In England if a foreigner does not understand us we talk louder and slower. While this may not always work it can help. Here when a shop assistant mumbles and I don’t get it, they start talking in English. I may well then understand, but it does not help me. I need to get to grips with the accent here and the language.
The girl in Macdonalds was trying to tell her till that the dulche de leche ice cream was on offer and slightly cheaper. When she finally turned to tell me she said it in English. I am going to get a sign and hang it around my neck “Por favour, hablas despacio Y claramente”
It looked a nice day, so we thought for a change we could go down to Plaza San Martin relax eat an ice cream and just read for a bit. Apart from the ever present smell of dog do it was quite pleasant. We never even got accosted by the bird muck sprayers or any other ladrones.
The walk there however was different, all along Florida we were accosted by leather salesmen, tango shows, city tours and cambio. Can’t they see, no somos turistas. I did stop and ask one or two of the cambioistas their rates, “doce quarenta” said one “es una broma” said I. I could get a better rate from the hole in the wall. Another did offer me seventeen, which is a bit more like it, but I don’t need it yet anyway.
Back to San Martin. We decided to go and have a look at the big rubber tree. More than a hundred years old, it could not support some of its branches, so there were steel frames to hold them up. The tree was enclosed in a pen of about ten metres square, but some of it was escaping. The overhanging branches had cleared the footpath and were now in danger of rooting in the grass opposite.
As we walked clear of San Martin, a guy in a uniform, not unlike a hospital uniform, came over to talk. He said he worked here in San Martin and asked where we were from. Then he talked about Rugby, Barioloche, football just about everything. Most of the time I just looked like I understood, but my ear is gradually coming back.
Then came the hard sell (It had to come). He worked for “Campaign of National Struggle against AIDs and drugs”. Well $50 was a small price to pay to help, especially as I had a free Spanish lesson thrown in.
There is a free milonga tonight at Fulgor, free is good, so we are going.
It was supposed to start at ten but at ten past there was not a soul there and the gate was locked. Some guy came past in a car and asked if it was open. I said according to their flyer it should have opened at ten, happy to be practising my Spanish. Just then Ruben arrived to open up “Estas temprano” he said. Again I did not think we were early, but then he asked if we were there for the class.
We sat on our own hoping the situation would change, then a Mel Smith lookalike arrived and set up his computer at the DJ spot. As the music started a couple who we know from Sundays arrived, same question “are you here for the class” same answer ” it said nothing about a class on the flyer” This was an oft repeated scene. If you are starting a new event, it makes sense to tell people exactly what it is going to be.
At about quarter past eleven it became obvious that there were no people for the class, so he just let the music run. That it seems is just what he did, it was an eclectic mix. No tandas, no cortinas and no structure of any kind. We got up for a milonga and he played just one. I did think of offering my DJ services to save the night.
Well at midnight it all changed at midnight. By now the place was filling with a younger crowd, Ruben had taken over DJ duties and we started to enjoy the night.
The guy in the car, by the way, came in and had some food then sat talking to me and the couple on the next table. I have had more Spanish practice in one day than I managed in the whole two weeks since we arrived.