Tag Archives: El Imaginario

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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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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Coto not for everyone

Up early again, there is no sense to it. Then Viv drags me kicking and screaming to Coto. I have always hated this supermarket, long queues and you never find what you want.

Today though we managed to find a shoe rack that was perfect. So Viv bought some rubber gloves to make the queuing more worthwhile. Well when we got there , there was an empty till. So we got what we wanted and we did not have to queue. I still hate the place though.

Well it’s off to Nuevo Chique again today. It was an odd day, the men outnumbered the women and the men are not used to it. I had a couple of false cabeceos. When there are this few women all you can do is sit down again as quickly as possible. One man did not seem to appreciate this; I managed to cabeceo Angie, but when I got over there another man had beaten me to it. In fairness to Angie she told him she had already agreed to dance with me. He would not sit down though and held her had aggressively. I was worried for a while he was a big bloke, and the sort who shakes your hand with a grip to tell you how strong he is. Eventually he realized he was embarrassing himself and sat down. He was sat in the next but one seat to me and made a point of moving the seat between us to make it awkward for me to move. I just thought him very childish, but he never looked my way again.

We had a thoroughly good time again, Viv never missed a tanda, of course, I  missed one or two, but it is rare for a man to miss. So I was not too unhappy and just accepted it as one of those days.

When we left I said goodbye to out big friend. He grudgingly acknowledged me, but I was not letting it carry on. I just hope it is forgotten, we are here to enjoy ourselves, not to feud.

We stopped for a coffee before our return journey. Just as well because the bus was packed I needed a break before that.

We walked to the old lady (Guarda la vieja) but it was packed out and people were queuing in the street. This was not for us so we went back to Imaginario again for omelette salad and papas Imaginario. It was getting quite late by the time we had finished.

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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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1984 Big Brother is watching you.

The way we are now watched is becoming scary as these story’s will illustrate:

Our fridge has had a dodgy door for some time. Walter had packed it with washers because there was a gap at the top. I had also done the same. It was obvious this was not fixing the problem, so I decided to have a better look. I had intended to do something with the bottom hinge mount, but when I took the door off I noticed that the bottom of the door was broken.  The hinge pin was not actually in the cup and there was an ever-increasing hole in the bottom of the door.

I am limited here with tools and materials so after much thought I found a plastic spatula that would fit the bill. I routed out the hole with my knife until the hinge cup would fit. Then I trimmed the handle so that it did not stick out beyond the door. There was little left to stick it to, but the length of it gave the joint some strength. I used an awful lot of Araldite to give the corner some strength and made sure it was stuck along its full length. Once it was together I added more Araldite to the corner and waited for it to set.

An application of Vaseline to the once redundant hinge cup and then I reassembled the fridge. It looks and works well enough now, but I still have my doubts, only time will tell.

Now the scary bit: I turned on Facebook and the first thing I saw was an advert for a small fridge. How do they know? Nobody has small fridges here they all have those big American things. Not only how do they know I may need a fridge but also what type.

On a Wednesday we call for a meal after Salon Canning. The waiter said something about rain and we were dodging big drops as we left. Not wanting to get caught out we decided to get nearer to home before we stopped. We found a place on Cordoba and Figueroa called Lautrec. They had no internet so I could not check in so I just put my phone away. The chicken was a bit dry and just a plate of chips, although they did give us a very nice pizza slice as a free starter. They had block beer but it was more expensive, so when we had finished we retired to El Imaginario for another beer.

When we got there it took a while to get their internet and check in. Once I had done this I got another message “You just visited Lautrec would you like to give feedback?” Once again they are watching me.

I can understand how they tracked me to Lautrec, maybe with GPS, but the fridge is a total mystery.

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Money Day

Nothing ever quite goes to plan here. As I get older, I worry more, so I am never happy collecting the money. So I set off for the Argenper office already slightly nervous. The office is often empty at this time on a Wednesday so I was hopeful I would be out quickly.On presenting my passport the guy put my details in as usual, then started telling me something. The Spanish here is always hard to follow, but through glass is even harder. Yet I managed to make out I was not going to get my money. He gave me a piece of paper with the address of another office, eleven blocks away.

I walked down Corrientes, all the time worrying that I was being set up. I was not reassured when I found the place. It was one of those little precincts that are all over the place here. Inside there were dozens of closed shops and an Argenper Travel office. There was a sign that told me for money I must go to the first floor. I had already noted the broken escalator, so I looked for the stairs.

I found the office and it was full of people, unlike the Abasto office which had been empty. There was no ticket dispenser but an automated machine. Nothing I did would induce it into life, then I noticed that it already had a ticket waiting to be taken. So I took it, unsure if it would be the right one for me.

After a long wait, I finally got my money with good service. Still unsure why I had been sent all this way, I was careful to conceal my money and proceeded with due haste. I was watching all the time, just in case this was a set up. In the end I got home without incident, but Viv said she expected someone older.

With biggest part of my free time used up, there was time for only one other job. The garage had promised me that there would be a welder for my chair here today so that had to be my priority. Unfortunately, the welder was not there. I don’t know why but the guy gave me a long hard luck story and never even offered to let me leave the chair and pick it up at some later date. He babbled something about Tucuman but I wandered down there and never found a garage. Another day, another series of failed jobs TIA.

We headed out for Salon Canning again, and arrived unfashionably early. We had two hours of solid dancing, and then we just sort of ran out of partners. We stayed for another hour, but dancing at a lower rate then we left for a coffee. We should not have had the medialunas though, they put us off our food. So we decided not to stop on Cordoba as planned but to head back to Bar Imaginario.

Imaginario was closed, so we went to HB. All the tables had reservado on them, so we had to sit in the middle. I think if this happens again we will walk out, because the tables were still empty when we left.  Viv had a chicken Roll that turned out to be a wrap. We were going to share a main and just have a salad but I wanted the Choripan, never having had it. It was basically heart attack on bread. Unusually for me, I left some. It was just too much, but the beer was nice, Imperial Stout.

Perhaps we should have stopped on Cordoba after all.

 

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Weekends

Weekends tend to be couple affairs in Buenos Aires, so we have always had difficulties then.  Time was we went to club Fulgor on a Sunday, but now that is gone we need to seek pastures new.

We went back to Los Consegrados Saturday. Viv had done well here last week and unusually I had struggled.  If she is happy then so am I. Anyway I had left my towel here last week so I hoped to retrieve it. That was not to be “Se perdido” I was told. The dancing went well enough and we danced until we could dance no more. Then we left, we met Silvia on the subte who was going the same way as us. On the H Line someone asked which way to the A line my legendary knowledge failed and I sent him the wrong way, by the time I realized he was gone. Viv said he is probably still wandering up and down the line. Then it was off to Bar Zorra for some “Caramelo” beer.  No nuts or crisps though, so maybe it’s good for food, but not a quick drink.

Sunday we went back to Sueño Porteño. Last time we were here we were on a party table, so we hoped this week to get more dances. Corrientes was looking like it would close for the Murga and we had a long wait for a bus. So we headed over to the subte, Line E was closed for major work it said. Luckily the bus arrived soon after. It was jam packed though all the way.

At the milonga we were given seats right at the end, almost at the DJ station. For some reason the men were coming for Viv tonight and she did not miss a tanda. I sat out a full five tandas not getting a dance except for Viv.  I could see women I knew, but they were not looking this way. After the second Vals I thought enough is enough and went walkabout. After that I did ok, but never from my exile position.

We did not stay late. The murga would mean problems with busses so we elected to use the subte.  By walking five blocks we could get to the C line avoiding the problems with the E line, but when we got there I could not find San Juan station. This was not a good part of town to be wandering lost, so I asked a family group, they directed me to Independecia station another four blocks on. I guess that they also thought we should not be wandering around here at night and maybe San Juan was not a good idea. Down in the station we waited for the train. A drunk asked if he was on the right platform and was told he was not. We could see his train coming down the tunnel, he jumped down onto the tracks, everyone was shouting, Viv screamed. He was not so inebriated that he was willing to die, at the last minute he jumped back onto the platform and ran up the stairs. I don’t know if he made the train, but at least he was still alive.

Back home, Imaginario was shut, and as Zorra gives no nuts we went to HB for some beer.

Monday and we are back in the old routine. It’s funny, but when you start to feel down, things pick up again. We both had a really good time in El Beso. We stayed until half an hour to closing, then over to The Coffee Store again to unwind. While I was there I picked up several messages from Philippe. Some from this morning, I have no idea why they did not come through earlier.  I even commented to Viv that I had not heard anything from him before we left. Whatsapp is just another piece of technology that does not like me.

 

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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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Dia de Mujer

Another day, another demonstration. I often wonder if people here could find some more productive way of spending their time, that said  I have never come across any violence or threats.

Nuevo Chique is reaching new heights all the time. Time was we would leave a milonga when Viv was fed up, too much sitting and not dancing. Now we leave when she has danced so much she can hardly stand. Four hours again of constant dancing, no wonder I am knackered these days. We left at eight not really ready for what was to come.

The street outside was packed even here three blocks from congress. Hipolito Yrigoyen was closed off, so there was no chance of a colectivo. Our way was completely blocked back to Plaza de Mayo so we could not reach the C line subte. Nothing for it but to head across toward Corrientes and the D line. Even here our way was not easy, people everywhere, with cameras, with banners, wearing clothing that protested about something or other. I must say my favourite was the ladies protesting about being allowed to go topless on the beaches. (use your imagination)

When we finally got to Corrientes, we were on Callao. The steps down to the subte were blocked with people. So we had to walk all the way. 4 kilometres is not normally that far for us, but it was hard going after 4 hours dancing. Time for beer I think.

We stopped at El Imaginario, not the best, but we like the courtyard. Outside without having to bear the traffic. The first beer was gone before the food arrived. The second bottle was savoured over our salad and empanadas. Two things I really like about this place; the outside space, and only one block to walk home. This is important after two litres of 6% beer and an exhausting day. I won’t need much rocking tonight.

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The end of the Revolution

My normal daily shop took me to the local chino then the fruit shop. I was out minutes. When I returned I commented that shopping takes no time here. Viv  commented that “Some shopping” then it occurred to me, The Chinos and the Bolivians, local supermarkets and verdurarias, all run by non Argentines. The big supermarkets and The post office run by Argentines. I make no other comment, other than what I have said in the past about the supermarket queues and Coreo, make your own mind up.

Off to Nuevo chique today, we expected little as people tend to fall off after a bad experience. In fact the numbers were down, but there were some new people and old faces arrived. I danced with some Italians I had never seen before and Viv never missed a tanda. Three and a half solid hours without missing a dance, must be some sort of record. I thought for a while she would never want to leave, but  I guess, enough is enough, and at seven-thirty she was ready for off.

El Revolucionario,  was still closed and I finally got an answer, this is permanent.  The sign over the door says 1977 to 2017 40 years, I guess that this is some sort of marker. Like the first world war veterans the Madres are all dying off and there is little point in prolonging the agony. Such a shame, we loved this place.

So it was down to El Imaginario then. The internal patio was closed, I asked but the guy just said “un Rato” so we decided to stay. Just a bit is a little like manana, you never quite know how long. We had finished our food by the time it opened and we saw quite a few customers deciding not to stay. It was too hot even for me and I struggled with my food. The Patio was nice when we got there but by then we had nearly finished our second bottle of beer and it was time to go.

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