Tag Archives: Plaza Bohemia

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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Callao

For gringos pronounced Cash ow.

What I love about this city is that despite having come here eight times now, it still has the capacity to make me stand back and say wow! and surprise me.

Early risers today we were out the flat by eleven, Viv had even been out to  5aSec for the laundry.

We walked down to Scalabrini y Santa Fe where there was a shop she wanted to look in, unfortunately there was nothing there she wanted, and so as always at times like this we went for a coffee. Viv remembered she was supposed to be going shopping with Janis, so we phoned to cancel. The weather was improving and I think winter coats were the last thing on her mind.

We caught the subte at Scalabrini and got off at Callao. We were looking for El Ateneo, but were on the wrong street, there is a beautiful building just two blocks from the subte on Cordoba , someone asked us what it was, we just said  “no se”. Anyone know what it is?, it looked like some sort of university or technical school.

We walked down Callao and turned into Santa Fe just up from the corner was the entrance to El Ateneo. What we saw is hard to describe, it is an old theatre which is now a book shop. They have not destroyed the interior, only removed some walls, so that as you walk in you are confronted with the auditorium and as you pass into it you are surrounded by all the balconies and boxes. The stage area is set out as a cafe with the stage lighting still in place. In the centre of the stalls is an escalator down to the pits where the children’s section is. We stood in the middle and just said “wow” No photos could do this justice, it is simply the one place any visitor should see. The Guardian did a survey of all the worlds book shops and this was voted second best in the world, the best I have GOT to see.

Unlike so many old buildings the whole character has been maintained. It has a whole new life, but all it’s former glory is maintained.

We walked back along  Callao as we wanted to look in some other record shops before we decide what music to bring home.

Isee they have a new way of employing people here; there is a whole army of people putting posters on lampposts. So what is so different? well they also have another army following with buckets and scrapers cleaning them off again.

Along the way it is worth looking up to see the beautiful sky line, and the many copulas that still survive.

Gloria Garcia again welcomed us to Plaza Bohemia, sadly the numbers were very down. This was a shame because we were treated to a wonderful session from the Tango singer Luis DeRosa, I think Gloria kept him singing to liven up the evening, but we enjoyed it no end.

Luis DeRosa

Luis DeRosa

We had a short chat with him afterwards and like many he was surprised to meet tango dancers from Wales. I tried to explain as best I could how hard it is to find tango in Wales and how much we have to travel. (that is why I am a Frustrated milonguero)

I had a bus route worked out for the way home, but when we saw the bus we needed disappear, well there were so many taxis.

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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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Smoking BsAs style

Plans for today were again thrown into turmoil, as Philippe turned up this morning. Not that I am complaining, I am glad to see him and it gave us some time to catch up on what has been happening to my apartment while we were away. So we were later than expected picking up the new bedside tables and plans to do something touristy are again on hold.

Last night we made a return to Plaza Bohemia, and as always we were greeted like long lost family by Gloria Garcia, I think that this is what probably differentiates between the Milongas we like and those we do not, in the ones we like we are always welcomed whereas in some others everyone (it is not just about us) is treated like just another punter.

As we were settling in Carol from Leeds turned up, funny how we almost never see her when we are at home, but somehow manage to meet regularly here at Maipu 444. Unfortunately she was not stopping, she just called in to say hello to Gloria, so we never got a dance.

Not many people here tonight so we had room to move and practice a few things. We were very impressed with a young couple who were there, no fancy moves, no ganchos, just basic salon tango beautifully executed. Now some will say that I am an old misery, because they see dancers who look good and can do all sorts of things I cannot, and yet I am not in the least impressed. Well here were dancers who impressed me, and proved beyond doubt that to look good there is no need to be an Olympic athlete (though no doubt they were fit) they just chose not to dominate the floor with flying legs.

We had two birthdays as well, a man and a woman. Feeling braver than last time I took my turn dancing with the lady. I had more than my share though, as the guy who got up to dance after me went over to the man who’s birthday it was and tried to take his partner,causing confusion, so again I finished the dance with the birthday girl.

Now as some may already know smoking is not allowed n the Milongas any more, neither is it allowed on the stairs up to the dance hall, but this is Argentina, so you must fight your way through a haze to reach the dance. But the thing that amused me the most was a sign in the milonga, that said not to put your cigarettes out on the carpet. Did I say, all the floors here are a beautiful parque? there is no carpet.

Another anomaly is the taxi’s, taxistas cannot smoke when they have passengers. This does not seem to stop them filling the car with smoke before you get in though. TIA this is Argentina.

Sorry I forgot to add, thanks for the cake.

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