Tag Archives: El Abrazo

Crazy foreigners.

This morning I dragged kicking and screaming to the Nike outlet store. We had to take the subte and there was train just coming in. there are only two turnstiles here and there was a very fat woman with kids and pushchairs not making a great effort to get out of the way. Viv tried the other turnstile until I pointed out that there was a belt fastened across it. So I crashed the emergency exit and dragged her through. Using the subte without paying is something of a custom here. It is not something I do, but a few times I have paid and not got a journey, so I have a clear conscience.

Viv bought herself some shoes, then dragged me over to the men’s section. It seems it was only a ploy to get me there. So now I have new trainers as well as new dance shoes for the cruise.

El Abrazo was as crowded as ever today. There was the usual bunch of tourists who have been brought just to ogle. You would think that the tour guides would explain just a little to them, before they come crashing onto the floor.  All in all I had a good time, but when the crashing starts it is impossible for me to protect the lady I am dancing with. I feel it is my fault when the lady I am dancing with gets speared by another set of heels. The afternoon is spoiled by the bad dancers and reverse movers, but at least, non of my ladies blamed me.

Viv left early again as she still has this cough. I told her to just order one coffee. When I arrived at The Coffee Store she had only just got her coffee again. The girl there thinks it is quite funny, Viv always orders a cafe con leche, then as soon as it arrives so do I and order another and some medialunas.  Viv had been talking in the toilets and heard the sorteo. I said that she must have known then I would soon be out.

We walked back and ate at Imaginario bar again. The staff here are getting to know us now and we get good service. Crazy foreigners who eat early, drink black beer and leave.

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I leave my shoes again

Well the forecast said rain, but it was still fine here. The sky darkened as we got ready to go out and there were reports that 50,000 people were without electricity. So it was no surprise that we read that El Abrazo has a chance of address today. It was fortunate I saw this before I left home because now it was raining, and I would not want to be catching a colectivo outside El Beso. So we took the subte directly to Lo De Celia.

It is some time since we came here, and last time it was on the colectivo from outside Beso. So I was unsure which way to come out, but with a little luck and some head scratching we came out of the correct entrance. I recognized the garage in front of me so from then on it was easy.

Numbers were very low. I am guessing many did not see the Cambio de direcion on Hoy Milonga or on facebook. Still despite a shortage if women I did OK. I did dance with some new ladies one of them twice. I think it was good for them because there were more men than women. The low numbers got to Viv though, she gave up after a couple of hours. It did not stop the men asking her though.

I also danced with the suthsayer again. She who told me about the British tourist and the Australian. Today she delighted in telling me about the cruise ship quarantined off Japan. It is a good job I never listen, I would lock myself away and never do anything.

We stayed until after seven, and many were now starting to leave anyway. Halfway down the road, and I thought my shoes felt a bit porous, sure enough I had come out in my dance trainers and had to go back.

We finished the evening in HB Our usual black beer, Ensalada completa chicken Goujons and chips smothered in cheese.

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Chasing the beggars

My daily shopping trip was over in a flash today. Needed some fruit and eggs, well the fruiteria has eggs, so it was a quick in and out. Trouble is they wrap them in newspaper and I cracked one putting them down. Biggest eggs you’ve ever seen though, they will not fit in our egg rack.

Off to El Abrazo again today as it is Friday. Trouble is we are late and there are no seats to be had, only at the far end of the mirror. We sat a seat away from each other and understandably it started badly for Viv. I can, of course just go a wandering. While I was dancing Maria came in and Zoraida found here a seat. I stopped my dance and asked her if she could find one for Viv. I am not so sure she was happy moving but she seemed to get plenty of dances for a while.

I managed to get a dance with my Russian today and some other ladies that I have missed for a while. I did a double cabeceo when I got the Russian up So I promised the next dance to the German lady next to her. Then, wouldn’t you know it a Pugliese tanda came on. I was committed. The room was crowded and there were lots of fancy moves going on. I have to say, it was not her fault, but it was definitely not my favourite tanda.

When it came time for the sorteo Viv had already left, and I had a confusing time with the girl over paying for the drinks. I only paid for mine and found out later that Viv had actually paid. Then it was over to The Coffee Store again. We are getting hassled more and more by beggars these days but Viv felt sorry for one in particular and ran after him with some pesos.

Then it was the walk home via a couple of panaderias. You can never get all you want from one place, but we have learned which ones have which product. We also stopped again at Farmacity, Viv wanted some antiseptic cream. So I said to the girl “Hay crema antiseptico?” Blank look. Viv got the dictionary out, but before she found it, the penny dropped and she handed me crema antiseptico. The girl actually spoke English and I think she understood our English better. It just amazes me, the locals do not open their mouths and mumble everything, yet they never understand me.

At the till, again we paid and the guy said something about para llevar. He does this every time we are here and, every time I have not a clue. Obviously I am taking it away, so what he is asking is anyone’s guess.

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Cervesa Negra, no hay

They are cutting up the pavement outside our apartment again. No Goggles, no dust mask, no gloves, but he has a hard hat on, so that is OK then. I find it strange that they have not realized how much of their economy is wasted cutting up the roads then repairing them and treating the injuries resulting from this. And they look at me strange when I will not walk through the thick cloud of silicosis inducing dust.

Trying to do some serious work here, but the power keeps going off. Is it anything to do with the workmen outside? I ask. Probably but you will never know.

Off to El Beso again today. When we get there the place is packed. It is difficult to get dances and we have trouble getting seats. Worse when I had been there half an hour Diego moved me as the table should have been reserved. So I ended up in dead mans cove, no way to get a dance without wandering around, at least Viv was not doing so badly today. I was also having trouble with my knee. So the only dances I get are not the best and they take their toll on me. By six I was ready to leave, but Viv said wait another half hour. Mariela and Philippe arrived and I had a nice dance with Mariela, but my heart was not in it.

Then the silly stuff came on followed by a demo. Seems that everyone was here to see the Japanese world champions, I shall reserve comment. First chance and I was out of there and over to the coffee store. Philippe and Mariela did not stay long, because they were out while we sat outside. We said goodbye again and watched them disappear down Riobamba on the motor bike.

We walked back, as is our way, and stopped of at the Farmacy and Goji, the dietetica. We had passed Alcala to get to Goji, but I decided that tomorrow would be better for our steak. So we went back to Kentucky, we sat perusing the menu and decided to have the barbacoa and a bottle of stout. When we finally got a waiter, he seemed not to understand stout so we tried negra, again the blank look, So we pointed it out on the menu, “Negro no hay” He said. I am now starting to believe the “No entiendo” is just a ploy, so I said to Viv “let’s go”. “Well where now” she said “Let’s try La Continental”

So as we entered La Continental, Viv said “What if they do not have black beer?” and “It comes to something when you change restaurants when they do not have the beer you like”. To me it is all about choice, if they have it on the menu, then in most cases they should have it, not just the odd time, if you are lucky.

Anyway, we asked first “Hay cervesa Negra?” and when we got a “si” we ordered the bolonesa. It was a bit sloppy for our liking but for £6 a good feast. No wonder there are so many fat people around here.

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Lo de Celia

Woke up to no water this morning, every day is a new adventure. I still had some coffee in the pot so it was not a complete disaster. It came on again about 9:15 just in time for us to go out. By 9:30 it was off again.

Off out then for some money, I had a feeling about this transfer. We arrived at the office and immediately I had problems getting a number. The machine was not for giving out, eventually we got R8. The G numbers were up to 6 there were no Rs yet. It was about five past when R1 appeared. It was another half hour before it got to me.

I got to the desk and gave the girl the number. She checked it, looked at the amount, checked it again and asked me a question that I did not understand, she tried “solo uno?” I said “si”. She was not happy, this is no more in real terms than I have always drawn but it seems a lot now. The guy from the next booth stuck his head around the corner, someone who speaks English, “Is this just one transaction?” he asked, yes I said. Apart from me being asked to sign various papers the rest was done in silence. I never got an explanation of the problem, but I suspect it was just the amount of money that they had difficulty with.

She brought a bunch of notes, a hundred by the looks of it. She counted out six and put the rest into her counting machine. No more ado, I left with $94,000 and a bunch of small notes.  Not the official rate, but a penny to the peso looks like the new rate for us.

We came back and Jose was in the lift, He was complaining about the expensas. $5,800. It is an awful lot now but for us in real terms it has gone down.

As we get ready to go out, we still have problems with the water. It seems we have water, but it must be airlocked, because there is no cold in the bathroom. The only way to have a shower is to turn the boiler right down, otherwise it is scalding.  The taps here would not pass UK regulations, whilst having a shower the toilet tank filled up with hot water via the mixer. When we had finished there was still no cold.

Off to El abrazo today. El Beso has been without power now for a week and today there was a notice on the door. It said it was closed but that El Abrazo had gone to Lo de Celia. Whilst I was checking my map I heard Finn shouting us from a bus. A no 12 colectivo, he wanted us to follow him. The Bus driver was patient and waited for us to get on and unsure of the destination we said “same as him” or el mismo de el” whatever I said it worked. I do not know this route but I do know when we get to Humberto primo, so we were OK. We safely arrived and got ourselves inside. Zoraiada told us we could sit anywhere, that gave us a problem, as we had no idea of the seating here.

Still once seated we managed to get a lot of dances for the first couple of hours, then it started to dry up again. Graciela finally turned up and I even got her up for the chacarera. I think I upset one of my regulars, she is a lady I love to dance with but I could not see her, aparently she got up when I cabeceo another lady,  Viv noticed and a bunch behind the lady I got up, but I did not. Now I fear she will not dance with me again. Then it was time to go.

Viv wanted to go into town so we changed subte at Coreo Central and got off at  Carlos Peligrini. We walked past Confiteria Ideal and there was a guy outside, said we could go in to look. He said it would be open again in August, somehow I think that optimistic.

So we ended up in Suipacha, The only shop open now was Flabella. The guy all but dragged us in, but they had no shoes in Vivs size although she did buy another black skirt.

We also stopped in Esmarelda for a coffee; coffee and medialuna $90. If you have been paying attention that is less than a pound, rude not to.

We caught the subte back and went to Imaginario. The patio was open and we sat there with some food and beer. Viv was treating me tonight, so I had the picante empanadas and we shared some patatas al horno. Again less than £8.  This cannot continue, I have already noticed that the milk has gone up, Let’s hope things settle soon, I worry and I have a much smaller stake in this place than the locals.

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No hay luz en Beso

After my Birthday excesses, did I not say? well any excuse for extra beer. Anyway after yesterday I was hoping for a lay in, but I was awoken by the sounds of them smashing up the pavement underneath us again. They have only just repaired after the water people now, it appears, they are putting in new electric cables again.  Is it really so beyond their ken, that it would be cheaper in the end to install some sort of tunnel.

Off to El Beso again today for the Friday El Abrazo. We got there and the lights were out. Mario had an improvised sound system, but it did not look good. There was no air conditioning and the numbers were rapidly dropping. By six they called it a day. Apparently many had not paid but for those of us who had there would be a glass of champers next week.  I have not kept my ticket, so we will see.

We left for The Coffee Store and sat outside. I was being dripped on by the aircon so we moved away from the building.  Marcelo was inside and I went in to say hello. It was freezing in there. Marcelo Thought that I was mad being outside, I thought he was mad sitting there in the cold. He came to speak to Viv before he left, he told us he had stuck his head in El Beso and decided against staying.

I don’t get it; this is their summer, you would think that they would be used to it. In El Arranque it was always thus, the sound may have been better but they never had air conditioning.

Whilst we were outside Raymond appeared he sat with us and had a good chat. Then he told us he was in a hurry, as his taxi for the airport was due in a quarter of an hour. Must be some sort of super traveler, I would have been panicking at this point. Not Raymond, he calmly walked off to get his taxi, waving as he went.

So then we walked back home to try and get my step count up. A bit of shopping on the way, then a quick change and it was straight out again. We had decided to eat out instead of at home so that we could dance until later, that worked well!

We went over to El Imaginario. We headed straight towards the garden and the guy shut the door on us, so we sat in the bar. While we were there someone else came in and left because they could not go into the garden. It is an odd way of doing business, turning away customers.

Still, a good cheap feed here, although I wanted the lentil burger for a change and apparently they do not do it now. It has me worried; they close the garden and reduce the menu, is this the beginning of the end?

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New breakfast bowls

The balcony has always been my domain, but now the painters have left Viv has taken over. She is cleaning the floor, trimming the plants and generally tidying up. Well I still have the coffee to make and blogging to do.  I do, of course have the shopping. Still it’s nice to return to normal, with the outside out again.

Been looking for some breakfast bowls to replace the broken ones. We have had these ten years, not the very same ones, of course, every year we have to replace the broken ones.  So they are a bit like Triggers Broom. Now though they have reached the end. Nowhere has this particular bowl any more, so we must decide. We walked between shops and finally decided on some toughened glass with a grey pattern. They were cheaper in our old favourite “Petish Bazar”. Let’s hope these last more than the average two years of the last ones.

Off to El Beso again today today is El Abrazo the milonga that used to be at Ideal. The welcomes continue, it will take some time for everyone to welcome us. Yesterday one lady hugged me and actually picked me up, I had to ask to be put down. You do not get this level of affection elsewhere. Even here on Friday there are still many who have not yet welcomed us.

You would think that with this level of attention we would get lots of dances, but again I struggled. Although I do not miss many tandas often I am looking at the ladies who are left. Those that I expect to dance with me just do not look my way. Viv seemed to do well for the first hour, then dried up completely. The room is bigger now that they have removed the boarded off section in the corner. This makes the dancing much better, but there is a payoff, in that it is harder to cabeceo. Again this is our first week so we should not expect too much, but by six thirty Viv had enough, and it was over to the Coffee Store.

We walked back along Corrientes and checked out Casa de Audio for a fridge. Nothing there met our tastes so we went home to change. Then we came out again to go to Imaginario.

Another good cheap meal, we had a litre of stout, a salad and papas imaginario. Less than a tenner even with a tip. You could eat out every night at these prices.

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Catching up

I have been a bit remiss of late. Viv dropped her kindle and has been reading on my computer.  Then when I gave her my kindle and finally got the computer back, somehow I never got back to the blog.

So, some memorable events: We decided to change our eating out days so that we could get the colectivo back from Constitucion and carry on to Shanghai Dragon. Well, these things never go to plan. There was a demo on Rivadavia again and the 151 was not running, so we walked back and stopped at HB again. Did a share this time with one of their massive salads and a chicken sandwich. The Beer is cheaper here as well.

Another night I left my shoes again, at Imaginario. Just realized that the beer here is almost half again as expensive as HB. Time for a rethink. We found another cheap place on Lavalle as well, only 90$ar for a litre of negra. “no atmosphere” Viv says, who cares? its cheap beer.

The milongas are going well, Viv is now dancing almost non stop. This is the advantage of getting known. It is not so good at El Abrazo though, I cannot figure out why, but I cannot force the men to dance with her.

We did a return to Gricel on a Saturday afternoon. The first hour was just a repeat, Viv getting no dances, very few men, few good women. After an hour though it picked up, and became a great afternoon. We will give it another go next week, maybe come a little later.

Nuevo Chique continues to deliver. We never get bored, just exhausted. Every Tuesday and Thursday four hours of solid dancing. We did the late turn again arriving at seven and leaving when it closed. Then taking the colectivo over to Armenia for another session with Otras Aires. We have been lucky enough to see them twice this time. Whilst an entrada of 180$ar is expensive in Buenos Aires terms at a little over £6, it is a bargain in European terms.

This time we had a table of four; Viv and I, Semiha and a Dane called Fin. We confused the hell out of the waiter, asking for two litres of beer, a glass of wine, six empanadas and cannelloni. He kept trying to escape, thinking we had finished.   He really did not know what was happening when we ordered more beer. It never ceases to amaze me how little the Argentines drink, I have seen women in milongas sit there for three hours and drink nothing, and this being such a hot dusty country.

We had our annual trip out to Flores again for the meeting of the United nations, there were eleven nations represented there. Forget round table talks, if you want world peace, the leaders should all dance tango. We did drink a lot of vino today though.

Well, off out again, not one of our best days, Monday and we are late so may have trouble getting a seat.

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Hitting the wall

We have settled into a pattern, one good milonga, one bad. So  Friday at El Abrazo we did not expect much. So it was at the start, Viv was not missing tandas, but she was, just the same struggling. By an hour in though we were in our stride, it was non stop tango for us both.

I sat out the usual Pugliese but apart from that I never rested.  So by half seven we had been there four hours, I was in need of some food and rest.  Then I just hit the wall, I had nothing left.  I missed three tandas and changed my shoes. On seeing this Viv came over, I told her I would go for a coffee and she could stay.  She was having a great time, but she came with me anyway.

Highlight of my day though was a dance with Eli, the organizer. It has taken me a while, but I finally got there.

After a coffee and some apple crumble I felt ok again, but for today El Beso was over. Fed up with Corrientes we walked home along Lavalle for a change, picking up some stout and bread on our way.

Two days on the run, four hours dancing without rest, must be some sort of record.

Saturday we were washed out. We took the subte down to town to pick some things up for Viv, but the day has just been a relaxing one. I did not even make it to see the rugby.

Of interest today though was our butcher. It is a world wide phenomenon to make fun of foreigners, to me this is not demeaning, just enjoying the difference.  Well today the butcher was having great fun at my expense, it made him happy and we had a laugh about it as well. Of all people, I have no right to take offense, and non was taken.

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Is there a War on?

Sometimes you just wonder, our favourite dietetica has now been open for two weeks. Plenty of time to stock up, you would think. However they only had 1kg of extra fine oats, no instant or any other oats. Now for the prunes, no, not until Monday. This is Argentine time, Monday could be August.

Then it was round to my favourite verduraria, completely shut up. At least the Chinese are always open. Viv says we need to get more food stamps, she may be right.

We have good days and bad. This was not one of the good. When we arrived at Beso Vivs usual seat was taken and there was a whole row of tourists there. She had to sit by me for a while, even after she moved it was poor fishing. I moved later to allow room for a couple, but as there were too many women it did not give me a problem.

The dancing was not good either, while the floor looked less crowded, the new intake were mainly non tango dancers. So they would come onto the floor shuffle around and be totally unable to use the space.  There was much bumping and treading on feet.

We said goodbye to Maria today as well, she flies home tomorrow. Over the next week quite a few of our friends will be leaving us. We will not be going yet though, they will have to put up with us a few more weeks yet.

We left early for some Quilmes Stout. The answer to all problems.

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