It was a sunny afternoon in Reñaca. After an exhausting session of sand-boarding, we decided to wash off in the Pacific and catch some sun. The sun was unopposed by clouds and illuminated the gorgeous ocean view. We sat, chatting and listening to the waves crash upon the beach when suddenly everyone went quiet. All that could be heard was a parent’s frantic cry for their son, who was lost on the beach.
As the father continued in our direction, he was followed by a wave of claps along the beach. Every person present stopped what they were doing, stood up and began to clap as they looked around the beach. As the father continued down the beach, the wave of claps followed, better coordinated than “The Wave” commonly found at most sporting events. Several minutes later, the father returned, child in arms. I was left with a chill from the tremendous sense of community and care for one another.
Later I asked my friends about the incident. It was explained that the clapping is to signal to everyone that a child is lost; a common occurrence on crowed beaches. Everyone claps to alert others on the beach and help the family find their child.
This is something I could never imagine to see in the US.
It was a warm Saturday evening and I was arriving just as locals were descending on the public pavilion and practicing dance steps.
Within an hour, the spacious dance floor became overflowing with people dancing to tango in a harmonious flow.
Some arrived as couples, some arrived alone. Either way, it was irrelevant; all came to dance. I watched as men wandered in search of their next partner, waiting for the next song to begin. I witnessed occasions in which words were never exchanged, just a simple glance, nod, and embrace followed by a swift move upon the start of the music.
The tango danced was elegant, intimate, and sexy. Absent of over-thinking and analysis, the dancers relied on feel, touch, and flow as most moves were improvised. Many times the female partners danced with eyes closed as they listened to the beat of the music and followed their partners lead.
The event attracted people of all ages, styles, and expertise. Twenty somethings paired with sixty somethings, experts paired with novices. None of it mattered because they all shared a love for the dance. I was enamored! A smile lay sprawled across my faces as I over-looked the pavilion; it was a beautiful thing to see.
It’s easy to find a tango show for 300 pesos, just as one would find a cabaret show in Las Vegas. But this was different. This was a true snapshot of the people of Argentina and their love for life. I was lost in their culture!