Tag Archives: The Coffee Store

Chasing the beggars

My daily shopping trip was over in a flash today. Needed some fruit and eggs, well the fruiteria has eggs, so it was a quick in and out. Trouble is they wrap them in newspaper and I cracked one putting them down. Biggest eggs you’ve ever seen though, they will not fit in our egg rack.

Off to El Abrazo again today as it is Friday. Trouble is we are late and there are no seats to be had, only at the far end of the mirror. We sat a seat away from each other and understandably it started badly for Viv. I can, of course just go a wandering. While I was dancing Maria came in and Zoraida found here a seat. I stopped my dance and asked her if she could find one for Viv. I am not so sure she was happy moving but she seemed to get plenty of dances for a while.

I managed to get a dance with my Russian today and some other ladies that I have missed for a while. I did a double cabeceo when I got the Russian up So I promised the next dance to the German lady next to her. Then, wouldn’t you know it a Pugliese tanda came on. I was committed. The room was crowded and there were lots of fancy moves going on. I have to say, it was not her fault, but it was definitely not my favourite tanda.

When it came time for the sorteo Viv had already left, and I had a confusing time with the girl over paying for the drinks. I only paid for mine and found out later that Viv had actually paid. Then it was over to The Coffee Store again. We are getting hassled more and more by beggars these days but Viv felt sorry for one in particular and ran after him with some pesos.

Then it was the walk home via a couple of panaderias. You can never get all you want from one place, but we have learned which ones have which product. We also stopped again at Farmacity, Viv wanted some antiseptic cream. So I said to the girl “Hay crema antiseptico?” Blank look. Viv got the dictionary out, but before she found it, the penny dropped and she handed me crema antiseptico. The girl actually spoke English and I think she understood our English better. It just amazes me, the locals do not open their mouths and mumble everything, yet they never understand me.

At the till, again we paid and the guy said something about para llevar. He does this every time we are here and, every time I have not a clue. Obviously I am taking it away, so what he is asking is anyone’s guess.

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Casa Galicia

Yesterday, we went to El Beso again. New organizer Quique Carmargo has taken over from Eli. We think she lost too much money over Christmas, but will never know the true story. It does not alter much whoever is in charge, but today there were few of my favourites here. I think Viv did ok though until after five, then we were soon ready to go. 6:30 and we were out to The Coffee Store, and then a walk home.

The electricity bill finally arrived today. So now I have the gas and electric it is worth going to pay.  It is Summer in Buenos Aires and, of course, it is raining. I have my trusty umbrella, but still have to dodge the puddles and the others with umbrellas, not looking where they are going. Some of the pavements have smooth tiles and they are a death trap. Some have broken tiles and squirt water up you leg when you tread on them. So I was glad that I could walk straight in, no queue at the Pagofacil. There is, of course, always a reason.  “No hay sistema” the notice said. I was not about to go searching for another place to pay in the rain. So I gave up and went to the chino to stock up on wine and beer for tonight.

In Nuevo chique I was again left in no mans land, but by the time I had put down my umbrella and shoes and the bag containing the booze, I was not for moving. When I danced with Paloma I said that I had two bottles of Malbec, she asked my why. Then the penny dropped; I had assume we were going back to her place for food, instead we were going upstairs in Casa Galicia. So After carrying the booze all the way here, I would have to carry it all the way home.

After the dancing we went upstairs, I have been told about this restaurant but have never been so this was a new experience. As this was a belated birthday celebration, we started with a glass of champagne. We were unsure of the portion sizes so we both had a chicken dish. You always know, more or less, how big a quarter chicken is. Paloma and Hubert shared a Bife de lomo. Our Chicken was delicious, but I think we had a bit of plate envy with the Bife de lomo. I am still not sure one would have been enough for us though. It was nice to share a bottle of wine as well.

We may well come back here again.

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Cervesa Negra, no hay

They are cutting up the pavement outside our apartment again. No Goggles, no dust mask, no gloves, but he has a hard hat on, so that is OK then. I find it strange that they have not realized how much of their economy is wasted cutting up the roads then repairing them and treating the injuries resulting from this. And they look at me strange when I will not walk through the thick cloud of silicosis inducing dust.

Trying to do some serious work here, but the power keeps going off. Is it anything to do with the workmen outside? I ask. Probably but you will never know.

Off to El Beso again today. When we get there the place is packed. It is difficult to get dances and we have trouble getting seats. Worse when I had been there half an hour Diego moved me as the table should have been reserved. So I ended up in dead mans cove, no way to get a dance without wandering around, at least Viv was not doing so badly today. I was also having trouble with my knee. So the only dances I get are not the best and they take their toll on me. By six I was ready to leave, but Viv said wait another half hour. Mariela and Philippe arrived and I had a nice dance with Mariela, but my heart was not in it.

Then the silly stuff came on followed by a demo. Seems that everyone was here to see the Japanese world champions, I shall reserve comment. First chance and I was out of there and over to the coffee store. Philippe and Mariela did not stay long, because they were out while we sat outside. We said goodbye again and watched them disappear down Riobamba on the motor bike.

We walked back, as is our way, and stopped of at the Farmacy and Goji, the dietetica. We had passed Alcala to get to Goji, but I decided that tomorrow would be better for our steak. So we went back to Kentucky, we sat perusing the menu and decided to have the barbacoa and a bottle of stout. When we finally got a waiter, he seemed not to understand stout so we tried negra, again the blank look, So we pointed it out on the menu, “Negro no hay” He said. I am now starting to believe the “No entiendo” is just a ploy, so I said to Viv “let’s go”. “Well where now” she said “Let’s try La Continental”

So as we entered La Continental, Viv said “What if they do not have black beer?” and “It comes to something when you change restaurants when they do not have the beer you like”. To me it is all about choice, if they have it on the menu, then in most cases they should have it, not just the odd time, if you are lucky.

Anyway, we asked first “Hay cervesa Negra?” and when we got a “si” we ordered the bolonesa. It was a bit sloppy for our liking but for £6 a good feast. No wonder there are so many fat people around here.

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El Beso is back

Today I have to pay my expensas. Philippe was on the phone early, he was doing his accounts and wanted to know when I had last paid the electric, I know not why. He wished me luck on my mission.

At the bank, the two queues were merging into one. There was some confusion, then one lady stood in front of the queue out of turn. The lady behind me put her right. There was another lady in front of me, who I suspected was also out of turn, but I am in no hurry. When the next machine came free she told me to go.

Now, here we go, I started with my written instructions. The machines now do pay out as well so the first two operations were new to me. Well I passed that test. It all went swimmingly until I put the money in. It would not take it. I turned the money the other way. Still it did not recognize the notes. I turned them upside down. Then it crashed me out. “We do not recognize your money” is sort of what it said. I went through the whole thing again. Same result, then I had inspiration, I put the notes in sideways, result. That was it now my money is off somewhere in the great ether. I just hope it is heading the right way through hyperspace.

At the chino today, I had to pay with a $1,000 note. I said to the girl that when I first came we had $100 notes worth £20 now $1,000 is worth £10. She just gave me that resigned look I get here whenever I mention inflation.

Off to El Beso today, we are assured it will be on and have power and air conditioning. Been coming here too long, I will believe it when I see it. On the way though I have to test a spare SUBE card. First pass it will not register, so I try another gate. I have had trouble before with this gate, so I am not too concerned. It lets me through the next gate but it is showing minus 30 peso. I must charge it before lending it. The subte will let you go to minus 40 and the fare is 19 so it will be of no further use until it is charged.

True to their word El Beso was open and there was air conditioning. The events of the past week were plain to see, the numbers were right down. I had problems getting dances, but as is often the case, an empty room suits Viv. I did get to dance with the lady I upset at Lo de Celia though. I had to go and seek her out and apologize, but she seemed unfazed. I even had a second dance later. I did have a lot of second dances today. I told Teresa if we had another we would be married.

We managed four hours of dancing today. Numbers may have been down but we still had good dancing. I think that maybe not being up on the first note meant I lasted longer, or maybe not.

Afterwards we had our usual ritual at The Coffee Store, before walking home again.

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No hay luz en Beso

After my Birthday excesses, did I not say? well any excuse for extra beer. Anyway after yesterday I was hoping for a lay in, but I was awoken by the sounds of them smashing up the pavement underneath us again. They have only just repaired after the water people now, it appears, they are putting in new electric cables again.  Is it really so beyond their ken, that it would be cheaper in the end to install some sort of tunnel.

Off to El Beso again today for the Friday El Abrazo. We got there and the lights were out. Mario had an improvised sound system, but it did not look good. There was no air conditioning and the numbers were rapidly dropping. By six they called it a day. Apparently many had not paid but for those of us who had there would be a glass of champers next week.  I have not kept my ticket, so we will see.

We left for The Coffee Store and sat outside. I was being dripped on by the aircon so we moved away from the building.  Marcelo was inside and I went in to say hello. It was freezing in there. Marcelo Thought that I was mad being outside, I thought he was mad sitting there in the cold. He came to speak to Viv before he left, he told us he had stuck his head in El Beso and decided against staying.

I don’t get it; this is their summer, you would think that they would be used to it. In El Arranque it was always thus, the sound may have been better but they never had air conditioning.

Whilst we were outside Raymond appeared he sat with us and had a good chat. Then he told us he was in a hurry, as his taxi for the airport was due in a quarter of an hour. Must be some sort of super traveler, I would have been panicking at this point. Not Raymond, he calmly walked off to get his taxi, waving as he went.

So then we walked back home to try and get my step count up. A bit of shopping on the way, then a quick change and it was straight out again. We had decided to eat out instead of at home so that we could dance until later, that worked well!

We went over to El Imaginario. We headed straight towards the garden and the guy shut the door on us, so we sat in the bar. While we were there someone else came in and left because they could not go into the garden. It is an odd way of doing business, turning away customers.

Still, a good cheap feed here, although I wanted the lentil burger for a change and apparently they do not do it now. It has me worried; they close the garden and reduce the menu, is this the beginning of the end?

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Last minute shoppers

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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Romantica Milonguera in Viruta

Last night we slept the sleep of the innocent. We were completely Knackered and flopped into bed unable to keep our eyes open.

We are waiting in for the fridge. I get a phone call, the guy is in Cordoba and wants to know where we are. I try to tell him Guardia Vieja 3899. He has the radio on and leaves to talk to his mate. He is rabbiting on about 3899. I just hope he has not now decided to go to Salguero 3899. I worry in vain again, he arrived with a trolley and our new fridge. He left me his card, apparently he does air conditioning as well.

We got him to take the old fridge as well. Now we have to wait to turn it on and we have the problem of what to do with the food meanwhile.

Meanwhile the guy who does the welding was not there. The whole place was locked up, I will have to wait until next week, to get my chair back.

It was off to El Beso again after this. I knew what was going to happen, Viv had said she did not want too many dances she needed a rest. Well, of course she never missed a dance, usually getting up before me.  I struggled a little even missing the odd tanda, so when Viv had enough I wanted to carry on, it was not going to happen though. So we left for The Coffee Store. Whilst there I got a message from the welder man, my chair was ready, but we still don’t know when we will pick it up.

We met Marcelo in the street, he was just going in to El Beso and would be away for Christmas, so we wished him Feliz Navidad and adios.

Thundery showers were forecast for today, so we took umbrellas. It rained a little on the way and it was cold enough that we thought we should have taken jackets, but nothing ever came of the rain.

It feels really cold later, the forecast says 18 deg but the wind makes it feel chilly even with my jacket on.

Friday night is not normally good in La Viruta, but tonight Orquesta Milonguera are here and it is entrada libre.  It took some convincing for us to get a table, I had tried to make a reserva but I got no reply. I waved my phone with the Whatsapp message on it and she finally gave us a table.

We sat there for half an hour while the children played. There was precious little Tango but we did manage a tanda of sorts. Elisa came in and joined us at our table, then went off to dance with a friend. Funny, Viv had just said that we never see anyone we know here. Then there was a demo Viv enjoyed it, I thought it was a bit too Strictly. It was very skillful just not to my taste. (I know, miserable ol’ git).

Then we had milonga, a chance for me to strut my stuff, or a chance to practice avoiding flying legs.

Then, the main event. The line up seems to have changed yet again Roberto Minondi is still there, his voice is superb, but they have yet another female singer and the pianist is different. There also seems to be a big change in the bandonistas. As far as I can see, only one original in the three. There is a male now, he is somewhat of a comic character and is pulling faces and reacting with the other band members. He reminds me of Harry Enfield.

Once the set is over we leave, Elisa has disappeared again. I will see her maybe at beso or Canning in the coming weeks.

We took a protracted walk home. I wanted to cut through from Cordoba to Estados de Isreal but I went too soon.  Estado de Isreal curves off at right angles so I sort of missed it completely. Still the back streets of Villa Crespo were slightly less windy, but I got no credit for leading Viv on one of my famous not short cuts. It did not take any longer to get home and we passed our welder mans workshop.


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Fracas at Pasteur

Late rising today, it has taken a week to settle in, but I think we are finally there. First job today; pay the gas and electric. It is almost $1000ar, only £12 but still a massive rise, and makes me wonder again how the locals cope. The guy at the local pagofacil was incredibly efficient. I wonder if he is in the wrong country, I was done in no time.

Then a small shop, breakfast and it is time to get ready to go out again.

El Beso was very quiet today. Viv had a great  time because the men now had to dance with her. Hopefully they will now remember her next time. For me though it was very poor. I am sure that Teresa was happy as I did four tandas with her, but otherwise it was very slim pickings for me. I hear the ladies saying “welcome to my world”. I can put up with this for one or two milongas, but sometimes it is just good to sit and listen to the music.

We stopped off at The Coffee Store again, then meandered back up Corrientes. There was some sort of fracas near Pasteur; A policeman  and a guy with a phone. I have no idea what it was about, the guy was indicating that he was talking on the phone, but the policeman tackled him to the ground, we thought better of staying too long.

We stopped in a kitchen supply place and bought a silicon oven glove, made in China of doubtful quality, but we need it to replace our old ones. I have no idea what happened to them and Walter does not seem to know either.

By the time we had stopped in Goji for some supplies it was getting late and plans we had to call on Philippe were shelved. So off home for some food then.



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New breakfast bowls

The balcony has always been my domain, but now the painters have left Viv has taken over. She is cleaning the floor, trimming the plants and generally tidying up. Well I still have the coffee to make and blogging to do.  I do, of course have the shopping. Still it’s nice to return to normal, with the outside out again.

Been looking for some breakfast bowls to replace the broken ones. We have had these ten years, not the very same ones, of course, every year we have to replace the broken ones.  So they are a bit like Triggers Broom. Now though they have reached the end. Nowhere has this particular bowl any more, so we must decide. We walked between shops and finally decided on some toughened glass with a grey pattern. They were cheaper in our old favourite “Petish Bazar”. Let’s hope these last more than the average two years of the last ones.

Off to El Beso again today today is El Abrazo the milonga that used to be at Ideal. The welcomes continue, it will take some time for everyone to welcome us. Yesterday one lady hugged me and actually picked me up, I had to ask to be put down. You do not get this level of affection elsewhere. Even here on Friday there are still many who have not yet welcomed us.

You would think that with this level of attention we would get lots of dances, but again I struggled. Although I do not miss many tandas often I am looking at the ladies who are left. Those that I expect to dance with me just do not look my way. Viv seemed to do well for the first hour, then dried up completely. The room is bigger now that they have removed the boarded off section in the corner. This makes the dancing much better, but there is a payoff, in that it is harder to cabeceo. Again this is our first week so we should not expect too much, but by six thirty Viv had enough, and it was over to the Coffee Store.

We walked back along Corrientes and checked out Casa de Audio for a fridge. Nothing there met our tastes so we went home to change. Then we came out again to go to Imaginario.

Another good cheap meal, we had a litre of stout, a salad and papas imaginario. Less than a tenner even with a tip. You could eat out every night at these prices.

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Money Day

After coffee from our excellent machine, it is time to go out into the world. Outside the building I bump into Walter talking to Sebastian. They told me that someone will be coming to paint the balcony. As is normal here, we have no idea when, but if we are in we must let them in. I asked Walter up for a coffee, but he must away to catch his flight. I last saw him heading towards Philippe’s apartment.

At the Argenper office the shutters were down the front of the building is plastered in “Se Aquiler” so it looks like this office is no more. I am unable to check further as I have left my phone, so I head for the office at Pasteur. There is a huge queue here and I have a long wait. From where I am sitting I can see the machine that dispenses tickets. I am amused watching the locals struggling with it, and there was me thinking my problems were because I am a stupid extranjero. I helps when you have been here before.  I worry that I do not have everything I need, that they will not have my money, I have no idea why; they were efficient as always and I left with all my money for the coming month.

I still worry walking back though. There is no way I will use the subte with all that money in my pocket and at every junction I check that I am not being followed. Paranoia is one thing, but I am not about to loose my months money, that would make this an awful Christmas. Happily home again and Viv has a coffee waiting, but she expected someone older.

As we shower and get ready the painter still has not come. I have no intention of waiting in, we came here to tango. so we set off for El Beso leaving the place in a mess. All the plants from the balcony are inside looks more like a greenhouse in here now.

We set off for Beso just after three and I could not find my shoes, there was only one answer; I must have left them in HB. We got there and  they were open, the guy pulled my shoes from under the bar. So today I had a reserve pair of shoes with me.

The floor at Beso is very slippy of late so I decided to use my dance trainers. It was a good move and I was much more secure on the floor than I had been yesterday. I never missed a tanda today (apart from Pugliese, a choice on my part). Viv did not do so well, funny how the men have such poor memories. Whereas all the women remembered me, the men all seem to have forgotten Viv.

Anyway Viv decided to leave early and head for The Coffee Store. I had promised a tanda to another lady, so I was dancing when Viv left, but the next tanda was Alfredo Gobbi, Quique Camargo is the only DJ I know who plays Gobbi, so I changed my shoes and left.

Viv was sat in her usual place so I joined her for “Promocion”; Two media lunas, cafe con leche and orange. Then we walked back up Corrientes. We stopped off at a dietetica that had sugared pineapple slices and prunes. After that we went to a fruitaria. They had broccoli which we did not expect. I asked the girl serving “como se llama es?” “Broccoli” she said,  I felt stupid,but will not forget again.

Sebastian was by the door when we came home. “El pintor, has terminado?” I asked, “No” he said “Miercoles” Well at least he has learned the art of keeping it simple.


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