Thursday, June 28, 2007

Even though our chapter in Eindhoven was very brief, it left us a pleasurable aftertaste:
First it was a nice surprise that Pascuale, I have been corresponding with intensively during the last months has materialised NOT into a tall blond Dutch girl I have imagined, but into a handsome Italian of 40! It only proved how deceptive the imagination and sometimes intuition could be. His being linguistically impeccable,

I could not even THINK it was a man writing e-mails with this meticulous choice of words,openness and warmth that revealed a female. A name itself was to blame for a double interpretation.
Another nice surprise- the mattress on the floor he ( in that time and in my head ‘ she’ ) was pointing out as an emergency solution for an accommodation for us turned out to be a romantic attic loft, on the third floor of the house. There was, in fact, a mattress on the floor, completing the entire rustic decor, but not in a way I imagined the Spartan conditions expecting us in Eindhoven…As I have accepted the minimum it was only too nice to receive the maximum!
A third surprise due to my misinterpretation or maybe due to Pascuale’s poetic or humble way of writing- was a culinary aspect of our stay. A pasta we had been promised by mail to provide our bodies with indispensable carbohydrates, and which I envisaged an independent young Dutch girl being able to prepare as the only dish she can hardly make ( as she is definitely not a housewife, oh no!) turned out to be THE REAL ITALIAN PASTA PREPARED BY AN ITALIAN! Not only pasta- and not only delicious aglio, olio & pepperoncino, but the best choices of Italian wine, some from Bari, the origins of our host, followed by Argentinean and Chilean ones, the most beautiful salads ( smoked chicken, rucula, cherry tomatoes, cheese, nuts), tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella, baked paprika, choice of olives, prosciutto ( del mezzo, of course) accompanied by Italian bread were our share. Probably if we had asked for a specific kind of focaccia we would have got it as well!
As a special treat for us, being intrepid NOVELTY hunters, definitely in the culinary domain, we got first a warning and then an invitation to try FRIKANDEL. The mysterious word was hunting us for days with roundabout descriptions of it like ‘ a food from the wall ‘ or ‘ you never knows what you ‘ re gonna get’. As we have passed the ordeal, on the last workshop day, after a milonga, we were invited to celebrated our bravery (to try unknown, unrecognisable, unidentified food) eating in a nice restaurant in a pedestrian centre of the city. When entered, we were crushed by the Dutch REALITY: THERE IS NO FOOD SERVED IN RESTAURANT IN HOLLAND AFTER 11 p.m.! To our profound joy, our previous wish to have our kebabs could be fulfilled. The Europeans cannot understand our attraction to this basic ( for them) everyday ( maybe for them) Turkish food. The reason is simple: they do not exist in Buenos Aires. And another: it makes us feel like real travellers. And a contrast to the luxurious treatment by Pascuale and Ineke.
The three storey old house in the heart of the city is normally inhabited by Pascuale, his GENUINE DUTCH GIRLFRIEND INEKE ( the way to remember her name was quickly invented by Pascuale: think about Haineken, drop a ‘ H’ and final ‘ n’ )- and she was indeed TALL, BLOND and with HUGE BLUE EYES and a cat called FRITZ. I swear I thought at least one of them was an artist, or interior decorator, but it seems that Fritz is the only real artist, living from his art ( of being a cat) in a house.
The house possesses a beautiful garden, a small jungle with mosaic of cobbled stones with moss growing among them, tall trees, wooden table and benches, lots of flowers in clay pots. VERY INVITING to have a quiet breakfast or dinner on a summer day. But alas! This was impossible to fulfil! During the summer there are not many real summer days, and there were not our part. Therefore, the breakfast photo we took was only a quick choreography between a shower, a drizzle and a rain. We were enjoying looking into this garden through big glazed doors from the dining room. This is actually the reason we have to reject Holland as one of the possible residence places (the game we play all the time when visiting a country, or a city, a town for the first time: ‘ would we live there?’ ) It is however, of enormous pleasure to be in a cosy house observing the rain falling down, sipping coffee ( or good wine), having a cat walking around and a good background music. Pascuale was an expert for a perfect sound track for any occasion. We had thus- breakfast music or evening tunes accordingly. As a memory of our stay in Eindhoven we carry a double Cd of Paolo Conte. Thanks a lot, Pascuale!
Pascuale is an unusual mix of Italian and Dutch, of which he has the best features. His looks are inconfusable Italian, thanks God. Good for tango. But in his attitude he reveals all the Germanic features that the Latinos could only dream of. Including his impeccable English- without even a slightest hint of an Italian accent.
Therefore, we can congratulate TipoTango alma mater- Marianne and Leo, for offering him the opportunity to organise our workshops and be our guardian angel while in Eindhoven. He really did the job brilliantly!
Marianne and Leo, a beautiful couple of eternally young, I would dare to say- because of the tango elixir of youth, are ALREADY CONVINCED TO INVITED US BACK FOR THE MAY TANGO FESTIVAL NEXT YEAR. It is a real honour, we said ‘ yes’ of course. There will be enough time to discuss the practical and less practical issues sipping limoncello under our lemon tree, back home, in Buenos Aires. Marianne and Leo are going to venture to the Buenos Aires jungle in November and WE ARE GOING TO BE THEIR GUARDIAN ANGELS there!
Milonga and workshop place was my dream location: A CHURCH! I have always thought the churches, especially gothic, are perfect to dance tango- spacious, good dancing floor, ambience of red brick walls and stained-glass windows.. But Eindhoven Tango ( TIPOTANGO!) made it reality! It was like going to a TANGO TEMPLE! And definitely we felt that on Sunday morning… The last prayers and songs of the service were still heard, when tango students were arriving…
It seems that Eindhoven is a good location for tango events: it attracts not only its own inhabitants, but from the towns around and even from Belgium! No doubt, you cannot dance in a church in any place..
Eindhoven is not a beautiful city, we were warned by Pascuale and Ineke the moment we have arrived. Maybe not, if it has to live in the shadow of beauty monsters like Amsterdam or Alkmaar. But it definitely has its charm. The city was heavily bombed during the 2nd world war and rebuilt afterwards. Therefore its architecture is new. It is strongly marked by PHILIPS, as Eindhoven is its town of origin. Starting from the architecture of a train station: it is an enormous old PHILIPS RADIO! Another building has a shape of a humangous space ship. Just outside of the pedestrian area, contrasting with some old and low buildings, there is a skyscraper of the newest technology and architecture- the price winner of Holland! And beside- and old Church, the survivor…
The rest we have seen was a night walk in the pedestrian central area, in order to look for an open restaurant after milonga. There are a couple of streets vibrant with life in pubs, bars and restaurants. The spectrum of restaurants and music suggest the nationality mix. We have noticed it in Amsterdam first- Holland has had its door open for all the immigration waves, sometimes uncontrollable. Nowadays, it ads charm and colour (definitely colour) to its life. And a nightlife!
But our stay in Endhoven was marked by tango in the Church and our comfortable stay in the house. The weather has not even permitted Victor to have his regular run along the canals! The sun-rain-clouds intervals, changing every couple of minutes can drive anybody who wants to plan a day out, completely crazy. Then, you should not plan anything, you should not depend on the weather- Pascuale explains. ‘ Even if the sun appears and all the Dutch run out like crazy to sip this gift from heaven, I stay home and keep doing what I was doing’ . Is he a REAL ITALIAN? -we have questioned. Definitely an intelligent one.
Therefore our last chapter ( this year and maybe not EVEN) in Holland was more about human bonds reinforced by good food, wine and endless chats listening to all the varieties of DUTCH RAINS….WE WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK!

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