 3 hours of classes per day is just about right.    Daniel Rofman and his artistic directors Jorge Firpo and Aurora Lubiz are trying I think for a slightly more personalized approach than CITA as well, which included not just introducing students to wonderful, new teachers, but also evening trips to top tango shows, a daylong Argentinian folkloric festival  and invitations of students to instructors’ homes as well.  The classes were well organized and the faculty very responsive to student needs.  Participants had a great time being in Buenos Aires, many for the first time, making new friends, and being in contact with the greatest teachers of our time. 


There were a number of complaints though that there were too many shows and other extraneous material and not enough actual time for dancing.  Some things could have been handled better such as the student competitions which hardly anyone knew about, even fewer cared about,  and which took an inordinately long time at the milongas to organize.  In addition, it would have been an ideal opportunity for the organizers to try for a few “smoke-free” milongas since the majority of the attendees were used to that kind of  air in their respective hometowns.  I know my lungs would have been grateful for a respite. 


Shoes were duly ordered and bought from Leo, who keeps improving her product every time I see her.    This is a family run business and it takes her about a week to make her custom shoes.  She can adjust for pronation, bunions, low arches, just about anything.  I now know that I should order open toed shoes with only “chromo” and “sin suela” in order to get good flexibility for the toes.  Leo’s phone no is 54-11-4280-3912.   


Another hot new favorite place to buy shoes (women’s only)  which was recommended to me by both Geraldine Rojas and Graciela Gonzalez is “Comme Il Faut” run by Alicia Muniz, Juncal 1887, phone 15-4411-7649. (My friend Shirley told me they are moving on November 3rd to a new location:  Arenales 1239 Puerta3 Depto M, tel 54-11-4815-5690).  They will also make custom made shoes, but their ready-mades are totally delicious, a shoe fetishist’s delight, with all kinds of zany unusual materials and high, high stiletto heels.  Despite looking frivolous, they are amazingly comfortable.  I am told that the style by Argentinian women now is to wear these open toed delights without any stockings at all.  They are somewhat more expensive than other shoes, but splurge for once!


I also went to my favorite dress shop just adjacent to the Galerias Pacificas.  This tiny store on Viamonte 580, just off Calle Florida, is called “Iamarina” and I got about 5 different pastel versions of my favorite flirty dress with the twirly skirt, good for dancing and showing lots of leg.  The same dress across the street costs about 3 times as much.  But if you go to Iamarina and mention my name they’ll give you about 5% discount making the total somewhere between $40-60 depending on the actual style and their current pricing.


After hours of dancing people were asking me where to go for a massage.  I go to the salon called “d’Antuan” on Calle Florida 558, near LaValle.  You can just walk in and ask for Marta.  An hour massage will run about $10.  It’s not fancy, but it works.  I also like d’Antuan for low cost manicures, pedicures and hair care.


Another low cost place for facials and massages with nice surroundings is Guillermina Schwartz on Riobamba 1164.  They often have promotionals, but you have to ask.  Also you need an appointment and they can be hard to come by.  Their phone is 4816-1577.


I met 3 wonderful teaching assistants while I was there and totally recommend them for practicing or if you need a partner for a class.  Their names are Gustavo, Gustavo and Benjamin and they can be reached at tangofuerte@hotmail.com.

Another very nice assistant who has studied extensively with Aurora Lubiz is named Andres, his phone is 155-624-7285.

I highly recommend lessons with Geraldine Rojas and Javier if you can reach them.  I also had a great private with Mario Bournissen.  His phone is 15-5156-4768.


In terms of new milongas, the new thing is live music at Confiteria Ideel (Suipacha and Corrientes) on Thursday evenings.  It is packed. Fabrizio teaches a nice class prior to the milonga.  So if you can,  go to Ideel first, then to the traditionally packed Nino Bien on Thursday nights.


I guess my only disappointment was in apartment hunting.  I had a certain apartment in mind, you know “Belle Epoque building”, lots of light, doorman, and not too expensive.  Many of my friends have bought apartments there already.   After locating what I thought was the almost- perfect apartment (200 square meters, stained glass windows, 4 balconies, wood parquet floors, but no kitchen or closets!), the owner jacked up the price and refused to budge.  I looked at about 5-6 apartments, my main pre-requisite being that it have as nice large wood floor (guess why?).  It turns out that good apartment hunting is difficult, as there doesn’t seem to exist this thing called “multiple listings” there and there seems to be little communication between the various agencies.  It also turns out that the buyer rather than the seller pays the entire commission to the realtor, so this sum must also be considered in the final price.  Anyway, any good tips for getting a low cost “tango” apartment would be greatly appreciated.  I told one of the taxis there to be on the look-out for me, but I think he just thought I was kidding.


Have a great time, wish I could be there now.