We arrived in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the month with nasty colds. Scratch that plan of diving into Argentina’s tango culture, we were diving straight into bed every day for a week. Once we began feeling good enough to venture outdoors, we visited one of the popular milongas… just to see. The sight of the floor and the sound of tango had us running back home to get ourselves ready for our first night of dancing tango. And so began our immersion into Argentine Tango.
With almost 6 months of tango ahead of us, losing one week to a cold wasn’t too devastating, but we are aware that we need all the time we have to find the milongas we like on any given day, break into those milongas, find dancers/teachers we might be interested in learning from, and learning from those teachers. Some days six months feels like it will last forever, but most days… most days it feels like it will never be enough time.
We are thoroughly enjoying Buenos Aires. It is a beautifully ugly city that has us on our toes at all times. We’re either avoiding being hit by cars, jumping off buses or trains while still moving, or trying not to be ripped off by the locals. We are loving every minute of this experience. For this reason, we are going to start with the one big negative we have that we just read about on Tango Trails. Then we’ll move on. We think it’s a good thing to point out so other foreigners will be aware if and when they visit the city.
Negative Stuff – The Rip Offs
We have been ripped off or almost ripped off twice since we’ve been here (and probably more times that we weren’t aware of). Both times by waiters at two different milongas. The first time, the waitress charged us 9 pesos per coffee (at most, they are usually 5 pesos each). K. called the waitress on it, but the waitress stuck to her guns and K. was too flabbergasted to fight her on it more. Now we are little more experienced and we know we should have asked to see the menu or asked the organizer about it. Although, we witnessed the organizer tell two foreigners that the milonga cost 10 pesos, but when the organizer saw that they came with 12 pesos each from their tour operators, the milonga was all of a sudden 12 pesos!? And let us say that this organizer was the sweetest person ever!
Rip off number two almost happened again at another milonga. We asked how much our empanadas and water were, knowing that it was 18 pesos, but the waiter said 28!? Right away we said, “nooooo” and we said we had only had one water (even with the extra water, it would have been 24 pesos)… It’s really sad, it’s like a bad stereotype that the Argentineans will cheat and steal from you (the foreigner) if and when they can. It’s so frustrating because then you don’t even want to tip them (even though they gave you good service). However, we do end up tipping them because we know we’ll go back and we want to have good service again. Now we know we have to always be aware of the cost of everything when we order and what we order… It really isn’t good when you feel like you can’t trust anyone here.
Good stuff in Part II coming soon.