Monthly Archives: October 2010

The shoe hunt part two

The weather has turned again, it is bright but cold and windy. The climate is behaving more like autumn than spring, and we never know quite what to wear to go out.

We are off on our last shoe shopping trip, this time to Comme il Faut. There are a couple of ladies who insist only on these so we are off into town again on the subte.

As we walk across town almost every shop is closed, they have declared three days of mourning for Nestor, and, call me cynical but the workers do not miss the opportunity to have a day off here, as they would, I suppose, anywhere.

I have written often enough about Comme il Faut so further comment is superfluous, still Viv is like a pig in muck surrounded by all these shoes, even though none are for her. The place is filled with women buying shoes by the dozen, I would not mind, one little bit, a stake in this place, it is a gold mine. We take a lot less time than the other women who are here as Vivs choices are quite specific. So soon we are paid up and out again into the street. There was a french couple in here and while she tries the shoes, he got out his video camera, instantly he is pounced on “no photos” he is told. He folded up his camera, but did not put it away. Minutes later it was out again and he is told in no uncertain terms that he must put it away or leave. From then on someone was watching him all the time, this is not the first time I have seen this here, all the designs are exclusive and they want no one copying them. There is a big sign on the door “Se Ruega no toma photos” If you do not speak the language it is still quite clear.

On the way back we again seek out Tekla Bar, which I wrote about here  it is just too zany and I love the place, we were by now hungry so we had some empanadas and fries, which I ate leaning on an Underwood typewriter. The guy said we could have home-made fries or from a bag, I got the idea of what he was saying, so we had the home-made. (fries from a bag would have been crisps). We had excellent empanadas and our man was not fazed by us wanting the coffee first, although he did pull a face.
When we had travelled down, the subte was just like a normal day, regular trains and crowds of people. Now though it was as if suddenly it was a Sunday night, twenty minutes or more between trains and hardly any people, we managed to sit for the whole return journey. Viv still cradled the shoes as though they were her babies though.
Philippe was coming to eat with us tonight, and we thought it would be good to go out together for a meal. We walked down to the peruvian restaurant that we had all seen previously. When we got there we could now see it with the shutters up; a take out joint with two tiny tables on which you could eat off polystyrene trays. Oh well on with the search.
I expected Philippe to come up with something that was a fusion of his french history and his argentine citizenship. What he came up with was a vegetarian tenador libre or a posh pizza parlour. Like a fool, I gave Viv the choice, she chose the vegetarian eat all you want. Eat all you want sounded good to me (fool).
Nothing had any taste, and was stone cold,even the beer was healthy (sin alcohol). Admittedly the beer tasted alright, but the food needed a level of inebriation, before one could appreciate its finer points (what finer points?) We should have saved more room for desert, not the best in the world but at least it tasted of something. I have heard many complaints from expats about food here having no flavour, up until now I have never come across it, I hope this is not the first of many.At least now we know a place to avoid.
Still we have yet more experience and Philippe did restock our fridge with beer. Next time though, Viv does not get the choice.
We were expecting to head out to a milonga later, but as Phillipe had arrived early we were not dressed for a milonga, and as always we tarried long after we had finished the food. Viv said “the night is still young, unfortunately we are not”. The subtes are closed and just maybe we can be up early tomorrow for a change.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

The great shoe hunt

The phone is ringing, argh, I hate being disturbed from my sleep. When I get to it, it is Perry “what time is it?” I said, he says he is in our area and now he is embarrassed at waking me up. I check my watch and it is midday. Well it would have been around three when we got to bed and we are supposed to be on holiday.

When Viv is roused and I start breakfast, I try to call Perry, and I cannot get through. I try again with no luck so I send him a text. When he rings me back, he says he is at Gascon and Guardia Vieja and would we like to join him, I say that I am already cooking breakfast now, so we agree to put off our meeting.

By now we are both dressed, it is an awful rainy day, the porridge can wait so we decide to head off down to Gascon. Perry is surprised to see us but we greet and he moves to a bigger table so that we can join him.

So I am going to try to be clever, without seeing the menu I try “tienes huevos”……. “revuletos”. There was a look of shock on the waitress’ face, but she said “huevos revueltos? si”. When she had gone Perry told me, saying “tienes huevos” is like saying “do you have balls” We had a laugh about it and now I have a bit more porteno to remember

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and finally left him on Guardia Vieja to go and do more business. We came back to the flat and then set out ourselves to complete some unfinished business of our own.

When we got to Tango 8 in Abasto the girl said “tienen zapatos en San Telmo, cerrado a las cinco” I don’t know if she understood when Viv said we are on our way, or not.

We change subte trains at Diagonal Norte, it is always a crush, and getting across the platform of the D line always difficult. Still, we found a good place to wait for the next train, not too many people, they were all at the other end. The train pulled in, only halfway along the platform, suddenly everyone was rushing us, but the doors did not open. The train moved forward, but now it missed our end of the platform and when the doors opened there was a surge now the other way. In the ensuing madness one woman got dragged bodily off her feet and landed horizontally on the floor of the train. Of course now everyone was in the one carriage and it was just like a rush hour crush.

I managed to find the right exit from the tunnels and even set off in the right direction, unfortunately as Defensa runs in the same direction as the subte we were out by one stop, still it was not too bad.

We had a flyer with the address on of Tango 8 and so we sought out 1174 Defensa, unfortunately we could find no such address. At 1170 was a small arcade, we wandered around unable to see any sign of Tango shops. I asked inside one of the units and the lady in there had no idea. So we set off again to no avail, on the other side of the road is another arcade and here we finally found our shop, we later saw on newer flyers the address of 1179 Defensa. (odd numbers are one side of the street, even numbers on the other).

Viv not only got the shoes we were seeking but also another pair, and with the possibility of others to come, we left happy with our shoe boxes in a paper carrier bag.

This arcade was in an old San Telmo house and I wanted to see it all. It was the old Conventillo type of house lots of homes around a central courtyard where all the cooking and washing was done. With a little imagination it was still possible to see how this had functioned in days of yore.

Still the rain fell, the poetic Argentines would say “Buenos Aires llorar por Nestor Kirchner” but the tears would do the shoes or shoe boxes no good at all. Returning to Tango 8 the girl gave us some plastic bags to wrap our prizes in,  hopefully it would protect them.

We stopped for a coffee and medialuna, against my better judgement in Plaza Dorrego, but whether, because they were short of customers with the bad weather or not, they did not try to rip us off, in this tourist trap. We sat watching the rain and Amy Winehouse videos for a while hoping for the rain to stop. It never did, but we managed to keep the shoes dry until we got home.

Deciding to go to Salon Canning tonight, I cracked and took a taxi. Viv had no desire to walk in the rain dressed, as she was, for dancing, so we hopped in a taxi on Salguero and asked for Scalabrini y Gorriti. I was not sure that the driver could drive that way so I was playing safe, he was not for stopping though as we haired past Canning. At least we got there dry and reasonably cheaply.

The entrance was awash with people all trying to get a seat, no room, no room, like the mad hatters tea party. When the organiser came over he said “tiene reserva”  I said no and he said we would have to stand by the bar. I was thinking “highest entrada anywhere and we have to stand” then suddenly he said “I remember you from before” (must be his only English) he beckoned us to follow and led us to a table at the back, leaving the crowd still at the door. Well it has taken six years, but finally the guy remembers me, Viv said “if we were regular perhaps he would remember us” I said “If he had remembered us perhaps we would be regulars”.

As I have said, it is not my favourite venue, the music does not move me and it is difficult to get to the floor. Once there it is difficult to move and we were always barged, still a lot of people seem to like it here so who am I to judge? One thing I did notice however was; how little English we had heard since arriving, but here in Canning every other person was English speaking. I have no problem with people who speak the same language as me, but I do wonder why anyone would come this far to dance with the same people that they would at home.

Unusually for us, here, we never saw anyone we knew. There was, of course the odd face we had seen at other milongas, but usually we bump into someone in Canning that we know.

We walked home, it had stopped raining and the streets were dry. We were both starving and the only place open after three in the morning was a garage. The place smelled of warm pastry and was just begging us to gorge on warm croissants, but in the warmer there was nothing but burnt offerings and in the fridge stale sandwiches. Whoever says this place never closes has not walked along Cordoba at three in the morning searching for food. We left with a packet of crisps, meager offerings, but at least they do have excellent crisps here.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

Nestor is dead!

Ok I heard about this yesterday but, of course reactions are delayed and Buenos Aires was more or less closed for the census.

On another bright sunny day we took the subte into town, we had to get some shoes from Darcos, we had checked the address and got an address in Sarmiento and I always thought it was in Suipacha.  The first thing we noticed was that the subte was free. My moneda card, so long sought was not needed. When we got off the other end traffic was normal on Corrientes, but there was a steady build up of crowd.

We walked to Suipacha and Viv wanted to go in but I said “first lets check out the address we have. After a bit of searching (the diagonal streets in the centre confuse me) we found the Darcos super store. It was a lot bigger and more airy that the other shop, but something else we noticed was that they were actually manufacturing shoes in the back in full view. The very shoes we wanted were there but only with a small heal, the guy in the shop said he could change them for Cubans while we waited, so we did. And we waited some more, there is a studio upstairs where you can have a coffee, so we went for a coffee (the cheapest in Buenos Aires only two pesos, I challenge anyone to find cheaper). Still they were not ready, the guy apologised and came over saying they would be another half hour, so we went out to find other diversions.

So we headed off for Florida,  I don’t know why, it is a tourist trap full of junk that you would buy and throw away when you got home. Still we managed to get Viv some new tights. It was when we emerged out again onto the diagonal that we realised the crowds that were forming to say goodbye to Nestor Kirchner, ex-president and husband of the present President. The streets were closed off and people were marching down with banners proclaiming “Vive Nestor” and “Fuerza Christina”. What ever others in the world may think, he was loved here.

We stopped in a cafe for some wholemeal cakes and more coffee, and still the people came, helicopters passed over head it seems the whole of Argentina was here to pay their respects. We returned to pick up the shoes but still they were not ready, now though the guy who had been serving in the shop was rebuilding our shoes.

When eventually we returned, we stopped at 3986 Guardis Vieja to pick up the thrice repaired Sams. It seems the repair man could not get the exact buckle to replace the broken one, despite me saying “no importa” and trying to explain that you cannot see it when they are fastened he gave me back twelve pesos. Viv said she felt guilty and I said we must go back and buy some stuff from the shop, service this good deserves reward. Has anyone spotted our deliberate mistake? We were actually in the place where these shoes were made and could have had them repaired there.

We headed off to Tango 8 in Abasto, Viv looked at loads of shoes but one pair in particular were ideal for Joan, only they did not have them in her size. Despite trying others, when you find the ideal thing that is what you want. I asked if they had them in another shop, the girl checked the computer and we were in luck, they have them in San Telmo. Up until now I had done well with my Castillano but she was saying something I did not understand about one o’clock. It was time to call for the other guy, the one who talks english. What she was saying is that although the computer says that they have them they may well be sold and there is no one in the shop except from one till five and it was now five thirty. So we must come back tomorrow.

Thursday is a Fulgor night, so as usual we traipsed off to Villa Crespo. When we arrived there was no noise, not much light and no doorman. I was met by Ruben (Robertos son) he said that they were closed out of respect for the president who had died. I thought better of correcting him, not the president but her husband. So we had a think and decided that we should go off to Viejo Correo. The only trouble was we had come out without a map. I know where both places are but Villa Crespo is a maze and without going home and then to Caballito I did not know the way. So I ventured back into the club and asked for a tango map, Ruben kindly found me one in the back somewhere.

It was an interesting walk, along streets which were unfamiliar to us, and we approached Parque Centenario from the other side so we found some museums and places of interest that we made a note to return to.

Many years ago we went to Viejo regularly on a Thursday before we discovered Fulgor. Now we were glad of the chance to meet again the organiser Nina. She rushed over to us hugging and kissing saying “hace muchos anos” time has not been kind to her, she is suffering terribly and cannot dance as her foot was all bandaged, but her spirit is as alive and bright as ever. Moments in her company will lift the day of anyone.

We were early and sat with a beer while the class finished. We were amused to see that despite being told where we must sit because “mujeres solo estan aca, y hobres aca, aqui parejes” There were men with the women, women with the men, and even the odd couple. I do not quite understand why they altered the seating in here, to me it would have made more sense to have the couples nearest the bar as they are more likely to order food and drinks.

When the dancing started we were unsure, the DJ did not play La Cumparsita until halfway through the second tanda and we were already up. (DiSarli you just have to dance). There were some great tandas and it was hard to find time to sit, until inevitably they played a Pugliese and gave me a rest.

An asian looking guy danced past and Viv said “that is one of the Canadians” and when he sat down we saw his friend as well. After the next tanda I walked over to their table “You buy me a drink then not a call, not a message, I feel abused” I said in my best camp voice, they thought this was hilarious. We chatted a bit and thanked Nestor for bringing this about.

We were getting tired, but as the Canadians had just come back from Iguazu I could not be seen to crack first, luckily they soon left and we stayed for just one more tanda.

As we left, again Nina was all over us and we exchanged emails with a promise to keep in touch. Now whenever we go to Fulgor we may have to head straight for Viejo Correo afterwards.


Filed under Argentina, Tango


I am not sure why, but we are required to stay in today for the census. I have seen the form and we do not get past question two, still Viv can clean the bathroom and I can catch up on my email. Hopefully they will get us done early and we can go off to play.

Two thirty and still no census, I have walked a hole in the floor practicing my milonga and Viv has run out of things to clean.  All the food we had has been eaten !!HELP!!!

Janis said she was done early, I said that I have yet to be censured, to which she replied I should be for taking advantage of a lone woman while my wife was watching (but that is a whole other story that if I get bored I may go into).

Janis turned up later and kept us entertained while we waited, then finally at half five I got a call on the intercom “Roberto es el censo” ( I wondered how they knew my name, but later found out that the Portero, Sabastian, was calling us all down) so we went downstairs (Janis and I) me to answer the questions and Janis to film me. I asked Jantango not to help me too much, I think I did pretty well, the biggest problem I had was remembering Vivs birthday. The census lady was very nice and kept it all simple for me, but she did not understand how I could live here and not be looking for work, somehow we missed question two, the one that asked if I lived here permanently. Anyway the whole thing is on film and maybe Jantango will release it some day (when I stop paying the blackmail that is).

While we waited for the eight o’clock deadline Viv rustled up some pasta and salad, and we ate the bread I had bought yesterday. We sat and talked as always and after eight I went out to seek something for afters. Non of the panaderias were open, I walked round and round and in the end had to settle for some biscuits from the chino opposite, but at least I got some coffee as well.

We left Janis at the bus stop when her bus arrived and then got on a 160 for Boedo. I don’t know why but Viv had got it into her head that we should go to Boedo Tango tonight. That is Sueno Porteno organised by Julia Pugliese. Now I do not know whether or not she is related to the great man, but there is no doubt that this barrio lays as much claim to Puglieses as Villa Crespo. On every other corner is a Rincon Pugliese or Bar Puglieses, I never realised that there were so many tango shows out this way.

When we arrived  we had the usual confusion with the entrada they asked how many I said “dos” and they said “twenty Pesos” (they spoke in english, that confused me for a start).  So I gave them twenty pesos but, of course they wanted forty.  At home if they ask “how many?” they always give the total, here they always give the price per person, it always confuses me, whether in spanish or english.

Julia escorted us to our seats and asked where we were from “Ah Wales! Reino Unido” I may come back here just because the organiser is the only person we have met who knows Wales exists. We had a ringside seat, not stuck at the back as we often are. By the time we had our beer they had a demo on of sevillano, I did not expect this in Buenos Aires.

Julia announced most of the tandas, which is a good thing for me, as I can never remember the artists names. Viv however could not pick up on the announcements and I had some Janis like fun asking her “who is this orchestra?”

As always there were some strange fashion choices, at one point Viv had said I should dance with a local, but looking around, there were few sitting, except one or two near naked very much older ladies. Now as Viv has said, I don’t mind dancing with women of any age, but I really would prefer not to get arms full of ancient flesh. Sometimes for ladies of a certain age, it really is best to cover up a little.

At just after two we had enough and headed for home. There was no sign of the bus stop on the corner of Columbres and San Juan, so I thought if we walked a little way down we could find it. After half a block  we  realised it was only thirteen blocks now to home, so knowing how few the busses are this time of night we elected to walk it. We were dressed for walking, we both had good shoes on and warm jackets, although it was still quite warm even this early in the morning. We did not see a bus stop until we were three blocks from home and no bus passed us (not a 160 anyway) untill we crossed Corrientes and by that time we were far too close anyway.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

Another Class with Jorge

Well my brain is well and truly fried, what that man can do with his feet defies description, and he wanted me to copy him. I tried honestly I tried, but it will take a lot of work and practice to get anywhere near what he achieves.

We started with some basics, just walking, but to a milonga beat and in a way I have not done before not double time and not single time, but with adornments that look really cool. When he moved into double time though I could not keep up, but he slowed it right down for me.

I cannot use my age as an excuse he is more senior than me by twenty years, and Susana, well I am not sure. To look at the pair of them you would not put either at more than fifty, Jorge? well I know his age, but Susana it would be rude to even guess although here it seems to be of less importance. Technically here you can ask a woman her age, but we British are still constrained by our reserve.

Anyway by the time we finished I had a catalogue of new milonga moves and a sore belly from laughing so much, I just hope I can remember all he taught us.

Susana told us that non of the milongas would be open because of the census tomorrow, but as we had to pass Salon La Argentina on our way to the subte we thought it best to check El Aranque for ourselves. Viv was hungry and said that we should stop first as everywhere may be closed soon. I then had an idea “why not phone ahead and check” so we got the number from the guide and I rang them. “hola Salon la Argentina” “hola es abierto hoy?” “si por supuesto” “hasta quando?” then I got hit with a load of gibberish and they hung up. Ah well at least we knew they were open.

So we spent a pleasant afternoon practicing our milongas, but first we had one of their excellent pizzas. Everyone raves about Argentine pizzas but we prefer the american style, here though the pizza is more to our taste and we were thoroughly ready for it. It disappeared in no time at all, I am just glad we asked for chica, that was a twelve-inch, god knows what size a grande would have been.

Janis joined us later and kept us company, and filming us occasionally, despite me telling her that we needed to practice what we had learned and it would not look good. She managed to get a dance with a  milonguero even though she had not brought her shoes and insisted on dancing with me before we left (doesn’t that break one of the codigos? a woman asking a man).

We left each other at Corrientes, she to catch a bus and me to use the subte and my new monedera card. When we got back we practiced some more, I still have not got it, I think now it is just tiredness maybe it will work in the morning.


Filed under Argentina, Tango


It is always noisy here, you just learn to sleep through it. This morning was an exception, it was crazy, there were screaming sirens blasting horns and the sounds of traffic that did not have a place to go. I got out of bed saying “OK you win” I looked out of the window and there right in front of us on Salguero were two fire engines with all their hoses laid out, two ambulances, a police car and a police quad bike. People were wandering around with clip boards, men were redirecting traffic and there was general mayhem. Then a van arrived with defenca civil on the side followed by another police car, we had no idea what was going on. It looked like fire but there was no sign of smoke or flames and no sign of casualties.

I heard another ambulance coming down Salguero, but then I saw a guy standing in the road gesticulating that it was not needed. I took my eye off the scene for five minutes and then they were all gone without a trace. Viv thinks we just imagined it all, who knows maybe temporarily we were transported to another dimension. I will be watching the news just to be sure.

Talking of the news; the intercom rang and it was a guy from Diario, he wanted to interview me about what had gone on. As we had slept through most of it and I do not know if I am yet ready for Argentine TV I just said “lo siento somos extranjeros” he apologised and left, now I sort of regret not at least having a go. Oh and a missed opportunity to sell this picture.

We spent the afternoon in El Arranque where we again met up withIrene and Man Yung (I think they are following us, you know how some people like to be seen with the famous) We also met some other nice Canadians, unfortunately they disappeared suddenly (this is happening a lot lately I half expect the darleks to appear next). You can read some more of our day here

I managed to get a moneda card on the way and now with the one that Jantango has lent me I can hop on and off the subte without having to worry about cambio.

More macaroni Bolognese, catch up on my mail then early night tonight.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

Bife de Chorizo

We had a long standing invitation from Jantango to come around for food. It was a late night last night and we did not get up untill after two, so the mail I got asking if we could be there by three I assumed was a joke. After some debate here and with Jan we said five thirty.

Hoping to bring something with us nowhere was open, not even the chinos, so we hopped on the bus and hoped we would find something the other end. There were one or two kioscos open and the odd pizza place, so in the end we managed to get some beer in a small shop that sold it chilled ready to drink.

What can I say? the Bife de chorizo was beautiful the ratatouille delicious, and the coffee, well it was Janis’s coffee. We talked for hours and the subject of timing, she said she really did not know what she was thinking when she said three o’clock as she was not that long up herself.

We posed for some photos for her blog, they are supposed to be anonymous but hey I will claim any fame I can get. See them here

All too soon it was time to go and it was time for us to go to Fulgor. Yet we still talked on, I was getting resigned to missing tonight but then suddenly we were off and back on the 168 again.

Now, I could not understand why we caught it on Moreno when last week we caught it on Rivadavia (parallel streets), but as it came towards Almagro it made sense,  there are two routes with the same number when we caught the bus in  and ended up missing our stop that was because we should have been on this bus, so now we went up Cordoba instead of through the centre of Vill Crespo. Finally we got off at exactly the right stop, things are looking up.

Mariana could not understand why we did not want beer tonight, but too much beer ruins your dancing and we already had enough, besides we had less than two hours to dance in before  they played La Cumparsita. We made the most of it and danced till the bitter end.

(The bitter end is not some reference to a sour taste, but a nautical reference, Anchors are paid out as the weather deteriorates, the more chain that is lying the better they hold, the last piece of rope is called the bitts, so when you have run out of chain you have reached the bitter end)


Filed under Argentina, Tango


After a very late night we were never going to do much with the day. So after breakfast we just sorted out a bit and did very little.

I left Viv doing what she does best and I set off on a foraging trip. I got every thing I went out for even managed to ask for a magnetic knife rack (you try that in Spanish) The only thing I did not get was a biro, (for our American friends a biro is a ball point pen invented here in Argentina by László Bíró,) what is it about pens here? You would think if they invented the things they would be everywhere.

So after mounting my knife rack and having some macaroni Bolognese, sorry did I forget to mention something else I did not get? I did not get fresh spaghetti, well it looked like spaghetti to me. We set off for Glorias Argentinas on the 92 bus.

We did not have to wait long before the bus arrived, so I was still counting out my monedas when it arrived, struggling to get them counted and back into my pocket I lost some of the invaluable coinage on the street. Then as I struggled to get my money into the machine my phone rang as well. It was Janice saying she was leaving Centro Region Leonesa (The home of Los Consegrados or more famously on a Thursday Nino Buen). She said we should get there before her, but this I did not understand, she was with Irene and Man Yung and they always take a taxi.

When we arrived, as expected Jantango was already there. She said “Man told me we would take the collectivo tonight” so now I have renamed him Asif, as if he would take the bus. I am not sure if they have forgiven me as I never got to dance with Irene and Man did not dance with Viv.

As always we had a great night and  was as ever a great host. As well as having a bloggers convention (three bloggers in one place and no fighting must be some kind of record). There was alive band, who were brilliant musicians, but this was music for listening not dancing, although some did dance I saw little of the music in their feet. So after an hour of sitting we did one tanda and were ready to leave.

Janis came with us and fortunately her bus arrived almost immediately so we waved her on her way and walked over to our stop. Our 92 arrived maybe twenty minutes later, which was a massive improvement on last nights wait, but it was almost exactly the same time.

As we got in the lift up to pur apartment I felt damp, thinking at first that sitting for an hour it was just my own sweat, I soon discovered it was something more obnoxious, someone had wet themselves in the seat I had used.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

How much?

Yes I know things have gone up here, but sometimes you just know you are being taken for a mug.

First thing we took Vivs shoes to the repairers, only it was not first thing for everyone else, the repairers was shut for lunch.

So we had a wander, first around the Abasto Centre but it is all a bit too glam and pricy. We then head off down Lavalle to find some new buttons for Vivs cardigan. The first place we looked was where we were in  and the queues were out of the door again, so we carried on.

Further down the street we found a shop brim full of buttons, thousands of them and it was not long before Viv had the perfect fit, we even managed to get some thread to match.

We came back up Corrientes and found some white pants, pants that Viv had been searching for, for some time, and only thirty pesos brand new, that’s charity shop prices. Time to celebrate with a coffee and lemon pie (That’s lemon merengue in the UK). It was expensive but we have come to like this cafe and it is all home cooked stuff.(and we had saved money on the pants)

We walked further up the street and Viv wanted a biro, there is a big shop selling all sorts of stationary, in we went and picked up two biros, nothing fancy, just biros. I took them to the till the girl said twenty-six pesos sixty centivos, HOW MUCH! I turned and walked out. That is five pounds for two biros, extranjeros we may be but idiotas, no. Trouble was at the next block Viv realised she had left her sunglasses there “I’m not going back” she said, but I was not ready to leave them there. As I walked through the door they were still on the counter, I just picked them up waved them in the air and walked out again.

When we got back to the shoe repairers, it was open. We gave them the thrice repaired Sam shoes explained what was needed and they said “martes” now this is where the spanish language fails; I said “manana o tarde”, “No no, manana cerado” she said, fortunately, El jefe intervened and explained I meant morning or afternoon not tomorrow.

We decided to go for Sin Rumbo again tonight, despite the travel problems because, it was so friendly. We waited outside our apartment for the 127 and six 92’s arrived all at the same time, the traffic was horrendous, all the busses were jam-packed and it all looked chaos. At the same time our bus arrived, bus drivers here are always in a hurry and this one was no exception, he flew down the outside of the queue of 92’s and the five of us waiting for the 127 had to dodge in between the traffic and try to hail our bus. It is hard to imagine for someone not here what it is like, the buses were inches from each other still moving and it is impossible to see around them. We literally had to take our lives in our hands, but as the first passenger got to the bus, the driver had to stop to open the door and allow him on, that gave us enough breathing space to make our own entry.

Our bus was less crowded than the others so we managed a seat, and as I had the route well planned in my mind, I was well confident of our destination. However in the street before our stop Viv panicked and rushed to the door, I of course had to follow. When we got off she said ” well someone was getting off, I thought that we should as well” with that logic it is lucky we got past the end of Corrientes. We walked past four more stops before getting to my original termination.

The night as always was great fun, although I found the crowd slightly different with some inconsiderate dancing, I think perhaps that it was the much younger crowd that was here tonight. We had a demo, it seems no milonga is complete these days without one. There were two very young couples (school age) who did a fantastic milonga, I was more impressed by these than the teacher himself. After the demo we did one more tanda then we felt it was time to leave.

We waited three-quarters of an hour for a bus, it was getting cold and we start to question whether it was worth it. Viv rationalised it by saying “at an average fiver a time, that is a tenner a night, that is two pairs of Comm il Faut’s) so I suppose put that way. But I still wonder about coming this far, maybe next week we will stay closer to home. As we got on the bus, a guy came from across the street and started questioning us about the collectivo, when I managed to work out what he wanted I said we do not know only that it stops on Corrientes y Medrano. He had said something about Chacarita, so I assumed that was where he was going. He loudly questioned the driver as we got on the bus, so there was confusion as we paid for our tickets, still no harm done we sat down at the back. Our vociferous friend sat right at the front by the driver.

As we passed Chacarita we saw his head lolling to one side with no sign that he would get off the bus, we thought, like us the other night, he had missed his stop. As we went down Corrientes only one stop from where we were to get off the driver roused him and he got off the bus. If he had said to us Corrientes and Pringles or Yatay we would have told him yes OK but nobody keeps things simple here.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

When a sale is not a sale

The russian spies who live opposite are having work done again, this will get Philippe paranoid that they are spying on him.

Well we cannot watch them all day hanging out of the windows doing daring dos with the blinds, there is serious tourist stuff for us to do. We returned again to Tango Por Vos to study the shoes again. First stop is the bargain box, now they told me ninety pesos but cash only, Viv saw a pair she liked but typically they did not fit. At that price they would be worth bringing home to sell, so we put them to one side while she checked out some shoes for herself.

She found a very nice pair of snake skin style, that she just loved. While she paid for those with a credit card, I tried to pay for the bargain pair, suddenly they were no longer ninety pesos the price had gone up to a level where it was no longer economical to bring them home. The heel was high so making them unsuitable for older dancers at the social clubs but the tangueras all want Comme il Faut’s. To make only one or two pounds on a shoe that could be in stock for years made no sense so they went back in the box. A pity really because I belive that if the women back home saw how good these shoes are we would get some converts.

I promised we would just relax today so we stopped another small confiteria, there are hundreds of them and mostly very good. Bought some quice and bread rolls an headed off to Parque Centenario. On the way we bought some drinks so we were all set up for a picnic in the park.

Parque Centenario is one of my favourites, it is far enough off the tourist route that you are not bothered with beggars and ladrones, but it is still very well-kept and lush this time of  year. There is a big pond in the middle with fish and ducks swimming around. It has a cascading water feature in the middle that gives it a cooler feeling and of course it has the ever-present chess tables for the locals.

We sat ate our food and watched the world go by. One young mother passed with her son who dropped his ball, we watched with amusement the tantrums as the wind took it across the pond and out of reach. We heard the tantrums continue for maybe fifteen minutes until they re appeared at the far end of the pond just in time to retrieve the ball which had now blown to the other side.

Soon enough it was time to return and get ready for another night at Fulgor. We have two more friends that we have to meet and kiss every night now, we were introduced to them by Irene and Man Yung so now we miss almost two tandas while we go around saying hello.

Susana from Sin Rumbo arrived later and we had a dance, she had seen me dance with the locals here and assumed we would be OK, she was right of course but I reserve most dances for Viv.

As we prepared to leave, Viv had gone to change her shoes and Sonar Y Nada Mas came on, I could not sit it out even though I now had my street shoes on, Susana graced me with another dance, which just finished the night off nicely.

I won on the raffle again and Mariana came over and said “wickie”, “Wickie?” I questioned “si wickie” it sounded a bit more like whisky the second time and that was what I got. I am not, by nature a whisky drinker, but I enjoyed it anyway, it seems milder than what we have at home. ( A Scotsman would probably say lily livered and weak, but hey I am a sasanach).

As always it is like a party here and we left wornout but happy.


Filed under Argentina, Tango