Tag Archives: Quilmes

Last Beso

I watched Hoy Milonga all morning, there was no sign that El Beso would be closed and several people on Facebook said it was re opened, so off we went. As we approached there was a crowd outside and I could still see the red notice on the door. We stood by Paloma and Hubert and asked if they knew what was going on. They said that everyone was in the cultural centre next door, which did not actually answer my question.  It was not unpleasant to stand there but I wondered why we were. I asked Diago (the organizer) he said we were waiting for an official to remove the notice, the official had apparently left the office at two. It was now gone four. At a quarter past a woman came and removed the notice and everyone clapped. Only in Argentina do the applaud officials doing their job.

There were a lot of ladies so Viv had a hard time, but for me it meant I had a chance to dance with some I have never danced with including Julia the organizer at Sueño Porteño. I enjoyed that until a guy took back steps as I was turning, fortunately Julia was not the recipient of a four inch heel. She was not happy though so I maneuvered Diago between us.

As I said it was not the best for Viv and she had enough by seven. Pity I was hoping to dance both Cumparsitas. While she was changing I had many ladies to say goodbye to, I’m afraid I may not have reached them all.

On the way home we stopped off at the new bread shop on Corrientes for some bread and medialunas to keep us going.  Then, of course, it was the chino for some Quilmes Stout.

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There’s a car stuck in your window

As the heat is getting to me I decided to get rid of some of my loft insulation, my usual hairdresser was closed so I risked the one Philippe uses. It must be because he always tries to get a bargain that he ends up with the Lionel Blair cut, my wasn’t at all bad.

Now going to our favourite dietetica I approached it from the other direction. Imagine my shock as all the front of the building was stoved in. There were bits of car everywhere and the shutters were down. On paper across the front was written “Abierto” so I walked to the side entrance. A good trick to get your ear in is to ask a question that you already know the answer to “Que paso?” I asked “Un auto choca, pero no pasa nada” No Pasa Nada! you have to love em, I would have been furious. “Estan locos” I said “si” she replied.

Car drivers here really are nuts, from the direction of all the debris I assume that the car was trying to beat someone across the junction towards Corrientes and another set of lights. So instead of twenty seconds more at the next set of lights, they probably ended up in hospital and definitely car less.

Philippe came around with Walter, it seems he needs some sort of contract to get the money back from his divorce settlement.  We had an hour or so just chatting then they were off again.

We went out for a walk, to buy a few things and then stopped at a bar. I should know by now not to use bars on Corrientes but, it seems, I never learn. No black beer so we just had coffee and medialunas. The bill came to 128$ar, that is £6.50 Chester prices. The difference when we are talking about coffees is small I suppose but still, more than £2 more than I would pay at El Revolutionario is just taking the mick.

I will just have to buy a bottle of Quilmes Stout at the chino. I could have bought three for the cost of that coffee, and brewed my own coffee for almost nothing.


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Help at the Bank

I set out early this morning, well early for me anyway. So I was at the bank by 9:30, the trouble was, nobody else was there. Never the less the machine seemed to be working, so I set about trying to pay my expensas. After three attempts I seemed to have reached some sort of result, then it said “come back later”. So that was it then.

I stopped off at Farmacity on my way back to try the scales. I fully expected a good weight loss, as we have hardly eaten anything. Imagine my shock when I find I have put on half a kilo. Must have been Philippe’s cooking last night. Viv says all the exercise means that I have put on bulk. Hm, well I am not going to kid myself.

After a due wait I set out again. First stop was the feretaria across the road. I had bought some staples here and they would not fit my gun. The guy insisted the problem was my gun and absolutely refused to give me my money back. His staples were fine, but so is my gun, just different sizes. I left annoyed, but there is a fereteria on every corner here and I often buy tools and other hardware. He needs me more than I need him.

I set off for the bank again, in low spirit. The omens were not good. For once there was almost no queue and the two machines were on, but there was a problem. I don’t know what it was but a man from the bank was attending one of the machines. I got to the other and proceeded  along the lines I had followed earlier. Then “come back later” so I did it again, same result. They have been very unhelpful up to now,  but hope springs eternal, I asked the man for help. For once I got, not only the help I needed but in a way that should help in the future. It seems I need to make a deposit, not pay a bill, if you don’t know, you just cannot fathom it.

Afterwards I did have to chase around for a pen, but some quick notes are hopefully going to help next month. Watch this space.

We had some bad news today; after 17 years El Arranque is to close on 25th February. It is the talk of the day, it will be a very sad day when it finishes.

Of down to El Beso again today, on the way down we were entertained by some Eric Clapton music, played live. I don’t think Eric has anything to worry about from this guy. People were still clapping and giving him money though. I just wish the sheriff had shot him first.

El Abrazo is turning into a right good milonga. The down side was that as we came in there was a tanda of DeAngelis I had to sit through some of my favourite vals tracks before I was ready to dance. I think Viv only missed one tanda and apart from one I missed through sheer exhaustion I also danced them all. I even got another dance with the cat lady, things are looking up.

If I could advise my younger self of anything, it would be to learn tango. I know that I am no Richard Gere but now I dance I have the women falling at my feet, one woman keeps telling me I have beautiful eyes. Now I know that is rubbish, if I could change one thing about my appearance it would be my eyes. If you think that all sounds arrogant, remember it is the dancing not me they are after, and they flatter me hoping I will come back to them.

At about seven there was a Chacarera and I danced it with Viv, after that Mario played some electronic rubbish. We decided it was time to go, after I had changed my shoes and kissed everyone goodbye Mario played Café Dominguez. It was my turn to say “you are a bad man” he could have put almost any other track on, but this was just unfair.

Another bad trip home on the subte; when the train stopped at Pueyrredon there was some sort of alarm then we saw a doctor run past. We knew he was a doctor because he had a stethoscope. The doors stayed open and the train was going nowhere. I decided that as it was only Pueyrredon we should walk. Viv was surprised how quickly we reached The Abasto, so while we were here we went to see if Philippe’s favourite restaurant El Rey was still there. Good job we did they are away on vacation until 15th.

The rain held off until we got back so we stopped off at the chino for some hot bread, yummy. Nice with some Quilmes Stout.


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La Bruja

We went to Palermo today to watch the 6 Nations Rugby at Sullivan’s Bar. I have managed to crack the freeview here, but Wales were playing so I was off to fly the flag. It looked a bit dodgy first half but there was a guy from Cardiff, he said that the Italians get tired. He was right, their only try was in the first half and we beat them 33 – 7.

It started hammering down again, but I said not to worry, in Buenos Aires it rains like it means it, but only for a short while. Shure enough, when the Rugby was over, the weather cleared.

Afterwards we met Pericles. He always eats on the run, so he ate there while we chatted. It was good to catch up, we never met up last year. Soon though he was off again, another appointment. Always in a hurry, I am glad he has time down in El Bolson to unwind.

Sunday night is Club Fulgor night. So we set off into the night air, being in an apartment on the second floor sort of detaches you from the weather and I was caught off guard when we went out. No jacket or jumper and it was hace frio. Not that bad until the wind blew, it felt Baltic compared with what we have become used to.

Last week the numbers were down because it was hot, tonight they were down because it was cold. It is just like a social club at home.

There is a Track by Juan D’Arienzo called La Bruja (The Witch) I sort of dedicated it to Vivs Mother. She used to have dreams and predict things so my Father in law always called her The Witch. So for me it has stuck. Anyway they played it tonight and I think that I am now going to have to dedicate it to Viv she seems to have taken over from her mother. There is an Indian looking couple who come to Fulgor, Viv said we have not seen them this year and just like that they arrived. Then she started about the blond lady who sits with Norma, also not seen this year and again, just like magic, she appeared. There’s definitely Welsh magic in her blood.

Also there tonight were some from Tango X. A tall couple who we have seen before, they remembered us and came over to say hello. They dance very elegantly, nothing fancy just great poise. I watch them and try to analyze what makes them good dancers, they are not what we call “Moves People” they just move well.

I think Bebe is in trouble; when “The tropical” came on she dragged Viv up to dance. Now Viv was never one for Jiggy Jiggy as she calls it so it is good that someone can get her up. Mariana was not happy though, she came to me saying that there are tree women who could dance with me. Then when I got Bebe up to tango at ten thirty (The place starts emptying before eleven) a couple arrived wanting to pay their entrance. I apologized to Mariana which she dismissed but she gave Bebe such a look.

The thing is; when I run a milonga, I try to dance with everyone, but this is not my milonga. I dance with the women who make me happy, the women who appreciate me and who I want to dance with. Mariana is Bebe’s boss here tonight, but I will be most annoyed if I find that any sort of sanction is imposed because of what I choose to do.

I danced with Norma, as always, but the blond lady was sniffy with me when there were loads of men here, I don’t see why I should dance with her now just because there are no others to choose from or the other men here will not split from their partners.

Despite my rant I had a really good night again at Fulgor and the black beer was excellent.


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Another El Arranque Saturday. Erwin (The DJ) excelled, I really intended not to dance every tanda, but the great music just kept coming.

Reports from Viv is that she only missed just one tanda. It is getting so that we look forward to the cumbia, just so that we can have a rest.

Las borrachas both gave me two dances, and a few others did the same. There are still one or two ladies that I cannot crack, but I am sure my time will come. Time was that here I struggled and so did Viv, it’s a good feeling not having to sit out.

We eat out on a Saturday, today we are heading for 1810. Traditional Tucaman food served in the heart of Palermo. Another adventure, we took the subte and changed at Puerradon onto the H line. This was a leap of faith, as last year we could not get from the H line onto the D line as the station had not been built. We need not have worried, it all went smoothly and we soon arrived at Bulnes station.

The prices have risen quite a lot here at 1810, particularly the beer. 50$ar for a porron of stout, that is £2.50 for a third of a litre . So we did not go mad. We did however enjoy some excellent empanadas and a rather fine salad followed by coffee. We have been coming here since 2008 and this is the first time that they have served coffee. It is also the first time we have been here on a Saturday night and there has not been a queue waiting for tables. In fact only two other tables were occupied. The high prices are starting to hit.

We stopped off on the way home for our pudding, dark chocolate ice cream. They still think we are strange buying a quarter kilo of just one flavor, the locals mix them all up.

Then called in the chino for some proper beer, a litre of Quilmes stout. Knackered as I am, it will still help me sleep.

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Careful what you buy here

Off to El Beso again today. For some reason I was not looking forward to it, I guess it is all catching up with me. Never the less we sat seperado, we were made to feel very welcome by Diego and then by Zoraida and in no time I was up dancing. I soon forgot my depressed feelings and had a great time.

Viv again danced almost every tanda and she would not leave until she had danced with Ron Dennis (not the real one, just looks like him). There were many women I had danced with before, but somehow I struggled to break through with any new ones. The Cat woman, who danced with me last week blanked me again today. I guess last week was a one off.

One lady came over to talk with me, who I have not seen before. I danced two dances with her, she seemed impressed. Las borrachas were there, they gave me some good dances, if a little noisy. I have an open invite over to Sweden now, although I am unsure if I can manage it this year.

I managed to get Viv to do the Chacarera with me. She seems reluctant these days for some reason. Maria filmed us on her camcorder I look forward to seeing it. If it is available I may post it here as well.

I think Mario is loosing it: last week he played the same track twice, this week he did a three track milonga tanda, then a Cortina then another milonga. Not what you expect from a professional. Perhaps it is the strain of doing two venues a day.

I checked the price list for this place; a bottle of Quilmes stout was 168$ar that is exactly four times the supermarket price. You expect some mark up but that is just daylight robbery. I must check in future before I order, normally I don’t bother, but this set bells ringing.

Stopped off for a bottle of Quilmes Stout at the local chino 42$ar. Tastes just as good in our flat.

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Ivory tower

It’s a strange life. We were up early today and as we peer from our balcony we can see all the people heading off to work, school etc. I wonder where they are all going and what their days will hold. We are in a sort of ivory tower here, the world flows by and does not touch us.

More shopping again later and more letter posting. At home we take the car and do a big shop once a week. Here that cannot work, but we are rewarded with constant fresh food.

Nuevo Chique again today. The numbers seem down at first, but pick up until there is barely room to dance. The slightly odd attendance means that many of Vivs favourite partners are missing and I struggle to keep her there. I dance more tandas with her than usual. I am OK with that but I am not sure she is.

Even our coffee stop did not meet expectations. There are hundreds of places to choose maybe will choose another on Thursday.

Evening meal on the balcony again, Viv’s magic plus Quilmes Crystal a litre for just over a pound, you can’t beat  it.


We are back on our ivory tower again, watching the world go by. Some drunks are struggling across the street. Three colectivos are trying to get through the lights and someone has their television on and the windows open. Just another night in Almagro.

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Feels like my birthday

Saturday so I wanted to go to Parque Centanario again. I wanted some phone cable and perhaps a phone. Instead the guitar man was there. I just had to have it, no choice, it was calling to me. Viv has promised too pay for it when we get back as a late birthday present.
It may be small, but it is perfectly formed and it fits in our personal box. He even threw in a bag for it.
We thought that we would forsake El Arranque today, as there is a tango class followed by a singer at The Carlos Gardel house. We had not written the time down and found we had only ten minutes left when we arrived and we would have to wait an hour for the singer. Not only was the class very basic (as we had expected) but the guy was trying to get us to open out to do more moves. I was not about to argue, but it just is not our style.
We were not going to wait around for an hour so we left for El Arranque. The 168 was stopped on the corner when we arrived, so we risked the traffic and managed to catch it.
It was so crowded I could not see where we were and managed to get off a stop early again. Still three more blocks is not a big deal in the great scheme of things.
Outside El Arranque we met Jongwoo who was surprised we were going in, he was on his way to Ideal. This is only one block from his place so we persuaded him to give it a try.
There was quite a crowd today, but we hardly missed a tanda and for once we stayed right to the end. I have a few ladies that I dance with regularly and they sit often together. While dancing with one she said she had a present for me, some pastries from El Americana, for Viv and I. Then another of the ladies gave me a book, sort of teenage fiction, easy reading for extranjeros. I said it felt like my birthday.
As we had stayed right to the end there was nothing for it but a pizza and Quilmes. La Americana was also packed and we struggled to get a table. After we were sated we set off for home.
We saw a 151 stopped at the lights, but there was no way he was going to let us on. So we waited at the stop, then a 90 came. It is only 10 yards to the stop but he also was not going to let us on, he took off on full boost.
Eventually we caught another 90. It also was packed to the gunnels and just behind it came an empty 151. Sods law.
Seems I was wrong, the murga madness is not over, so the bus turned off again before Corrientes.
When it stopped we struggled to get off. Some stupid girl was stood in the doorway with her Iphone. I shouted permiso twice, then had to physically throw her out of the way and jam my arms in the door to stop it closing. What is it with the youth of today and technology.
It looks like they have rebuilt the stage on Corrientes again, and all the madness has returned.

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We had a few jobs today before our class so we set off down Corrientes.
First stop El Correo, to pay the electric bill. First problem “No Hay Luz” the post office had a power cut.
Never mind we carried on towards the HSBC where Viv wanted t draw some money. Her card was not allowed in this machine. Knowing how Argentina works we tried again with a lower amount, same response. You would not mind so much but this is, after all, our bank.
We crossed the road to the Abasto Centre, I know that they have Link machines upstairs.
We got the same response, and some annoyed customers who were waiting for us to finish. I responded “Es su loco pais, no quiro mis dinero”
Any way further up the road we found a Banco Francais. First machine had no money, second machine gave the same response. We tried for $300 and finally got some money. Viv said “What am I supposed to do with just $15?” Makes you wonder.
We wandered on and at last managed to buy a tray to fit under the drainer, Viv has been looking since we arrived. That’s one job out of the way.
So we decided to stop in La Reina and try again. “Quarto kilo escones de Queso” I ventured. Then I pointed to the cheese straws and asked “Quarto kilo por favor”. To my horror she put them in the same bag, and then I realised, again I had just four of each. “No quarto Kilo” I said. She put them back and re-weighed. At last I had what I wanted, and with a couple of empanadas for lunch we were done.
Well the class went well again, we left and walked towards Callao. On the way we stopped for ice cream. More confusion as I asked for chocolate with peanuts for Viv and Duche de Leche with brownies for me. What I got was one cone with both flavours. Nothing for it but to order another. A, no two, mountains of ice cream for a couple of quid.
We were walking to El Ateneo but by the time we got there we were positively covered in ice cream. It took some cleaning up before we dared to enter a book shop.
You would think that the amount of English speakers there are here that we would have no trouble finding a Spanish English dictionary, but there was non here. German, yes, Cantonese, dozens. Every language you could think of but no English.
We had seen a fascinating building from the collective on Monday, so as we were passing we thought we would take a look. Palacio Sarmiento is the ministry of culture and education. Beautiful building and worthy of the man who brought education to the masses here.
The search for a dictionary continued, we tried four more shops without success, but the last one did tell us to go to Cordoba y Parana, but it was out of our way so it will have to do another day.
I did manage to get Viv some glasses though, in Callao subte station. The guy was very helpful and we even got a case. Perhaps Viv can now manage with my pocket dictionary.
Time to rest and lick our wounds, then we are off out to meet Perry for a meal.
As usual chaos reigned, all my fault We were at Mochica we should have been at Mamami. We sat drinking our stout wondering where Perry had got to. I did not have Pericles phone number in my new sim card and I guessed he did not have my new number either. When all hope was lost I thought of checking my wallet, and found a business card. Then it all became clear. He was waiting where he had said and we were in the wrong restaurant.
Ten minutes later Pericles arrived. We ordered the pollo a la brassa, and another Quilmes stout.
We got a full update on Pericles business activities and we gave him an update on our apartment. We now have a number of mutual friends, so we talked for hours.
When we left Perry showed us a sandwich bar that we had seen before but had not yet been in. Turns out it is run by a Londoner by the name of Stuart. We promised to come and eat there some time.
The stout was now starting to kick in so it was time for bed.


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Marking territory

Another fine sunny day and so we set off to do some errands before the milonga. First job was to get rid of some old clothes, so we headed off towards the ferria Americana on Lavalle. Funny how the mid plays tricks, I thought it was behind the Abasto, but in fact it was a block past.
All my negotiating skills were wasted as Viv found a pair of Havianas outside. We ended up swapping the clothes for a pair of flip flops. Well it was OK in a way havianas are about £20 at home and these clothes had cost only about £10 in a charity shop.
When we got back, we saw we had been caught in a marketing ploy. Not Havianas, but Hawaianas. You have to laugh though.
Our foraging continued, although it is hard to stay focussed when I have to drag Viv out of every clothes and shoe shop. It’s like walking a dog on a street full of lamp posts.
We were hoping to find a couple of pieces for the flat, but we are quite specific and it was not happening today. There is a carpenter around the corner, I may well commission him to make me something later.
On our way down Palestini we came across a crowd of youngsters in various states of undress and covered with paint, obviously having a good time, but we had no idea why. I asked a guy in a shop we stopped at, apparently they had just graduated as doctors.
So we set out to buy a shoe cupboard and extra storage for the wardrobe and came back with a pair of imitation flip flops, some baby oil and face pads. Oh! and some food, which is important. Viv has marked her territory though (If she reads this dog analogy, she may well kill me).

Another evening at Nuevo Chique and we are both now getting more successful. Not many missed tandas for either of us, so we caught our 151 home very tired and hungry. We were not amused when it did nit stop at our apartment and we had to walk back from Cordoba.
Too late and too hungry we decided to visit Guarda la vieja again. Tonight though there was live music in the street and they were queuing outside. There was no chance of us waiting here, I would probably eat Viv before we got any food. So we walked back towards our apartment.
Now it is very unlike us to be in the right place at the right time, but our property purchase has hit the mark. This area is definitely on the up. There are now bars and restaurants all along the road, so we stopped at one on the next block.
We had empanadas and nachos with cheddar. You would expect melted cheddar on the nachos but TIA what we got was a bowl of melted cheese to dip into, a sort of nacho fondue. Plus of course a litre bottle of Quilmes stout for $50. ( I am not going to mention Gratto again honest).

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