We set off early, we wanted to get some special tea for our practicas. Although not totally in the wrong direction the shop did make it a big triangle we had to navigate.
We were soon sorted with our tea and off again towards Villa Crespo. As we walk the familiar streets I can see for sale signs on various properties, places that have been deserted. These once proud buildings are now fit only for demolition. They are tearing the heart out of Villa Crespo and replacing it with outlet stores. This I already knew, but I was in for a surprise; on the for sale signs it does not say Villa Crespo any more but instead it says Outlet Zone. Are we now going to see “Outlet Zone, home of Osvaldo Pugliese”? or maybe “Fulgor, club de barrio outlet”? What is the place coming to?
Still we were not here to complain, but instead to celebrate Club Fulgor’s eighteenth birthday. $30 entrada, empanadas and raviolis easily the best value in town.
Roberto welcomed us in and sat us at a long table with lots of friends old and new. There were five long tables at the end of the room and by the looks of it they knew exactly how many were coming. Every chair was filled and nobody was left out. Some on our table were not regulars and we had not seen them at dances, somehow they had got the idea that we were the act. I was struggling with the conversation and at first was unsure what they were asking, so it took some time to put them right. Struggling at this level is good for me, it is a shame it does not happen more often.
I have been told now that we are unique, nobody comes this far and goes to the Clubs de Barrios, apparently. I worry though that these clubs like the ones at home will cease to exist when most of these members either die off or are too old to get here. A situation not helped by the old boy on the door who will not let anyone new in and the insistence of the old members in keeping the same seat even on the nights that they do not turn up.
The food was good and too much, even I left some. There was one old guy who cleaned his plate however, but when Marianne came around offering seconds there were no takers. After sitting for so long we were getting stiff, so in the short Cumbia session we got up, if only to do a short merengue. After this there was a local singer backed by an excellent guitarist. She had them in tucks most of the time, it was a shame that most of the humour went over my head.
Eventually when it was all over, they started the music and Roberto ushered us onto the floor. As we danced around on our own I said to Viv “see we are the exhibition” but we were not alone for long.
All day more people came and some went, taking advantage of the fact that it was open for ten hours. Almost without exception when people left they came over to wish us well and “Buen Viaje” and of course people coming in all came over to say “hello”.
When it was finally time for us to leave Marianna said she would have a banner outside to welcome us back in April, and we left the room as Stars. Everyone wanted to wish us well, Roberto, his son Ruben, Norma and her friends. Then just when we thought it was safe to leave, Roberto stopped the music and said, they have travelled all the way from Wales to dance here and now they must go home, everyone got up and clapped, we left to an ovation. (was that a tear in Viv’s eye? I ask myself.)