Monthly Archives: January 2018

Tango, Chinese and Stout

A bit of a worky morning today. After struggling to sand down the patch in the bedroom, I struggled more to put some more plaster on it. I found that by scraping it off and adding more water each time it did become slightly more plastic. A final sand tomorrow should see it right. While that was going off I took the broken chair to Sanchez de Bustamente. The same guys were sitting there and the main man recognized me “est es la silla?” he looked at it and told me that the welding would burn the pain off. “No shit Sherlock” I thought but just said “si, no problem”. He took it to the back where another guy fired up the oxy acetylene. When he came to the front I said “Ahora?” He said “Si, aproxamente cien”. When the chair came back he offered me water to dunk it in, but I said it would be cold by the time I got home. I gave him the $100 and told him that the chairs only cost me $50 when I bought them, knowing inflation here he never even asked me how long ago.  They did a good job though and I can live with the small patch of burnt paint for now.

Back to Nuevo Chique today and it was not a good one. Apart from me Viv got only one dance in the first two hours. I don’t know what makes one day so different, but it happens. Fortunately it picked up for her afterwards, but I still seem to have some invisibility. Not that I m complaining I still got dances, it just took a little longer than usual. More of Vivs fan club arrived in her last hour so I was saved from earache.

We try to eat out on a Tuesday so we headed off to El Revolutionario but it was still closed. They did say February so I suppose we still have two days to go. Fortunately we did have a Plan”B”. We caught our usual 151 Collectivo but instead of getting off at Guardia Vieja we stayed on until Cordoba and got off just before Aroaz. Down here is the bar formally known as Doctor Mason, now it is known as Shanghai Dragon. Food is more takeaway then restaurant, served in cardboard cartons with chopsticks but it is the nearest we get in Buenos Aires to proper Chinese food. There is an added bonus, Celtic Stout on Draught.

Tango, Chinese and Stout, it does not get much better than this. Just one downside; I asked and they do not open Saturday morning, so I can’t watch the rugby here.

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Fifty shades of Grey

I had postal duties again this morning, when my number was called I ended up with the girl who wanted my passport again. This time I was ready for her, what I was not ready for was the cost. I was paying my internet bill at the same time, so when I gave her ar$1100 I expected it to be enough, but she kept asking for more. When I checked the receipt she had charged me the equivalent of over £10 to post a card. Next time I will wait for a different girl.

The shirt that was due to be worn last night, I decided was too good for Fulgor. This turned out to be a mistake. For once in El Beso it was me having trouble getting dances. It looks like no one can see me in my grey shirt, I have become The Invisible Man. Ladies were looking straight at me but not seeing me. Never have I missed so many tandas.

In the end I had to go up to the ladies tables and ask. This is a risky strategy as some one may well have cabeceo in between and I risked being left just standing there.

Despite all this we had an enjoyable time, but must remember, no grey for Beso.

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Spring cleaning

Well ok it’s not spring here, but never the less, a time to spruce the place up. I need to repair the plaster around our bedroom window. A difficult task as the only plaster I seem to be able to get is Paris. I will just have to leave it and try sanding it smooth afterwards.

I  have waxed the woodwork and avoided Viv while she does what she does. Then had to re-hang the picture as it came down when she cleaned it.  Who says we are on holiday?

Sunday, it seems is my day to be ill. Last year it was almost every Sunday and I put it down to the ice at El Arranque. This year with no El Arranque and no ice, I did not expect it. Lets hope this is a one-off.

The crowd in Fulgor was different again this week. Numbers were up just different people. The music was dire at first so my resolution to have no beer did not last. Last week we could hardly hear the music but this week it was just too loud. How hard can it be? After half an hour cervesa negra was called for. Viv actually enjoyed the night despite us not doing too much dancing, I think sometimes she just likes a rest.

He did play Tango negro though and a nice tanda of Miguel Calo. Viv being the kind soul she is insisted I dance it with Bebe. She never got a dance with the new guy at the end although he had danced with Bebe, it seems Viv was too much of a threat. I can’t imagine she was going to run off with him, especially with me sitting there.

We remade some old acquaintances again and by the end of the night we were on kissing terms with everyone in there. It can now take quite some time to get in and leave, by the time we have kissed everyone. I am also getting some slightly longer conversations although I may not always understand what they are talking about.  It appears the short guy, who we are only just on kissing terms with, had a suit like The Prince of Wales when he was younger. Maybe next week I will get more of the story, or maybe I will just get more confused.


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You just can’t go back again.

I think I have found someone who can weld here. I went for a morning wander, unfortunately I forget it is the weekend. Twenty years of never having one myself, perhaps I can be forgiven. On Sanchez de Bustamente I saw an opening and three guys and a woman sitting drinking coffee (or maybe mate, I could not tell). There was workshop materials behind them and I spotted what I thought was a gas bottle “Puedes soldaro con gas ” I asked. The guy looked puzzled “Soldadero?” he said “No hoy”. Now one thing I have learned here is not to be put of, not today was the nearest I have yet received to a yes. “Puedes soldadero en la semana?” I tried ” Si que quieres” so I told him about our chair and checked the location. Something may well happen before I get here, but we live in hope.

On one of my previous wanderings I had found another opening full of furniture, so I wandered in for a good look around, nothing here I fancied so with a cheery wave I past the men at the door and left. Today, being Saturday it was shut up the sign on the door said “Fernandez Y Hermanos, Mundanzas y Guardar”. So I had been looking for furniture in Fernandez and Brothers removals and storage depot. At home somebody would have asked me what I wanted in there, not here, they just leave you to it.

I wandered around Plaza Almagro as I was passing. On a Saturday the locals all set up store here and sell anything that they have, sort of boot sale without a car. You simply would not believe the things they sell. There was a water-cooler without the cooler and even a no-weld plastic 30mm bend, why would anyone come here looking for that? Still it entertains me.

We found out that the organizer of El Arranque is now running a milonga at Club Gricel so we are off there today in the hope of meeting up again with the old crowd. The lady on the door welcomed us with the lowest entrada yet and asked if this was our first time. I said that it was but we used to go to El Arranque. She said that they have been here since September, time enough to get things going.

It all seemed a bit flat though. True the old couples were there and causing a riot in the bit in the middle, but few of the old singles were there. I danced mainly with foreigners and so did Viv. I have never been to a milonga where I have danced with so many ladies on numerous occasions. We decided to call it a day at six thirty and head for home.

There was no sign of the man himself, but when the interval came with the announcements she said “Juan Carlos esta mejorando” so if he is getting better, I suppose he must be ill. I have checked his page and there is no mention, although there is talk of him loosing weight.

We thought about walking but when I realized we were eleven blocks for Rivadavia and five from Columbres, well twenty-four blocks was too much, so we took to the subte. Trouble was, when we got there, there was no way in. It seems that H line entrances are closed on Saturday, so we had to back track onto the E line just to get below. Viv was right annoyed from all the up and downing by the time we got on the train.

Time for some cervesa negra I think.


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El Simbolo

Milongas are a strange breed, you never quite know how they will turn out, who will be there and who will dance with you. So it was with El Beso today. It started out well for Viv, she hardly missed a tanda , but when las borrachas arrived there was chaos around her. When she got back from her dance, her glasses were no longer on the table. I had been dancing with Graciela and stayed to help look, but we had no success. When Zoraida did the announcements she told of the lost glasses.  It seems a lady at the back had them. She had been sitting by Viv and was a constant irritation moving seats and shifting tables. Even at one point knocking over Vivs drink.

As I danced with one lady she asked me about my wife ” are you not jealous, she dances so close” I told her “Well I dance close” “but you are a man” she said I explained it is only a love of tango, we both love to dance. The Argentines have a funny set of morals, it’s ok for the men but not the women. Viv did not miss a tanda afterwards though.

We must be getting fitter at last, we stayed until seven-thirty, then set off on the walk home. On the corner of Corrientes and Bulnes we saw a place advertising Revueltos called El Simbolo, so we decided to stop. They called it Revuelto something or other I had not heard before so I asked what it was. Egg ham chips, just the same so we ordered two and some beer. The place looked grotty but the food was good and only just around the corner. We may well be back. Only AR$310 that’s £12.40 to you, got to love it.


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It’s not all bad but then you would not expect it to be, if it was why would I keep coming back.

We stopped at the shoe repair shop on the corner. Viv wanted some holes in her straps. There is an alarm on the door it screams “Hola Bienvenido” when you enter and if you should go too near it. The woman in front wanted a zip repaired in her bag “ar$80” he said, well that is less than £4 everything here is repairable. He spent some time on Vivs shoes, it seems he did not want to use the punch on one pair and took them around the back to do them. When we got the shoes back he just waved his hand “sin cargo” he said. Viv felt a  bit guilty not paying, but perhaps he just remembers we have used him before.

Over to Corrientes and the perfumaria, and we are again introduced to the Kerry Blue who stands on constant guard. I never remember names must try harder his name is Bruno. No trip complete without meeting Bruno. Now stocked up with hand cream and shoes tightened, Viv is happy.

There were a lot of women today at Nuevo Chique, today was the sorteo for the shoes, but we would not be bothered to stop. What it did mean though was Viv struggled for dances.  Some of the women were still being fussy though, I was not for wasting time on them though. If I was not up at the beginning of the tanda then all chance of doing a cabeceo was gone across a  crowded floor. So any who chose to be fussy never got a second chance.

Philippe and Mariela arrived after an hour or so and sat with Viv. I was up dancing with her when they arrived so we went over to say hello after the tanda. As I was already there I got a dance with Mariela at the same time. We will not see them again for some time as they are off to France for Philippe’s mother’s birthday for three weeks.

We stayed longer tonight but still three and a half hours was enough. Don’t have our Buenos Aires fitness yet and we have lentils and bacon waiting at home.



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No puedo soldero con gas

I decided to take a detour this morning, for some reason we are not seeing much of our barrio this time. I just took a big loop around to get to the post office. On the way I passed another garage, I looked in and again I could see no gas “Puedes soldero con gas?” I asked ” no” came the reply. I wonder how they manage here welding on cars with a stick welder and not able to heat things up or burn off. I want my chair braised (Bronze welded) not stick welded as I do not think that there is enough metal, but maybe I will just have to trust them.

At the post office I held the door open for a woman with a baby then took my number. She did not seem to know what to do so I thought rather than tell her in my broken Spanish she would see me and follow, which she did.  Then my number was called and the girl sent me away, because there was a woman with a baby. Why she did not just call her first I just don’t know.

Anyway I posted my letters again without my passport. I did have it carefully concealed about my person, but was not letting on.

Off to Milonga de Juan again today. Different crowd it seems, leaving Viv struggling. As always it is good for me, but I must keep Viv happy. I have suggested going back to Canning next week but she wants to stick it out. “You need to get Known”.  trooper that she is. She was crowded by a local woman who moaned all the time and then sat in front of her, I was pleased to see she hardly got a dance.

Well we were rewarded with some steak and Cream Stout after and a film on Youtube by Yann Arthus Bertrand. Well you get what you can here.

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Why the dinosaurs died out

Well, it is that time of the month again?  The first time I must pay my expensas this year. I have marked on a previous bill what to enter, what could possibly go wrong? At the bank there was no queue so I was straight to the machine “Identificar sin Tarjeta” “Si” “ingreso tu numero” I put in the first number on my list. “Ingreso tu cuenta” second number. Then it said “ingreso tu numero identificar” now to me that means my passport number or DNI. Last year it gave me the option of a deposit or a bill. Must have done something wrong, so I crashed back to the beginning, I got a different result this time still no request for a deposit.  Third attempt still no luck. I am sure this is what happened to the dinosaurs, It was not a big meteor that killed them off, but stupid technology designed to finish off anyone not able to keep up.

Paid my electric bill OK, you see I was dealing with a person. Bought some steak, even though I know nothing about butchery, because, yes I was dealing with a person. Hopefully tonight there will be a concorcio meeting and I can pay my money direct to Mirtha. Whilst trying to pay for my meat, I was struggling with my bag. I could not hold it open and put my stuff in, then this dear old lady came  and held my bag open for me. The country may be crazy but the people are just the friendliest.

It was a funny day at El Beso today, everyone seemed to huddle in one spot. Viv, it has to be said, never missed a tanda, but from where I was sitting cabeceo was all but impossible. I had to go on the prowl to get dances, only one woman refused, her loss I think. Teresa commented that even though there were more men to dance with, she got few dances. She was right in my line of vision so she got a lot with me. I told her she could have no more or we would have to get married.

At six thirty we’d had enough and wet home for some food.

We enjoyed our steak and then I went down to check on the meeting downstairs. There is little point in me going early as mainly they are just rowing and I cannot follow what is happening. Anyway it was supposed to run from 8 until 9, I went down at 8:30 and there was no one there. Looks like they have all given up. Bugger, Viv just told me I was a week early.



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Feliz Cumple Maria

My shopping trip today started well enough “Que quieres senor?” “Numeros, stickers, por tarjetas” I said in the libreria. Well it may have been gobbled gook but he understood what I wanted. He did not have them, but he understood. “Tengo tarjetas Feliz cumpleanos, pero no numerous”. Now emboldened thinking I could make myself understood I tried the papaleria on Humahuaca.  The guy nodded and disappeared around the back, I waited in hope. He came back with raffle tickets. I tried explaining again he just said “No, no tengo”. Around the corner on  Medrano is a party shop, the girl just greeted me, then ignored me. There were packets of stickers by the door, it took some finding but eventually I found one with a load of numbers in, enough for every birthday we are likely to attend ever. “Cuanto es” I asked “Diez” she said, that’s about 40p in real money. Not a bad shopping trip then (I also achieved total success in the grocery shop).

Off to El Beso again today to celebrate Maria’s Birthday. We tried to be late, we really did, but were only a quarter of an hour after opening. Eli welcomed us in and in typical Argentine fashion did not listen to what we said “Hay una reserva para Graciela?” ” no Mi nombre es Eli” she said. Give up on that and went to sit in our usual seats until Las Borrachas arrive. Well despite the low numbers we had two hours of non stop dancing. There seemed to be a lot of men and hardly any women, yet every time I thought I had exhausted them more would arrive.

Then when Maria and Graciela arrived we moved station. I still stayed separated but just behind. The trouble was where we were sat there was a poor view across the floor. Viv struggled and so did I. Still we were entertained by Las borrachas, I never understand a word and yet we were always laughing. They fed us empanadas, gave us wine and then cake just before we left. Teresa complained that now I had moved too far away from her, “but they give me wine” I said.

As usual here they waited until we were ready to go before they brought the cake. Made us feel guilty, Viv had changed her shoes, but then Graciela gave me more wine then the cake. It was less than half an hour to closing by the time we got away. That’s nearly five hours of enjoying ourselves, almost too much at our ages.

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Not the floor it looked

Another day, another trip to the Coreo. Got the boss man, I think, this time and although I had my passport in my pocket, he never asked for it. I walked around to the dietetica again, still it is locked and shuttered. I assume that they are on holiday, but there are no notices up and no sign of when it will be open again. Again I presume that the locals know what is going on but the only reason that they have not yet lost our custom is that we can find nowhere better, yet.

Geoff and Pauline arrived at  Nuevo Chique today. Some more friendly faces for us, not that Viv needed them. She danced non stop all afternoon. There was a strange feeling there today. I have seen the floor more crowded but never so many collisions. Somehow the floor felt more crowded than it looked.

At just before seven Viv had enough and said “I’m going” I said to Geoff “It will be Pugliese next anyway” and it was. So we set off into the night.

No coffee on the way home tonight, I am running short of funds. Hopefully I will be OK after the weekend, if not I will have to pray to the great God Azimo.


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