Tag Archives: Chacarera

Christmas Day

Didn’t get up in the best frame of mind, too little sleep,I think. Still by three we were washed up and ready to go out. We were not expecting much today, but then those are the days we are least disappointed.

We walked down to El Beso, Canning was closed as were a lot of milongas, so our choice was limited. Beso today would be the old Arranque crowd. True to form there were some old faces there and after a poor start Viv did a lot better than she had expected. I danced with a few ladies that I have not seen in some time, but the numbers were low so we missed a few tandas.

Still we had a good two hours and I even managed to get Viv up for the chacarera. But it was soon time to leave, we have some nice Beefe de Lomo waiting in the fridge. This is the trouble with eating at home, it eats into dancing time. Still this was to be our Christmas dinner so off we went.

The weather forecast said light cloud all day. Just like Micheal Fish and “no hurricane” it was wrong. It was absolutely hammering down and we in light clothing and no umbrellas. We dived into the subte and fortunately only had a four minute wait. Trains can be unreliable on ferria days. When we came out we stayed close to the buildings and managed not to get too wet.

When we got back I had to go straight out again, beer was needed. Fortunately the chino is close and there is very little traffic to slow my progress.

Well the lomo was excellent and cooked beautifully by Viv. To think I have three more pieces in the freezer.


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When the room dances as one

Numbers are up everywhere, but this is not too great a problem at Milonga de Juan. This has to have been one of our best days yet. We left early, not because we were fed up or bored, but because we could not keep it up. Viv got dances with men she has been after since we arrived as well as some she has been after for years.

We arrived early as always, the early birds, and all that.  Still as it got crowded we were still doing well. We danced right through without a break, even doing the chacarera.  What did not go so well was the floorcraft. I managed most of the time to avoid crashes but could not completely avoid the side impacts and shunts.

I think it came home to me most in Nuevo Chique yesterday. The ability to dance with the room has been lost. Too many moves learned and too much about showing off. No longer can the room just dance as one.  I remember many years ago when I first experienced this; The room was packed, yet we all moved as one, there was no shunting or barging, it was like everyone was in the zone.

Now even the locals complain that there is not “room” to dance. They dance up the middle then crash into people who are in line of dance. Others crash into your back or just stop to do their set pieces without a care for the chaos behind them. I do not know what the answer is, but I suspect there is not one. Respect for others and the ability to move as one is lost never to return.  Some day there will be no one left who can remember that special feeling of when the room dances as one.

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Help at the Bank

I set out early this morning, well early for me anyway. So I was at the bank by 9:30, the trouble was, nobody else was there. Never the less the machine seemed to be working, so I set about trying to pay my expensas. After three attempts I seemed to have reached some sort of result, then it said “come back later”. So that was it then.

I stopped off at Farmacity on my way back to try the scales. I fully expected a good weight loss, as we have hardly eaten anything. Imagine my shock when I find I have put on half a kilo. Must have been Philippe’s cooking last night. Viv says all the exercise means that I have put on bulk. Hm, well I am not going to kid myself.

After a due wait I set out again. First stop was the feretaria across the road. I had bought some staples here and they would not fit my gun. The guy insisted the problem was my gun and absolutely refused to give me my money back. His staples were fine, but so is my gun, just different sizes. I left annoyed, but there is a fereteria on every corner here and I often buy tools and other hardware. He needs me more than I need him.

I set off for the bank again, in low spirit. The omens were not good. For once there was almost no queue and the two machines were on, but there was a problem. I don’t know what it was but a man from the bank was attending one of the machines. I got to the other and proceeded  along the lines I had followed earlier. Then “come back later” so I did it again, same result. They have been very unhelpful up to now,  but hope springs eternal, I asked the man for help. For once I got, not only the help I needed but in a way that should help in the future. It seems I need to make a deposit, not pay a bill, if you don’t know, you just cannot fathom it.

Afterwards I did have to chase around for a pen, but some quick notes are hopefully going to help next month. Watch this space.

We had some bad news today; after 17 years El Arranque is to close on 25th February. It is the talk of the day, it will be a very sad day when it finishes.

Of down to El Beso again today, on the way down we were entertained by some Eric Clapton music, played live. I don’t think Eric has anything to worry about from this guy. People were still clapping and giving him money though. I just wish the sheriff had shot him first.

El Abrazo is turning into a right good milonga. The down side was that as we came in there was a tanda of DeAngelis I had to sit through some of my favourite vals tracks before I was ready to dance. I think Viv only missed one tanda and apart from one I missed through sheer exhaustion I also danced them all. I even got another dance with the cat lady, things are looking up.

If I could advise my younger self of anything, it would be to learn tango. I know that I am no Richard Gere but now I dance I have the women falling at my feet, one woman keeps telling me I have beautiful eyes. Now I know that is rubbish, if I could change one thing about my appearance it would be my eyes. If you think that all sounds arrogant, remember it is the dancing not me they are after, and they flatter me hoping I will come back to them.

At about seven there was a Chacarera and I danced it with Viv, after that Mario played some electronic rubbish. We decided it was time to go, after I had changed my shoes and kissed everyone goodbye Mario played Café Dominguez. It was my turn to say “you are a bad man” he could have put almost any other track on, but this was just unfair.

Another bad trip home on the subte; when the train stopped at Pueyrredon there was some sort of alarm then we saw a doctor run past. We knew he was a doctor because he had a stethoscope. The doors stayed open and the train was going nowhere. I decided that as it was only Pueyrredon we should walk. Viv was surprised how quickly we reached The Abasto, so while we were here we went to see if Philippe’s favourite restaurant El Rey was still there. Good job we did they are away on vacation until 15th.

The rain held off until we got back so we stopped off at the chino for some hot bread, yummy. Nice with some Quilmes Stout.


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Got my Shoes Back

OK, well I got my shoes back. For those interested here is my route. If you are not interested just skip this bit: Caught the subte at Medrano and changed at Pueyrredon, train for Hospitales then change again at Plaza Miserere, then leave at Saenz Peña. only one block to walk then. After successfully retrieving my shoes I walked across Congreso to the Windmill (Confiteria Molin) then along Callao back to Corrientes. El Beso is just a block back up.

When I arrived I had trouble getting attention and a seat. So that Viv arrived while I was still waiting. She told Diago she wanted a seat where she would not be moved from today, so she was put on the table where Graciela sits. I was given a seat right behind. Well that worked out well.

Maria had tried some wine here and she had decided that I should also try it. So while I was up dancing my water turned to wine, Malbec from Mendoza, it don’t get much better. We had some excellent dancing and thanks to the advice from Gerta I managed to get some ladies I had not danced with before. I danced with the Cat lady again and even got a second dance with her. Taken me eight years but I think I have finally cracked this one. I think that the cabeceo is dead here. No body has the eyesight for it any more, I walk around and nobody refuses me.

When Viv asked what time we were leaving I said “not before Jesus” she asked what I meant and I told her someone had turned my water into wine. She then admitted she had planted the wine on my table, I never told her that I already knew.

Told Paloma we are going to crush the French in The 6 Nations, she thought my crushing motion was so funny she called Hubert over so that I could demonstrate again. Being a border rat English and Welsh I do have two chances.

When the Chacarera came on Viv was not for doing it “It’s boring” she said. So I decided to go and log on the internet, but as luck would have it Gerta grabbed me on the way past, and so we did the chacarera together.

A guy came and said “hello” he was from New York, he remembered me, I am afraid I did not remember him. I think that dancing with Viv possibly re-enforces the memory. I also danced with a lady from New Jersey ” we don’t like to say we are Americans” She said. This confused me somewhat. “Well I can’t call you yankies because they are from the south” “no” she said ” because of Trump”. “Well” I said “I won’t blame you for Trump if you don’t blame us for May” I am afraid though she could not grasp that May is unelected. The tango piste is not the place for politics.

We kept going until about seven thirty, something of a record for us. Then it was time to head home again.

More Quilmes stout for us tonight, from the chino. Have to keep up the beer levels.


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Careful what you buy here

Off to El Beso again today. For some reason I was not looking forward to it, I guess it is all catching up with me. Never the less we sat seperado, we were made to feel very welcome by Diego and then by Zoraida and in no time I was up dancing. I soon forgot my depressed feelings and had a great time.

Viv again danced almost every tanda and she would not leave until she had danced with Ron Dennis (not the real one, just looks like him). There were many women I had danced with before, but somehow I struggled to break through with any new ones. The Cat woman, who danced with me last week blanked me again today. I guess last week was a one off.

One lady came over to talk with me, who I have not seen before. I danced two dances with her, she seemed impressed. Las borrachas were there, they gave me some good dances, if a little noisy. I have an open invite over to Sweden now, although I am unsure if I can manage it this year.

I managed to get Viv to do the Chacarera with me. She seems reluctant these days for some reason. Maria filmed us on her camcorder I look forward to seeing it. If it is available I may post it here as well.

I think Mario is loosing it: last week he played the same track twice, this week he did a three track milonga tanda, then a Cortina then another milonga. Not what you expect from a professional. Perhaps it is the strain of doing two venues a day.

I checked the price list for this place; a bottle of Quilmes stout was 168$ar that is exactly four times the supermarket price. You expect some mark up but that is just daylight robbery. I must check in future before I order, normally I don’t bother, but this set bells ringing.

Stopped off for a bottle of Quilmes Stout at the local chino 42$ar. Tastes just as good in our flat.

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Las Borrachas

Off to Milonga de Juan again today.

On the subte someone tried to get into Vivs bag. She keeps nothing valuable accesible but as she left the train her Sube card fell out, just as well I was behind her. Another lady was telling her, her bag was open as I picked it up. Nothing lost but it was a reminder of the petty theft here, and to watch out when travelling.

We arrived later than last week but still got our usual place. While Viv went off to change her shoes I danced a milonga with the slim dark haired lady. Things started off slowly for both of us, and one lady commented to me that the cabeceo does not work, you have to wander around. I stuck at it for a while, but in the end I had to go walkabout.

All the rules are broken here, including the one where you are allocated a seat. I got back after one dance and someone was in my seat. I though that there was going to be trouble, but when I pointed out my towel was over the back of the seat, my shoe bag was hanging on it and my shoes underneath, and on top of that my drink, he accepted what I said and moved. Viv was not happy though, the guy sometimes dances with her, now she was not going to get that dance.

Maria, Graciela and her sister arrived. They ordered beer as always, they now call themselves las borrachas. The standard of floorcraft is not the best here, I am getting used to being barged kicked and trodden on, but at least, it is good natured. I have not seen anyone get angry, yet.

Gloria was here as well. I got two dances with her. She also led Viv in a milonga, they both seemed to enjoy that. I am not sure how she manages it, she is so short, her boobs stick in my groin. So leading Viv must be particularly difficult.

They had a live band at seven, but Viv was not for doing the Chacrera. I thought she was in a strop about that first milonga, so we left shortly afterwards, still we stayed three quarters of an hour longer than last week. Things are on the up.

We bought some bread from the chino on the way home.  They have a little oven and cook it fresh, it was very tasty to eat along with Viv’s Stew.



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Two days of Gripe

Yesterday was not so good. We passed a couple of good hours in Sullivan’s Bar with the Hudson’s for company, but Wales got a trouncing. Although they did manage to pull back towards the end. Still that puts England well at the top of the six nations. Unusually there was one other Wales supporter in there. Next time though I will be an England supporter, and should definitely hammer the French.

As I said, I felt fine while I was in the bar, but as soon as I left, this rotten cold returned. I coughed and snotted all the way home. No milonga today for me.

This morning though I had work to do. The Fan I had Failed to fix in Philippe’s needed doing. I took my own tools this time and allowed plenty of daylight time. I resolved to take it down and start from scratch. Everything down and I could see where I had not put enough tape on the joint. Schoolboy error, but as I was not feeling well and no light, I expect forgiveness. I took the back plate down as well. The old Wire in the ceiling was not good enough and I had a new roll in my box. After that it all went well and soon it was working.

I was still coughing, the cold has moved to my chest. It seems to have progressed quickly here, hopefully it will soon be gone. Philippe has made some sort of chocolate and Dulche de leche tort, “with a Cuban twist ” he said. Seems he does not have a steady hand when pouring Cuban rum. It nearly took my head off, but boy did it numb the cold. By the second piece I no longer cared.

I am sure Viv noticed my happy mood when I returned.

Off to Club Fulgor again tonight, the first time dancing in three days. We had all the usual kisses, but I was reluctant to dance with the old dears. A quick peck on the cheek is one thing, but that very close embrace runs the risk of passing on my germs. So we just danced with each other and left early.

Three days of no dancing and already were loosing our fitness. Still for a first night two and a half hours of almost solid dancing was enough. Tango, folklore, cumbia, and merengue, we had a good mix, and we have a bout an hours walking in total as well. Time for bed I think.


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Something in the air

Saturday so it is El Arranque again. I am still amazed at the amount of back-steps people take here. I was always taught never to step back in a milonga, because you cannot see behind you.

There is a little lady with mad hair, I now know her as Gilda . We were dancing quite happily when some guy took three big back-steps and nearly flattened us. Poor Gilda got a heel on her foot. The guy apologised, then continued doing back-steps around the room. It is a constant problem here and I have learned many of the men to avoid.

We passed nearly four hours here tonight and danced for pretty much all of it. Viv could not be bothered with the chacarera so I got Graciela up. Unknown to me she had never done it before. So there was I teaching a porteña how to do their folk dance. Fortunately her sister was alongside also shouting instructions, so it went reasonably well. We did a Paso Doble as well, to much shouting ole!

Something else I discovered as well; Graciela’s sister talks the same unintelligible machine gun Spanish as she does. I danced with her and she also talked all the way through, and I did not understand a word of what she said either.

After four hours we had had enough so we took the subte home. Some woman came on the train shouting into her mobile, obviously there was a relationship ending here, but she was having a screaming fit. Nobody wanted to be anywhere near her. Viv and I both wondered what it is about people today that they have to wash their dirty linen in public. Why end a relationship via a mobile network and on a crowded train?

There is something in the air tonight, there seemed to be more than the usual amount of people in strange attire milling about. Talking of milling why do people choose to mill around just where the pavement is narrowest. We came out of Medrano station and the pavements are all dug up for the new electric cables. There is a gap barely big enough for one person, and some dear person decided to stop in the middle for a chat. There was a train load of people trying to exit here, because apart from the road works the escalator on Corrientes was again not working.

There are times, I think, when murder is quite justified.



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Like the Beatles but higher.

The porteños are worse than the British for complaining about the weather. Two days ago it was “Hace calor” Yesterday it was “Hace frio” today “Es lluvia” I have never heard “Hoy es perfecto” with regards to the weather.

It looks like rain outside, so I checked the forecast, no rain until nine tonight, so we went out without umbrellas.

Foolishly it seems, we got halfway along Corrientes and the rain started. It was never too heavy though we did shelter in a doorway for a while. We had decided to check out Parque Centenario on a Sunday for a change. A bit of rain and everyone was panicking to get their stock away or covered. Some had decided to shut up shop for the day.

The guitar man was there again and we had a long chat. He has another version of my guitar now, in Pink, which Viv liked. He enjoyed the video I sent him of Ralf McTell, but did not understand the lyrics. He did not realise we had homeless people in the UK, the same as here, but maybe not as bad. I have now got myself another job, translating the lyrics of “Streets of London” for him.

We wandered around and Viv got herself some marker pens. Then I found a phone extension, which sort of removed the need for my long phone lead that still does not work.

We wandered around some more still looking for a phone, but not expecting to find what I want. Then I saw a book of Beatles songs. The complete works, with music and in almost pristine condition.

I walked away, but Viv knew I wanted it. It was $250 about £12 a lot for a book here. If I ever came to sell it I would probably get three times as much for it, just for its rarity value and Music books here are normally about $50 with just a few tunes in them. This one had the complete works of the Beatles, I have not counted them all but I estimate just under 200 songs that is $1.5 per tune or 1s and 6d in real money. (If you can remember that far back). So back I went and bought it.

It is a bit hard to get my voice in tune with my guitar being in a higher key, but it is fun trying.

We totally failed to get any steak for tea. My own fault for leaving it until Sunday, but when I asked at the chino what time was the carneceria open, they did say five. By six there was no sign of the butcher and no other local chino had one. So it was sliced ham for tea.

Fulgor again tonight, I hope that the rain stays off long enough for us to walk there. We took the umbrellas tonight, and it worked, the rain stayed off.

A real good night again, we even got up for the cumbia. There was a new couple there from Canada, I did not find out how long they are staying, but it will be nice to see them here again. I think we impressed them with our chacarera, they looked like they had not seen it before.

So we arrived home thoroughly exhausted, ready for a good nights sleep. Before I slept though, I sent the guitar man “The Streets Of London” lyrics and translation. I just hope he does not think I am stalking him.



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Bye bye Maria

Sebastian was out cleaning the pavements this morning, so I went down to speak with him. I asked about the common room, which appears to be locked. He just told me to put my shoulder to it, so I tried and it opened. I felt such an idiot, but then it has been some time since we went in there. I had been worried that someone was trying to take it over and decided to lock it.

Philippe paid a visit, he wanted to show me how to change the password on the WiFi but my computer will not connect. I suspect that this is something to do with the problems we have been having with the net. He is going to try again with his computer, time alone will tell.

More shopping to do, Viv wanted to visit her favourite verduria for some lettuce and other stuff. all necessary but boring. I went to the fereteria and got a new phone cable, as the old one is too short. When we got back the end fell off. I took it back and they crimped it back on. When I got back this time, it just would not connect with the internet, the old cable meanwhile worked. We returned to the shop to find that Saturday lunch time, they shut for the day.

We went to Narañgo y Flor and had a Jugo and some torta manzana.  There is nothing like sitting outside a café watching the world go by with the sun on your face, to take away that feeling that you would like to kill someone.

Off to El Arranque  again, but today the subte is running again. It still is not running Sunday, but Saturday it is. It is so hard to keep up.

We were early for a change and there were few people there. This meant that I danced with a few women I have not danced with before. As usual, some were good some were bad, but we always left the floor with a “Gracias”.

It was Maria’s despedida, she leaves for Sweden tomorrow. So she had an extra dance and we had a glass of Champagne. It is sad to see her go, that is one less lady to give me present’s. ( I am not really that shallow, I loved dancing with her, and the Spanish practice was good.)

Because we were early Viv was ready to go at seven-thirty, so we almost missed the sorteo. We never win, but the excitement is good. We also missed the chacarera, which pleased Viv.

We returned home on the subte, which is more frequent and faster than the bus. Also the murga madness is still on at weekends so the bus again would have diverted.

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