Jobsworth

I had been worried for some time what would happen if Viv dropped the iron onto our ceramic floor. I need worry no more, she dropped it yesterday. It fell right onto the point. These tiles must be good, there is no sign of a crack. The iron, though, did not fare so well. The plate has cracked across the top. Surprisingly, it still works, but it now catches on some of the clothes. So we must look for a new one today. Then we had a change of plan, it seems, tomorrow we must look for an iron.

El Abrazo was busy today, it made it difficult to get dances, but there was a plethora of women. So that even if I struggled, I got a dance in the end. It was not so for Viv, so many women so little time. By five thirty Viv had enough, another case of basta la plancha. She told me to carry on, she would be at The Coffee Store reading. After another three tandas, then the silly stuff came on, so I was out of there as well.

We had some media lunas and coffee and then headed home. We stopped for some prunes and then decided to look for that iron. In Casa del Audio they had a pink one, Phillips at about £30. That would do nicely so we asked the guy, he brought it up on his computer and gave us a number to go to the desk. Now there is a certain kind of stupidity here, you need DNI, which I do not have. She said “passport” which I did not have with me. She said you should always carry it in case the police stop you, which has happened NEVER in 16 years of coming here. I said the place is full of ladrones, if I lost my passport I could not go home. We left the iron there with another Jobsworth.

Down the road is Fravega, they had the same Iron but £2 more. The guy just put some fictitious details in, we could have given him an address, but after all it was only an Iron. We paid our money, signed the warranty and walked out with an Iron. I felt like taking it to Casa del Audio and doing a Pretty Woman “You people work on commission, don’t you. Big mistake” in the end we just took it home.

We went back to Alcala then, had the Bife de chorizo and black beer. Must be getting old, I never finished my steak or the chips, even left some of the salad. I think it is time for bed.

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Bad news over the interweb

Viv was cleaning the bathroom and decided to try the magnetic window cleaner. Twice she sent me downstairs to retrieve the sponge. She said every time I get to the top the outside piece falls off. There is a security string on it and she had tied it to a tap. I watched as she got to the end of the string and it fell off again.

On one of my trips downstairs I met our neighbor, she arrived with her mother and a load of boxes. I said hello to her mother and left them to use the lift. I used the stairs as there was no room in the lift with all the boxes.

Fortunately this time the sponge stayed attached. So now it was my turn at least I was not loosing it all the time, as I tied it nearer the window, but it just left streaks. Then it fell off again and I decided to go to the chino.

Sebastian was waiting by the door with sponge in hand. He tried to give me instructions on how to clean the windows, I think he has longer arms than me.

When I got back, I tried with the squeegee, Sebastian style. Viv was not happy, she was convinced that I was going to fall out of the window. It was moderately successful, but there are still streaks and I have black marks all the way up my arm.

There were a few more in Nuevo Chique today, but it did not stop the dancing. Neither of us missed a tanda, we danced solid from four until almost eight. It just gets better, unfortunately, I do not. I was flagging considerably by the end and sat out the last tanda. It was just too much and I called time. I think Viv would have carried on, but we paid our bill and left.

La Bruja did it again; last night she said to me “Not seen the dutch girl, the one who sold clothes” So Guess who turned up today in Nuevo Chique? I tell you it is scary how often she does this.

We were tired and hungry so we stopped at Vittorio for a coffee and medialuna. There is no WiFi here but I can pick up a weak signal from across the road. I received a message from home that a friend had died.  It was not totally unexpected, but sad news just the same. We will miss the funeral but sent our thoughts.

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Tarrifa Dos

I only wanted a few things today from the fruit shop. As I entered I was followed by a girl, sort of miniature version of the proprietor and she started to serve me. I guess she must be the daughter. I have never seen her before, and I just thought how cute she was. I suppose that the boss lady is still cute but in a slightly larger way. My total today came to $95 hardly worth the trouble but they are always so cheerful and friendly, I always feel like giving them more.

A guy from the electric company was outside today, well a whole group and a truck with a hoist. They took the pole out opposite us and replaced it with another. It looked a bit rusty and possibly in need of paint, but I could see no good reason to change it. On a side note; because it was rusty looking we had thought it wooden. So the guy working off a fiberglass ladder on live cables, was not actually insulated from earth. He must have thick skin, one jolt at that height and he would be dead.

So, Salon Canning again today. We do not bother arriving on the dot, but even though we were half an hour in it was all but deserted. Pauline and Geoff were there but almost no one we knew. After the excesses of yesterday I was not too bothered. I had a few good dances and later on so did Viv, but afterwards when the rock and roll came on we did a couple of jives and hit the street.

There are a couple of new bars on Lavalleja y Gorriti so we stopped for a beer. It was too early to eat so we had some Porter and a bowl of peanuts. It was only $100 a pint here, and Viv could not understand why I wanted to stay.

Then we walked down Lavalleja to The Taco Box again. The service here is second to non and the food is exceptional. More beer and enough food to stuff two pigs only $1200. You have to patronize a place like this.

Two lots of beer and Viv was getting a bit loud by the time we got back. She saw some nectarines in a shop so we bought two $112. I think we were ripped off, I bought two this morning from our regular shop, a potato and three bananas for $95. Must be tarrifa dos after ten at night. still it is only a pound when all is said and done.

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Murillo, expensive, but not this year.

I am sitting her prevaricating, I need to go to the Coreo to pay the City Tax, ABL, Rentas, whatever you call it. I have had so many issues with the post office that I now hold it in terror. I cannot pay at a Pagofacil as it it too much so I must pay at the Coreo.

Well last year I totally failed, and Walter had to pay monthly. I walked into the post office, no queues and the machine with the numbers was not working. In the words of The Who “Won’t get fooled again” I took one of the paper numbers anyway. Within five minutes I was called, I gave her my number, I gave her the bill, she asked for the money, which I had already counted out. Then I waited until she had put it through, printed my ticket, and I was out of there.

When I got back Viv said ” you are getting too efficient” Well something here is.

Nuevo Chique was very quiet again today. It suits Viv, she had a fantastic time. I sort of ran out of steam at seven but up until then I never sat down either. Many of my old favourites were not there and I had to make new friends, including one lady from Caballito, who was surprised when I said we went to Viejo Coreo. We had a debate about how long ago, but I am sure it was not as long as she said, after all, we definitely went there from our apartment. So it was less than 10 years.

Later people started coming from Champagne Tango, but by then many were leaving and it would fold in an hour or so. Apparently there was a live band on, but we come out in the afternoon to dance. If we want to see a live band we prefer to go at night where we can sit and enjoy. We left thoroughly exhausted, and fortunately did not have to wait long for our bus. We even had a seat.

We decided to go to Murillo tonight, It is a nice place, but expensive. With the exchange rate as it is it is a good time to go. Our average has been about $1000, but here we ran up a bill of $1500.  We had a salad to share, a litre of stout and raviolis each. At last years rates this would have killed us, but now £15 is not so bad for a meal for two.

 

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Maria’s Birthday at Beso

I had a call from Philippe this morning saying he was coming, then later another saying he was not. So I went to have my hair cut. On the way I passed the building two doors down that they are demolishing. They seem to be removing a lot of materials wood and other fittings. I thought that they would have been long gone, like all things here, this could be a long process.

I walked up to Urban Cut’s he other side of Corrientes. On the window it said men’s cut $180. It has been that price for at least four years to my knowledge. That is less than £2 at today’s rate. I did not expect it to be that now, maybe $500. Still I went in and waited. There was one other man waiting, but the guy was busy with a girl having highlights done. When she was thorougly plastered, he left her to cook and called the other man who was waiting. He wanted grade zero all over, he could have done that at home with a razor, still not for me to question how other people spend their money. I never heard how much he paid nor did I see.

So it was my turn. I told him grade four back and sides and scissor trim on the top. He started silently, I guess he did not know how much I could speak and I am never that good at small talk. Soon however we got onto how cold Europe is, the economy, and the difficulties of living here. All good practice for me and on safe easy subjects. Soon he had finished, asked me if it was short enough, I said it was fine and he told me it was $180. I found it hard to believe, I have been paying this for four years. I gave him $200, last of the big tippers, well that is nearly 20p. I think that maybe next time I should give him more, but worry about seeming like an arrogant foreigner.

When I got back Philippe called again, and he arrived with Walter. I showed them all the improvements I have made and talked with Walter about next year, and then they left again. We are always on a year to year basis, but I think we will have plenty of notice if Walter does not want to stay. If that happens, I think we will just come back again in the spring.

Off to El Beso again today. Many of the locals are abandoning it because it is not Ellie. Same DJ, same venue, same staff. I just do not get it. Anyway we had a great time. Miguel (The waiter) has now taken to leaving me a drink and reserving my spot for me. It is worth tipping well, it seems.

For the first two hours Viv never missed a dance, but then it was time for Maria’s birthday.  Fraid I took the biggest piece of cake. Well I gave everyone else a chance and it had a strawberry on it. Fito took the other piece with a strawberry, so I was left with no choice.

I did a couple of dances with Maria, and every time she filled my glass with Champagne. I think she was trying to get me drunk. She wanted to order some black beer as well, but by then Viv was making moves.  I danced with all my favourites including two with Christina. and many with Teresa. By seven the numbers were dropping and we left for The coffee Store, but not before a Chacarera with Teresa. I think we wowed them.

I did not really want the medialuna with my coffee, I was full up with Cake, but I ate it anyway. It fueled me up for the walk home, supper would be some time later on the balcony.

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Tigre two

After the jobs around the place Viv wanted to go back to Tigre. Just to buy some more lights, so off we went.

On the bus I noticed Viv had minus $40 on her sube card so she topped it up at the station. She never got a ticket and she could not see the display. On the bus home we realized she had been done out of $200. It is not a great deal of money, but we just hate being ripped off.

Finding Puerta de frutas was not too difficult, we managed to pick a map up on the way. The girl in the information told us to go to China Town and turn right. She neglected to tell us to turn before China town. Still it was a pleasant diversion. It was very hot and by the time we got  there we were ready for a drink. There was a confused queue outside Havana Cafe. I am not the greatest fan of Havana but it was here and there was plenty of room. So we just walked past the queue and found a table with some shade. It was still pretty hot in the shade but looking forward to a cold drink we waited. It was not too long before a girl came for our order. Two Iced frappes, just what the doctor ordered. An hour later and everyone around us having been served, we had enough. No body came to say there was a delay or some problem. So we left still not refreshed.

Just along the way was a kiosco, we bought two ice creams and a bottle of orange and saved $100.

It was more difficult to find the shop with the lights. Today all the stalls and shops were open, it made the place look totally different. Eventually, though we got our bearings and Viv found her lights. In this heat though with the temperature in the mid thirties, no shade and just too many people, my heart was not in it. Also I was still annoyed about the frappes. So we headed back to the station.

Back at Belgrano we paid for our journey, and that is where Viv found she had been done on her Sube card. Far too late to do anything about it now. Somebody asked if I knew where to catch the no60 colectivo. Not being from around these parts, I had no idea. Nor it seems did the girl sitting by us at the bus stop. She got off at the same stop as us, so I guess she was in the same boat. She did have a better grasp of Castiliano than me though.

Cena on the balcon tonight. Spaghetti followed by Ice cream. Sometimes it is nice just to sit outside our own flat eating our own food. Still damned noisy though.

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Just no leaving Consegrados

The daily shopping trip involved the butchers again today, this time though I was armed with some small notes so $209 was less of a problem. I had change then as well for the fruit lady. As I get the hang of it each year inflation kicks in and everything changes.  When I got back Viv asked what happened to the change she put in my shirt pocket, with a peso now being worth little more than a penny, I was not too bothered.

I had a trip upstairs to the laundry room. (Never had washing machines and is now a junk store, do try and keep up) My tins of paint were buried under the stuff from the painters. Had I known I would have used their grey for the chairs. The paint cost me little, but most of it remains unused, and I hate waste. The thing that struck me though, was it was all dumped in a pile. The paint, the brushes, the ropes and their harnesses. When you are hanging off a building, your life depends on these ropes.  To treat them in such a cavalier manner, to me, is madness.

Spent the rest of the morning touching up the paintwork, to make the place nice for our tenant.

So off again to Los Consegrados. There seems to have been a quantum shift here, neither of us stopped dancing until the cumbia came on at 8:30. I was ready to leave earlier, but Viv was having such a good time, it was not going to happen. We both danced with some new people tonight. Hopefully they will be future partners as well.

Afterwards we left for 1810. We decided to just have a variety of empanadas and a salad tonight. The cottage pie looked tempting as well, although that is not what they called it. No litre bottles of beer though so the four porrones bumped the price up. Still can’t complain at £15 for a meal for two with drinks.

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