From 2005 - On the Book Tour in Alaska: Suckers for Cutsie Poo and Unexpected Good Dates


Before I get too carried away, let me just say one time in Anchorage, check out El Tango on Tudor behind the Holiday gas station.  If you've gone to Hooters you have definitely gone too far!  El Tango has a fantastic menu of latin cuisine - Columbia, Argentina, and Puerto Rico - a very friendly staff and a small dance floor.  It's only been there for a year, the location sucks, but if you like your ambience refreshing, then this is the place for you.  

Last night at Cook Inlet, I was one of a cluster fuck of writers.  Needless to say, we were overcrowded at one small table, so we got another one and two of us sat there.  I figured stake out the front door and get more attention, but everybody still herded around the schoolteacher at the other table, with a mountain of her "Recess at 20 Below," full of pictures of her students having FUN in her class and adorable narrative about school life in Delta Junction.  It was very cutsie poo.


Meanwhile, I misread a possible fan, Sheila, and told her the first chapter of Ella Bandita, complete with the dirty old sorcerer, the cold-blooded daddy, and the eaten heart.  Sheila then let me know that she was a fan of Walt Disney version of fairy tales and that she used to have a friend who would have been into my writing because she wrote a lot like me.


"But she's dead now," Sheila said.


So nice of her to tell me that.


Do I sound bitter?  Really, I'm not.


At this point in my road trip, I have had enough successes to not sweat the flops.  Besides, last night was a quality, if not a quantity, experience.  I ended up with a date.  A good one, too.  With the nice guy.


Go figure, that never happens to me.  I usually gravitate to the those-I-cannot-or-should-not-even-consider-wanting-to-have types.  This one has a steady job, no addictions ( at least, not obvious ones ), courtly manners, good body, and blue eyes that are awful purty to look into.


That's how I ended up at El Tango.  Besides the food and the Argentinian staff, they had a keyboard player whose keyboard created a symphony with every note, and the staff would get up there and sing.  Since they didn't have the tv screen enabling bad singers to massacre mediocre lyrics, it wasn't really karaoke, but it kind of felt that way.  Since the staff were the main singers, most of the songs were in spanish, so it was very cool.  It also helped that they could...oh, sing.  Hugo, the owner who was from Argentina, played kind of the lating version of a bluegrass washboard - a weegel ( I don't know how to spell it, and the closest he could come to describing it was a plant kind of like a zucchini, that's dried and then hollowed out - if you want to know what the hell I'm talking about, go there and you'll see), while the bartender had maracas.


I love latin folk, they really have the happy to live mentality down pat.  Hugo gave us free drinks, calling us amigos and that we are family.


"When you are in Anchorage, this is your home."  Hugo said.


Nothing is perfect, however...


Hugo is a sucker for Celine Dion, because his daughter, Lilly, belted out "I Will Always Love You," and he sat there looking emotional.


But other than that, it was awesome.


I was coming back on Tuesday, but my good date asked me out again, so...


I'm coming back to Juneau roughly sometime around before I head down to the lower forty eight by November 1st.  Does anybody have a housesitting gig or an extra room?  I rented my place out and I don't know about crashing on my own couch for almost two weeks.  It'll be good to see the Vagabond - my cat, that is.  And of course, all of you.