Tag Archives: Sarmiento

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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Filed under Argentina, Tango

Cucaracha man

The doorbell  was ringing very early, Viv said “you will have to answer it, I don’t speak Spanish” When I opened the door there was no one there. Down the corridor was Senor Matacucarachas with his killerspray. “Fumigacion” he said, “enterior?”  I said and he confirmed. So we hurriedly put on some clothes and I left the door ajar. After half an hour he had not called back and the corridor lights were out. I closed the door. We hung around for ages but he never returned, I guess our cucarachas are reprieved.

The CD hunt continues, so we thought we would give Euro records, as suggested by Jantango, a try. Viv wanted some more exercise after her day in yesterday so we elected to walk down Lavalle. The wholesale goods on this street always amuse, there is a shop just selling balloons another selling party hats and a whole block of just mannequins. The naked fat guy staring out of one window is a constant source of ribald humor.

Eventually we got to the right block. There was no shop here, just a doorway. The door was locked with an intercom and remote opener. (I knew this as someone had walked in as we approached). I did not like the look of this and we debated about what to do next. We had walked this far and I would not have been happy to go home empty handed so I pressed the buzzer, “Hola” “Quiremos unas CDs” The auto latch operated. We walked down a narrow corridor and up the stairs at the back.

A short guy with thinning grey hair met us at the top. He was very enthusiastic and wanted to know what we were looking for. In truth I still did not know. The room he showed us into looked more like a producer’s office than a shop, but here were racks of CDs on the wall. “Tango bailable?” he asked. “Si” I said. So he directed us further in to his inner sanctum. There were even more racks of CDs, but he wanted us to sit down. Then he gave us catalogues with all his music in them. There was just too much for us here, so he also directed us to his web site.

Now I have all my music here with me in my computer, so I asked if we could take them away and check them against what we have. He was surprised when we said we had come from Wales, he thought Tango now was becoming international. It certainly is, though I wonder how long it will be before the Europeans realize it is more about the music than the moves.

Time for some coffee again. We returned to Bocota on Sarmiento. Viv still thinks we should return here for food some day, but today coffee will have to suffice.

Back to Nuevo Chique again today. We are quite comfortable here separado and sat opposite sides of the room we get a good view of the dancers. I don’t think I missed a tanda and Viv certainly did well the first half. I think she gets tired and puts less effort into her cabeceos as time goes on, but she still did well.

There is a very nice lady from Chile who likes to dance with me, she was sitting by Viv today. She has often commented on my aftershave. I had saved the last drops for today, but Viv had thrown it out. So I told my Chilean friend “ella poner el Calvin Klein en la basura”. She thought that was funny.

Anyway it turns out that she is a masseuse and on hearing of Vivs troubles took her off to give her back a rub. Perhaps it was because of the language problems (or maybe the Calvin Klein) but Viv said the relief was only temporary.

We went back to Guarda la Vieja later for some food. When we find something good we stick to it. Viv said I should have something different so I had chicken in a mustard sauce, it was delicious. Viv went for a rice dish, it tasted great, but lacked a certain something “Meat” I said.

We left stuffed, I think I may have garlic breath by the morning.


Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango

Little surprises

 It was time to buy a few things to bring home, so our first port of call was to be Esquina Carlos Gardel, the home of all things tacky and souveniers by the dozen.

We walked past the Abasto centre and down Anchorena. The trouble with this route is that we pass Susana Artenesal and they sell shoes. Viv has no recollection of being here before, but I assured her we have bought shoes here. The idea was just to collect advertising material and see what they had, but temptation and cheap shoes was just too much. That’s your Christmas present sorted, or wasn’t the Christmas present supposed to be the shoes from Por Vos? or was it Comme il Faut?

We managed to get one or two things from Carlos Gardel and then we set off down Sarmiento towards Callao. The variety of shops along here is amazing, we even stopped at Neo Tango but this time Viv contained herself.

The shops were huge mainly wholesale, often with a minimum purchase written on the window, that would put off impulse buyers like ourselves.

Viv was getting tired and thirsty, but it seemed unlikely that amongst all of these old tired buildings we could find anywhere that she would want to stop at. Then at 2222 we found a place called Bocado, a little surprise in the midst of chaos. We only wanted coffee but the morning promotion of three medialunas jugo de naranja y cafe con leche was just what we needed.

As we sat munching our pastries we jealously watched all the diners being served wonderful meals. The food looked and smelled delicious and the presentation was superb. There is now a note in our book to visit here again and maybe partake of a meal.

I have to thank Cherie and Janis who directed me to where I could buy some sheet music. Something I have commented on before is the strange habit of shops to group together in Buenos Aires and without direction I would never have found what I wanted.

We took the subte back from Uruguay, when we got underground there already was a huge crowd there, then it took an age for the train to arrive. As it pulled into the station it appeared to be struggling, the more so when it left. There was literally no room to breath, it took an almighty push to get us on and yet many were left on the platform. As I stood in the crush I tried my best to guard my wallet protect my precious music and stay upright. Things got no better at the next stop, more seemed to get onto the train than left, there was simply no relief until thankfully we burst out at Medrano.

I now think Janis had an ulterior motive for tonight’s get together, she wanted some more photos.

When we got of the subte at Callao there was a huge crowd around the entrance to Zivals, television crews, film crews and photographers. We never found out exactly what was happening but there was a small orchestra inside, though they were not playing as we passed. We arrived early at the pizzeria and it was packed out, but we managed to find an empty table at the back, I was watching the door but was not sure if I would see Janis arrive. We ordered beer and told the waiter we were waiting for a friend, but I decided I would go down to the front and check out the pizzas and also to be nearer the door for when Janis arrived. My timing was perfect and I got there just as she turned into the doorway.

We had a great meal (best pizza I have had in Buenos Aires) and then she attacked us with the camera again. Watch her blog for further adventures of the tango modelos, set off well against the red walls.She sent me a couple from the night as well that I have put at the end of the post.

Porteño y Bailerin was packed out and we were relegated to the back with the extranjeros, but as we have not been regulars on this visit, it was as much as we could expect.

Jorge Garcia was there and graced us with his presence and wished us “Buen Viaje” it was nice that he came over while I was dancing with Janis. We were amused that he was talking to Viv and surprised how much she understood. As it was near the start of the tanda they got up and joined us on the floor as well. Viv can now claim to have danced with one of the greatest milongueros.

A good night was had by all, although from where we were we could not see all the demos. Then again we are not great fans of them, although it would have been good to watch Flaco Dany again. Well we get a better view on youtube and we were having a socializing night, so while they all watched and stood on their toes straining their necks, we sat talking.

As we got up to leave an old flame of Janis’s was singing tango songs, so we had to wait, it would have been rude to go at that point and Janis of course wanted to say hello again. Funny how whenever you try to get away early things conspire against you.

Janis walked us to Lavalle and we saw a 94 bus coming, even though we were not at a stop she flagged it down. When they are busy the busses will not even wait at a stop but at three in the morning the drivers are much more amenable, and dare I say, even helpful. He was not at a stop, and sure as hell he was not going to stop long, there was barely time for a hug and we were gone leaving Janis on the street. Well at least we did not have time for tears.

Jorge says goodbye to Los Galeses

An act for which I should be censured

                                                                                         Jorge says goodbye to Los Galeses


Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango