Monthly Archives: February 2020

Local Knowledge

I have one small job today, to take Les’s sube card. Normally I would walk, but after last nights excesses I am too tired. I already have 5,000 steps in for the day before I get up. Outside of our building there is a 151, it has passed the stop but is stopped at the lights. I raise my hand, more in hope than expectation, but he opens the door for me anyway. I have pre explored this area, but I still get it wrong and have to backtrack twice until I find the hotel.  The girl was very helpful ( she never replied in English, although I suspect she could) even gave me a note to leave.

Mission accomplished it was time to return. I had not checked the colectivos, getting a bit over confident here. I knew that they ran back along Colonel Niceto Vega so I crossed the road looking for a stop. Passed the railway and there was a 168 coming. There was a lady at the stop so no panic. I jumped on and said “a Medrano”. Now the driver said nothing just charged me $20. I realized my mistake when the bus turned up Pringles. I had quite forgotten that there are two 168. They may look the same but follow different routes. Years ago I had caught the wrong one and ended up at the depot. At least I knew where I was here. I pressed the buzzer as we left Rocomorra. It was not too bad in the end, I got off at Pringles y Guardia Vieja which was five blocks away instead of two. Then I remembered Viv had asked me to get something to eat, so I diverted another two blocks to Augustus for some Medialunas.

Friday is El Beso again. Same old with the seats, but at least with Zoraida here she found a decent seat for Viv. I have my usual seat under the mirror, but even here, two tables are reserved and I am not exactly where I like to be. I was, of course off like a shot once I had my shoes on. Although I am tired after yesterday, and missing any tanda I did not like the sound of. At least for a while, then a couple of  missed cabeceo meant I would promise the next dance to someone, and I even danced Pugliese.

It was hard dancing, too many on the floor and no floor craft, so I was soon tired. Then Viv was getting bored, so it was time to leave. We had our usual promo at The Coffee Store, and soon we saw everyone was leaving. I wonder sometimes if we should stay, maybe the dancing gets better later.

We had a list of things to buy for the trip home so we stopped at Farmacity. Got most of what we wanted except for soap dishes. Well we stopped at Petish and got just the thing, then La Riena for some scones and we were still in time for El Bosque. With good local knowledge now we get things done quickly, but Viv was in a hurry. She rushed out and I never got a chance to say goodbye to our shoe man

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Otra noche Viruta

Not a lot to do this morning just a bit of shopping. I do have to plan carefully though, you can’t take a bag full of stuff into the supermarket. Then I do not want a load of heavy veg to carry up and down. So I went to the dietetica then back to the confiteria and finally back to the verduria. Job done and I managed to get rid of all he change as well.

Nuevo Chique was busy for a Thursday, this was not good for Viv. She started well but by seven she was struggling. I, on the other hand, was struggling for a different reason. I wanted to dance with all those ladies that I would not see again, but there were just too many of them. When I had one refusal because the lady does not valz, I never got back to her, she now probably believes I was annoyed. There is nothing I can do, I am only one man.

We intended to go home for food, but time was getting short. We would still have to go home but we stopped off at Congreso Plaza for a promotion; ham and cheese toasty and coffee. At $180 it fills the gap and does not tell on the wallet.

After another coffee we head out to La Viruta. Miguel DeGenova is on tonight with Carlos Lididinsky. Not the full otras Aires but we expcted some of the old favourites. We were not disappointed with the music, the numbers though were badly down. This did mean when we wanted to dance we were not trying to avoid flying heals all the time and we had space to move. Later a French lady arrived who I have danced with in Canning and Nuevo Chique. I had a dance with her, but her partner seemed disinclined to dance. I could see her watching us dance and I think she was surprised as here I could let fly. She did not stay long. She had missed the show anyway.

Miguel remembered us again and we took another selfie with him. I know I do this every year, but how many international artists would remember one of their fans by name? Sorry for interrupting your Pizza Miguel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tango

Too many goodbyes.

You gotta love this place. We went to Comme Il Faut this morning, but I gave strict instructions to Viv not to let me forget my trousers. The trip was successful, Viv even managed a sale pair.

We headed back all the time I was making sure I remembered my trousers. We arrived there just after one, the guy has a lunch “hour” 12:30 until 3:00.  I thought I would check El Bosque to see if it was open, it too has a long lunch time. Makes you wonder how anyone does business here.

I managed to get out again before we left for the milonga. El bosque was open and he could get the shoes done this week. He did a really good repair on the other strap, you can hardly tell it was broken. Now he will do this one as well, and he will do it by Friday so we will have the shoes ready for next time we are here. All for 0nly$150. I picked up my trousers as well, and he threw in a hanger. One pair repaired and one pair shortened $300. That is a good deal of repairs for less than a fiver.

It’s Wednesday so it is Salon Canning. This will be our last visit this trip so I make a resolution to dance with at least one of the women that have avoided me. Well I failed with one, she left before I could get to her. Thee second I was failing every time I tried to cabeceo, then as the evening wore on she was left sitting. She was still not looking my way, but faint heart never won fair lady I walked over and said ” I know it is breaking all the rules, but will you dance with me?” Well it worked and she seemed quite pleased. I think that I now have another lady to dance with.

On those lines, there was another lady who, it seems, has been trying to get a dance with me. Numbers being so low, she was the only woman left. I know that sounds bad, but sometimes that is what it takes. Viv has been in the same situation. Anyway, this lady also comes to Chique, so I may see her again Thursday.

We said goodbye to Erwin, and thanked him for the music, we will not see him again before we go. Then we said goodbye to Montenegro, our waitress here.

We had our regular trip to The Taco Box again. We don’t even get the menu any more, we just ask for the usual, that includes the beer. Our waitress was showing another the ropes and teaching her the English words for things. When we left we said Goodbye to her as well, Everyone seems surprised when we say we are going home, we seem to have been here forever. That, I suppose, is the advantage of  becoming regulars.

Afterwards we walked back along Gascon and crossing the road at Honduras was the guy from Sullivan’s bar. He was really pleased to see us, but gutted that we are going home. He told us that he lives near to us, but he was having trouble because he was the worse for drink. We had to promise him we would come and see him Sunday. My appointments diary is getting very full. I love the fact that we meet people as we walk around here, and everyone is so glad to see us.

We stopped at Chioco to find out what time it closed. We intended to have an ice cream there tomorrow. But, what the hell, you only live once, so we stopped for one now. It was a nice end to the night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Catching up

After a little shopping, I went to have my hair cut. Different Girl this time, and she wanted to put a part in. My father tried for years to get me to have a part in my hair, you can put it in, but my hair will always have its way. So I told her no.

I remembered my trousers, I was supposed to pick them up Friday, but I forgot. Saturday was another possibility, but again I forgot. Today though was ferria, so it was closed.

We got an invite to Philippe’s, so after much thought today’s milonga visit was cancelled. It was not such a hard decision as we are not enjoying El Beso at the moment anyway. It was nice to catch up with Philippe, Mariella and Walter for a few hours.

Later I went walkabout as my step count was down for the second day on the run. I walked up Bartolome Mitre and Diez Valez crossing and re crossing the railway. There are some interesting bridges here with plants growing on a high level framework. Around this time of day the automatic watering is on, making it even more interesting. Around Medrano the road curves across the railway so that it becomes more of a tunnel. There is a large childrens play area here as well.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tango

Crazy foreigners.

This morning I dragged kicking and screaming to the Nike outlet store. We had to take the subte and there was train just coming in. there are only two turnstiles here and there was a very fat woman with kids and pushchairs not making a great effort to get out of the way. Viv tried the other turnstile until I pointed out that there was a belt fastened across it. So I crashed the emergency exit and dragged her through. Using the subte without paying is something of a custom here. It is not something I do, but a few times I have paid and not got a journey, so I have a clear conscience.

Viv bought herself some shoes, then dragged me over to the men’s section. It seems it was only a ploy to get me there. So now I have new trainers as well as new dance shoes for the cruise.

El Abrazo was as crowded as ever today. There was the usual bunch of tourists who have been brought just to ogle. You would think that the tour guides would explain just a little to them, before they come crashing onto the floor.  All in all I had a good time, but when the crashing starts it is impossible for me to protect the lady I am dancing with. I feel it is my fault when the lady I am dancing with gets speared by another set of heels. The afternoon is spoiled by the bad dancers and reverse movers, but at least, non of my ladies blamed me.

Viv left early again as she still has this cough. I told her to just order one coffee. When I arrived at The Coffee Store she had only just got her coffee again. The girl there thinks it is quite funny, Viv always orders a cafe con leche, then as soon as it arrives so do I and order another and some medialunas.  Viv had been talking in the toilets and heard the sorteo. I said that she must have known then I would soon be out.

We walked back and ate at Imaginario bar again. The staff here are getting to know us now and we get good service. Crazy foreigners who eat early, drink black beer and leave.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

No beef in the land of cattle

Getting beef in this land of cattle, is becoming increasingly difficult. I wanted a kilo of mince, and our local butcher said “mas tarde” so I tried the chino two doors away. The butcher there was shut up. The chino opposite us had non. So I returned home without, because I had a bag full of shopping and was being looked on suspiciously in the chinos.

I left again without my shopping to try elsewhere. What I did notice is that there are increasing numbers of Tiendas Granjas. Don’t bother to translate, it translates as farm stores, which is not what they are. They sell chicken, whole, breasts,legs, and whatever bits you might want. I wanted minced beef. Last time we had this problem we had stopped at a place on Gascon, it was expensive, but needs must. So I went there, inside there was no sign of mince. “Hay picada?” I asked “Picarda Carne?” he replied “Si un kilo”  “Si” Now as I said there was no sign of it there, but he took what looked to me the leanest steak I have seen, trimmed any remaining fat off it and put it in the mincer. This was all good stuff. He weighed it out and it was just over a kilo. He picked some out and put it into his hand until it weighed exactly a kilo. Once it weighed the correct amount, he threw what was in his hand back into the bag. Like I said it is dear here, cost me $400ar, but let’s put this into perspective, that is £4, and it was slightly more than I paid for.

Nuevo Chique never fails.  Today there was a shortage of women, this meant that occasionally I was stuck, but I have a few old favourites that will always dance with me. For Viv there was no such problems, she was up every tanda. I only missed two, Pugliese and Biagi. and thereby hangs a tale; Viv always dances Pugliese with Miguel, who incidentally hates Biagi. So when a strong beat started, Viv got up with Miguel. I never even gave it a thought, I just headed for the toilets to freshen up. I was out in the corridor before I realized that it was not Pugliese but Biagi.

When I got back, cursing, it was all my fault, of course. I should have told her. Well in the course of four hours one missed tanda is not the end of the world. Next tanda was a Vals, and this was followed by, you guessed it Pugliese. So she danced again with Miguel.

I had a pile of raffle tickets by the time the sorteo came. I failed to win the champagne, I failed to win the chocolates, I even failed to win any discount vouchers, but my number came up for two free entradas for Caminito milonga Saturday night. I did not respond, and let someone else have it, who may actually want it.

We retired to Congreso Plaza Pizzeria for a coffee and medialuna. I fancied the tostada again, but Viv was not for that, she wanted us to save ourselves for her pasta later.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

70s Bell Bottoms.

My first job of the day was, to get my new trousers altered. I am still not sure about them so I am not going to pay UK price to have them altered. Our usual shop is empty, maybe they could not make a living here. I searched the streets unable to find another place. There was a tintoria with a notice about Arregular.

Anyway I came back with my trousers and no fruit. Viv was not happy, so I had a coffee and tried again. This time I knew the word for alterations, and tried the tinteria. I have learned something else; the difference between “cortar” and “anchar”. I wonder what they would have looked like if he had done 11cm anchar. He was measuring the width of the leg. I would not have got my foot through. I remembered to buy some fruit on the way back as well. Just checked “anchar” and it means to widen. 70s bell bottoms then.

Salon Canning was all but deserted when we arrived, so we danced together. Soon though one or two arrived and for a while Viv did better than me. It was a slow build up but we never really missed out. I may have missed one or two tandas but generally we did well. We stayed past the rock and roll section. Every time Viv was ready to leave she got another dance. We both danced with new people, because the numbers were low. This, hopefully means that those people will remember us for again.

We called time just before eight and went across the road to a place called Baru. We went here many years ago when it was called something else that we cannot remember, for an anniversary meal. Now it is a sort of salsa bar. We asked if we could just have coffee and they said yes. We sat down ordered a coffee (or so we thought) and asked if we could just see the menu.  There was no sign of our coffee so we called them over. We asked if we could just have coffee and she snatched away the menu.  Well it was a tiny coffee and I never had time to see what they had. Seems you can not order and still view the menu here. So we drank our coffee , then left for Taco box.

Still great food here, good service and beer. What more can you ask?

Leave a comment

Filed under Tango

Well, we got a plate

Why does everything happen at once? I have not spoken to Perry this trip, and I was just talking to him in messenger when Philippe arrived. The only time, it seems we can meet up is when I have other arrangements.  So I am holding two conversations at once until Perry went then so did Philippe.

We are entering our last two weeks here, and suddenly everyone wants to meet up. It was ever thus. I think if we stayed longer it would be no different.

Nuevo Chique did not let us down again, although Viv was having trouble with this persistent cough. It did sort of cut short our stay today, but anyway the heat and humidity was getting to me as well. We met a welsh guy here today. Now for the scary bit; later he came up on Facebook, People you may know.

There was a demonstration again tonight so our bus was not running so we headed across to the subte. This, of course was packed and not running regularly. So we had a long wait, a crowded train, and at every stop there was a delay. This, of course meant that even more people were trying to get on, so all in all not a pleasant journey home.

We stopped at HB for our chicken goujons cheesy potatoes and salad. We got no nuts today with our beer, this was reflected in our tip. We can’t get them to understand we need two plates either. We have had a metal platter, a metal bowl, and tonight we had a plate. Maybe just maybe, as we are getting closer, we may get two of something next time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tango

When You walk through the Storm, hold your umbrella high.

I think I have missed a day. I suppose my reports are getting a bit samey now So I will just tell you about the rain yesterday; We knew it would rain later when we came home so I went prepared. Viv had decided that my umbrella was like weapon and I should take another from the huge assortment we have accumulated. Anyway Viv soon got bored with El Beso and being in the wrong seat, although after the initial set of tandas she did rather well. Just then they did the sorteo then a singer came on. So I thought I would leave as well. I should have stuck it out there was a good tanda on next, La Juan D’Arienzo, I think. I was halfway down the stairs so was not coming back.

At the door there was a crowd, some having a smoke, some waiting for a bus, others just sheltering. I pushed through and tried to open my umbrella. It was a disaster of spokes and broken plastic spindles. I wore it like a hat over to The Coffee Store. Inside the girl took it off me and tried to put it in a bucket with the others, but it refused to fold.

We decided to take the subte home, to save getting too wet. I managed to find a way of holding the umbrella open by holding it high on the shaft, once I had somewhere with a bit of space. I also folded it, after a fashion, in the subte entrance.

Back at casa Bob, I tried to give it away, but, it seems no one wants a broken umbrella even in a Buenos Aires storm. I left it in the bin on the stairs.

I think we are down to four umbrellas now. Lesson learned, test your brolly before you leave.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Nu shoos

Great news this morning; my house has been broken in to. The police are doing a great job, they already have one of the guys, I will not let it worry me, I will deal with it when I get home.

Nothing for it but some retail therapy. Our first stop was a sports wear shop. It all looked a bit expensive and not really us. So we moved on to Sweet Victoria. I buy my underpants here and always have a good chat with the lady. They only had three pair in my size, so I bought them. Easy to please, that’s me. Meanwhile the girl was doing her best sales technique on Viv. She managed to get her to try a sports top. It looked good but “you need the matching leggings”. So she tried them on then another top. So while I spent $1500 on what I actually came out for Viv spent $4500 on something she did not intend.

We moved on to DNI. When we got there, there was no sign of life. The guy in the cafe said it opened at twelve. So rather than walk home (only a block away) we stopped for a coffee and cookie.

I managed to find some shoes for me, so that is me set up for cruising. Not my usual style, do you think it will make me a better dancer?

Off to Los consegrados again today. It looks like the numbers are down again but I am doing pretty well. Viv however was not. I tried to dance with her a few times but she was not happy and by seven she’d had enough. I did another milonga with a lady from Uruguay and then joined her in the foyer.

So we took the subte to Bolivar and changed onto the D line getting off at Scalabrini. From there we walked to 1810. We thought we would try something different this time, so we ordered a five ingredient salad and their version of cottage pie. It was very good, but I am struggling with my teeth at the moment and it took the enjoyment away for me.

On the walk home we passed another Murga session in Parque Latinoamerica. It just sounds like noise to me, but the locals seem to enjoy it. Then it was home to watch another film.

Leave a comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango