Monthly Archives: December 2019

No Hay Luz otra vez

Up at a reasonable time today and I make coffee, for when Viv gets up. It is dark outside and the forecast says tormentas all day. Sure enough it starts raining heavily. Not one to miss an opportunity I clean the balcony. No one is complaining about the water running off and it is soon pristine again.

I go out for my usual shopping trip via the welder guy. Just before I get there I realize I do not have my wallet. New wallet, and it gets forgotten, such is the way my mind works. Still I have enough money of Viv’s for the shopping. Thinking “according to sod’s law, no money means Jorge must be there” Sure enough there was a light on and someone welding. I had to wait for him to break, it was not Jorge.  Well I asked anyway “Jorge?” he said something about him not being here today, so I thanked him and left to do the shopping.

Philippe contacted me, trying to arrange a meeting is difficult with our differing schedules. So we put it off,  I do not want to put it off too long as he has paid my city tax.

Well here we go again. I got to El Beso and again there is no power. After we had kissed everyone and said what we are doing for new year we went over to The Coffee Store. We could manage without coffee, but I needed the internet. I Sent a message to Philippe, but got no reply. Still it would take us half an hour to walk up there, and if he was not in we would have lost nothing.

As it happened he was not in. After we had rung his bell the second time we turned to go. Then like a bad penny he turned up on his motorbike. He was off to see Mariela at six so we just stopped for a quick coffee. He did not want my money, he pays the bills with Walter’s account so I had no need to worry.

It was still raining heavily when we got back, and then I got another message from Philippe. I had left my shoes, he said he would bring them around in ten minutes.  I seem to make a habit of leaving my shoes every where.

No milonga and not much else to do we went round to HB. We bumped into Jose on the way out. A good chance to practice my Spanish and him his English.  He was off out for some shopping and we left him at the door.

It was still early Buenos Aires time, but HB never shuts. I tried the European burger, quite tasty I thought, with double Gloucester, but Viv went for the lentil burger and she was disappointed, mushy and no flavour she said. I guess I had a close call the other night then. A litre of stout makes everything right though.

On our return Jose was still talking to one of our neighbours.  Viv said Lili probably sends him out shopping knowing she will have a couple of hours peace.  Not like me out and back again in ten minutes.

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Lazy Sunday

As I said last week Viv has designated a rest day, so she has me polishing the desk and refitting a top on it.

Unusually we were up early, so the jobs were soon done. We headed down to Palermo. We had a couple of things we wanted and we could just enjoy the day. Viv got roped in, in a clothes shop. She rather liked the easy wear dress. I did not think it her style, but it would be nice for the cruise.

We looked at a couple of wallets for me, but nothing floated my boat. So we walked back to Plaza Serrano, and sat outside a bar ordering two beers. The waitress said it was hot and we should go inside where there is air conditioning.  I told her it is Summer, it is Argentina and it is normal. We sat well beyond our welcome just enjoying the sun and crushing peanuts for the pigeons. The waitress was not for coming out again, so we had to go inside to pay.  I knew that we were on dodgy ground here, but I did not quite expect $300 for two beers. This was Chester prices, still it was worth it for the time in the sun. I think I put Viv off the dress, I told her it was gringo price, so now she would not buy it. I would not stop her if she wanted it, but the price was definitely high for Buenos Aires.

We walked back along the ferria at Palermo Viejo looking in he market stalls. Maybe it was the beer working, but these wallets suited me much better. Viv also got a mortar and pestle to crush her nuts (don’t ask). So by the time we got to Scalabrini we had everything we wanted today.

We passed the texmex on Gascon and made a note of its address. To check out on the internet with a view to eating there some time. We watched this place being renovated a couple of years ago from the bar across the street, now the bar is closed. Nothing, it seems, lasts here. We also checked out another place further up Gascon “Latino Rest Bar” We hoped to find more about this place, but unfortunately it seems to have no web presence. It is fairly new, but will probably be gone by the time it has a working web page.

Remember that beefe de lomo I bought for Christmas? Well we had the second piece tonight, and if anything it was even better. You cannot knock this at less than £2 a meal.

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Back to 1810

We seem to get up later every day. I am starting to wonder, at what point will we miss a day completely?

My daily routine now involves walking down Salgureo through Rauch crossing Medrano and then through Rocamora. On finding that the welder man is not there walking back again, usually via the chino for something that Viv has asked me to get. I don’t know what I will do with myself when I finally get my chair back. This morning though I met Sebastian’s wife Maria at the door. She was with her daughter and carrying a cat basket. It appears they have purchased a kitten. It is a cute little thing, but they have not yet named it.

Saturday and it is Los Consegrados. We arrive a little later today but it is no problem, only us extranjeros arrive anywhere early. The dancing goes in phases, when Viv was doing well I was not and visa versa. It was never bad for me and Viv was having a good time too. I had a young American guy sitting by me, he was struggling. I told him that as he was not known he should walk around, many of the ladies would have trouble seeing him. He did not take my advice, at least while I was still there. He still thinks he must cabeceo from his seat.

Just after eight we left, and wouldn’t you know it, Tango Negro was playing.  Now am I the only husband whose wife  rushes ahead, and then says “I was following you”? At the front of the building I head off to the right, meanwhile Viv is being accosted by a Remis Driver.  She said she only told him she did not need a car, but it looked a long conversation to me. All my fault again, apparently.

We took the subte to Catedral and Joined the D line, then on to Scalabrini Ortiz.  I found my way easily, but ease can be deceptive. We wanted Julian Alverez to get to 1810 but it turned out we were on Aroaz. Fortunately when we found out we were only one block from our destination.

The food was good as always. It is not the cheapest, but compared to UK prices it is still good, and worth it. Still less than £20 with beer and tip.

We walked back looking for Cafe Vinilo. Turns out I was the right side Of Salguero all along, wrong Street. It was on Gorriti not Cabrera. Still a wasted journey though, it will be closed until 8th January.

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No hay luz en Beso

After my Birthday excesses, did I not say? well any excuse for extra beer. Anyway after yesterday I was hoping for a lay in, but I was awoken by the sounds of them smashing up the pavement underneath us again. They have only just repaired after the water people now, it appears, they are putting in new electric cables again.  Is it really so beyond their ken, that it would be cheaper in the end to install some sort of tunnel.

Off to El Beso again today for the Friday El Abrazo. We got there and the lights were out. Mario had an improvised sound system, but it did not look good. There was no air conditioning and the numbers were rapidly dropping. By six they called it a day. Apparently many had not paid but for those of us who had there would be a glass of champers next week.  I have not kept my ticket, so we will see.

We left for The Coffee Store and sat outside. I was being dripped on by the aircon so we moved away from the building.  Marcelo was inside and I went in to say hello. It was freezing in there. Marcelo Thought that I was mad being outside, I thought he was mad sitting there in the cold. He came to speak to Viv before he left, he told us he had stuck his head in El Beso and decided against staying.

I don’t get it; this is their summer, you would think that they would be used to it. In El Arranque it was always thus, the sound may have been better but they never had air conditioning.

Whilst we were outside Raymond appeared he sat with us and had a good chat. Then he told us he was in a hurry, as his taxi for the airport was due in a quarter of an hour. Must be some sort of super traveler, I would have been panicking at this point. Not Raymond, he calmly walked off to get his taxi, waving as he went.

So then we walked back home to try and get my step count up. A bit of shopping on the way, then a quick change and it was straight out again. We had decided to eat out instead of at home so that we could dance until later, that worked well!

We went over to El Imaginario. We headed straight towards the garden and the guy shut the door on us, so we sat in the bar. While we were there someone else came in and left because they could not go into the garden. It is an odd way of doing business, turning away customers.

Still, a good cheap feed here, although I wanted the lentil burger for a change and apparently they do not do it now. It has me worried; they close the garden and reduce the menu, is this the beginning of the end?

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Botticellito a Cumbia Beat.

Well it’s Thursday and that means Nuevo Chique. We were running late, so the milonga was in full swing when we arrived, and so I was sat right down the bottom again. Too many men standing talking, too few women, and it was impossible to cabeceo. In the first hour I missed as many tandas as I danced. It was good for Viv though, so why should I complain.

After the first hour though, the ladies seats opposite me started to fill. Again I was like a pig in muck. When seven o’clock came I was not ready to leave, too many ladies un danced with, so I had to dance to Pugliese. Viv was not ready to leave either so we carried on.  Until eight when they had the sorteo, and then the tropical. Now it was definitely time to leave.

We got down to the subte at Peru and realized we were the wrong side of the tracks. There was a train in, but by the time we got to the top,crossed the road and down again, the doors shut just as Viv was struggling with her sube card. The next train was right behind, so close it had to stop halfway along the platform. It gave us some faith in the automatic systems. I did notice that there was a cross over tunnel at the end of the platform, I was not ready to risk going on the platform and not getting across, I really must remember next time.

We found our restaurant not far out of the Bulnes subte station.  We ordered the Wok de Pollo and a salad, and, of course, some black beer.

The TV was on all the way through showing The Fantastic four and The Silver Surfer.  No sound but in the background cumbia was playing. This was distracting enough, but then they put on Andrea Botticelli. Am I the only person who thinks this is madness, You put on a musical concert and play something else. I do not want to watch a classical orchestra and a blind singer, whilst listening to cumbia. I think I would prefer it the other way around, or, now here is a radical idea, we could watch what we are listening to. This applies as much to The  UK as here.

OK rant over, the food was good and so was the price. The rain even eased up for our walk back, and it did not feel as far as it looked on the map. Still too stuffed up when we got back. Our pudding will have to wait.

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Christmas Day

Didn’t get up in the best frame of mind, too little sleep,I think. Still by three we were washed up and ready to go out. We were not expecting much today, but then those are the days we are least disappointed.

We walked down to El Beso, Canning was closed as were a lot of milongas, so our choice was limited. Beso today would be the old Arranque crowd. True to form there were some old faces there and after a poor start Viv did a lot better than she had expected. I danced with a few ladies that I have not seen in some time, but the numbers were low so we missed a few tandas.

Still we had a good two hours and I even managed to get Viv up for the chacarera. But it was soon time to leave, we have some nice Beefe de Lomo waiting in the fridge. This is the trouble with eating at home, it eats into dancing time. Still this was to be our Christmas dinner so off we went.

The weather forecast said light cloud all day. Just like Micheal Fish and “no hurricane” it was wrong. It was absolutely hammering down and we in light clothing and no umbrellas. We dived into the subte and fortunately only had a four minute wait. Trains can be unreliable on ferria days. When we came out we stayed close to the buildings and managed not to get too wet.

When we got back I had to go straight out again, beer was needed. Fortunately the chino is close and there is very little traffic to slow my progress.

Well the lomo was excellent and cooked beautifully by Viv. To think I have three more pieces in the freezer.


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Noche Buena

Lazy day today, spent most of it in bed ready for a late night. We did head out to Naraja y flor for breakfast. The guy on the next table offered to help us with the menu. Our problem though was not that we could not understand it, no our problem was we could not decide what we should have. Then when we decided to order revueltas (scrambled egg) and some toast, the waitress told us there was an offer, Revueltas, juice, coffee and toast. We caused more confusion when asked to pay because  we wanted to buy some cakes for our Christmas. Then we stopped at the ferria on the corner. Viv was happy looking around, but there was nothing there she wanted.

Not ready to risk the subte again we left early enough to walk down to El Beso. Not so many people around tonight so it only took half an hour. We barely had to break step at the road junctions. When we got inside the tables had been arranged for one seat to a table. We had arranged to meet Woon, but she was at a table already, so we sat with Teresa. She was quite concerned that we had to sit on separate tables and brought us a chair. The organizers were not happy with this and we moved the chair back.

They came around with hors d’oeuvres and then put on cumbia. No one got up but Eli decided she was going to get the party started. Then Quique put some tango on, that got us up. The starter dish arrived and he had to change the music because everyone kept dancing. This was pretty  much the pattern for the evening. There never was a good atmosphere though as there were only 19 people there. We did get through two litres of stout though and the champagne. The food

We have been here before on Christmas eve, but never to an organized party. They do this like we do New years eve. It was strange to us to have a count down to Christmas.

We danced away the next couple of hours, but with so few people Viv soon got bored, even though she had won a nice top in the sorteo. Time for a slow walk home, watching out for the loonies with the fireworks.

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Last minute shoppers

I tried phoning the welder man, I got no response. So I decided to walk over just to check. There was a woman tugging on the lock, so I guess no one was there. No point in wasting a walkabout, I walked up to Corrientes and along to Sweet Victoria. The lady in there remembered me, but not that I do not wear boxers. Still she had some briefs in, looked old stock to me. They were only $500 hopefully they will get some more in, I will be back for more at this price.

Later I came out again to go to the carneceria at the chino. I got my 2kilo of bife de lomo $512 and it should be enough for four meals.

Off to El Beso today. We got to Medrano station and the platform was packed. Thinking there would be a train soon we rushed onto the platform. Then we saw the board, the next train was twelve minutes away. People were still crowding onto the platform and when it finally came it was already full.  It was a real shoulder to the wheel job to get on. When we passed Gardel I managed to get a bit further in, but ended up standing on one leg, because I could find nowhere to put my other foot. Puerredon gave no relief, even though it is a connection, as many got on as off. When we finally got to Callao it was a relief to get off, but Viv was stuck on the train. I thought for a minute I was going to loose her, she only just made it when the doors closed.

Beso today was not the best, I think everyone is staying home for Christmas. We left early, but not before the raffle. I won, a ticket for one for tomorrow afternoon. As we are there anyway later, I did not want to go twice in a day. I tried, I really tried but it seems no one was interested. If I could not give a free ticket away, I cannot see it being worth going anyway.

After our usual coffee at the Coffee store we took a slow walk back. We needed some veg and a couple of other things. We managed to get every thing on our list, even managed to get rid of all the change, but the streets were manic. Everyone, it seems, is last minute shopping.

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No milonga, but plenty of shopping

It’s Sunday and Viv has decreed a rest day. That means she has work for me, still nice to have a lay in and no schedule to follow. I did get sent out in the morning and I diverted to the carniceria in the chino. I asked if he had any Bife de lomo, “no” he said. I have got used to how helpful they are here now “Mañana?” I tried si.  But he could only order me 2 Kilos and it will be $750, £8 may not seem a lot to us, but it is a fortune here. That will do us Christmas day and possibly three others. I must collect it tomorrow after two.

In the afternoon we went for walkabout. First we walked across to Cabrera, Viv wanted to see the whats on at Vinilo. I had it wrong and was a block out so we stopped at Cafe Cortezar for a coffee and check the internet. Interesting place this check it out : Huge range of beers and coffee only £1.

Anyway Vinilo was just across the road but closed and all signs of its existence removed until it is open again. We walked right past it earlier.

We did not get much further when we got the munchies. There is a new bar on the corner of Malerbia called Alibeer or something like. They had an offer Papas con cheddar and two pints $400, well rude not to. We got a portion of onion rings as well for another $150. Thats £7 with tip, it would cost that just for the beer in Chester. Again a huge range of beers and unusually, they gave us the choice of beer with the offer. I am not sure we could choose from the entire range, as some were quite expensive (in comparison) so we had the golden beer.

We wandered around the old market then towards the roundabout at Serrano y Honduras. Viv could not resist looking in Solo Mirando. Funny it is not peak season but I could not get a seat outside, must be locals on holiday. The moped that was always in front is missing. I always wanted to take it away and restore it, now I have missed my opportunity.

We walked back past the welder man, not that I expected him to be there on a Sunday, but it was not out of our way. As expected everything was locked up.

Viv sent me out again later for some apple pie. La Riena was closed so I went to Boulevard on Corrientes, I looked but could see nothing. Now I am getting better at asking “Hay tarta manzana” I asked “Si” she said, and produced this massive apple pie enough to feed the five thousand. So I tried “Hay pociones?” again the affirmative and she put the big pie back and went around the counter. Then she shook her head “no hay” she said, so I left empty handed.  Not for giving up, its not often I get sent out to buy a desert, so I was not about to fail. So I went around the corner to Augustus on Medrano. Viv has often admired the cakes in there and we have been for coffee  a couple of times. Learning now I tried again “Hay tarta manzana pociones?” success. They were bigger and more expensive than I had hoped, but they will do twice. Now to Daniel for a kilo of ice-cream. That is a few future puddings taken care of.



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Gudfellas Band

Saturday night is Los consegrados.  Tonight though had a different feel. There were very few we knew here tonight. Strange but Viv actually danced rather a lot, but I was having  a difficult time, and so after three hours we decided to call it a day. I danced with one rather attractive lady, she told me her name was Julia and she had Norwegian blood. I was shocked when she told me she was 80, just shows, tango keeps you young.

We took our new route on the E line to Correo Central then joining the B line for home. We came out at Carlos Gardel for a change one stop short. Then we walked up Corrientes on the left hand side. We stopped at a restaurant called Alcala. We have been here before in previous trips and have always enjoyed the food. Tonight when we got there we found it was a special night. There was to be a band playing from nine, a free glass of champs and a raffle for a Christmas box.

While we perused the menu unable to decide, the waiter talked us into the offer of  Beefe de Chorizo, well, when in Argentina. They even had black beer here. The food and service was once again excellent. Definitely worth coming back for the food. But the show: We were still eating at nine, the saxophonist was sat on the floor  serenading himself quietly. Then by half past he had given up and someone was walking a round with a bunch of leads. By then we had finished our food and I was on the Gin and Tonic. By ten the guitarist was now playing to himself, I must say that individually they sounded good. Gudfellas Band was the name.

Next they all sat at a table and started drinking. Over two hours from their start time and without evening clothes, we were starting to get cold. We asked for the bill, the waiter asked why we were not staying for the band “No Tengo suficiente vida” I said.

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