Tag Archives: Argentina

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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Fresh Ginger

No Tango today, Viv has decreed a rest day. I call it a boring day, but as she normally lets me dance with all those women, I cannot complain.

First job is a bit of gardening. Walter has done a fine job looking after my plants and some of them need trimming back. The Ginger is also looking well so I am going to tip it out and harvest some. Job done and although there is not a great deal, I have about twice what I planted and enough to get it started again.

After it is washed up it is time for breakfast, now we have had root ginger before on our porridge but really fresh does have a particularly good flavour. You don’t get much fresher than this.

Next I get dragged out for some shopping. To be fair we need a new dining chair, but I can’t seem to find a furniture shop close by. Out and about we struggle to find most things we are looking for. Viv however is on the hut for a new toaster and there are plenty of places we can find these. Today though we are not out to replace things, still waiting for our last years rental money, but we can do the research.

We did find a very good vegetarian grocers, where we managed to get different rices and peanut butter. Real peanut butter, no additives or palm oil or even sugar, a definite plus this. Still we had got almost nothing we came out for, time for a coffee.

As always we had problems getting the bill and when we came out the sky was an angry shade of grey. Down to the almacen for some beef. We only wanted one slice but it was not quite enough then we had confusion when we asked for another. seems he did not want to leave just a small piece, so we had three slices. Still it was less than £5 and would do for at least two meals.

That sky had broken, when it rains here it means it and we were stranded.  We wanted some bread from the chino so we dodged under the balconies down the road. Why o why do people with umbrellas go under the balconies and expect those of us without to walk in the rain?

Still we got our bread but not the laces Viv wanted. All in all a very poor hunting expedition.

Now the steak, that is a whole different ball game, delicious and enough for another meal later in the week. Followed by Ice cream from our lady down the road, she remembered me “Gales” she said, “si” said I.

 

 

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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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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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Too many goodbyes

Always sad to see the end but here we are.

We took the subte for Uruguay and on the platform we met the nice girl from the Chino. I was glad to have a chance to say goodbye. Some good Spanish practice as well. She left at Pasteur so that will be the last we see of her.

My sube card had $3.20 on it and Vivs had $24. So we can use Vivs to come home and there will be little credit left to run out.

Nuevo Chique was packed too many turistas, it made dancing difficult. Viv was having a great time though. The locals seem to know it will be their last chance to dance with her. Every woman I ever danced with was there, it was impossible to dance with them all. I missed Pauline again but at least I can dance with her at home, some that I missed I may never see again.

Viv dragged me out at seven, then a man arrived who she has not seen in a while. At least this gave me a chance to dance with Gerta. I have been avoiding her as she was worried about my cold. It would have been a shame to have gone home without dancing with her.

We stopped off at Plaza Congresso for some food and more beer. A last chance to drink Quilmes Stout and have some matambre.

We came out to see a 90 drive past. Fortunately the next 151 was not too long in coming and it was back to the packing.

We had to have some last Ice cream before bed, it will be nine months before we get Ice cream like this again.

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Drunk in charge of a broken Umbrella

A grey start to Monday morning. Viv sent me out for some fruit, so I took the opportunity to pay the City tax (Rentas) and put some credit on my phone.

I bumped into Jose on Corrientes. I love bumping into people I know here, makes me feel more like I belong. In the veg shop he opened a fresh box of pears for me and I told him we were leaving. Viv told me to give him $100 for his son, he did not at first understand “es una regalo por tus hijo” I said. When he realized we were leaving he thanked me and asked when we will return. So many goodbyes, it is sad to be leaving.

Viv dragged me around the shops again, looking for some guest towels. We never managed to find what we wanted. They only seem to sell towels in sets here. We tried the shop at 550 Medrano but by the time we got there it was closed. Some shops do not open until one others close one until four, others still open just when they please. It makes shopping an interesting experience here.

We returned to Plaza Bohemia, hoping that with the demise of Ideal the numbers would be up. It was a vain hope. The rain did little to help, but I suspect deeper problems. There were two spare women and three men. Viv was not advantaged though, because the shy guy would not look up and did not get up to dance until another lady arrived. Then he danced only with her.

We did many tandas together, but there was a real risk of . me becoming casamiento  with the few ladies. Good news though, Viv won the sorteo. They sell tickets and divide the money up into prizes. Small house, so there was only one prize of £130.Hardly a fortune  but better than a kick in the teeth.

Back to the bus stop and my umbrella is looking rather sad. It blew out on the way and several stays are broken, but it will see today out.

We were supposed to be meeting Mauricio and Kym and I had suggested Imaginario. Turns out it is shut today TIA. So we rescheduled for Guardia La Vieja. I got in and ordered a stout “No tiene, solo Hieneken” he said. So I tried ordering a pint, “Solo Hieneken” he said again. What is the point of having a long menu of beer and only stocking poison. So we had two coffees.

When Mauricio arrived we explained that they have no beer, so he messaged Kym and we retrenched to El Banderin across the road. No stout here either but they did have Quilmes so this would have to do. They do not have a lot of food choice here either, so we all had bondiola sandwiches and some crisps.

Kym brought another friend and the lads polished off two bottles of wine, while we hammered the beer. Then we ordered more beer. They are just not used to this here, we got louder as we put the World in general and Argentina in particular to rights.

Then they closed all the blinds and threw us out. I thought that they had more stamina here than that, but it is Monday I suppose.

We walked back past our apartment and as a parting gift, I gave Kym my umbrella. Well I think he has ten blocks to go.

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Our last Sunday

We walked down to Palermo, Viv had some things she wanted. We sort of wandered around aimlessly. She found something in Estoy Mirando, she loves this shop and I do too, it has a man seat outside. I can sit and watch the world go by, while she does what women do in shops. We tried both Isadora shops, seems that they do not open until late afternoon. I don’t get it, but then we are just customers.

I had wanted to watch the Gran Prix, so I walked again to Los Floristas. The waiter had said I could watch it here, but every seat around the TVs was full. I could not move diners on and then get them to change channels. So I left.

I was not in a good mood, if Viv had come with me I could have looked for somewhere else but she was going to come later. So I had to go back.

When I got back I tried looking for live commentary on the net. Twas then I discovered I had mis-timed anyway, it was all over.

Viv cooked the last of the lentils for tea. I think we had rather a lot, I was well stuffed. Viv it seems wanted ice Cream after but somehow the deadline past while the lentils settled so we will have to wait for again.

Back to Club Fulgor for our last time tonight. On our way we bumped into Mauricio outside a bar the next block to Fulgor. Still not sure what happened last night but he was waiting for Kym. So we left him and promised to meet up later.

The little lady on the door seized upon us again, seems there was another English couple there. She always grabs me as her translator, though for what use I am, I usually accede. This couple was Tania and Howard form near Keswick. They knew Maggie Fawcett who we had visited last year. It is a small world of tango in Cumbria.

I was asked to translate again when a Swiss guy came in. Slim pickings for him here, but he danced with Viv when I was off entertaining the old dears.

I managed to get Mariana up on the floor. She got only halfway around, protesting all the way “no se como” She was not half bad, for someone who had never danced before. I think I could have made a good tango dancer of her, but she was forever conscious of people watching.

All in all we had a great night. Won the sorteo again (more champagne) and kissed almost the whole of Villa Crespo. That’s it Fulgor for another year.

 

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Los Floristas

We went out today to explore some museums. As is the way here nothing goes to plan. We took the subte to Las Heras and walked up Libertador. The first museum looked closed, perhaps we were at the wrong door, we walked around and could find no other entrance so we walked back. We saw another couple talk to the guard then look at their watches. Viv said to ask them, but it made more sense to ask the guard. “A las Dos” he said, so we tried the next museum.

The entrance was open and there was a working café there as well, it looked good. We walked through the door and spoke to the guard “A las dos martes a Domingo” he said. So it looked like we had almost three hours to kill.

So we walked up to Santa fe, stopping for coffee on the way. Viv still had some shopping to do, but we were having little success. Eventually we reached Alto Palermo and rain started She found some of what she wanted (at a very inflated price in my opinion) at least she was happy. I asked the girl if there was an Isadora here, she asked at the next stop then tried to tell me in English. “out there” ” Do you mean Santa fe?” “Si, turn left” pointing, “Do you mean right” “Si”. well we followed her directions but found no Isadora, so we gave up and headed back towards Libertador.

As we were now on Salguero, we decided to head for Malba. This was in fact open from 12 but we were not to know. It was $90 each entrada, and I have to say it was a waste of money. The building was beautiful but the art was mainly pretentious rubbish. There was modern art that looked like infant school paintings, Sheets of wood spray painted and framed, and some paintings that looked like Beryl Cook, they were the highlight.

The only really exciting thing was a wall mural that had been taken down restored and installed here. There was a video of the restoration and transportation and I was impressed with the care and attention to detail here.

There was an exhibition of sound, where various things were transposed into music box tunes; a video of the traffic and some other things that I just lost interest so much that I forget what it was.

Finally there was a moving set of pictures, photographs of Brazilian Indians, moved from their homes in the name of progress. The number tags they all wore were somehow dehumanizing, but poignant just the same.

We have new umbrellas, but they are at our apartment. We were stuck in Las Canitas in the heavy rain without them. We managed  to dodge under buildings until we found  good place for coffee to sit out the rain. It was still raining, though not so hard when we trudged the 20 blocks home.

After our poor parilla in Florida we though we would give it another try. Not far from us on Corrientes is a bar called Los Floristas, super parillada $450. We got there soaked despite the umbrella, the roads are, by now, flooded  and the broken flags spray water up your legs.

Super it was, we struggled with the chips and all the meat, even the salad. The waiter offered to box it up for us but we are too near going home and have most evenings planned. We hate to leave food but sometimes you just have to.

Soaked again on the way back, the trenches dug on every street don’t help. Time to just roll up and sit out the storm.

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Great night at Chique.

Our last Thursday at Nuevo Chique, but not our last visit, that will be Tuesday. Again the crowd is different, but more sympathetic. Viv only sat out when she wanted a rest and I never got the chance. I tried to sit out Pugliese, as I do, but I got such a hard stare it was impossible to stay seated. So we danced solid for three and a half hours.

By this time we had enough and it was time to leave. Viv had invited Jack for a drink on Tuesday after our last milonga, but he had the date mixed up and had asked his girlfriend to meet us tonight. Viv had her one piece play suit on, impossible to go to the toilet, so it could get interesting.

We retired to the Congreso Plaza and ordered drinks, Jack needed some food as well. Funny how time flies when you have good company. It was nearly ten by the time we left. We had sorted out the world banking, the arms race, and the presidential elections. Having put the world to rights, it was time to seek out our bus.

We walked out to see two 151s and a 90 disappear past congresso. I thought we were in for a long wait, especially as it was now ten o’clock. In the end though we waited only five minutes or so.

Back home by ten fifteen and Viv had managed to hold out, despite a bottle of water a glass of champagne and a litre of beer. A heroic effort.

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The Brits

I took a trip out shopping again. Made a complete fool of myself in the Almacen. I got some crudo and tinned tomatoes then went to pay. At the till I remembered I had forgotten the minced beef. So I left my things there and rushed to the butcher. “Media kilo de picante?” I asked “Que picante?” he asked me.  I looked baffled and pointed to the minced beef “picada!” he said. Too many similar words in this language. It made his day anyway.

Another Tuesday another trip to Nuevo Chique. Today we say goodbye to Paloma and Bret, they return to France tomorrow. There was Champagne flowing in the foyer for a while then it was back to the dancing.

I managed a dance with Mercedes, a chance to thank her for the Cuban night and pass my best wishes on to Jorge.

There was a different feel here tonight. There is always a passage of tourists here amongst the locals. Tonight though, it seems to be all British. I was sat in a whole row of Brits, none of whom seemed to want to dance with Viv. I am afraid I take a rather selfish view, if the men won’t dance with Viv then I won’t dance with their wives. There are more than enough women any way and I failed to dance with all those that I had wanted to dance with.

We never see this from other nationalities. The British come and dance only with those who have come with them. Another group arrived and sat at the far end, a few did get up to dance, but again with no one out of their group. Their leader, no doubt proud that he had shown them a traditional milonga, got up twice. To me though this is like going to an African village and staring at them from the perimeter making their bread or threading beads. To know and be a part of the milonga, you have to join in, learn to cabeceo, dance with a local, yes and even suffer the embarrassment of rejection.

We saw Anna again, unfortunately she left before I danced with her. Viv said she had not had a single dance. Again the dynamic was not good, it is always the way when numbers are up, the women have trouble getting dances.

 

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