My first full day in Bangkok and I spent it walking, boating and tuk-tuking through the heat, the downpours, the crowds and the chaos of this fascinating city.
In true first-time tourist style, I also fell for a minor scam, but that is, perhaps, a story for another day.
I got back to my hotel around 6pm, weary, legs aching, headache starting. Was I coming down with something? Maybe a quiet night in after all…
Wasn’t there something about dancing tango during this (and all future trips)? Isn’t that why I started this blog in the first place? Didn’t I choose this specific hotel due to its proximity to the local Friday night milonga?
Exactly. Enough of the wimpy excuses.
A shower and several cups of Thai tea later and I was ready for my first Bangkok milonga.
Three Horse Tea – great for reviving tired tangueras
I arrived at the Dream Hotel and proceeded as advised to the 11th floor, full of anticipation. Would there be many people there? What if no one asked me to dance? Would I even remember how to dance in all the excitement?
The elevator doors opened. I saw a pool, behind it a bar, where I was greeted by the friendly staff. I looked to the room behind them to see how many tangueros and tangueras there were.
There were none.
Something I hadn’t even considered. What if no one shows up?
One of the bar staff assured me that the organiser would be along shortly. And indeed, after a few minutes, others started to arrive. There were dancers from Armenia, England, Korea, Brazil, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and even a maestro from Argentina.
I know this because unlike any milonga I have been to before; most of the people who arrived introduced themselves. A few, like me, were just passing through Bangkok but many were regulars from the expat community.
Before the dancing started, those who wanted could have some of the buffet dinner. Sitting chatting with some of the other dancers was a great ice breaker and also a distraction for me. I was still worrying about whether I might have forgotten how to dance.
An hour or so later and I was relieved to find out that I had not. In fact, I found that I was not focusing so much on wondering if I was doing something wrong. I think that I make the most mistakes in tango when I think too much about what I am supposed to be doing.
The evening I was there, it was a fairly even ratio of men to women, with a few women also dancing the role of leader. We were about 20 people all in all, and there was plenty of space on the dance floor, which is always nice. I had kind, patient dance partners with a good sense of humour which made for a very relaxed and enjoyable evening and a great start to my trip.
I’m so glad that I didn’t let those wimpy excuses stop me from going out on Friday night. Like many other times I have “forced” myself to go out for a milonga, I found myself coming home with more energy than when I left:-)
Thank you to Suk and to everyone at last Friday’s milonga for welcoming me into your group. I had a great time and I hope to visit Bangkok again, next time for a longer stay!
Practical information: This milonga takes place every Friday from 7:30 – 11:00pm. Entrance costs 350 THB, which includes the buffet dinner and a soft drink. The Dream Hotel is off Sukhimvit Road, close to Asoke or Nana BTS station.
Have you danced tango in Bangkok? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
PS This post is coming out very late due to a number of technical fiascoes which may deserve a post of their own. I’m now in Sydney for the next week or so, looking forward to discovering the tango scene here and relaxing after a lot of travelling. Stay tuned for my account of dancing in Darwin in the coming days!