So, I’m at a restaurant, here in Buenos Aires yesterday. I look around and realize they probably are not a place that takes credit cards. I still haven’t been able to get more cash but I likely have just enough on me for my meal. I order choripan con papas fritas (sausage sandwich and fries), which fits the cash I have and count my cash a few more times to be sure, stressing slightly.
After I order I see a couple coming into the restaurant, dressed head to toe in sequins and fancy stuff, carrying a speaker. Yup, a tango show is about to start. They jump onto the small stage and get set up.
Panic grips me.
I WILL NOT HAVE ANY CASH TO CONTRIBUTE WHEN THEY PASS THE HAT AROUND WHEN THEY ARE DONE!!!
Option 1: Give them some cash and run to an ATM and get emergency cash at the horrible official exchange rate if I don’t have enough left to pay for dinner.
I check Google Maps, there are no ATMs anywhere near. I have no choice but to move to…
Option 2: Make it clear that I am NOT watching them dance, avert my gaze, stare at my table the entire time, do not applaud, do not enjoy their dancing. Eat as quickly as possible. That way I can contribute no cash to them and still live with myself.
So, I pretend to read my book, I catch bits of their dances, they are amazing.
My meal comes, I wolf it down, they appear to be wrapping up their dancing faster than I can finish my meal. They start going table to table, collecting tips and chatting with people. I am now force feeding myself, choking on my sandwich, pretending to read my book. I must get out of here before I have to face them and leave them penniless!
A few minutes later I sense a presence, I look up and they are standing in front of me, smiling politely, holding their hat.
Panic rips through me.
I ask if they speak English, nope. Sooo… I try to explain the situation in Spanish, multiple times, pretty sure all I managed to do was repeat “no cash… nooo cash”. Eventually they move away, looking a bit confused.
I wolf down the rest of my meal and rush to pay. I pay my bill aaand…
I HAVE CHANGE LEFT OVER!!!
I look up, the dancers are gone. I head out into the street and see them heading into the restaurant across the street. I run after them. As they are setting up to dance in the new restaurant I place my remaining cash in their hat.
The Tango lady sees this all and explodes into a smile and laugh, I can see all the pieces falling into place in her mind.
She steps off the stage and over to me, kisses my cheek, hugs me and laughs again. Then she leads me to a chair in this new restaurant and they dance their first dance “to” me. It was wonderful. After the first dance I tell her again “no cash”, she laughs again and I leave, smiling huge.