We were due to meet Philippe for dinner, so a late milonga was out. Scanning the guides we had two choices Canning or Ideal because we would be walking over that way again we decided against Canning and the subte was more tempting than walking.
We have not been here for some time and a lot has changed, the seating for a start. Though I suspect that they rearrange the seats for the matinée differently to the night-time milongas. The place looks cleaner, better maintained. What truly surprised me was the toilets they have been re tiled, new sinks and there were even paper towels in the dispenser.
Easily the best thing though was the music. This guy did not play anything avant garde, he did not try to be clever, he just played the stuff that we all know and love. That said he did play the odd track that I did not know, but bear in mind, tango is in these people’s blood, so as far as the music goes, I am very much a beginner.
He must have got fed up with this extranjero coming up and asking what the last track from Di Sarli was and other such questions, but he never let on. Before we left I went back and thanked him for the music and asked his name, he just said “Victor” at least that is what I thought he said. Viv thought he said “Hector”. No doubt someone can tell me his name so I can watch out for him again.
We adopted a new strategy here. We did not know the place or the people here, so when we came in we sat together and danced together. We set Pugliese as our marker, when the first track came on we ordered a coffee and then split up. Viv went over to the other side of the room and we tried our hands at dancing with others.
Admittedly it was difficult at first and generally I would miss most of the first tracks. Dancers would be looking for their favourites so we got what was left, but apart from very few we did not have to sit out.
I think we have to leave our sensitivities at home here. There is nothing personal in this. Dancers will always have their favourites and will always choose them first, so as the interlopers we just have to accept it, smile and wait. If we do this long enough, in time we will get known and then perhaps get dances more easily.
At about seven-thirty people started drifting off and it was getting hard to find people to dance with so I grabbed my monerdera card and we set off for home.
The lady gets too hungry for dinner at eight and we would be much later. So we stopped at a confiteria and stocked up with croissants on our way back. While we sat in the flat munching our prizes Philippe rang. He had stopped at our place just before we had arrived. Had he said eight not nine we would have been here, still we would now meet at 1810 at nine thirty.
When we got there the queue was out of the door. It is always busy here but today is another of their national holidays. I phoned Philippe and asked if he had a reserva, but it seems not. When they arrived Luba said “Philippe had a problem with his phone and I am an idiot” so we went to Oporto instead.
So instead of locro and empanadas we had four grand sandwiches and copious amounts of beer. (The Grand Sandwich is another Oporto speciality, beef steak, ham, cheese,egg, lettuce and tomato all on a pita bread). So after a good meal and good company it was off to another early night. (early for Buenos Aires, just after midnight).