You get them everywhere but more so in big cities, out to make a quick buck and catch the unawares.
It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take the subte down to Callao and visit again El Ateneo. I took my camera this time hoping to get some good photos, this building is just so beautiful I need to record it for future reference. Once inside and having taken a few pictures including the bride and groom who had come for their wedding photos, we went for a coffee.
It was a very nice coffee and I expected it to be expensive, what I did not expect was the waitress to more or less demand a tip, money with menaces. She got one peso off me, she should try being nice it works much better. I bought a couple of tango CDs before we left other staff were a bit more friendly.
Viv likes to be in her comfort zone and wanted to get some things, she knows Scalabrini Ortiz well, so I said we could go there next. This involved taking the D line back, we know this route well as we used it all the time when we were at Luba’s house. The subte was a crush and as we got on two guys looking lost wanted to get to the opposite door, then when the crush got worse they moved again causing us to keep moving. I may be extranjero but not a fool when a hand reached for my pocket I was already there. As Viv said though “how do they know which pocket has my wallet?” They left at the next station eliciting many comments from my fellow passengers, all of whom hate the idea that foreigners will think this a city of thieves.
After our mini shop we walked back and talked about the difficulty of using my laptop here, so that if the price was right I should buy a mouse. Only one block away from our apartment is a small computor shop and I was pleased to find a wireless rechargeable mouse for $60 ar. I arrived back pleased with my purchase and plugged it in, there seemed to bo no life. I checked the packaging it said, in english software and rechargeable batteries. There was no software, I coud live with that, but on checking it had no batteries either. The guy in the shop looked surprised to see me back so soon, maybe he thought I would go back to Wales before I opened it. A row ensued in the shop, he insisting that batteries not included, me insisting that rechargeable meant it was rechargeable not that it could be if I bought batteries off him. We were at a stand-off, but I was not leaving with a useless mouse. in the end he gave me my money back, he would perhaps have been better saying it was a mistake and giving me one complete, saved himself a row and made a sale, hey ho, this ia Argentina.
Tonight we are off to an expats meetup, I do not really fit the profile, but then most who go do not fit either. It is at a Japanese restaurant again not my thing but I will get a chance to see Igor again. Igor is a big friendly Russian the founder of the expats site. Always laughing and smiling, he makes everyone feel happy, and although we have little in common with him and are often stuck for words we enjoy his company.
The evening started badly, we took the subte down to San Telmo then I could not remember the address. Fortunately I was able to phone Pericles and we were soon there. The menu was complete mystery, in the end, on the advice of the waiter we chose two different menus so that we could share. Others were having similar problems, so that when the food came nobody knew which was which. The whole thing was quite chaotic, the poor guy next to us saw us eat three courses while he waited for his vegetarian dish with his tongue hanging out. To be fair the food was very good, but rice and fish? no matter how good is not my prefered fare.
Everything was settled up at the end and Pericles, Igor, and a nice Argentine lady (sorry I am crap at names) escorted us out until we reached Piedras. Tonight being Wednesday we usually go to Salon Dandi. For some reason it is not now in the tango guide, but Gloria had responded positively on Monday when I said “hasta miercoles”. So just in case during the day I rang Dandi “Hay una Milonga anoche” “Si por supuesto” was the reply, no worries then.
As we walked with Pericles we crossed Diagonal Norte while the others walked in the road, good citizens that we are, we stepped onto the pavement. Next thing, zip, we were sliding and almost unable to stay upright. Our first thought was that we had stepped in the ubiquitous dog dirt that pervades every street. We were not that lucky, they had in fact just painted the kerb yellow. Now our shoes and Vivs Tights were covered in yellow paint, fortunately Viv had changed out of her Comme Ill Faut’s, but was still not happy about her street shoes. The street workers suggested bleach, our new Argentine friend called them “Idiotas” or some other appropriate insult.
We left them at the junction of Piedras, wishing them “Goodnight” and they said “enjoy your Tango”. It was about five blocks to Dandi when we arrived Viv could not recognise it, all the lights were out and shutters down, at least we now know why it was not in the guide, though why others told us it was on is a mystery.
We hailed a taxi, no longer bothered about tango, we had had enough and just wanted to get back home. The driver was one on his own, he talked and talked, wanted to take us to another tango venue “conoces Canning” he said. We just said “take us home” he almost fell out of the car laughing though, when I removed my shoe and showed him theyellow paint, at least someone was happy tonight, and he did give me some good practice with my Spanish.
Subte to San Telmo $2.20, Japanese meal for two $180 taxi home $30, tights and two pairs of shoes ruined, priceless, apologies to MasterCard.