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Fin… Or A New Beginning?

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

29 December 2005 – 1 January 2006 (Thursday – Sunday) – Buenos Aires, Argentina

My good luck continued on the next night where Cintia, this lady whom I met through Claudia, brought me to a tango dinner show. This is a famous tango dinner show, where tourists pay US$100 for a 3-course dinner and a traditional tango performance. US$100!!!!!! Good gracious!

As for me, I know someone who knows someone who knows someone, heh… and so, with some promotional voucher thingie, Cintia and I got in for 25 pesos each. That was about US$8. For this price, we had an appetizer and a main meal of our choice included, we only needed to pay for drinks and dessert. OK, the voucher stated clearly that it is only valid for residents of Buenos Aires. So, I had on my most porteña look, ahem, and pretended to understand every single word spoken by the waiter and the tango song lyrics.

There was not only amazing tango dances. All the Argentine cultures had a part in this show. There was a spectacular performance by 2 macho gauchos (cowboys) who played drums and swung the boleadoras (the balls on string used by the gauchos to hunt rheas in the pampas) around in fancy rapid movements, creating music with them!… and another performance by an Andean panpipe-cum-guitar musician from the north. But the tango here was absolutely incredible, the best of the best I had ever seen. I was many times stunned during the show, holding my fork in the air and watching with my mouth gaping. I mean, some of these ladies were literally flying through the air!

Well, I had truly come to the end of the trip. No matter how long I stay in Buenos Aires, I can never get enough of it. When I realised I just had only a few days left, and as most shops would be closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and it suddenly occured to me I still had not bought enough presents for my family, I had to make a mad rush all over the city on Friday to get everything. Geee… after 7 months of travelling, I still felt there was NOT ENOUGH TIME.

That Friday was also a sad day in Buenos Aires. 1 year ago, while the whole shocked world was bombarded with news of the tsunami in Asia, a tragedy had struck here in Buenos Aires. A fire had broken out in a discotheque in the wee hours of the morning of 30 December 2004. There was a blackout and with not enough exit, the mad chaos led to the deaths of 194 youngsters. Surprisingly, there was a huge number of children as well, children as young as 4 years old, as there had been no control over the admittance of underaged (even VERY underaged) clients. The New Year last year had been a very sad event, here in Buenos Aires, as well as for the whole world. Today, there was a huge but orderly procession back at the area near the discotheque in Once, commerating the anniversary of this sad tragedy.

Cintia invited me to her parents’ home in Del Viso to spend New Year’s Eve. Del Viso is a small town, far up north of Buenos Aires. Although it would mean missing out on the party scene here, I was happy to accept the invitation. I spent a quiet New Year Eve chatting with her parents and learning more about Argentina. When the clock struck 12 midnight, the whole town burst into fireworks! Cheers to a New Year, new hopes, new dreams, new achievements, new life!

The next day, New Year’s Day, I returned to Buenos Aires just in time to pack up a bit. I bade a almost tearful farewell to my hosts – Claudia and her boyfriend Leonardo, who had helped me a lot during my stay here, (sorry for forgetting to switch off the lights!) and made my way to the airport.

Farewell to Claudia and Leo

How poetic, to end my trip on New Year. Is this the end or the beginning? I guess, it is never an end. For an end begets a new beginning as everything is a cycle. My heart is saddened that I have to leave South America and Buenos Aires, in particular. But this has to happen, for something else to begin in my life.

I thought back at this entire trip – the ups and downs; the wonderful people I had met and shared the trip with, especially the friends I met through Hospitality Club; the dodgy people I had met as well; the stories, laughter and experiences everyone had kindly shared with me; each border crossing; the art and culture I had been exposed to; the spirits I had gotten in touch with, from Bahia to the Andes; the music I listened to and the dances I participated in; the movies, theatres, football matches, whatever performances, handicraft fairs that had wowed me; the gifts I received from everyone, be them tangible or not; the traditional food, drinks, ice-cream I had tried, whether willingly or not; the mountains, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, highlands, beaches, mineral baths, volcanoes, markets, jungles, cities, museums, ruins, etc… which, I should be so lucky, had shared their magic with me, and the unquestionable friendship and hospitality shown to me by everyone…

Everything, no matter how small, and everyone had left tracks in me and most had touched my heart. Gosh, what did I do to deserve them? Well, in turn, I hoped I had left tracks and touched a bit of their hearts as well. Also, I cannot exclude the people who had somehow found my blog and had read them, some of them, continuously over these months and had left comments on my pages… Thank you for reading and for your feedback. I guess, in the end, it is the things that you did not plan for, that, when appeared, prove to be the most touching… it had been wonderful and yes, terribly touching to know that there are people who read and enjoy my blog. I appreciate it.

So, at the end of all these travelling, these questions may pop up again – “What is it that I am searching for? Have I found what I am searching for?” Again, I have to say… gee, whatever it is, I hope I never find it, so that I can go on travelling. I recognise that travelling is a part of my life now, there is no need to justify for it.

My 5 elements based on my Chinese birthdate had been calculated by a Chinese fortune-teller one week before my departure, my palm and my future had been read and seen by my psychic friend, Rene, in Ecuador, my coca leaves had been analysed by a witch-doctor in La Paz, my birthday sign – The Skywalker, according to the Mayan calendar… had all confirmed the same thing. And so, the travel continues… ¡Hasta luego, mis amigos!