Tag Archives: Confiteria Ideal

Killing the Golden goose

We were quite looking forward to today. Free milonga at Ideal and celebrate Graciela’s birthday.

I should have know better, Ideal must have the worst management of any milonga anywhere. Last week it was free Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. We had no reason to expect different today.

We walked in and the place looked nearly empty, I soon found out why. The organiser stopped us and said we must pay the entrada “quantos?” I asked “$200” he said. “Es una broma” (It’s a joke) I said. “No 200 pesos” he said as if being pesos made any difference. “es una broma” I said again and walked out.

It is a shame that an old established place like this is run by idiots. Shame that it may close, but I am afraid it will happen and it is also a shame that I really no longer care. Just like many at home they are quite happy to kill the golden goose, not happy with a continuous good profit they ramp it up until the punters can no longer afford the price.

We hopped on the subte and headed for Plaza Bohemia again.

Plaza Bohemia was all but deserted, we were early, but we both managed a few dances before the crowds arrived. I say crowds but it never got really busy.

We did OK for dances but it lacked atmosphere tonight, and some how the night had lost its sparkle.  So it is off home for lentejas and ice cream from Ken. That should lift us some.


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Ideal is now free

Will I ever learn? I left the flat without checking the internet, well Plaza Bohemia is on every week and I know my way there. There was just no need, I knew the address.

The trouble is it had been cancelled, we got there and the whole place was locked up. What to do now? The obvious answer is find an internet café. There was nothing down Alsina but there was a kiosco and I asked there. The lady was very helpful she directed us around the corner to Morena and Pichincha. When we got there w could see nothing but then we found a sort of precinct, it said Coto on the door but there was all sorts in there.

It was a fascinating place and I suppose we would never have found it had I pre checked, so some good came of it. I think we may visit again some time just for a better look around.

The internet was not in here, when we came out, we saw the locotorio and internet on the opposite corner. Five minutes in there and we realised that Lo de Celia was out, as was Canning. Our only two choices were Obalisco or Ideal. Well Obalisco would not be open for another hour so we set off for Ideal.

The good news is that it is free, bad news the drinks are $40 each. Still I was well on the winning side. The place was full of old faces. Even though we were put seated together Viv still managed a few dances. I met up with Graciela again, I have been missing her this time. More good news it is her birthday next week and we are invited to share the tort.

All the traipsing around the streets, in the heat,  had tired us out, so we did not stay to the end. At least we had seats on the subte.

I wonder sometimes about the wisdom of these milonga organisers. They cancel at short notice, then wonder where all their customers have gone. Then you get Ideal, who ripped off everyone until they deserted in droves now the only way to get them back is to let them in free. Well I am back for now, but let’s see what the future holds.

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Its about the dance in the woman, not the woman in the dance

Friday and we are back to Confiteria Ideal. I must say I was surprised to be downstairs, apparently there is a problem with the ventilation. The lady who was telling me about it was upset that they are just taking the money and letting the place fall down. Well TIA (see yesterday).
We did not get the best seats again, but I till managed to find a partner for most tandas. After about an hour Teresa arrived and I had my best dance so far. You see while most men look for the pretty young things, I am only after a good dance. Teresa is over eighty and still the best dance I get. There is simply no substitute for experience.
It was going to be an early night, so we stopped off for a beer at Gratto (Corrientes y Salguero). Big mistake $53 for 330 ml bottle. This is London prices. Even though this is the nearest and most convenient bar for us, I won’t make that mistake again.


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Some Buenos Aires thoughts

As always there are things that happened and things we did that I did not report at the time. There are various reasons for this, bad memory, the event had not yet concluded, or simply that I did not want to name and shame.

So I will start with my favourite; We go to Club Fulgor twice a week and have become friendly with quite a few of the locals. One couple, more friendly than any, this lady always wears some seriously nice clothes. Not only that but we have never seen her in the same things twice. Now Viv says I am like Crabtree from “Ello Ello” (If you don’t understand “Youtube” it, an episode of “Ello Ello” will enlighten as well as amuse you) so nobody understands me. So this night she walked in and I said “Que haces con tus ropas viejas” she looked puzzled and then said “regalos”. It was meant as a compliment “What do you do with all your old clothes”. She smiled in a strange way and we carried on dancing the night away. Viv was not pleased with me though, it seems I should not have done it. She says I always embarrass her, I never intended to, I just try to engage in some sort of conversation.
The following Thursday when they arrived again at the club she handed me a bag “para probar” she said, to try. Now I looked puzzled, “Entiendes” she said, I looked in the bag saw clothes and said “Si”. We worried about it all night, I was not sure if they were selling clothes, as she is obviously in business somewhere, or if they were a genuine gift.
Up until the following Sunday I asked several friends what they thought, they all thought she was genuine, and they were right. On the Sunday night Viv wore one of the dresses and everyone was pleased. Before we left the lady asked if we were here again on Thursday. Unfortunately I was going home Tuesday, I think she had more clothes for us.
Shame really, Viv may have been embarrassed, but the two dresses we were given were beautiful.

On another occasion we got stuck with an American lady, she spent the night telling us how successful she had been and it was impossible for her to follow in tango as she was used to being a leader. She also spent some time informing us how good she was at castillano “I come here just so that I can use it at every opportunity” she said. I told her I had been learning for years and I still do not get it. This is not just false modesty, I do struggle most of the time. We were joined by a porteño lady and she quickly engaged us in conversation. She was bright and kept it simple and slow for us. Our American friend spoke with an awful accent that even Viv (who says she speaks no Spanish) detected. I kept up with the conversation with no difficulty, as did Viv despite her complete lack of Spanish. I was not setting out to prove anything, I actually do enjoy talking with the locals, but after we had been up to dance, our “fluent” friend had disappeared.

Fortunately I am well aware that the brash American is just a cliché. Americans are a mix, just like the rest of us, it is just that the loud ones are the ones that stand out. As I found out in Confiteria Ideal; she was sitting close to Viv and I managed to cabeceo. We got up and did the first dance of the tanda, when the music stopped I asked her “de donde son? “mi castillano no es bueno” she replied. I detected an accent that was definitely north american. “Perhaps we should speak english then” I said. Well I was right about the accent, but she had spent some time working in London. We then spent the rest of the tanda gently ribbing each other.”You call aluminum aluminium” she said “well you call rubbers erasers, and I am not mentioning what you use the word rubbers for”. Well we laughed all the way to the end of the tanda especially when I told her we call cigarettes fags, “you can’t say that” she said. “Why not you call bottoms fannys, don’t even think to use that in the UK”. After the dance Viv accused me of flirting with her, well I certainly enjoyed her company. She left soon afterwards though, I am not sure whether it was because she had had the best dance of her holiday or if she was worried I would ask her again, but still I never saw her again.


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We are getting painfully near the end of our stay and we still have not seen everybody there is to see, but we will see Pericles later. For now though we are off to Confiteria Ideal.
I have that awful cold that always seems to hit me about now. I now realize it can be nothing viral, as bad as it is, because it lasts only one day. Whatever is causing it I must now be getting immune because it seems much less severe this time. Never the less I sought a kiosco and bought myself some cough sweets for the afternoon. We also found a bank to withdraw some money to replace what we spent on shoes.
We sat separados in Ideal, Viv had a reasonable spot on the back wall, but I had two choices; either at the back where they always put me or right down by the DJ position. I chose to be by the DJ thinking I never had much luck at the back so let’s try something new.
From this position I still had trouble, but I fared quite well. At the start Viv was getting more dances than me but as more women arrived, I started being more successful.
The trouble was I could not look out at the floor without looking past my Mataderos lady, Teresa. Whilst I enjoy dancing with her I did not want to do every dance with her.
At one point I got up and did the wandering milonguero thing, I still never got to dance with who I wanted, but I did OK.
There are a few ladies that I now know so that made life easier. Viv was finding it similar, although, just like me there were some she would have enjoyed dancing with, whose eye she could not catch.
Before six she had had enough and I kissed all my ladies goodbye, promising to return in a years time. We took the overcrowded subte to Alto Palermo and stopped for an overpriced styrofoam coffee, before walking on to our destination.
We were meeting Pericles at Tolon on Colonel Diaz y Santa Fe. As always there was no sign of him when we arrived and we delayed the waiter “espremos amigo” I said. When he arrived he was again on the phone still doing business. The only thing that will ever slow him down is an ulcer or heart attack. I hope he can take it easy before it gets too late.
I expected us to be having a meal, but the menu here was all sandwiches. The waiter was having a hard time, every time he came to us Pericles was still talking and we had not even looked at the menu. Eventually we settled on a Chicken sandwich and some stout. Pericles just had water.
The stout came with nibbles that kept us going for a while, but when the sandwiches came they were huge and came with salad as well. While we struggled through them I managed to convince Pericles to try the stout, I think we have another convert.
He walked part of the way back with us and we parted with hugs and again a promise to meet again next year.
Once we got back we had to buy some provisions and this included more stout, of course.
I saw this on facebook and we both had a laugh.

Now every time I screw my face up Viv falls about in fits of laughter, and the staff in the supermarket think we are drunkards.

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Not the best meal

Having totally given up on the occasional table, we returned our efforts to the bedroom curtain rail.
I decided that if I could not have a bend I would simply butt up two poles. So another trip to Easy was on the cards.
Again we had the same problems, nothing matches. we could find black curtain rods but not black supports. In the end we went for silver, simply because that was the colour we could get everything in. We returned with our spoils and to lick my wounds from the price only to find we had not actually bought the supports. Another trip to Easy was needed.
We realised that we were running early so we decided to walk to Easy get the parts we needed and then get the subte into town.
We managed to buy the supports, and finally I found a bend that would do the job (I hoped) Then it was off into town and Confiteria Ideal.
We were meeting up with Xenia and Greame again before they return to the UK tomorrow. When we entered we asked if we could sit at adjacent tables but Diago was having non of it and insisted we all sat together at the back of the room.
I told him from there we could not cabeceo but he was not listening. As it was the last time we will see Xenia and Greame I thought it best to just let it lie, but next week I think we will try somewhere else.
I managed a few dances, as did Xenia, but I am afraid Greame and Viv only danced with those on the table.
Well it was too soon time for them to go and we walked with them to the subte, and after an emotional farewell we promised to meet up again some time in July.
Then it was time for us to eat something. Viv fancied Subway but they were closing up so we jumped on the subte and headed back. We tried Gratto on the corner of Corrientes but Viv fancied nothing that was on so we just had a coffee.
next place to try was Guardia la Vieja we had enjoyed the food here before and it was a reasonable price.
We settled down to Quilmes stout and waited for our empanadas and papas fritas. Viv was not happy they came on two separate wooden boards with no plates and they were dripping with grease.
Not the best meal we have had, but it filled us up.

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Late night

Philippe was coming today, so we were ready for an easy sort of day. The phone started ringing early then the mobile. We missed both calls but I realised at least the mobile was Philippe. Then the door intercom rang and the guy downstairs said something about Philippe. Not sure if something was wrong I rushed downstairs. I need not have worried, it was post for Philippe. Unfortunately he needed identification, I told him Philippe would be here at twelve, and he said he would deliver some others and return later. I was helped in this conversation by Sebastian the portero who was better able than I to explain the situation. Of course this cut short my blogging time, and I have just realised I posted in such a rush I did not even title it. So I have just added a title, hopefully there were not too many mistakes.
We had some very nice mince and pasta that we had bought a day or so before, so rather than eat out we decided to stay here and just enjoy some time together. The mail, as it turned out was Philippe’s new DNI. Now he can vote, it seems.
Well we drank some wine, Viv drank some beer (getting worried about her) and spent a pleasant afternoon together.
We had to decide where we go from here with our little arrangement, and we reached some decisions.
After Philippe left I went shopping. One result of the missing baggage affair is that I found some very comfortable underwear. Well strike while the iron is hot I always say, so new underwear it is.
Tonight we are off to Confiteria Ideal. Los Reys del Tango are on tonight, we saw them last year at Salon Siranush and they were truly breathtaking. The entrada tonight is double normal but it will be worth it.
We actually had two live bands, firstly we had a folklore band along with a demo. I have to say although it was good, it was not a patch on the demo we had at Mataderos two years ago. That is the trouble I suppose of seeing something really great, everything else is a let down. It was somewhat the same with Los Reys. Again they were great but the sound here was not as good as it had been at Salon Siranush. But I am just being picky, we had a great night and their best was El Huracan, it had us flying around the floor like dervishes.
Soon though the evening was over and it was time to go. I had no escape plan tonight, so we crossed 9de Julio and walked to Lavalle. When we found a bus stop it looked like three of the busses would go our way. Of course the first bus was not one I had checked out. We missed it and as luck would have it this also went our way. A 180 arrived and we jumped on. The driver said “donde?” to which I replied “Salguero” he said that they didn’t go to Salguero so in my best spanglish I said Bulnes would do. I am not sure if he understood my ramblings but he understood Bulnes.
When we got there the bus was going in the wrong direction, so we jumped off first stop.
Still it was only four blocks now, far better that the nearly thirty we would have had to travel.
We did quite well getting home though, only quarter past three. Not the really late night I expected, although late enough.


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Busy Day

After all the mundane things had been done, like collecting alterations and buying food we were off to Confiteria Ideal for the afternoon.
The thing I like about Ideal is it is easy to get to. We travel down on the B line and we are only a block away. Again I am shocked by the price. $30 may be less than £5 each but it is a considerable increase and I wonder how far can these prices go before they become untenable.
We never got the chance to say “separados” and we were sat at an isolated table at the back. We danced together the first two dances but my Mataderos lady, Teresa was giving me hard cabeceos.
So despite sitting together we both managed a few dances with locals. Although I did notice the first man who danced with Viv never took his eyes off me until the end of the dance. I think this culture is probably why I was slightly more successful in getting dances, but Viv was not complaining.
Coming to an early milonga plays havoc with our eating arrangements and we were very soon starving hungry. My biggest criticism of this place has always been the lack of staff. Stuck, as we were, at the back, the waiters never managed to get to us. Always when it looked as if they were coming our way someone would intercept them.
It was almost time to leave before we managed to get a couple of facturas. They were very nice, but then I had to chase the waiter around the room so that we could pay and go.
The subte across town was chaotic. Some guy was determined to push in front of us, but I managed to keep him behind. His bulk then pushed us well into the carriage, so that there was no way I could reach any hanging straps, but with this crush I was not going to fall over.
The E line up to Boedo was slightly less crowded. We still had to stand but there was room to move. Funny because I know that the B line would be at capacity this time of night.
We thought it would be a good idea to re-join Andres and Genoveva again for their second class. Hopefully we can re-enforce what we have already done.
It all went rather well, although my brain was again scrambled by the end of a two-hour class.
Time for more beer and empanadas at Murilla. The handy halfway home point.
One great thing this time: Every night we sleep the sleep of the innocent. Traffic noise? What noise?


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Wierdo Central

Our daily trip to the supermarket was tinged with a bit of excitement today. Crossing the roads here is always a bit challenging to say the least. There are a number of unmarked cross roads and the only way to get across is to use a car coming from our direction as a shield. This does not work, of course when the one way system means that they are all coming the opposite way. So you take the challenge, toss the dice, and sometimes just run for it. Just when you think you have it sussed they stick something new into the mix. They now have cycle lanes and the bikes do not respect the one way system. You think “now I am clear” and cross the road only to be attacked by cyclists coming from the wrong direction. You would think all this excitement enough, but today we had a motorcycle chase up one of our streets, and, yes, they were going the wrong way. Still at least we had some prior warning, the police bike was wailing and screaming, with blue lights flashing.

We never found out what the motorcyclist had done or if he was ever caught, but it enlivened our morning.

As usual in the supermarket, nothing was as usual. We came for avena (oats) they had none. Sultanas? Only with stones. This is a supermarket? Ibuprofen? “no” It was getting like the Monty Python cheese sketch. Still we found some massive medialunas to have with our morning coffee, so big we only needed one each.

After our coffee we set off for the headboard. Viv was a bit worried about how far we had to carry it, but we were only out twenty minutes in total and that included the time spent paying for it. We also had to wait for the man to carry it to the door; he was not going to allow us to carry it through his shop. We had plenty of rests at the road junctions, and had no trouble fitting it in the lift, so all in all a trouble free collection.

Confiteria Ideal is becoming one of my favourite haunts for a Friday now, but Viv has labeled it Weirdo Central. Because we were later than usual I was not given the best of seats, which meant I had to stand to cabeceo. I resisted the temptation to walk around the room for at least an hour, but from where I was, I had little option.  I could not even get a dance with my Mataderos lady until I went on walk about. I now know her name is Theresa, I told her my “wife says we are as good as married because we had three dances together”. She laughed and said “I am too old for you”. I had a tanda with the French lady that I did chacarera with last week and after she introduced me to her husband, we did chacarera again.

Now Viv meanwhile had a good seat where she could see the whole piso. But still she did not look happy; last week a tango singer was coming on very strong to her. We were sitting together and she introduced me to him, thinking that would be the end of it. She danced with him again today and he tried again she said “My husband is standing behind you” he feigned bad memory, then further on in the tanda said”I want to go for coffee with you”. Well we all know what coffee means here, don’t we?

Because of where I was sat, I had paid for my drink when the waiter brought it, but Viv still had to pay for hers. She had decided to go downstairs, but told me to stay. It took her another hour to attract the waiter again, but at least in the meantime she did get a few more dances.

She had looked so sad there, I knew the one thing that would cheer her up; lentejas at 1810 and some Quilmes, just what doctor Bob ordered.

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Mataderos Lady

So today we decided to go to the early milonga at Confiteria Ideal and yet again we come across Argentine ish time.

The guide said it opened at two, now we already know there is no point in being early, so we arrived at quarter past. (I know this is still early by Argentine standards).  We thought it was fine, there were quite a few people already there and dancing. We settled down on separate tables Viv changed her shoes and I ordered drinks. All the while the music played on and on. There seemed to be no order, milongas mixed with vals and tango. Very modern mixed with Canyengue and no sign of a Cortina.

I decided to have a dance with Viv as all the dancers looked like they were learning. This is what was happening, this was still a class not a milonga. At about quarter to three Mario Orlando arrived with all his gear. The computer generated play list played on.

I asked my Mataderos lady (See Tango Passion) for a dance and off we went. Two tangos followed by a milonga, then at last La cumparsita at three o’clock. Still Mataderos lady was happy she got three free dances before the tanda. (I must find out her name).

From here on it all went quite well, both Viv and I got plenty of dances although we did dance together a few times, especially if it was milonga.

Viv says I am now practically married to mataderos lady as we had three dances, but hey she was the best there. I made the mistake of asking one of the pretty things for a dance and it just did not compare, the older ladies just have what it takes. They know how to wait.

We watched one guy just throwing the women around. I made careful note of the ones who were readily thrown and avoided them. I am just not in to tossing la mujer in the air.

We saw some faces from a past life as well. People we have seen in Maipu 444 and other long gone milongas. There was without doubt a tourist contingent here but neither Viv nor I danced with them, all we got were locals. I am not sure whether that says anything about us or the tourists, but in the main I think they were dancing in couples and for some reason they were all grouped together.

Why the organizers did not group us with them I don’t know.

I promise to scream next time I have this conversation “de donde son?”  “Gales” “Ah! I know Wales I have just come back from Londres” Or this one “de donde son” “Gales” “Ah! Inglatera”. All these I had today. There was one saving grace, a guy was sat at my table and the conversation went more like this “De donde son” “Gales” “ Ah! El Pais de Anthony Hopkins” at last somebody knew where we come from.

Off home for some pasta and an early night.  Well it would be just the time for Edisur to decide we should have a power cut. Now where did Philippe put those candles.


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