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?