Tango, Evita and a Sea Rebel
June 25, 2014 • 610 views
From Ilhabela, Brazil the Crown Princess sailed for Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America and the world’s largest Spanish-speaking nation (Brazil is the only Latin American country larger than Argentina). My ship, the Crown Princess, would be stopping in two very different Argentine ports, Buenos Aires and Ushuaia.
Buenos Aires is the home of the Tango. It is also one of the 20 largest cities in the world. It is the most visited city in South America (ahead of Rio de Janeiro). It is safe to say that when most people think of Buenos Aires they think of two things, Evita and the Tango.
While the real Evita (Eva Peron) is long gone, her memory still resonates with the people of today. It is interesting that in a city literally covered with statues dedicated to figures involved with the history of Argentina, it is Maria Eva Duarte de Peron (May 7, 1919-July 26, 1952) the second wife of Argentine President Juan Peron, who is the most remembered. It is the musical with Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice that makes this so. The album was released in 1976 and the first West End production was in 1978. The musical Evita first played on Broadway in 1979. The film version came out in 1996 with Madonna controversially playing the title role (personally I thought she did a very good job). Like almost every tourist who visits Buenos Aires, I went to see Evita’s grave at the Cementerio de la Recoleta (I was not alone). If the Eiffel Tower is the most photographed picture on TripAdvisor (which it is), Evita’s grave must surely rank up there as well. I found it interesting to know that due to the political situation in Argentina at the time, Evita’s body was spirited out of the country and she was buried secretly in Milan, Italy for 16 years. The full story of the travels of her remains after her death is an interesting one, but not one that I want to take up here.
The dance known as the Tango comes from the Latin meaning “touch.” There is a lot of “touching” in Tango. Primarily associated with Argentina, the dance originated in the lower-class districts of Buenos Aires and Montevideo (which is in Uruguay). Just as the people from Luxembourg say they make better waffles than the Belgians, the Uruguayans say they are better Tango dancers than the Argentines. I’ll remain neutral on that. I did see a wonderful tango show in Buenos Aires as well as one in Uruguay, also there were several performed on the ship. My one conclusion was that I would never be able to perform the Tango (two left feet).
Following Buenos Aires, the other Argentine port that the Crown Princess visited was Ushuaia. Located at the bottom of South America, the place is billed as the bottom of the world. Everything there is called the southernmost in the world and for the most part it is. For example, I took a train ride on the southernmost railroad in the world (Southern Fuegian Railway) and bought a postcard at the world’s southernmost post office (located in Tierra del Fuego National Park).
Prior to stopping in Ushuaia, and following our visit to Buenos Aires, the Crown Princess stopped in Uruguay. Uruguay, the birthplace of my grandfather Carlo Cravea.
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