Tag Archives: Buenos Aires

Some people are just too helpful

Off to Gricel today.

The subte is awash with beggars, but now they have expensive karaoke machines or fantastic keyboards. I just don’t feel in a giving mood somehow. As usual we come the wrong way out of the underground and head in the wrong direction. I just don’t know this end of the H line, but it takes me less time now to realize which way to go.

It is nice when you know the organizers, we were welcomed by Juan Carlos La Falce and by Mario Orlando (The DJ).There are not many people there when we arrive and we have to dance together for a couple of dances. Soon a few old friends arrive here and Viv is doing well. She seems to enjoy dancing with all the old men, she says that they have musicality. We stay through to the last hour, but I struggled for women, I try to make it a rule to dance with a different woman each tanda, but I had to dance twice with most women. Maybe that is why Viv enjoyed it so much. Still it was generally a good afternoon. The first milonga Viv was up with a local, so I had to find a woman to dance with. What a surprise, I could not faze her, it was one of my best, if not the best. A couple of locals sitting watching applauded us as we left the floor.

We stopped at the pizzeria on the corner of San Juan for a coffee. Viv was not for stopping for pizza, but we will have a cervesa negra when we get home.

When we got down into the subte I realize we are on the A line and I am confused for a short while. A couple who have just passed through are determined to help. I point out that I need the H line and the lady of the couple is trying to send me to the machine to get tickets, I kept telling her that we have Sube cards and do not need the machine, but she was just not listening. The guy fortunately had more nous and told use we could go through the platform onto the H line. He then dragged her off, I guess she just wanted to practice her English, but needs to practice her listening more. I remember last year having problems at this end of the line. If we do this each week, I should soon get used to it.

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A great wrong has been righted.

Not everything has doubled in price, the subte has, but the milongas only seem to have gone up by a half. That makes them cheaper to us.

On my shopping trips out, most groceries are still dirt cheap. I had a bag of fruit and veg this morning for $8ar, which by any measure is less than two pounds. My torch batteries are dead, new ones cost me again less than two pounds. The guy in the fereteria said “how many” I said “three” Viv did not think they would split the packet. I said “This is Argentina” and he did.

Our return to El Beso was greeted with muchos besos, but we still find it difficult here. We have now given them a Welsh Flag to go with all the other international flags on the bar, so a great wrong has now been righted.

A lot of my old favourites were missing, so I struggled sometimes for dances. Still it was only our second milonga, we will soon get known again. Viv got fed up though after jiggy jiggy. She left to go to the Coffee Store, so after another tanda, I left also, to join her.

It’s in a lovely spot on a wide junction of Corrientes and the pedestrian Discepolo. It catches the sun here and seems to hold little of the traffic pollution. You can never please Viv though, she says the new seats are too squishy and it feels like you are falling through. I thought that for outside seats they were very comfortable.

We walked back, hoping to find some things that we wanted. What makes life difficult here is that they put things in all the wrong shops. This can be made worse when you cannot ask for what you want. Last year we searched for days for those dental floss things with a tooth pick, I don’t even know what they are called in English, so I had no chance in Spanish, until I saw them hanging up in a Chinese gift shop.

Well I got most of what I wanted, but I only got a small bottle of the aromatadazor, the rest was easy.

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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.

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More lessons for Bob

I finished that repair to the wall, and just as I was about to clear up Philippe called.  By the time he arrived everything was away and we were able to relax with a coffee. He is off to Paris at the weekend so we will not see him for a while, so he agreed to take me to the bank for another lesson in paying my expensas.

Even with the expert it crashed out the first time, which was good as it allowed me to do it on my own. Well they now have $2600 of my money and I should be ok until he comes back. We said goodbye on the corner of Mario Bravo and Tucuman I wished him well for his journey, we will miss his help while he is gone, but I now have some notes at least.

I have to write to the administrator to tell her I have paid money in. As of the end of the day she has not replied.

Off to milonga de Juan today. We get more dances here despite there being less people, it is just so much easier to cabeceo here. After about two hours Graciela arrived and I suspended my attempts to get ladies up until she had worked the room. There was just too much chaos around her, still in the grand scheme of things half a tanda is no big deal.

This is the only milonga here where they dance to Nefeli’s Tango. Goes with the mixed tandas I suppose. Viv seemed to enjoy it anyway. They also have a demo most weeks, but we managed to escape before it this week.

A number of men were missing from today and Tuesday at Chique seems they are all coming down with exhaustion. As I was in the toilets about to leave I was asked where are we going next? My answer is that when we are here long-term and dancing every day, one milonga a day is enough. We danced three and a half hours today, not bad for two sexagenarians. To try to do more is just going to burn us out and spoil the time we have left here.

When we first came here we danced four hours a day, took classes and visited numerous tourist sites. I was only fifty then and it was only two weeks and still we were exhausted.  Trouble is, I think, people do not realize their own limitations.

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Tango, Chinese and Stout

A bit of a worky morning today. After struggling to sand down the patch in the bedroom, I struggled more to put some more plaster on it. I found that by scraping it off and adding more water each time it did become slightly more plastic. A final sand tomorrow should see it right. While that was going off I took the broken chair to Sanchez de Bustamente. The same guys were sitting there and the main man recognized me “est es la silla?” he looked at it and told me that the welding would burn the pain off. “No shit Sherlock” I thought but just said “si, no problem”. He took it to the back where another guy fired up the oxy acetylene. When he came to the front I said “Ahora?” He said “Si, aproxamente cien”. When the chair came back he offered me water to dunk it in, but I said it would be cold by the time I got home. I gave him the $100 and told him that the chairs only cost me $50 when I bought them, knowing inflation here he never even asked me how long ago.  They did a good job though and I can live with the small patch of burnt paint for now.

Back to Nuevo Chique today and it was not a good one. Apart from me Viv got only one dance in the first two hours. I don’t know what makes one day so different, but it happens. Fortunately it picked up for her afterwards, but I still seem to have some invisibility. Not that I m complaining I still got dances, it just took a little longer than usual. More of Vivs fan club arrived in her last hour so I was saved from earache.

We try to eat out on a Tuesday so we headed off to El Revolutionario but it was still closed. They did say February so I suppose we still have two days to go. Fortunately we did have a Plan”B”. We caught our usual 151 Collectivo but instead of getting off at Guardia Vieja we stayed on until Cordoba and got off just before Aroaz. Down here is the bar formally known as Doctor Mason, now it is known as Shanghai Dragon. Food is more takeaway then restaurant, served in cardboard cartons with chopsticks but it is the nearest we get in Buenos Aires to proper Chinese food. There is an added bonus, Celtic Stout on Draught.

Tango, Chinese and Stout, it does not get much better than this. Just one downside; I asked and they do not open Saturday morning, so I can’t watch the rugby here.

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Fifty shades of Grey

I had postal duties again this morning, when my number was called I ended up with the girl who wanted my passport again. This time I was ready for her, what I was not ready for was the cost. I was paying my internet bill at the same time, so when I gave her ar$1100 I expected it to be enough, but she kept asking for more. When I checked the receipt she had charged me the equivalent of over £10 to post a card. Next time I will wait for a different girl.

The shirt that was due to be worn last night, I decided was too good for Fulgor. This turned out to be a mistake. For once in El Beso it was me having trouble getting dances. It looks like no one can see me in my grey shirt, I have become The Invisible Man. Ladies were looking straight at me but not seeing me. Never have I missed so many tandas.

In the end I had to go up to the ladies tables and ask. This is a risky strategy as some one may well have cabeceo in between and I risked being left just standing there.

Despite all this we had an enjoyable time, but must remember, no grey for Beso.

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Spring cleaning

Well ok it’s not spring here, but never the less, a time to spruce the place up. I need to repair the plaster around our bedroom window. A difficult task as the only plaster I seem to be able to get is Paris. I will just have to leave it and try sanding it smooth afterwards.

I  have waxed the woodwork and avoided Viv while she does what she does. Then had to re-hang the picture as it came down when she cleaned it.  Who says we are on holiday?

Sunday, it seems is my day to be ill. Last year it was almost every Sunday and I put it down to the ice at El Arranque. This year with no El Arranque and no ice, I did not expect it. Lets hope this is a one-off.

The crowd in Fulgor was different again this week. Numbers were up just different people. The music was dire at first so my resolution to have no beer did not last. Last week we could hardly hear the music but this week it was just too loud. How hard can it be? After half an hour cervesa negra was called for. Viv actually enjoyed the night despite us not doing too much dancing, I think sometimes she just likes a rest.

He did play Tango negro though and a nice tanda of Miguel Calo. Viv being the kind soul she is insisted I dance it with Bebe. She never got a dance with the new guy at the end although he had danced with Bebe, it seems Viv was too much of a threat. I can’t imagine she was going to run off with him, especially with me sitting there.

We remade some old acquaintances again and by the end of the night we were on kissing terms with everyone in there. It can now take quite some time to get in and leave, by the time we have kissed everyone. I am also getting some slightly longer conversations although I may not always understand what they are talking about.  It appears the short guy, who we are only just on kissing terms with, had a suit like The Prince of Wales when he was younger. Maybe next week I will get more of the story, or maybe I will just get more confused.

 

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