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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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