Tag Archives: Plaza Almagro

You just can’t go back again.

I think I have found someone who can weld here. I went for a morning wander, unfortunately I forget it is the weekend. Twenty years of never having one myself, perhaps I can be forgiven. On Sanchez de Bustamente I saw an opening and three guys and a woman sitting drinking coffee (or maybe mate, I could not tell). There was workshop materials behind them and I spotted what I thought was a gas bottle “Puedes soldaro con gas ” I asked. The guy looked puzzled “Soldadero?” he said “No hoy”. Now one thing I have learned here is not to be put of, not today was the nearest I have yet received to a yes. “Puedes soldadero en la semana?” I tried ” Si que quieres” so I told him about our chair and checked the location. Something may well happen before I get here, but we live in hope.

On one of my previous wanderings I had found another opening full of furniture, so I wandered in for a good look around, nothing here I fancied so with a cheery wave I past the men at the door and left. Today, being Saturday it was shut up the sign on the door said “Fernandez Y Hermanos, Mundanzas y Guardar”. So I had been looking for furniture in Fernandez and Brothers removals and storage depot. At home somebody would have asked me what I wanted in there, not here, they just leave you to it.

I wandered around Plaza Almagro as I was passing. On a Saturday the locals all set up store here and sell anything that they have, sort of boot sale without a car. You simply would not believe the things they sell. There was a water-cooler without the cooler and even a no-weld plastic 30mm bend, why would anyone come here looking for that? Still it entertains me.

We found out that the organizer of El Arranque is now running a milonga at Club Gricel so we are off there today in the hope of meeting up again with the old crowd. The lady on the door welcomed us with the lowest entrada yet and asked if this was our first time. I said that it was but we used to go to El Arranque. She said that they have been here since September, time enough to get things going.

It all seemed a bit flat though. True the old couples were there and causing a riot in the bit in the middle, but few of the old singles were there. I danced mainly with foreigners and so did Viv. I have never been to a milonga where I have danced with so many ladies on numerous occasions. We decided to call it a day at six thirty and head for home.

There was no sign of the man himself, but when the interval came with the announcements she said “Juan Carlos esta mejorando” so if he is getting better, I suppose he must be ill. I have checked his page and there is no mention, although there is talk of him loosing weight.

We thought about walking but when I realized we were eleven blocks for Rivadavia and five from Columbres, well twenty-four blocks was too much, so we took to the subte. Trouble was, when we got there, there was no way in. It seems that H line entrances are closed on Saturday, so we had to back track onto the E line just to get below. Viv was right annoyed from all the up and downing by the time we got on the train.

Time for some cervesa negra I think.


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Sol o Sombra

The weather is definitely on the change. Last night for the Nissman demonstration (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31515822) the temperature dropped to 10 deg. This morning there was a definite chill in the air, that said I was only wearing a polo and shorts.
I took a trip out shopping, something I quite enjoy here. It is an experience unlike at home, I can walk out of my door and get everything I want within two blocks. First stop was the almacen, at the carneceria I asked for a Chicken breast (Pechuga de pollo). I was then given a ticket, than I went over to the cheese counter for some roasted peanuts (mani tostada con sal) Unfortunately I had not picked a number when I entered and so I had to wait a while. Again I was given a ticket and then I had to queue at the till to pick up my purchases and pay.
Off then to the confiteria. I walked in and the place is different in the morning. There are prepared lunches everywhere. People come in and buy their lunch and eat it at their desks or in Patio Salguero or Plaza Almagro. So I could not find what I wanted.
The Girl said “Esconitos?” that is the advantage of being a regular, she knew what I wanted. So with my cheese scones I left to carry on up the sunny side of the street. Funny how a day can make a difference, one day it is Sombra the next it is Sol, just depends on the weather.
Philippe paid us a flying visit again. We now have our basket back for the drawer unit and he now has all his bills and receipts. A coffee and he is gone again.
Not a lot left of the day so we went out for a coffee around the corner. I have visited this café before although I cannot remember its name. It is now called Naranjo y Flor (Sic). I like the café life, just sat out on the pavement watching the world go by, with a coffee and apple tart. This is the life, the sun is out and the greatest of the heat has passed. Across the road they are working like Doozers on the new building and Mr Pigeon (or is that Mrs?) happily pecks around my feet. Until Viv gets restless again and we head home for tea.
I noticed that Fulgor was not advertised in Hoy Milonga tonight. This is worrying considering the amount of people turning up lately. So I messaged Mariana on Facebook and she assured my that it is on.
So we set off hoping for a milonga, but not expecting many there.
As I call the lift I suddenly realise I have left my keys in the flat. Viv searches her bag and luckily she has hers with her. We are not yet out of the woods though, my keys are in the door. They were in and turned, it took a good ten minutes of scratching the key to get it to turn enough to drop out inside. Panic over, but it has shown us how easy it is to lock ourselves out. We will have to take more care in future, next time we may not be so lucky.
Fulgor was its normal Thursday self, although the numbers did reach the heady heights of fifteen.
We get plenty of space to practice some moves, but because we do so much after two hours we have had enough. As well as this we are both coming down with a cold. (In the middle of summer?)
So when we return we dose ourselves up to sleep. Viv is on the ibuprofen the big ones I got in Spain, I have something much more effective, Gin.

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San Telmo

You have to do it once, well for me once per trip. San Telmo is a must for the tourists, but it gets a bit passé after a while. We came down on the 24 Collectivo because the B subte is still not running on the weekend. Then we got off in Bolivar and walked to Plaza Dorrego. The place is still full of tat and the tango dancers, and puppet shows, but we dutifully scanned all the stalls.
Then we headed off down Defensa and the street is lined all the way to Plaza de Mayo with more stalls. It seems if you write Tango on it, you can sell any rubbish. This place has nothing to do with real Argentina and there are more Janquis than Argentines here. Still it kept us entertained for a couple of hours.
The trouble is we had walked so far my bus plan was no longer going to work. We crossed 9 Julio and into Sarmiento. There was no sign of a 24 parada, but a 124 was coming. It said on the sign Bulnes, then Potosi. That meant it had to pass Plaza Almagro so we jumped on. The bus turned along Pueyrredon and up Peron so we had an extra block to walk, but I still congratulated myself for having worked that bus route out.
It is Sunday night, so it must be Fulgor again. Elsa and Bob are back but the numbers are otherwise down, I am not really sure why. Elsa is a real live wire and poor old Bob never gets a rest. We seem to be getting on better now with the big guy, not sure what his name is. We made a bad start, as I misunderstood him in the early days. I think he is warming to us again now though.
When Roberto made the announcements, he made reference to los galeses chacarera and everyone clapped. That was nice, but he mentioned the war again, I think we got away with it this time though.
Despite the low numbers I never won the sorteo, so I had to make do with my stout. We were ready to go by half eleven, as most of the others had filtered away. Still it was, as usual, a good Fulgor night.

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Another animal

After our class we again took the 150 collective to Obalisco.
On a Monday, Obalisco is a whole other animal. On Friday I had trouble getting dances and Viv danced with no one but me. For her it was a total waste of time and money. Monday however, she never missed a tanda. I had no trouble getting dances either, in fact I had to sit out Pugliese just to get a rest.
I danced with a Peruvian lady who lives in Mendoza, she told me she travelled for 5 hours to get here and she would not get home until after midnight. I thought I had tango addiction, that is close to loca.
The waitress, I think realised we had had a bad time Friday and offered us good seats, and Gabriela (Organiser and DJ) always welcomes us in.
when we had enough we took our 151 home but got off at Plaza Almagro, Viv thought that there were some good eating places. The only one we found was shut due to a power cut, so we ended up in Guardia la Vieja again.
It’s quieter Monday and we got better service, still after so long without food the beer went to our heads. Time for bed.

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Parque Centanario

I worry sometimes that people take my posts too seriously. I take a light-hearted view of all the problems that there are living in a foreign land. So far we have only asked for outside help once and then I managed to get out of trouble before that help was needed. Never the less, I do appreciate offers of help. I just choose to go my own way, as I have done all my life.
So please laugh at my problems by all means, but do not be too concerned, just enjoy the ride.
Having a leak in the bathroom was not a big deal. There is a drain for the water, but it does annoy me. Philippe told me you can get second hand tools around Parque Centenario on a Saturday, so that was todays mission.
I have subbed Viv £100 in pesos so she can have some fun there as well. (£100 will go a long way here).
It is only about ten blocks so we walk. I am still amazed that as we pass the huge building that says “Jesus es el Señor” that they need bouncers. Surly anyone with mal intent is unlikely to get passed an all powerful God, or am I just being a cynic.
We arrived at somewhere around the midpoint of the market. Not sure if it goes right around or not, we decided to head to the right.
I quickly found a wrench at $70 but it was not exactly what I wanted, so we carried on. Viv was constantly distracted by the clothing stalls, while I rummaged through every tool and bric a brac stall there was.
I found a beautiful new guitar, small frame $900. Fortunately I had not brought that much out with me, or I might have been tempted.
At last I found an adjustable spanner. A bit crude and rusty, but it would serve the purpose. “Quanto es?” I asked “dos ochenta” he said that will do me, but whet I gave him five he said “No doscientos ochenta pesos”. “Damasiado caro” I said and gave it him back.
The search continued and Viv bought a skirt and some kitchen implements. (the first potato peeler was $150 we later found one for $15. They must think we just got off the banana boat).
I found another spanner “Dos quarenta” the guy said. Fortunately this time his wife said “Darme trescientos” That one was staying as well.
I did buy a hole punch, which was not on my list along with the kitchen appliances, but you have to buy when you see here.
We reached the end of the market and backtracked. Then we set off in the other direction. I found a stall with some new and some used tools. Two adjustable’s and a pair of grips. They ran at $100 each for the ajustable’s and $80 for the grips.
It still riled me to pay £5 for something I had numerous spares at home, but I bought the new adjustable anyway.
By now we were hot and thirsty, so we set off for a drink. On the corner of Anibal Troilo are three cafes. We were stuck for choice. We sat on the street drinking jugo and fizzy water, while speculating why name such a small street after such a great man.
Most of the things I had set out to buy were still on my list. Viv’s list though was completed in Farmacity.
I wanted something to stop the desk marking the wall and was not having much luck. Then in a household shop we found some bottle stoppers. More confusion as we gathered three black ones out of the jumble, only to find that 3x$10 applied to the klipits. The tops were $10 each, so I bought two.
We popped into an almacen for some meat. Once we reached the counter we realised that we had not picked a number again. The kind lady who was next let us go.
We went to the till to pay and Viv picked up some nuts for tonight. This then meant that we could not pay, as they had to be weighed at another counter. The girl asked “De donde son?” I have no idea how she worked out we were foreigners.
On the way back we bought other provisions, something salty for Philippe, for tonight.
After some food and rest we set off for Boedo, to the house of Mariela.
We decided to walk as we had the time and it was a warm night. When we arrived, as usual, we were among the first.
Gradually more and more people arrived, but being the only native English speakers, we had a little difficulty. We were soon mixing with the French contingent. It must be something odd about Europeans that they stick together even if they do not talk the same language. Luba was there as well, she was, of course, happy to talk with us, but we could not monopolise her.
One big guy was a singer and knew some British folk songs. I think the argentines were impressed by our duet. (Knew I should have bought that guitar)
Much food and drink was consumed, and then we had a tango interlude. There was not a lot of room and mostly they were beginners, but it was very sociable, changing partners every track.
We went back to the French when the rock music came on. Then Philippe served up the ice Cream.
It was getting late (for us) so we decided to leave. As always happens, Luba said “You can’t go we have not had the cake yet” but we know this can take hours here. So we left anyway.
After a couple of blocks we managed to catch a 160 Collectivo. I was not sure where it went as we had to run to catch it and could not read the sign. “Va a Corrientes?” I asked “Si” he replied, so we jumped on.
At Plaza Almagro it turned down Sarmiento, it could join Corrientes anywhere, so we got off at the next stop. Only four blocks from home that was pretty good.
I found out afterwards that it crosses at Gascon and stops on Guardia Vieja, but by my reckoning that is five blocks, so we did well.
We took an hour to get there and only twenty minutes to get home. good ol’ collectivos, eh!

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It dosn’t get much better than this

We started our day feeling a little down after last night, still as the song goes “even the bad times are good when I’m alone with you” so we set off on an idle walk through the streets.

There is a place near us that makes furniture, we had seen a desk in town, second-hand, needing some work $1600, they had to be joking. So we walked up to our furniture maker and there was a similar desk, brand new, finished in what ever colour we wanted $360. When we decide to buy I know where I will be going.

We walked down to the Abasto centre and Viv managed to get a purse made from recycled car tyre and a mouse mat, she was happy. Cheap would be the wrong word, but she is definitely low maintenance.

So we set off in the bright sunshine and bought an iced cream and sat eating it in Plaza Almagro. I love this place, just a patch of green in the centre of Almagro. All the locals accumulate here they come to play, relax, and soak up the sunshine. Unfortunately this meant any place in the sun was taken, still we had enough just sitting together eating our ices.

The day had started well and just got better, tonight we head off for Fulgor. At first it seemed a little flat, whether the music was not as loud or the graphic equalizer was not adjusted right I don’t know but it soon picked up. We had a good seat down the side, I think it was because all the seats at the back were taken, it was somebodys birthday. The group did not seem to consist of many dancers but they stayed out-of-the-way while the rest of us got on with it.

At some point Roberto stopped the proceedings and announced the birthday. It seems this guy was an old stalwart of the club and was now celebrating his ninety third birthday. Then they asked him to dance a demo. Yes, you read it right, ninety-three doing a demo, and it was awesome. If I can ever dance half that well I will be happy, but to still be doing it at ninety-three, well that is beyond my dreams. I deeply regret not bringing my camera here, but knowing how Roberto looks on cameras I thought it best not to.

I danced with my favourite old ladies, as a commetor said, they are not technically perfect, but oh! how they enjoy the dance. Susanna was here (from Sin Rumbo) and she also graced me with a dance. When asked she said “to the ends of the earth” Don’t you just love them?

Well while I was dancing a man who had been at El Aranque realised it was probably ok to ask Viv to dance. Later Chiche also asked her to dance, and again when I danced with Susanna.

All our usual friends hugged and kissed us welcoming us in and saying goodbye at the end, and one by one others are joining them. Even when we tried to leave, someone insisted on dancing with Viv, so I did the last dance with Nora wearing my trainers. This place will never be puro tango, but honestly, It doesn’t get much better than this.


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Busy Doing Nothing

Funny how when we have a late night we seem to get up early, yet when we have a relatively early night, like last night, we get up late. Viv calls it demand sleeping it is certainly better than getting up to an alarm clock. But getting up after mid day leaves little time to get into the city or do anything touristy, still I keep telling people “no somos touristas” so I suppose that is fair.

Anyway I had to repair the sink today and as all my tools are seven thousand miles away, it makes life interesting. Afterwards we went walkabout and found yet another dance shoe shop, they are springing up like mushrooms around here.

Then the munchies got me so we bought some drinks empanadas and pan queso and sat in Plaza Almagro watching the kids play, the oldies just sitting and a couple of blokes playing chess. It is one of the quirks of the city, in their common spaces they have concrete tables inlaid with a chess board, in the summer there are tournaments and people playing chess everywhere, though it is less common this time of year.Plaza Almagro is a lovely green space in the centre of Almagro surrounded by traffic but the trees keep the noise level down. The pigeons were showing too much interest in my bread, we had bought very little and I was not feeling generous, so they went hungry, despite one cheeky fellow jumping onto our bench inches from me and giving me a sideways look.

After another trip to the supermarket and an afternoon nap it was down to the subte and off again to Plaza Bohemia. Once there we were greeted as old freinds by Gloria and soon we were dancing to some wonderful tandas put together by Adriana. The sparsity of dancers that seemed to have occurred here on our last visit had ended and we had agood crowd although it was still easy to dance. I did have my doubts about returning here but I am glad to say they were ill-founded.

There was some interesting dancing here tonight, a woman leading, a man following, Gloria does have some contact withTango Queer so that could explain. There was an american couple who sat opposite sides if the room to dance with different people, you could tell that they were a couple though. These were smartly dressed and danced well, I was not so impressed with the Yanquis in Jeans, I think it shows no respect for the other dancers, the organisers, or the great musicians who created this wonderful sound.

We had a demo again, this is becoming almost mandatory, these two were good. She was heavily pregnant so acrobatics were out anyway, but they were incredibly musical and the footwork was brilliant. I hope that when she is not pregnant that they still dance this way, acrobatics are for the circus.

There was yet another birthday celebration, much singing “Cumplianos Feliz” and torta then time for bed. We have developed a strategy here to avoid being ripped off by the taxistas, we walked across 9 Julio into Lavalle. Lavalle runs out-of-town so when we raised a taxi I just said “hasta Salguero” he thinking I did not know what I wanted asked ” Y que calle” I just told him Lavalle. This takes me only one block from our apartment and he does not have to turn off once, so he cannot give me the grand tour. It is sometimes hard to live like this but the tourists are seen as an easy target. You don’t get me, not tonight any way.

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New friends


Looks like in Buenos Aires they have found a new way to stop people spending my money: As we walked back from Plaza Almagro, where we had sat eating lunch, we passed another furniture shop where they make thier own stuff. There was no way however we were going to get in, the owner (I assume) had placed all his tools in the shop doorway and was busy staining a table. There was no access for anyone, god forbid somebody wanting to go in and purchase one of his master pieces.

As the day was now getting short we decided to spend some time looking for a new lamp for our mesas de luzes, tables of light as bedside tables are known here.Walking down Corrientes I saw some lamps in one shop, now to me a lamp is a stick with a lamp holder on top, you decorate it with the shade. I guess I am wrong again, I do not know what is required but it ain’t here. Eventually we end up in The Abasto Centre, now I am comatose, just too many clothes shops.

As is the way with these things, you never find what you want, but when you are not looking something turns up. So we did not get a lamp but at least we now have a door mat.

Unusually tonight we are returning to Plaza Bohemia, we do not go to the same place twice. It is worth noting that because it is the same building the venue is different, the host is different as is th DJ even the staff tend to follow a particular host.

We come here at the invite of Jantango, never having been here on a Tuesday and having no idea about Janis apart from her blog, Viv was non too keen. The thing was Tuesday is often a bit flat, we usually end up at Porteno y Bailarin, but even there it is quiet.

When we walked in we were suprised, there was a good crowd, not crowded as is often the case here, but enough to make a good night. We are not known here so we were given a table right at the back out of the way.

As we sat waiting for some service I scanned the room hoping to see Janis. I am pretty hopeless at remembering faces I have met, so to identify one I have only seen in a photo was a lost cause. I need not have worried she found us.

I have to say that my worries about meeting a lone American woman were unfounded, she was sweet and very friendly and got on well with Viv.

We did not get much dancing done, two women together never stop talking, but we enjoyed the company.

I did dance a couple of times with Janis, I felt akward and clumsy but she was so comlimentary. This is something the women at home need to understand, we men have very fragile egos, tell us we are doing something wrong and you are a lousy dancer, tell us we are great and you are the best dancer in the world.

While we danced she helped me out with a few things (not that I was doing anything wrong oh no not me) and we joked about teaching on the dance floor, but as I have said, there is a world of difference between correcting the embrace or stance and standing still while you explain a step you are unable to lead.

We left the club together Viv and Janis arm in arm, and when we got to Tucuman Janis bundled us into a taxi. I am afraid ungentlemanly I should have seen her safely off first, but she has lived in this city for ten years and is without doubt more capable of looking after herself here than we are.

I think we have made yet another friend here, and for those who think I am anti American, she is from Chicargo.


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