When we visited this country, the economy was in near shambles. The currency had just been devalued, and the US dollar would buy an incredible amount of merchandise. We went to an elegant
night club, had a marvelous dinner, then a most enjoyable tango dance show. Including the pick up and return by private, chartered taxi, the bill for the entire night was less than $25.00 for the two of
You could rent a two or three bedroom flat in the heart of Buenos Aires, hire a housekeeper and cook, perhaps even a driver, and get away with less than $900.00 per month.
Great for us, not so good for the Argentineans.
“Main Drag” in Buenos Aires is a pedestrian mall along Florida Street. Some of the choicest, toniest boutiques we have ever been in are located in this shopping arcade.
We passed a family huddled against one of the storefronts. The mother was begging for money to buy milk for her children. I gave her whatever money was in my pockets, and as we were
leaving, I remarked to Nancy how fortunate we are, how blessed we have been. Strokes? Yes, but we still have a life full of good choices.
As for that family, the money I gave them would take care of them for the moment, but what about tomorrow when the children would, once again, wake up hungry? They had lost hope, that
family, and no amount of money could fix that. I would not demean them by taking a picture, and the next story will tell you why.
Every day, as Nancy always tells me, we are reminded that life is about choices. As opposed to that unfortunate family, and many others like them, we came upon a situation that
so clearly shows the value of not giving up but of finding a better solution.
A little further down on Florida Street there was an older gentleman, around my age, I suppose. He had a most attractive young woman as his assistant. He had put up a set of speakers
on the sidewalk outside a large department store, and hooked these up to a tape recorder. When he turned the machine on, he and his partner would dance the tango.
What a delightful couple they made! It was clear he was her instructor, and she, his admiring student. Perhaps he had owned a studio prior to the devaluation of the peso.
Perhaps he had been a professional dancer, employed by one of the night clubs to provide entertainment to the guests. Alas, we shall never know, as for whatever reason, we did
not speak to them.
We watched them dance through several “sets” and when they finished, I went over and put a generous amount into their collection hat.
They saw this and nodded appreciatively. Then the young woman came over. Without speaking, she motioned me backwards, while she and her instructor posed alongside Nancy. Then the woman
held up her hand to signify I should wait a moment.
She went over and retrieved the red hat, first removing the money, and placed it, jauntily, just so, on Nancy’s head. She stepped backwards a little to inspect how it would look,
then, quite pleased. Got into position and motioned for me to snap a picture. Here it is: