When travelling, I think it is important to connect with local people as much as possible. Travelling through a country very quickly often doesn’t give visitors a lot of time to do that, and so they often just tick off tourist sites without really interacting with the local population. This is a real pity, as talking to locals can give a fascinating insight into local culture, with the benefit of making friends around the world.
Even with limited time in Buenos Aires, I found two great ways to make new friends and unleash the two great passions of Argentinians: football and tango.

The Football

Argentinians are absolutely football mad. I met many fans from Argentina during this year’s World Cup in Brazil, and previously had the pleasure of visiting the famous Boca Juniors stadium in Buenos Aires. There is a passion for football deeply engrained into local culture, and almost every Argentinian will happily talk to you about their football heroes, Maradona and Messi, who are both treated like demigods.

If you are travelling to Buenos Aires, one thing you shouldn’t miss is the local football derby between the two rivalling teams of Boca Juniors and River Plate. Whichever team you decide to support, be prepared for some heated discussions over a glass of mate tea. Is there a better way to get to know the locals?

The Argentine Tango

If football is not your cup of tea, then maybe you would be more interested in watching or even dancing the Argentine tango, which originated in the late 19th century in the suburbs of Buenos Aires.

In my time in South America I have learned many dances, from salsa, to samba, and bachata, but there is one dance that left me absolutely mesmerised. The Argentine tango is different to the tango I know from Europe, which is very dramatic but a bit too aggressive for my liking. The Argentine tango however, is one of the most romantic and passionate dances I have ever had the pleasure of dancing.

A good dancer is one who can transmit the feeling of the music to their partner. When I visited a milonga in Buenos Aires, a local tango club, I thought that most dance couples were in fact couples in real life as they were dancing so intimately and passionately. After a while I noticed that couples would swap their partners after one dance though, and then dance in exactly the same way with any other person in the room. For a northern European like me, this was an unusual thing to witness as Europeans probably wouldn’t dance like this with a complete stranger. I really liked it though as everybody is treated in the same way, without any sexual undertones.

With plenty of hotels in Buenos Aires available, and those two passionate activities at your hand, why not try out either the football or the tango? Both football and the tango are hugely Argentinian and great ways to interact with locals. In fact, I came away thinking when Argentinians go to heaven, they probably find themselves dancing tango with Maradona while eating a big, juicy local steak.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

2 Thoughts on “The Two Passions of Buenos Aires: Football and Tango

  1. Tammy and Chris football is LIFE down there!

    Sounds like you have their passions covered; football, tango and juicy steaks.

    Messi and Maradona mad indeed. I know local – NJ in the USA – Argentinian fans from South America. When their native country team gets knocked out of the World Cup the powder blue and white becomes their jersey of choice.

    Either that jersey or the good old yellow Brasil jersey 😉

    Fun read!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Why Gollum Should Be Your Blogging Role ModelMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on January 9, 2015 at 10:22 am said:

      Thanks Ryan! I lived in Peru for 9 months and during the World Cup my Peruvian fans refused to support Germany (my team). They wanted to support a South American team and you are right, they either supported Brazil or Argentina. Should have supported Germany. 🙂

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