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Bad Books

We had a visit from Philippe this morning. We are always glad to see him, but it threw our schedule out slightly.  I had done the shopping earlier, but it was still a rush when he had left to get ready to go out.

As I said earlier, just when you get fed up, everything turns around. I was still sat way down the room in Nuevo Chique, but not quite so far today. Viv seems to get a different seat every time now as well. There were not many missed tandas today, not for me, and not for Viv.

We both thought that the crowd was different today and the standard of dance was generally lower. Still as we were almost non stop I cannot complain. We danced through until seven thirty, four hours of solid dancing was enough and I hit the wall.

I wanted to see a passageway that I had seen on the net, so we came out a different way to usual. The coffee stop was different and not as good. All the shops in the passageway were now closed, and we spent longer than usual on the subte. So despite having a good afternoon, I am in bad books.

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Weekends

Weekends tend to be couple affairs in Buenos Aires, so we have always had difficulties then.  Time was we went to club Fulgor on a Sunday, but now that is gone we need to seek pastures new.

We went back to Los Consegrados Saturday. Viv had done well here last week and unusually I had struggled.  If she is happy then so am I. Anyway I had left my towel here last week so I hoped to retrieve it. That was not to be “Se perdido” I was told. The dancing went well enough and we danced until we could dance no more. Then we left, we met Silvia on the subte who was going the same way as us. On the H Line someone asked which way to the A line my legendary knowledge failed and I sent him the wrong way, by the time I realized he was gone. Viv said he is probably still wandering up and down the line. Then it was off to Bar Zorra for some “Caramelo” beer.  No nuts or crisps though, so maybe it’s good for food, but not a quick drink.

Sunday we went back to Sueño Porteño. Last time we were here we were on a party table, so we hoped this week to get more dances. Corrientes was looking like it would close for the Murga and we had a long wait for a bus. So we headed over to the subte, Line E was closed for major work it said. Luckily the bus arrived soon after. It was jam packed though all the way.

At the milonga we were given seats right at the end, almost at the DJ station. For some reason the men were coming for Viv tonight and she did not miss a tanda. I sat out a full five tandas not getting a dance except for Viv.  I could see women I knew, but they were not looking this way. After the second Vals I thought enough is enough and went walkabout. After that I did ok, but never from my exile position.

We did not stay late. The murga would mean problems with busses so we elected to use the subte.  By walking five blocks we could get to the C line avoiding the problems with the E line, but when we got there I could not find San Juan station. This was not a good part of town to be wandering lost, so I asked a family group, they directed me to Independecia station another four blocks on. I guess that they also thought we should not be wandering around here at night and maybe San Juan was not a good idea. Down in the station we waited for the train. A drunk asked if he was on the right platform and was told he was not. We could see his train coming down the tunnel, he jumped down onto the tracks, everyone was shouting, Viv screamed. He was not so inebriated that he was willing to die, at the last minute he jumped back onto the platform and ran up the stairs. I don’t know if he made the train, but at least he was still alive.

Back home, Imaginario was shut, and as Zorra gives no nuts we went to HB for some beer.

Monday and we are back in the old routine. It’s funny, but when you start to feel down, things pick up again. We both had a really good time in El Beso. We stayed until half an hour to closing, then over to The Coffee Store again to unwind. While I was there I picked up several messages from Philippe. Some from this morning, I have no idea why they did not come through earlier.  I even commented to Viv that I had not heard anything from him before we left. Whatsapp is just another piece of technology that does not like me.

 

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Good shopping day

On our travels up and down we have seen a few things we need, so today we set out to get some purchases. First stop was the shop on Medrano where I had bought my new towel. They had some throws and on checking the size they would be ideal for our sofa. The old ones are all but worn through and this throw would cover it in one, not two pieces. $560ar not much more than a tenner, it would do fine.

We stopped of at the fruit shop and the chino on the way back for some provisions, then set off out again.

This time we would travel a bit further, taking the subte down to Uruguay. Viv has been after a new toaster since we arrived, but locally there was nothing that floated her boat and she really wanted a four slice toaster. Then on Tuesday we saw one in a window on our way to Nuevo Chique. It was quite attractive and no more expensive than a two slice toaster. In the shop window we saw again the toaster and a kettle to match. Our kettle, although functioning, had a lid that would not open, so filling was difficult. As we are now in a period when things are relatively cheap for us, we thought ” let’s go for it”.

In the shop I told the guy what we wanted, but he still insisted on us pointing them out in the window. Inside he had a ladder on a rail which he pulled around so that he could climb up to his stock. We could see both items within easy reach, but for some reason these were not suitable and he searched hard to find a toaster. He eventually found one and proceeded to unpack it for our inspection, once we were satisfied he set off in search of the kettle. Eventually though he had to give up and offer us the one we could see and were pointing to. This again he unpacked and when we were satisfied he struggled to repack both items.

Now the fun part. He took them over to the other counter and made out a docket. Still not allowed to pay for it, we had to take it to the back of the shop where he sat behind a grill and took our money. Then he gave us another ticket, this we took back to the other side of the shop again. I guess this was dispatches. The same guy who wrote out the ticket now checked it meticulously to make sure it was OK. You would think he would know, after all he wrote it. Then finally he put them in carrier bags and we could leave with our purchases.

Time for a coffee, well this place abounds with coffee shops, until you want one. There was non at this end of Uruguay and round the corner on Corrientes the whole street was dug up. Crossing was not possible, but after we passed the subte we found a Kentucky Pizza. We had a promo; coffee, agua con gas, juice and three medialunas $80ar each. Then it was back home to get ready for the milonga.

We seem to go up and down this B line quite a lot these days. So back again to Nuevo Chique. Again we never sat down for three and a half hours. I was exhausted but happy when we left. I don’t think Viv missed many tandas either so we did not even stop for a coffee on our way home.

The colectivos were running tonight, but still had a trick up their sleeve; as we got to Congreso both a 90 and a 151 were at the lights. They would not stop here to pick us up so we had to wait again until another turned up. When our colectivo finally crossed Corrientes the traffic was gridlocked, had we known we would have got of at Corrientes and walked, instead we were stuck until it finally reached our building.

Sleep was difficult, there is a “Cultural Event” in our street. That means people banging drums and generally shouting all night. I thank Kellogg’s for the fitted earplugs. Poor Viv, will have to suffer.

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Infamy, they’ve all got it in for me

We are now regulars at Nuevo chique again, and we know the crowd well, so when the lights all went out a six we were all in it together. We sat it out until about half past, Dany was making an attempt to get power from upstairs, but everyone was leaving. We could, of course have sat it out, but with few people left, what would be the point. So we headed out.

We had Maria and Fito in tow and stopped at our usual bar. I asked for black beer and they had non so we moved on to congress and found another bar that had it. We sat for a while telling stories as best we could. Maria speaks Spanish and I speak no Swedish so as the conversation carried on I had to relate it all to Viv. It may be good for me, but I found it hard work. That said we managed a few laughs.

When we came out onto the square, there was already a queue for the colectivo. I was going to miss the 151 and take the 90 so that Maria would get nearer her stop. We waited half an hour long, it was obvious that something was again amiss, so we set off along Uruguay to get the subte. At Corrientes the gate was locked. We tried the other gates, they too were shut.

Never have we failed on both the subte and the colectivo. So I suggested we head to Lavalle there we managed after a wait to get a number 28.

We left the bus at Mario Bravo and told Maria to get off at the next stop.

It was time for more beer, so I got my deposit bottle and crossed the road getting almost flattened by a number 90. I suppose the highlight of all this was explaining to the girl in the chino why “no estoy buen”. It must have started running again not long after we left. I think that they actually do have it in for me.

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Some people are just too helpful

Off to Gricel today.

The subte is awash with beggars, but now they have expensive karaoke machines or fantastic keyboards. I just don’t feel in a giving mood somehow. As usual we come the wrong way out of the underground and head in the wrong direction. I just don’t know this end of the H line, but it takes me less time now to realize which way to go.

It is nice when you know the organizers, we were welcomed by Juan Carlos La Falce and by Mario Orlando (The DJ).There are not many people there when we arrive and we have to dance together for a couple of dances. Soon a few old friends arrive here and Viv is doing well. She seems to enjoy dancing with all the old men, she says that they have musicality. We stay through to the last hour, but I struggled for women, I try to make it a rule to dance with a different woman each tanda, but I had to dance twice with most women. Maybe that is why Viv enjoyed it so much. Still it was generally a good afternoon. The first milonga Viv was up with a local, so I had to find a woman to dance with. What a surprise, I could not faze her, it was one of my best, if not the best. A couple of locals sitting watching applauded us as we left the floor.

We stopped at the pizzeria on the corner of San Juan for a coffee. Viv was not for stopping for pizza, but we will have a cervesa negra when we get home.

When we got down into the subte I realize we are on the A line and I am confused for a short while. A couple who have just passed through are determined to help. I point out that I need the H line and the lady of the couple is trying to send me to the machine to get tickets, I kept telling her that we have Sube cards and do not need the machine, but she was just not listening. The guy fortunately had more nous and told use we could go through the platform onto the H line. He then dragged her off, I guess she just wanted to practice her English, but needs to practice her listening more. I remember last year having problems at this end of the line. If we do this each week, I should soon get used to it.

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A great wrong has been righted.

Not everything has doubled in price, the subte has, but the milongas only seem to have gone up by a half. That makes them cheaper to us.

On my shopping trips out, most groceries are still dirt cheap. I had a bag of fruit and veg this morning for $8ar, which by any measure is less than two pounds. My torch batteries are dead, new ones cost me again less than two pounds. The guy in the fereteria said “how many” I said “three” Viv did not think they would split the packet. I said “This is Argentina” and he did.

Our return to El Beso was greeted with muchos besos, but we still find it difficult here. We have now given them a Welsh Flag to go with all the other international flags on the bar, so a great wrong has now been righted.

A lot of my old favourites were missing, so I struggled sometimes for dances. Still it was only our second milonga, we will soon get known again. Viv got fed up though after jiggy jiggy. She left to go to the Coffee Store, so after another tanda, I left also, to join her.

It’s in a lovely spot on a wide junction of Corrientes and the pedestrian Discepolo. It catches the sun here and seems to hold little of the traffic pollution. You can never please Viv though, she says the new seats are too squishy and it feels like you are falling through. I thought that for outside seats they were very comfortable.

We walked back, hoping to find some things that we wanted. What makes life difficult here is that they put things in all the wrong shops. This can be made worse when you cannot ask for what you want. Last year we searched for days for those dental floss things with a tooth pick, I don’t even know what they are called in English, so I had no chance in Spanish, until I saw them hanging up in a Chinese gift shop.

Well I got most of what I wanted, but I only got a small bottle of the aromatadazor, the rest was easy.

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Ian and Linda

Up early this morning and off to town. We are meeting Ian and Linda who are here joining a cruise.  I met Ian on Wrexham walkabout and had mentioned I would be in Buenos Aires from January, as he was joining his ship here I said we should meet up. He failed to Join us at La Viruta, but I was not entirely surprised. His first day and not the easiest place to get to. We arranged to meet in the same place where we met Alex last year as I knew that was where the cruise ship busses dropped off.

Viv had never met Ian and neither of us had met Linda, combine that with my bad facial recognition and memory and there was some doubt we would ever meet.  There was a bit of mutual stalking before we tried “Ian?” “Bob?” well at least we managed to meet. Most people on one day here would not get to do the subte, but we took them along the “C” line to San Telmo where Ian wanted to do the Feria. I think he soon got bored with it though, if you are not in the market to buy antiques or rubbish, there is not a lot of point to it.

We took them then to El Federal, they enjoyed the olde world atmosphere of the place. After that we walked some more towards Plaza de Mayo, but when he said he had been I though there was not much point in going again. So we headed back to the subte. We debated Caminito, but decided that the subte was too far away and I had no colectivo information. The area around Boca is not a place to be wandering lost, so we decided on Gardel.

Here I failed, I’m afraid as a tour guide it was the “C” line we wanted and this was the “A”, I had to ask a policeman, then when we did get on the “C” line again I had to be rescued as I went the wrong way. A very nice policeman let us through the emergency exits onto the right side of the line. At least Ian was impressed that I could ask and understand the answers, and it gave him some entertainment. Now once on home turf, I switched easily to the “B” line and we were at Gardel in no time.

We stopped to admire all the tango statues and take some photos, then Linda wanted to stop for a drink. Too rich here, so we walked a little way down Jean Juares and found a bar with a group of locals outside. Well it seems just a beer was in order, so we went for Quilmes Cristal. A litre only $80, bargain, I do keep finding these cheap places.

Linda was getting nervous about the time so we took them back, showing them Harrods on the way. They had passed it and never noticed. I wanted to show them Galerias Pacificas, but Linda was worrying, I suppose she does not know the city like I do, but there was no sense in getting her upset. We arrived back at the pick up point with 20 minutes to spare. We said our goodbyes and set off again along the subte for home.

We have had a series of late nights and last night did not sleep well. Beer in the afternoon did not help, so by the time we had eaten, we were just too tired for the walk to Fulgor. We did not think we would dance much anyway, so a night off it is then. G&T anyone?

 

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