Monthly Archives: May 2013

Adios Buenos Aires Dos

Last year we had the Croatian Basket ball team on our plane, well this year we had the Dutch Beach Volley Ball Team. You have to wonder when they are going to allow more leg room on planes. These guys were all over six six. One guy was so big he had to duck to get from one area of the plane to another, that is seriously tall.
As always we get on the plane, sit down and then watch the chaos as others come in who obviously cannot read simple signs like ” 36 Window A B C isle” Rocket science it aint. Still it was not all their fault. We occupied 36 D & E, unfortunately someone else had boarding cards with those numbers as well. Possession being nine-tenths of the law we were not moving. The stewardess took our boarding cards checked them and brought them back, then disappeared. Then she came back and did the same again. I never found out what happened to the other passengers, but we stayed where we were.
Non of the Volley Ball team were happy in their seats and there was one stuck behind us complaining that he needed an aisle seat. There was,of course, non available. He complained that the seat next to ours on the window row was empty, but it appeared that the family had paid for the whole row so that there was room for their baby. Still it continued, it was a wonder that the plane ever left the ground, but of course, in the end it did.
As we swept over Buenos Aires and I got a last view of the beautiful city, I started to worry. You see we should have had fifty minutes on the ground at Amsterdam. Our flight was now an hour late, that meant we would arrive ten minutes after our connecting flight left. Even If the plane made up time Schipol is big, seriously big. You can use the travelators and still take over an hour to cross the concourse. Viv told me to settle down we would find out later.
When we were about three hours from Amsterdam I started talking to one of the stewards and he asked to see my boarding pass to Manchester, he said “but your connection is nine fifteen”. It seems they had already changed my flight before I got my boarding passes. It was very efficient of them, but it would have been good if they had told me. Now I had another problem, my taxi home.
I love the way people on planes always think that they are the most important people there. You see it with their massive hand luggage, the way they will sit in a seat other than their pass, and the way they ignore the instructions of the cabin staff. After they called our final approach someone got up and went to the toilet, Viv and I were staggered. Fortunately for him the staff never saw him and he was back in his seat before we hit the ground.
When we landed I had some urgent messaging to do; first off was my taxi. I tried to phone, without success, so I tried SMS. Fortunately he messaged straight back so I knew he had the message. Apparently he was already on his way to Manchester when he got the message. I am glad he had not gone too far and that he had his phone where he could easily see it. Next I tried to SMS some work colleagues to warn them I might be late in work the next day. That done we could now relax as our delayed flight would give us five hours in Schipol.
Schipol is a whole different animal to Eziza (Buenos Aires airpoirt). For a start it is huge, seriously huge. I don’t know the dimensions but it has (I think) eight piers, as they call them. Stand in the middle by the screens and you will be told it can take you up to forty minutes to reach you gate. So to get from the end of one pier to another, well you are talking over an hour, and that is with the benefit of the travellators.
The second big difference is the business ethic; nobody tries to rip you off. Don’t get me wrong, things are not cheap here but it is no more than the premium you would expect to pay in a mall of this quality.
While we were in the gift shop, I had to sort out my bag to find euros. I knew they were in there, but we need four currencies on this trip so the Euros were not near the top.
After our experiences in Argentina, where you need to lock up or bag your bag at every store, I just forgot where I was. I looked for an empty spot at the check out propped my bag on the counter and proceeded to sort it out. The girl said “you can come here to pay” so I told her I was just sorting my bag where she could see what I was doing. She just gave me a very quizzical look then started checking my items. I guess she just did not understand the Argentine attitude that everyone is trying to rob you.
So now I did not mind spending some money, We bought presents for our friends and then went looking for food and relaxation, after all we still had over four hours to kill.
We did not have to wander far off our route, which in some ways was a shame. I just love this airport. Halfway between our two gates was Murphy’s pub. We stopped inside and had a couple of pints of Murphy’s stout. Not as good as Quilmes (only my opinion) but we enjoyed them just the same.
I managed to get on the internet for a short while, email some friends and also make some notes (how else would I remember all this rubbish).
Anyway it would be a long time before we ate again so we bought some food, more stout for me and coffee for the addict. Eziza take note Fifteen Euros, it would have cost that for the coffee at Eziza.
Funny thing though, when we had been there a couple of hours the place was packed, and I only saw one Irish man. He was not drinking stout, he had red wine.

We left a Buenos aires winter at 14 deg , and arrived home to a british summer at 11 deg. Stop telling me it’s cold there!

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Adios Buenos Aires part one

A beautiful day, not a good one to leave here, but there is so much to do.
Once the packing was done though it was time to eat, almost everything is gone, the coffee, the porridge, honey, in fact the only thing left is some frozen noisettes and Qulmes Negra.
I am tempted to drink the stout, but Viv is not allowing it. The noisettes Phillipe can have, perhaps he will buy some steak to have with them and remember us while drinking the beer.
We wandered up Guardia Vieja, to a cafe we had visited before with Pericles. This place is called Las Almandres and is on the corner of Gascon. We decided to have the revueltos, Viv wanting the plain and I asked for the Revueltos Almandres. The waiter nodded as we asked for cafe con leche, another nod as we asked for jugo de naranja, but when we asked for media lunas tambien he was actaually laughing. I guess they don’t see too many British camels here. Yes that’s us, camels, we eat when we can and then keep going for days.
As always Viv likes to wash all the towels and bedding before we go. So the first wash was done while we had our breakfast on Gascon and when we returned she put another wash on. Now the machine belongs to Philippe and he has just had it repaired (not too well it seems). Viv had other things to do and had ignored the washing but as the day went on she realised that the machine was on an endless cycle of rinse and spin. There was no time for the third wash and for a time we thought that the second would be stuck there. We had to ring Philippe at work to warn him and ask him to return tonight to take the washing out. Fortunately half an hour before we were due to leave, I managed to get the machine off and emptied. We got the third wash in, hopefully it will be finished for Philippe to take out later.
Well our new taxi driver arrived dead on time and chatted to us all the way to the airport. It was nice for Viv to have someone who spoke english, I suppose, the trouble is talking to the taxistas is usually the only practice I get. Still he was a nice guy and gets our vote. As usual we did not know what terminal we wanted and he dropped us off at terminal A. We checked the boards and it said that we were delayed but we queued up anyway. Good job we did, the girl said “This desk is Iberia, you want terminal C”. So off we trotted around the buildings until we were back at A.
We never learn; we got through to flight side and then remembered. Captive audience in Argentina equals “Rip them off”. All the prices are the same as on the streets of Buenos Aires, the difference is they are in US dollar not peso. When are they going to learn that this is not how to do business?
Viv wanted to buy some presents for home, but I refused. If someone takes the piss, I am afraid I just get stubborn. We sat reading with no drinks or food until the plane was due. Before we got on we saw a Goth girl in boots that can only be described as lethal weapons. They were covered in huge spikes and we wondered “A small tube of hand cream is not allowed on the plane in case we use it as a weapon, and yet she was allowed on with these?”

To Be Continued………………..

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Come day go day

Last full day and we had nowhere to go and no one to see until later, when we go to Fulgor. So Viv wanted to check out Esquina Carlos Gardel, it has a reputation for being expensive, but we like to check these things out for ourselves. Of course when we got there the doors were shut and there was no information on prices or when the box office was open. This was no more or less than we have come to expect.
We walked through Gardel, they have done some nice work here. It would be a nice place to stop and have a coffee, but of course, there is garbage everywhere and dog shit spread over the pavements.
We walked around the Abasto, I have no interest in what is inside, even though the malls are the only clean places here, and went to check out a Cafe. That was closed as well, so we were in a sort of quandary.
I said “lets go over to Palermo as it is Sunday” so we set off down Gallo. Now we never walk this way so the hotel we saw surprised us. I had quite forgotten about the Monaco Gran Prix this weekend and we could see it on their TV, well the last lap anyway. What happened to Ferrari again?
Hotel 11 Octobre, looked very clean and comfortable, so I thought I would go in and investigate. The door was locked but the guy let me in. “quanto cuesta un habitacion doble?” I asked.”Privot” he said. I looked at him puzzled, “Privot, privot” he said again. He was trying to tell me something in spanglish, but whatever it was he did not want me to recommend this place to friends. I left and we carried on walking.
We got to Soler y Vidt and I got confused. Just when you think you know your way around something throws you. We did a circuit of one block before I realised we were back tracking and I had to consult the map. We were on our old stomping ground, yet the work they had done on the streets meant I recognised nothing. Still, once we crossed Gascon I knew where I was again.
We walked to Palermo Vieja and found a cafe called WTF. When I explained to Viv she said “WTF we can stop here for a coffee”. We asked for coffee and media lunas and the girl disappeared round the back. She returned five minutes later “No hay media lunas” so we asked for the menu. There was something on there Tostadas mermelada jugo y cafe. Sounded OK to me so we ordered two.
She brought a plate with little dishes on, two types of Jam and some garlic cheese spread. The other plate had some flame dried bread on it, you would hardly describe it as toast. I think it had a passing acquaintance with a grill from across a crowded room. Viv was not happy, so I tried for some butter. “Tiene manteca?” I tried. The look was what I will now call Porteña blank. I tried again “Manteca?” She babbled something at great speed then left.
She returned with another dish with rock hard frozen butter. After another five minutes she returned babbling something, and with two media lunas. They must have found some in the back.
The coffee was pleasant but, where was the juice? The girl came and tried to reclaim the plates, even though we had not finished, so I asked her about the juice, “Jugo?” she said and vanished again.
After another interminable wait she brought us two small glasses of orange. Well we had wasted some considerable time and at least we were sitting in the sun. It was time to take Viv to Isadora to buy some earings. I can’t complain, they are not expensive. It is a good job she does not like fur.
We wandered back at last buying some last-minute provisions, while trying all the time to hang on to my change.
It was the twenty year anniversary of Fulgor and they were having a cake. So for once they crawled out of the woodwork to be there. It was almost like the old days, but I can remember when there was not an empty table and if you came after nine you would not get in. Even with the good crowd we had, the tables by the window were empty.
We had two demos, no acrobatics just good tango. The second younger couple did a bit of high kicking and big boleos but it was still good stuff.
There was much kissing and when will we see you agains when we left, but somehow it was not as poignant as last year.

On our way home, I saw a plastic bottle with the bottom cut off attached upside down to a tree. I was intrigued so I went to have a look. Above it was a note in spanish that I will paraphrase for you “Have you lost you bag for dog shit? If so there are some here. Thank you for keeping our barrio clean”. From these small acts great things happen. I would like to praise the person who did this and hope that others will follow the example.
Let’s try and change the name from Dog Shit City back to Buenos Aires.

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Pollo Entero again.

In our last couple of days we have set out to see all those we can again, and it has become somewhat of a tradition to have lunch with Philippe, our pollo entero day, if you like.
We were woken again this morning by the buzzer “tienes ropas viejas?” we still had no old clothes for her, but Viv has now put some aside for Philippe to give her next week.
At twelve, just as promised Philippe arrived and we set off towards the Abasto Centre. Once there our Peruvian restaurant is just across the road. As we were passing the massive building that is the Abasto, Philippe said he could see the metal shutters still going up on the Restaurant, and wondered if they would be open yet.
The sign on the door said “Abierto” so we walked right in and sat down. When the guy brought the menus we asked for some beer. They did not have Quilmes only a German brew, but it was stout, so it would have to do.
We tried ordering pollo, but the guy said they were not ready, we could wait. It was a good job we had Philippe though because things started to get complex.
We tried ordering patas fritas to eat while we waited. Even Philippe thought he understood. Bread came along with some dips, no chips though. We asked again “si” the guy said, but still they did not come. We had run out of beer by now and so we ordered more, when that came he told is it was the last bottle. He was lying, of course, ten minutes later they had a bottle on the next table. Still our chips did not come.
A young waiter took over the servicing of our table and Philippe tried again, and by now we were on our third bottle of beer (blond beer by now), eventually our chips came along with more bread and a top up of the salsa picante.
We must make a point of not coming here so early next time, still we were enjoying ourselves. When the food at last came, we got another plate of chips, plus a plate of salad and our pollo entero.
It was nearly three when we left, so we were in there more than two and a half hours, and still laughing. We walked back and Philippe made us one of his special coffees before he had to go.
We too had to go, back to bed. Three litres of beer two plates of chips, two baskets of bread, one plate of salad and a chicken chopped in four, sent us off for a satisfying afternoon nap.
We still had room for and ice-cream from the kiosco later though.
The night-time was to be spent at Conventillo de Lujo, we had been invited to a party there. It was handy for us as it meant we could avoid all the 25th May celebrations. Trouble is it is hard for us to get to.
We caught a 151 outside our apartment block, but the driver either did not understand us or was going a different way. I think the former because it was quite clear on Como Viaje, but he would not take the money off my card and threw us off at the next stop.
I did not want to walk back again to Corrientes and get the subte and then have to walk sixteen blocks from there so we took our first taxi of this trip.
The highlight of the night for me was the dance with Amy, wherever I moved she was there. It was almost instictive following.
We were quite happy as we had brought some quilmes stout with us again, but by midnight we had had enough and it was time to go.
We knew where to get the bus tonight as we had done this trip before, and as luck would have it there was a queue at the stop, this must mean there was a bus due soon. There was, but it turned off at the block previous. Everyone at the stop dispersed. Then ten minutes later the two girls who had been there before returned and another bus turned off early. I did not know what was going on but Viv had had enough and she made me hail a cab.
“Salguero y Guardia vieja” I said, The driver laughed and said “Salguero y Guardia vieja” that’s what I though I said, still he was cheerful enough. Tonight’s taxi fares have doubled my city transport costs tonight, but at least we are home safe.

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Pericles

We are getting painfully near the end of our stay and we still have not seen everybody there is to see, but we will see Pericles later. For now though we are off to Confiteria Ideal.
I have that awful cold that always seems to hit me about now. I now realize it can be nothing viral, as bad as it is, because it lasts only one day. Whatever is causing it I must now be getting immune because it seems much less severe this time. Never the less I sought a kiosco and bought myself some cough sweets for the afternoon. We also found a bank to withdraw some money to replace what we spent on shoes.
We sat separados in Ideal, Viv had a reasonable spot on the back wall, but I had two choices; either at the back where they always put me or right down by the DJ position. I chose to be by the DJ thinking I never had much luck at the back so let’s try something new.
From this position I still had trouble, but I fared quite well. At the start Viv was getting more dances than me but as more women arrived, I started being more successful.
The trouble was I could not look out at the floor without looking past my Mataderos lady, Teresa. Whilst I enjoy dancing with her I did not want to do every dance with her.
At one point I got up and did the wandering milonguero thing, I still never got to dance with who I wanted, but I did OK.
There are a few ladies that I now know so that made life easier. Viv was finding it similar, although, just like me there were some she would have enjoyed dancing with, whose eye she could not catch.
Before six she had had enough and I kissed all my ladies goodbye, promising to return in a years time. We took the overcrowded subte to Alto Palermo and stopped for an overpriced styrofoam coffee, before walking on to our destination.
We were meeting Pericles at Tolon on Colonel Diaz y Santa Fe. As always there was no sign of him when we arrived and we delayed the waiter “espremos amigo” I said. When he arrived he was again on the phone still doing business. The only thing that will ever slow him down is an ulcer or heart attack. I hope he can take it easy before it gets too late.
I expected us to be having a meal, but the menu here was all sandwiches. The waiter was having a hard time, every time he came to us Pericles was still talking and we had not even looked at the menu. Eventually we settled on a Chicken sandwich and some stout. Pericles just had water.
The stout came with nibbles that kept us going for a while, but when the sandwiches came they were huge and came with salad as well. While we struggled through them I managed to convince Pericles to try the stout, I think we have another convert.
He walked part of the way back with us and we parted with hugs and again a promise to meet again next year.
Once we got back we had to buy some provisions and this included more stout, of course.
I saw this on facebook and we both had a laugh.
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Now every time I screw my face up Viv falls about in fits of laughter, and the staff in the supermarket think we are drunkards.

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Brahms in the Park

We really intended a quiet day today, so we were up quite late, but I still had some things to do. First on my agenda was to get in touch with Pericles, we had been here over two weeks and our time was going fast. I now had a phone number so I phoned him, of course he did not answer. I know that he is busy so I sent him another message on facebook with our numbers on.

Then the phone rang “Es Señor (I did not catch the name but knew it was not me)” “No” I said. Then this lady went off into sales patter “soy extranjero” I said “Perfecto, conoces el servicios de (again I did not recognise the company)”. “No Soy extranjero, mis castillano es muy pobre”, but she was not put off “Perfecto” she said and continued” “Estoy en vacaciones” I tried. She was not giving up, this is just like home I thought. She only finally gave up when she realised I did not have a clue what she was selling.

Five minuets later and the phone rang again “Hola” I said and a laugh came back down the phone “Perry!” “you recognised my laugh he said”. I explained how difficult I was finding communications this time and he said “yes nothing works here” then like it was doing a full demo, the phone went dead. Anyway he called back and we arranged to meet again Friday.

Five minutes later the phone rang again, I was getting annoyed, but it was Pericles again he had used ring back from my missed call. At least someone in this city returns calls.

We set off again for Suipacha and Vivs shoes, it all went smoothly and without incident. So now we were in town with nothing really  to do. We meandered down towards Florida but never quite made it. I wanted to see The Museum at Palicio de Aguas so I suggested we head off in that direction.

We Crossed Julio 5 and Viv wanted to investigate the Tango show there. So we went inside and asked about the prices, knowing that they would be a lot cheaper here for our friends than if they booked them on a trip.
We now passed Teatro Colon and walked over the area that covers the workshops. There is a huge screen there and we watched for a while as it showed images of the interior.
Next we walked over to the vast green area known as Tribunales. I took some pictures of the Rubber tree there that is over a hundred years old. While there we could hear music and we found that there were speakers located around, playing Brahms. We stopped for a while to listen. There were also pictures of Teatro Colon from years gone by, including some famous names. It was here I saw pictures of the excavations for the workshops we had walked over and that is how I knew that they were there.
Then I had an idea, I knew there was a place close by that we could buy coffee to take out, but when we got there it was closed.
We wandered around and found a kiosco selling cold drinks and filled media lunas. We bought two jamon y queso calientes and two pomelos then went back to sit in the sun.

We were surrounded by Brahms exotic (to us) birds and photos of the Teatro from days of yor. It was a most pleasant way to while away the time.
The media lunas were huge, so Viv’s plan to have steak tonight may just have to wait.
Now deciding the time for Palacio de aguas had passed we walked toward Sarmiento. We had seen a jug like the jug we had bought the other day for half the price. Then this morning Viv broke it so it was fortunate I now knew where to get one cheaper.
On the way we looked at prices on items we had bought before, all were now double. I wonder how long this can continue before we have another collapse.

It’s Thursday so we are off to Fulgor again. There is a different guy on the door and he seems much more amiable, but it did little for the numbers. An old couple who we have seen here for years left early, I think that they wanted more tango and less cumbia. Still we danced a plenty and I even got Viv up for the Chacarera.
Everyone welcomed us and asked if we would be here Sunday. Of course we will, but I doubt more and more we will be coming next year. I think the place will have died by then. Still there is no point in dwelling on it, let’s just enjoy it while it is still here and face the future when it happens.

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May 24, 2013 · 03:28

Hoy Turistas

Finally we decided to do something touristy today. We took the subte into town and just walked down Florida. Viv managed to buy some pens on the subte at $10 for three she was quite happy. I had no intention of buying anything in Florida, it is all expensive tourist rubbish, but I do enjoy the colour.
We found a little shopping centre and Viv managed to find a scarf that she has been after, so we bought two, pink and green.
After all this shopping, time for another cafe con leche. I do enjoy the cafe life here, it’s nice to just sit and watch the world go by. A lesson learned, we had a slice of apple crumble, just one between us and two forks.
Viv had been sneaky; once I was relaxed she reminded me that a friend had given us a card to get discount in a shoe shop, so it was off to Suipacha. I got roped into buying two pairs, but when it came to pay, despite the door being plastered with Visa, MasterCard, and Access, they could not take my card. So my daily money and what I had saved for the coffee table was wiped out. And that was for just one pair, the other pair is set aside for tomorrow, with a note about my discount.
When we had left the subte I passed a blind man, I had felt guilty passing him, but could not reach my money in the crush. Normally I do not give to beggars, especially the guy standing on Florida in two hundred-dollar trainers saying “cambio cambio”. This guy though looked so genuine that we went back into the same subte to try and give him some money. Unfortunately he was no longer there.
A few trips ago we stopped in a place called Bocado on Sarmiento 2226 for a coffee. We have often said we should go back so today we got off the subte at Pasteur and walked over to Sarmiento. We had a panini each with chicken and cheese. Mine had Dijon mustard and mushrooms Viv was just boring. With a pomelo for Viv and a cervesa for me it cost no more than the coffee and chocolate mouse we had at Martinez two days ago, so I was satisfied.
I felt tired and not prepared for a late night, so I thought we would join Janis at Lo de Celia. As we were about to leave I could not find my shoes and slowly it dawned on me that I had lost them. Somewhere I had lost my bag with my shoes in, my umbrella and worst of all my camcorder. We mentally backtracked and the only place we could think of was La Moncloa where we had stopped for a beer the night before. There was no point in rushing, if they were there, they would stay, but if someone had made off with them then they were gone.
We joined Janis, Jean, John and Jane in Lo de Celia. It was Johns last night and we did not realise he would be here. Just shows, great minds think alike. So Janis had a chance to get some pictures of us all, and John had a great last night. We had some good dances and Dany got his applause at La Cumparsita. At the end though we had to rush off, I was not sure at what time La Moncloa closed and we had a fifteen block walk to find out.
We need not have worried, the lights were on and they were at home when we arrived. The waiter recognised us and almost before I mentioned “Bolsa Roja” they were fetching my bag from behind the bar.
My faith in humanity was once again re-enforced.
Back home now on our faithful 168 colectivo, and submarinos before bed.

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OK you win

There is an apartment block across the road, where they are all for rent. They call it a tango apartment block, I have now sent them four emails, in a desperate attempt to bring them business. As we enter our last week I still have heard nothing and there is no one on the door to ask.
I decided to look further and just the other side of Cordoba on Bulnes is a place called Quality Studios. They have not answered my mail either. So today I thought we could walk down and have a look.
On the way down we passed an Hotel. I was not to sure but thought we could have a look. Inside reception was deserted. Eventually some old guy came. “Tienes habitaciones con dos camas?” I ventured “no” he replied. Then another lady said “Si” “Quanto cuesta?” I asked, then he said “Depende” on what, how long? So I tried “Dos Semanas” “Cien por noche” well that sounded good. “Tienes tarjeta de empressa?” “No” well how the hell can we book if we have no business details. I was going to ask to see a room, but Viv had had enough of this and was dragging me out.
The Quality Studios looked good and there was a guy in the reception. He came to the door when summoned. “Hay departmentos alquiler?” I asked “Si” he replied. Things were looking good so far. “Puedo verlo? I asked. Then I got the long chapter again about the lady is not here and I must contact her. He did try to be helpful. He gave us a card and even though I told him I had emailed, he gave me the email address and the telephone number, pointing to the phone here in reception. So this is the choice; I can email again and fail to get a response, again, or I can phone up and speak to the guy I had just been talking to.
Thats it! I totally give up, Argentina you win, You do not want business, now I understand.
I felt totally defeated and we just wandered for a bit, we ended up near Club Fulgor as Viv wanted to see the Outlet Village in day time. There is a cafe on the corner called Jammin, and she always says we should try it, so we stopped outside and drank a coffee in the sun. I felt a little better then so we wandered back checking the shops and even popped into Jumbo. The biggest supermarket for miles and all we bought was a packet of frozen potato noisettes.
Nuevo chique was a success, we both managed some good dances, but as always after three hours we had had enough. So we stopped off at Moncloa on Congresso for a beer and then caught a 151 home.
That was another new experience; The number was not illuminated on the front, and if it hadn’t been for the old lady who was at the stop with us, it probably would not have stopped. At first I did not move to get on, then I saw the number on the side. The old dear was having a right go first at the driver, who said he could do nothing about it. Then she started on Viv, who had no idea what she was saying, but still she persisted. I had to do a quick translation for Viv “She said the light is not on” She sat at the front barracking the driver then turning round to us I was glad to get off, although I think that now the driver was in for it as he would be the only focus of her ire.

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Russian, who me?

We got up late again, well we are supposed to be on holiday. There was a lot of noise outside, the banging was so bad Viv thought that they were knocking the place down. Edisur were digging up our pavements again, Viv thought that perhaps it was to deal with the power cut we had. Nice thought, I just cannot believe that they would be that efficient.
There was not time to do much, but we had to go out for some shopping. On our way around we passed a few new (to us) furniture shops. Still there was nothing that grabbed Viv, although I did see some boxes. If we do not get a coffee table this time I am getting one of those to put my cup on.
We found one very disorganised place and halfway down they had a box full of mugs, we may go back for one or two. If we have to let the place next year we will need spares.
We walked to the kiosco that was closed last night, hoping to buy some chocolate amargo, but they only had one bar. Viv said it is like 1970s Yugoslavia. We did get some chocolate, although it was different again.
Trying to find anything is a challenge here and we wanted a bottle brush. Well there is a place on Corrientes but you have to tell them what you want. We walked in and there was a youngish bald black guy ranting at us “ruso aleman?” I had no idea what he was on about at first but he was laughing away “de donde son?” ah, now I understood “Gales” “Ah inglatera, I have a friend Gales”. We could see what we wanted at the back of the shop, so we then had a version of “The Golden Shot” anyone remember that program? Left a bit, Right, back a bit, that’s it. Once we had our brush I tried to find out what it was called, but he just kept saying ruso. “Rusos son mafioso” I said, but he said “No italiano”. Anyway ten pesos for a brush, it was worth it for the entertainment.
Outside and I was trying to put the brush in Viv’s bag, he called me in again. I don’t know what he wanted, it was just one of those, no you called me, moments. I was still smiling when we got back to the flat.
Off to El Arranque again today, we arrived about five. We have learned that there is no point being here at the beginning, but also if we are early enough we get some good dances and get our faces known.Tthere are a few here who know us already so there were not many tandas where either of us sat out. One I did sit out though was when Viv danced with Jesus. I mentioned him last year when he danced with Viv, she said his dance was wonderful, so I wanted to watch and learn. As she said though, you cannot learn to dance like that, he is simply Jesus.
Afer Jesus she was ready to go home, but I was not. We stayed until I could at least have a milonga with my wife, marriage must have some privileges.
On the way back to the subte Viv wanted to stop for a coffee. I prefer a local place but Viv wanted Starbucks. As usual we compromised and we stopped at Martinez. You should have seen the chocolate mousse cake! A lesson I have not yet learned is the portion size here. The cake was just too good to leave and we asked for two pieces. It took some eating, but we Finches never leave food. We could have had a meal for what it cost, but my it was good. Probably 1500 calories each, death by chocolate.
Now we really had to get back.

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Get your Ducks in a row

Janis sent me an Email, entitled Das Gute Bier, because she had found some German Beer in a local supermercardo. (apparently we British are all alcoholics). But it got me wondering about language and how much cross over there now is. She asked “Do the Argentines read German” More to the point do they actually speak Castillano?
Brigitte was talking about business (A German woman in Argentina, get the link?) and she said that they simply do not get their ducks in a row here. Now how is that for a bit of idiomatic English.
Go down any street here and you will see english signs like “services de lunch” and “Camping” although my favourite still is at a tatoo parlour “Yes it does hurt”.
You got to love em. But for me life would be so much easier if they spoke their own language but kept it simple.
I have tried contacting two tango apartments with a view to bringing them custom next year, I never got a reply. One of them was not even at the address they gave when I went to look. I tried finding the place the guy from Gascon told me about, with his vague description I may as well start looking for needles in haystacks. (Oh no! now I am at it).
I keep hearing about businesses struggling here. It is all the fault of outside influences, Estados Unidos, Comunidad Economica Europa, even Las Malvinas. Although God alone knows how a small island eight hundred miles from Argentina can pull them out of this mess.
Perhaps in this God-fearing country they would be advised to remember the serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
In other words, give up blaming everyone else and start keeping better time, be there when you say you will. Answer you mail, email, phone whatever. When a customer turns up welcome them, they can spend their money wherever they please, make their pleasure you business. Forget about bungs and back handers, recommend from the heart, your customers will love you for it.
For all that is wrong here I and many other extranjeros love the place, but, and this is the big one, we will go to the businesses that are most business like.
In 2006 my arrangements to come here were stalled, the agent who we had used decided not to bother answering my mail until a fortnight before I was due to fly. Had she answered earlier I probably would have still been using her, but we fell out. With less than two weeks to go I sent out over two dozen emails to tango guest houses, Only one answered, and I am still friends with and recommending Luba Tango House, Palermo Buenos Aires.
This rant has gone on a bit I know, but I hate to see things going down as they are. We are off to Club Fulgor tonight and I doubt anyone from there will read this, but if they are to continue, as I dearly hope they do: They must either stop advertising as a milonga or become one. They must start welcoming people at the door (as much as they do to us inside) instead of always trying to turn them away. And in common with every other business here open and close at the stated time.
Well it was quite a turn up tonight, the numbers were up and even the old guy on the door was pleasant. He still spent the whole evening staring at the wall though. We danced right to the end and finished with some fabulous vals.
On the walk home the kiosco where we found our chocolate amargo was closed so we tried the one across the road and they did not have it, so we bought ice cream instead.
There is another kiosco next to our apartment and as luck would have it was open. We had tried previously for chocolate negra and sin leche all to no avail but tonight we had the right words. “Tiene chocolate amargo?” I asked. The guy recognised us, and just said “no” and smiled. I have never seen a patron so happy not to make a sale.

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