Category Archives: Argentina

My thoughts on Argentina and my time there

Ian and Linda

Up early this morning and off to town. We are meeting Ian and Linda who are here joining a cruise.  I met Ian on Wrexham walkabout and had mentioned I would be in Buenos Aires from January, as he was joining his ship here I said we should meet up. He failed to Join us at La Viruta, but I was not entirely surprised. His first day and not the easiest place to get to. We arranged to meet in the same place where we met Alex last year as I knew that was where the cruise ship busses dropped off.

Viv had never met Ian and neither of us had met Linda, combine that with my bad facial recognition and memory and there was some doubt we would ever meet.  There was a bit of mutual stalking before we tried “Ian?” “Bob?” well at least we managed to meet. Most people on one day here would not get to do the subte, but we took them along the “C” line to San Telmo where Ian wanted to do the Feria. I think he soon got bored with it though, if you are not in the market to buy antiques or rubbish, there is not a lot of point to it.

We took them then to El Federal, they enjoyed the olde world atmosphere of the place. After that we walked some more towards Plaza de Mayo, but when he said he had been I though there was not much point in going again. So we headed back to the subte. We debated Caminito, but decided that the subte was too far away and I had no colectivo information. The area around Boca is not a place to be wandering lost, so we decided on Gardel.

Here I failed, I’m afraid as a tour guide it was the “C” line we wanted and this was the “A”, I had to ask a policeman, then when we did get on the “C” line again I had to be rescued as I went the wrong way. A very nice policeman let us through the emergency exits onto the right side of the line. At least Ian was impressed that I could ask and understand the answers, and it gave him some entertainment. Now once on home turf, I switched easily to the “B” line and we were at Gardel in no time.

We stopped to admire all the tango statues and take some photos, then Linda wanted to stop for a drink. Too rich here, so we walked a little way down Jean Juares and found a bar with a group of locals outside. Well it seems just a beer was in order, so we went for Quilmes Cristal. A litre only $80, bargain, I do keep finding these cheap places.

Linda was getting nervous about the time so we took them back, showing them Harrods on the way. They had passed it and never noticed. I wanted to show them Galerias Pacificas, but Linda was worrying, I suppose she does not know the city like I do, but there was no sense in getting her upset. We arrived back at the pick up point with 20 minutes to spare. We said our goodbyes and set off again along the subte for home.

We have had a series of late nights and last night did not sleep well. Beer in the afternoon did not help, so by the time we had eaten, we were just too tired for the walk to Fulgor. We did not think we would dance much anyway, so a night off it is then. G&T anyone?

 

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Penultimate

I need just a bit more money before I go so a trip out is in order. Unusually for a Wednesday there was a queue, but I am in no hurry and am quite relaxed about it. The Argenpur office is one of the very few really efficient places here and the guy dealing with me was through the people in front in no time at all.

I stopped off at the Farmacia on the way back, as Viv wanted some baby oil. I took my number and stood by the counter to the right. The guy there said I should go to the end, then I was called back to the counter to the right. OK, no big deal. I asked for “aciete bebe” blank. I tried a slightly different pronunciation, still blank. “Entiendes aciete?” I tried “Si” she said “Bebe?” I tried, holding my arms in cradle fashion. She nodded, “Aciete bebe?” I tried again, Blank. Fortunately there was a guy who had served me before and directed her to the baby oil. I am sure he just said “aciete bebe” but what do I know. “Ochenta y sinco” she said  I took out $75 pesos, not enough so I offered $100. Then some woman behind me interfered and said that I had it grabbing my money and counting it. “solo Setenta y cinco” I said. I may not be able to pronounce like a local, but I can count. At least I now had what I came out for, but I was in a slightly less good mood than I had been.

Must be last week syndrome, but Viv did not do well in Milonga de Juan, I was having a great time. When he did the announcements he asked for any requests, there was a lot of shouting and I was not sure he heard me. After this there was a milonga and Viv had decided she had enough, she went for a coffee at Giucris. I danced the milonga with Mercedes and intended to follow, but straight after was Biagi. It seems that Juan had heard me and was doing my request, well I could not leave then so I did another tanda. I thanked Juan before I left and spent some time goodbyeing with the ladies.

After our coffee we took our things back to the apartment and headed out to HB. We had a salad and sandwich and mucho Cervesa. The Bill when it came was wrong but in my favour.  It left me room for a good tip but was still cheap. Viv seemed to think that it reduced the tip but I said it was $50 tip and $25 stupidity tax against the house. I gave the guy $600 and tried to ask him for $50 change he just said “I speak English”  Is it any wonder my Spanish gets no better?

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Ultima Fulgor

Our last Fulgor and suddenly the numbers are up. I think it is the Easter effect, but still, it is encouraging. There were people we have not seen in a long time and a few we have never seen before. It remains to be seen if we will see them again.  Bebe was missing, Marian said she was on holiday, strange that last week she said she would see us.

We stayed longer and danced harder tonight, it is always best to go out on a high. There was a tanda of old D’Arienzo and I just did not recognize it, I asked Roberto and he thought it was Donato, until he checked. I guess even locals do not have perfect Knowledge. It is a long way from the days when he announced every tanda.

Playing this, I am sure I would have recognized D’Arienzo. It was definitely Comm Il Faut, maybe even earlier?

Leaving was a long drawn out affair, we have to kiss all the locals, then explain again that we will not be back until January. Then it was just the long walk home again.

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Good Friday

Well here it is our last Abrazo Tango.  I guess many over did it last week because the numbers were down. That did not stop us having a great afternoon though. We stopped off at Zivals first on the way, I have a list of music that I want. I was not expecting much, I have looked here before. So I was pleasantly surprised to get almost all that I wanted. That left me somewhat short, things have gone up here quite a bit.

Same old story, many of our old favourites missing, but we got many new dances instead.

I had enough left though for our entrada and drinks. Already there are many goodbyes, many we see only here and will not see again. We stopped on the way home for some cake and coffee, this being Good Friday and all. No Easter eggs as the chocolate here is not to our taste, hopefully there will be some reduced price Cadbury’s when we get home.

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Kingsman

Any questions about Kingsman, refer to the film or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsman:_The_Secret_Service

Sad day today, after today every day will be a last. So this is our penultimate Thursday, but not our actual penultimate Chique. If you have been following you will understand, but the weeks entries will explain if not.

Not a lot of men today, so not so good for Viv, but for me? I could not get through all the women waiting for me.

Two new characters arrived today, I am not sure that they were together. One wore a suit tie and thick rimmed glasses, the other wore tailored trousers a sports jacket and also thick rimmed glasses. Immediately I christened them Kingsmen. I expected any moment a glass to go flying across the room and some assailant to be rendered unconscious. The younger one, in the sports jacket I christened Degsie. He was tall and scoured the room for all the tall women, Harry kept a low profile but was always up dancing. Never once did I hear “manners maketh man” but then, perhaps, they had new lines now.

We left early again and went for a coffee at Confiteria Giucris. We have stopped here before, good facturas, good coffee, and amazingly cheap. We still miss El Revolutionario but this place definitely softens the blow. Then home to Viv’s stew and a bottle of Quilmes Negra.

 

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Pizza with friends

We were again at Milonga de Juan.  Viv was having a poor time of it due to the low numbers. She did manage some new dancers though, but I was on standby all the time. I would rather miss the odd track than face her wrath. There were not even that many women for me, I never missed out but had to dance with several ladies twice. We were saved from ourselves by Angel and Morgan who had asked us to come for a meal with them and left just after the sorteo.

Angel speaks almost no English and Morgan almost no Spanish, so we were invited as go betweens. Strangely they are a couple who do not live together, but also do not speak a common language. Still it gave Viv a break where she could relax and speak English and gave me some Spanish practice. They took us to a right seedy pizza place and assured us the food was great. Well the food was good, the quilmes was cold and we had a great time.

After all that food I was ready to walk the five blocks to Rivadavia to get our colectivo, but Angel was having none of it and insisted on driving us home. So we had a milonga, a good meal, and we were back by nine.

Another early night it is then.

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Some good, some bad

We are back at our usual place in Nuevo Chique today. We arrived early so had our normal seats, and from the start the going was good. Many regulars were missing though. This is partly the tourist lull, normal at this time of year, but also something to do with some football match. If you know about these things perhaps you can fill the gap for me.

The standard of dancing was very variable. At one point I was dancing completely surrounded, with only inches to spare, yet every one was moving well and never even touched. Tango heaven as it should be. At another point there were idiots doing boleos and Viv managed to get a graze right up her leg. Fortunately blood was not drawn, but I am fed up of forever saying “Tacos abajo”. Dancing at another time, some guy was forever crashing into me, so I let him pass, then the idiot was coming backwards into me.  Some people will never have enough floor.

Viv, when not dancing with me, was having a similar time. She says she had some of her best dances today and some of her worst.

I won the Champagne in the sorteo. I am getting lucky here as I won some earrings a few weeks back as well. We will have it next week to celebrate our despedida. Marcela announced the football score for those interested, six nil she said, no idea who scored what. A chocolate gift on departing was most welcome, it did not last us long, hunger is always present after a milonga.

We headed for The Shanghai Dragon again but stopped off for some bread on the way. If they serve nothing on the side, they cannot complain if we bring our own. (They rarely do here, and it is not uncommon for people to bring their own cakes for celebrations).  We had spring rolls as well this time, so we were well filled when we left. They do not do stout, here only porter, looked the same to me, but then I am just a Philistine, but Viv was happy with it.

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