Tag Archives: Jumbo

An expensive day

There was some things we needed that we could only get from Jumbo, so I was dragged kicking and screaming by Viv off to the supermarket. We soon found the vacuum cleaner bags with the help of an assistant. They rearrange supermarkets here just like at home, to confuse the shoppers. Then we found the multi packs of soap, Viv had sent me out last night, but confused by choice, I came back with beer. We soon had everything we came in for, checked the milk, but it was cheaper in the chino and less distance to carry.

Jumbo was all but empty, but still we waited in the checkout queue, there is no such thing as Argentine service.

Viv decided she wanted to walk down Corrientes and as she is now getting a feel for the place I asked her which way. She knew, but for some reason always thinks we are on Humahuaca, so she was a block out. Still she is getting better. We had been busy talking earlier and a guy had asked me for Gascon, I had forgotten where I was so for a moment I was unsure, so I have no room to criticize.

We found a new shop and just walked in for a look around. Nice stuff but not a lot in here, then Viv saw a pack of six glasses for $100, we have been paying about $30 each for replacements, too good to pass up. Then in another shop we found some tea light dishes. Viv was obviously in the mood for spending.

I hatched a plan, we turned down Medrano and called into “Decorar” our favourite furniture shop. I had seen a chair I wanted, and as Viv was in the mood for spending, well it was too good an opportunity to miss. There is a rule for fives in Spanish sin, quin, sin, quin, basically Five, Fifteen, Fifty, Five hundred, cinco, quince, cincuenta, quinientos. For some reason even after all these years I get myself in a mess with fives. I wanted to leave a deposit of $500 but had no end of trouble getting her to understand and this time it was not just the accent. By the time we had finished though we were having quite a good conversation. Let Viv with her “No hablo espanol” not fool you, she held her own admirably.

Having spent a week’s money in less than two hours, it was time for coffee.

Later and we are off to Nuevo Chique, again not expecting much as the Carnival fever is still with us. As we expected, the numbers were up and standards down. So much so that Viv demolished a table, obviously not her fault but the man driving. He did go back to sort it out though.

What we did not expect was that people were here to dance. Three and a half hours and neither of us missed a tanda, it was just non-stop.

Exhausted, we walked over to Cervantes for some food. I remember last time having a right royal feast here, somehow this time it was not quite the same. That said, we left fully satiated, but they do not have stout, and, well, lager is just not the same.

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Filed under Argentina, Tango

Rib eye and ice cream.

She dragged me out to Jumbo (Pronounced chumbo here) this morning. Only because there are some things we have not been able to get in the local shops. Like all supermarkets they have re arranged everything, so now we cannot find the one thing we came in for. While here we may as well look for our regular shop, but this is Argentina and everything is upside down, far from being cheaper in the supermarket most things are 50% more expensive. We came back with just milk and the coffee filters. When I can find coffee filters local, it will save us a trek.

Stopping off at the chino on the way back, we realize how much of an advantage having a car is at home. To make matters worse they don’t like you bringing your bags into their shops. I do like walking in the sun though, it may be unbearably hot, but something about the quality of the light lifts my spirits in a way that is hard to explain.

Viv wanted to stop off for a hat on the way back. The ticket price was $120ar not a bad price, but the girl charged her only $60ar apparently there is a sale on, nice to know that not everyone is out to rip you off.

Saturday is El Arranque so we head off again. Everyone tells us that there is no Air conditioning here, this is true but it still feels cooler than outside, the floor despite being tiled is one of the best and the crowd makes the place. This is still one of my favorites and our Waiter  Horatio always has our place for us and drinks on the table. You just cannot beat this service.

Erwin the DJ is also welcoming and has been known to film us now and again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7BRp5_D2ag

Viv is clearly at the front, but you can make me out in the second row behind her dancing with a lady in a red top.

Maria arrived in a state, seems she had left her money at home and Graciela was not there yet. I did not mind paying her entrada, she will pay me back when she is ready.

I danced with Hilda again, not seen her for a while. Mad hair  and only about five foot again she is of a certain age but despite being well endowed she never wears a bra. Not a sign of droop surprising at her age.

We went to the old lady again for food and some beer. Viv had the cerdo terriaki I had the rib eye steak. Come to Argentina and you really appreciate the difference in cooking, they may not do puddings, but boy can they cook meat.

As I said they don’t do puddings but thankfully there is an Ice cream place on the corner, Ice cream to finish it is then.

For those not following The old lady is called Guarda la Vieja (Look after the old lady) We live in Guardia Vieja (The old Guard) The Spaniards like word play as well.

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Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango

The Argentine way

It’s a beautiful day, and there is no sign of Viv getting up, so I have some breakfast leave her my mobile and go for a walk.

This barrio is a maze of streets and even though we have walked for miles I doubt we have seen half of it. My first stop however is Jumbo where we have been often. There is a sign outside that says pagofacil and I want to pay the electric bill. At the kiosco there is a boy behind the counter with a guitar. He is staring at the strings, perhaps in some way he thinks if he looks at them long enough they will show him how to play, but I must interrupt his study,”Puedo pagar es aca” I said, he looked at me like I was some sort of lunatic “la maquina no funcionada” he said, then went back to staring at the guitar, which also seemed to have some problem functioning. Though I love this place I still have trouble dealing with the Argentine way, “no pasa nada”, things do matter especially when you are here only a short time.

After returning Viv was now up and about we decided to go for another walk.

Another of Buenos Aires beautiful plaza is Plaza Miserere right by El Once railway station and bus station. We watched the antics of a big moma as she touted for business,in broad daylight, the children pseudo splashing in the empty fountains,and the buskers hopefully watching every stranger expecting some change, it was all happening here.

The sun starts to fall early here, so around four we headed back via Sarimiento, Viv wanted some flowers, and I know they can be bought here. Janis complained she could not get fresh rosemary here, so when I saw a plant by the station I thought I must buy it, another case of it finding me. I like this attitude of Sally’s Carlos.

So as we walked home we bought fresh salad items, then a bunch of flowers, phoned Janis and bought a prepared meal from our local panaderia, total cost, less than £6, inflation may have hit hard here but if you stick with local produce, and the colectivos, you can still live very cheap.

Talking of colectivos, we used one again to go to Janis’s, we were going from her place to Lo de Celia. I have not been there since 2004, I don’t know why, it just never seemed to be in our circle.

Next door to Janis’s place is a new tango venue, we know little of it, so when the patron came out Janis probed him for some time. Most of what they said passed me by, as my spanish is still not quick enough, but we did work out that they have dancing there on a Thursday and early classes.

In Lo de Celia the old problems with change cropped up, Janis said when we arrive early we should have change, this I knew, but I had spent almost the whole day trying to get people to give me change. The situation here does not get any better.

The floor in Lo de Celia is ceramic, but I like the way there is a line about half a metre in from the edge, it makes lane discipline a little easier. In general the lane discipline is very good, although there was one clown who was all over the floor (he thought he was the best there). So even though it got quite crowded in general it was not difficult to dance.

As usual, when out with Janis we danced a lot less than usual, we discussed the music, who were the good dancers and generally enjoyed each others company. We were suposed to sit separately so Viv could dance with different men, but at he last moment chickened out. Viv is happy to dance with me, so long as she thinks I am the best not much else matters.

We met our tango singer again (Luis De Rosa) and had a short conversation with him. I am afraid my only contribution was “no entiendo nada” but thinking about it afterwards I think he said something like, I wander all over this land and I keep bumping into you. It was either that or, you dance like idiots, easy to mix up.

We met more people at the door when we left, every one is keen to meet Los Galeses, before Janis put us on the bus home. This time it passed right by our building, even though it was the same number as last time, it passes five block closer. Is it any wonder I have problems working them out?

One thing before I finish; Janis like others here complains my lead is not strong enough. This is the result of the English way “you must invite the woman”, forgive me if my quote is not perfect but she says; on the floor I like to be in a strong embrace, and led so that I do not have to think about it at all.  I add this for those at home who think my lead is too strong and I hold too close.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Feria de Mataderos

This has been a particularly bad tango week for me, I am working extra shifts which are accumulating for my next Argentina trip. No Tango at all this week, and it is unlikely that I will even make Dans salsa class, so as promised I will tell the story of another of my Buenos Aires Photos.

The search for a property was not going well, every place we looked at was either too far off completion or there was something we did not like. After yet another fruitless viewing we stopped in a cafe on Corrientes for coffee.

We talked about all the places that we had visited, and Pericles asked if we had been to The Feria de Mataderos yet. “Never heard of it ” we said. Pericles said it was on every Sunday and we should go. He called the waiter over and asked how to get there. “it is simple” he said “just catch the no 92 collectivo (bus) on Guardia Vieja it will take you right to it”

So Sunday morning fresh from Luba’s and filled with croissants and toast, we walked the ten or eleven blocks to Guardia Vieja. Still not fully aware of how things work, we believed catching a bus would be easy. As we arrived on the street we looked for a bus stop, there was simply no sign.

As we walked up the street a number 92 passed us by, with obviously no intention of stopping. We walked fully the length of the street without seeing a single stop, and at the far end found a Jumbo (one of Argentina’s largest hypermarkets ) Viv was excited at this, as we had by now decided on our apartment which was about eight blocks away.

Viv insisted we go in and look around. Inside they had everything we might need, from fridges and micro waves to cutlery, from bedding to food. Viv at least was happy, I was not. I was getting fed up of walking up and down the street being passed by buses that had absolutely no intention of stopping for two extranjeros.

We walked back down Guardia Vieja, passed the point where we had started, when close to our apartment we saw one of the  buses  stop and someone alight. It was too late for us to catch it, but at least we could see where it had stopped. At the “bus stop” there was no sign, but a tree had once stood at this spot. All we can assume is that the stop sign had been on the tree, and there is no need to replace it, as everyone knows it was there.

So we waited at the tree stump, and sure enough in time the next 92 arrived and stopped for us, hurrah we were on a bus. No idea what to do now I asked the driver “?quanto es a Mataderos?” he threw his head back and almost spat at us “$1.60 en el moneda” we looked behind him and saw the coin machine, I stuck $1.60 in and said “uno o los dos” he just threw his head back again and said “listo” so I guess it was for the two of us.

Something else we gleaned from this exchange was, we would get no help with our destination. The bus sped away along narrow streets, we turned one way then the other, and very soon had no idea where we were. Often we would pass large gatherings of people, and debated whether this could be it, but deciding that as there were no horses, it probably was not.

Eventually we passed a large open space with market type tents and hundreds of people milling about, I asked a girl on the bus if this was the Feria de Mataderos and she said “si”.

Getting off any bus quickly is never easy, crowded Argentine collectivos are no exception, and we missed the stop. Bus stops and buses are the same the world over, when you want one, they are never around, then three come at once. I think we had to walk back from somewhere near the Andies, but eventually we arrived.

The entrance to the ferria was lined with stalls, they sold all the usual tat, but also fruit and vegetables, bread, kitchen utensils, and best of all steak butties. Viv was not enamored with the idea of eating on the street, so we dodged into a small restaurant. As usual here, when you go for a light snack you end up eating enough to make a pig sick.

When we had finished we waddled off with our bellies dragging, to see some of the sights. At the centre of everything was a stage and as we passed a band were just finishing a tango number. We were suprised to see them pack up afterwards, not much of a show  I thought. Five minutes later a different band were on playing folk music, this went on all afternoon, there was a different band every fifteen minutes.

Further down the road the gauchos were riding their horses, going like lunatics and taking something off a scaffold as they passed. Somebody stood by and judged them as they did this and somehow one of them was judged the winner.

At the end of a long enjoyable day we had to catch the bus back. We were now ready for the moneda, and got on the bus like we did it every day.  It was now approaching rush hour and as we made our way back into town the bus got more and more crowded. Everything was ok until a drunken youth got on, he fell about causing chaos, he was poked at every turn by irate old ladies with sticks. Then he threw up over the back of one old dear, this proved too much for her and she attacked him with her stick, kept beating him until she pushed him off at the next stop, without waiting for the bus to come to a standstill.

As we came into town I realised that we were on a different route to when we left, now I had no idea where I was, I recognised nothing. Then we passed Gascon (I saw the street sign) and again we missed the stop. It is probably fortunate that we have come to enjoy long walks in Buenos Aires as yet again it seemed to take an age to get to the next stop.

Finally; Check out the video of the little guy with the big horse.


Filed under Argentina, Uncategorized