Tag Archives: La Viruta

Otra noche Viruta

Not a lot to do this morning just a bit of shopping. I do have to plan carefully though, you can’t take a bag full of stuff into the supermarket. Then I do not want a load of heavy veg to carry up and down. So I went to the dietetica then back to the confiteria and finally back to the verduria. Job done and I managed to get rid of all he change as well.

Nuevo Chique was busy for a Thursday, this was not good for Viv. She started well but by seven she was struggling. I, on the other hand, was struggling for a different reason. I wanted to dance with all those ladies that I would not see again, but there were just too many of them. When I had one refusal because the lady does not valz, I never got back to her, she now probably believes I was annoyed. There is nothing I can do, I am only one man.

We intended to go home for food, but time was getting short. We would still have to go home but we stopped off at Congreso Plaza for a promotion; ham and cheese toasty and coffee. At $180 it fills the gap and does not tell on the wallet.

After another coffee we head out to La Viruta. Miguel DeGenova is on tonight with Carlos Lididinsky. Not the full otras Aires but we expcted some of the old favourites. We were not disappointed with the music, the numbers though were badly down. This did mean when we wanted to dance we were not trying to avoid flying heals all the time and we had space to move. Later a French lady arrived who I have danced with in Canning and Nuevo Chique. I had a dance with her, but her partner seemed disinclined to dance. I could see her watching us dance and I think she was surprised as here I could let fly. She did not stay long. She had missed the show anyway.

Miguel remembered us again and we took another selfie with him. I know I do this every year, but how many international artists would remember one of their fans by name? Sorry for interrupting your Pizza Miguel.

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Romantica Milonguera in Viruta

Last night we slept the sleep of the innocent. We were completely Knackered and flopped into bed unable to keep our eyes open.

We are waiting in for the fridge. I get a phone call, the guy is in Cordoba and wants to know where we are. I try to tell him Guardia Vieja 3899. He has the radio on and leaves to talk to his mate. He is rabbiting on about 3899. I just hope he has not now decided to go to Salguero 3899. I worry in vain again, he arrived with a trolley and our new fridge. He left me his card, apparently he does air conditioning as well.

We got him to take the old fridge as well. Now we have to wait to turn it on and we have the problem of what to do with the food meanwhile.

Meanwhile the guy who does the welding was not there. The whole place was locked up, I will have to wait until next week, to get my chair back.

It was off to El Beso again after this. I knew what was going to happen, Viv had said she did not want too many dances she needed a rest. Well, of course she never missed a dance, usually getting up before me.  I struggled a little even missing the odd tanda, so when Viv had enough I wanted to carry on, it was not going to happen though. So we left for The Coffee Store. Whilst there I got a message from the welder man, my chair was ready, but we still don’t know when we will pick it up.

We met Marcelo in the street, he was just going in to El Beso and would be away for Christmas, so we wished him Feliz Navidad and adios.

Thundery showers were forecast for today, so we took umbrellas. It rained a little on the way and it was cold enough that we thought we should have taken jackets, but nothing ever came of the rain.

It feels really cold later, the forecast says 18 deg but the wind makes it feel chilly even with my jacket on.

Friday night is not normally good in La Viruta, but tonight Orquesta Milonguera are here and it is entrada libre.  It took some convincing for us to get a table, I had tried to make a reserva but I got no reply. I waved my phone with the Whatsapp message on it and she finally gave us a table.

We sat there for half an hour while the children played. There was precious little Tango but we did manage a tanda of sorts. Elisa came in and joined us at our table, then went off to dance with a friend. Funny, Viv had just said that we never see anyone we know here. Then there was a demo Viv enjoyed it, I thought it was a bit too Strictly. It was very skillful just not to my taste. (I know, miserable ol’ git).

Then we had milonga, a chance for me to strut my stuff, or a chance to practice avoiding flying legs.

Then, the main event. The line up seems to have changed yet again Roberto Minondi is still there, his voice is superb, but they have yet another female singer and the pianist is different. There also seems to be a big change in the bandonistas. As far as I can see, only one original in the three. There is a male now, he is somewhat of a comic character and is pulling faces and reacting with the other band members. He reminds me of Harry Enfield.

Once the set is over we leave, Elisa has disappeared again. I will see her maybe at beso or Canning in the coming weeks.

We took a protracted walk home. I wanted to cut through from Cordoba to Estados de Isreal but I went too soon.  Estado de Isreal curves off at right angles so I sort of missed it completely. Still the back streets of Villa Crespo were slightly less windy, but I got no credit for leading Viv on one of my famous not short cuts. It did not take any longer to get home and we passed our welder mans workshop.


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Ian and Linda

Up early this morning and off to town. We are meeting Ian and Linda who are here joining a cruise.  I met Ian on Wrexham walkabout and had mentioned I would be in Buenos Aires from January, as he was joining his ship here I said we should meet up. He failed to Join us at La Viruta, but I was not entirely surprised. His first day and not the easiest place to get to. We arranged to meet in the same place where we met Alex last year as I knew that was where the cruise ship busses dropped off.

Viv had never met Ian and neither of us had met Linda, combine that with my bad facial recognition and memory and there was some doubt we would ever meet.  There was a bit of mutual stalking before we tried “Ian?” “Bob?” well at least we managed to meet. Most people on one day here would not get to do the subte, but we took them along the “C” line to San Telmo where Ian wanted to do the Feria. I think he soon got bored with it though, if you are not in the market to buy antiques or rubbish, there is not a lot of point to it.

We took them then to El Federal, they enjoyed the olde world atmosphere of the place. After that we walked some more towards Plaza de Mayo, but when he said he had been I though there was not much point in going again. So we headed back to the subte. We debated Caminito, but decided that the subte was too far away and I had no colectivo information. The area around Boca is not a place to be wandering lost, so we decided on Gardel.

Here I failed, I’m afraid as a tour guide it was the “C” line we wanted and this was the “A”, I had to ask a policeman, then when we did get on the “C” line again I had to be rescued as I went the wrong way. A very nice policeman let us through the emergency exits onto the right side of the line. At least Ian was impressed that I could ask and understand the answers, and it gave him some entertainment. Now once on home turf, I switched easily to the “B” line and we were at Gardel in no time.

We stopped to admire all the tango statues and take some photos, then Linda wanted to stop for a drink. Too rich here, so we walked a little way down Jean Juares and found a bar with a group of locals outside. Well it seems just a beer was in order, so we went for Quilmes Cristal. A litre only $80, bargain, I do keep finding these cheap places.

Linda was getting nervous about the time so we took them back, showing them Harrods on the way. They had passed it and never noticed. I wanted to show them Galerias Pacificas, but Linda was worrying, I suppose she does not know the city like I do, but there was no sense in getting her upset. We arrived back at the pick up point with 20 minutes to spare. We said our goodbyes and set off again along the subte for home.

We have had a series of late nights and last night did not sleep well. Beer in the afternoon did not help, so by the time we had eaten, we were just too tired for the walk to Fulgor. We did not think we would dance much anyway, so a night off it is then. G&T anyone?


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Otra noche de Viruta

Well that went rather well. There were two counters open at the Coreo, and neither had the jobsworth haradon. This girl was a picture of efficiency, and we were out again in minutes and, again, never needed the passports.

Viv was directing me today after yesterdays failures so we then went to Bruno’s shop.  You see, it is not just me, they close one until four, so Viv’s plan immediately fell apart.  Across the road is a farmacia, Viv does not like it as you have to ask for everything, but today needs must. Try asking for Baby oil, how do you mix aciete with shampoo, but we got there in the end. Atrix was actually $15 cheaper and then we tried Nivea face cream, Viv thought she should check the price $125, that is half what it was across the road. They have a Pagofacil here as well, I may well become a regular customer.

Then to Goji for those lentejas, well it seems I should have bought the lentejon, it never said green or verde though. We got nearly everything we came out for just a quick trip to the chino and we were back home in no time. Forgot the milk, well it was not on the list. At least you cannot say it runs perfectly when Viv is in charge.

We did not go to Nuevo Chique until seven today, deciding, for a change to do the late shift. Despite the air conditioning it felt very hot in there. I think the humidity was up because of all the people. We don’t usually bother with the sorteo, but as we were here; and I won a pair of earrings. They were not my style, so I gave them to Viv. This milonga is supposed to carry on until eleven, but by ten I was running out of women to dance with. Soon there was literally not a spare woman left. Good in a way for Viv, as the eight or ten men left would then dance with her, giving her some new partners.

There was an American couple there, first day here, so I gave her a tango lesson on the almost empty floor. At quarter past ten Viv was the only woman left, a guy she had never danced with before got her up, then Dany said “what shall I play””La Cumparsita” he said, and then it was all over.

So then we joined up with Semiha and caught the 151. Going a bit further tonight, we got off at Cordoba and Armenia. We arrived at La Viruta earlier than we had intended, but as we were all hungry, it gave us time to partake of an empanada before the show. You can tell that this is a young persons place; we got dire warnings from the waiter about the empanadas being hot and not pouring too much beer in the glasses. As we have been around the block a few times, I think we can manage or food now.  Maybe the dear little snowflakes complain about burning their precious mouths.

Otras Aires actually did come on before midnight. Quite a surprise as usually midnight means about two in the morning here. Not so much danceable stuff from them tonight, but the youngsters seemed to just dance  anyway. I did get up, Otra noche de Viruta, Sin Rumbo, and of course, Milonga Sentimental. I could not sit these out. On the whole though, we were content to just sit and watch and listen.

As is often the case, our Otras Aires show was the highlight of our stay.

One thing surprised me though; numbers here were definitely down and it was much easier to dance. Still had the crazy’s leaping about the floor and taking lots of backsteps. I did have one or two crashes, but for La Viruta it was, probably my best dances. Also had a last dance with Isabel, she is off to Central America on Saturday, we did not see as much of her here as we had expected.

We walked Semiha back up Armenia and told her about the Commemorations two years ago for the Armenian Genocide. It then occurred to me, we should not be advertising around here that she is Turkish. We put her on a 140 colectivo and said goodnight. I still think she should have taken a 151 though, but no one ever takes my advice .


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Otra noche La Viruta

Philippe arrived this morning at nine thirty, I had to set an alarm in order not to miss him. Don’t do early in Buenos Aires.

Anyway he had come to help me pay my expensas. Sebastian would not accept them and I had got fed up of walking the ten blocks to the administrator, just to get no reply. The bank was open and there was no queue. Never believe you can beat the system, the machines were switched off until ten.

In the end it was not so difficult, but I could not have managed it without help. We paid a couple more bills in the pagofacil then retired for coffee in the flat.

Philippe wanted some fruit so we showed him our new favorite fruit shop. Then left him to do some shopping of our own.

On Bulnes opposite Plaza Almagro we passed a feria Americano and outside  was a valet, not the machine made rubbish you usually see, but a nicely made wooden thing. We negotiated a price and said we would be back.

We had found a good dietetica on Mario Bravo y Juan Peron so we went there to stock up on oats and things. Then it was back to pick up the valet. It was a bit  grubby but soon cleaned up like a good un. It is now covered in clothes.

In the local supermarket they already think we are locos extranjeros, but today we re-enforced it further. Doing my shopping with a valet on my head.

Nuevo Chique was quiet today, but the dancing was good. I got in trouble again for not  dancing with a certain lady. I do my best to dance every tanda with a different woman, but, you know, sometimes it’s hard being a man in the milonga.

Off to La Viruta tonight to see Otras Aires. There is the usual chaos as we enter and Miguel is standing there so I try to take his picture “Bob ?” he asks, I was absolutely gobsmacked. Then someone took our picture together with Viv. Where else in the world can you get this close to international super stars? and who else but an Argentine would remember your name?

Otras Aires

We did not do a lot of dancing, we had already done our share earlier and the floorcraft is poor. Still we had some fun and loved the set from Otras Aires. No new album tonight unusually. Still you can’t complain for a fiver each.









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La Viruta

We were up quite late today. It was going to be a long night and we had intended to have a siesta, but there was now not much point. I had a few small shopping forays to do, but not a lot else.

Viv suggested I take her shoes to the feria Americana, as it would give me a bit of a walk. So I headed off, bag in hand, down Lavalle. At the feria, the woman looked at Vivs shoes and said “Son lindos pero tengo un monton. No quiero”. So that was it, she had too many women’s shoes already and wanted no more.

So I walked back and bought us some provisions on the way. As luck would have it, the ropa lady called, so I gave her the shoes, which she was glad of.

We left a bit later for Fulgor this week, knowing it would be empty when we arrived. Sure enough, at almost nine, Norma was outside smoking and inside was deserted. It gradually filled, with each new arrival we had to stop our dancing and welcome them with a kiss. Mostly they come here just to socialize and have some pizza, so they never stay too long and the smell of pizza was getting to me, it got to Viv as well, because later we got the munchies. The numbers never passed thirteen again and we never had a sorteo, but that was ok because we all got a free beer again. I could get used to free beer.

We hung on as long as we could, but by quarter past eleven even Elsa and Bob were heading off, so we had to make a move.

It is not much of a walk from here to Armenia and La Viruta was not due to open until 11:30, so we expected that to be quiet too. Otros Aires were performing live with Joe Powers as well. Knowing how things work here we expected nothing to happen until at least two in the morning.

Downstairs in Viruta it was chaos, the dance class from upstairs were coming down same time as us and there were hundreds already inside. Lots of arm wrestling and flying heals, the young trying to impress everyone but their partners. We could see no organisers and people were putting their own chairs out. Viv walked through and. towards the bar, this was not going to work. I dragged her back to the entrance. I saw one guy who was setting up tables “Tienes dos sillas?” I asked, “tiene reserva?”  he asked in reply “Si” I lied. So he pointed us to a table next to the dance floor and close to the stage, with two seats.

Otros Aires came on at midnight, the flyer said 11:30, this is punctuality Argentine style, far earlier than we expected. We danced the first two milongas, but it was manic. Otros aires is always thus but the chaotic floor made my life very difficult, so we decided to sit and listen for a while, anyway it was nice to relax with a black beer. We got up once or twice during the set, but generally we were happy just to listen and enjoy.

We were impressed with Joe Powers, he obviously does not always play with Otros Aires and was playing directly from sheet music. Quite a feet, live on stage.

There is no waiter service here so you have to go up to the bar. We had got the munchies by now but they only had pizza or full menus, all we really wanted was an empanada. By one o’clock the set was over and I got a chance to say hello to Miguel and buy a CD. He remembered Prestiegne, but we did not have much time to talk, people were lined up behind us, so I said chau and we set off into the night.

The city that never sleeps, always seems comatose when we are hungry. The burger bar opposite Viruta was shuttered up, so we walked to the eighties bar on Julien Alverez. “La cocina es cerado” the guy said, so we just used the toilets and left. This was a mistake as someone had left gum on the floor and now Viv was sticking to the pavement everywhere.

We tried the garage on Cordoba, they had a wide range of Cheese and Onion sandwiches, but no empanadas. Nothing was open anywhere. Then we saw the Garage that runs through from Cordoba to Estado de Isreal, the sign said “Abiert 24horas” so we tried it. Success, so we sat at two in the morning eating empanadas with all the taxi drivers, watching English TV with Spanish subtitles.


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Los Reys del Tango

Viv wanted to pamper herself today. Being a mere man this goes beyond my comprehension, so I left her to it and went off to buy CDs.

I caught the subte down to Callao and then walked through to Lavalle. From here it is only two blocks to Euro records. I had spent the morning and most of yesterday evening going through their catalogue the size of the task I have set myself is immense. I can only make a start this trip.

I arrived again at that door rang the buzzer and was allowed in. The old guy who had welcomed me yesterday was not here. There were two men involved in lively discussion in the inner office and a girl sitting at a desk. She put her head through the hatch and told me to take a seat.

I sat perusing the CD’s that were on the shelves out here for a while, and then she asked me in. In my faulting Spanish I said I had a list which she took from me. I apologized that I did not have all the catalogue numbers, but it did not seem to matter, she knew where every one was.

Soon she had a pile and seemed to think that was it. I picked up my notepad and said “hay otra”. On the internet site all the prices were in Dollars so I had brought the US currency that I had brought back and to with me for years, never having a good use for it. At this point she explained that she did not have change so could not take dollars. It got confusing now, and then she said “I speak good English”. She explained again that she did not have change, so could not take dollars. Even in English I did not quite understand but agreed to pay in pesos.

It was, as well I did not show her page three of my list, she took almost all the pesos I had with me. I was hoping to take some pesos home with me this time, but I suppose American Dollars are a less risky currency to hold on to. I can always buy more pesos next year.

People always ask why we keep trying new milongas, well you never know what you are going to find; Somebody suggested to Viv that we try Armenia 1353, well my first reaction was “No way, I am not going to La Viruta again” Viv said “It is not La Viruta” so I did some checking. La Viruta is at Armenia 1366, the other side of the road, this milonga is La Milonguita. So I thought “let’s give it a try.

Now opposite Association Armenia (Home of La Viruta) is a church, still Armenia, but a church none the less. We found a gate and walked in, the security guy sent us to the little gate where there was a pay booth. We started off badly as we were now standing the wrong side of the queue. I was then shocked somewhat by the entrada at thirty five pesos. Still we were here; best make the most of it.

We were going to be in what after all was a church hall and we often use them at home. This one was somewhat different than the ones we have at home though. The foyer area was as big as most UK church halls and we passed through to a magnificent room with a proper curtained stage and a balcony all the way around.

The room itself had a parquet floor that was in general good condition although there was some damage from tables, in places. The walls were cream coloured with gold details all around. The effect was very fifties ballroom and unlike most venues here well maintained.

Again when we saw the drinks prices we were shocked; a good fifty percent dearer than other clubs, this was going to be an expensive night.

They have a novel way of getting around the, dimmed light, bright light debate in here; the lights are up when the Cortina is played but they gradually dim them as the tanda progresses.

Viv still suffering was finding it hard to keep dancing and she had just promised me the next tanda when they had “the bit in the middle”. I am sure there is some name for this and it varies from club to club, here it was all rock and roll.

I got another tanda in before the organizer took the floor again and announced the live band. I knew we were having a band but did not know who.

She announced “aplausos por Los Reys Del Tango“. This was incredible, we never expected this. Well we sat out the first tanda and just watched them perform. The skill and dexterity of these (mostly quite old) guys is incredible. After the first tanda Viv said “go and play”. So I saw a lady I had danced with in El Arranque and we were off.

The music was lively and it took all my floor craft to stay with the music and avoid crashing, but I think I did ok. They did four tandas and I managed to get dances for the remaining two. Those four tandas, without doubt were worth the expense of the evening. I only regret not having my camcorder with me.

It would have been great to have some record of the night.

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