Before I get too carried away, let me just say one thing: next time any of you are in Anchorage, you must 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.
How did I get there?
Last night at the Cook Inlet Bookstore, I was crushed to find that I was one of a cluster fuck of writers.
Needless to say, the four of us were overcrowded at one small table. So we got another one and two of us sat there.
I figured I’d stake out the front door in the hopes I’d get more attention. But everybody still herded around the schoolteacher at the other table.
She had a mountain of books and a generous target audience. Her book, “Recess at 20 Below” was full of pictures of her students having FUN in her class and adorable narrative about school life in Delta Junction.
It was both cutsie poo and Alaskan at the same time.
Meanwhile, I misread a potential fan, Sheila. And I found out she was anything but when I told her the first chapter of Ella Bandita. I included the dirty old sorcerer, the cold-blooded daddy, and the eaten heart.
Sheila scrunched up her face and let me know that she was a fan of the Walt Disney version of whitewashed fairy tales. She also said 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 heartwarming of her to tell me that.
Do I sound bitter? Really, I'm not. Even though the night was a dud.
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 a nice guy.
Go figure. That practically never happens to me.
I usually gravitate to the those-I-cannot-or-should-not-even-consider-wanting-to-have types.
This guy has a steady job, no addictions ( at least, not obvious ones ), courtly manners, a good body, and blue eyes that are awful purty to look into.
That's how I ended up at El Tango. Because Nice Guy With Pretty Blue Eyes took me there.
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 that enabled bad singers to massacre mediocre lyrics, it wasn't really karaoke. But it kind of felt that way even though 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 Latin 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 to El Tango 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 and teary-eyed.
Lily sang beautifully. I simply don’t like Celine Dion’s music.
But other than that, the night was awesome.
I was going to come back on Tuesday. But my good date asked me out again, so…it’s good to explore the possibilities.
I'm coming back to Juneau roughly sometime 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. I’m really excited to see all of you.