Monthly Archives: May 2009

Something new every day

Today we were up early for once, but still we did not get out until after twelve. Philippe rang to say he would be calling, so we waited in until he joined us for coffee.

He had been unable to contact the administrators, but he had printed out a form to allow him to act on my behalf at the consorcios for the next two years, I think he is trying to ensure we do not kick him out, but failing a big lottery win, I will have to stay in work. Even then we probably would not be here full time. He still wants to turn the place into a bachelor pad, with a bar and mirror ball.

When he had left we took a different route, we decided to walk behind the Abasto centre, along Lavalle. Only five blocks from our apartment and already we found something new. There on the corner of Aguero were two tango shops, full of clothing and shoes at incredible prices. The temptation was to further hammer my credit card, but instead I hatched my cunning plan; “we must come back here next time” now October looks much more of a possibility.

Just down the street and we find second hand clothes shops, Viv was in shopping heaven, now it is my turn to be reluctant to return, suddenly October is her idea. (We men are not so dumb as you think).

We passed all the party shops, what we really wanted was a small mirror ball, our present to Philippe, but non appeared. It is a funny thing about this place; at home you look for a niche, a hole in the market, something that no one else is offering in that area, here all the shops cluster. Around Pasteur are all the wig shops, all the material and haberdashery around Pueyrredon, followed by the party shops. If you do not know the area to look you can find nothing.

Anyway we turned back at Pasteur and walked back up Tucuman, and started to notice men with big hats, or scull caps and on every corner a Synagogue, and kosher food stalls, we were in a very Jewish quarter. It was time for another coffee, and so we sat in another corner cafe, drinking coffee and eating medialunes. People watching is a great pass time at corner cafes, and Viv was thrilled when she saw a woman walk passed with a white poodle, dressed up with a pink scarf and pink boots. Questions start to come into ones head at these times, like, why on earth would you put boots on a dog? and how do you make him keep them on? Another thing that crossed our minds (you must remember that as a cosmopolitan city Wrexham is some way behind the world) was how do the Jewish men keep that skull cap on? and is there a difference between the men who wear big hats and those who wear the scull caps? 

Eventually after a very round about route we arrived at Cordoba and Scalabrini, the whole point of our expedition today, was to buy me some shirts. I now have some more shirts for my wardrobe and my credit card is even more sick. It was time to head back for more coffee and some nice lemon pie from our favourite panaderia.

Something we could not help but notice, on the walk back, was the amount of pavement (sidewalk) repairs going on, it would be  nice to think we can walk the streets next time we are here without falling into a hole. Who knows maybe next they will tackle the dogshit?

Back again to Club Fulgor, the last time this visit. As we walked over I noticed again, the cartoneros seem to have got themselves a uniform. I wonder if the city has provided them with reflective gear to keep them safer or whether there is some sort of take over, no doubt someone will tell me.

In Fulgor as usual we had a great time, tangoing with the locals, bopping with the cumbia, and dancing the merengue. This is not pure tango, but it is where you see how the locals really live. Some of the tandas would make Janis’s teeth curl, one tanda had DiSarli, D’Arienzo, and Pugliese all in the same tanda, unthinkable, but the locals loved it, and Roberto announced each tune so you knew what was coming.

Towards the end of the night as people drifted off, word had got around we were leaving Saturday, so as each couple left, they came over to say goodbye and ask when we would return. Here we are not touristas, but locals. One couple even hoped we would have a good time in Inglatera.

When we finally left we kissed Marianne and Roberto and promissed to return in October (the plan worked HA).

Next posts may be slightly delayed as we prepare for home but I will do a last day, and journey home, followed by Chester on Monday.

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Expensive Day

It took some time to raise Viv this morning, the hectic life is getting to her, but after finally getting herself ready we headed out about twelve thirty.

We arrived at the subte to see the sign “subte paro 1200 a 1400” my first thoughts were to go back to the apartment pick up my monedas and catch a bus, as we were heading for Comme Il Faut on a shoe expedition. Then Viv said “how far are the wig shops” so we set off down Corrientes at Gardel we turned left and then into Lavalle (I hope you have your maps out, I will be testing you aall later) as we had walked Corrientes before. This part of Lavalle was fascinating for Viv, it was filled with haberdashery and material shops. The thought of spending my money on hair and shoes however spurred her on.

We turned into Pasteur the place we were looking for was 650 Luba had found it on the web for us, we never made it. This must be the wig centre of Buenos Aires on the first block we found a shop, and Viv wanted to look. The girl inside said every one was real hair and very soon we found just the one. The girl trimmed the fringe for us and took my credit card. So that was my first big expense of the day.

We walked back towards Corrientes and found a cafe, unusually we. had some lunch, once I start spending I cannot stop. We needed time before the subte was open again that was my excuse. I even bought a wind up torch from one of the guys who go round the tables. There was no stopping me.

Once we got to Comme Il Faut the shoes just kept on coming. We were on our own at first, then a German woman came in, she spoke perfect castillano but just like Brigitte. Then some American women arrived, then another with her husband, it was getting crowded. Best of all three Yankee lads arrived to buy shoes for one of their girlfriends. This as you can imagine caused chaos, there was gentle ribbing about whether it was their colour, and of course I had to tell them, no matter what they chose it would be wrong “because they are men” the husband who had been sitting quietly at the back stood up and all but applauded that remark (you can always tell the long suffering husbands). Finally when they left, with some very over the top shoes, they said “try and see some more of Buenos Aires before you leave”.

We finally left with five pairs of shoes and a very damaged credit card. (two pairs are for friends but I will probably not see the money).

Every time I spend money I need coffee to recuperate, so we walked along Talcahuano until Paraguay. (do you still have your maps out) As we prepared to cross the road a girl, on hearing our English asked about the location of an ATM, Viv’s answer was classic “sorry we are not from this part of town” I just laughed and pointed her towards the centre as her best bet. On this corner is a bar called La Tekla, it has to be the maddest bar in the world. Next to our table we had some greasy hub caps two old telephones, I could not resist picking up the Bakelite one and asking for Whitehall one two one two

Over the bar. was a sign no camping, in Spanish of course. There were old typewriter’s, boxing gloves and punch bags a pair of legs, nothing was related it was like Steptoes house. All that was missing was the bear. I had occasion to use the urinals and the sign above, again in spanish said beware of the dog. If you are ever in this part of town I recommend you call in for a coffee you will not be disappointed.

After this our return was somewhat uneventful, we again failed to contact our daughter, and again suffered the Buenos Aires subte crush. We arrived so thirsty that we drank all Philippe’s beer, then went for a sleep.

It seems 9 degrees is too cold for our Argentine freinds, so our plans were out of the window. We decided to walk to Viejo Correo. Tonight the standard of dancing was still not great, but there were fewer people there so it was enjoyable for us. As mostly we dance together the crowd matters less to us, so we had an enjoyable evening.

When it was time to leave, we decided again to walk. At the corner of Diez Valez and Yatay is a garage, open all night, and as if to prove that it really was not cold, we bought two Ice creams on sticks, chocolate coated in white chocolate mmmmmmmmmmm.

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Same old thing

We started the day with domestic issues, we had to fetch the washing, and there were a few things we needed. First stop was the locoturio to try and ring our daughter, who of course was not in. Next we passed the furniture shop and drove the poor guy in there insane while we argued about what we would put alongside our sofa. Viv also wanted some coasters , so we set off for the shop where she thought they were, without any luck.

After we had picked up the washing, we stopped in another shop and found some coasters although not what we wanted, at this price we thought we may as well get them anyway. We looked in a shop called Petish Bazaar and found exactly what we wanted, but then Viv changed her mind and we bought orange ones instead, woman’s prerogative.

Back at base we had a sandwich and a rethink, deciding that one of the bedside tables we already had would be perfect for he side of the sofa. Off we headed again to the furniture shop. “Uno esto mesa de luz” said I, but then we had an argument about which handle to have. Luckily I won and we got the right handle, but of course the shop had no spares. They had to remove one from another piece, but all ended well and it now looks well in our living area.

We  returned yet again to El Arraque, a little later , and fully expecting that it would be very busy. By now we are welcomed as old friends by Carlito who shows us to a table at our usual spot.There are fewer people than Monday , which surprises us, as we are later we expected more. We had been told that the DJ was very good on Monday, that, and the fact that it was a holiday was probably the reason it was so crowded then. 

Again we enjoyed the dancing here, Viv is starting to like the early milongas and eating afterwards. We talked about Carol, who we knew to be in Buenos Aires but we had seen her only the once. Deciding that we had had enough and feeling very hungry, we decided one more Tanda and we would go, just then Carol arrived. I admit to being surprised as in less than an hour the place would close, but I think she had plans to move on to another milonga. She is flying home tomrrow, so again I did not get to dance with her. It looks like I will have to travel all the way to Leeds if I am ever  to get that dance.

We returned again to Puente Cuore (I hope this time I have spelled it correctly).  At night the staff are different, and this gives the place a different feel. We should have had an enjoyable meal but ended up dissapointed. The food as always was good, but the service was lacking. Whenever we have steak here now we always share, this is not uncommon here, but no one had told our waiter. Firstly there was no bife de lomo, so we had to have bife de chorizo, then when we asked for one to share, it was a case of only one?

We started with a salad, the waiter brought only one plate, I had to ask for another. The steak and the chips were served on one plate cafeteria style, without the usual show of cutting it in half for us, he just plonked it on the table

By now we were getting fed up, we finished with a desert and coffee, but the moment was gone. The bill of just  under £20 will seem low to anyone in the UK  but it was expensive for here, some how I do not think we will be back here at night. Something I have noticed in the big restaurants on Corrientes, is the poor service, whether this is normal or, just because they think we are touristas and will not be back, I do not know, but I never found this attitude around Scalabrini or in any of the smaller parillas. Perhaps they knew we were English and just wanted to make us feel at home.

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Independance Day

It is the 25th May Independance day here, and I have seen no sign of Will Smith in an F15 or any aliens. We had planned to go to the Obalisco see the celebrations that were supposed to be starting today, but there was some confusion about going for a meal with Luba, so all our plans as usual have been altered.

The meal with Luba we thought was tomorrow, and the celebrations today. Janis had told us she thought the celebrations started on Sunday and as usual she was right, Sunday is Fulgor however, so we would have missed it anyway.

The day started in the usual way, there was important shopping to be done. Viv needed vacuum cleaner bags (must be a woman thing this). The original bag had never been changed, so I think it unlikely the spare that we had would be used before we return, still now we had them she was happy.

I must mention at this point, there was thread on the expats site, started by Pericles on 70s music. I enjoyed no end searching out on you tube the music of my youth, so much so it almost delayed our trip out. They do say nostalgia is not what it was, but that old music certainly brought back many memories.

We were off again to El Arranque for an early milonga. It had looked like rain earlier but now we left in bright sunshine. At El Arranque we were again shown to a table right on the edge of the floor and we sat there with our fizzy water. Soon we were up enjoying the dancing, early on there is plenty of room, but as the day goes on it does get quite crowded. There are few touristas here and it has a feeling that we like, the floor is large, so that even though it can get busy, with care you can always find room to move.

We did notice a group, who I suspect were Americans (who else would go to a dance with jeans and a big leather belt). Every time they got up to dance they ended up right in the middle, looking puzzled as to why they were there. Their dancing looked good but they had no idea how things worked here, they were unprepared for the challenges of a Buenos Aires dance floor. They also looked puzzled when we had an interval where we again all stood up to sing the Argentine anthem. This time I was ready and under my breath sang God save the Queen, (just for comparison, I was not being chauvenistic) I was finished less than halfway through the intro, it must be the longest anthem in the world. Now, at last, I realise why  they are prepared to queue so long here. When the singing was finished they all shouted “Viva la Patria” then we danced the Chacarera, of course.

At eight we prepared to leave, as we were to go to Luba’s for nine. Outside it looked like it was raining, but under the shelter of the building overhang we stayed dry. Halfway around the block we were subjected to torrential rain, we were unprepared, as it had been sunny when we left. It was decision time, we could not make the subte, as we would get soaked. I said we should take a taxi, but then we would be too early, so we darted across the road for a coffee.

Inside the girl asked how we wanted it, strong, medium, or weak. We have never been asked this before, so to be on the safe side we plumped for medium. She tried to sell us something with it, but although we were by now very hungry we would be soon eating with Luba. When she returned with the coffee she rattled something off in true portena style, too fast for me. I said “mas despacio por favor” but instead of repeating she just said “cash” ah! cash we understand, it seems we would not be allowed to stay long as they were closing.

The rain had eased off so we took the subte, and again arrived dead on time. I really do not know how we always manage it, in a city so large with so many traffic problems, nobody is expected on time, yet somehow we always arrive on the dot.

Luba was not happy to venture out in the bad weather so we ordered in a Chinese meal. We sat there until the early hours drinking beer, then wine, followed by vodka, and talking soft, (as you do when the vodka gets hold). Then we had a stroll home in the cool evening air.

Post script: I had an email from Janis warning me to take an umbrella, of course I did not see it until it was too late.

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A quiet day

After last nights revelries, the eight o’clock alarm was most unwelcome, only three hours sleep, and we were already suffering. I was determined not to miss any Grand Prix, so I must get up.

Tomato was a good walk and the projection screen was difficult to see clearly, so I had looked for somewhere else. Punto Cuere is a cafe bar about four blocks away (has the cutest little waitress you’ve ever seen). The boss of the estate agents we bought from, always has his lunch there, so if it is good enough for him.

I called in yesterday when I took the washing, to ask if they would put it on their telly, and they agreed. It is a national holiday tomorrow, so like at home, bank holiday weekends are quiet for these places. So we arrived and there was football. Nobody was watching, I asked if they could put on the Grand Prix, in typical Argentine I was told, the girl who has the remote is in the toilet, but she would change it for us. We ordered the DesayunarAmericana (scrambled egg and bacon with all the usual toast juice and coffee). Horror the fruit had banana in it, I have an intolerance to banana that means after about an hour I will be violently sick, fortunately there were only a couple of pieces so Viv safely removed them and then ate them.

We of course had to have extra coffee, though typically here, nobody pressed us to leave or order more as we sat for nearly two hours. Another Brawn one two, a good result. So I paid and left happy. There was yesterdays blog to write, forgive any mistakes, its hard to type when you cannot see. Then it was back to bed, where I slept until nearly five. I really needed that sleep.

I have been unable to actually read my posts here, the unreliability of the Argentine internet. Today I managed to actually read it and find how often I have said Janis complained, it really does make her sound like one of the whinging expats, can I take this opportunityto say nothing could be further from the truth, it is just my way of saying how she made her point. She enjoys it here and is happy, I have never heard her complain apart from about the complainers, it is just my poor choice of words.

Much as I enjoy the traditional milongas, they are generally quite crowded and often difficult to dance, in Club Fulgorwe dance almost continually, and because I am known, I often dance with the locals. That said last night the crowd was different from usual, tomorrow being 25th May, the anniversary of Argentina’s independance. We still had a great time and danced almost every dance, but because some of the usual men were not there, some of our old dears left early as they were not getting any dances.

Around midnight the dancing stopped as it was now 25thMay, we all had to stand up and sing the Argentine anthem (we just stood up, with no idea of the words , a bit like when they play the Welsh anthem). I am no expert on anthems, so would not like to comment whether it is a good one or not, it is however possibly the longest anthem in the world. The intro into the singing was as long as God Save The Queen then there was a verse followed by another musical intro then a more upbeat verse, I was quite ready to sit down again when it was over.
So after a few more tanda we closed the night off, on a day when we had done very little, we at least managed to dance the night away, and put in some cumbia, meregue, and I even managed to get Viv to do the Chacarera with me.

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The Lost Tangos

For those who remember the 70s, just about the worst thing to come out of this era were the stark concrete  buildings, most of which have now thankfully been demolished. Which brings me to The Biblioteca Nacional, firstly I do not know when it was built, (1971) but they have brought stark concrete to a new level. There is non of the huge flat areas normally associated with this type of construction, instead it floats on pillars above a walkway littered with quotes from letters to and from Juan Peron. Honestly if architects in the UK had had this much vision, many of the buildings that came and went at such costs may still be around, and revered instead of hated.

Curtesy of BA gov

Curtesy of BA gov

The Biblioteca Nacional I am told houses over three hundred thousand scores of unpublished and un played tango, something they are working hard to remedy, by publishing as much as they can. This was not why we were here however, we came to listen to the Orquesta Escuela Del Tango Emilio Balcarce.

We arrived a good half hour early yet the queue was huge, and when we finally got into the auditorium there was not enough room for us to sit, so we sat on the floor. All the time we had a running commentary from Janis, who was a priceless font of knowledge. Unfortunately my brain ( tired from too many late nights) was unable to hold all she told us.

The orchestra was led by Nestor Marconi who also gave us renditions of several tangos. After he had given a short speech he introduced us to Leopoldo Federico  another famous bandonista who regaled us with some fantastic music. The sheer joy of listening and the enthusiasm of the audience was unbelivable. I felt so privilaged to be there at times the emotion was so great I was close to tears.

At the end, which had to come they were given a rousing ovation.

After wards we were brought back quickly to Buenos Aires reality, in the street we heard a huge bang, two buses had crashed. The one at the front was disgorging all its coolant, while the one at the rear sported an interesting truncated front and left it’s windscreen all over the road.

The bus at the rear would have been ours, a 92, so that all the passengers who were on it now waited with us at the next stop for the next bus. A young Japanese looking girl stood waiting and we recognised her as one of the violinistas. We found that she was from here but of japanese descent and it was here second year with the Orquesta, she complained that her neck had been jarred in the bus crash. Nobody here has yet heard of whiplash and where there is blame there is a claim. That day will come no doubt.

We returned to our place for a meal. Viv as usual managed to create something in next to no time, then while we changed Janis fell asleap on the couch, it looks like we are not the only ones for whome the hectic life here is too much.

We caught another 92, our third of the day, now to go to Mataderos, where we were to go to Glorias Argentinas. We have not been before, because although it is a local club of the type we love, it is an hour door to door. Believe me, even if you have a seat, you do not want to spend forty minutes on a colectivo.

We were greeted as if we were family, Janis had been invited to the birthday of Carlos Anzuate http://jantango.wordpress.com/2009/05/21/carlos-anzuate/  And were honored to be seated at the great mans table, Viv not used to celebrity, was embarrassed when some locals were asked to leave our table as it was reserved for his party. We enjoyed some good dancing here including another round of the campeonata, but the highlight of the evening was when Carlito (see freinds already, not Carlos any more) did a demonstration of jazz dancing with Janis. It was without doubt the most entertaining dancing we have seen (and I am not just saying this because I know Janis will read it) if you were not there you missed something great. I have to add, coming from a country where you are written off at fifty, and some miseries use their age as an excuse to do nothing but moan, the combined age of the two demonstrators was 140, they put on a show of so much fun and energy it would put many youngsters to shame.

Now Janis I know hates me saying she complained, but she did again (only pulling my leg, or was she?) this time that I had not danced with her, only with my love, she said. Well there were so many milogueros for her to dance with, surely she did not need a frustrated miloguero from Wales. Ah but we did do the chacarera, and it was gooood. Those mataderenos will be talking about the galesa chacerera for years.

Mataderos at night feels dark and frobidding, the two ladies felt nervous, not that I am some sort of hero, but I never feel threatened here, not as I have done in some other cities, even though we are in a very poor area. There were however some homeless people behind the bus shelters, so we jumped on the first bus. This one went to Janis’s place ( was there a plan I wonder?) anyway we had to jump off some distance from our place and walk a few blocks untill we could get a taxi. Janis very thoughtfully phone to make sure we got home ok, but we were fine, though it was after four and I wanted to get up at eight for the Monaco Grand Prix, more of that later.

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The Argentine way

It’s a beautiful day, and there is no sign of Viv getting up, so I have some breakfast leave her my mobile and go for a walk.

This barrio is a maze of streets and even though we have walked for miles I doubt we have seen half of it. My first stop however is Jumbo where we have been often. There is a sign outside that says pagofacil and I want to pay the electric bill. At the kiosco there is a boy behind the counter with a guitar. He is staring at the strings, perhaps in some way he thinks if he looks at them long enough they will show him how to play, but I must interrupt his study,”Puedo pagar es aca” I said, he looked at me like I was some sort of lunatic “la maquina no funcionada” he said, then went back to staring at the guitar, which also seemed to have some problem functioning. Though I love this place I still have trouble dealing with the Argentine way, “no pasa nada”, things do matter especially when you are here only a short time.

After returning Viv was now up and about we decided to go for another walk.

Another of Buenos Aires beautiful plaza is Plaza Miserere right by El Once railway station and bus station. We watched the antics of a big moma as she touted for business,in broad daylight, the children pseudo splashing in the empty fountains,and the buskers hopefully watching every stranger expecting some change, it was all happening here.

The sun starts to fall early here, so around four we headed back via Sarimiento, Viv wanted some flowers, and I know they can be bought here. Janis complained she could not get fresh rosemary here, so when I saw a plant by the station I thought I must buy it, another case of it finding me. I like this attitude of Sally’s Carlos.

So as we walked home we bought fresh salad items, then a bunch of flowers, phoned Janis and bought a prepared meal from our local panaderia, total cost, less than £6, inflation may have hit hard here but if you stick with local produce, and the colectivos, you can still live very cheap.

Talking of colectivos, we used one again to go to Janis’s, we were going from her place to Lo de Celia. I have not been there since 2004, I don’t know why, it just never seemed to be in our circle.

Next door to Janis’s place is a new tango venue, we know little of it, so when the patron came out Janis probed him for some time. Most of what they said passed me by, as my spanish is still not quick enough, but we did work out that they have dancing there on a Thursday and early classes.

In Lo de Celia the old problems with change cropped up, Janis said when we arrive early we should have change, this I knew, but I had spent almost the whole day trying to get people to give me change. The situation here does not get any better.

The floor in Lo de Celia is ceramic, but I like the way there is a line about half a metre in from the edge, it makes lane discipline a little easier. In general the lane discipline is very good, although there was one clown who was all over the floor (he thought he was the best there). So even though it got quite crowded in general it was not difficult to dance.

As usual, when out with Janis we danced a lot less than usual, we discussed the music, who were the good dancers and generally enjoyed each others company. We were suposed to sit separately so Viv could dance with different men, but at he last moment chickened out. Viv is happy to dance with me, so long as she thinks I am the best not much else matters.

We met our tango singer again (Luis De Rosa) and had a short conversation with him. I am afraid my only contribution was “no entiendo nada” but thinking about it afterwards I think he said something like, I wander all over this land and I keep bumping into you. It was either that or, you dance like idiots, easy to mix up.

We met more people at the door when we left, every one is keen to meet Los Galeses, before Janis put us on the bus home. This time it passed right by our building, even though it was the same number as last time, it passes five block closer. Is it any wonder I have problems working them out?

One thing before I finish; Janis like others here complains my lead is not strong enough. This is the result of the English way “you must invite the woman”, forgive me if my quote is not perfect but she says; on the floor I like to be in a strong embrace, and led so that I do not have to think about it at all.  I add this for those at home who think my lead is too strong and I hold too close.

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Roger and Mirta get married

Finally I have permission from Roger to publish this post, I did not want to publish without permission and He has been incomunicado for a while so here it is.

I know it is drifting away from what this site is about, but I could not let the wedding of Roger and Mirta go by without mention. I have of course already spoken of it in my February page, but having first asked permision I simply had to publish the photos.

I hope you have enjoyed the photos, and will join with me in wishing them a long and happy life together.

Banner BA2007a DSCF1018

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Pollo entero

Pollo: chicken pronounced posho or near enough.

Philippe has asked if we  can have lunch, it will be a chance to catch up and answer a few questions about the flat. We expected Luba as well but she could not make it, no matter we will catch up again before we return home.

When he arrives the usual banter starts, about us killing foxes and the french eating anything disgusting.I think he enjoys our sessions, no entente cordial here, just good fun. One question that needed answering was the electric bill which had arrived, technically it is his bill, but I would like to pay it just for experience, two months electric $14ar less than three pounds. I did not understand the figures, it appears that if it is not paid on time then there is an increase, for those who have fallen foul of UK parking charges that double, be prepared for a shock, the extra for late payment is 20 centivos that is about 4p in sterling or less than a shilling in real money. I said I may just not pay it and give Philippe the 20centivos.

After we have discussed all the bills etc the new portero, and the presidents wife, we head off to a local parilla. Normally we do not do lunch, either we have some coffee and medilunes or just a sandwich. At the parilla Philippe says why not have a whole chicken, so we order beer a bowl of salad and a bowl of papas espanol and pollo entero.

As has been said often they know their meat here and the chicken was cooked beautifully and quartered, this was where we needed Luba, the last quarter was watching us, who would crack, Philippe said he was full so I ripped it in half, half for me half for Viv. another beer was needed just to help us finish.

Unusually we could not have coffee so when we had finished we trotted off down the street to another cafe for coffee. All too soon Philippe had to go so we bid him farewell and retreated for a siesta.

As is normal on a Thursday we return to Club Fulgor. The numbers even here now seem down, despite temperatures of 25degrees it looks like winter is taking hold. Still for a UK dance this would be a good crowd, and there are some new faces. One old guy who must have been in his eighties was up bopping to the cumbia, still going in the merengue, and swinging to rock and roll. I was surprised to see him dance the tango, after all that exertion I would have needed a rest.

Oddly very few got up for tango vals, I enjoy the vals, so with the floor almost to ourselves I could really step out. I love this club but sometimes there is crashing from the back and people coming the wrong way around the room, so just for one tanda I could strut my stuff and not worry about the others on the floor. Luckily we had arrived early because before midnight it just sort of ended, there was no one left and there was little point in staying.

We paid Marianne for the drinks and took a slow stoll home in the warm night air.

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Andamos Corrientes

It is supposed to be winter here, but every morning it is just so warm in our apartment. This causes a problem as it is somewhat cooler outside. I wear a T shirt with another top over it, and Viv has a sort of zipper top. Not over dressed for winter you would think, but as I walked the streets today, most of the time I had my top off’ just in jeans and a T. Of course there are locals going past with anoraks on, looking at us like we are mad. It is 20 degrees with high humidity, at these levels we would sit outside at home, not wrap ourselves in thick coats.

We caught the subte down to Callao where we know there are good music shops. Once there we did not know which one to choose, in the end we went into Musimundo. Once inside an assistant asked if we needed any help, so I asked for a discount, he said it was not possible but he could let me pay in cuotas sin interest. We have been down this route before with furniture and know well it is just not possible if you have a foreign card.

We spent some time choosing music, we started with a DVD of Cafe de los Maestros an open air concert at the planetarium (see Jan’s comment on my planetarium post) I had a long list of music we wanted, we chose mainly double CDs to save duplication an money. I can justify the money I spent by saying we are living here on the money from Philippe, so my money at home is untouched. Who said to your own self be true? 

After all this exertion we stopped in a cafe close by for coffee and medialunes. It was still fairly early so I suggested we walk back, the two pesos subte fare is not an issue (about 40P) but we had not seen this part of Corrientes.

The buildings are mainly quite characterless along here, although if you look up there is the occasional gem, finely decorated buildings with filigree balconies, like something from bye gone France. The shops however are what kept Viv entertained. There was a wonderful kitchenware shop another filled with cake decorations, you could buy anything from an icing sugar house to The whole Simpson family.

We found another place that specialised in picture frames, worth noting as we are short of decor here.

We also found a shop specialising in wigs. The boss quickly sussed there was a potential customer here when he saw Vivs hat. The range and quality was good but Viv was not in the mood for buying wigs, perhaps we may return. The prices were not cheap, being comparable to the UK, so my view is if we were to buy it must be soon, just in case there are any problems.

All the shops, before we knew it we were back at Carlos Gardel, so we popped into Coto for some provisions, for tea.

Looks like we had another told you so night, but we have been together alone for too many years not to make our own mistakes, and as for the places we love to visit, we can only accept that they have changed , when we see it for ourselves.

So we went to Salon Dandi, the numbers were really down. It gave us room to practice and try some things new and we still love the ambiance, though I think we will not be back for some time. Of the few who were there, one guy spent all his time teaching on the floor, so the two women he had with him were out as possible dance partners. Viv had unilaterally decided we would dance with someone else tonight, as it was quiet, trouble was it was too quiet so there were few oportunities. One couple came in and sat at the edge of the floor they were speaking in english, Viv’s biggest problem is that she cannot speak to dancers between the dances. So after being egged on I said I would ask the lady if Viv would ask the man.

I went over and asked, the lady just said “no” she also said she was not english but german, as if that explains ignorance. We later found out she was a taxi dancer, whatever the man who was an obvious beginner had missed an oportunity to dance with Viv. She also was not the best dancer we have seen here by any means, and we now think she did not want to dance with anyone else in case her customer realised he was being fleeced. Their loss we still enjoyed dancing together.

The collectivo web site would give me no bus routes from San Telmo, so we walked to Indepedencia and caught a taxi just after the filling station. The taxista was quite chatty, normally they here foreign tongues and  stay quiet, but he was quite keen to express his views on tourist tango, right up until he ran out of gas. Now you may ask the same question we did “was he not outside a filling station when we were picked up?” TIA (this is Argentina) . So we grabbed another taxi “Salguero y Guardia Vieja” I said again, so he hared off in the usual fashion.
The route was unusual but I did not think we were being taken out of our way, as it was in the right direction, only when he turned behind The Abasto Centre did I realise he did not know where he was “Aca” he said “si esta buen” I was beyond arguing and anyway it was only about five blocks.
A short walk home would bring my blood pressure down. 

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Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga