Why must we torture ourselves? Yes, riding the slow boat to Colonia is not for everyone. But we have to get our visas renewed every 90 days or Argentina might banish us! Perish the thought!
Seriously, if you don’t renew your visa before your 90 days are up, you could be charged a hefty fine when you exit the country. Apparently, this fine used to be so laughable (about 30 bucks) that it was actually cheaper to pay it when you leave the country, cause you can spend a lot of plata going across the river and back, especially if you stay in Uruguay for a few days. But with all the expats thumbing their noses at migración, guess what? Last I heard, they upped the ante to $400… who’s laughing now? No prob, we’ve learned there’s always a financial solution to every bureaucratic problem in Argentina.
We took the slowest, cheapest ferry (about 3 hours and 40 bucks each way) to Colonia. You can relax, read, walk around; the seating area is the size of a movie theatre, with comfy, wide reclining chairs, a snack bar and café, and the best part is…. you can go upstairs for fresh air in your face! I won’t bore you with a photo, just use your imagination… white boat, blue sky, brown water, multi-colored tourists. The best part was on the way back: we had an astronomer on board. The lights of Puerto Madero sparkled across the water as we craned our necks on the upper deck looking at visible planets in the inky sky – Jupiter, Mars, Venus – and constellations: the Southern Cross, Orion, the Pleïades. Beautiful!
The tall guy and I find Colonia relaxing: small town, cobblestone streets, outdoor cafés, and plenty of shops selling tourist trinkets and locally made items. We know a great steak sandwich place, and there’s some pretty nice restaurants as well. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse, walk on the wharf, kick back on the waterfront…
I told him about an old Italian ritual where you toss salt over your left shoulder to keep evil spirits away, and he figured it couldn’t hurt!
We came across this barely standing old stone bodega, right across the road from the rocky part of the beach, around the point from all the tourist hangouts. A big rock is holding the roof down, and a spider’s web of what looks like baling wire keeps it more or less anchored to the walls. No code violations here: this is Uruguay! Around the side is a pretty tiled name:
The lovely tiles on another stone cottage (below) were installed on the 300th anniversary of the founding of Colonia (1680), dedicated by Colonia’s sister city San Fernando Maldonado. Nothing like a poet to remind us that the basic themes of human existence really haven’t changed: “COLONIA: 300 years of Love and Struggle… Over Your Rooftops Time Stood Still.”
Does all that water flowing under the bridge lead back to the same source? Some call it karma. Like, paybacks. Those with highly-tuned survival instincts have developed impenetrable armor to protect us from the sharp spears of love and the oppressive chains of the daily grind… like this tree: Ouch!
OK, no more philosophizing. You can work it all out on the dance floor, anyway. Isn’t that where tango takes us? To each of us, from each of us, your own particular place of harmony? Polishing that diamond in the rough? Here’s an example of letting go of stuff you don’t need anymore:
Some stuff just gets better with time, if it’s taken care of:
I’m not really sure about the production date of this vintage ride, but definitely before 1947… anybody out there have a clue? Let me know! Meantime you can pull up a chair here in Colonia, relax, and…
Last minute thoughts and updates:
Friday night we were at Sin Rumbo with some friends and in walked in some awesome Bay Area milongueros: Marcelo Solis and his lovely wife Olga.
We hadn’t seen them since the workshop and milonga at Val and Mary’s last year in Pismo Beach. Great dancers and good people. We spent a few minutes catching up. And I finally got a smartphone snapshot of our friends from Villa Urquiza: Ytalo and Mercedes. This couple lives around the corner from Sin Rumbo, and have been dancing tango since they met and married 60+ years ago. They can still cut a rug!
Last wednesday we also had the pleasure of seeing Facundo Posadas and his beautiful dance partner Ching-Ping. They took a table next to us at La Nacional; we visited. We have taken classes with Facundo in Buenos Aires, New York, San Francisco, LA, and Sacramento. The guy gets around! (Hey! So do we!) He’s a living legend fabulous milonguero!
Tangueros from all over planet earth are in Buenos Aires this week for CITA: Congreso Internacional de Tango Argentino. What does that mean to you? Well, if you’re here, you know that milongas which are always crowded become absolutely impenetrable! Let’s hope you’ve been practicing dancing with your partner in less than one square meter!
BA FLAT FOR RENT: a friend of mine from Italian class has a 2 bdrm 2 bath apartment for rent in Buenos Aires, a very nice flat in the neighborhood of Caballito, for a year or more, he and his wife and young daughter are taking an extended vacation with his wife’s family in Andalusía. Gustavo can be reached at: email@example.com.