|Subject: Buenos Aires and Tango|
Barbara and I just returned from our two week combination research and visit to family in B.A. We were also pleased to finally enjoy a GTG with Susie and Fred Kaplan (who are still trekking through Patagonia) and with Graziella. She arrived from Montevideo just in time to meet with the four of us at La Biela, a colorful old landmark cafe just opposite the famous Recoleta cemetary. We all wished we had more time, but it was great to have finally had the opportunity to meet. It's wonderful to meet Zine friends all over the world!
Two weeks in B.A. was wonderful. The taxi drivers were the nicest we have encountered anywhere. The master suite at the Hotel Bel Air was fine, as it had ample room as well as a desk for work. Their restaurant, the "Bis a Bis" was extremely good and the Recoleta location was perfect.
We would walk each morning to Vicente Lopez Park on the corner and watch dogs of all shapes and sizes parading by on leashes held by dog walkers (sometimes holding 6 to 8 leashes!) or indulgent owners. Often we had coffee at our favorite spot across the park, "N uchas", famous for some of the finest pastries, chocolates and desserts in B.A. The city has a central park, Palermo, similar to New York and has many smaller parks which contribute to the impression that this is a very civilized city. The streets in the areas we visited were clean, the food (great beef, of course) really inexpensive, the shopping for many items, especially leather goods, great.
The tango we experienced was magnificent. We had selected this time because it coincided with the VII annual Festival of Tango and free tango shows could be experienced practically continuously throughout each afternoon and evening, with the many of the finest orchestras and singers appearing at various locales.
The historic old Teatro Liceo was hosting a more elaborate (paid, but inexpensive) tango show,"Solo Tango", starring one of B.A.'s most beloved contemporary tango singers, Maria Graņa.
If, however, you were tired from shopping, touring or dining you didn't even need to leave your hotel room as there was tango to available on both a tango dedicated tango radio station and TV channel. We saw and heard Maria Graņa and other top performers this way.
Another great thing about B.A. is that, unlike some other countries, English language films and TV shows are aired in English with Spanish subtitles, so that, if so inclined, you could enjoy many of our latest films and shows.
Pizza at"Los Inmortales", a famous hangout of the tango immortal Carlos Gardel (on Avenida Corrientes) was a treat. The pizza is excellent and the walls are covered with old photos of the city's past.
Coffee at the historic Cafe Tortoni, with all of the old tango photos and memoribilia was unforgettable. There are tango shows there each night, as there are in innumerable clubs and dance meetings (called "Milongas") to be found throughout the city. "Las Violetas"(located at 3899 Rivadavia) a magnificently restored 19th century restaurant, pastry and coffee house is a must.
Across from the Four Seasons hotel, under a freeway bridge are to be found a collection of first- rate restaurants, with both Argentine and Italian cuisine.
MALBA- B.A.'s finest art museum is not to be missed and the elegant "Museum Renault " restaurant next door was, although very expensive by B.A. standards, the finest we experienced and well worth the price. Porto Madero, a former derelict area of old disused factories and docks in now a beautiful modern site with the plants housing fine hotels and some shops. A number of very attractive apartments and condominium complexes have been erected and several hotel chains have built elegant new hostelries in the area. Some of the cities finest restaurants can now be found in the area as well, such as one we visited, called "Happening".
Sorry if we ambled on, but Barbara and I thought it might be helpful to give you our impressions of a city that we had not visited for almost 20 years.
Don and Barbara Cohen in Los Angeles