Tag Archives: The Coffee Store

Last Tango

So we start our last full day here. Packing, cleaning, just getting ready, but nothing stops the tango. I spend the morning folding shirts, it’s nice that I can take my time. Leaning over the bed gives me backache so I can do a few and rest.

Supplies are running low, we have no prunes left, but we do have a bag of fruit and nuts. Another job for me, sort out the fruit for the porridge. I have already said my goodbyes in the Chino, but I am afraid I will have to return as we are short of milk.

El Beso was as manic as ever. It is not as if it was that crowded, but the tourists were here and their guide was encouraging them onto the dance floor. I am all for encouraging new dancers, but these would never be and had not had a lesson in their lives. The floor at Beso is difficult because of its shape, the situation is only made worse by people blundering around the floor.

It was also difficult to cabeceo with people wandering around. There were at least three ladies who I usually dance with who I could not reach. Viv was also having a difficult time. Still we stayed until the sorteo and Paris Anna won a free entrada with my ticket. It would,of course be no use to me. On that note Julia Doynel announced the Channel 4 would be filming a documentary here on Saturday.  Somehow we manage to miss everything.

We retired to The Coffee Store hoping to contact our daughter on Whatsapp and get some food. Well our daughter never answered and we had all sorts of trouble with the food. Everything we asked for was off, salads, pasta, you name it. In the end we settled for a toasty for me and a wrap for Viv. It took so long to come, when the waiter asked if we wanted a drink we said no. I was thirsty but we had a smuggled bottle of water. Viv said “why did you not order a drink” I said “We have a boat to catch tomorrow”

We had to buy some milk on the way home, I knew there was a reason not to give all the change as a tip. We are getting seriously short now, but with Viv stressing over the packing, we do have enough for beer. So to HB we go for a final quilmes stout.

On a final note; do not expect a blog tomorrow, I was too late and they will not now let me have internet on the boat.

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Local Knowledge

I have one small job today, to take Les’s sube card. Normally I would walk, but after last nights excesses I am too tired. I already have 5,000 steps in for the day before I get up. Outside of our building there is a 151, it has passed the stop but is stopped at the lights. I raise my hand, more in hope than expectation, but he opens the door for me anyway. I have pre explored this area, but I still get it wrong and have to backtrack twice until I find the hotel.  The girl was very helpful ( she never replied in English, although I suspect she could) even gave me a note to leave.

Mission accomplished it was time to return. I had not checked the colectivos, getting a bit over confident here. I knew that they ran back along Colonel Niceto Vega so I crossed the road looking for a stop. Passed the railway and there was a 168 coming. There was a lady at the stop so no panic. I jumped on and said “a Medrano”. Now the driver said nothing just charged me $20. I realized my mistake when the bus turned up Pringles. I had quite forgotten that there are two 168. They may look the same but follow different routes. Years ago I had caught the wrong one and ended up at the depot. At least I knew where I was here. I pressed the buzzer as we left Rocomorra. It was not too bad in the end, I got off at Pringles y Guardia Vieja which was five blocks away instead of two. Then I remembered Viv had asked me to get something to eat, so I diverted another two blocks to Augustus for some Medialunas.

Friday is El Beso again. Same old with the seats, but at least with Zoraida here she found a decent seat for Viv. I have my usual seat under the mirror, but even here, two tables are reserved and I am not exactly where I like to be. I was, of course off like a shot once I had my shoes on. Although I am tired after yesterday, and missing any tanda I did not like the sound of. At least for a while, then a couple of  missed cabeceo meant I would promise the next dance to someone, and I even danced Pugliese.

It was hard dancing, too many on the floor and no floor craft, so I was soon tired. Then Viv was getting bored, so it was time to leave. We had our usual promo at The Coffee Store, and soon we saw everyone was leaving. I wonder sometimes if we should stay, maybe the dancing gets better later.

We had a list of things to buy for the trip home so we stopped at Farmacity. Got most of what we wanted except for soap dishes. Well we stopped at Petish and got just the thing, then La Riena for some scones and we were still in time for El Bosque. With good local knowledge now we get things done quickly, but Viv was in a hurry. She rushed out and I never got a chance to say goodbye to our shoe man

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Crazy foreigners.

This morning I dragged kicking and screaming to the Nike outlet store. We had to take the subte and there was train just coming in. there are only two turnstiles here and there was a very fat woman with kids and pushchairs not making a great effort to get out of the way. Viv tried the other turnstile until I pointed out that there was a belt fastened across it. So I crashed the emergency exit and dragged her through. Using the subte without paying is something of a custom here. It is not something I do, but a few times I have paid and not got a journey, so I have a clear conscience.

Viv bought herself some shoes, then dragged me over to the men’s section. It seems it was only a ploy to get me there. So now I have new trainers as well as new dance shoes for the cruise.

El Abrazo was as crowded as ever today. There was the usual bunch of tourists who have been brought just to ogle. You would think that the tour guides would explain just a little to them, before they come crashing onto the floor.  All in all I had a good time, but when the crashing starts it is impossible for me to protect the lady I am dancing with. I feel it is my fault when the lady I am dancing with gets speared by another set of heels. The afternoon is spoiled by the bad dancers and reverse movers, but at least, non of my ladies blamed me.

Viv left early again as she still has this cough. I told her to just order one coffee. When I arrived at The Coffee Store she had only just got her coffee again. The girl there thinks it is quite funny, Viv always orders a cafe con leche, then as soon as it arrives so do I and order another and some medialunas.  Viv had been talking in the toilets and heard the sorteo. I said that she must have known then I would soon be out.

We walked back and ate at Imaginario bar again. The staff here are getting to know us now and we get good service. Crazy foreigners who eat early, drink black beer and leave.

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When You walk through the Storm, hold your umbrella high.

I think I have missed a day. I suppose my reports are getting a bit samey now So I will just tell you about the rain yesterday; We knew it would rain later when we came home so I went prepared. Viv had decided that my umbrella was like weapon and I should take another from the huge assortment we have accumulated. Anyway Viv soon got bored with El Beso and being in the wrong seat, although after the initial set of tandas she did rather well. Just then they did the sorteo then a singer came on. So I thought I would leave as well. I should have stuck it out there was a good tanda on next, La Juan D’Arienzo, I think. I was halfway down the stairs so was not coming back.

At the door there was a crowd, some having a smoke, some waiting for a bus, others just sheltering. I pushed through and tried to open my umbrella. It was a disaster of spokes and broken plastic spindles. I wore it like a hat over to The Coffee Store. Inside the girl took it off me and tried to put it in a bucket with the others, but it refused to fold.

We decided to take the subte home, to save getting too wet. I managed to find a way of holding the umbrella open by holding it high on the shaft, once I had somewhere with a bit of space. I also folded it, after a fashion, in the subte entrance.

Back at casa Bob, I tried to give it away, but, it seems no one wants a broken umbrella even in a Buenos Aires storm. I left it in the bin on the stairs.

I think we are down to four umbrellas now. Lesson learned, test your brolly before you leave.

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Show them real tango, do a lesson on the pista.

I was not in the best of moods today. I think we have been over doing it of late and I am tired and headache.  Still there are things to do.

I have to take Viv’s shoes to el Bosque to have the strap repaired. El Bosque is closed for holidays. This is not going well today. Next I went for some milk and washing up liquid, nearly collided with the guy stocking the shelves and someone else shopping. So I rushed back to our building. As I entered my phone rang. Nobody phones me here so I was busy checking who it was before I answer. It was, of course, withheld number. Then disaster, whilst checking my phone the door had shut. Now you cannot open doors here from either side without a key, and my key was in the lock, outside. I frantically knocked on the glass and some kind lady realized what had happened and opened the door for me. Meanwhile, her dog, taking advantage of the situation, decided to explore the building.

When calm was restored, I decided I needed a lie down, even though I had been up less than two hours.

At El Beso today numbers were lower, but it was not helping us. It was the regulars that were missing. Two tour leaders arrived and in the course of showing them The Real Tango proceeded to give lessons on the milonga floor. I am glad we came earlier this time, we are entering the silly season where good dancing is hard to come by. Viv may have struggled not having her regulars here, but I struggled because all the tourists did not know to sit down when the cortina was on. There was nothing for it but to walk around myself, adding to the chaos, but at least, I got dances.

Gloria Garcia was here today. She of La Susheta (Salon Dandi) and Maipu 444. It was lovely to meet her again and to dance. It was a shame Viv got fed up and we left early, I would have liked another dance.

The Dutch were also there, so I had Eli and Ada to dance with, whilst giving me Dutch lessons. Lord knows I struggle enough with Spanish, but at least some Dutch is in my DNA so I am in with a chance. I can, at least swear with the best of them.

Then it was off to The Coffee Store again for two promotions. If all else fails coffee and medialunas it is.

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No Grass here

All morning I was watching Hoy Milonga, I had no intention of turning up at El Beso if it was closed again. I need not have worried, today it was back on again as normal. I also sent a friend request to Quique Carmargo, it is worth keeping as many lines of communication as possible open.

Funny how I have trouble getting dances here. I am told that I sit in the wrong place, but if the ladies want to dance with me, then they know where I am, because I sit in the same place. Still, I never really missed out. Viv did not miss a tanda for the first two hours, then she hit the wall, so she left. I had one tanda I must do then I followed her. Now, there is a lady who complains I do not dance with her, but try as I might I could not cabeceo her, when finally I walked over she said “Me voy”.

We went to the coffee Store again and had today’s promotion; buddin de lemon and coffee. Only a slice of lemon cake but it was quite filling. I am always hungry after the milonga, so it filled the gap. I had spoken to Hubert in the toilets before I left, he said he cannot eat medialunas and then eat later. I said that is why you are “Flaco” and I am not.

We walked back along Corrientes and at Puyerredon there is a sports shop. Viv wanted to look inside. As I stood by the door something landed on my head. It was a grass hopper, I think he was lost, no grass here.

Unsure of where to go for food we ended up at Alcala again. No steak tonight we had omelet and salad, plus, of course the black beer. As we were early we were served by a different girl. I could not understand a word she said and you could see she was getting impatient. I asked for “Cervesa Negra” she said “No” then pointed at the menu “Andes” it said ” Rubia, Negra” So negra it was then.

We managed to get everything we wanted, but it was like pulling teeth. Still the food was good and our usual girl appeared later and the bill again was small.

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Last minute shopping

I tried phoning the welder man, I got no response. So I decided to walk over just to check. There was a woman tugging on the lock, so I guess no one was there. No point in wasting a walkabout, I walked up to Corrientes and along to Sweet Victoria. The lady in there remembered me, but not that I do not wear boxers. Still she had some briefs in, looked old stock to me. They were only $500 hopefully they will get some more in, I will be back for more at this price.

Later I came out again to go to the carneceria at the chino. I got my 2kilo of bife de lomo $512 and it should be enough for four meals.

Off to El Beso today. We got to Medrano station and the platform was packed. Thinking there would be a train soon we rushed onto the platform. Then we saw the board, the next train was twelve minutes away. People were still crowding onto the platform and when it finally came it was already full.  It was a real shoulder to the wheel job to get on. When we passed Gardel I managed to get a bit further in, but ended up standing on one leg because I could find nowhere to put my other foot. Puerredon gave no relief, even though it is a connection, as many got on as off. When we finally got to Callao it was a relief to get off, but Viv was stuck on the train. I thought for a minute I was going to loose her, she only just made it when the doors closed.

Beso today was not the best, I think everyone is staying home for Christmas. We left early, but not before the raffle. I won, a ticket for one for tomorrow afternoon. As we are there anyway later, I did not want to go twice in a day. I tried, I really tried but it seems no one was interested. If I could not give a free ticket away, I cannot see it being worth going anyway.

After our usual coffee at the Coffee store we took a slow walk back. We needed some veg and a couple of other things. We managed to get every thing on our list, even managed to get rid of all the change, but the streets were manic. Everyone, it seems, is last minute shopping.

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Coughing fit

When we bought skirt hangers, I said we should have bought ten, but we bought five. So this morning Viv sent me out for more. It was a hot walk down Levalle, but when I got there the man said he had non until Thursday. I did think of buying different ones, but that would never do. So I headed back. On the way I spotted a shop selling perchas, but not the ones I wanted. Then on the other side of the road I saw another. There were two just like the ones we had, so I thought I would give it a try “Hay cinco?” I tried “Si” said the guy. Now the last five were $137 these were $125, and I thought I’d had a bargain. Seems the first guy was ripping me off.

Funny place this they have a cavalier attitude to prices, but they weigh lettuces. You just can’t figure it.

Viv was not at her best today, but at the last minute decided to come with me to El Beso. The numbers were down but I was still having problems getting dances. Viv however was not, she was up every tanda until she had a coughing fit and dissapeared over to The Coffee Store.

I would have joined her sooner, but Maria arrived and I had to dance with her. Then it was Biagi and I could not miss that tanda. Then it was a ladies choice and I was grabbed. When I finally got out to Viv she was disappointed that she was having such a good time but had to leave. At least she was not mad at me, for a change.

On the walk back we stopped at Farmacity again and then the shop that sells the glace fruit. The prunes in here are cheaper that Goji but the avena (oats) is nearly double the price. So then we had to go to Goji for the oats. As I said, they just seem to make up the prices as they go along.

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I had been worried for some time what would happen if Viv dropped the iron onto our ceramic floor. I need worry no more, she dropped it yesterday. It fell right onto the point. These tiles must be good, there is no sign of a crack. The iron, though, did not fare so well. The plate has cracked across the top. Surprisingly, it still works, but it now catches on some of the clothes. So we must look for a new one today. Then we had a change of plan, it seems, tomorrow we must look for an iron.

El Abrazo was busy today, it made it difficult to get dances, but there was a plethora of women. So that even if I struggled, I got a dance in the end. It was not so for Viv, so many women so little time. By five thirty Viv had enough, another case of basta la plancha. She told me to carry on, she would be at The Coffee Store reading. After another three tandas, then the silly stuff came on, so I was out of there as well.

We had some media lunas and coffee and then headed home. We stopped for some prunes and then decided to look for that iron. In Casa del Audio they had a pink one, Phillips at about £30. That would do nicely so we asked the guy, he brought it up on his computer and gave us a number to go to the desk. Now there is a certain kind of stupidity here, you need DNI, which I do not have. She said “passport” which I did not have with me. She said you should always carry it in case the police stop you, which has happened NEVER in 16 years of coming here. I said the place is full of ladrones, if I lost my passport I could not go home. We left the iron there with another Jobsworth.

Down the road is Fravega, they had the same Iron but £2 more. The guy just put some fictitious details in, we could have given him an address, but after all it was only an Iron. We paid our money, signed the warranty and walked out with an Iron. I felt like taking it to Casa del Audio and doing a Pretty Woman “You people work on commission, don’t you. Big mistake” in the end we just took it home.

We went back to Alcala then, had the Bife de chorizo and black beer. Must be getting old, I never finished my steak or the chips, even left some of the salad. I think it is time for bed.

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Maria’s Birthday at Beso

I had a call from Philippe this morning saying he was coming, then later another saying he was not. So I went to have my hair cut. On the way I passed the building two doors down that they are demolishing. They seem to be removing a lot of materials wood and other fittings. I thought that they would have been long gone, like all things here, this could be a long process.

I walked up to Urban Cut’s he other side of Corrientes. On the window it said men’s cut $180. It has been that price for at least four years to my knowledge. That is less than £2 at today’s rate. I did not expect it to be that now, maybe $500. Still I went in and waited. There was one other man waiting, but the guy was busy with a girl having highlights done. When she was thorougly plastered, he left her to cook and called the other man who was waiting. He wanted grade zero all over, he could have done that at home with a razor, still not for me to question how other people spend their money. I never heard how much he paid nor did I see.

So it was my turn. I told him grade four back and sides and scissor trim on the top. He started silently, I guess he did not know how much I could speak and I am never that good at small talk. Soon however we got onto how cold Europe is, the economy, and the difficulties of living here. All good practice for me and on safe easy subjects. Soon he had finished, asked me if it was short enough, I said it was fine and he told me it was $180. I found it hard to believe, I have been paying this for four years. I gave him $200, last of the big tippers, well that is nearly 20p. I think that maybe next time I should give him more, but worry about seeming like an arrogant foreigner.

When I got back Philippe called again, and he arrived with Walter. I showed them all the improvements I have made and talked with Walter about next year, and then they left again. We are always on a year to year basis, but I think we will have plenty of notice if Walter does not want to stay. If that happens, I think we will just come back again in the spring.

Off to El Beso again today. Many of the locals are abandoning it because it is not Ellie. Same DJ, same venue, same staff. I just do not get it. Anyway we had a great time. Miguel (The waiter) has now taken to leaving me a drink and reserving my spot for me. It is worth tipping well, it seems.

For the first two hours Viv never missed a dance, but then it was time for Maria’s birthday.  Fraid I took the biggest piece of cake. Well I gave everyone else a chance and it had a strawberry on it. Fito took the other piece with a strawberry, so I was left with no choice.

I did a couple of dances with Maria, and every time she filled my glass with Champagne. I think she was trying to get me drunk. She wanted to order some black beer as well, but by then Viv was making moves.  I danced with all my favourites including two with Christina. and many with Teresa. By seven the numbers were dropping and we left for The coffee Store, but not before a Chacarera with Teresa. I think we wowed them.

I did not really want the medialuna with my coffee, I was full up with Cake, but I ate it anyway. It fueled me up for the walk home, supper would be some time later on the balcony.

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