Monthly Archives: April 2012

Roger

Time for some shoe therapy. We had a lot planned for today, but first we have to go to Arenales and the Comm Il Faut shop.

Roger is in town so in between the shoe shopping we are also trying to make arrangements to meet up. It has become something of a tradition now that after Comm Il Faut we go to La Tekla on Talcahuano and Paraguay. So we asked if Roger would like to meet us there. Unfortunately I said Uruguay and that got confused with Talcahuano as they are parallel. In the end I sent the directions by SMS as it was easier that way.

When Roger and Mirta arrived there was much kissing all round (even two men from Wales can learn to kiss here) and we had a lunch that lasted for nearly three hours.

We have so much in common, both engineers, both from Wales and we have both wrestled with the Argentine system with varying amounts of success and failure in equal measure. We could talk all day about our Argentine experiences, and then of course there are all the interesting artifacts hanging up In La Tekla. What? For instance was that crank shaft out of? Five bearing and big enough for a three litre engine and there, in the casting it said BMW. The severed head on a singer sewing machine? Could it be Christina? Nice cam chain! And all those phones! I had an Underwood typewriter like that once.

Two litres of beer, and two lots of Coffee, time to head off for some afternoon kip ready for the night ahead. We had to postpone the meal with Philippe, there will be time enough tomorrow.

We rejoined them at Gricel later and danced with them, took photos of them dancing, they took photos of us dancing and just enjoyed each others company. The night just flew by.

When Viv had had enough dancing I tried my hand with the locals, but did not have a lot of success here. One lady I danced with had her own ideas of what she was dancing, kept moving and it had nothing to do with me. Because I had taken her from the table I never saw her shoes, she had loose clumpy sandals that were totally unsuitable. The next lady I danced with was huge (in every way) I tried to lead, but I think I was on a loser. She kept apologizing, but I just said “no problemo” and carried on to the end of the tanda. She had (I think)two daughters with her and they decided to video as we reached her table. Well there comes a time when you should break the rules, this was it. For the sake of her daughters I opened my hold and led her, as best I could into some crowd pleasing moves. Leave them happy, that is the main thing.

I managed one good dance before we left, but the hour was late and we needed to catch our collectivo.

Now last week we had arrived at the stop just after quarter to the hour and waited nearly an hour and a quarter. By this calculation I guessed that the bus must come normally at or about quarter to. So we arrived just before half past. (No point in taking chances).

The bus arrived just as we did, good job we did not wait until quarter to.

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Principe de Gales

We walked to Parque Centenario today. Not a particularly long walk as this city goes, but we covered some streets we have not passed this trip. We stopped at a confiteria on Palestini y Sarmiento, again not a particularly good, or big one but handy on our route. We bought a quiche and some bread, and Viv was quite taken with some chocolate covered churros, so we bought some for afters.

We had not picked the best day to visit the park; it is starting to get cooler, although we understand still ten degrees warmer than the UK. The wind can whip up here as well, now we are clear of the buildings. Still we enjoyed a lovely quiche, which the girl in the shop had cut up for us. We sat drinking our juice as the pigeons tried to clear up all the crumbs. Then we started on the churros, well they were just like chewy chocolate bars, quite nice really, but very different.

We passed the building at the edge of the park that had a notice displayed that read something like this: It is illegal to take animal here. ley1453. (I definitely made the law number up; the rest is to the best of my memory the word “take” was definitely used). I still have no idea whether it is illegal to steal the cats that sit there, or to leave more. I also have no idea why the notice is in pidgin English and not Spanish.  

We returned again to Fulgor, this being Thursday. It was very quiet tonight although Bob and Elsa were there as always. She wore something beautiful and different with matching shoes, as always, and just as always they greeted us as old friends. (One day I am going to ask her what she does with her old clothes). The rest of the crowd also greeted us as old friends and I get more kisses here than at a new year’s party at home. (From the men and the women)

Viv still not at one hundred percent told me to go and dance with the old ladies, as there were more than usual tonight it took me some time to get through them all. Susanna from Sin Rumbo was here as well and I grabbed her for the milonga. I also asked her again for a second milonga, she said “you create and I do not always know what to do” we laughed and said we don’t care and just carried on having fun. (Her boyfriend does not seem to object, but if I am found stabbed in an alley you know where to start looking).

Meanwhile, it seems that others not realizing that Viv was less than one hundred percent were asking her up to dance. She had more different dance partners that ever, when all she wanted to do was sit and drink beer. We were up for the cumbia though, and as this seemed not to bother her I said “why not try holding your head up” as she seemed to be pushing slightly with her head. She seemed to get through the night OK, but maybe it was the extra beer.

There was no bingo tonight, thankfully. The sorteo was back though and I seem to be lucky with this. I won again. As I waved my ticket in the air Roberto said “El Principe de Gales”.

Viv had to finish the beer while I had the wicky, still when we got back Viv said I was out like a light by the time she got to bed.

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Los Reys del Tango

Viv wanted to pamper herself today. Being a mere man this goes beyond my comprehension, so I left her to it and went off to buy CDs.

I caught the subte down to Callao and then walked through to Lavalle. From here it is only two blocks to Euro records. I had spent the morning and most of yesterday evening going through their catalogue the size of the task I have set myself is immense. I can only make a start this trip.

I arrived again at that door rang the buzzer and was allowed in. The old guy who had welcomed me yesterday was not here. There were two men involved in lively discussion in the inner office and a girl sitting at a desk. She put her head through the hatch and told me to take a seat.

I sat perusing the CD’s that were on the shelves out here for a while, and then she asked me in. In my faulting Spanish I said I had a list which she took from me. I apologized that I did not have all the catalogue numbers, but it did not seem to matter, she knew where every one was.

Soon she had a pile and seemed to think that was it. I picked up my notepad and said “hay otra”. On the internet site all the prices were in Dollars so I had brought the US currency that I had brought back and to with me for years, never having a good use for it. At this point she explained that she did not have change so could not take dollars. It got confusing now, and then she said “I speak good English”. She explained again that she did not have change, so could not take dollars. Even in English I did not quite understand but agreed to pay in pesos.

It was, as well I did not show her page three of my list, she took almost all the pesos I had with me. I was hoping to take some pesos home with me this time, but I suppose American Dollars are a less risky currency to hold on to. I can always buy more pesos next year.

People always ask why we keep trying new milongas, well you never know what you are going to find; Somebody suggested to Viv that we try Armenia 1353, well my first reaction was “No way, I am not going to La Viruta again” Viv said “It is not La Viruta” so I did some checking. La Viruta is at Armenia 1366, the other side of the road, this milonga is La Milonguita. So I thought “let’s give it a try.

Now opposite Association Armenia (Home of La Viruta) is a church, still Armenia, but a church none the less. We found a gate and walked in, the security guy sent us to the little gate where there was a pay booth. We started off badly as we were now standing the wrong side of the queue. I was then shocked somewhat by the entrada at thirty five pesos. Still we were here; best make the most of it.

We were going to be in what after all was a church hall and we often use them at home. This one was somewhat different than the ones we have at home though. The foyer area was as big as most UK church halls and we passed through to a magnificent room with a proper curtained stage and a balcony all the way around.

The room itself had a parquet floor that was in general good condition although there was some damage from tables, in places. The walls were cream coloured with gold details all around. The effect was very fifties ballroom and unlike most venues here well maintained.

Again when we saw the drinks prices we were shocked; a good fifty percent dearer than other clubs, this was going to be an expensive night.

They have a novel way of getting around the, dimmed light, bright light debate in here; the lights are up when the Cortina is played but they gradually dim them as the tanda progresses.

Viv still suffering was finding it hard to keep dancing and she had just promised me the next tanda when they had “the bit in the middle”. I am sure there is some name for this and it varies from club to club, here it was all rock and roll.

I got another tanda in before the organizer took the floor again and announced the live band. I knew we were having a band but did not know who.

She announced “aplausos por Los Reys Del Tango“. This was incredible, we never expected this. Well we sat out the first tanda and just watched them perform. The skill and dexterity of these (mostly quite old) guys is incredible. After the first tanda Viv said “go and play”. So I saw a lady I had danced with in El Arranque and we were off.

The music was lively and it took all my floor craft to stay with the music and avoid crashing, but I think I did ok. They did four tandas and I managed to get dances for the remaining two. Those four tandas, without doubt were worth the expense of the evening. I only regret not having my camcorder with me.

It would have been great to have some record of the night.

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Cucaracha man

The doorbell  was ringing very early, Viv said “you will have to answer it, I don’t speak Spanish” When I opened the door there was no one there. Down the corridor was Senor Matacucarachas with his killerspray. “Fumigacion” he said, “enterior?”  I said and he confirmed. So we hurriedly put on some clothes and I left the door ajar. After half an hour he had not called back and the corridor lights were out. I closed the door. We hung around for ages but he never returned, I guess our cucarachas are reprieved.

The CD hunt continues, so we thought we would give Euro records, as suggested by Jantango, a try. Viv wanted some more exercise after her day in yesterday so we elected to walk down Lavalle. The wholesale goods on this street always amuse, there is a shop just selling balloons another selling party hats and a whole block of just mannequins. The naked fat guy staring out of one window is a constant source of ribald humor.

Eventually we got to the right block. There was no shop here, just a doorway. The door was locked with an intercom and remote opener. (I knew this as someone had walked in as we approached). I did not like the look of this and we debated about what to do next. We had walked this far and I would not have been happy to go home empty handed so I pressed the buzzer, “Hola” “Quiremos unas CDs” The auto latch operated. We walked down a narrow corridor and up the stairs at the back.

A short guy with thinning grey hair met us at the top. He was very enthusiastic and wanted to know what we were looking for. In truth I still did not know. The room he showed us into looked more like a producer’s office than a shop, but here were racks of CDs on the wall. “Tango bailable?” he asked. “Si” I said. So he directed us further in to his inner sanctum. There were even more racks of CDs, but he wanted us to sit down. Then he gave us catalogues with all his music in them. There was just too much for us here, so he also directed us to his web site.

Now I have all my music here with me in my computer, so I asked if we could take them away and check them against what we have. He was surprised when we said we had come from Wales, he thought Tango now was becoming international. It certainly is, though I wonder how long it will be before the Europeans realize it is more about the music than the moves.

Time for some coffee again. We returned to Bocota on Sarmiento. Viv still thinks we should return here for food some day, but today coffee will have to suffice.

Back to Nuevo Chique again today. We are quite comfortable here separado and sat opposite sides of the room we get a good view of the dancers. I don’t think I missed a tanda and Viv certainly did well the first half. I think she gets tired and puts less effort into her cabeceos as time goes on, but she still did well.

There is a very nice lady from Chile who likes to dance with me, she was sitting by Viv today. She has often commented on my aftershave. I had saved the last drops for today, but Viv had thrown it out. So I told my Chilean friend “ella poner el Calvin Klein en la basura”. She thought that was funny.

Anyway it turns out that she is a masseuse and on hearing of Vivs troubles took her off to give her back a rub. Perhaps it was because of the language problems (or maybe the Calvin Klein) but Viv said the relief was only temporary.

We went back to Guarda la Vieja later for some food. When we find something good we stick to it. Viv said I should have something different so I had chicken in a mustard sauce, it was delicious. Viv went for a rice dish, it tasted great, but lacked a certain something “Meat” I said.

We left stuffed, I think I may have garlic breath by the morning.

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Soltero

They do things differently here, I don’t know if it is better or worse, just different. It has to be said some things definitely are worse, but then some things are better and some are just different. I hope that is clear.

So I went to the ferreteria across the road and showed him a drawing I had made of a hanging bracket I wanted. Well the choices he gave me really bore no resemblance to my drawing but he had got the idea. They cost me only three pesos, but they were no use for what I wanted. So I would have to try again later.

Viv is still suffering with her neck, so she instructed me to go to El Arranque on my own. I thought I would join this up with a trip to Easy. So I walked the length of Salguero up to Rivadavia and then into the Easy store. The brackets they had were the same as the ones in my Ferretaria so I had to do some lateral thinking. I decided to get some hooks and hang the headboard on them, I will report later on how and if this works.

From Easy it was only a short walk to Loria subte station and I was running early.

The A subte line is the oldest in Buenos Aires and has quaint wooden carriages. The line itself weaves much more than the other lines. In places the train has to slow right down to stay on the tracks and you get the feeling that it is just meandering with no great intent. The slow pace almost caught me out, because somewhere we lost a station and suddenly we were in Constitution and the doors were open. If I did not wake pronto I was going to miss my stop.

Out in the fresh air again I was only one block from where I wanted to be and it was quarter to three. The guide said it opened at three that meant at least half past. So I passed by and headed for our favorite coffee shop Joan Miro.

Once inside I thought to bridge the gap some medialunes. “tienes medialunes?” I asked “ni dulce ni grasa” he said. (We have neither sweet nor fat)“Hay torta” but the portions of cake were just too big so I just had coffee. I sat there in one of their comfy sofas looking for something interesting in the magazines, but it was the same rubbish about famous people that is in our British magazines. The only thing for me to read was the business section of Clarin. I read and reread the article on the YPF nationalization, simply because knowing what it was about helped me understand it.

At three thirty I’d had enough and headed for El Arranque. It was, of course deserted, Dany was playing pop music, there were no women, but at least I got a good seat.

By four thirty there were seven men and two women including me. I had a toasted sandwich to while away the time and hopefully stave off hunger.

It never got really packed but once we started I only missed one tanda. I met a nice Columbian lady who we had seen the night before in Fulgor. She told me her partner was only a friend, so I said “at this point I should ask you for a coffee” fortunately she realized I was very married and was joking. I was not so fortunate later, in my desire to practice my Spanish I told one lady I was hungry and was going out for food later. She took this as an invite and was not best pleased; I did not have the vocabulary to pull myself out of this hole. I just hope she has forgotten next time we meet. Everyone who remembered us asked about Viv or said “estas soltero hoy” are you alone today? And the old man who always came to dance with her looked bitterly disappointed.

I always thought that the people here came only to dance, but it was amusing to watch the antics of the old men when a fine young thing arrived. She could not dance, of course, but that did not stop them asking her. Me? Well I do not look like an old milonguero and anyway I prefer the ladies who dance.

I was enjoying myself, but somehow it did not feel right to be soltero. Viv was still back at the apartment and like me she was now probably hungry, so I left quite early.

I had promised to take Viv out for something later and so we set off down Guadia Vieja. Normally at night we go the other way and have missed all the life that has sprung up just down our street. We happened on it accidentally the other night so now we were going to try it out.

First few places were a bit of a disappointment, I think the hour is still too early for the Argentines. When we reached Billinghurst it looked a bit more hopeful. A new place Called “Guarda La Vieja” (Get It? Guardia Vieja, The old Guard, Guarda La Veija, Mind the Old Lady a play on words).

I had my first bife de chorizo and Viv had lasagna (Yawn) a bottle of stout, puddings all just over twenty quid. Only three blocks away, how has it taken us so long to find it?

 

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Hoy Touristas

The weather has caught me out somewhat today; it is always warm in our apartment but it was not so warm on the street. I had to do some strategic sunny side walking to keep my body temperature up when walking about today. It is still not cold, you understand but my summer clothing is less than appropriate now. Long sleeves I think tomorrow.

Up until now we have done little of a touristy nature. This is just our home in Buenos Aires and there seems little point in even getting my camera out, in what after all is my back yard. So today we thought we would head down to San Telmo, see some of the colour and mix with los touristas.

We left the subte at San Juan and just sort of meandered until we came across Carlos Calvo. Something stirred in my memory “wasn’t Carlos Calvo the street with the café that made its own bread?” Viv confirmed my thoughts so we walked down until it was crossed by Peru and there on the corner was El Federal. It is quite a big place, but always full of customers. We managed to find a seat by the window and we were given the menu. This particular menu, I think was written by Tolstoy, slightly longer than War and Peace but a mouthwateringly good read. I think we spent longer on the menu than the food. We elected for a sandwich each on their pan caseros. We saw so many other dishes served up that looked equally delicious but I could not come to San Telmo without tasting their bread.

After this we went a wandering again. We wandered around the indoor market and found something else for our practica. Then we found our way back to Plaza Dorrego. We hardly got in the first street before we were accosted by a guy trying for all he was worth to get us to buy his paintings. (For all he was worth, was not much judging by his art work). As always down here, the artistry ranges from grand master ability to something only a mother would pin to the fridge.

Anyway I took the precaution of not bringing much money out with me, that way nobody can con me out of it. (remember I said that) I love the life and colour of this place, despite the fact that most of it is here solely for the tourists and you get accosted on every corner “algo para comer senor?” “good leather, cheap, we take dollars”, not a lot different to Florida really just more colour.

Later we found the passage artisanal where we bought some Tango 8 shoes last year. Defensa 1575 or there abouts.Tango 8 seems to have gone from here, but there was still a lot of places to look into. Window shopping free entertainment for pobrecitos.

There is an upstairs to this passage and a café there so we thought we would stop and have a beer now the sun was shining. They also had a tango show and Viv insisted I gave them $10 for a very short show.

We had a litre of quilmes between us and when it was time to go I asked for the bill. This is how it went; “La cuenta por favor” “Si treinta y sinco” (35) “TREINTA Y SINCO” “Si” “es una broma no?” (It’s a joke) but she was not laughing. I rarely ask the price in Buenos Aires, because in the main they are always fair. True some places are a bit more expensive but you can usually tell, there are clues like table cloths and posh waiters. But sitting outside on a rough balcony with tango dancers doubling as waiting on staff that does not count.

The trouble with ripping people off is you never can tell who they are, how often they would have returned or how many friends they will tell to avoid the place. That is perhaps why this place was almost empty and El Federal was full.

Enough of the moaning we are off to Fulgor again, for another great night. Everyone welcomed us again as old friends and nobody mentioned we were missing last Thursday. Viv is still suffering with her neck, so she sent me off to dance with all the old dears. They all seem to do unled crosses here, and I have to be very careful not to trip them up when I try to secada. Still it all makes for more experience.

For some reason they now play bingo on a regular basis, but at least Roberto calls the numbers “muy rapido” so we can get on with the dancing. Unlike the old sorteo I seem to have no luck with bingo, I guess  the game knows I don’t really like it.

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Jamais Vu or Janis Vu

Well the bad weather never arrived, although today it is a little colder. Sometimes I could even walk down the street without my sunglasses on. I suppose the fact that everywhere is designed to dissipate heat makes some of the buildings feel cool, but hey, for Wales this would be a heatwave.

We have not done much of a tourist nature yet, so this being Saturday we went to Palermo for the street markets. Our first stop was Tealosophy on Gorriti we needed to stock up for our practica. Then we thought it was time for coffee. There is only one place we know where you can actually sit in the sun and last time we were here they had no coffee. Viv said they would think I was mad but I was not going through all the rigmarole we had last time we were here (it’s all in last year’s blog somewhere) so as we walked in I said “hay café?” of course they said “si”.

We could have nothing else with it though, when we asked they said “solo pizza”. So we sat in the sun reading our kindles and occupying a table for an hour with just a coffee like true Argentines.

We walked down Gorriti and turned into Honduras, half way down the block Viv saw a Feria Americana (second hand shop). Now most of them here are just piled high with stuff and are generally more expensive than those at home, but this one looked different. I think it was because of the neighborhood but the stuff in here was real quality. In fact they had a whole rail of Italian coats that were all new. I saw a couple of suits, but they were far too small and likewise the jackets that Viv tried on. She did however find two very nice skirts. All the time we were there the woman who ran it left us alone unless we asked anything and Viv could take as much as she wanted into the changing room. It was a refreshing change; we took a card for next time, in the words of Arnie “I’ll be back”.

We found our way eventually to the street market and found one or two things for prizes, but held back from buying too much yet (makes it feel like we are getting ready to go home otherwise).

We were getting hungry as they could not feed us in the last place so we called into our favorite book shop on Costa Rica, Crack Up. They did not have their famous tarta manzana today but we were happy with an avena cookie with chocolate chips.   

I learned something today Jamais vu is the exact opposite to Déjà vu and I owe Jantango an apology.

We met in La Continental for Pizza and a couple of beers. We had missed the chance to go together to La Nacional last week so we thought we would make up for it this time. Janis kept insisting we went there together last year, but both Viv and I had no recollection, even after we had arrived.

I was not in the best place to practice my cabeceo and sitting with two women, I think did not help. I danced with my two ladies and did manage one cabeceo. The trouble is the strain of all the recent activities had got the better of Viv. Shortly after midnight she had had enough. So we left Janis there and I took Viv home.

Once back I simply had to check last year’s blog. There it was in front of me, The visit to La Nacional and even the return Journey on the 151 colectivo (which I had also forgotten) on our first Saturday. The day was so much like today we had even called into Tealosophy in the afternoon.

See  https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/worlds-apart/?preview=true&preview_id=2569&preview_nonce=e23aae8001

So there you are Jamais Vu “a feeling of seeing a situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing you have been there before”

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Wierdo Central

Our daily trip to the supermarket was tinged with a bit of excitement today. Crossing the roads here is always a bit challenging to say the least. There are a number of unmarked cross roads and the only way to get across is to use a car coming from our direction as a shield. This does not work, of course when the one way system means that they are all coming the opposite way. So you take the challenge, toss the dice, and sometimes just run for it. Just when you think you have it sussed they stick something new into the mix. They now have cycle lanes and the bikes do not respect the one way system. You think “now I am clear” and cross the road only to be attacked by cyclists coming from the wrong direction. You would think all this excitement enough, but today we had a motorcycle chase up one of our streets, and, yes, they were going the wrong way. Still at least we had some prior warning, the police bike was wailing and screaming, with blue lights flashing.

We never found out what the motorcyclist had done or if he was ever caught, but it enlivened our morning.

As usual in the supermarket, nothing was as usual. We came for avena (oats) they had none. Sultanas? Only with stones. This is a supermarket? Ibuprofen? “no” It was getting like the Monty Python cheese sketch. Still we found some massive medialunas to have with our morning coffee, so big we only needed one each.

After our coffee we set off for the headboard. Viv was a bit worried about how far we had to carry it, but we were only out twenty minutes in total and that included the time spent paying for it. We also had to wait for the man to carry it to the door; he was not going to allow us to carry it through his shop. We had plenty of rests at the road junctions, and had no trouble fitting it in the lift, so all in all a trouble free collection.

Confiteria Ideal is becoming one of my favourite haunts for a Friday now, but Viv has labeled it Weirdo Central. Because we were later than usual I was not given the best of seats, which meant I had to stand to cabeceo. I resisted the temptation to walk around the room for at least an hour, but from where I was, I had little option.  I could not even get a dance with my Mataderos lady until I went on walk about. I now know her name is Theresa, I told her my “wife says we are as good as married because we had three dances together”. She laughed and said “I am too old for you”. I had a tanda with the French lady that I did chacarera with last week and after she introduced me to her husband, we did chacarera again.

Now Viv meanwhile had a good seat where she could see the whole piso. But still she did not look happy; last week a tango singer was coming on very strong to her. We were sitting together and she introduced me to him, thinking that would be the end of it. She danced with him again today and he tried again she said “My husband is standing behind you” he feigned bad memory, then further on in the tanda said”I want to go for coffee with you”. Well we all know what coffee means here, don’t we?

Because of where I was sat, I had paid for my drink when the waiter brought it, but Viv still had to pay for hers. She had decided to go downstairs, but told me to stay. It took her another hour to attract the waiter again, but at least in the meantime she did get a few more dances.

She had looked so sad there, I knew the one thing that would cheer her up; lentejas at 1810 and some Quilmes, just what doctor Bob ordered.

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Gricel

I thought we were having a rest today, but somehow it never happens. We ended up walking up Medrano up to Rivadavia again. Viv wanted to look in the box shop again hoping to find some underbed storage. This was never going to happen as there is only eleven centimeters clearance. Still on the way up there she bought some fruit off a very nice man who (I think) actually understood we come from another country than London.

I also had to buy some credit for my phone; it seems to go nowhere here. I had hoped to make a reserva for tonight, but with no credit that was not going to happen. We stopped for ice-cream on Rivadavia, the ice-cream here is famous, expensive, but famous, and it was in lieu of lunch afterall. Viv had Swiss chocolate and I had pistachio and dulche de leche. Well in Argentina you simply must have dulche de leche.

We popped into Easy again, still looking for a box, still not finding it, but we amused the security. You see when you enter they seal your bag in another bag to ensure you steal nothing. All we had was two apples and three bananas in ours.

We had planned a bit of a marathon tonight, our friends wanted to meet us at Gricel but we wanted to go to Fulgor first. Then they told us ten and Fulgor does not open until nine on a Thursday so this would never work. The subte are on strike tonight so instead we caught the 127 from Corrientes.

Table booked in the name of Emilio I said as we entered “(reserve en nombre de Emilio)”. Blank faces all around. I tried again “emilio?) No response. They stuck us on a small table right at the back, out of harm’s way.

We were not happy, the waitress came with a menu stood there for a few seconds, then disappeared. We decided to get up and dance, well what else we could do? Eventually we managed to attract the waitress again, Viv wanted us to order double to save waiting again, but I said “no I am not staying here”.

True to form our friends arrived late, and as I saw them enter I pursued them down the room. When I caught up with them, I told them of my difficulty. I was then introduced to Emilio (known to his friends, and probably the doorman, as Osso). Nobody could see the irony of telling me to ask for Emilio when everyone knows him as Osso.

We did a few dances together and of course with Juan and Mariela. Viv soon got bored and said ”you go off and play” I needed no more encouragement.

We were sitting right at the front and it was difficult to attract attention, so I started with a lady I had danced with in Chique. As we danced she gave me the rundown on Ruben (organizer of Nuevo Chique) things do not look good for him. Our thoughts are with him and Marcela and if we do not see them this trip I sincerely hope we will see them next time.

Well I got a few good dances and some nice compliments “tienes compas”  (you have rhythm) and “I feel safe with you, you have a good embrace. Not like a foreigner “ were amongst them.  It gives me a warm feeling when these people so accept us. The fact that I get a second dance is compliment enough for me.

Viv took her time latching on to the men; she still has a problem with the cabeceo. However she is getting the hang of it and managed a few dances, although (in her words) she still gets the nutcases.

We stayed almost to the end to our surprise, Juan had left early “estoy cansado Bob” I have written to him today telling him he is getting too old. Mariela surprised us too, we walked out with her and she took a taxi. In the past she always used the collective.

We had a problem finding our bus stop. I asked a local “donde es la parada uno viente siete”  he answered “ciento viente siete?” I am sure if I had said it that way he would have corrected me the other way, still he was very helpful.

The trouble was it was on a very dark, not very salubrious street and we waited half an hour before we saw another waiting passenger. We were harangued by beggars “solo una peso senor” and watched furtively from the park opposite. No wonder Mariela took a taxi. Two young lads had joined us in the queue and kept us quite entertained especially when a 127 passed in the next street going the wrong way “bad luck” they said. When I gave in and gave a peso to a beggar they shouted after him”GRACIAS, THANK YOU VERY MUCH” but our beggar had no shame.

They also told us the busses come every hour, and true to their word, we waited a full hour for our bus. It was very welcome when it arrived, but I think, from Gricel I would take a taxi next time.

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Medrano and boxes

All the walking and dancing is taking its toll, so we are looking for an easy night tonight. There is a new milonga only three or four blocks away and we thought we would check it out.

Even though it is on a different street, it is near enough to La Catedral to be a back entrance, so on our explorations today we thought we would just check. When we found it, it was very close, but I was satisfied it was not the same building. The organizer was standing outside putting up a poster, so we asked him about tonight. It got confusing when Viv asked if it was Nuevo “We opened in August” he said.  So instead I asked if there was any electronic. He explained that they have live music, some demonstrations and almost exclusively traditional music.  So let’s see what happens tonight.

We walked further down Medrano and we found many furniture shops. Finally we found a headboard, we will have some way to carry it, but it is just what we want. We had to leave a deposit as I did not have enough money on me, but it will be finished (as in coloured) by Friday when we can pick it up.

Towards the far end, or beginning, depending how you look at it, we found a shop that dealt exclusively with plastic boxes. You would think that with so many different boxes there would be something that we wanted but not this time. We walked to Easy on Rivadavia and found a box that was just what I wanted. When we went to the check out a woman barged in front of us and stuck here purchase in front of the checkout girl. Viv was fuming, I must be getting docile in my old age, the old me would have thrown my box at them and stormed out, instead I just shrugged my shoulders.

We saw a “sevicio de lunch“ on the way down but never saw it on the way back, so we walked to Corrientes and Delicity where we bought some tortilla, pan and some bottles of pomello. Then it was short walk back to Plaza Almagro, one of our favourite spots to just sit. We finished the afternoon eating, drinking and reading in the late afternoon sunshine.

When we got back we panicked, we had not measured the headboard. I called the shop it was good chance to practice my telephone skills and fortunately I did not have to try and tell him it was no good. My fears were unfounded; it would be a perfect fit.

Philippe was calling round for a catch up, so it was good chance to try “cooking” the Argentine way. We went to Coto and bought a cooked chicken a bow of chips and some batatas fritas (fried sweet potato).  Philippe provided some Champagne and we had a chance to try his new glasses. We also drank some quilmes negra. Champagne maybe alright for the French but we know what we like.

Talk went on and Philippe was interested in the new venue we would be trying, so he said he would come there with us to check it out.

At the door he had a long talk with the doorman, he is looking for lessons and this would be ideal as they have a tango class and a milonga class before the Milonga starts. We said our goodbyes and he was off into the night.

Now we come back to Argentine ish time; the guide said it opened at 2000 the advert said 2030 we were there at about 2220, but still it had not started. At least the entrada was only twenty pesos good value in these inflationary times. The organizer said to sit anywhere and he would arrange the tables when the class was over. We did not have to wait long and we had an excellent table right at the front of the floor. While it operated as a milonga, it was ok. A very young crowd, so we would not get dances with locals here, still we had come for a quiet night so that was ok.

Before long , the live band came on and unfortunately it was not to Vivs  taste. It was all more or less cancion and it was a bit on the disorganized side. They would have a demo then the floor would be open, then another demo. We kept getting trapped on the far side of the floor. After one of these occasions someone had taken my chair. Now there is a golden rule “In the milonga you are given a seat for the night, it is yours alone” I looked around for a replacement and fetched it from the back of the room. I dropped it for effect, knowing it would create a stir. It did, the lady on the next table came over apologizing profusely.

Well we wanted a restful night and we got one. It was entertaining watching all the dancers trying to outdo the demos on a crowded floor. The woman on woman dancers who did not have the power to stop people pushing them out of the way and the Tango singer who kept telling jokes that went way over our heads. We did not get a lot of dancing done and we only had a short walk home.

I think this will not be one of our regular haunts, but, maybe if we are tired again one night, we may be back.

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Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango