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Yeow! 17" Catfish by the Jefferson Memorial! Learn to Fish in 30 Seconds!

Learning to Fish in 30 Seconds!

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Travels in Fishing

- Buenos Aires -

Paris of the Americas

June 15, 2007

Los Portenos: A city settled by Italians, speaks Spanish, wishes it were French, trades in English. As I learned from my Belize trip, always have a backup plan. This time it was to learn to tango. Booked the tour trip to the Tigre Delta with the idea of having a chance to fish, only to be told that the water had such a high mineral content – not polluted, just not … livable. The delta itself is a mass of islands, with 1-3 houses on each, approximately 3500, so it could pass as Venice of South America.

Just to keep it simple, stayed at the Mansion Dandi Royal in San Telmo district, because it had a tango studio downstairs. While Argentina is said to be cheap, with three pesos to the dollar, it adds up. Tango shoes were $100; street shoes won’t work. Passed on the hat, vest, pants … If a waiter volunteers wine, be aware that a bottle of Rutini will hit you for $50. Cabs and subway are best ways to get around. While there are lakes/ponds in the city, one is not, apparently, allowed to fish. Of course, every time I came across water, I had left my tackle at the hotel (well, it gets heavy.)

After one of our tango classes, we were invited to one of the dozens of melongas that may be open any given night – at 11pm. It is a dance hall at which the men sit to one side and the women on another (unless, of course, you are in a group as we were). A man invites a woman to dance and if she accepts, the implicit promise is that he will love her passionately – for three minutes. When the music stops they might just separate as if nothing happened. The tango is extremely macho: the man leads, and if his partner trips or cannot follow, it is his fault; so not a good idea to try a melonga unless you are very, very good. And if you think the double haul in a stiff wind is difficult, try doing it with your feet. The man has basically two controls. To go forward, he virtually falls on his partner, who is pushing or holding him up as she falls backwards. He has a hand behind her back with which he pulls her toward him or pushes her to the left, so she does a quarter turn. The left hand is held below the shoulder and does not serve any leading purpose (as it might, say, in the foxtrot.)

While you can buy DVDs there (at the hotel), you might want to get some practice in beforehand. Met two women from New York, who had been taking lessons for five years and this was their pilgrimage. Oh, they also spoke fluent Spanish, so it was much later in the week that we discovered they were, in fact, American.

So drink the beer, the awesome coffee, eat the empanadas, and pronounce BBQ as “paRISH-a” – even if it is spelled parilla. Despite what you may have heard, stick to filet when ordering beef at restaurants. All the other beef we had was tasty, but tough, gristly, and fatty.

Contact: Buzz Andrews
Bluffton, SC

©tfci, inc. 2009

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