I’ve finally done it, caught one of the local buses across town. I did a lot of research first but even so when I saw my first 168 it was going the wrong way. I am getting savvy enough to realise now that often there is more than one route operated by the same bus number, so all we had to do was make sure the bus we caught was heading down Corrientes. This meant we had to walk an extra couple of blocks, but this was a first foray, a bit of a mini adventure.
We were off to Balvanera to the home of Jantango, and we had plenty of time. I expected the bus to go straight down Jujuy but it turned off, so I counted the blocks and when I thought we were as near as possible we alighted. As it turned out we were about eight blocks away, not a bad score for the first time.
At casa del Jan we were welcomed in and treated to a long talk about tango, we got some useful info on what to buy (tango music) and some insight into milongueros some of whom are still around, but many sadly who have passed on.
Janis treated us to a delicious lentil stew, Viv’s favourite, which she had unfortunately laced with garlic. I think it was an attempt to keep me to herself that night. Fortunately the garlic did not seem to smell, whether it is some new type or the way she cooked it I do not know, but nobody fell over from my breath later.
Janis does not drink coffee, but made a brave attempt at making us a cup. Not wishing to be a bad guest I will say no more, other than when I mixed Viv’s cup and mine we got an excellent cup each. We also enjoyed some tasty Argentine treats, and now Janis is offering to take Viv on shopping trip, so much for my budget this trip.
We walked to Centro Region Leonesa, often mistakenly called Nino Buen,tonight’s milonga is actually Los Consegrados. On the way Janis described the various bus route we could use, which would save us some taxi fare. It would not be possible to walk here from our place.
At the top of the large stone stairway that leads to the dance hall, people sat smoking and talking. This is the only place that they can smoke here. Janis’s arrival was greeted warmly and she introduced us to various old milongueros. I am afraid my recall is poor and I will probably forget all of them, though I suspect,knowing the warmth of these people, they will all remember me.
We were also introduced to the guy who runs BA Tango a monthly glossy, we were honoured to be photographed for the magazine, fame at last.
Janis left us inside so that she could sit at the back, she would get her dances by doing the cabeceo, we joined the table of Tangocherie. A couple of Americans sat at the next table to Janis and the lady immediately stared changing. To see her views on this read http://jantango.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/once-upon-a-time/ anyway she requested that this lady used the ladies room, and she was met with a tirade of abuse, calling her old and ugly. It is bad enough when people ignore the etiquette worse still when they leave their manners at home.
We joined Tangocherie where we were introduced to those present, including our new freind Sally. Unfortunately the table consisted almost exclusively of women. I was not about to leave Viv sitting on her own all night while I entertained all these women (tempting though it was) so I arranged to do every other tanda with Viv. The night passed all too quickly and I am afraid I did not get round many, I missed Cherie, but I am glad to say Viv did get some other dances.
We won the raffle, a bottle of cider. Viv likes a bit of cider now and then, but as the place closed we were left with half a bottle of beer and half a bottle of cider. Sign of a good night I think, when you did not have time to drink.
We went back to sit with Janis and pour some cider down her neck while she told us more stories. we thought the tango was all over as they were clearing up but then the DJ decided on a bit of karaoki he sang along to DiSarli, we can now say we have heard Carlitos Laffito singing Carlos DiSarli, and I have to say he was very good.
Afterwards Janis escorted us to the bus, and left us with instructions when to get off. Now I will have to collect all the change I can, so that we can continue using the collectivos.