Tag Archives: Azimo

Back again and inflation bites

The less said about our return flights the better.  I think it is all about cost cutting these days and I shall have to look to a different carrier next year. We are getting twice the amount of pesos to the pound as last year, what that will mean to prices is slowly coming clear.

The airport taxi was the first shock, it was three times the price. Still at a little over £20, I cannot complain, it would cost as much if not more at home.

We returned to Imaginario, again loaded up with money, having no idea what it would cost. We had an omelette each and a bowl of potatoes to share. These are a bit of a speciality here, I wanted the “papas imaginario” but Viv said we should have them with rosemary as there would be less of it. She was, of course, right, we could not finish them, despite being delicious. A bottle of cream stout helped it all go down. We still don’t eat like the locals, I think we were in there less than an hour, but left fully sated. The bill here was a surprise cost me less than $400ar, which if you are paying attention is less than a tenner. Not at all bad to feed and water two people.

Having not slept for nearly 32 hours we crawled off to bed, at the ridiculous time of 9:00 and slept the sleep of the innocent.

I have a pile of bills to pay, so the next morning I am out down to the pagofacil. All the bills are more than last year, but not fully in line with inflation. The city tax is going to be a problem though; there is no annual bill. So I will have to add “paying the city tax each month” to my conditions of rental.

I had a few more things to buy and “Nuevo Escocia” was next on my list. Nuevo Escocia has been my favourite almacen. I had regular banter with the Butcher, the cheese range awesome and the best sliced loaves in these parts. Today I only wanted bread, but all the shutters were down and there is a for sale sign on the building. Odd the way they do things here, because the blackboards are still outside with offers on them. I hold no hope although there is no afterlife for shops here.

My money was again safely delivered by Azimo. I had let myself get worried by stories I had heard, but the office was empty and no  one accosted us. I brought Viv along for security, although what she could do if I was attacked, I don’t know, but I think sometimes you look more vulnerable on your own. I may have been carrying twice as much money as last year, but in truth, it was worth no more. Anyway, as I said, I was worried unnecessarily. No one takes any notice of us here, we are just locals.

Our return to Nuevo Chique gave us some trepidation, again, I don’t know why. It must be something to do with getting older, you just worry more. Marcella welcomed us most warmly, Viv had her usual seat, and I was moved up higher in the pecking order. All afternoon people were hugging and kissing us. At home we started to think, maybe, this is not worth the effort, but when we get here, to this, it makes all the travel and worry, worthwhile. Again, apart from Pugliese, I never sat out a tanda. Never so for the ladies, but Viv had a great time. A slight lull in the middle but she had great dances all afternoon.

I never expected to stay long, it was our first milonga after all. It was 7:30 when we left, three and a half hours is a good start.

We stopped for a coffee on the corner of Alsina and Saenz Peña, nice coffee here but no medilunas and the facturas are a bit bland, still, again the price was good, so no room to complain. The streets were packed though with picateros, this did not look good. Although I sympathise with their complaints, I don’t agree with their methods. They block off the city and stop it functioning, they damage infrastructure and all this adds to the costs to the government that is already struggling to balance an impossible budget. And worse for me (yes I know, it is always about me) they stop the busses. So my personal taxi, the 151 colectivo, was not running. So we had to brave the crowds and walk the ten blocks back to Corrientes and get the Subte home.

So, in conclusion; although inflation has hit hard, for us, despite the money I already have being worthless, it is actually no more expensive. At first sight, it appears to be no more insecure. The people are lovely, but the system is broken. I can do nothing apart from spend my money here and help the odd beggar and hope the place just holds together.



Filed under Argentina, Tango

Money Day

Time to pick up my monthly money. Every time I go out and deal with any sort of officialdom I have a heavy heart. That said I have never had a problem with Argenper. I walked into the office and typical Wednesday, it was empty, so I never thought to take a number. A woman was picking up a pair of shoes at the front, then she went back to the cash desk. I don’t know what sort of transaction they were doing but the dialog was continuous. Then the guy behind the counter had a polo shirt he was holding up for her, it was starting to look more like a stall in El Once. After what seemed like an age someone came in and took a number, followed soon after by another five. This could cause a problem, as without a number, I was effectively last.  Eventually the second counter called “next” the guy who had taken the first number was quick, but not quick enough, had I missed my turn I would have been here all day.

As I said I have never had a problem here, with Argenpur, always easy and always the right money. Not today though, when I gave Viv her money there was a $50 in there with the 100s.  Not a great loss in the grand scheme of things and I am still up on the last lot of money, but bloody annoying. I have to check every note from now on, and when it is like monopoly money, that can take some time.

You just cannot beat the system here; I walked into the post office, two counters open, no one else waiting, but I took a number anyway. (you don’t get me twice in a day). The girl to my left finished, so I positioned myself ready. She was too busy on her terminal for customers. The girl to my right finished with her customer, so I shuffled right. No luck some one had come in behind me with a parcel. They have priority, it seems. Actually here, every one has priority, children, pregnant women, cripples, men with dogs, Fiat owners, everyone but me. Eventually I did post my letters, but this is getting annoying.

Off to Milonga de Juan again today and as always when we get down on the subte we had just missed a tube. So I decided to try and connect to the subte internet, just because I can. It was not going to happen though, two guys pushed past us to get to the subte map. They were trying to get to Tribunales. I told them to change at Callao onto the “H” line then onto the “D” line. I got an incredulous look from one guy as if to say “but he’s a foreigner” I asked where he wanted to go and he said “Nueve de Julio y Tucuman” so I told him to just stay on this train and get off at Peligrini. Aparently they were not happy with my advice and asked someone else, who told them to get off at Peligrini. Maybe I am not a local but I spend a lot of time down here. Anyway it seems the bigger of the two guys had been asked by the smaller one and he could not help, then we found out that he was a hawker on the train. You would think he would know his way around.

Milonga de Juan was quiet when we arrived but we managed well for dances although it dried up for Viv later. By the time we left it was getting quite busy, but the floor is good and the air conditioning is inbuilt, so we were a lot more comfortable than yesterday.

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Bundle of sunshine

I am off to try and get my money again. I left at quarter to ten and arrived before five to, expecting the place to be still closed, but it was open.
Inside was one guy waiting and two counters, there was a lady behind one and the bundle of sunshine I had encountered yesterday behind the other.
I walked towards the counter and he started again, gesticulating. Seems I should sit and wait. I saw one of those rolls of numbers and thought “I better take one of those”
Then our bundle of sunshine started whistling at the guy waiting, and gesticulating again.
I am not sure I would like to be summoned like a dog, but he had the money, and with that the power.
Fortunately The lady in the next booth then called me, She had to take a photocopy of my Passport, and then I had to sign a piece of paper, after that she just counted out the money. I was back home again by ten past. Well done Azimo.
We had anther visit from Philippe so that is another load of stuff we have got rid of, and he told us where he is having his party on Saturday. looking forward to that.
Finally and we can stop for breakfast. No oats, and that is something else I love about this place. The supermarket is just across the street, so while Viv cooks the apples I can stock up with oats and juice. It is almost seamless.
We had a good class today, although I was, at first, surprised that Viv enjoyed hers. They were making a tort, you see. With Dulce de Leche, which she hates. I found out after that one of the alumni’s brought in some beer as well. Alcohol can certainly lift her spirit.
We stopped a while to help eat the tort, finish the beer off and say goodbye to some of those who were not coming back next week.
We also watched a bit of the tango class, they were just walking and one guy already gave up after ten minutes. Outside of the class I gave him some help, but I don’t think he was for carrying on.
I thought we would walk for a bit and we again walked around the Palace de Aguas. Eventually I found a door that was open and asked the guard “Hay una museo?” typically he said “Si pero es cerrado” So I tried “quen es abierto?” and he said “Lunes a Viernes a uno y media”. I didn’t quite understand this Monday to Friday at one thirty, until when? or from when? But he just repeated it. I just love the way they are so specific here. On the web it says Mon to Fri 9:00 to 13:00. never trust a security guard, I say.
Another Fulgor night and again the numbers are poor, still we had a good time. Much kissing again, but the night was short.
When we got back I tried to get Viv some money from Azimo, but they kept rejecting her card. The trouble is she did not bring her smart key so we cannot access her online banking. This means that there is now no way she can access her money.
So no new shoes and dresses this time, unless we can devise another plan.

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Strange country

Well it just is. Quite apart from the weird customs, and the fact that they litter everywhere, their prices make no sense at all.
You can get almost anything here if you can pay, but don’t expect to get a washing machine or any other white goods without a kings ransom. Then there was the price of beer in Gratto bar. It’s just nuts. In contrast beef is so cheap you end up buying too much. Then there are the utilities almost a hundred times cheaper than the UK.
This morning I decided to change the plug on our boiler. It just looked ugly with the cable coming out the wrong way. So I went to the fereterria and bought two. $35 that is £1.60 more or less. They would cost a fiver each at home.
Anyway we are off to school again on the subte $4.50. These 25 pence’s are adding up.
My confirmation from Azimo came just before we were due to leave, and I did not want to carry that much money around with me. So we decided to pick it up after school.
It was not only Viv who’s head was mashed today. After a whole lot of indefinite objects, I could take no more. I was ready for bed, not for going out.
We got off the subte at Carlos Gardel and walked the three blocks to the office address we had been given. The shutters were down and there was no sign of opening hours. The gate was not locked so I stuck my head in. There was a guy behind a screen waving at me to “Get out”. I was having non of it “que hora abierto?” I asked. He waved again, so I asked again, in a louder voice. He relented and said “Diez a cinco”. So if it closed at five there was no way I was going to get there after school, I would have to come back in the morning. I thanked him and left.
We stopped to buy some provisions, but at the local amacen I missed my number. Nobody was going to serve me now unless I started again. Just too tired and fed up, I screwed the flimsy ticket up and left. I got some cheese in the chino instead.
We sat on the balcony drinking coffee and eating media lunas, then we took a walk down to Plaza Monseñor de Andrea. I rescued a youngsters ball from the fountain and then we crossed the road for ice cream.
You never quite know what you are getting here. We got large cones with nuts and covered with chocolate. Sort of a hand made choc ice. It was delicious, but I was covered in it by the time I had finished. So while Viv delicately wiped her hands with tissue, I plunged into the fountain again. (just my hands, you understand).
It was getting cool, I have no idea what happened to the famous heat, but it was time to head for home.
Some baked potatoes then bed, too tired for tango tonight.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

Cat attack

A good start to the day, we got some place mats and all the food for lunch, on our first sortie.
I left Viv to go back and I went to the Correo. That’s the electric bill paid, again no problems. There is a hairdresser on the same block on Corrientes, got my hair done for $70. That is half the price at home. I even stopped for some salad at the verduria.
Now, suddenly there are Pagofacil everywhere and Peluqueria on every corner. A bit like the busses really.
Everything done by eleven, perhaps I should go and look for a shoe rack while I am winning, but maybe not as Janis is coming for lunch.
Viv whipped up a great pasta and I prepared a salad. Janis kept us talking for hours, then it was time to rush off to Nuevo Chique.
Geoff and Pauline were there again, apparently she was ill last week and that is why she was missing.
Danced with all my usual ladies, but missed Pauline. They had to rush off and I did not see them go.
The drivers on the collectivos must think we are strange. We always ask for Guardia Vieja and then get off at Corrientes. The thing is halfway home we decide to call into La Riena for something tasty to take home with us. They had cheese straws and scones again, well you just have to.
Viv saw the cat as we entered, I did not. Cats, it seems, enjoy annoying dog people, this one was no exception. It decided to pounce and grab my leg as I passed. I nearly jumped out of my skin. For a few seconds I had no idea what was holding my leg or why.
I probably won’t sleep tonight, cat nightmares.
Money is getting short and it is difficult to get more over here, so Janis told me about Azimo. It looks a simple system, until it asked for an image of my Passport, that took three attempts, as I do not have a scanner here. My next problem is that it needs to verify my card. We are out of banking hours, so I have messaged my bank. I need to wait now and see what happens. Something else to loose sleep over.


Filed under Argentina, Tango