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Reflecting on the Tales of Buenos Aires Taxi Drivers, 11/04/2023

Updated: Dec 23, 2023


Reflecting on the Tales of Buenos Aires Taxi Drivers


Each time I find myself in the enchanting city of Buenos Aires, I navigate my way to the vibrant milongas by bus and return under the cloak of night by taxi. The bus waits can be long, and the late hours weigh heavily on my eyelids. Yet, it's in these taxi rides that I've stumbled upon the most unexpected of stories, shared by the drivers themselves.


Have you ever visited Buenos Aires? If so, I'm certain you've gathered a tale or two from your own taxi adventures. I still chuckle when I recall my first visit, where a clever taxi driver swindled me into paying $50 for a journey worth $5. I couldn't help but laugh at the sheer artistry of the con once I realized what had happened.


Then there are the times when drivers become narrators of societal shifts. For instance, a driver once informed me about the startling decrease in taxis—from 37,000 in 2015 to just 20,000 now, an impact undoubtedly attributed to the rise of Uber.


Mentioning that I dance tango often prompts an array of reactions. Some drivers eagerly attempt to impart their own tango wisdom. I listen, thank them, and find a certain charm in their passion. Others express a deep, thoughtful appreciation for the dance. "To dance tango is to express one's inner self," a driver once shared with my friend Christine Eydoux.


Last night's ride was different, though. The driver said he danced cumbia and salsa but avoided tango, calling it "too commercialized." Curious, I asked for more details. He lamented how standardization in teaching has led to a loss of individuality, with everyone dancing identically, adding, "For example, dancing to La Cumparsita by D’Arienzo is one thing. Dancing to La Cumpasita by Pichuco (Triolo) is another. But they now dance all the same to any song." His words struck a chord with me, mirroring a sentiment that's become global.


His perspective has given me pause for thought about the essence of tango. What do you think about this driver's observations? Do you share his view, or do you see it differently?


I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Warm regards,


Chan

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