Tag Archives: Colectivo

Local Knowledge

I have one small job today, to take Les’s sube card. Normally I would walk, but after last nights excesses I am too tired. I already have 5,000 steps in for the day before I get up. Outside of our building there is a 151, it has passed the stop but is stopped at the lights. I raise my hand, more in hope than expectation, but he opens the door for me anyway. I have pre explored this area, but I still get it wrong and have to backtrack twice until I find the hotel.  The girl was very helpful ( she never replied in English, although I suspect she could) even gave me a note to leave.

Mission accomplished it was time to return. I had not checked the colectivos, getting a bit over confident here. I knew that they ran back along Colonel Niceto Vega so I crossed the road looking for a stop. Passed the railway and there was a 168 coming. There was a lady at the stop so no panic. I jumped on and said “a Medrano”. Now the driver said nothing just charged me $20. I realized my mistake when the bus turned up Pringles. I had quite forgotten that there are two 168. They may look the same but follow different routes. Years ago I had caught the wrong one and ended up at the depot. At least I knew where I was here. I pressed the buzzer as we left Rocomorra. It was not too bad in the end, I got off at Pringles y Guardia Vieja which was five blocks away instead of two. Then I remembered Viv had asked me to get something to eat, so I diverted another two blocks to Augustus for some Medialunas.

Friday is El Beso again. Same old with the seats, but at least with Zoraida here she found a decent seat for Viv. I have my usual seat under the mirror, but even here, two tables are reserved and I am not exactly where I like to be. I was, of course off like a shot once I had my shoes on. Although I am tired after yesterday, and missing any tanda I did not like the sound of. At least for a while, then a couple of  missed cabeceo meant I would promise the next dance to someone, and I even danced Pugliese.

It was hard dancing, too many on the floor and no floor craft, so I was soon tired. Then Viv was getting bored, so it was time to leave. We had our usual promo at The Coffee Store, and soon we saw everyone was leaving. I wonder sometimes if we should stay, maybe the dancing gets better later.

We had a list of things to buy for the trip home so we stopped at Farmacity. Got most of what we wanted except for soap dishes. Well we stopped at Petish and got just the thing, then La Riena for some scones and we were still in time for El Bosque. With good local knowledge now we get things done quickly, but Viv was in a hurry. She rushed out and I never got a chance to say goodbye to our shoe man

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Coffee and toasty £1.60

We seem to do less and less before the milongas theses days, still it’s nice to be a bit rested for a change.

There was a group of tourists waiting outside today. We, of course, passed them and took our seats while they were getting organized. We stayed four hours today, and apart from Pugliese never missed a tanda. I think Viv actually did miss one other as Anna was keeping her talking. I never seem to dance with Ana these days, I am not really sure why, Viv thinks she has just given up.

I saw a lady who looked like she was on the edge so I elected to do the next tanda with her. She was attractive, had a good body and danced well. New blood only goes so far, I guess, it’s still the young who get the most men.  I noticed she got a couple more dances afterwards, sometimes they just need to see a lady dance.

Afterwards we went to Congreso Plaza Pizza Cafe for a coffee. We were just going for coffee, honestly, but there was a promotion; Cafe con leche y media tostada $160. too good to pass up. We expected just some toasted bread and maybe a bit of dulche de leche, what we got were two rounds each of ham and cheese toasty. We expected to have to pay more, surely the waiter had it wrong and we had someone else’s order. But no, when we asked for the bill it was $320. Bargain of the week, perhaps we will be back.


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The last medialuna

On my morning shop, I now have to walk on the other side of the road. They are knocking the building down and have barriers all around it.  This would not normally be a problem except that the guy from the ferreterria opposite just leaves his dog out front. Today his mess is spread all across the pavement it is all but impossible to avoid.

So as we leave for Nuevo Chique today I am unable to find my shoes. Luckily I have spares, it seems I have, again left them when we stopped for coffee.

Slightly lower numbers today, it cannot be the heat, it was far hotter Tuesday. It was good for Viv although I had some problems. Not enough to stop me dancing though. I did miss a couple of tandas just to recover from the heat, because although it was not as hot today, the humidity was through the roof. At six o’clock all my regulars appeared. It seems they wanted to miss the main heat of the day. What Viv pointed out is that they would now get all the sweaty men.

The gay couple turned up here as well. There were not as many wanting to dance with them though as there were in Canning. It is also a more crowded floor so all the boleos did not go down well either. They did not stay long, I think that they would be better off in La Viruta. A guy who sits by me was watching them dance, you could read his mind, some people are so obvious what they think.

I expected to stay a little later today, but then Viv had another coughing fit, so it was time to go. We caught the 151 and stayed om it until it got to Scalabrini Ortiz. Then we were right outside Cafe Artaud. It was just as well we left when we did, it took longer than we thought and it was eight fifteen when we arrived. The place closes at half past. We were by now starving but they had only one medialuna left, so we had the last one between us. Good coffee here though it seems to relieve Vivs throat and they still had my shoes.

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Tigre two

After the jobs around the place Viv wanted to go back to Tigre. Just to buy some more lights, so off we went.

On the bus I noticed Viv had minus $40 on her sube card so she topped it up at the station. She never got a ticket and she could not see the display. On the bus home we realized she had been done out of $200. It is not a great deal of money, but we just hate being ripped off.

Finding Puerta de frutas was not too difficult, we managed to pick a map up on the way. The girl in the information told us to go to China Town and turn right. She neglected to tell us to turn before China town. Still it was a pleasant diversion. It was very hot and by the time we got  there we were ready for a drink. There was a confused queue outside Havana Cafe. I am not the greatest fan of Havana but it was here and there was plenty of room. So we just walked past the queue and found a table with some shade. It was still pretty hot in the shade but looking forward to a cold drink we waited. It was not too long before a girl came for our order. Two Iced frappes, just what the doctor ordered. An hour later and everyone around us having been served, we had enough. No body came to say there was a delay or some problem. So we left still not refreshed.

Just along the way was a kiosco, we bought two ice creams and a bottle of orange and saved $100.

It was more difficult to find the shop with the lights. Today all the stalls and shops were open, it made the place look totally different. Eventually, though we got our bearings and Viv found her lights. In this heat though with the temperature in the mid thirties, no shade and just too many people, my heart was not in it. Also I was still annoyed about the frappes. So we headed back to the station.

Back at Belgrano we paid for our journey, and that is where Viv found she had been done on her Sube card. Far too late to do anything about it now. Somebody asked if I knew where to catch the no60 colectivo. Not being from around these parts, I had no idea. Nor it seems did the girl sitting by us at the bus stop. She got off at the same stop as us, so I guess she was in the same boat. She did have a better grasp of Castiliano than me though.

Cena on the balcon tonight. Spaghetti followed by Ice cream. Sometimes it is nice just to sit outside our own flat eating our own food. Still damned noisy though.

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Today we should have gone to Nuevo Chique, but we had an invitation so to save getting boring we took it.

First though The Cucaracha man was supposed to be coming today. Viv hates poisons everywhere, but we are getting regular visitors here, so we need advice. When he came in I could not describe our visitors so I looked for one. “Hormigos” he said, Ants. They did not look like ants to me, far too small. Well they behaved like ants and he was the expert. He put some gel in various places and asked me if they were anywhere else, so I asked Viv. “No hablo español” she said. Well that blew my practice again, from then on he spoke in English. He left a bit more Gel around then put his poison spray everywhere and told us not to wash it off. Then he was gone.

So we walked to Gallo and Cordoba at about twenty to ten. “Como Llego” said our bus would take about half and hour, but we did not know when it would arrive, so I was leaving plenty of time. Our no 29 colectivo dropped us outside Belgrano Station by half ten, so we were in plenty of time to meet Philippe at eleven.

He said to meet him at eleven outside the Boleteria.  It was hot and we were thirsty and the kiosco was inside the station past the gate, so we walked down the road to another kiosco. On the way there we passed another Boleteria.  So we had a choice of two and Philippe had not said which one. We out it down to him being French.

Well we paced from one to the other, even examining a bike we saw parked, in case it was his. We decided it was not. It got to half eleven and we were ready to give up. Then I saw Mariela come out of the station at the other gate.  We rushed over, Marriela said they were waiting inside. I told her Philippe said he would meet us at the Boleteria.

Still we were united now. So I went to the Boleteria to buy our tickets. The woman seemed confused, and asked about my SUBE card. She took the price of two tickets off it and we were allowed through the gate by the security guard. Then Marriela seemed confused “Why had we not just gone through the gate with our Sube cards?” I have not used this line for more than five years and the girl in the Boleteria never said. Then she asked why I had not answered Philippe on Whatsapp, well I could not connect here.

I am not on an Argentine phone and every time I try to connect to a free WiFi I get this code that needs scanning. Nobody can tell me how I can scan a code with my phone, when the code is on my phone.  Until the train came Mariela was trying to connect to the station WiFi.  I kept telling her to stop, it is only there to drive us crazy.

I had thought it would  be better to join the train at Retiro. As it happened I was right we struggled getting seats, but after about three stops we managed to all get together.

I have not used the inland railway to get to Tigre before, but it was a journey of remembrance as far as San Isidro. In 2004 we traveled this line several times a day, when staying in Vincete Lopez.  Of course we arrived in a different place in Tigre, because we were not on The Tren De La Costa, but assumed Philippe and Mariela knew where they were going. How wrong we were.

Apparently we are going to the fruit market, no idea why, but every day is a new adventure. It seems that the entry port for was here and now it is a theme park and market. Philippe and Mariela stopped in several shops to ask for directions and eventually we arrived. We arrived to find most of the units locked up. Again Mariela found someone to ask, looks like the close Monday and Tuesday. I am still blaming the French.

Viv was in heaven with all the tat shops, she has bought a mat for the french window and some lights for our milonga, then it was time to get some food. Well, it was a good job this is not a busy day, we waited almost an hour for a table, even with the constant barracking Philippe and Mariela gave them. We had to have a beer while we waited and then another with our meal. We shared an asado but we were told it was only for two, so we had to get something else to top it up for the three of us. Something called El Martrimonio, chorizo and black pudding, apparently.  Did I mention that Mariela is the only known Argentine vegetarian? Two plates of chips and a pizza for Mariela.

Tourist prices here apparently, the whole lot came to £25.

It was easier to get a seat on the train going back as we were at the terminus, but it soon filled. We were bombarded by hawkers and buskers all the way back, not a moments peace. Then we went the wrong way for the colectivo and missed two, my fault, i’m afraid. At least we knew where to get off now.  We had ice cream supper at six, collapsed into bed and slept the sleep of the innocent and did not get up for fourteen hours.

Mariela, Philippe and Viv

I am not veev zees Einglish Drunkards.

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Not so Easy

First job of the day, The Vacuum Cleaner.  The old meter I brought here (because I now have a better one at home) is acting up and I need an extra long specialist driver. I am tempted to just try it but do not want to blow the breakers again. In the end I just took it to the repair man on Medrano. It will probably cost me a couple of quid.

On the way back I headed for Rocamora, and there was Jorge. I wished him “Feliz año” and gave him $500. for the welding.Well it is Christmas. I am starting to get very cavalier with the money here, with a peso being worth little more than a penny, it is almost like the first time we came. Sebastian was downstairs when I returned. I thanked him for resetting my electric. In his long winded way he said something about me having a key. I showed him my keys and said I did not, eventually I deduced something from his jumble of words “Es el mismo de teraza?” I asked “Si” he replied. I tried it later and it is indeed the same key. I will not have that problem again then.

We decided to go to Easy today to get a few things we need. This did not go well, we came out empty handed. We stopped at every other shop, but again we were disappointed. Finally we went to the paint shop on Medrano. The guy there put us under pressure and I asked him for small grey for metal. What I got was a half litre, well it will do but after I have painted all the chairs there will still be most of it left. “Stop Complaining” I hear you say, it was only a fiver. I just do not like waste.

Off to Nuevo Chique again today, thought we would be late, with our shopping trip, but we were there just after four. We just missed a train or we would have been early. My Sube card would not let me through, seems I had run out of credit. So as it was I had time to charge it up before the next train.

Nuevo Chique was busy today, that gave us both problems. We had many friends there but struggled to get them to dance. I never missed a tanda, but I failed to get up at the first note. I even danced Pugliese although it was a crash fest. It is impossible to protect your woman when they come at you from every direction.

We tried to stay longer but by seven fifteen we had enough and left for a coffee. Then we caught a number 90 and got off at Corrientes. We walked then to HB and had a Pechugita sandwich and complete salad to share. Viv is on a “Beer only every other day” kick. It is her resolution not mine, so she had agua con gas, I had a stout.

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Poco Mujeres

First job of the morning, is buy a new fridge. We know what we want, just a matter of doing the deed.  When we asked, the guy said”con tarjeta?”  I said “si” and he disappeared. He came back after a few minutes with a fresh fridge all wrapped up, then he plugged it in.

Next came the paperwork, I was, more or less ready this time. I gave him my credit card and my passport. Then we get the difficult questions “numero de telefono” I have no local number now. Then he asked something else that I did not catch. Viv said “I think he said llevar”well  we were rather hoping to get it delivered. This is not a full American fridge freezer, but I was not about to carry it eight blocks on my back. Anyway we managed to get them to use a flete and it will be delivered in the morning. I have no idea what it will cost for delivery, and I do not know how much is charged to my credit card, I just know that tomorrow we will get a new fridge.

Next job is to get the last chair welded.  To be honest, they are rubbish and if I had not just recovered them when the first weld failed, I would just have bought new ones. But we are going down that road now, next failure and they will be gone. I left it with the man this time, I can pick it up in the next day or so. Maybe when I get it back, I will paint them and possibly make soft backs.

Off to Nuevo Chique again today. When we got there there was hardly a woman, and it did not get much better. At one point I counted twelve men sitting down and every woman was up dancing.

Now this was bad for me, but I am not complaining, as I always say “When the wife is happy, I get no grief, and so I am happy” I did miss tandas, but not that many. Viv never missed and by 6;30 she was ready to go. Miguel was not letting her go though, he still wanted his Pugliese.

French Anna arrived so just for a change I danced Pugliese with her. I enjoy dancing with her and it would be a shame to not dance with her this afternoon. She said she also avoids Pugliese, but I think she had a real feel for it.

We left just after seven and headed for the bus. The bus, it seems, is not running. I have no idea why, usually it is because of a demonstration, but we can see no sign today. We could head over to the subte, but this time of night it will be packed. So we decided to go to Vitorio for some food and wait it out.

Again they have no black beer. The waiter said you can buy it in the supermarket. We told him in Almagro all the bars have it. They did have a choice though so we went for Brahma. Not Stout, but far better than the Crystal. We had two mini beefe de chorizo, because for some reason they did not have the Beefe de lomo.  It was very tasty though and we left well satisfied.

Still no buses had passed so we walked to the subte. It was still packed but maybe not as bad as it would have been at seven.

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Gracias Philippe

I got an email this morning from Philippe, apparently my internet bill is overdue. They used to mail me a paper bill, which I paid at the pagofacil. Aparently now they have gone paperless. How this will work I have no idea; I do not have an Argentine phone, nor do I have a bank account. I wrote to Philippe that we should meet, I do not know what else to do for now.

We have two broken chairs. I have so far failed to find anyone to weld them so I decided to go walk about, more in hope than anything, to look for someone with welding gear. At the front door I meet Sebastian and as I stood there Philippe was crossing the road. I waited for him and invited him up for coffee. Funny how life throws things your way, I know we do not live that far apart, but we always bump into each other just when I need him most. Anyway he has agreed to pay the bill for me.  Everyone needs a Philippe in their life to succeed in Buenos Aires.

We passed half an hour catching up, drank some coffee and soon it was time for him to go. Whilst things are cheap for us here, it gets more and more expensive for anyone who lives here. Philippe must work.

We take the subte again down to Uruguay and we get some of Buenos Aires unique entertainment. A member of the Nac mac feegle arrives with a boom box. A tattooed man in a  kilt, he sings like he is high on helium and totally tuneless. It takes a while but we realize that he is singing Knocking on Heavens door. If he is really Knocking, Bob Dylan will be on the other side telling him where to go.

There is a crowd already waiting to get into Nuevo Chique, but as regulars we somehow get in first. I had a much better seat today, Viv not so good. Still it was good dancing, by the time the band came on we had hardly missed a Tanda. It is the tenth anniversary of Nuevo Chique so there is a band, a demonstration and cake.  The band is Orquesta Tipica Andariega and Marisol Martinez is singing. I do not know who the demo was.

We stayed for a few numbers from the band but by then we had been dancing for five hours solid and we had, had enough.

We stopped off at Congresso Plaza for some food. We shared a salad and had revueltos. I was disappointed though as they only had blonde beer. Must remember to go across the road next time, for cervesa negra.

Our trusty 151 ran us all the way home again. We were in convoy tonight, three in a row, the 151 we had just missed was in front, the one we were on and another bringing up the rear. It’s like our personal taxi, drops us right at our door.


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Expensas Finally.

Today I must pay my expensas. After all my previous attempts I now fear the ATM more than being mugged on the street, still it must be done. I did the morning shopping first, hoping to miss the morning rush. Then I went to the shoe repairers with Viv’s Shoes. I had been practicing all the way “Dos aguajeros”. (two holes, in the straps). I must have got it well as the guy was quite chatty. He did not get Wales though, Europa was as close as he was getting. Gareth Bale, Shirley Bassey, Siez Naciones, nothing worked. He underst0od when I told him I do not like the cold though.

I had delayed long enough, time for the bank. I had written the instructions down, but the one thing I had neglected; there are two types of machine: Caja Automatico and Auto Servicio.  I elected to go to the Caja Automatico, but all the time in the queue I kept thinking I was at the wrong one, and queues do tend to be long and slow here. I decided that changing would not be a good thing, even if I was wrong I would just have to start again.

Luckily I was not at the wrong machine and I got through my instructions OK until it came to putting the money in. It grabbed one note then shut the door. I could see no way to carry on so I crashed out and started again. This time I put all the money in, but it left two notes. Then I saw the option to add more notes. That was it, done. I amended my instructions to include Caja Automatico and headed home, elated. I have finally done it on my own. I have a feeling that they will change the system next year, can’t have this extranjero knowing what he is doing.

Another Thursday and another trip to Nuevo Chique. I am still being put down the far end, there are plenty of ladies down here, but they do not know me, so I still struggle to see the ladies at the top. This includes, of course, Viv. Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of dances, but from here I am never up at the first note.  So I have started walking up to the top and inviting the ladies, instead of using cabeceo. Because I am inviting for the next tanda, I did end up doing a Pugliese tando, much to Viv’s surprise.

At seven thirty Viv gave the signal to go. The next tanda was milonga and I had intended to dance it with her and then call it a day. I had promised to meet Philippe for a drink at eight, so we had to go.

We decided to sit outside today and wait for Philippe. The waiter of undecided gender came out twice to see what we wanted, but seemed happy when I said “Esperamos por un amigo” We had our usual caramel and Philippe IPA (pronounced eepa) here. It is a lively corner here, lots of young people hanging around bars, and lots of busses. The number 92 always come in threes. We sat chatting and drinking until it was time to retire. Philippe back to his studies and us for our lentil stew.

I am afraid the beer got somewhat the better of us as we had not eaten. The stew went down quickly and we were soon asleep in bed.

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Weekends tend to be couple affairs in Buenos Aires, so we have always had difficulties then.  Time was we went to club Fulgor on a Sunday, but now that is gone we need to seek pastures new.

We went back to Los Consegrados Saturday. Viv had done well here last week and unusually I had struggled.  If she is happy then so am I. Anyway I had left my towel here last week so I hoped to retrieve it. That was not to be “Se perdido” I was told. The dancing went well enough and we danced until we could dance no more. Then we left, we met Silvia on the subte who was going the same way as us. On the H Line someone asked which way to the A line my legendary knowledge failed and I sent him the wrong way, by the time I realized he was gone. Viv said he is probably still wandering up and down the line. Then it was off to Bar Zorra for some “Caramelo” beer.  No nuts or crisps though, so maybe it’s good for food, but not a quick drink.

Sunday we went back to Sueño Porteño. Last time we were here we were on a party table, so we hoped this week to get more dances. Corrientes was looking like it would close for the Murga and we had a long wait for a bus. So we headed over to the subte, Line E was closed for major work it said. Luckily the bus arrived soon after. It was jam packed though all the way.

At the milonga we were given seats right at the end, almost at the DJ station. For some reason the men were coming for Viv tonight and she did not miss a tanda. I sat out a full five tandas not getting a dance except for Viv.  I could see women I knew, but they were not looking this way. After the second Vals I thought enough is enough and went walkabout. After that I did ok, but never from my exile position.

We did not stay late. The murga would mean problems with busses so we elected to use the subte.  By walking five blocks we could get to the C line avoiding the problems with the E line, but when we got there I could not find San Juan station. This was not a good part of town to be wandering lost, so I asked a family group, they directed me to Independecia station another four blocks on. I guess that they also thought we should not be wandering around here at night and maybe San Juan was not a good idea. Down in the station we waited for the train. A drunk asked if he was on the right platform and was told he was not. We could see his train coming down the tunnel, he jumped down onto the tracks, everyone was shouting, Viv screamed. He was not so inebriated that he was willing to die, at the last minute he jumped back onto the platform and ran up the stairs. I don’t know if he made the train, but at least he was still alive.

Back home, Imaginario was shut, and as Zorra gives no nuts we went to HB for some beer.

Monday and we are back in the old routine. It’s funny, but when you start to feel down, things pick up again. We both had a really good time in El Beso. We stayed until half an hour to closing, then over to The Coffee Store again to unwind. While I was there I picked up several messages from Philippe. Some from this morning, I have no idea why they did not come through earlier.  I even commented to Viv that I had not heard anything from him before we left. Whatsapp is just another piece of technology that does not like me.


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