Tag Archives: El Arranque

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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You just can’t go back again.

I think I have found someone who can weld here. I went for a morning wander, unfortunately I forget it is the weekend. Twenty years of never having one myself, perhaps I can be forgiven. On Sanchez de Bustamente I saw an opening and three guys and a woman sitting drinking coffee (or maybe mate, I could not tell). There was workshop materials behind them and I spotted what I thought was a gas bottle “Puedes soldaro con gas ” I asked. The guy looked puzzled “Soldadero?” he said “No hoy”. Now one thing I have learned here is not to be put of, not today was the nearest I have yet received to a yes. “Puedes soldadero en la semana?” I tried ” Si que quieres” so I told him about our chair and checked the location. Something may well happen before I get here, but we live in hope.

On one of my previous wanderings I had found another opening full of furniture, so I wandered in for a good look around, nothing here I fancied so with a cheery wave I past the men at the door and left. Today, being Saturday it was shut up the sign on the door said “Fernandez Y Hermanos, Mundanzas y Guardar”. So I had been looking for furniture in Fernandez and Brothers removals and storage depot. At home somebody would have asked me what I wanted in there, not here, they just leave you to it.

I wandered around Plaza Almagro as I was passing. On a Saturday the locals all set up store here and sell anything that they have, sort of boot sale without a car. You simply would not believe the things they sell. There was a water-cooler without the cooler and even a no-weld plastic 30mm bend, why would anyone come here looking for that? Still it entertains me.

We found out that the organizer of El Arranque is now running a milonga at Club Gricel so we are off there today in the hope of meeting up again with the old crowd. The lady on the door welcomed us with the lowest entrada yet and asked if this was our first time. I said that it was but we used to go to El Arranque. She said that they have been here since September, time enough to get things going.

It all seemed a bit flat though. True the old couples were there and causing a riot in the bit in the middle, but few of the old singles were there. I danced mainly with foreigners and so did Viv. I have never been to a milonga where I have danced with so many ladies on numerous occasions. We decided to call it a day at six thirty and head for home.

There was no sign of the man himself, but when the interval came with the announcements she said “Juan Carlos esta mejorando” so if he is getting better, I suppose he must be ill. I have checked his page and there is no mention, although there is talk of him loosing weight.

We thought about walking but when I realized we were eleven blocks for Rivadavia and five from Columbres, well twenty-four blocks was too much, so we took to the subte. Trouble was, when we got there, there was no way in. It seems that H line entrances are closed on Saturday, so we had to back track onto the E line just to get below. Viv was right annoyed from all the up and downing by the time we got on the train.

Time for some cervesa negra I think.


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You gotta love it

And another from last year. Oh dear!

After a morning on computer management, it was going to be a welcome change to do some tango.

Saturday and we are off to El Arranque again. We had to charge up the SUBE cards and, of course we missed the train. It was no big deal though another was along in four minutes. This is another reason I prefer the subte to the busses, unless the line is down they are through as regular as clock work.

Our waiter had our regular places and our drinks on the table as we arrived, you gotta love this service.

Not a lot to say really, we danced our socks off and I managed two dances each with my regular ladies. Even  Viv hardly missed a tanda.

Erwin our usual DJ was not here today we had Vivi La Falce instead. Good choice of music and interesting cortinas. She was calling something out during the tropical, I have no idea what it was, but the locals seemed to appreciate it.

We had arrived early so by seven thirty we were ready to go. We stayed for the sorteo, but again I did not win, so it was time to go home.

We stopped off on the way home for some meat. We had to do without last week because we left it until Sunday. Two cracking pieces of Aberdeen Angus grilling steak, for two quid, you gotta love it.

Deep joy, the internet is still working, so you will get this post.

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Chaos at El Beso

One from ten days ago, I missed for some reason.

Another El Beso day today. The volume of people was colossal, El Beso is not the easiest place to dance at the best of times, but today it was just chaos. That said Viv managed well for dances, so much that we stayed almost to the end. It was my turn to have problems, people milling around, standing by tables and just getting in the way. It made cabeceo almost impossible, so much so that I sat out some tandas and had two false cabeceo.

When Zoraida did the announcements she said she had been asked to do a ladies choice. I thought for one moment she was going to, but then she said she had done this in Ideal and all the men went off to hide in the toilets. I think her fears were unjustified; there were only about four men at Ideal, but here they would not all fit in the toilets. Still it says something about the men here, macho? no, cowards.

We found out that El Arranque is to reopen at Castelbamba. This caused me some problems, simply because the locals don’t listen, they assume what I am saying then draw their own conclusions. It went something like this “El Arranque se abierta” “Si En Castelbamba” “No, es Riobamba” “Castelbamba es en Riobamba” “No castelbamba, pero Riobamba” Oh! forget it lets dance.

We stopped off for some bread and medialunas on Corrientes a lovely self service shop with fine fare for sale. Well we got everything we wanted in a plastic basket and took it to the till. I had no idea what the girl said, so I asked her again, the word “three” appeared somewhere in there, then I worked it out. So I said “español?” and it all became clear. Sometimes they are just too helpful, she was trying to say Thirty three, but it was not working. Gives me some idea what I must sound like to them at times. I often have this problem when languages are mixed up, I am in your country and will to the best of my ability use your language. When you mix English and Spanish it becomes totally unintelligible.


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El Arranque Dos

They say you can never go back, I think that means you can never re-create old times. El Arranque was never going to be the same in another venue and Castelbamba was never my favourite venue.

So while I watched the Rugby and all my sides lose Viv said she was off. I had bad reports from Thursday, but she was not going to believe them. When I arrived she seemed happy enough, although the chairs we were offered would not have looked out of place on a tip. She said she had done better than Friday for dances. Right from the start I struggled, not only was the floor too small, but some men were dancing on the rough tiles at the side and then pushing their way on to the floor. There were almost no women here I recognized and the standard was not great. Dora turned up and we had a nice dance, but she did not stay long, most women were abandoning the place quite quickly.

Viv says she did not stop for two hours, but as the evening went on she too had trouble getting dances. In the end we did not stay for La Cumparsita we left half an hour early and decided to walk up Corrientes.

Outside they had closed the street off. There was Jazz playing and stalls selling books of all sorts (not English though). There was quite an atmosphere but not many places to eat. I said that I fancied 1810 but Viv said she thought it was a long way, “Just a hop on the subte” I said, so 1810 it was.

In times past they would have been queuing out of the door, not so tonight. They have re-instated the bread and salsa picante so Viv dived straight in. Then she had a coughing fit so they brought her a glass of water “Serves you right for being greedy” I said.  Best empanadas in Buenos Aires and black beer. What more can you ask? Then came the lentejas for Viv and my carbonada. Another beer is needed, I think. Normally Viv tries to restrict my input but she misread the lable on the beer. 975 CL looks like 0.75 when you have bad eyes, I did not put her right until the bottle was half gone.

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Too darn hot

After watching Wales loose to Scotland it was time to dance again.

Today is the last ever El Arranque at Nuevo Salon Argentino so we expected big crowds. And they came, the place was packed out. The normal excuse for not coming, there is no air conditioning, forgotten for the day. Well not forgotten for long, with this big a crowd the temperature was soon on the rise. The floor got sweaty and sticky and everyone was soon complaining. I didn’t mind too much, as long as the ladies did not object to the fact that I was completely soaked. All my regulars were there so apart from a sit out to cool down I did not miss. Viv was having less luck, as always when it is too crowded she has difficulty.

At seven again she had enough and went over to speak to friends then headed off to change her shoes. Meanwhile I got pinned down while Jesus made a speech and the Juan Carlos as well. She was standing by the door fed up by the time I got there. I am, by now, well used to always being in the wrong,, so I just let her moan at me.

We have been recommended a restaurant on Juan Peron only two blocks away so we thought we would give it a try tonight. As usual there are some things on the menu we did not understand, but trying to get answers of the waiters is like getting blood out of a stone. Eventually we found out that the pasta was served with tomato sauce and Viv said she would give it a try. I ordered steak, of course.

The waiter came back and asked what we had ordered, strange, I thought. Then My steak came, it was huge and a big pile of chips and salad. It was served on a serving plate, obviously to share. We debated a while what to do and then asked if we could not have the pasta, fortunately he said that was ok.

Well we finished the steak, the chips and the salad, but only just. It needed help from the Stella or it never would have gone down. Another £15 meal for two, who says it is expensive here?

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In The Dark Ages

So for once I got up early and to add to my woes; no lift, no water, no internet, we now have no electricity either. Well done Edisur on the installation of the new transformer last month. Along with another neighbor we harassed the stand in portero and found out that the locker for the water tap outside is not actually locked. So I fetched two buckets and filled them. Shame I could not do this yesterday when we had a lift. I also bought some more drinking water from the almacen where it is actually cheaper than the chino.

Well boredom gave me a chance to wash up, but it was difficult with only a little water. Boiling water on the stove, sort of restricted the depth I could have in the bowl. Still most, if not all was to Viv’s satisfaction.

We went out for breakfast, a sticky factura and coffee at a confiteria on Medrano that Viv had been raving about. It was nice coffee and so were the pastries, and not as expensive as I thought they might be.

We saw them working on the power on the next block so we lived in hope. Sure enough by the time I had topped up my phone the power came back on. So we can use the coffee machine kettle and air conditioner, but the lift is still out, and we still have no water. The lift is not a great problem on its own, but with the need to carry water it is a pain, and we have to have a standing wash again today.

My hair is due for a cut, I may have to have a wash and blow dry just to get it clean.

Well we had a great time at El Arranque. I did find that many of my regulars were not there though. The cat lady was, and as there is shall we say an older crowd it put me in with a good chance, I managed to get two dances with her. Irwin was, as always, exceptional but I have just noticed I was not on his video, I will have to sanction him.

We asked Philippe if he wanted to join us later, but because of internet problems we left him little time and unfortunately he never got back to us. So we went on our own to El Rey Peruvian restaurant.  We got half a chicken a plate full of salad and a shed load of chips for less than a tenner, the beer pushed the price to £15 but with a pile of nibbles to start, there is no point complaining.

We left there full to bursting and walked up Corrientes. We came across the Carnival (Murga) for the first time this year. Because we normally get off the subte at Medrano we miss it. We stood for a while watching the antics and getting covered in spray before leaving to get some well earned ice cream.

When we got back the lift was working, and the water was on. You do not realize how much you depend on clean tap water until you lose it.


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Spent the morning watching the rugby. Wales made some surprising decisions, it was almost as if they wanted England to win. I am no expert in fact I find the game very confusing, but I found myself agreeing with the commentators. Maybe it is just not Wales time.

It’s Saturday so It is El Arranque, but we go with a heavy heart, knowing that it’s days are numbered.

I don’t know whether they have already started to desert, like rats from a sinking ship, but there were less of the regulars today. There seemed to be a lot of turistas though. There were three tables set up for one lot, I thought it was just a birthday party, but they were taking photos of the dance floor. Horatio must have given up, because he is usually very strict on stopping people photographing the floor. I decided to take some photos myself, for posterity and one guy got funny with me “solo el edificio” I said to him and he seemed placated.

Viv was having trouble, the dancers she was getting were not good and usually very old. A couple of times I got her up just for relief. She asked me to the Vals and with her and then she had enough, so it was off into the night then.

Saturday we usually go out to eat, but we were unsure where to go. We intended to get off the subte at Gardel but then changed our minds. We got off, instead at Medrano and went to Pachi bar.  Like most places here it is mainly pizzas, but with some imagination it is possible to conjure up something different. We ordered Bondolinas (You will have to look it up, basically pork) and a plate of chips and also a salad.

While this was being prepared we had a bottle of stout and some peanuts to keep us going. Well we were well filled up for less than £15. It just shows you can still do it here  if you know what you are doing.

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Goodbye Maria

Of to our Saturday El Arranque visit today, Viv is worried about the prospect of rain so she brings along an umbrella. When we leave the subte at Callao they have been working on the pavements and for the first block they are quite good. Unfortunately there is a patch just outside Zivals where they have taken the flags up again. There is a big drop and a Viv not paying attention missed the step and came crashing down. I was in front of her and although she caught me  on the way down, it was not enough to break her fall.

We spent some time outside Zivals tending her knee and cleaning her up. I thought we may have to go back, but soldier she is, after a short interlude she was ok.

There was a whole different crowd here again. I have my harem of women, but for Viv it was again difficult. Still I don’t think she missed many tandas. I sent a request to Erwin for a milonga tanda, Orquesta Typica victor, and just at the right moment he did it for me, Started with Milonga de los fortunes and followed it with Cacareando, Vivs favorite. I have never heard the third track before. I thanked him afterwards.

We were both tired again and when the cumbia came on followed by Pugliese we decided to leave. I had to do one last dance with Maria and say goodbye, family business calls and nothing I can do will keep her here, so unless we meet up in the summer, this will be it for another year.

It was starting to rain as we left but only spots. Viv wanted to get to the other end before it started but as we left the subte at Gardel it was hammering down.  If we had stayed on Callao we may have missed the worst, but we were stuck with it. We made a dash for La Continental in a lull and sat down awaiting service.

They advertised Quilmes Stout, but when we ordered it they did not have it. The only beer they had in litre bottles was Stella. I knew we should have stopped on Callao, there are three places on that street, so if one did not have it the next might. So we had two glasses of Quilmes Cristal instead. The guy looked surprised when we ordered a grande Pizza. He looked even more surprised when he came back and we had finished it all. Ha, we are from Wales, you don’t beat us.

So it was back to the apartment and a bottle of Quilmes stout from the chino, it’s a third of the price anyway. Next time, I think it’s a take away pizza and beer from the chino.


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Another El Arranque Saturday. Erwin (The DJ) excelled, I really intended not to dance every tanda, but the great music just kept coming.

Reports from Viv is that she only missed just one tanda. It is getting so that we look forward to the cumbia, just so that we can have a rest.

Las borrachas both gave me two dances, and a few others did the same. There are still one or two ladies that I cannot crack, but I am sure my time will come. Time was that here I struggled and so did Viv, it’s a good feeling not having to sit out.

We eat out on a Saturday, today we are heading for 1810. Traditional Tucaman food served in the heart of Palermo. Another adventure, we took the subte and changed at Puerradon onto the H line. This was a leap of faith, as last year we could not get from the H line onto the D line as the station had not been built. We need not have worried, it all went smoothly and we soon arrived at Bulnes station.

The prices have risen quite a lot here at 1810, particularly the beer. 50$ar for a porron of stout, that is £2.50 for a third of a litre . So we did not go mad. We did however enjoy some excellent empanadas and a rather fine salad followed by coffee. We have been coming here since 2008 and this is the first time that they have served coffee. It is also the first time we have been here on a Saturday night and there has not been a queue waiting for tables. In fact only two other tables were occupied. The high prices are starting to hit.

We stopped off on the way home for our pudding, dark chocolate ice cream. They still think we are strange buying a quarter kilo of just one flavor, the locals mix them all up.

Then called in the chino for some proper beer, a litre of Quilmes stout. Knackered as I am, it will still help me sleep.

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