Category Archives: Argentina

My thoughts on Argentina and my time there

Keep it local

Viv sent me out for my usual shopping expedition. Household stuff nothing exciting, but I did have some trouble finding washing up liquid. Seems you can wash your floors a thousand ways but your dishes only two.  I gave up on her bananas, the usual guy was not there, but his misses (I presume was) She blocked the entrance with her backside and there was no way past. Meanwhile the child on the floor was sucking on a grape and dribbling all over the floor. I could not get her attention so I went around the corner.

Fixed the fridge though. My favourite ferreteria had a lamp, the envelope was a little larger but for £1 it was worth trying. Anyway it fits and at least Viv is happy.

Got a call from Isabel, she was at DNI so we said we would escort her to the milonga. She was a little worried she would get no dances, but I told her ” You are young, good-looking and foreign, you will get dances” And for the first hour or so She and Viv did very well. All my old regulars arrived so I knew I was OK. Margarita was there so I was not going to miss a tanda, she would not let me.

As always though by just after seven the girls had enough and we set off into the street. Isabel was using Google earth to find her bus so we left her at Hipolito Yrigoyen. She was catching her bus on Avenida Mayo and were further up this road.

Back at Imaginario we ordered a black beer and Philippe arrived. Nice to see him and have a chat, seems the letter we have for him is for a fine. Unlike most motor cyclists he still has his number plate on, so they got him.

Anyway our meal and drinks including Philippe’s was only £15, glad we stick local.

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A cold damp day

I expect no sympathy from home, cold here is twenty degrees, but people still look miserable on the street. They don’t know when to be happy here, yesterday they were complaining “it’s too hot and humid” today it is cold and wet. I still have my shorts on in the day though and sleep without covers at night.

I needed no protection when I went over to the supermarket for milk, although I did see people with umbrellas. Not really needed, as this is only light rain, nothing like the torrent we had yesterday. The biggest risk is getting splashed from the water under the loose flags, not from falling rain.

Not to be put off we set off on a walk down Corrientes. We found a Chinese run shop that had a few things we needed, but ended up inevitably in the Abasto Centre. It’s all a bit high-end for me in here, but still at times amusing. There is a men’s clothing shop called Bridge End, trying hard to be very English. There are union flags everywhere even on belt buckles, then I noticed underpants printed with the London Underground. Begs the obvious question “Where is Cockfosters?”

We had a quick root around in Coto on the way back. I was not for buying anything, I don’t have enough life left for the queues here, but I just wanted to look if they had any chairs. Nothing of any good is the answer. So we bought some biscuits in the local Chino and went home for a coffee.

We never know what to expect when we return to a milonga, Fulgor was still there, but we were on our own when we arrived. Roberto is still running it and Ruben is still the DJ. His music seems to have improved, but we still get the tropical every half hour.  The numbers never passed a dozen though and I still wonder how long can this carry on. We got the usual kisses off Bebe at the door and Marian Roberto and Ruben. Then as the regulars arrived we had to stop dancing each time to be welcomed back.

There was no Norma tonight but I did get a dance with Bebe. They may be low in numbers here but they do have a good time, nobody comes here to be miserable and we danced our socks off.

 

We managed to get home without getting wet as well, so a good night then.

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We’re Back

Did not do a lot this morning, I suppose we are not yet fully into this.

Still we set off for Nuevo Chique and charged up our Sube cards on  the way.

We arrived to a hail of kisses and were soon seated ready to dance. I watched Viv get straight up she was smiling and animated, when she is happy so am I. I knew we were in for a good afternoon. So many old friends, so many good dances. We are back with a bang.

Funny how it goes though, we both danced non stop until six thirty, then it all sort of came to a stop. Viv could get no dances and I could find no good partners, so we set off for El Revolutionario. When we got there it was mostly in darkness, the guy at the front said they were on holiday until February but that we could look around.  So we caught our 151 back home.

We stopped off at Corrientes and walked to Guarda la vieja, a meal and beer was planned so a meal and beer we were having. We ordered Burritos, never occurred to me before but it means baby donkeys. The waiter did not know quite what to make of my impersonation. Still the beer was good but the burritos, well the Argentines do not do spices, should have ordered just one portion and some chips.

 

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Our first full day back

Nothing ever really changes here. Yes I know that not a shop will be the same and the milongas close and open at random. But the city in general is always the same and Wednesday is a good day to get things done.

I had pre ordered some money, in case my money here was not yet available, so I needed to pick it up. Doing business here is never easy so I prevaricate. Too much time on facebook, make coffee, just mooching. In the end I had to grasp the nettle and head on out.

I was cheerily greeted at the door by Sebastian’s Wife (Must find out her name). As I walked up Bulnes a guy in a doorway shouted something to me, I just responded “No” “solo la hora” he said. I apologised and gave him the time. It becomes a habit fending people off, they are not all begging, it seems.

At the money office there were no numbers on the roll, no one waiting either. So I was out in no time at all. New notes as well $200 denominations, easier to break into than the $500’s. Over the road to pay my city tax and the doors were locked. Then I saw the door at the end was open. Inside and I again took my number “07” the counter was showing “84” . Could be in for a long wait, but no, it seems they are not using that here today either. Straight in and out again.

I went back to the dietetica again, but it was still shut up. All the stock is inside, but there is no sign of when it is open. Ah well TIA again.

Our first dance outing is to be Salon Canning, seems to be starting earlier. 3:30 start but we arrived nearly an hour later and there was hardly anyone there. Argentines are a conservative lot “It’s always started at four and we are not having it any different”. Mind you it never got crowded maybe the high price is putting them off.

Apart from this mornings top up, we are living on old money. The exchange rate has gone up from $20 to $25 to the pound so until the old money runs out we are feeling the pinch somewhat. Canning are now charging $140 entrada, we will see how it goes but £7 is a bit much.

Had some good dances and Paloma and Hubert were there as well. We seem to have been moved back down the pecking order though, so Viv struggled a bit for dances. She said she was not bothered as it was our first, but after three hours she had had enough and it was time to head home for some food.

 

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Back in our second home

Apparently I sound too downbeat. It’s the problems that make the best blogs, I say, but I will try harder.

Our journey to Manchester was, as always uneventful. Andy’s  Taxi, always worth a plug.  Still I am always stressed at the airport, especially as we have never used BA before. I need not have worried as it all went well.

No food on the short flight to Heathrow. There was no way we could survive until midnight from breakfast. We searched the terminal, Schipol this is not. Oh it’s all very nice, but when you are between flights Louis Vuitton is not where you want to be.  A Murphies Bar is what we want.

We bought a meal deal from Smiths and there was a guy in there who was brilliant, should have asked his name. Gets my vote for employee of the decade.

Afterwards we found a Pret a Manger 90pence for a filter coffee. I am starting to like Heathrow a little more.

We arrived  tired and a little thirsty to be helped out again by a guy in the baggage reclaim.  Must be getting old as everyone seems to want to help. The taxi has gone up again, only to be expected, as the currency has gone down again.

We had a diversion as Salguero has been dug up one block from us, but we arrived to be greeted by Sebastian and his wife at the door. I didn’t know we were missed that much, to get a welcoming committee.

We tried to get some sleep but Sebastian was ringing my bell.  It seems in my rush to get in, I left my case by the lift. Just shopping to do and a meal to eat.

Out to our old favourite Bar Imaginario for some black beer and food, then it is back to an early night and catch up with some sleep.

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Lunch with the German and French

Today is a day for entertaining and saying goodbye. We had Philippe and Walter around, Walter will look after our flat for another year.  We then went out to El Rey for some lunch. It was raining when we left so I had to rush back up to get some umbrellas, Vivs was hidden behind  the bedroom door so we managed with three.

I thought that we were going to have a whole chicken between us, but Walter wanted Sea Food. This caused us a problem, firstly it was late arriving and then it was not so good. On top of this we could not finish the whole chicken, very un English. Still we blamed the Frenchman. You can still do food cheap here, bottle of Malbec, litre of stout and four meals for less than forty quid including a good tip.

As you would expect the conversation gravitated to brexit.  It was nice to actually have a reasoned debate and Walter brought up some good points. Seems it is not just the British who don’t like Merkel’s policies. I liked his thoughts, that we should remain to disentangle Europe rather than abandon it, I never though of it that way before. On the way back we met Sebastian outside the building, it was a good opportunity to introduce him to Walter.

After coffee everyone left and we set off for some last minute shopping.

Club Fulgor is getting lower in numbers, every year we think that it cannot survive yet every year we come back and it is still here, let’s hope it continues. Everyone was especially welcoming tonight, I think that they were not sure we would still be here. When a German couple came in I was, again, called over to translate for them. The problem was that their English was not good, that combined with my complete lack of German and poor Spanish made things difficult. That said my lack of language skills is more than made up for by my local knowledge and I managed to sort them out.

We still were not one hundred percent, but we danced and I danced with Bebe and Norma, but by sorteo time we were ready for off. Then it was time for the big goodbyes. Explaining that we fly Tuesday and will be back in January with every kiss. Quite an exhausting and emotional time. The walk back seemed not so bad tonight after that, even dog shit corner did not smell as foul. Maybe it was the extra beer we drank today or maybe we are just too tired to notice.

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Union Benevolencia

We did not know weather to go to El Beso today, El Arranque or the new milonga at Union Benevolencia, the same building as the Monday and Wednesday Milonga de Juan. We opted for Juan although a better bet than Beso, I think Viv would have preferred El Arranque. Todays milonga  though is not downstairs in the air-conditioned basement but upstairs in the old magnificent ballroom. The parquet floor is in a poor state but still danceable, likewise the decor is tired. I was told that this place is 200 years old, not surprising it is in need of some TLC.

We were sat right at the front near the stage, a big mistake. If we return here next year we will have to sit somewhere else. I found it impossible to cabeceo from here, which meant that I had to get up and approach the women. This was not too bad for me but for Viv it was a disaster, she danced with only two men besides me. The little guy who sat close danced six tandas with her, you become property after three, so I will be leaving her here.

The music of Juan leaves something to be desired too. Some of it was not exactly inspiring and for some reason in the middle he always messes it up, leaving us mid floor wondering what is going on.

I told Graciela about the man and she went off, as she does. I never understood a word, but she did keep saying quilombo, which basically means disorder or chaos. She said Viv should say basta (enough). But as it was the only dancing Viv was getting, well she was not for refusing.

I tried to dance at least every third with her but she was not enjoying the place which was a shame. When we decided that enough is enough we were told to sit down because there was a brindis. Basically a toast to the new venue. Well Champagne was just the thing we needed at that time.

We wanted to go out with a bang, but it just seems we are leaving with a whimper.

On the way back we stopped off at a music shop, there were some CDs I wanted on offer, well get um cheap while you can I say.

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