Warning: Obscene amount of tango shoe talk ahead. My apologies.
The bus trip was neither better nor worse than others that we had. It did take 9 hours which is why they had free seats while the other companies did not.* We did get the lovely seat beds (they are three across the bus instead of four) but ours were next to the toilet so every time someone needed to pee (keep in mind Uruguay is the craziest of mate drinkers) the light would come on and blind us.
Apart from that we arrived in Buenos Aires fairly unscathed at around five AM. The hotel was expecting us and within a short time we were in bed. We woke a couple of hours later for breakfast (I was getting pretty sick of greasy croissants and sugary cereals by this stage), had a bit of a nap and went exploring.
I really wanted to get my hands on a pair of tango shoes as I did not have any shoes that I could dance in. My hiking boots and sneakers had way too much traction (you can’t pivot and nearly break your ankle) and my sandals and thongs don’t work backwards or while pivoting.
We went for a walk to Recoleta which was a ghost town. We found Gretaflora to be closed but managed to find a Comme Il Faut shop that was up some stairs and behind a locked door. It was a very odd affair, I suspect it was meant to make you feel exclusive but if a shop’s open, it should be open, right?
I just wanted to look but the tiny display case was above a lady trying on shoes. We were ushered to some seats and I was asked my shoe size. I told her that I was a 39 and she disappeared and reappeared with a pair of boring looking beige heels.
I admit that as a female tango dancer, I am meant to be in love with Comme Il Faut. I just can’t get into them. I find them either to bland or to have too much stuff going on with colours or textures (camel, turquoise and frills? Eek!). Every now and again I do see some that interest me, but by the time you add postage to the equation, it is bloody expensive.
They are meant to be great to dance in though, which is good because I used to own a pair of Darcos’ and they were terrible to dance in, as the heel would twist out from underneath when I tried to put my heel down. Surely a shoe brand that is specially made for tango would actually think about this kind of thing…
So we left the store with nothing and I had to wait another day for shoes and to dance tango again. At least we had a really chilled out day and a chance to get a lot more sleep.
The next day I had more success and found the Recoleta Gretaflora store to be open. They didn’t have the exact shoes that I wanted but I did try on a couple of pairs. The Nachas, although not particularly attractive, we comfortable as hell and would make a great practice shoe (the centre is elastic so the shoe expands and contracts with your water retention, see image).
Where have my ankles gone? Must be all that walking.
I had decided because my favourite pair were only in a size forty that I’d go for the Amalia, which is the signature Gretaflora shoe. On close inspection though, the finish wasn’t very good where the toe pad finished and where the shoe met the base. I am picky but when it’s handmade and priced accordingly, I expect a pretty nice finish. I have also noticed that Gretafloras seem to have ankle straps that aren’t quite in the right place (especially on my Clotildes back home). Apart from that they are really lovely shoes.
I dragged Frank to the other store and we had a bit more success there. It seemed to have better batches of shoes and so I bought the white/black with red rose that I had my eye on. The heel was stable and even Frank liked them so how could I say no. Now all I have to do is find some good tango clubs and my dream of tango dancing in South America will be complete!
For a bit of a laugh, go here and check out the “Author’s Shoes” down at the bottom. I always thought the tango world needed more tassels.
*Other bus companies utilised the car ferry and took a maximum of four hours. We had to drive up the coast to the nearest bridge crossing.