Tag Archives: Tango

Last chance to see

Dancing in Ideal today. It will be the last chance before it is closed on Thursday. Rumors abound but I lean towards the one that says they are refurbishing. I cannot believe that they would spend countless millions on La Molin, which is all but derelict  and has nowhere near the reputation this place has, then leave Ideal to ruin. Hay! but stranger things have happened here.

The mix again is different, for a while I had plenty of women to dance with, while Viv had few men. Then the mix changed again and I started to run out of partners. All in all though a good afternoon and I was thoroughly knackered by the time we left.

We met Anna there, a lady we had met at Vos last year. We never thought we would see her again, but she has taken up tango, so we meet again. Graciela kept us stocked up with peanuts, well Viv anyway. I just got earache every time I took some. (from Viv, not Graciela). Viv never got a dance from the singing waiter though.

We headed off to Suarez again as Viv wanted to test out the chocolate mouse. True to form, they did not have it today. So we had tarta manzana instead.

We stopped off for some cheese scones and cheese straws on the way home to have with out supper. Then out again for tonight’s beer.

Ever think you have left and come back in another time? The girls in La Riena (The bread shop) are always the same, but not tonight. I thought it rather strange that I did not recognize them. Later in the Chino, the guy outside stacking boxes, never seen him before. The nice girl on the till and the miserable boss, not there. Somebody different, even the verdereria had someone different. It was all very strange.

Perhaps they are all buried under the new concrete outside our building.


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I have fallen behind somewhat, time is overtaking me.

Saturday at El Arranque was possibly our best milonga yet. We were there nearly four hours and I don’t think either of us missed more than one tanda. El Consegrados was closed so there were quite a few extra people there. We, of course, benefited from being the regulars, but there were many old friends there as well.

We stayed for the sorteo, and Viv won the champagne. They would not let us keep it  for next week though. It would have been nice to open it on our last El Arranque of this trip. Now we have it at home and not really sure what to do with it.

We had to stop off at El Opera for a beer on the way home just to unwind.  The finances are looking much better now so the high cost of beer here did not faze me.

Sunday we went for a walk around Parque Centenario. There is nothing we really need from the market, but I enjoy just looking at all the tat for sale and the high prices that they ask. I did stop off at the guitar man though and finally bought a tuner for my Buenos Aires guitar. Now it is tuned up it sounds a lot better.

Sunday night is Fulgor, numbers have not  picked up for  Semana Santa. We expected there to be many people who had the weekend off. We danced our socks off, even leaping about for the Tropical. Then about ten thirty people started disappearing. A few complained to Roberto that he had not done the sorteo yet . The first number out “Se fue” so he drew another 21, that’s Vivs again. So now she has a Huevo de Pascuas to go with the Champagne.

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Cuban Night

Thursdays seem to have become our late nights, I don’t know why that should be particularly, it just happens that way.

Nuevo Chique today and we expect it to be a long one. Paloma has asked us to come to a club later for some musica Cubana, and it starts at nine.

The subte was packed, but the streets had little (motor) traffic. People were everywhere though, with banners and drums. It is 40 years since the Junta, so everyone who can make a noise is out celebrating, demonstrating or just making a row. Avenida de Mayo was completely blocked, I did not think we could get through, but in the end I just followed Viv as she charged. I tell you, all those cavalry charges that failed, they did not have Viv at the front, we just never broke step.

The crowd today is almost completely different. While I struggled not to be a “Bad Man” again, Viv was getting few dances. I asked Paloma about eating tonight and understood not a word. We asked her husband for help. Franglish, Espanglish, Franish, and I was still no wiser. She told me we were getting picked up in a Mercedes at quarter to nine, then it turned out we were meeting Mercedes at quarter to nine, but we were no wiser about food.

Meanwhile the noise outside was constantly intruding into the milonga. At times I did not know which rhythm I was dancing to. Every time I got to the end of the room I would say “qual compas?” It amused the ladies, anyway.

At seven Viv had enough, so we said we would meet them there and left. We took a left then another straight into Moreno. We walked down through crowds of banner carriers across a traffic free 9 de Julio but there were no bars or restaurants open. Eventually we found our place with a very smart foodie place next door, too rich for us, so we wandered on.

We found a place on Defensa and Independencia but we could not get the door open it was full of people, but when someone came to our aid she said “Es cerrado” so we carried on.

When we got to Mexico, we decided we had gone far enough and turned right. Then on the corner of Bolivar there was a group of police talking to a lady in a doorway. They broke apart and all but corralled us in. “Hay comida?” I asked “Si empanadas” she said. Well that will do for us. So we went in and ordered stout and empanadas.

The place looked new and freshly painted so we asked about it. She was particularly proud of the mural around the walls. She said she did not like the demonstrators as last year they broke her windows and she had not even opened yet. Then she told us of her life; She was from Tucaman, so the empanadas were the same as we get in 1810, then she married a Dutchman. “Ik prat een klien betje nederlands” never thought I would be in a bar in San Telmo talking Dutch to an Argentine.

Looks like we have found a friend here, she brought us other Tucaman delicacies to sample and gave us constant attention. Her able assistant did not seem to be doing much to help except changing the music all the time. Getting towards leaving time he put some salsa on, so there we were, me (Half Dutch) and a naturalised Dutch woman dancing Salsa DJed by a Columbian in a San telmo bar. The night had not yet got interesting.

We walked back along Bolivar crossed Independencia and soon found Moreno again. As I turned into Moreno I heard my name called. There were our dates for the night. If you had tried to arrange a meeting on the street it just would not have happened, yet here we were all met up a block away frome where we were going.

I should have known who Mercedes was, I have danced with her many times, a lovely dancer and now I meet her Husband. A multi talented man Jorge sings, speaks French and English, unfortunately he does not dance tango.  Still he leaves me his wife to dance with. Good man.

So there we were on the street walking towards this club, but we did not get there. Remember the smart foodie place next door, too expensive for me? Well we walked in. Everyone, it seems knows Mercedes and Jorge. After we had been greeted and kissed everyone (all the waiters, staff cashiers) we passed through. It seems the club is attached to the restaurant.

Seems it is called The Bebop club. We passed down the stairs; at the bottom was a desk to pay your entrada. All they got from us was a kiss though. It was all getting a bit strange for me.

It was a small cabaret room, with tables arranged in semi circles to get a view of the stage; the staff were at great pains to arrange the tables to give us the best view. To then we got the menus it was more like tapas to me than meals. Then the wine came, obviously as the only guy in VOS to get it right, it was down to me to taste it. (If only they knew).

A small band arrived on stage, drummer, flautist and pianist, and they began to play. After one number the Big Cuban singer arrived. It was a brilliant show, he even sang a Tango number (to a Cuban beat). It is now driving me crazy trying to recall what it was.

We were not allowed to pay for anything, even money I tried to leave for a tip was deemed too much, so we simply accepted and went upstairs to the restaurant for postres.

The night was incredible, good food, great music and brilliant company, and all so unexpected. I must give Mercedes extra dances next time I see her.

We caught our first taxi of this trip, it sounds churlish to complain about the price, but really it is more of an observation. The driver was very good, he took the route that the bus would take, straight up Rivadavia and into Salguero, but I was watching the meter $130 a few years ago would have got us a taxi for the night, now just a trip from San Telmo. In time the taxis will just price themselves out, but then I have been saying that for years.


He dropped us off right on the corner middle of the road. Viv walked through the workings where they are lowering the pavement. Like a fool I rushed after her. The orange netting they use to fence off was on the floor, it lifted as I walked over it, caught my back foot and left me sprawled over the workings. Nothing hurt but my pride, but even at two in the morning there is always a sage leaning on the fence, “you should have gone around” he said.  No kidding Einstein.


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Road works ahead

I decided to try running again, anything to clear my chest. I could only manage a block at a time, but I think it helped. 20 blocks that’s 1000metres, that will do for starters.

Good start to the day, then we went to Coto for some more pillow cases. The place was all but empty this time in the morning, there was still a bloody queue though. Sorry but it makes my blood boil. Is it so hard to open another till and actually serve more customers?

Viv dragged me down to a plumbers merchant to look at taps. I know we need new ones but this did not look a good idea. In the end we went to Easy, and that was, well more easy. They had a wide range to look at and you just pick up the box of the ones you want. Looks a simple job to fit, watch this space.

Almost every pavement is dug up around here again. Edisur are putting more new cables in, Less power cuts? The city are also putting new drops at the corners, I realize people  in wheelchairs need to get around, but it might help them more if there were actually any pavements to travel along. Fair dos though the guy digging up our pavement was lifting the flags instead of smashing them to bits. Unlike the guy who dug it up a fortnight ago and then replaced them with brand new ones. You could make a fortune here just making flag stones.

We got a parcel today off Doreen, seems to be a lottery weather we receive them. Rumor has it that they will now deliver parcels. Could this be the first or is it a fluke?

Latest news, the guys digging up our pavement have set up a Parilla. You don’t get that at home. The smell of roasting beef drifts up to my apartment and I look down to see a group of workmen sitting around below my balcony enjoying a right royal feast.

Canning was a strange mix tonight. People were having trouble getting from the centre because of the Obama visit and of course there is a new mix of tourists. You never know how a night will pan, and tonight was not one of the best. Viv and I both struggled, we had enough after two and a half hours and went for a beer.

Met Frankie outside the building, just having a fag. I don’t know why he has to go outside, but I told him it will stunt his growth. Again I wonder how someone in a wheel chair manages in this city, but he is so cheerful, he always lifts me.


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Casa Luna

It was a long and difficult debate; do we go down to Sullivan’s to watch England hammer France at the rugby, or do we attend El Arranque?

In the end the pure logistics and the fact that we missed last week swung the day. Apparently it was not that much of a pasting anyway, so perhaps we would not have had so much fun at their expense.

The numbers were down again, certainly the men. I struggled to reach all the women who now expect me to dance and keep Viv happy. I don’t want more women stopping me outside calling me a bad man. Sometimes I wonder why Viv wants to keep coming back, but then, I suppose, a new venue and she would have to start all over.

We have been invited to a party tonight at Casa Luna by Vicky Luna. It looks like there is good food and dancing afterwards.

It was a half nine start, and unusually for us we arrived at ten to ten. The 168 colectivo is becoming more and more erratic so we got there when we could. The house was already packed when we got there. Seems Rob (Vicky’s partner) wanted to surround himself with fellow countrymen, there were a lot of Dutch there.

We sat down to a buffet style meal, good stuff. Viv and I quite enjoyed the chicken, and the beef was good for me (A good vet could have got it back on its feet) just how I like it. I even went back for some of the salad.

Leroy (Retired Chicago fireman) had a list of lunfardo words he was not sure of, and another guy (From Uruguay) was doing his best to explain. He had a face like Kenneth Williams and was very animated. I never understood any of his explanations, but for entertainment it was priceless.

When all was cleared away we got down too the dancing. It was a small space, a bit like Casa Gresford, but without the stairs. There were a lot more there than we usually get but there were few collisions.

We left about one thirty, we do not have the stamina anymore for the Argentine late nights and this damned cold is still draining me. but we had a thoroughly great time, and made some new friends. Shame though that Rob still has not danced with Viv, he doesn’t know what he is missing.

We had two choices for the bus home, the 151 was a block further than the 168. We went for the 151, good choice. We were home in 35 minutes.


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Otra noche La Viruta

Philippe arrived this morning at nine thirty, I had to set an alarm in order not to miss him. Don’t do early in Buenos Aires.

Anyway he had come to help me pay my expensas. Sebastian would not accept them and I had got fed up of walking the ten blocks to the administrator, just to get no reply. The bank was open and there was no queue. Never believe you can beat the system, the machines were switched off until ten.

In the end it was not so difficult, but I could not have managed it without help. We paid a couple more bills in the pagofacil then retired for coffee in the flat.

Philippe wanted some fruit so we showed him our new favorite fruit shop. Then left him to do some shopping of our own.

On Bulnes opposite Plaza Almagro we passed a feria Americano and outside  was a valet, not the machine made rubbish you usually see, but a nicely made wooden thing. We negotiated a price and said we would be back.

We had found a good dietetica on Mario Bravo y Juan Peron so we went there to stock up on oats and things. Then it was back to pick up the valet. It was a bit  grubby but soon cleaned up like a good un. It is now covered in clothes.

In the local supermarket they already think we are locos extranjeros, but today we re-enforced it further. Doing my shopping with a valet on my head.

Nuevo Chique was quiet today, but the dancing was good. I got in trouble again for not  dancing with a certain lady. I do my best to dance every tanda with a different woman, but, you know, sometimes it’s hard being a man in the milonga.

Off to La Viruta tonight to see Otras Aires. There is the usual chaos as we enter and Miguel is standing there so I try to take his picture “Bob ?” he asks, I was absolutely gobsmacked. Then someone took our picture together with Viv. Where else in the world can you get this close to international super stars? and who else but an Argentine would remember your name?

Otras Aires

We did not do a lot of dancing, we had already done our share earlier and the floorcraft is poor. Still we had some fun and loved the set from Otras Aires. No new album tonight unusually. Still you can’t complain for a fiver each.









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Viv scares me to death.

Viv has a way of scaring the hell out of me, this time takes the biscuit.

She will often get up during the night because she cannot sleep, and then sometimes sleep on the sofa. She also regularly has nightmares, so it is not unusual to hear her moaning or even

I first heard what I thought was a crash, then a lot of moaning. I ignored it at first, thinking she would wake up or just turn over. It did not stop and I got worried.

The light was on and I could still hear moans. There was no sign of her on the sofa, the noise was coming from the kitchen. What I saw was like a scene from CSI, Viv was lying on the floor and there was a pool of blood. It looked pretty serious to me.

She said she had collapsed and hit her chin on the way down. When I cleaned her up she had a cut on her chin about half an inch long. I just could not believe how much blood there was from such a small wound.

She was convinced that it was the result of drinking too much, but I am not so sure. Firstly we were not in the least drunk last night and she was quite lucid afterwards. Her mother suffered from low blood pressure and would often faint. I don’t suppose alcohol helps but I don’t believe it was the primary cause. Must send her to the docs when we get home.

Salon Canning again today, fortunately Vivs chin did not blacken up, although it did weep a little.

There were fewer people here again tonight and at times it was difficult to get dances. Still we did ok, but we had, had enough before eight an left for a coffee before dinner.


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