It’s all true

Off to Nuevo Chique again today, but my foot is playing me up and I suspect I will not dance much.  I did the first tanda with Viv then a couple followed by the milonga with Viv. My foot was hurting too much so I retreated to the toilets and made a roll of  paper towel to go under my foot. While I was in there two men were practicing their moves with each other. I knew that this happened many years ago but I never expected to see it today, so it is all true, the men dance with men to improve their tango.

Once out of there I found my makeshift foot support really helped. I still missed the odd tanda but I was not missing every other and I did not have to miss another vals. Viv meanwhile was having a rare old time, I thought we would be staying late. She had other ideas though, seems that she can get tired as well as bored, so just after seven I got my marching orders.

Down again to El Revolucionario, they have run out of Cream Stout, we have to have Stella. It’s another 30$ar for  beer we like less, is it so hard to keep a stock?

At least our 151 collective is reliable, dropping us off at our doorstep as always.

 

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You gotta love it

And another from last year. Oh dear!

After a morning on computer management, it was going to be a welcome change to do some tango.

Saturday and we are off to El Arranque again. We had to charge up the SUBE cards and, of course we missed the train. It was no big deal though another was along in four minutes. This is another reason I prefer the subte to the busses, unless the line is down they are through as regular as clock work.

Our waiter had our regular places and our drinks on the table as we arrived, you gotta love this service.

Not a lot to say really, we danced our socks off and I managed two dances each with my regular ladies. Even  Viv hardly missed a tanda.

Erwin our usual DJ was not here today we had Vivi La Falce instead. Good choice of music and interesting cortinas. She was calling something out during the tropical, I have no idea what it was, but the locals seemed to appreciate it.

We had arrived early so by seven thirty we were ready to go. We stayed for the sorteo, but again I did not win, so it was time to go home.

We stopped off on the way home for some meat. We had to do without last week because we left it until Sunday. Two cracking pieces of Aberdeen Angus grilling steak, for two quid, you gotta love it.

Deep joy, the internet is still working, so you will get this post.

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Chaos at El Beso

One from ten days ago, I missed for some reason.

Another El Beso day today. The volume of people was colossal, El Beso is not the easiest place to dance at the best of times, but today it was just chaos. That said Viv managed well for dances, so much that we stayed almost to the end. It was my turn to have problems, people milling around, standing by tables and just getting in the way. It made cabeceo almost impossible, so much so that I sat out some tandas and had two false cabeceo.

When Zoraida did the announcements she said she had been asked to do a ladies choice. I thought for one moment she was going to, but then she said she had done this in Ideal and all the men went off to hide in the toilets. I think her fears were unjustified; there were only about four men at Ideal, but here they would not all fit in the toilets. Still it says something about the men here, macho? no, cowards.

We found out that El Arranque is to reopen at Castelbamba. This caused me some problems, simply because the locals don’t listen, they assume what I am saying then draw their own conclusions. It went something like this “El Arranque se abierta” “Si En Castelbamba” “No, es Riobamba” “Castelbamba es en Riobamba” “No castelbamba, pero Riobamba” Oh! forget it lets dance.

We stopped off for some bread and medialunas on Corrientes a lovely self service shop with fine fare for sale. Well we got everything we wanted in a plastic basket and took it to the till. I had no idea what the girl said, so I asked her again, the word “three” appeared somewhere in there, then I worked it out. So I said “español?” and it all became clear. Sometimes they are just too helpful, she was trying to say Thirty three, but it was not working. Gives me some idea what I must sound like to them at times. I often have this problem when languages are mixed up, I am in your country and will to the best of my ability use your language. When you mix English and Spanish it becomes totally unintelligible.

 

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In the wars

All this dancing takes its toll on my feet. Last night I had blood covered socks because the back of my foot was rubbed raw. This morning I woke to aching feet and my left foot swollen. I have been liberally applying anti inflammatory cream in the vain hope of a cure.

This morning Sebastian called on the intercom to tell me that the gas was going to be cut for one or two hours. I actually understood what he said. Emboldened by this, when I went out, I asked him exactly when it would be cut as Viv has lentajas in the oven. I should have known better, he gave me the life story of the gas man and details of his van. I understood not a word.

Now I have a bit of money I bought some socks and underpants. I bought underpants here two years ago and they are the most comfortable I have ever worn. The trouble was when I got back this time they were the wrong size, so it was straight out again. Then they only had my size in white, I was not that bothered but the girl insisted on phoning for more, so I had to stand around waiting. Anyway this was a test pair, if they are as good as before I will be going back for more in the next day or so.

So I limped off to El Beso not expecting much from the day. Viv was doing well with dances, meanwhile I was happy to sit out a few tandas. It’s funny how it becomes more enjoyable the less you worry about getting dances. Some of the ladies sat across from me were giving me hard stares, but I was only going to dance the tandas I wanted. At one point Elisa (The Organizer) came and asked me if I had danced “Si” I said “I am resting my foot”. Teresa would not let me rest though, I had three tandas with her. Cracking on for ninety she still has lots of energy.

We stayed almost to the end, and I found a bit more energy later, but for Viv it was party time. When the crowd thins out she gets more dances. I was sorry e did not stay until the end, I know, when I DJ, I am always disappointed when people do not stay for La Cumparsita.

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New best Empanadas in Buenos Aires

We travelled out to Flores today to have lunch at Maggies and were joined by Mimi, Semiha, Hubert and Paloma. The first thing I had to do was take stick from our French friends for the Rugby. Of course they bribed the referee, how else do you explain that ending? The mood was light hearted though.

Language soon defaulted to Spanish, and we learned why Paloma is so good at it, she has Spanish parents and the household language is Spanish. So we have no hope of competing there then.  It seems everyone is better at it than us, even Viv seems to understand more than she admits. Still it was unfair that she was put in a class with Semiha, who is better than me even though I was in the higher class.

We had some tuna and anchovies in cream sauce, I never thought Viv would eat it but she did and enjoyed it. Still surprising me after all these years. Yesterday I said I had the best empanadas in Buenos Aires, well that was before I had Maggies home made ones. I have to review my opinions now.

We drank a lot of vino tinto and champagne after and during the food, but it’s OK I don’t have to drive the train back. When half five came we were ready for the off. I can take Spanish at this level for a while but for this long I find it exhausting. It is a shame I cannot have an hour a day then I might improve, but after two hours my brain switches off and nothing computes any more. We were helped, of course, by Mimi Maggie and Hubert, but even so my brain can only take so much. Still we had a great time and good company even a little dancing.

It took us over an hour to get there and I said “Instead of taking the subte all the way back, let’s get off at Castro Barras and walk” so we did. The total journey time was less than half an hour. Let the legs take the strain I say.

As we walked to Fulgor tonight we saw a guy sitting in a doorway changing his shoes. I thought it strange, but when he came in he seemed to know everyone. Turns out he was an American Named Richard, he was later joined by a German named Ute. They danced very well unlike the tall couple who were also there. They took giant leaps around the floor, never looking where they were going, too intent on their feet.

I got Bebe up for a dance and spent most of the time trying to avoid the tall hazard. I said to Bebe that when I first came here, I had to audition for Roberto in order to be allowed into the Club. Standards have dropped now, it seems. I suppose this is understandable as the numbers here are nothing like they were  in 2008. In those days if you were not early and had no reserva, you would not get a seat.

The place has definitely lost some sparkle, the music of Ruben does not help, but I think that many of the old regulars are either dead or too unfit to come now. Tonight we did not sparkle either, we left at ten thirty.  Let’s hope we feel better for our last couple of attendances.

 

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El Arranque Dos

They say you can never go back, I think that means you can never re-create old times. El Arranque was never going to be the same in another venue and Castelbamba was never my favourite venue.

So while I watched the Rugby and all my sides lose Viv said she was off. I had bad reports from Thursday, but she was not going to believe them. When I arrived she seemed happy enough, although the chairs we were offered would not have looked out of place on a tip. She said she had done better than Friday for dances. Right from the start I struggled, not only was the floor too small, but some men were dancing on the rough tiles at the side and then pushing their way on to the floor. There were almost no women here I recognized and the standard was not great. Dora turned up and we had a nice dance, but she did not stay long, most women were abandoning the place quite quickly.

Viv says she did not stop for two hours, but as the evening went on she too had trouble getting dances. In the end we did not stay for La Cumparsita we left half an hour early and decided to walk up Corrientes.

Outside they had closed the street off. There was Jazz playing and stalls selling books of all sorts (not English though). There was quite an atmosphere but not many places to eat. I said that I fancied 1810 but Viv said she thought it was a long way, “Just a hop on the subte” I said, so 1810 it was.

In times past they would have been queuing out of the door, not so tonight. They have re-instated the bread and salsa picante so Viv dived straight in. Then she had a coughing fit so they brought her a glass of water “Serves you right for being greedy” I said.  Best empanadas in Buenos Aires and black beer. What more can you ask? Then came the lentejas for Viv and my carbonada. Another beer is needed, I think. Normally Viv tries to restrict my input but she misread the lable on the beer. 975 CL looks like 0.75 when you have bad eyes, I did not put her right until the bottle was half gone.

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Carolina, beautiful dresses and Spanish for foreigners.

Viv has been asking to go to Carolina the dress shop on Pasco. We tried earlier but it was on a Saturday and just too chaotic. Today though we had the place to ourselves, but that brings its own problems. The shop assistants are just too helpful. Viv just wanted to browse, but they were having non of it. “what is it for?” they asked, “What colour” and so on. In the end we narrowed it down to three dresses, two the same but different colours and one a different style.

Well the one different would not fit, Viv being broad shouldered. The other two Viv worried about showing too much, as if she could. In the end though It was down to colour. While all this trying on was going on, I was getting the full interview. I was doing pretty well until she asked me if we go out much. I did not understand the question, but she had the nous  to re phrase it until I got it. She said she lived on Billinghurst and Humahuaca,  told her that Viv would be jealous as she always wanted to live on Humahuaca.

So we came away with a lovely dress, and I had the best Spanish conversation yet. I need more of this but it is rare to find someone who can speak to a foreigner in a way that can be understood.

El Beso was celebrating 21 years, and as always happens at these times, it was packed. Viv left early because she was not getting dances and I was not long after her. Frightened of repercussions and I was not enjoying it anyway. Too much barging and cabeceo was all but impossible through the crowd. I did get a couple of dances with Teresa though. I have not danced with her since Confiteria Ideal closed.

So it’s beer at home tonight then.

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