Monthly Archives: January 2016

Cheating the subte.

How much is the tube in London? Last time I used it, it cost me £3.60 each I think. Well you can travel the subte here all day, if you so wish, for $5. hat is 25pence as near as dam it.

We were on the platform waiting for the next train when we saw the beggar that always sits outside Medrano sneak through the gate. I could understand this, what I cannot understand is the girl with the I phone who tried to follow him. When she failed she just used the exit gate. I hear a lot of crap about things being expensive here, but if you can afford an I phone, you sure as hell can afford 25p for the underground.

We were off to El Arranque again as it is Saturday, and after a long wait at the subte and my annoyance at the people who dodge fares, we finally arrived. It started quiet as always, but soon it became bedlam, just too many people on the dance floor. I thought that the locals were supposed to be avoiding it as it has no air con. Just shows, you can’t believe what they tell you.

Jesus was here, first time we have seen him this trip. I saw him looking towards Viv just before the cumbia came on. I said to Viv “keep your eye on him he wants to dance” sure enough the next tanda he had her up. Viv was not happy as I had danced Orquesta Typica Victor milonga with someone else. I think this more than made up for it. She had a huge smile on her face.

We went to Petro again for some food. The guy came and talked straight to Viv, so we got Medio Pollo again. I had wanted to try something else, but I got what I was given. Still I had a fair amount of beer with it.

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History cannot be erased or sold.

RIMG0001 Has Bob gone nuts? Why is he posting pictures of hypermarkets? Some who know the history may already know the answer. Stick with me and all will become clear.

The Popes favourite football team is San Lorenzo de Almagro. For some reason I have yet to figure they were not popular with the military Junta in the seventies. So they sold the land on which the club stood to Carrefour. The club had to move out to Flores far away from its home base. Now after years of wrangling Carrefour have agreed to sell the land back.

So you see, I have taken a photo of a building that has been condemned.

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There is still a club shop and Gymnasium here  though.


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Hopefully soon it will again look like this Great painting which is close by. As it says “history cannot be erased, or sold, it can be felt”

Many will know that I am not a great football fan, but something in this story has touched me. May be it has something to do with its proximity to me, maybe its sudden resurgence with the Popes blessing, or maybe it is just another injustice done by the Junta which is about to be righted.

On a side note, we saw a guy carried out of the Gym to an Ambulance, and we were only there twenty minutes. Bloody Gym is no good to anyone, I say.

On our meanderings we stopped at Boedo Y San Juan, another famous tango song. Boedo Y San Juan

There was a  beautiful bar there, obviously equipped for full tango shows in the evening. Miguel Calo was playing with the dulcet tones of Raul Beron. Raul Beron sings

We went inside and ordered coffee. Obviously they did not want us to spend too long there with just café con leche. The music changed to some modern bass singer who droned his way through old classics, making them hard to listen to and, had we the space and inclination, impossible to dance.  Shame we were enjoying the ambiance.

Still it was a good day of wanderings, we found little new, but got totally immersed in tango culture, and a sense of a traumatic history.


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Grid lock in Nuevo Chique

We are getting into a routine now, El Arranque Saturday, Fulgor on Sunday, Wednesday Canning and Tuesday and Thursday Nuevo Chique.

So today we went to Chique again. The crowd was good, but it became a bit too much as the evening went on. I cabeceod Michel’s Marvillosa, and literally I could not get out of the corner. I was stuck there for half the track. Literally gridlock. She tells me he has written, well he has not written me. I can’t understand why this should be. OK maybe I can.

There comes a time when we are defined by our illnesses, “donde es tu amigo” I was asked by my Chilean friend “mi amigo alta? es en inglaterra” she looked at me strangely. “No tu amigo con asthma” she said. Geoff was up dancing. So Geoff is now known as the man with asthma.

We stopped off for a coffee again on the way home. This time at a different café. It looked a bit posher to me and so it was, we got biscuits with our coffee and agua con gas. This is going to cost, I thought. But when the bill came it was less than across the road. We will be back here next week.

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Canning, not so good today.

I didn’t do a lot in the morning. Still having problems with the flush, nothing broken, it just sticks now and then. So I keep at it it will be right one day. Over to the chino for some minced beef, so that Viv can make Bolognese. Then showers and ready to go out again.

Canning was almost empty when we arrived, and even though it filled there were not many who would choose to dance with us. We did meet up with Maggie and Peter though. They are staying in San Telmo, we split them up for a dance, but I don’t think that they were quite ready for the leap to separdos. Today would not have been a good start, so it was for the best.

I had some good dances with some ladies from Alicante. Funny how I can understand everything that they say, but little of what the locals say. Two countries split by a common language, I think.

Mario did two tandas of Biagi, that kept me happy but Viv was having a bad time. She went over to Maggie and Peter’s table to talk to them, that got the waitress worried as they were sitting the other side of the room, where the waiter served. It was time to head for home, and Continue reading

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Shopping for compraphobics

I was dragged kicking and screaming out shopping. I suppose it was my own fault, I kept insisting we buy whole lettuce and not pre prepared stuff. So Viv wanted a salad spinner. (centrefugio here).  We walked up to Corrientes, only two blocks and we found right by the corner a shop that had just about everything.  We got the spinner, a new glass, a spare paint brush and some hand cream.

Job done, I like this sort of shopping. Viv was not done though, we stopped at the salad shop for some tomatoes, the almacen for some bread and then to the chino for a load of other stuff. By the time we were finished my days budget was gone and I had to raid the piggy bank for todays outing.

Off to Nuevo Chique again. It just gets better here, I don’t think Viv missed a tanda and there are a few men she has been trying to cabeceo since last year. Now she has danced with them as well. I did miss a couple, one was Pugliese and one I was just being lazy.

We left there exhausted and stopped for coffee on the way home. There was a demo again on 25 mayo and we had to skirt around it to get to Congresso, but once there we happily sat drinking coffee watching all the collectivos flying by.

By the time we had eaten and Viv decided to do the afters it was gone eleven. She broke out the enselada fruta, bad news, it had banana in it. Too late for me to get anything else. So I just had to go without, I will make up for it tomorrow.


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Ideal is now free

Will I ever learn? I left the flat without checking the internet, well Plaza Bohemia is on every week and I know my way there. There was just no need, I knew the address.

The trouble is it had been cancelled, we got there and the whole place was locked up. What to do now? The obvious answer is find an internet café. There was nothing down Alsina but there was a kiosco and I asked there. The lady was very helpful she directed us around the corner to Morena and Pichincha. When we got there w could see nothing but then we found a sort of precinct, it said Coto on the door but there was all sorts in there.

It was a fascinating place and I suppose we would never have found it had I pre checked, so some good came of it. I think we may visit again some time just for a better look around.

The internet was not in here, when we came out, we saw the locotorio and internet on the opposite corner. Five minutes in there and we realised that Lo de Celia was out, as was Canning. Our only two choices were Obalisco or Ideal. Well Obalisco would not be open for another hour so we set off for Ideal.

The good news is that it is free, bad news the drinks are $40 each. Still I was well on the winning side. The place was full of old faces. Even though we were put seated together Viv still managed a few dances. I met up with Graciela again, I have been missing her this time. More good news it is her birthday next week and we are invited to share the tort.

All the traipsing around the streets, in the heat,  had tired us out, so we did not stay to the end. At least we had seats on the subte.

I wonder sometimes about the wisdom of these milonga organisers. They cancel at short notice, then wonder where all their customers have gone. Then you get Ideal, who ripped off everyone until they deserted in droves now the only way to get them back is to let them in free. Well I am back for now, but let’s see what the future holds.

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Don’t ask me, I’m English

I don’t usually chicken out that, early, but when a girl shoves a microphone in my face and bombards me with questions while a guy stands there with a camera. Well it was too much for me. “Somos ingles, mis castellano no esta buen” I said.

We decided to set out early, it was going to be hot again, too hot to be out at midday. So we were wandering around Palermo when nothing was open. We sat for a while by the empty pond trying to imagine the fountains, that have never worked from the first time we ever came here in 2006.

Nice bar across the road with parasols and Viv was craving coffee. The price looked good too. So we sat there in the sun, when we were approached. She said she needed native speakers and tried another couple over the road.  Shame really, it would have been nice to be on Argentine TV. It was not long before we moved under the parasol, 9:30 and already the sun was getting to us.

We wandered off later to our old stomping ground of Gascon. Instinto the Jamaican Café was still there, but a lot has changed. The filling station that was knocked down three years ago still has a part finished building on the site. I remember how long it took to finish ours, so I am not surprised.

It is getting near noon and we are glad to get back to our little bolt hole. Cool in there while outside it is past 30 degrees and it is expected to reach 35. Think we may siesta today ready for the night time. It actually reached 37 that’s 99 in real money.

I went out for some ice cream and nearly melted on the way back. Not that I am complaining, I came to get away from the cold. Sometimes though you have to be careful what you wish for.

It was even hot when we set out for Fulgor at eight. Fulgor lacks something now without a proper DJ. I worry that it will not last. Some sort of loyalty keeps me going, I love the people there, but worry it cannot continue like this. We saw the demise of the Thursday night this time, I wonder how long will the Sunday last.

Even the walk back at midnight is a chore in this heat. We are lathered in sweat by the time we return.

The best thing about having your own place; toast before bed and cool aircon.

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Tango, and internet.

Have you ever waited in for telecoms people? Then have you ever waited in for someone in Argentina? Well I just had a double dose. It ruined my morning, there was nothing I could do but sit here and wait.

Wait I did until at eleven Philippe called to say that the internet guy would be here in the next two hours. Well he was slightly less than that, but at least he did arrive.

To be fair he was a very cheerful guy. He told us about a place he had just been where the old guy tuned the pianos of Pugliese and Piazzola. He was passionate about tango although he did not dance. His wife was documenting all the tango lyrics and his father sang tango.

Philippe arrived  and then the conversation got a bit faster and I started loosing it. In the end though we now had an internet connection in my name. That is another hurdle surmounted.

El Arranque was good, even for Viv, though she did complain about the standard of the dancers. I could see what she meant, lots of arm wrestling, and brutal secadas.

We had an extra water and I was only halfway through when Viv wanted to leave, so I said one more tanda. After we had danced and sat down, Jong decided to get her up for the next one, it was Pugliese so I was left sitting there and starting to get hungry.

We have more steak for tea, but I am afraid I miscalculated the size and we had to pad it out a little with some toast.  It was very tender but I had not realised how thin the carniceria had cut it.

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Mad Dogs and Englishmen

It’s going to be hot they said.

Friday is a day off tango and Viv wanted to get some shoes. So we walked down Levalle, but it seems all the Tango places behind The Abasto were all closed. So we carried on, the other side of Pueyrredon is the sewing quarter. We stopped to buy some needle threaders,then came back to the subte.

We took the tube into town and headed off to Suipacha.There is a whole row of shoe shops to choose from here. It took some time for Viv to select a pair, but we got them at a good price. The girl warned us about the heat and said we should take care and drink plenty of water. I sensed though that Viv was still not happy, so after a coffee, we walked to The big Darcos Shop on Sarmiento. There we found just the thing, twice the price but ideal. Gunmetal snakeskin, full toed and elegant heal. These will really take the wear and tear of the milongas.

We walked down to Florida passed all the hawkers and cambios. There were a few things we needed still. Only mad dogs and English men were out now and nowhere in Buenos Aires sells shaving sticks. So it was time to give up and catch the subte home.

We bought some tortilla for lunch and sat on the balcony. It was like stepping into an oven from our aircon, so we huddled in the shade. I wasn’t for staying out long though, it is lovely inside the apartment.

Friday is our eat out day, so we decided to head towards Mario Bravo for a change. Billinghurst y Levalle we found a place called Petro. The menu  just blinded us, too much choice, so we played safe and ordered half chicken with chips and salad. It tasted awesome and there was more than we could eat. Not often the Finches leave food.  All this and two litres of beer less than £15. We are going back next week.


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Viv says I write too much. So I will try and keep it short. I spent the morning doing things that need doing around the flat then we went off to Nuevo Chique.

It has to be the best milonga for us. Viv never missed a tanda. I sat out a few trying to pace myself, but we had to be out early.

We got back and dumped our things, and Viv had to change then we set off for the heledria. We got there just before eight and realised we were too early. We sat outside then thought, we could not sit there for half an hour, so we came back and tried again in half an hour.

The guy was very chatty, it all helps my Spanish. We could not stay all night though we were off to Philippes. It was great to get together again with Philippe, Mariela, and Luba.

I am afraid though we struggle with the Argentine late nights, so we left our amigos just after midnight, slightly the worse for a drink or two. Tired but happy.



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