Tag Archives: Porteno y Bailerin

Easy Day

A trip to Easy was on the cards today. We got most things we were after, but I am afraid we did not get picture hooks. Here they use a sort of bent nail not the ingenious little hooks we have a home. As I have said before everything is different here, some things better, some worse. I am afraid the picture hooks goes into the worse category.
On the way back we stopped at the local Chinky supermarket and they cut us two nice slices of steak.. Only $40 bargain I say that is £2 at the blue rate.
I spent the day painting again and Viv tried polishing the furniture. Trouble was the furniture polish was so much water it just would not recover the shine.
So when I had finished the wall I popped across to the Chinky again and bought some hard wax. It was still only petroleum wax though, you would think that they did not have bees here.
Well that’s it, only the white left to paint, the curtains are up again, and my aircon cable is nicely clipped up. (They have the same cable clips that we have at home, but they size them differently).
Now about that steak, delicious.
Its Carole V W’s birthday so we are missing Fulgor tonight and are off to Porteño y Bailerin. No subte after six so we will walk as it is not that far.
The waitress in Porteño was the most surly we have ever come across, she was not happy with my miserable tip, and she was not happy that Carole had bought us Champagne. Most of all she was not happy that she had to keep coming to serve us, I think she should look for another career.
We are not used to these late milongas and were feeling the strain by the time they cut the cake. We made our excuses to Carole and just as we were about to leave all the characters arrived. There was Jorge, his brother Danny, Andres, and many others. We had to greet each one before we left.
So with champagne inside me we tottered off and caught a 26 collective home.


Filed under Argentina, Tango

You can get a mirror made quicker than a meal.

A day for wandering the streets, we had a huge shopping list and wanted finally to meet up with Walk Jive Fly Mark.

So we set off for Palermo texting as I went. We arranged to meet up at two thirty, so had all day to shop. We were looking for some alfajores for a friend, but Havana was too expensive although we did have a medialuna there.

We wandered down Scalabrini and eventually came upon a fereteria that had some nice hooks for our curtain tiebacks and I learnt a new spanish word “tarugo” it means wall plug, very useful to know. Down all the way to Santa Fe and no luck, we even went to a shop we knew well but we got nothing we needed.

We walked back up Armenia, nothing really grabbed us so we settled for a meeting and coffee. We were, as always early but it meant I could tell Mark the cafe was called Crack Up (very spanish) 4771 Costa Rica. We had apple pie there a couple of days ago and it so “rico” but today they had non, so we had to make do with escones (scones). We spent nearly three hours there talking, at home they would throw you out, taking that long over coffee, but here they don’t seem to mind. Now I know a bit more than there is in his blog, I envy people who can just leave everything and travel, I am too hooked on security. He passed all my tests and I can tell he really does read this (must be careful what I say then). As we left I noticed a new crumble de manzana just out of the oven, just our luck.

After we left it was getting late, so we headed towards Estado de Isreal meaning to cut down Guardia Vieja to the glass man. Unfortunately Jumbo got in the way(no not elephant, the supermarket) and Viv saw an oportunity to make up for the lost day. We did not get a shower curtain there as she had intended. But we did find some bowls that we were short of (not on our list) and the alfajores and dulche de leche (which were) some bread for tea and sultanas for my breakfast. So all in all the day was not lost, but gone six it was too late for the glass man.

We walked down Guardia Vieja and when we came to Acuna de Figueroa behold the glass man was still open. We walked in and measured and deliberated,  but the man said all these mirrors were for display we should tell him what we wanted. I told him our sizes and he gave me a price $178 but he was not happy about the holes. After him showing me some other fixings we decided against the holes and even with the brackets it was only $145 (less than£30) he had said manana but now he said less than two hours, Viv said a meal takes longer than that here. I don’t want it today so will pick it up tomorrow. While all this went on a crowd had appeared either to buy glass or to hear the locos extranjeros trying to buy an espejo, I don’t know which, but I do know the service I got was exceptional, and the entertainment they got was pretty good too.

This being Tuesday we are off again to Porteno y Bailarin. Janis has said she will meet us there tonight. So as well as the excellent music we had some company as well, and we now get a friendly greeting from the organiser. As always here there is some dancing that falls short of great, I used to think it was just touristas but they are in short supply this time of year. This seems to be the place for teachers to show off to their students, so we get some big dancing that does not fit a small floor, but my defensive dancing is improving. Never the less when one guy decided he was travelling backwards about three yards there was little I could do, still that was my only serious collision of the night.

El Flaco Dani was here tonight, they are all friends of Janis and she introduced us, I told him how much I enjoyed his brothers dancing and his. Again though he did not dance, doctors orders for a milonguero can be a real burden. I do hope he is dancing again soon.

Janis was trying to establish what was our criteria for a good milonga, in truth, I don’t think we have one. Sometimes when you try to put something into words the right words don’t come. But I will try: The music is absolutely essential, play rubbish and there is no desire to dance. That said there are not many poor DJ’s here though some are truly great. A friendly atmosphere, at some of our favourites we are greeted as old friends when we walk in, just knowing you are welcome and not just another punter can make the night. Room to dance, and this does not necessarily mean a big or uncrowded floor, in Fulgor the floor is small and crowded, but you are not hastled by people trying to push you out-of-the-way, people respect your space and generally will only move if there is room to do so. Then sometimes it is just a great night for which I have no explanation, when I know I will probably do my own milonga, because few really know the secret of happiness.

When it was time to leave, we walked Janis to her bus stop, and she seemed concerned that we would walk, we actually enjoy the walk now and every time we learn more about this city. Tonight, for instance we found a bar we had never seen before across the road from us. Obviously only open at night had we taken a taxi we would have missed it.

On the subject of taxis our route up Lavalle would have cost us about $12 so my savings were wiped out when Viv got her chocolate urge and that cost me $14 that is seriously expensive chocolate even for home, had they not been price marked I would have though it was tourist pricing. It was nice though!

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El casa del queso

One of the great advantages of walking everywhere is that you get to discover new and exciting places. Yesterday when walking back from El Centro we found a place called El Casa Del Queso, it looked a great place to eat and very Spanish. There were hams hanging everywhere and of course soo much cheese.

When Roger phoned me first thing and said “it is mad down here, can we meet up your end for lunch” I immediately thought of the place we had seen yesterday. As always happens we had a load of problems before and arrived five minutes late. Roger had arrived early and Mirta, unable to contain herself, had already started eating

We had another long leisurely lunch, still so much to catch up on. The food was wonderful Viv enjoyed lentejas and I had one of the menus with ravioli a plate full of cheese for starters and we enjoyed some iced cream after. They had intended to watch the parade tonight, so we told them we would be in Porteno y Bailerin if they decided to come out later.

I had intended to go to Maipu 444 but when Roger described the crowds we decided it would be safer out of town. During the dat the crowds had grown even greater, the television estimated that there were two million people on the streets, not an over estimate by any means. Roger phoned to say he would not risk it and would definitely be at Porteno.

Janis had posted a link to the TV channel showing the events, so while I got ready we watched Christine’s speech and most of the parade. I would have been surprised if we had got to see anything had we gone to 9de Julio.

Now into this walking lark, we decided to walk down tonight, suspecting that the subte would be almost unusable. Once past Abasto the crowds were already thickening, and the last few blocks it was a fight against a torrent of bodies. It was hard to see how Roger would manage, but at least he was with the direction of flow, even though he would be much more in the thick of it.

He did get there, if late, and looking the worse for his struggles. Mirta was not allowing him to rest though. A vals came on as she entered and she immediately dragged him up.

As always here we had to have a demo. I am not easily impressed as I have seen so many, but this couple were good and at least he did not try to get her to hit the ceiling. Of course it was showed up, but basically good tango.

As always it was full of teachers (not always good ones) who had brought their high paying foreign students. So there was a lot of showing off on the floor but the bicentennial celebrations had limited my choices and we had Roger and Mirta for company.

We walked home as well, enjoying some Cadbury’s chocolate on the way. It is going to be a long sleep tonight.

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B&Q Argentine style

I come halfway around the world and I end up in B&Q, OK it is not actually B&Q it is a large store they call Easy. It is much like our Do It Yourself stores but with a bit more attitude. Every thing you could get at home is here but also they have hot water tanks and even thirty mill steam pipe what you can’t get here isn’t worth having. Except, just like B&Q when I wanted a three metre curtain pole it caused no end of headaches, now these are only available in 3/4″, why 3/4″ why not metric? Three metres of three-quarter inch pole, very nineteen seventies UK. They had 5/8″ supports 1″ finials wooden poles in metric sizes and complete poles without finials in 7/8″. We stood around for half an hour not able to find anything we wanted, no 3/4″ supports nor finials, so in the end gave up and decided to go back and take some more measurements. Viv said “Typical Argentina” but I pointed out it is typical DIY store, we have had exactly the same problems in B&Q UK.

Our kitchen has a ledge that really needs tiling so we went to find some tiles, this time with more success, although typically one pack was half a tile short of enough, we had to buy a whole pack for the extra half tile. The next problem was to find adhesive, nothing here of course that said adhesive or even adheviso, there was something called mortero with the tiles so I assumed that this was what I wanted and bought it anyway.

The tiles were mosaics held together with mesh and I had my doubts as I tried to stick them in place, well it is not perfect but Viv seems happy with it and at least the cups do not fall over. So when we have cleaned up it will be back to Easy for another try at the curtain pole, this is turning into a real DIY holiday.

Phillippe had visited in the morning, telling me he could borrow a drill, so this spurred us on to replace the curtain pole, but just like the lights so long ago, we set out for one thing and came back with another. He took us onto the roof to show us that they had repaired the Jacuzzi, while there I asked why do we have a lock on the roof door, he said in case anyone got onto the roof they could get into the building. So in utter astonishment I patrolled the perimeter, fifty yards away is a tall block of flats, I suppose spider man could get over. There may be a person in the world who can scale a twenty odd metre sheer concrete building, but personally I think it is paranoia in extremis.

We had intended to go to El Arranque today, but with all the DIY it got too late, so we had a nap and took the subte down to Porteno y Bailarin instead. I am not sure why, but this is not one of my favourites. I no longer find the small floor intimidating and they are friendly enough, maybe it is the one or two posuers that get in here or the way the tables are cluttered together, probably though it is just personal preference. Anyway it is not a bad venue and it has the back floor for beginners to practice on. Maybe that is the main problem; Viv wants to hide away round the back and I like to navigate around the clusters of dancers. They say opposites attract and we still disagree on just about everything.

We still managed three hours of dancing, and saw a lot of the same faces that we have been seeing all week. I would not want to put anyone off this place, I guess with so many places to choose, I am starting to get fussy. Anyway it was nice to just nod “hello” and be recognised.

When we had danced ourselves out, I addopted my usual taxi stratagy again, and we arrived back home with little fuss.

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El Arranque

We usually go to Porteno y Bailerin on a Tuesday only because we could find nothing better, but on Janis’s recommendation we thought we would try El Arranque at Nuevo Salon de Argentina.

It starts at three and although Janis recommended we went at six, we had nothing else planned, so we arrived almost the first. After the subte journey Viv was ready for a coffee, so we just sat and relaxed for half an hour drank our coffee and listened to the music.

There is a large floor here,a lot of seating, and a stage. We assumed that on other days there is a show on here, but today there are just us dancers. The floor is tiled and not very forgiving, so we danced every other tanda, unless of course there was a milonga playing.

There were of course very few people there when we arrived  but the crowd soon built up. Viv noticed that there were a number of ladies changing their shoes in the ladies room. What I find strange is that we have been here eight times and nobody metioned this before, we were even told at Fulgor last night to change in the toilets. I don’t for one minute think this is new, just maybe they are starting to realise that by pandering to the touristas they are in danger of destroying the things that they all come for. Something else I noticed though, there were a lot of ganchos going on on the floor and some quite fancy footwork, will the same realisation come to the social side of the dance?

We are new here and aroused some curiosity, one or two people asked where we were from and as usual there is always an expert ready to offer advice. I do stoop when I am not concentrating, but then so do a lot of the locals, and nobody goes over to their tables and tells them. Still it made me stand better for a while.

The nice thing about going early was that we could leave and go for a meal, not something that is possible at two or three in the morning, even here. We have a favourite artisanal restaurant called 1810, not only is the food excellent, but it is very cheap.

To get there we had to take the subte back, this time on the D line the one we used to use a lot. Rush hour comes much later in Buenos Aires, as we found to our cost.  When we tried to get on, it was packed, but the crowd behind us made sure we got through the door. There was literallyno room to move. You could not hang from the straps, as you could not lift your arms. At the next station about three people got of our carriage, but no room to move about a dozen got on. This was repeated at every station, five stops to where we got off, and we were ejaculated, like a burst blister, crying “permisso, permisso” oh the feeling of reliefas we stepped onto the platform.

1810 has, in my opinion, the best empanadas in Buenos Aires. Not something we usually eat (too much fatty pastry) but these were short and light so we had two each, followed by a sort of local stew, called carbonada, and Viv had lentils (lentajes)again. After this a nice walk home and early night.

Anyone seeking 1810 it is on Julien Alverez y Guatamala.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

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.


Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga