As always there are things that happened and things we did that I did not report at the time. There are various reasons for this, bad memory, the event had not yet concluded, or simply that I did not want to name and shame.
So I will start with my favourite; We go to Club Fulgor twice a week and have become friendly with quite a few of the locals. One couple, more friendly than any, this lady always wears some seriously nice clothes. Not only that but we have never seen her in the same things twice. Now Viv says I am like Crabtree from “Ello Ello” (If you don’t understand “Youtube” it, an episode of “Ello Ello” will enlighten as well as amuse you) so nobody understands me. So this night she walked in and I said “Que haces con tus ropas viejas” she looked puzzled and then said “regalos”. It was meant as a compliment “What do you do with all your old clothes”. She smiled in a strange way and we carried on dancing the night away. Viv was not pleased with me though, it seems I should not have done it. She says I always embarrass her, I never intended to, I just try to engage in some sort of conversation.
The following Thursday when they arrived again at the club she handed me a bag “para probar” she said, to try. Now I looked puzzled, “Entiendes” she said, I looked in the bag saw clothes and said “Si”. We worried about it all night, I was not sure if they were selling clothes, as she is obviously in business somewhere, or if they were a genuine gift.
Up until the following Sunday I asked several friends what they thought, they all thought she was genuine, and they were right. On the Sunday night Viv wore one of the dresses and everyone was pleased. Before we left the lady asked if we were here again on Thursday. Unfortunately I was going home Tuesday, I think she had more clothes for us.
Shame really, Viv may have been embarrassed, but the two dresses we were given were beautiful.
On another occasion we got stuck with an American lady, she spent the night telling us how successful she had been and it was impossible for her to follow in tango as she was used to being a leader. She also spent some time informing us how good she was at castillano “I come here just so that I can use it at every opportunity” she said. I told her I had been learning for years and I still do not get it. This is not just false modesty, I do struggle most of the time. We were joined by a porteño lady and she quickly engaged us in conversation. She was bright and kept it simple and slow for us. Our American friend spoke with an awful accent that even Viv (who says she speaks no Spanish) detected. I kept up with the conversation with no difficulty, as did Viv despite her complete lack of Spanish. I was not setting out to prove anything, I actually do enjoy talking with the locals, but after we had been up to dance, our “fluent” friend had disappeared.
Fortunately I am well aware that the brash American is just a cliché. Americans are a mix, just like the rest of us, it is just that the loud ones are the ones that stand out. As I found out in Confiteria Ideal; she was sitting close to Viv and I managed to cabeceo. We got up and did the first dance of the tanda, when the music stopped I asked her “de donde son? “mi castillano no es bueno” she replied. I detected an accent that was definitely north american. “Perhaps we should speak english then” I said. Well I was right about the accent, but she had spent some time working in London. We then spent the rest of the tanda gently ribbing each other.”You call aluminum aluminium” she said “well you call rubbers erasers, and I am not mentioning what you use the word rubbers for”. Well we laughed all the way to the end of the tanda especially when I told her we call cigarettes fags, “you can’t say that” she said. “Why not you call bottoms fannys, don’t even think to use that in the UK”. After the dance Viv accused me of flirting with her, well I certainly enjoyed her company. She left soon afterwards though, I am not sure whether it was because she had had the best dance of her holiday or if she was worried I would ask her again, but still I never saw her again.