I cannot help but preface this article by saying that these events happened almost exactly one year ago. How the world has changed and what an awakening of sorts. Read through this to see what my last couple weeks of August 2019 were like. Will they ever be the same?
August 20th, 2019
After an amazing two weeks in Cali, Colombia, still feeling giddy from the effects of the music festival Petronio, I boarded a flight back to cold wintry Buenos Aires. Why would I do such a thing? If you love a place enough, it doesn’t matter what season it is. If you love a people as much, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Winter has it’s own charm and we don’t have that kind of winter where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it’s nice to be able to stroll the city in winter garb and smell the crisp winter air.
I arrived early in the morning at 5:00 am on August 21st and I had already made lunch plans with my friend Luciano. We met up in an amazing “Parilla” in Palermo and had the best meal of Bife Chorize and some great Malbec to go with it. I was back in Buenos Aires with a bang.
I had just ten more days in my favorite city south of the equator, and I would be making the most of it. As luck would have it, they were to be my ten busiest days ever in Buenos Aires.
I was free-lancing and teaching my own yoga classes. I had a student of mine from Fremont, California coming for my Urban Yoga Retreat and I was gradually planning the next stage of my travels which would be in Europe for seven weeks. I was a bit concerned about the yoga classes. I had just left the studio I used to teach at and was now venturing out on my own.
I wondered if I would be able to gather enough students and have successful classes. Much to my delight I had about a dozen students attend every class I taught! The studio I had left wasn’t even bringing in that many on a daily basis, so I was quite happy. I do owe a lot of my success to my amazing circle of friends in the city whose relentless marketing worked wonders!
In this short amount of time I also pulled off my first yoga retreat! One of my students flew all the way from California for a six day yoga retreat with me. I provided all the logistics, provided her yoga everyday and I guided her through the city with the help of my friend Julian, an experienced Spanish teacher and guide.
We roamed the streets of La Boca, entered many a museum, visited the Recoleta Cementary where Eva Peron (Evita) among many others, is buried. And one of my all time favorites – we toured the Market of San Telmo on Sunday. The cobblestoned street of Defensa is closed to traffic and lined with vendors selling art, leather products, clothes, you name it. And the actual market is a food lover’s heaven with many little stalls serving everything form empanadas to fancy French food (Merci is my favorite little corner, and it’s not that fancy really, but the food is delectable).
These last few days in Buenos Aires were special. Being able to host a yoga retreat, that too my first ever, was so satisfying. And I was able to see the city through the eyes of a yoga student, a first time visitor to the city of “Buena Onda” loosely translated meaning “good vibes”.
I was truly surprised how my yoga classes transformed into a community with a sense of togetherness. Yoga, after all, means “union”. After every class the students and I would enjoy some sort of activity.
Sometimes we would hang out at one of my favorite coffee joints in the neighborhood of Palermo – Full City Coffee. They serve great meals as well. And after an evening class, we might wander somewhere for a drink, followed by a visit to a language meetup hosted by Mundo Lingo, where we would meet people from all over. A great way to practice Spanish, or any other language for that matter.
What draws me to this special place? Year after year. “La Gente”, the people. Argentina is an immensely rich land in terms of culture, heritage and even natural resources, but time and time again it faces political and economic turmoil, like no other. Even through all this suffering, people keep resilient, they keep their pride and they find a way of enjoying life, whether it be with their craziness over “Futbol”, their love of life’s simple pleasures – good food and wine, or love of tango and much more. It’s a vibrant country with passionate people. Their good vibes – Buena Onda – keep me coming back.
My last night in Buenos Aires I hosted a dinner party at my apartment. It was a great send off. Little did I know it would be the last time I would be in Buenos Aires for at least a year. You see, I was supposed to be back in March. And then you know what happened.
I cherish those memories of chatting into the wee hours of the night, listening to good music, eating good food, drinking good Malbec, having great conversations. Who would have thought that all way south of the equator in this far away land I would have found this sense of community, this sense of belonging.
Isn’t this what this fragmented world needs right now? As we live through these most isolating of times, as we see turmoil, revolution and irreversible change to the planet, I dream of community. I dream of togetherness.
Most of all, I am dreaming of landing in Buenos Aires once more …