Tag Archives: El beso

Last Beso

I watched Hoy Milonga all morning, there was no sign that El Beso would be closed and several people on Facebook said it was re opened, so off we went. As we approached there was a crowd outside and I could still see the red notice on the door. We stood by Paloma and Hubert and asked if they knew what was going on. They said that everyone was in the cultural centre next door, which did not actually answer my question.  It was not unpleasant to stand there but I wondered why we were. I asked Diago (the organizer) he said we were waiting for an official to remove the notice, the official had apparently left the office at two. It was now gone four. At a quarter past a woman came and removed the notice and everyone clapped. Only in Argentina do the applaud officials doing their job.

There were a lot of ladies so Viv had a hard time, but for me it meant I had a chance to dance with some I have never danced with including Julia the organizer at Sueño Porteño. I enjoyed that until a guy took back steps as I was turning, fortunately Julia was not the recipient of a four inch heel. She was not happy though so I maneuvered Diago between us.

As I said it was not the best for Viv and she had enough by seven. Pity I was hoping to dance both Cumparsitas. While she was changing I had many ladies to say goodbye to, I’m afraid I may not have reached them all.

On the way home we stopped off at the new bread shop on Corrientes for some bread and medialunas to keep us going.  Then, of course, it was the chino for some Quilmes Stout.


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Killing the golden Goose

Now we are back in the land of the living, Viv is feeling better and although my foot still aches I am now up every tanda again. Still we are taking it easy as we only have a week left and don’t want to spend it laid up.

Saturday I went on my own to El Beso and was shocked to be charged 120$ar. This is UK pricing, the shoe shops are all failing and the milongas are starting to go the same way. It may be true that the tourists have more money, but we are not an unlimited resource, and without locals in the milongas, why travel this far just to dance with our own? I have read many who think another collapse is on the way, certainly this cannot be maintained without another currency devaluation.

So Monday we set off again for El Beso, we have become blasé of late knowing where we were going and not double checking. Today we were caught out, El Beso has been closed. It appears that there was some safety infringement or dare I say it, bribe not paid. I never checked before I left home, and Vivs big feet had caught the charging lead on my phone destroying it, so no means of checking from here. We had no up to date tango magazines, and the Tango Map has become useless as anything but a navigation tool.

We prefabricated, I was all for returning to the apartment and checking the internet, then Viv remembered that Milonga del Juan also runs on a Monday. We were halfway down the subte, but no point in going just one stop, so we just used it to cross the road.

The milonga was still quiet despite the closure of Beso, but from the announcements I understood not as quiet as usual. I find this strange as they only charge 70$ar, less even that Fulgor. The dancers, for me, were actually better here, although I did have one bad dance. The place was full of Viv’s “old men” so she was happy. Still with limited partners we had enough by seven.

We stopped at Peron y Uruguay for a coffee. Rubbish coffee and they charged us 140$ar for two coffees. That’s £7 now they really are trying to kill the Golden Goose. If there is not another devaluation, we will find it very difficult here next year.

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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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Carolina, beautiful dresses and Spanish for foreigners.

Viv has been asking to go to Carolina the dress shop on Pasco. We tried earlier but it was on a Saturday and just too chaotic. Today though we had the place to ourselves, but that brings its own problems. The shop assistants are just too helpful. Viv just wanted to browse, but they were having non of it. “what is it for?” they asked, “What colour” and so on. In the end we narrowed it down to three dresses, two the same but different colours and one a different style.

Well the one different would not fit, Viv being broad shouldered. The other two Viv worried about showing too much, as if she could. In the end though It was down to colour. While all this trying on was going on, I was getting the full interview. I was doing pretty well until she asked me if we go out much. I did not understand the question, but she had the nous  to re phrase it until I got it. She said she lived on Billinghurst and Humahuaca,  told her that Viv would be jealous as she always wanted to live on Humahuaca.

So we came away with a lovely dress, and I had the best Spanish conversation yet. I need more of this but it is rare to find someone who can speak to a foreigner in a way that can be understood.

El Beso was celebrating 21 years, and as always happens at these times, it was packed. Viv left early because she was not getting dances and I was not long after her. Frightened of repercussions and I was not enjoying it anyway. Too much barging and cabeceo was all but impossible through the crowd. I did get a couple of dances with Teresa though. I have not danced with her since Confiteria Ideal closed.

So it’s beer at home tonight then.

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I don’t want to complain too much, after all we came here to tango and that’s what we did, but understanding the different milongas is crucial to anyone who comes here.

Now El Beso is a totally different animal on a Monday and one perhaps less friendly to yours truly. On a Friday it is El Abrazo, but on Monday it is Misteriosa. We came here last week and had a good time, but like milongas, no two weeks are the same.

Viv went to the ladies to change so we effectively arrived separately, Elisa did not remember me, it seems. She sat me at the corner table behind the shy guy. It seemed ok but  when I got up to dance another guy was also sat at the table. I was getting pushed behind shy guy and getting cramped up. I moved the chair from the end to give us more room. After another dance, one more guy was sat at the table pushing me further behind Shy Guy. Now it was near impossible for me to cabeceo.

Paloma, who was sat quite close could not be enticed to look my way and the ladies across the room could not see me. I was missing tandas at a rate never before seen. In the end I moved myself over to the mirror, where I sit on a Friday. Even here it was not easy, I could not get anyone’s eye. If I got up to try and approach a lady, invariably some one else would get there first.

Viv started well it seems, but after a couple of hours she too was having problems.  For the first time since we have  been going seperado we danced five tandas together. At least we had each other or the day would have been a complete disaster.

It was not that crowded, which usually helps Viv get dances, but many of the regulars were not there. For me there were too few women and for Viv too many foreign men. For me to miss so many tandas these days is very rare, but I should not complain, the ladies get this all the time.

As we have only three weeks left we will stick at it and see how we go, but without locals, there is little point in getting your face known.

We still had many dances and an enjoyable time, but we did not stay as late as we had expected to, this far into our stay. We were gone by seven.


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Video never killed me

Well we went to El Beso today. First time so I cannot comment on the numbers just to say there was a lot less than Friday. Viv prefers it this way anyway. I struggled to get good dances, after I had danced with all the good ones. Still there was more room and it was easier to cabeceo.

Seven o’clock and I had to go, and left Viv to it. I had an appointment at Radio National Argentina. This is like the Argentine version of the BBC, and we would be on REA which is like their world service.  Arriving there I had to wait by security while they contacted Fernando. We greeted and he took me upstairs, along the corridor we stood and chatted for a while then he took me into the studio, where I first met his producer.

Well the setup was just like Frazier, desk with big micro phones and the producer sitting behind a window. All the walls were covered in foam rubber and I was sat with my big earphones on and a big fluffy mic thrust in my direction. The interview was supposed to be about foreigners living in Buenos Aires, but as I was not actually living here it became about foreigners coming here for tango. So now I am a radio star, famous in my own soup bowl. It will be broadcast at midnight Buenos Aires time, that is three am UK. I am sure no of you will miss it, prime time it is not.

When I get the link I will let you all know.

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El Lobo

Well after I had done the regular shopping I set out again for some compost. It is one of the hard things living here, even though everything is close, with no car everything has to be carried by hand. So that is my upper body exercise done for the day.  The ficus are now well planted and happy in their new home, I hope that they have a long and happy life, unlike the bamboo.

I don’t know what happened to El Beso this week. Almost non of our regular partners were there and we struggled all the way through. So many half tandas because we could get no one’s eye and even the odd one missed completely. It was almost like when we first came here and nobody knew us. Still I have been given a milonguero name by the lady who says I have Wolf eyes, my new name is El Lobo.

By seven we had enough, time to head home for some steak and beer. Sometimes it’s the only way.

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