Monday, December 04, 2006

New York, New York - part 2

2PM - The practica is over, and it was a good one. For the first couple of hours I danced with quite a few women, some of them more advanced then others, nothing spectacular but the level seems maybe a bit higher on average then the regular Sunday practicas in Boston. Then, I asked a woman that looked vaguely familiar to dance. Wow. From the first few steps I felt it was yet another of those tango moments brewing ... We danced for a few songs without talking much, almost like we were afraid the magic will shatter. After we got to talk a bit, what do you know, while she is a New Yorker, she hangs out a lot in Boston since that's where her boyfriend lives. And it turns out she frequents some of the same milongas and practicas I do. How come we didn't dance before is a mystery to me... Before we said goodbye she mentioned she's planning to go to the Chelsea Market milonga, a free event held in a public space, a hallway in an indoor market on 9th ave. I was thinking of taking the waltz workshop but, I can take workshops anytime, while in NY I should experience NY events.

So, at 4pm I'm there, at the Chelsea Market. The market itself is quite charming, all sorts of funky decorative elements made with industrial stuff (like bolts and machine parts). The milonga takes place in an open area cordoned off with some string. There were only a few couples dancing at 4PM, but it pick up later so by 6PM it was pretty packed. I had a blast. I got to dance with a lot of people, a few of them quite good, and a few of them quite fun. In a couple of cases, they were both good and fun and it was awesome. A from Yale was very fun to dance with and I'm looking forward to dancing with her again sometime. T showed up and we had a few awesome tangas, she was also gracious enough to tolerate my mediocre milonga skills for which I'm grateful.

At 8pm the milonga was over and I headed to the milonga organized by E1 and his friends. I'm not going to go in many details, but for me that milonga was a fiasco. First I was exhausted, note to self, after 3 hours of sleep, 7 hours of dancing seems to be pretty much my limit. I danced a tanga with my favorite Montreal dancer, who was there with her partner to teach one of the workshops and ... I sucked big time. I sort of felt guilty for wasting her time, which she could've used to danced with some of the other instructors there. I really need to learn to pace myself. E1 came through and he found a place for me to sleep for that night. Sunday at 11AM E1, his wife and a few others we went to a placed called the Turkish Kitchen that served buffet brunch. Very good stuff, and very nice venue, though a bit pricey ($20/person). After brunch I went for a walk through Manhattan and I went back to the practica where everyone was going to be. I danced most of the time, sadly, I didn't get to dance with M (well, I had one chance but they were playing milonga, on a good day my milonga is barely passable, and this wasn't one of those good days). I guess I'm going to have to go to Montreal again ...

Then I caught a cab and I almost missed the bus by about 3 minutes. And now I'm typing this and I'll upload it tomorrow. Funny thing, the bus ticket from NY to Boston was $15 and the cab ride from the practica to the Bus station was $20. I really need to start using the subway when I'm in NY ...

* I've heard many time form leaders that NY is a tough place to "break" into as a leader, my experience was quite different than that.
* I really need to start using the subway, the cabs cost me a fortune.
* I need to plan a bit more, having to worry about where you'll sleep every night is way too much hassle.
* NY truly never sleeps.
* NY is crowded and dirty.
* NY traffic is a nightmare (even on weekends)
* I love NY, I'll be back.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

New York, New York - part 1

Since I was on a roll with the tango, when E(1) mentioned the Tango A La Turca Festival in NY and he said he could get me a 50% discount and he could arrange for accommodations (find a host) I figured, why the hell not, I've never danced in NY and it's been a while since I've been in THE city anyway. Sure, got bus tickets for Friday at 6PM, and even if the trip takes 4.5-5 hours, I'll still make it in time to the Friday milonga to catch the last 3 hours. Awesome.

Then E2 calls and she says she's driving to NY, why don't I go with her, awesome, I think, first with the car we should get there faster and we didn't get to hang out for a while. Even when she said she could be ready to go by 7PM at the latest, I figured, ehh, we'll make up the time. She called at 5PM to say she's getting out of work, she'll swing by home to get her stuff and we'll on our way.

And this is when stuff started to go wrong. First, she caught bad traffic getting home. Then she caught really bad traffic coming to my place. By the time she got to my house, it was 8:30. Then we had heavy rain and since she was recently in a (minor) accident, we ended up driving 50mph for a while. She was tired since she worked the whole night before and I was cranky, since the evening was going the way it was going so the conversation wasn't quite spectacular. Then since she was really tired, she took a nap as I drove. We made it to Manhattan at around 12:45. During the trip I tried to reach E1 a few times to see if he found someone to host me, but he didn't pick up the phone and he never returned my calls. Awesome. I call a few hostels and I find a bed at Chelsea Hostel on w20th. $38 later I have a bed in an overheated bedroom, it must be 85 degrees here. So I go for a walk around the block, it turns out, it is the gay hangout area so I'm getting a couple of comments from some dudes that obviously had a few more drinks then they can handle. Excellent. Go back to the hostel around two, and try to catch some Zzzzzs. Around 6AM, some dude comes in the room, wheezing and caughing, no doubt the 3 flights of stairs when one's 300 lbs is quite a challenge. He settles down in 10 minutes or so, but as soon as he falls asleep, he starts snoring like a farm tractor with a couple of cylinders randomly misfiring. Great, I was missing some sound effects. I toss and turn for a while and then decide I can't sleep anymore, maybe I should take a shower. As I'm thinking if I brought soap, the other guy in the room gets up, he goes into the bathroom (only a shower and a sink, the toilet is in the hallway) and I hear him peeing. Ewwww. So I guess I'm not taking a shower this morning...

9AM Not that I would've stayed another night, but they don't have any beds for Saturday anyway. So, I'm back on the street, dragging behind me my luggage, kind of tired, kind of stinky and a bit down. I'm thinking this weekend could've started better.

Found a cafe, ordered some breakfast and commandeered an unsecured internet connection to check my mail. The battery is dead. Sigh. Wait, there is a power outlet, we're back in business. Since I'm on w20th st and there is a practica on w19th street at 11am, I'll go check it out. The first couple of workshops are not that interesting (to me), maybe I'll take the waltz workshop at 4:30. If I can figure out where they do it that is.

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