Tag Archives: Plaza Bohemia

Drunk in charge of a broken Umbrella

A grey start to Monday morning. Viv sent me out for some fruit, so I took the opportunity to pay the City tax (Rentas) and put some credit on my phone.

I bumped into Jose on Corrientes. I love bumping into people I know here, makes me feel more like I belong. In the veg shop he opened a fresh box of pears for me and I told him we were leaving. Viv told me to give him $100 for his son, he did not at first understand “es una regalo por tus hijo” I said. When he realized we were leaving he thanked me and asked when we will return. So many goodbyes, it is sad to be leaving.

Viv dragged me around the shops again, looking for some guest towels. We never managed to find what we wanted. They only seem to sell towels in sets here. We tried the shop at 550 Medrano but by the time we got there it was closed. Some shops do not open until one others close one until four, others still open just when they please. It makes shopping an interesting experience here.

We returned to Plaza Bohemia, hoping that with the demise of Ideal the numbers would be up. It was a vain hope. The rain did little to help, but I suspect deeper problems. There were two spare women and three men. Viv was not advantaged though, because the shy guy would not look up and did not get up to dance until another lady arrived. Then he danced only with her.

We did many tandas together, but there was a real risk of . me becoming casamiento  with the few ladies. Good news though, Viv won the sorteo. They sell tickets and divide the money up into prizes. Small house, so there was only one prize of £130.Hardly a fortune  but better than a kick in the teeth.

Back to the bus stop and my umbrella is looking rather sad. It blew out on the way and several stays are broken, but it will see today out.

We were supposed to be meeting Mauricio and Kym and I had suggested Imaginario. Turns out it is shut today TIA. So we rescheduled for Guardia La Vieja. I got in and ordered a stout “No tiene, solo Hieneken” he said. So I tried ordering a pint, “Solo Hieneken” he said again. What is the point of having a long menu of beer and only stocking poison. So we had two coffees.

When Mauricio arrived we explained that they have no beer, so he messaged Kym and we retrenched to El Banderin across the road. No stout here either but they did have Quilmes so this would have to do. They do not have a lot of food choice here either, so we all had bondiola sandwiches and some crisps.

Kym brought another friend and the lads polished off two bottles of wine, while we hammered the beer. Then we ordered more beer. They are just not used to this here, we got louder as we put the World in general and Argentina in particular to rights.

Then they closed all the blinds and threw us out. I thought that they had more stamina here than that, but it is Monday I suppose.

We walked back past our apartment and as a parting gift, I gave Kym my umbrella. Well I think he has ten blocks to go.

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Lair of the Red Court

I have mentioned the Church on Corrientes before, it looks nothing like a traditional church and it has Guards outside. I even think that they are armed. Perhaps I have been reading too many Harry Dresden books, but I am now convinced that it is a vampire stronghold.

Next door there is a glass fronted building that reaches as high as the church itself and I have never really looked at it before. Today though as I passed I happened to notice that it is just a facade. The windows go up for maybe five or six stories, but the building behind goes up only two. You can only see this from further down Corrientes, but today I just happened  to look. It is all very odd.

Viv wanted to go out on her own, so I went up to the garden shop (The one that was closed on Sunday) for some gravel. I had to make two journeys as we have no transport. On the second I took Viv with me and we speculated about the false building. We came back with some more plants. Pretty soon You will be unable to move on our balcony. At least Viv has some fresh basil now.

We gave Plaza Bohemia our best shot, but after two weeks of no one dancing with Viv it is time to let go. Tonight we are giving Obelisco a try we are leaving a bit later but taking the same bus.

Well that was a disaster, Viv was sat right at the back with a big fat woman in front of her. I could not see her to dance, never mind all the other men. I had to walk over to get her to dance, there was no way anyone else was going to dance with her. I had a bit of a go at the organizer when we left, but I don’t suppose it will make any difference. I don’t think we will be back anyway.

I think I will have to bite the bullet and go back to Ideal next week.

We stopped at a pizza place for a Quilmes stout on the way home,  the waiters are always surprised. I think perhaps they don’t expect a woman to drink stout, they are not used to welsh women obviously. Should have stayed to dance La Bruja, because we all know that all the best witches come from Wales.



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And I thought it was just me

Viv sent me out shopping again. I quite enjoy my trips to the almacen now, except for the constant queueing.

Anyway I took a ticket for the fiambre (cheese and cooked meats) Then went over to the carneceria. The butcher is always quicker for some reason. I got myself some picada and then queued again at the fiambre. Where-upon  I was drawn into conversation. It went something like this: “What number are they calling” “nineteen” said I “I cannot understand them their diction is so poor” “It is always the same for me, as I am a foreigner” “They do not open their mouths, both my parents were Spanish, I learned to speak properly” She said. And so It went on, and all this time I thought that it was just me, seems you can have lived all your life here and still not understand what they say.  Perhaps I should just give up, but at least I need not feel so bad about it now.

We set off for Plaza Bohemia, this time being careful to check first on Hoy Milonga. We got to the bus stop early as Viv wanted to get some things from the shop by the stop. As is the way here it was shut. We know that there is a colectivo at four but we did not know what time the earlier one was. We waited until quarter to, but this would still bring us there almost before it was open. We dawdled as it was hot and as we were early. However despite our earlier check, the place was closed “No hay Luz”. There was a crowd over the road and I got in conversation with one guy who remembered us at El Arranque on a Monday. The lady who takes the money was also there, nobody held any hope of it opening.

We decided to risk Confiteria Ideal again. By the time we were getting close we were too hot, too tired and just a bit pissed. So we said “Sod it” and went for a coffee instead.  Monday is rapidly becoming one of those days, think we will try Obelisco next week.

Home it is then, early meal, bottle of beer and maybe some Ice cream afterwards. Ah! sitting outside Ken with an ice cream, luxury.



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Lunes de carnival

It was quiet this morning, unusually so, there was little traffic. So Viv took advantage and stayed in bed.

It gave me a chance to catch up on the painting. The plaster here is soft and seems to get knocks easily and there is a patch that persistently comes away.  So the place is looking pristine again, for another year.

Off to plaza Bohemia again today so we set off to catch the 168 colectivo. As we walked down Corrientes one flew past us. There was no point in running we were on the wrong side and could not have got through the traffic.

We waited 35 minutes for the next bus. I was getting seriously peed off by the time it arrived. I think we had a similar experience last year, Lunes de Carnival means less busses I suppose.

Normally Mondays here are quiet but the numbers were already up. Still we were given good seats, they always look after the regulars. We had a really good time, Viv only missed one tanda despite being surrounded by lovelies. One ninety year old guy would not dance with her because he wanted to dance with the girl with braces, I ask you. Does he really think he stands a chance with a barely pubescent teen?

Meanwhile I was enjoying some lovely dances with ladies who have a bit more experience and learning how this blog is becoming an educational tool. It is an old story, you never explore your own city as much as a foreigner.

I found out the name of the lunatic dancer who always makes my day. His name is Roger, apparently he thinks Bob is a funny name.

The old 151 is as reliable as ever and the chino across the road has fresh bread. So it is back for some black beer and lentejas.

We can still hear the noise from the Murgas, but this year everything is happening higher up Corrientes. Suits me, I enjoyed it last year, but it is not what we come here for. We may well give all the noise and the spray foam a miss this time.


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Killing the Golden goose

We were quite looking forward to today. Free milonga at Ideal and celebrate Graciela’s birthday.

I should have know better, Ideal must have the worst management of any milonga anywhere. Last week it was free Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. We had no reason to expect different today.

We walked in and the place looked nearly empty, I soon found out why. The organiser stopped us and said we must pay the entrada “quantos?” I asked “$200” he said. “Es una broma” (It’s a joke) I said. “No 200 pesos” he said as if being pesos made any difference. “es una broma” I said again and walked out.

It is a shame that an old established place like this is run by idiots. Shame that it may close, but I am afraid it will happen and it is also a shame that I really no longer care. Just like many at home they are quite happy to kill the golden goose, not happy with a continuous good profit they ramp it up until the punters can no longer afford the price.

We hopped on the subte and headed for Plaza Bohemia again.

Plaza Bohemia was all but deserted, we were early, but we both managed a few dances before the crowds arrived. I say crowds but it never got really busy.

We did OK for dances but it lacked atmosphere tonight, and some how the night had lost its sparkle.  So it is off home for lentejas and ice cream from Ken. That should lift us some.


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Ideal is now free

Will I ever learn? I left the flat without checking the internet, well Plaza Bohemia is on every week and I know my way there. There was just no need, I knew the address.

The trouble is it had been cancelled, we got there and the whole place was locked up. What to do now? The obvious answer is find an internet café. There was nothing down Alsina but there was a kiosco and I asked there. The lady was very helpful she directed us around the corner to Morena and Pichincha. When we got there w could see nothing but then we found a sort of precinct, it said Coto on the door but there was all sorts in there.

It was a fascinating place and I suppose we would never have found it had I pre checked, so some good came of it. I think we may visit again some time just for a better look around.

The internet was not in here, when we came out, we saw the locotorio and internet on the opposite corner. Five minutes in there and we realised that Lo de Celia was out, as was Canning. Our only two choices were Obalisco or Ideal. Well Obalisco would not be open for another hour so we set off for Ideal.

The good news is that it is free, bad news the drinks are $40 each. Still I was well on the winning side. The place was full of old faces. Even though we were put seated together Viv still managed a few dances. I met up with Graciela again, I have been missing her this time. More good news it is her birthday next week and we are invited to share the tort.

All the traipsing around the streets, in the heat,  had tired us out, so we did not stay to the end. At least we had seats on the subte.

I wonder sometimes about the wisdom of these milonga organisers. They cancel at short notice, then wonder where all their customers have gone. Then you get Ideal, who ripped off everyone until they deserted in droves now the only way to get them back is to let them in free. Well I am back for now, but let’s see what the future holds.

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The women are revolting

Philippe came around today. We cannot keep the phone and internet in his name, but the company will not transfer it to me without DNI. Things are getting awkward. Still we spent a couple of pleasant hours and had some excellent media lunas, before he vanished like a phantom in the night. (Imagine the French accent and Michel of the resistance)

We went back to plaza Bohemia again. We are getting known and were welcomed by Gabriella. In truth we have been welcomed by her since the Miapu 444 days way back in 2008. We sat seperado and soon I was up dancing. Many of the ladies here I know so I have little problem but Viv was not getting any dances. I find it hard to understand as we have been coming here a while, she is a great dancer and, in my opinion, the best looker in the room. I tried to dance with her when I could, but it makes it more difficult for her to get dances.

After we left we stopped  off at the toilets. Viv was in there longer than I expected. The exit from the milonga opens out into a closed courtyard where people come to smoke or just get some air. Along the wall is a row of high windows between the courtyard and the ladies. I could hear a lot of noise coming from in there, according to Viv all the women were in there complaining about the men. They only dance with the women that they know and even when those women are all dancing the men will not get up. They are all lazy they say,Well at least I have earned some brownie points.



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If you could see

For those of you familiar with George Formby, cleaning windows in Buenos Aires is nothing like the song. You see we are three floors up, you just cannot do it off a ladder and any scaffold would get knocked down by the crazy traffic. The answer is to lift each window out and wash it in the bath. A laborious process as cloths have to be put under the window each time to preserve the enamel. Still it did not take me as long this time, as it is only nine months since I last did them.

Our old venue for a Monday is no more, but Gabriela and her crew have moved en block  to Plaza Bohemia. There is no Obalisco on a Monday now. Time to take our trusted 168 collective again. Not so far this time, second stop on Alsina, but it was still hot and sticky on there.

The place was almost empty when we arrived and I wondered how we  get along. As there was no one to dance with I danced the first tanda with Viv. Fortunately a few more came in while we danced. It worked out great for Viv, as more people came in they got her up to dance and she never missed a tanda. At one point everyone was dancing except those without partners, unusually there were three extra men.

A group of ladies I know were sat on the next table to me and there were also a lot of new faces willing to dance with me. By the 7 0’clock sorteo Viv was ready to go. The  tanda before was Pugliese and I sat it out.  I wanted to do a last tanda but Viv had changed her shoes, Shame, it was Biagi. A last tanda together to Biagi would have made the night perfect.

There is a couple we see in El Arranque and they were here as well. What they dance could not be called pure tango and they are jigging about in every Cortina. If you see me laughing at them, do not get the wrong idea, they are awesome, not only do they make me smile, but they do not care what anyone thinks. They are just having a great time. If only every one was like them (me included).

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You can never go back.

Normally on a Friday we head off to Ideal. Today though we were so busy that an early milonga was out of the question. So we trawled through and found one hat started at six but ran through until two. We should be able to fit in with that.
Plaza Bohemia used to run at Maipu 444 just of the subte in the centre of town. It was always one of our favourites, Run by Gloria Garcia who always welcomed us with open arms.
We thought it had gone for good with the closing of Maipy 444. Now it seems it has been running for some time with new organisation but the same DJ.
It is a convenient spot right on the 168 route and the 151 for our return. It is in the mechanics union building so I was surprised t the cost of the entrada, the dearest we have had yet. Still we were welcomed by the hostess and given our seats (separado).
The music has not changed, it is still excellent. The atmosphere however is not the same. Viv and I were up straight away which I took as a good sign. I soon found however that my position gave me little opportunity to practice a cabeceo. Viv meanwhile got no further dances after her initial start.
There were people we knew here, they just decided not to dance with us. Having the milonga advantage of being male I did quite well until about nine then the dancers just dried up.
Apart from me Viv managed just two dances, and one of those was someone she tries to avoid.
By ten we had had enough, then we asked for the drink bill. Again this was the most expensive yet.
Not a great experience then, just shows, you can never go back to old times.
I think we will stick to the places we know for a while, but as we are here some time, we will still try the odd new place.

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iMilonga? is that what you call it?

We set off for Plaza Bohemia in good spirits, we have not seen Gloria this trip, and expected the usual welcome, although we did not expect there to be a crowd we did expect a milonga.

Our first problem was leaving the subte, the escalator was out of action, but we wandered around and eventually found another way out. We set off down Corrientes and the first thing that occurred to me was, we could take a taxi home straight up Corrientes. This was, of course, absolute rubbish, Corrientes runs into town not out. It was at this point I realised we were going the wrong way, all that turning underground had disoriented me, so we turned again and set off once more for Maipu.

When we arrived at 444 there was a crowd outside and they were shutting the door. “you are too late” they said. We said “but we have come for La Susheta, it starts at ten” We were then informed that Gloria had stopped about two months ago, so much for the tango guide.

Monday night is pretty flat, that is why normally we go to an early dance, and now we are left with little choice. We could go to Gricel, but we do not know the bus to take from here. There are then only two choices, La Catedral or Canning. Canning tonight is Parakultural, they mess about too much, have demos films announcements and we never enjoy it. So thinking we have nothing to loose, and that it is very close to home, we decided on La Catedral. Even though we had been told it was all nuevo here we thought at least we could have a dance.

It started well enough just ten pesos entrada, although the entrance looked more like Strangeways prison than a dance hall. We had to climb stairs to get to the dance, there was a lift but it was out of action and the stairs were half concrete and half steel, as if the building had started to be demolished and they had changed their minds.

At the top of the stairs I realised that they had not, they just never got around to finishing the job. You could see right up to the roof structure, any sign of finish had been totally removed and the place was filled with rubbish. Cable drums for tables, milk crates for seats and planks for benches. Nobody came to give us a seat so we chose our own, bought a beer and sat down. The dance floor was an utter disgrace, I kept my street shoes on, but Viv who had brought Comme il Faut shoes with her had real difficulty as they got stuck in all the cracks and ridges.

The music was not constructed in any sort of tanda, if you can imagine Canaro and Pugliese played back to back. It was hard to know when to dance and when to sit down. Strangely though we were quite enjoying it up to this point. The floor was abysmal but there were few dancing and mostly they were trying new things or teaching on the floor. But because there was room we just danced past.

Someone came and started arranging chairs at the back of the dance floor and left a guitar there. We thought we would have live tango but the chairs were moved to the front and everyone got off the floor. The guitarists were good to be fair and if they had allowed it we would have enjoyed dancing to their milongas, but they did not allow us room and never said we could dance.

So we sat there getting hungry. There was food on so I went for a menu, there was quite a choice, so when we decided I went to order. The guy at the kitchen said we could not have this food, it was the delivery menu and took me back to the bar and gave me the menu from the bar. Now I know I am just a stupid extranjero, but apart from the prices which were slightly dearer but did not include the delivery charge, I could see no difference. So we sat with the new menu but no one came to take our order, but we did notice that it said at the top that non of our food contains meat. After last nights vegetarian meal we thought better of it and just went hungry.

At this point the guitarists had stopped and the folk singers had taken over, suddenly we were transported back to 1975 and the Mucky Duck folk club. Viv was now in fits of laughter, she would have been able to contain herself but then they started reading poetry, in spanish, of course. Now Viv was close to wetting herself, tears were running down her face and her nose was running. Everyone else in the room looked deadly serious.

Already we had offended looks from locals, some had left in disgust. It was time to leave before we were thrown out and possibly acosted in some dark alley for failing to show respect for something we did not understand.

So if you want to dance tango whatever your style, I suggest you try somewhere else. I do not know what you would call La Catedral but whatever you call it, don’t call it a milonga.


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