The levels of dancers also was refreshing to see, as there were new dancers on the floor at a Milonga which was a rare sight, and there was maybe a handful of advanced dancers, which I felt were at the level I was at when visiting. I found myself getting asked to be danced with very frequently, and don’t remember a single time I regretted or was disappointed with a dance, because everything was fun, even when there was a skill difference.
An unfortunate thing with where I was and the time of year, many Milongas were not happening. I was suggested to attend a few Milongas, but due to weather and arranged strikes, they were almost all cancelled. Being here for only two weeks was my fault, I took a while getting used to the schedule of life, and just bad luck on timing everything. Towards the end of the stay was when I was given Facebook contacts of people and invited to some local events, but they all were scheduled after I departed. If I’m looking for a more relaxed atmosphere and smoe tango while visiting, Montevideo would be my choice for those two reasons.
Now, I’m not saying Montevideo is the best place to be, there were indeed some oddities. If you do have a chance, I’d suggest going for a few weeks if you’re on a long journey, a couple days at least and not just do a day trip. Hearing stories how many people don’t like the city surprised me, or that they had a bad time. There is not as much to do compared to Buenos Aires, but there is plenty to see to keep you busy, but if you go, I’d say you go to slow down for a rest compared to Buenos Aires.
So what are some of the obtuse things I found comparing things to Argentina life? The everyday schedule is completely different. Restaurants are closed around 9PM, while they don’t even get busy until 10PM across the river. Mate is even bigger from the looks of it, and you can use credit cards easily in Uruguay while I had to deal almost completely in cash before. Food is more expensive, and there is almost no Dulce de Leche or Malbecs (all wine was in much shorter supply). The exchange rate was double what Argentina was, and price were pretty much on par. Shopping and everyday life seemed much more relaxed and stores were very friendly.
The main plaza and parks and areas most tourists you’ll be interested in are also very well maintained, much better maintained. What surprised me was just two blocks away from the main places, you can see completely run down buildings. It was like I stepped into a completely different city. This was a big contrast to Buenos Aires where I felt I could walk the whole city and felt everything was pretty standard. There were streets I would not want to walk down in Montevideo, even during the day, which is unfortunate as I’m sure they were fine, but the feeling compared to where I was few the past few months was so different. While if you go just a few blocks back to the main streets, it looks amazing, so you could tell where the government put their money.
All in all, the visit was wonderful, I wish I was there for a different two week period, or was there for longer to really see more of what the city and Tango has to offer me in Montevideo. I wish I had time to go to the beaches in the summer, as I’ve seen pictures and they look amazing, but that will have to be the next trip.