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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 gide 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 mange 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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All the Crazies

We arrived early today at Nuevo Chique. It gave Viv time to change, meanwhile I settled in my seat. It looks like there are not a lot of regulars here tonight. Although I managed to get enough dances Viv struggled. The guy who plays games told Marcella he adored Viv, but still he did not dance with her.

The place was full of crazies today. The floor was far from full but still it was almost impossible not to crash. There was a  couple dancing in promenade and just charging around the place and there were several others who completely lacked floor craft. For me the icing on the cake was when the guy I had an altercation with last year appeared.  He seemed to recognize me and kept his distance, but other people were avoiding him as well. This meant that there was less floor for the rest of us. Add to that the space taken up by the promenaders and it was a difficult time.

I was approached by one lady who said she was trying to cabeceo me. I said I would dance with her later but she never seemed to be looking my way.  I did manage to get her just before we left, but it cost me some tandas. I have learned not to try for too long if a lady does not look my way, I should have remembered tonight.

It seems non of the good dancers were here tonight Viv struggled all night and left just before the sorteo. I stayed, but had no luck.

We intended going home for omelette tonight, but the night being what it was, we retired instead to HB for a steak sandwich and some black beer.

 

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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 om 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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Ungrateful Parrot

We have a new visitor this morning. A parrot has appeared on our balcony rail. There is food on the floor but he seems reluctant to go down there. In the end I risk walking out and breaking some nuts onto the rail. The bird seems unfazed and actually comes over. Before long it is eating out of my hand. Just when I thought it could get no more surreal it jumped onto my shoulder.

I was at a loss what to do, Viv did not want me to bring it inside and everything I did, it just changed positions. In the end I did manage to get it back onto the rail and enticed it to drink some water. It seemed quite at home there.

I had ordered some money so I needed to go out. I left Viv with the parrot. Argenper were efficient as always and I was soon back in the apartment. Apparently the parrot had seen the pigeons feeding and went down to join them. Later it just squawked and took off. there’s gratitude for you. Didn’t even say goodbye.

Nuevo Chique was quieter today. I was doing Ok but Viv was struggling. That is what she said anyway. Then I did not dance every tanda, it was just too hot.

Then we set off for HB. We had a bit of a feast, black beer, a full salad, chicken gujons and chips with cheese and bacon. ( a bit of a specialty round these parts). All came to about £11.  You cannot crib at that and I left stuffed.

 

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Not so Easy

First job of the day, The Vacuum Cleaner.  The old meter I brought here (because I now have a better one at home) is acting up and I need an extra long specialist driver. I am tempted to just try it but do not want to blow the breakers again. In the end I just took it to the repair man on Medrano. It will probably cost me a couple of quid.

On the way back I headed for Rocamora, and there was Jorge. I wished him “Feliz año” and gave him $500. for the welding.Well it is Christmas. I am starting to get very cavalier with the money here, with a peso being worth little more than a penny, it is almost like the first time we came. Sebastian was downstairs when I returned. I thanked him for resetting my electric. In his long winded way he said something about me having a key. I showed him my keys and said I did not, eventually I deduced something from his jumble of words “Es el mismo de teraza?” I asked “Si” he replied. I tried it later and it is indeed the same key. I will not have that problem again then.

We decided to go to Easy today to get a few things we need. This did not go well, we came out empty handed. We stopped at every other shop, but again we were disappointed. Finally we went to the paint shop on Medrano. The guy there put us under pressure and I asked him for small grey for metal. What I got was a half litre, well it will do but after I have painted all the chairs there will still be most of it left. “Stop Complaining” I hear you say, it was only a fiver. I just do not like waste.

Off to Nuevo Chique again today, thought we would be late, with our shopping trip, but we were there just after four. We just missed a train or we would have been early. My Sube card would not let me through, seems I had run out of credit. So as it was I had time to charge it up before the next train.

Nuevo Chique was busy today, that gave us both problems. We had many friends there but struggled to get them to dance. I never missed a tanda, but I failed to get up at the first note. I even danced Pugliese although it was a crash fest. It is impossible to protect your woman when they come at you from every direction.

We tried to stay longer but by seven fifteen we had enough and left for a coffee. Then we caught a number 90 and got off at Corrientes. We walked then to HB and had a Pechugita sandwich and complete salad to share. Viv is on a “Beer only every other day” kick. It is her resolution not mine, so she had agua con gas, I had a stout.

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Livin’ The dream

After a really good sleep we were up early. Well 9:30, what did you expect? Our coffee machine is still working and we have an unopened bag of ground coffee from last year. Coffee it is then.

It is not all fun though. The grout around the bath has failed and I have to chase it all out, clean out any mould then leave it to thoroughly dry. Meanwhile there is the architrave I am using as window ledge. I have brought some brown silicon to fix it permanently. Fortunately I brought two tubes (I have no idea why). The first tube had gone off and at first fired a solid plug out and what was left was just too thick to use. The second was more successful, I just have to clean it up now.

Then I have the white silicone for around the bath. I only brought one tube but fortunately it was OK. This went on better, so there is less to clean away and most of the dust and dirt is in the bath. I shall just wash it away when I have my shower.

Then Viv sent me out to the chino again. Different girl today not the regular, but she still remembered me. Of course while all this is going on Viv is still cleaning. Poor Walter, pays for a cleaner, but it will never do for Viv.

I am determined to get Tangoing as soon as possible so shower it is then and we are heading out to El Beso. A new milonga to us La Rosa, Sunday 15:00 to 19:30. We will see how it goes, meanwhile we have to top up our Sube cards before we travel down.

Well we topped up our cards, but that was the best we got. The milonga was terrible, Paloma and Hubert were there, we danced with them, they danced with each other and I danced with Viv, but apart from this Viv and I only got one other dance.

I have never seen Hubert and Paloma leave a milonga early before, looks like we will give this milonga a miss in future. Beer time methinks.

HB came up trumps. We ordered a salad and one of their famous sandwiches. The food was superb, but I’m afraid the service leaves something to be desired. We got only one set of cutlery and had quite a wait for the second set. Meanwhile the staff had a changeover. The second beer came first, we could have waited for that. No matter we had all night, so another early night it is then. It cost us a fraction more here tonight about£12.50 but then we did have 2L of beer.

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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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