Travel tip: wing it

Making hour-by-hour plans when you travel can foil spontaneous cultural experiences, like the bizarre dance recital my mom and I saw in Buenos Aires.

When we touched down in Argentina, we didn’t have any set plans, so we took the town with a map, my limited Spanish and no fear of asking questions.

We ended up learning about a free concert by the Youth National Choir at the National Museum of Decorative Arts, a beautiful Argentine mansion built in the early 20th century that is still intact with all its original furnishings.

There were hardly more than two dozen people in the audience, but the singing was amazing and we got to experience just how the wealthy Porteños must have lived.

We decided to take the same approach the next day and headed to La Boca, an artsy part of town. As my mom bought a soccer jersey for my nephew, I chatted up the store owner. She told us about a free dance performance beginning at the local theatre in an hour. So, as tourists walked the streets paying for photos with tango dancers, my mom and I cued up in the theatre with the locals. It wasn’t the classical performance of the night before.

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One dance involved a handful of people linked in a human chain, tromping around a stage in total darkness while they threw trash in the air. That was it, for 15 whole minutes. But I sure will remember it my entire life – I’m even telling the story now.

Plans aren’t a bad thing, but make sure they don’t get in the way of interesting opportunity.

(Feature photo of La Boca in Buenos Aires.)

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