Tag Archives: La Nacional

Crazy country

Viv sent me out for my usual shopping trip. First stop the post. Non of the doors were open today and some guy started ranting at me, it seems there was a queue. So to the back of the queue and a triage at the entrance, “tomo numero” she said, well I knew that. I thought I would have a long wait but No5 was called and I was No7 so it did not take too long. I gave her my letters “Reino Unido, simple” I said “Su Documento” she said. Now I have been posting letters at this post office for at least ten years and never have I been asked for my passport before, but she would not post my letters without one. As I did not have it with me I just took them back and mission failed. Put some people in a uniform and they think suddenly they are Il president. Crazy country.

Off to Milonga de Juan today. It is at a different venue than last year, now at La Nacional. Things did not look good from the start, some said that the rain was keeping the men away, but the few women seemed unwilling to dance as well. There were one or two of my old favourites so I did get dances and the quality of the floor made up for some of the poorer ones. Isabel turned up while Viv was dancing and she too found it hard.

After an hour or so things started to pick up. Many of Vivs old friends came and even Isabel was getting dances. It never really picked up for me though. True I did not miss tandas, but I was down to a group of about five or six women. Not that they were complaining and I suppose good dances are good dances. I must say this though, of all the milongas in Buenos Aires, this is the only one where the organiser takes time to dance with as many of the ladies that he can. Brownie points for Juan.

Just before we left we had a demo. It was very good, no acrobatics, but some real crowd pleasing moves. A nice end to our evening. So despite my misgivings at the start we had a really good time.

At the door a helpful Argentine was guiding Isabel. Her google app and myself, were wrong apparently. She messaged me later complaining that she could not get rid of him and he took her the wrong way.

We stopped of at Vitoria Bar, we could not remember which was the best of the bunch here at Congresso. Made the wrong choice, Viv said the toilets did not work and there was no water. The coffee was foul and the croissants stale. The waitress short-changed Viv by a peso “That’s her tip” Viv said. Don’t think we will be back.

Stopped off again at Costumbres for some fresh croissants, we can have them after our tea, with some decent coffee.

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Jamais Vu or Janis Vu

Well the bad weather never arrived, although today it is a little colder. Sometimes I could even walk down the street without my sunglasses on. I suppose the fact that everywhere is designed to dissipate heat makes some of the buildings feel cool, but hey, for Wales this would be a heatwave.

We have not done much of a tourist nature yet, so this being Saturday we went to Palermo for the street markets. Our first stop was Tealosophy on Gorriti we needed to stock up for our practica. Then we thought it was time for coffee. There is only one place we know where you can actually sit in the sun and last time we were here they had no coffee. Viv said they would think I was mad but I was not going through all the rigmarole we had last time we were here (it’s all in last year’s blog somewhere) so as we walked in I said “hay café?” of course they said “si”.

We could have nothing else with it though, when we asked they said “solo pizza”. So we sat in the sun reading our kindles and occupying a table for an hour with just a coffee like true Argentines.

We walked down Gorriti and turned into Honduras, half way down the block Viv saw a Feria Americana (second hand shop). Now most of them here are just piled high with stuff and are generally more expensive than those at home, but this one looked different. I think it was because of the neighborhood but the stuff in here was real quality. In fact they had a whole rail of Italian coats that were all new. I saw a couple of suits, but they were far too small and likewise the jackets that Viv tried on. She did however find two very nice skirts. All the time we were there the woman who ran it left us alone unless we asked anything and Viv could take as much as she wanted into the changing room. It was a refreshing change; we took a card for next time, in the words of Arnie “I’ll be back”.

We found our way eventually to the street market and found one or two things for prizes, but held back from buying too much yet (makes it feel like we are getting ready to go home otherwise).

We were getting hungry as they could not feed us in the last place so we called into our favorite book shop on Costa Rica, Crack Up. They did not have their famous tarta manzana today but we were happy with an avena cookie with chocolate chips.   

I learned something today Jamais vu is the exact opposite to Déjà vu and I owe Jantango an apology.

We met in La Continental for Pizza and a couple of beers. We had missed the chance to go together to La Nacional last week so we thought we would make up for it this time. Janis kept insisting we went there together last year, but both Viv and I had no recollection, even after we had arrived.

I was not in the best place to practice my cabeceo and sitting with two women, I think did not help. I danced with my two ladies and did manage one cabeceo. The trouble is the strain of all the recent activities had got the better of Viv. Shortly after midnight she had had enough. So we left Janis there and I took Viv home.

Once back I simply had to check last year’s blog. There it was in front of me, The visit to La Nacional and even the return Journey on the 151 colectivo (which I had also forgotten) on our first Saturday. The day was so much like today we had even called into Tealosophy in the afternoon.

See  https://tangogales.wordpress.com/2011/05/08/worlds-apart/?preview=true&preview_id=2569&preview_nonce=e23aae8001

So there you are Jamais Vu “a feeling of seeing a situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing you have been there before”


Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango

More staff than customers

We started the day in the usual way; a bit of shopping, contacting friends, a couple of jobs around the place. Quite boring really, but then that is just what I need at this stage in my life, a period with no stress.We did get our toaster back from the repairs though. The cost was nearly the same as it had been new, but I am under no illusions that to buy another now would be considerably more.

The weather has been hot but humid, I should have seen the signs, but in holiday mode I like to just drift along.

For a change we thought we would try La Nacional tonight. Jantango tried to put us off, but we like to make our own mistakes and then we can give honest opinions to anyone who asks. She also said it started at nine, but all the revistas said it started at seven.

I wanted to put more money on my Sube card anyway and once we were ready there seemed little point in hanging around. So we arrived just after seven-thirty. there was not a soul in sight, not even anyone to take the entradas. Somebody showed us through the door (which had a sign on that said 1900 to 0200) there was also a poster on the stairs that gave the times. The organiser was inside and he told us they were not ready yet, we should come back at eight.

So we walked half a block to a cafe and had a coffee. Now bear in mind that up until now it had been hot and humid, we were dressed for summer. I should have, I know, but I just did not see the signs. While we sat drinking coffee the lightning came, the heavens opened and suddenly we were in the middle of a tropical storm.

Viv was worried and it did not look like we were getting out of this dry. By the time we were ready to go the rain had eased off, Viv was still worried but I said ” I have a plan”. When the waiter came with our bill I said “tienes bolsitas” (do you have any bags). He looked puzzled and asked me why. I pointed at my head and with a knowing nod he fetched us two carrier bags. (They don’t have to charge for them here as they would in Wales).  As it happened, the rain had ceased completely by the time we got outside so we never needed our rain hats, still we have them for next time.

Back at La Nacional things did not look much better. The organiser was there, a lady taking entradas, a couple and a single lady. There were six in the kitchen though. That make it eight staff and five customers, it did not look good.

The floor was amazing, it looked like polished decking (ships decking, the proper stuff, not that rubbish that they fit in all the gardening makeover programs). The music was good as well, it looked to me like the organiser had set up a play list on his computer and left it to run. There were some tandas that I just did not recognise, they sounded almost, but not quite canjegue. We were enjoying ourselves, we had good music an empty floor and a staff ratio of two to one, what more could you ask.

The rain was doing its best to interrupt though, we hear it hammering on the roof between the tracks, but we danced on. As the night progressed more and more women seemed to arrive, I wondered if they would ever get a dance. The organiser was doing his best, but he was just one man. We were not ready to split yet, this being only our second night, and besides, Viv had brought a man with her she deserved the dances. (Husband self-preservation thing going on here as well.)

Nothing really happened until about ten thirty when first a few men started arriving then the demo arrived mob handed. They took over the far end of the room. More and more arrived until now it looked like there was more in the demo team than customers. When they took to the floor all they wanted was to practice their show moves. The floor was big enough that they did not bother me, but now they had a DJ and somehow the music had become lacklustre. I do not know if this was just my feelings, the lack of volume or the hubbub from the room, but we had had enough. We had been here three and a half hours, time to catch our trusty 168 home. We would just have to miss the demo.

The organiser seemed concerned when we left, but I shook his hand and said ,”hasta proxima” still I think when we are ready to go separados, this would not be the right crowd for us. A good place to come early and practice though.


Revistas     magazines, there are many free ones that they give out at tango venues.

Entradas  entrance fees              

Canjengue   old style tango, sort of plinky plonky, but good to dance

Sube card     A card that you put money on to pay for transport in the city, Subte and collectivos


Filed under Argentina, Tango