Tag Archives: lo de Celia

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 on 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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Lo de Celia

Woke up to no water this morning, every day is a new adventure. I still had some coffee in the pot so it was not a complete disaster. It came on again about 9:15 just in time for us to go out. By 9:30 it was off again.

Off out then for some money, I had a feeling about this transfer. We arrived at the office and immediately I had problems getting a number. The machine was not for giving out, eventually we got R8. The G numbers were up to 6 there were no Rs yet. It was about five past when R1 appeared. It was another half hour before it got to me.

I got to the desk and gave the girl the number. She checked it, looked at the amount, checked it again and asked me a question that I did not understand, she tried “solo uno?” I said “si”. She was not happy, this is no more in real terms than I have always drawn but it seems a lot now. The guy from the next booth stuck his head around the corner, someone who speaks English, “Is this just one transaction?” he asked, yes I said. Apart from me being asked to sign various papers the rest was done in silence. I never got an explanation of the problem, but I suspect it was just the amount of money that they had difficulty with.

She brought a bunch of notes, a hundred by the looks of it. She counted out six and put the rest into her counting machine. No more ado, I left with $94,000 and a bunch of small notes.  Not the official rate, but a penny to the peso looks like the new rate for us.

We came back and Jose was in the lift, He was complaining about the expensas. $5,800. It is an awful lot now but for us in real terms it has gone down.

As we get ready to go out, we still have problems with the water. It seems we have water, but it must be airlocked, because there is no cold in the bathroom. The only way to have a shower is to turn the boiler right down, otherwise it is scalding.  The taps here would not pass UK regulations, whilst having a shower the toilet tank filled up with hot water via the mixer. When we had finished there was still no cold.

Off to El abrazo today. El Beso has been without power now for a week and today there was a notice on the door. It said it was closed but that El Abrazo had gone to Lo de Celia. Whilst I was checking my map I heard Finn shouting us from a bus. A no 12 colectivo, he wanted us to follow him. The Bus driver was patient and waited for us to get on and unsure of the destination we said “same as him” or el mismo de el” whatever I said it worked. I do not know this route but I do know when we get to Humberto primo, so we were OK. We safely arrived and got ourselves inside. Zoraiada told us we could sit anywhere, that gave us a problem, as we had no idea of the seating here.

Still once seated we managed to get a lot of dances for the first couple of hours, then it started to dry up again. Graciela finally turned up and I even got her up for the chacarera. I think I upset one of my regulars, she is a lady I love to dance with but I could not see her, aparently she got up when I cabeceo another lady,  Viv noticed and a bunch behind the lady I got up, but I did not. Now I fear she will not dance with me again. Then it was time to go.

Viv wanted to go into town so we changed subte at Coreo Central and got off at  Carlos Peligrini. We walked past Confiteria Ideal and there was a guy outside, said we could go in to look. He said it would be open again in August, somehow I think that optimistic.

So we ended up in Suipacha, The only shop open now was Flabella. The guy all but dragged us in, but they had no shoes in Vivs size although she did buy another black skirt.

We also stopped in Esmarelda for a coffee; coffee and medialuna $90. If you have been paying attention that is less than a pound, rude not to.

We caught the subte back and went to Imaginario. The patio was open and we sat there with some food and beer. Viv was treating me tonight, so I had the picante empanadas and we shared some patatas al horno. Again less than £8.  This cannot continue, I have already noticed that the milk has gone up, Let’s hope things settle soon, I worry and I have a much smaller stake in this place than the locals.

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Happy new Tap

After my morning shop, I found a mail for Philippe In the foyer, so I contacted him to tell him it was here. He was in the area and arrived about an hour later. We sat and chatted for a while and he told me that he had replaced the leaking tap before. He also told me what it cost him. Well it may be outside my budget, but it was a lot less than I would pay at home. So after he had left and Viv had gone off to Yoga, I took a trip to Easy.

Finding the taps was anything but Easy, not with the kitchen fittings but with the bathroom. The prices were very variable, anything up to $3000, far too much for me. I did find one at $700, with a 20% discount and then a further reduction. Well that will ding dang do for me. I wanted one with a fixed spout as that is where the old one leaked, but at least the spout had a separate entry so would be easier to repair. I then saw it had a ten-year Guarantee, probably not worth the paper it is not written on, but it has got to be better than the year that the last tap lasted.

I got home, fitted it without any problems or leaks, Viv was very happy when she returned. I also finally found out how to strip the base of the old tap.  Any takers for a second-hand mixer tap?

Anyway Viv was so happy we went for a celebration Jugo and tarta manzana, at Naranjo y Flor. Then we just sat in the sun for a while.

Off to Lo de Celia tonight for a change. We have not been since our first week, hopefully we will meet up with Janis this time. We spent a few happy hours talking and dancing. We even met Pauline and Geoff, who had decided to give it a try tonight. Unfortunately they had arrived early an left before I had a chance to dance with Pauline.

I am sorry but I still cannot see the appeal of this place, still we had a good night, and managed to catch up with Janis.

I never actually managed to say goodbye though. I saw the lights were in our favour and rushed across Humberto Primero, Janis stayed on the side. I had to satisfy myself with a wave. Never mind I am sure we will meet up again before we leave. We caught our 151 home and then Viv said she would not be able to sleep, so we popped over to Imaginario for some stout before bed.

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Old waiters never die, they just go to Coca Cola

All I intended doing today was hang the curtain rail in the bedroom. Not a difficult task in the grand scheme of things.
When I awoke Viv was already up and I put the bedside light on to check the time. It didn’t work, so I tried the other one, that didn’t work either, nor did the main light. Not sure if the power was off, I looked out of the window and sure enough the traffic lights were off.
This meant I could not fit the rail, no electric, no drill. It seemed much quieter outside though, for once buses, cars and motorbikes were not revving up waiting for the green light. Also it looked like they were more considerate to pedestrians, perhaps they should turn them all off.
Anyway, I could join the rails to the bend I had bought. That was a job and a half in itself. Trouble is our rail was five eighths of an inch, the bend was fifteen millimeters. (note the rail was five eights outside diameter and the bend fifteen millimeter outside) So one was not about to fit inside the other easily. I pushed and poked I even tried heating up the rail, but in the end only supreme effort got it in. Once joined, let no man put asunder. Well I was not about to try and separate them again.
I asked Sebastian (Our portero) if I could borrow a drill. As always happens, I did not understand the answer. He said something about the electric. I nodded sagely and said “when the electric comes back” or words to that effect. It seems he doesn’t understand me either because he said “No se” meaning he didn’t know when it would be back. I just meant I could use the drill when it returned. Never the less he turned up with the drill ten minutes later, explaining how I should use the chuck key. “Soy ingeniero” I said. Then he asked if I had drill bits and I said I had.
Later when we finally had electric, I looked but could not find my drill bit. I knew I had bought one last year, but I went out to the feretaria again for another.
Typically when I had finished, I found not only the drill bit but also all the screws and plugs that I would have needed. So I had had two trips to the fereteria for nothing and a box full of stuff that will probably never get used.
We had planned to go to a private milonga that we had been invited to at Conventillo de Lujo but it had been cancelled. This was fortunate as Janis wanted us to go to El Arranque, so we arranged to meet Brigitte there as well.
When I got in I said “separados pero una mesa por tres mujeres”.
I don’t think I missed a dance here, it was amazing and all the ladies were very complimentary. I think I was dancing with Viv when Janis arrived but the waiter was not sure where to put her so she waited until we sat down again. Not long after Brigitte arrived as well and the ladies were having a grand old chatter. No wonder they missed dances, I had a job getting them up. I even had to go over to their table to get one of them up.
When I danced with Brigitte she asked why I was sitting on a different table. I said it is so that I can dance and so that you will be asked.
While dancing with Janis she told me about Carlito the waiter who was always here, apparently he now works for Coca Cola. A waste of a great waiter we both agreed.
When the chacarera came on Viv again saw a chance to neglect her duty and got Janis to dance with me. She also decided it would be a good chance to change her shoes as she was getting hungry.
The next tanda was D’Arienzo so I danced half a tanda with Janis, I think she is more afraid of Viv than I am because she stopped when she saw Viv waiting.
Any way while Janis set off for Lo de Celia we went to 1810 for empanadas and lentejas, washed down with Quilmes Negra. Well that made Viv happy and Brigitte as well, I think. So afterwards we loaded Brigitte on to the subte at Scalabrini Ortiz and set off for home and our submarinos.

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Nothing ever goes as expected

Today I was supposed to receive some money, not a lot but every little helps. I phoned ahead as requested but the auto operator said “this extension is not available at the moment, please leave a message”. I tried again before we set off same message so I left my number and asked if they could phone back.

I recharged my sube card and we caught the subte down to Callao. On almost every train there is someone hawking something; colouring books, pens, things for reading flash cards, then there are the jugglers, poets and musicians. Often it is worth the fare just for the entertainment.

Today there was a four piece band playing salsa music, and they were good. I am no expert but to me they were very good, so when one of them came down the train with CDs I asked “quanto es?” “Viente cinco” he said. Well twenty five pesos is about £4, it had to be worth a try. I bought a CD called “Hacha Y Mahette” sounds a bit brutal but hey ho. Viv said it would probably be blank, but I could see no reason to sell blank CDs after all it was their own work no need for copyright payments.

We walked to Santa Fe and up a block Viv liked the look of a café we passed, so after a fruitless search at the next junction  we came back and had Café on leche Y medialunas sat in the sun. It was a fancy looking place so the price was unexpected, lower than it would have been on Corrientes.

I stood inside and called our benefactor again, still no reply. This time I listened to their recorded message “The office is open from 1000 until 2000 every day” OK but where?

We walked down Santa Fe again, it was just no good, I could not find it, so we went off for a wander. Viv said we have not been down Levalle this time, I said we could walk back up it if she liked. She still does not know where we are but I said we have to walk up somewhere, it may as well be Levalle. Now as we walked up noting all the different material shops we saw a clothing shop on Paso. Sometimes, something in a window just reaches out and grabs you. There was a black cat suit, it was something Viv had been looking for, it had her name written all over it, so she went in and tried it on.

So there you go, I started off expecting to get a bit of money and ended up wiping out two days worth of spending money in one shop. Still Viv is happy and if she is, then so am I.

When I got home, the CD has no markings on it. I put it in the wrong way first time; Viv was triumphant when it said “no disc”. When I put it in the right way, just like on the train, it was pretty dammed good.

It is Janis’s birthday today (11th) and we are off to Lo de Celias. As always Viv is too long getting ready, but nobody is ever on time here. The trouble was as we walked up Salguero I saw three 168s go past. Another three passed as we walked the two blocks on Corrientes and another passed us without stopping when we got to the stop. I lost track of time but I think we waited thirty five minutes before another bus came. Then It got stuck in heavy traffic so we were about an hour and a half later than we said we would be.

Janis was sat on her own when we arrived, obviously glad to see us her other friends had also not turned up. (We found out later it was family problems).

Still they missed a great night and they missed the cake and Champagne. We danced and talked and the night just flew by, with many locals coming over to wish Janis “Feliz cumple”

We were the last out; we danced La Cumparsita, cleared our own table and held the door for Dany. Nothing left now but our 168, when I got on I said “hasta Corrientes” still not plucked up courage to try Guardia Vieja again.The three of us at Lo de Celia

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A complicated day

Well it started simple enough, but as Viv keeps saying it is all or nothing here.

We started the day juse wandering the streets, we took a walk down Cordoba just checking out what was about. Viv found a clothing shop with some white pants that she has been after some time and with many reduced to fifty pesos it looked like the bargain of the century. Unfortunately it was not to be and we left empty handed.

We wandered up Scalabtini and through again to Estado de Isreal just to check out Tango por vos, (a shoe shop) now this I do not understand, is it like swimming in the sea? first you must test the water? Any way checked out (we never actually went in) and Viv said we must come back later. We set off for Jumbo and some grocery shopping.

We had been told about the crazy pricing here, but as we buy few things often and are not regulars anywhere we never really noticed until today; Now we eat a lot of porridge and were amazed to see it was fifty percent dearer in the big supermarket than the local chinese. So on our way back I stopped at the chinese minimart for some Quakers. While I was in there my phone rang, Pericles was on the same block as us and wanted to call for coffee.

Now life starts to get complex. Jantango had invited us to an art exhibition and as well Irene and Man Yung had asked us to come to Lo de Celia. I expected Janis to be there as well so time being tight, and art not really being my thing, I sent Janis a text saying we would see her at Lo de Celia.

We spent a pleasant couple of hours catching up, until as always, Perry had to run. we have grown used to this now and know his business always comes first, still it is always a pleasure to see him.

We got showered and changed, then to my horror I checked the times at Lo de Celia, I never realised it closed at only eleven. It was time to rush. We caught the 168 as usual and it delivered us, well not to the door, not even to where we should have been, because the road had been closed, for what I do not know, it just said “trabajando” (working).

We still had only five blocks to walk so it was not so bad. When we walked in, as usual the doorman had no change, I could understand if it were early, but come on, it was just two hours from closing. Once inside and when asked “mesa para dos?” I said ” sentamos con los chinos?” Irene and Man Yung were on the floor dancing and when we had established that was who we were talking about we were led around to their table. On the way we passed the table of Celia herself and as we passed she got up and greeted us. A rare honour apparently and one we have not had before ( we first came here in 2004).

We had some great dancing, good music (Dany again) and the company of Irene and Man Yung was exceptional, but we all were concerned that Jantango  never turned up. We stayed and danced La Cumparsita and almost had to be thrown out. Something strange here that I have never seen before, they clapped when La Cumparsita came on, I am not sure why we clapped but I joined in anyway.

As we descended the stairs to leave Irene and Man were talking to another group on the street. We said “goodnight and passed through them towards the bus. As we left someone said “BoB?” I turned of course and it seems that this group of Canadians were fans of mine. I never realised that my blog reached as far as Canada, we stood talking and they said that they were off for some food and would we like to join them.

 We had already eaten but agreed to stop for a drink. They all headed off down Humberto Primero, after the second block I said ” do you know where we are going” They said they did not , we were all just following like sheep. I said that in that case they would probably have more luck on Entre Rios (I could not remember the name at the time but they agreed it was a bigger street)

Soon we found a place with a big Budweiser sign, to them the sign of a good place.  As they sat eating pizza and we ate chocolate gateaux we talked about just about everything from politics to making fun of all our accents. This was the most ethnically mixed group I had been with and fortunately not sensitive to my ribbing. There is nothing I love more that people who can laugh at themselves especially when they can respond by laughing at me.

I say ethnically mixed but they were mainly originating from the UK so we had a lot in common. I have decided that everyone in Canada is nuts, suits me I like nuts.

A lovely bunch of people and I do not say that just because they paid for our coffe and cake (but it helps, I am easily bought). The best remark, for me, of the night was to meet their favourite blogger,I was blown away by that remark and that they finally get to meet the woman behind the great man. Now see what you have done, I am getting all big-headed.

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Last Tango (in Buenos Aires)

On our balcony we have an inflatable daffodil, just our way of telling the world we are here. This morning I saw a poor confused Argentine bee trying desperately to pollinate it.

I always hate this day, Viv insists on packing and cleaning, I always want to leave it until the last minute. So when Viv lay in bed until twelve and wanted to pack when she got up, I left her to it.

I thought I would walk to Abasto along Humahuaca. I noticed a lot of new building and the odd cafe but really not much new for me along here. When I got to Abasto they were digging up the road with a big digger that had a jackhammer on the front. The noise was terrific, so much so that I nearly missed my phone going off. Sally wanted to meet up so I suggested somewhere around Abasto. She was coming on the subte so we arranged to meet outside Carlos Gardel subte.

Funny meeting a woman alone, in a far off land, so when we met I said “alone at last”. We went for a coffee at a local bar, and talked for some time about our favourite milongas, the people we have met and whether we will actually meet up when she comes to the UK. I said how much I enjoyed hearing her talk Spanish with a Shropshire accent, it appears that Carlos enjoys that as well.

I was starting to feel guilty, as I had left Viv alone too long, so I walked Sally to within a block of the subte and said goodbye. Hoping we can meet again when she comes to the UK.

We had arranged to go with Janis again to Lo de Celia, so we caught the 168 to as near as we could get and walked the last few blocks to her place. The streets here can be dark and threatening if you let it bother you, but somehow the feeling never got to me, until tonight. We turned into Chile, and further down we could hear shouting. Someone was shouting from a window or balcony to two youths in the street. As we got nearer one of the youths ran over to some rubbish near us grabbed some broken glass and ran at the other slashing at him. I said to Viv “shut up, say nothing, stay to my left, don’t slow down and don’t stare”. We walked on to Janis’s place on the next block , and did not feel happy until we were inside the building.

Janis was not expecting us, she thought we would meet at Lo de Celia, but the email had not got through as my computer was packed. She made us coffee while we waited for her to get ready. She was more successful with the coffee this time, as she now had her coffee filter.

In Lo de Celia I had the usual wait outside the ladies while they changed their shoes. I was asked twice if I wanted a table I just  said “espero Janis” the guy nodded sagely.

Sat right at the back, it was OK for Viv and I, but I think Janis had trouble seeing anyone with whome to dance. I feel akward at these times, on the one hand I feel I should ask Janis to dance, but on the other, if she is seen to dance with the man on her table, then no one else will ask her.

Viv was tired after her packing, and she had made an effort to look good, but as usual, when she puts on any sort of eye make up her skin suffers, so we did not last long. We thought it would be a good idea to leave Janis on her own, as she would then get more dances, but she insisted on coming out with us. It was a shame we left so early, because as she reminded me, we never did the chacarera together.

It was the last night, so we forewent the bus, Instead we walked Janis, almost, home and caught a taxi. Almost because just before her house the street went in the right direction and a taxi was going past, oportunities, as we have found before, once missed will not reoccur.

So our Buenos Aires tangoing is over yet again, here’s to the next time.

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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.

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