Tag Archives: Scalabrini

First Steak

We have been in Argentina two weeks and have not yet had any steak, this must change, but first we have to dance.

I left a note on facebook that we are going to El Arranque with the message “En Junto o Separado” I only got one reply and that was separado.

Nothing ever goes to plan though here. We arrived an hour and ten minutes after it opened, but still there was hardly anyone there, our usual waiter was waiting down at the far end by our usual table. We never got the chance to say separado. Still with this few people there would be little point.

Later though as the place filled opportunities arose. Both Viv and I managed quite a few dances despite being seen as a couple. One regular couple stopped as they passed our table and asked us to dance with them. Also there were a few ladies that have danced with me before. So we are getting known.

One gentleman wanted to dance with Viv and asked me first, but in general they tended to wait until I was up before asking her.

Now on Vivs suggestion, I had noted well that we have not yet had any steak, so I thought that this was an ideal opportunity. You see our favourite place is on Scalabrini Ortiz. This is from the days when we stayed with Luba. To get here we take the D subte line. On Callao the B and D lines come closer together so from El Arranque we can just walk to the subte.

Don’t you just love it when things stay the same as they always were? The same waiter was there that has been there since we first came here in 2006. (Though the prices have gone up considerably). We were given a basket of bread just as always and a small empanada as a starter.

The steak when it came was awesome, and the waiter cut it in half with a spoon just as he had always done. The only downside is it is about fifteen blocks home from here, and we did not feel like moving. Our waiter was impressed by how much food we had cleared, but we are doing so much exercise we need the calories.

We made it back, of course, and I was greeted by our old friend Roger, via skype. It seems he will be here for the weekend of his and Viv’s birthday. It will be a sad time for us as we will be ending our time here, but it should be one hell of a party.

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Filed under Argentina, milonga, Tango

Something new every day

Today we were up early for once, but still we did not get out until after twelve. Philippe rang to say he would be calling, so we waited in until he joined us for coffee.

He had been unable to contact the administrators, but he had printed out a form to allow him to act on my behalf at the consorcios for the next two years, I think he is trying to ensure we do not kick him out, but failing a big lottery win, I will have to stay in work. Even then we probably would not be here full time. He still wants to turn the place into a bachelor pad, with a bar and mirror ball.

When he had left we took a different route, we decided to walk behind the Abasto centre, along Lavalle. Only five blocks from our apartment and already we found something new. There on the corner of Aguero were two tango shops, full of clothing and shoes at incredible prices. The temptation was to further hammer my credit card, but instead I hatched my cunning plan; “we must come back here next time” now October looks much more of a possibility.

Just down the street and we find second hand clothes shops, Viv was in shopping heaven, now it is my turn to be reluctant to return, suddenly October is her idea. (We men are not so dumb as you think).

We passed all the party shops, what we really wanted was a small mirror ball, our present to Philippe, but non appeared. It is a funny thing about this place; at home you look for a niche, a hole in the market, something that no one else is offering in that area, here all the shops cluster. Around Pasteur are all the wig shops, all the material and haberdashery around Pueyrredon, followed by the party shops. If you do not know the area to look you can find nothing.

Anyway we turned back at Pasteur and walked back up Tucuman, and started to notice men with big hats, or scull caps and on every corner a Synagogue, and kosher food stalls, we were in a very Jewish quarter. It was time for another coffee, and so we sat in another corner cafe, drinking coffee and eating medialunes. People watching is a great pass time at corner cafes, and Viv was thrilled when she saw a woman walk passed with a white poodle, dressed up with a pink scarf and pink boots. Questions start to come into ones head at these times, like, why on earth would you put boots on a dog? and how do you make him keep them on? Another thing that crossed our minds (you must remember that as a cosmopolitan city Wrexham is some way behind the world) was how do the Jewish men keep that skull cap on? and is there a difference between the men who wear big hats and those who wear the scull caps? 

Eventually after a very round about route we arrived at Cordoba and Scalabrini, the whole point of our expedition today, was to buy me some shirts. I now have some more shirts for my wardrobe and my credit card is even more sick. It was time to head back for more coffee and some nice lemon pie from our favourite panaderia.

Something we could not help but notice, on the walk back, was the amount of pavement (sidewalk) repairs going on, it would be  nice to think we can walk the streets next time we are here without falling into a hole. Who knows maybe next they will tackle the dogshit?

Back again to Club Fulgor, the last time this visit. As we walked over I noticed again, the cartoneros seem to have got themselves a uniform. I wonder if the city has provided them with reflective gear to keep them safer or whether there is some sort of take over, no doubt someone will tell me.

In Fulgor as usual we had a great time, tangoing with the locals, bopping with the cumbia, and dancing the merengue. This is not pure tango, but it is where you see how the locals really live. Some of the tandas would make Janis’s teeth curl, one tanda had DiSarli, D’Arienzo, and Pugliese all in the same tanda, unthinkable, but the locals loved it, and Roberto announced each tune so you knew what was coming.

Towards the end of the night as people drifted off, word had got around we were leaving Saturday, so as each couple left, they came over to say goodbye and ask when we would return. Here we are not touristas, but locals. One couple even hoped we would have a good time in Inglatera.

When we finally left we kissed Marianne and Roberto and promissed to return in October (the plan worked HA).

Next posts may be slightly delayed as we prepare for home but I will do a last day, and journey home, followed by Chester on Monday.

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Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Same old thing

We started the day with domestic issues, we had to fetch the washing, and there were a few things we needed. First stop was the locoturio to try and ring our daughter, who of course was not in. Next we passed the furniture shop and drove the poor guy in there insane while we argued about what we would put alongside our sofa. Viv also wanted some coasters , so we set off for the shop where she thought they were, without any luck.

After we had picked up the washing, we stopped in another shop and found some coasters although not what we wanted, at this price we thought we may as well get them anyway. We looked in a shop called Petish Bazaar and found exactly what we wanted, but then Viv changed her mind and we bought orange ones instead, woman’s prerogative.

Back at base we had a sandwich and a rethink, deciding that one of the bedside tables we already had would be perfect for he side of the sofa. Off we headed again to the furniture shop. “Uno esto mesa de luz” said I, but then we had an argument about which handle to have. Luckily I won and we got the right handle, but of course the shop had no spares. They had to remove one from another piece, but all ended well and it now looks well in our living area.

We  returned yet again to El Arraque, a little later , and fully expecting that it would be very busy. By now we are welcomed as old friends by Carlito who shows us to a table at our usual spot.There are fewer people than Monday , which surprises us, as we are later we expected more. We had been told that the DJ was very good on Monday, that, and the fact that it was a holiday was probably the reason it was so crowded then. 

Again we enjoyed the dancing here, Viv is starting to like the early milongas and eating afterwards. We talked about Carol, who we knew to be in Buenos Aires but we had seen her only the once. Deciding that we had had enough and feeling very hungry, we decided one more Tanda and we would go, just then Carol arrived. I admit to being surprised as in less than an hour the place would close, but I think she had plans to move on to another milonga. She is flying home tomrrow, so again I did not get to dance with her. It looks like I will have to travel all the way to Leeds if I am ever  to get that dance.

We returned again to Puente Cuore (I hope this time I have spelled it correctly).  At night the staff are different, and this gives the place a different feel. We should have had an enjoyable meal but ended up dissapointed. The food as always was good, but the service was lacking. Whenever we have steak here now we always share, this is not uncommon here, but no one had told our waiter. Firstly there was no bife de lomo, so we had to have bife de chorizo, then when we asked for one to share, it was a case of only one?

We started with a salad, the waiter brought only one plate, I had to ask for another. The steak and the chips were served on one plate cafeteria style, without the usual show of cutting it in half for us, he just plonked it on the table

By now we were getting fed up, we finished with a desert and coffee, but the moment was gone. The bill of just  under £20 will seem low to anyone in the UK  but it was expensive for here, some how I do not think we will be back here at night. Something I have noticed in the big restaurants on Corrientes, is the poor service, whether this is normal or, just because they think we are touristas and will not be back, I do not know, but I never found this attitude around Scalabrini or in any of the smaller parillas. Perhaps they knew we were English and just wanted to make us feel at home.

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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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