The San Telmo bar Dorrego was dark, an early morning scattering of customers sipping coffee and quietly chatting, waiting for the weak Autumn sunshine to warm the day. Bent wood chairs, all matching but worn with a pale patina, were tucked under scrubbed wood tables scratched with time and the initials of previous drinkers.
In fact this slightly dusty and seemingly time forgotten bar was a wonder of graffiti. Every surface textured with the names, messages and drawings of those who’ve been and gone. A one hundred and thirty year old canvas, constantly changing in a bar where the decor has remained the same.
Mr Glam and I toss up wine or coffee and opt for the warmth and fragrance of a strong Argentinian brew. The door opens more frequently and snatches of music make their way through the narrow gap. Turning to look through the large plate glass windows I’m fascinated to see a couple roll out a long sheet of lino on the pedestrianised square. Swaying gently over to a bundle on a chair the woman stops, touches a blue box and the ripple of tango spreads across the square and into the bars and cafes surrounding it.
Gracefully she peels off her coat and scarf and taking the firmly upheld hands of her partner, begins a slow tango. Steeping towards him and then across him, with an intricate intertwining of legs and an exchange of steps almost too complicated to comprehend the pair spin, sway and ripple up and down the strip.
Not yet 11am and we were drinking in the culture of the Argentine Tango along with our coffee.
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