Tag Archives: El beso

Last Tango

So we start our last full day here. Packing, cleaning, just getting ready, but nothing stops the tango. I spend the morning folding shirts, it’s nice that I can take my time. Leaning over the bed gives me backache so I can do a few and rest.

Supplies are running low, we have no prunes left, but we do have a bag of fruit and nuts. Another job for me, sort out the fruit for the porridge. I have already said my goodbyes in the Chino, but I am afraid I will have to return as we are short of milk.

El Beso was as manic as ever. It is not as if it was that crowded, but the tourists were here and their guide was encouraging them onto the dance floor. I am all for encouraging new dancers, but these would never be and had not had a lesson in their lives. The floor at Beso is difficult because of its shape, the situation is only made worse by people blundering around the floor.

It was also difficult to cabeceo with people wandering around. There were at least three ladies who I usually dance with who I could not reach. Viv was also having a difficult time. Still we stayed until the sorteo and Paris Anna won a free entrada with my ticket. It would,of course be no use to me. On that note Julia Doynel announced the Channel 4 would be filming a documentary here on Saturday.  Somehow we manage to miss everything.

We retired to The Coffee Store hoping to contact our daughter on Whatsapp and get some food. Well our daughter never answered and we had all sorts of trouble with the food. Everything we asked for was off, salads, pasta, you name it. In the end we settled for a toasty for me and a wrap for Viv. It took so long to come, when the waiter asked if we wanted a drink we said no. I was thirsty but we had a smuggled bottle of water. Viv said “why did you not order a drink” I said “We have a boat to catch tomorrow”

We had to buy some milk on the way home, I knew there was a reason not to give all the change as a tip. We are getting seriously short now, but with Viv stressing over the packing, we do have enough for beer. So to HB we go for a final quilmes stout.

On a final note; do not expect a blog tomorrow, I was too late and they will not now let me have internet on the boat.

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Local Knowledge

I have one small job today, to take Les’s sube card. Normally I would walk, but after last nights excesses I am too tired. I already have 5,000 steps in for the day before I get up. Outside of our building there is a 151, it has passed the stop but is stopped at the lights. I raise my hand, more in hope than expectation, but he opens the door for me anyway. I have pre explored this area, but I still get it wrong and have to backtrack twice until I find the hotel.  The girl was very helpful ( she never replied in English, although I suspect she could) even gave me a note to leave.

Mission accomplished it was time to return. I had not checked the colectivos, getting a bit over confident here. I knew that they ran back along Colonel Niceto Vega so I crossed the road looking for a stop. Passed the railway and there was a 168 coming. There was a lady at the stop so no panic. I jumped on and said “a Medrano”. Now the driver said nothing just charged me $20. I realized my mistake when the bus turned up Pringles. I had quite forgotten that there are two 168. They may look the same but follow different routes. Years ago I had caught the wrong one and ended up at the depot. At least I knew where I was here. I pressed the buzzer as we left Rocomorra. It was not too bad in the end, I got off at Pringles y Guardia Vieja which was five blocks away instead of two. Then I remembered Viv had asked me to get something to eat, so I diverted another two blocks to Augustus for some Medialunas.

Friday is El Beso again. Same old with the seats, but at least with Zoraida here she found a decent seat for Viv. I have my usual seat under the mirror, but even here, two tables are reserved and I am not exactly where I like to be. I was, of course off like a shot once I had my shoes on. Although I am tired after yesterday, and missing any tanda I did not like the sound of. At least for a while, then a couple of  missed cabeceo meant I would promise the next dance to someone, and I even danced Pugliese.

It was hard dancing, too many on the floor and no floor craft, so I was soon tired. Then Viv was getting bored, so it was time to leave. We had our usual promo at The Coffee Store, and soon we saw everyone was leaving. I wonder sometimes if we should stay, maybe the dancing gets better later.

We had a list of things to buy for the trip home so we stopped at Farmacity. Got most of what we wanted except for soap dishes. Well we stopped at Petish and got just the thing, then La Riena for some scones and we were still in time for El Bosque. With good local knowledge now we get things done quickly, but Viv was in a hurry. She rushed out and I never got a chance to say goodbye to our shoe man

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When You walk through the Storm, hold your umbrella high.

I think I have missed a day. I suppose my reports are getting a bit samey now So I will just tell you about the rain yesterday; We knew it would rain later when we came home so I went prepared. Viv had decided that my umbrella was like weapon and I should take another from the huge assortment we have accumulated. Anyway Viv soon got bored with El Beso and being in the wrong seat, although after the initial set of tandas she did rather well. Just then they did the sorteo then a singer came on. So I thought I would leave as well. I should have stuck it out there was a good tanda on next, La Juan D’Arienzo, I think. I was halfway down the stairs so was not coming back.

At the door there was a crowd, some having a smoke, some waiting for a bus, others just sheltering. I pushed through and tried to open my umbrella. It was a disaster of spokes and broken plastic spindles. I wore it like a hat over to The Coffee Store. Inside the girl took it off me and tried to put it in a bucket with the others, but it refused to fold.

We decided to take the subte home, to save getting too wet. I managed to find a way of holding the umbrella open by holding it high on the shaft, once I had somewhere with a bit of space. I also folded it, after a fashion, in the subte entrance.

Back at casa Bob, I tried to give it away, but, it seems no one wants a broken umbrella even in a Buenos Aires storm. I left it in the bin on the stairs.

I think we are down to four umbrellas now. Lesson learned, test your brolly before you leave.

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Show them real tango, do a lesson on the pista.

I was not in the best of moods today. I think we have been over doing it of late and I am tired and headache.  Still there are things to do.

I have to take Viv’s shoes to el Bosque to have the strap repaired. El Bosque is closed for holidays. This is not going well today. Next I went for some milk and washing up liquid, nearly collided with the guy stocking the shelves and someone else shopping. So I rushed back to our building. As I entered my phone rang. Nobody phones me here so I was busy checking who it was before I answer. It was, of course, withheld number. Then disaster, whilst checking my phone the door had shut. Now you cannot open doors here from either side without a key, and my key was in the lock, outside. I frantically knocked on the glass and some kind lady realized what had happened and opened the door for me. Meanwhile, her dog, taking advantage of the situation, decided to explore the building.

When calm was restored, I decided I needed a lie down, even though I had been up less than two hours.

At El Beso today numbers were lower, but it was not helping us. It was the regulars that were missing. Two tour leaders arrived and in the course of showing them The Real Tango proceeded to give lessons on the milonga floor. I am glad we came earlier this time, we are entering the silly season where good dancing is hard to come by. Viv may have struggled not having her regulars here, but I struggled because all the tourists did not know to sit down when the cortina was on. There was nothing for it but to walk around myself, adding to the chaos, but at least, I got dances.

Gloria Garcia was here today. She of La Susheta (Salon Dandi) and Maipu 444. It was lovely to meet her again and to dance. It was a shame Viv got fed up and we left early, I would have liked another dance.

The Dutch were also there, so I had Eli and Ada to dance with, whilst giving me Dutch lessons. Lord knows I struggle enough with Spanish, but at least some Dutch is in my DNA so I am in with a chance. I can, at least swear with the best of them.

Then it was off to The Coffee Store again for two promotions. If all else fails coffee and medialunas it is.

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No Grass here

All morning I was watching Hoy Milonga, I had no intention of turning up at El Beso if it was closed again. I need not have worried, today it was back on again as normal. I also sent a friend request to Quique Carmargo, it is worth keeping as many lines of communication as possible open.

Funny how I have trouble getting dances here. I am told that I sit in the wrong place, but if the ladies want to dance with me, then they know where I am, because I sit in the same place. Still, I never really missed out. Viv did not miss a tanda for the first two hours, then she hit the wall, so she left. I had one tanda I must do then I followed her. Now, there is a lady who complains I do not dance with her, but try as I might I could not cabeceo her, when finally I walked over she said “Me voy”.

We went to the coffee Store again and had today’s promotion; buddin de lemon and coffee. Only a slice of lemon cake but it was quite filling. I am always hungry after the milonga, so it filled the gap. I had spoken to Hubert in the toilets before I left, he said he cannot eat medialunas and then eat later. I said that is why you are “Flaco” and I am not.

We walked back along Corrientes and at Puyerredon there is a sports shop. Viv wanted to look inside. As I stood by the door something landed on my head. It was a grass hopper, I think he was lost, no grass here.

Unsure of where to go for food we ended up at Alcala again. No steak tonight we had omelet and salad, plus, of course the black beer. As we were early we were served by a different girl. I could not understand a word she said and you could see she was getting impatient. I asked for “Cervesa Negra” she said “No” then pointed at the menu “Andes” it said ” Rubia, Negra” So negra it was then.

We managed to get everything we wanted, but it was like pulling teeth. Still the food was good and our usual girl appeared later and the bill again was small.

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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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Last minute shopping

I tried phoning the welder man, I got no response. So I decided to walk over just to check. There was a woman tugging on the lock, so I guess no one was there. No point in wasting a walkabout, I walked up to Corrientes and along to Sweet Victoria. The lady in there remembered me, but not that I do not wear boxers. Still she had some briefs in, looked old stock to me. They were only $500 hopefully they will get some more in, I will be back for more at this price.

Later I came out again to go to the carneceria at the chino. I got my 2kilo of bife de lomo $512 and it should be enough for four meals.

Off to El Beso today. We got to Medrano station and the platform was packed. Thinking there would be a train soon we rushed onto the platform. Then we saw the board, the next train was twelve minutes away. People were still crowding onto the platform and when it finally came it was already full.  It was a real shoulder to the wheel job to get on. When we passed Gardel I managed to get a bit further in, but ended up standing on one leg because I could find nowhere to put my other foot. Puerredon gave no relief, even though it is a connection, as many got on as off. When we finally got to Callao it was a relief to get off, but Viv was stuck on the train. I thought for a minute I was going to loose her, she only just made it when the doors closed.

Beso today was not the best, I think everyone is staying home for Christmas. We left early, but not before the raffle. I won, a ticket for one for tomorrow afternoon. As we are there anyway later, I did not want to go twice in a day. I tried, I really tried but it seems no one was interested. If I could not give a free ticket away, I cannot see it being worth going anyway.

After our usual coffee at the Coffee store we took a slow walk back. We needed some veg and a couple of other things. We managed to get every thing on our list, even managed to get rid of all the change, but the streets were manic. Everyone, it seems, is last minute shopping.

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Coughing fit

When we bought skirt hangers, I said we should have bought ten, but we bought five. So this morning Viv sent me out for more. It was a hot walk down Levalle, but when I got there the man said he had non until Thursday. I did think of buying different ones, but that would never do. So I headed back. On the way I spotted a shop selling perchas, but not the ones I wanted. Then on the other side of the road I saw another. There were two just like the ones we had, so I thought I would give it a try “Hay cinco?” I tried “Si” said the guy. Now the last five were $137 these were $125, and I thought I’d had a bargain. Seems the first guy was ripping me off.

Funny place this they have a cavalier attitude to prices, but they weigh lettuces. You just can’t figure it.

Viv was not at her best today, but at the last minute decided to come with me to El Beso. The numbers were down but I was still having problems getting dances. Viv however was not, she was up every tanda until she had a coughing fit and dissapeared over to The Coffee Store.

I would have joined her sooner, but Maria arrived and I had to dance with her. Then it was Biagi and I could not miss that tanda. Then it was a ladies choice and I was grabbed. When I finally got out to Viv she was disappointed that she was having such a good time but had to leave. At least she was not mad at me, for a change.

On the walk back we stopped at Farmacity again and then the shop that sells the glace fruit. The prunes in here are cheaper that Goji but the avena (oats) is nearly double the price. So then we had to go to Goji for the oats. As I said, they just seem to make up the prices as they go along.

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Asignatura Pendiente

Viv wants some new clothes from Asignatura Pendiente today. We tried to make an appointment for after El Beso but it was outside her hours. So we we are going before. Early shower it is then, eating early is a problem though. I may be chewing my arm by six.

We arrived about five minutes early, I sat myself on the sofa and prepared for a long stay. Viv seemed to take most of the clothes off the rack to try on. She kept popping out and asking me how she looked, I ket telling her she needed to come out to where I could see her. I have no idea how many outfits she tried or for that matter how many she decided to buy. I just know that she did not have enough money and took most of mine as well.Fortunately I had a big float by now.

The clothes were loaded into two bags, then Viv decided that they would be better in one. All finally settled we set off for El Beso.I don’t know what they were giving away but it was rammed. Viv managed to get a seat next to Ton and Ada and I sat, as always on the back wall. Not in my usual place though, I was well down the room. I had difficulty getting dances, and soon decided to go walkabout. A normally risky strategy, but fortunately there were so many women, if the one I was after was taken there was always another. Viv was having trouble as well and not being able to go walkabout she was missing dances. She was soon getting fed up, but after the sorteo things improved. This kept her there a while longer until the rock and roll came on. I stayed to do the chacarera with Teresa then I too was out of there.

Viv had not been in the Coffee Store long when I arrived. Seems she had to come back for her clothes,which she had forgotten. It was a lot of money to just go and leave them there. We had two promos, two media lunas orange water and cafe con leche. The girl though was not on the ball, Viv had asked for two, but she only brought one, so we had to wait for the second.

Afterwards we walked the length of Guardia Vieja to see the preparations for the shows. There was one girl on a balcony singing. I think she was testing the gear. There were lights and stages everywhere, I really am not sure if we will be able to appreciate it all tomorrow.

We finished in Imaginario Bar, papas Imaginario and omelette, with stout at $100 a pint. Well at that price I had to have two. With a generous tip it all came to $900, that’s about £9. You can’t complain at that.


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Fire, fire, fire down below.

They are knocking a building down, two doors away. The apartments have been unoccupied since we have been here, but the shop was a greasy spoon. So now we have the noise every day as they hit the walls with their little hammers. More on this; I managed to get a look through the steel doors they have erected, today. I noticed that they have started knocking through the floor, so that as they knock down the top, the rubble will fall to the basement and they have to carry it up again. As always, there is the simple way, and then there is the Argentine way.

On our trip to Palermo I sat outside a shop while Viv browsed.  On the seat was an Italian lady, who spoke no Spanish or English, but somehow she conveyed that she was here to play golf for two months. We talked for fifteen minutes or so and despite everything managed to understand each other. The one thing I could not get her to understand was that we were going back by boat, and it is an Italian boat.

We had some excitement here last night; as we sat on the balcon eating our bife de lomo, a fire engine screamed past. It turned into Guardia vieja and stopped on the next block. I thought I could smell burning, and this confirmed it. Next came an ambulance and was followed by the Police. A few cars were redirected but they never actually closed the road. I could see little of what was going on as it was on the same side of the road as us. In the morning I went to investigate and there was no sign of anything amiss. There is however a sort of subway covered in grating that is full of cables, I think it is something to do with the Subte, although at two blocks away, I could well be wrong.  Anyway this morning there was a barrier around it. The smell last night did seem electrical to my trained nose. Like all things that go on here, I guess we will never know for sure.

I thought that the painters had finished, but this morning we have a man hanging around outside our window again. I did think of running out with a manic grin and a knife, but Viv stopped me. I was only half threatening, if I was hanging on a rope and someone came with a knife to cut it, I don’t suppose I would be that amused.

Off to El Beso again today. We arrived early so that Viv got a better seat and I got my usual. She was still not happy though, there were a lot of women. That said it was not that easy for me either. Still we stayed until Viv left at five thirty and I stopped until the cumbia came on at just after six. Viv had finished her coffee and I ordered another for me.

It was going to be one of those days, it seems. I waited and waited but my coffee never came. In the end I told Viv to pay and we would go. Viv gave the girl$200, more than enough for her coffee and croissants, but she was not happy. We pointed to the one cup and the penny dropped. I was not about to pay for coffee that never came.

We are at a loss where to go tonight, our usual Imaginario Bar, is closed for holidays so we decided to try El Simbolo. Somebody in the milonga had recommended it, although Viv remembered it as a rather dirty place.

It did not start well. Viv needed the toilet and it was not signed up. While she was gone the guy came for our order. “Dos Revueltos” I said “No entiendo” said he. I tried various ways of saying it, nothing worked. In the end Viv asked for two omelette. Then I tried beer, well I am sure they had black beer in the past but not today. Now flustered I ordered Rubia, forgetting again that is blond. We were still arguing about the revueltos and I had an inspiration, I walked outside and got the blackboard with Revuelto $280 and pointed it to the guy.  “Ya no lo hacemos” he said, we don’t do it anymore.

So instead of Black beer and revueltos we got blond beer and a rather disgusting omelette barely cooked and full of shells. To add to our woes we watched him sneeze into his hands handle money and smoke. No sign of hand washing or any kind of sterilizing.  If you do not hear from me again you know why. If we survive I will definitely put this place on our do not go again list. One more thing, he served Viv with her omelette then wet off to cook mine. Seems he is incapable of doing two meals at once.

Well hopefully a good day tomorrow.

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