Tag Archives: Viejo Correo

Old people eh!

OK my first post from the city of Tango:

The flight as usual was faultless, a bit of turbulence around that dreaded intercontinental convergence zone, but other than that we even managed a couple of hours kip.

The passengers though were not faultless. Starting with us. In Paris we decided to have a coffee in one of the cafe’s on the concourse. I counted my pennies and decided we had enough euros for two coffees. Viv was surprised, she thought we had much more in euros, but I was not, I don’t buy many euros as we are not that long in europe at any time.

Anyway I counted out all the coins and gave them to the girl, who looked, at first, baffled. I did not understand why, untill she handed me my money back saying something in French about centivos. Then I was confused for a while, untill I realised that what I had was my purse full of monedas for the collectivos. Another search through my bag and I found the euros, Viv was of course right, we did have much more in euros. This is the problem of having to travel with four currencies, sometimes it is hard to keep track of it all. (Old people eh!, whats to become of us).

As always on planes, there are people who just cannot sit still, and in front of me was the biggest German you have ever seen. I really thought that the back of his chair would collapse onto me, as he pushed and turned and stood up sat down again then pushed some more. Still it is a tribute to Boeing that it held up and I did not have a German in my lap.

So here we are, Viv is busy cleaning, my stuff is unpacked and it is a lovely Day. Sebastian (our portero) was at the door to greet us when we arrived. We have been to the verdaria, pastaria, the supermercado and charged my cellphone. All ready for a night out now, it will be Viejo Coreo tonight with Jorge del Solar, after a sleep and some food.

1 Comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Nestor is dead!

Ok I heard about this yesterday but, of course reactions are delayed and Buenos Aires was more or less closed for the census.

On another bright sunny day we took the subte into town, we had to get some shoes from Darcos, we had checked the address and got an address in Sarmiento and I always thought it was in Suipacha.  The first thing we noticed was that the subte was free. My moneda card, so long sought was not needed. When we got off the other end traffic was normal on Corrientes, but there was a steady build up of crowd.

We walked to Suipacha and Viv wanted to go in but I said “first lets check out the address we have. After a bit of searching (the diagonal streets in the centre confuse me) we found the Darcos super store. It was a lot bigger and more airy that the other shop, but something else we noticed was that they were actually manufacturing shoes in the back in full view. The very shoes we wanted were there but only with a small heal, the guy in the shop said he could change them for Cubans while we waited, so we did. And we waited some more, there is a studio upstairs where you can have a coffee, so we went for a coffee (the cheapest in Buenos Aires only two pesos, I challenge anyone to find cheaper). Still they were not ready, the guy apologised and came over saying they would be another half hour, so we went out to find other diversions.

So we headed off for Florida,  I don’t know why, it is a tourist trap full of junk that you would buy and throw away when you got home. Still we managed to get Viv some new tights. It was when we emerged out again onto the diagonal that we realised the crowds that were forming to say goodbye to Nestor Kirchner, ex-president and husband of the present President. The streets were closed off and people were marching down with banners proclaiming “Vive Nestor” and “Fuerza Christina”. What ever others in the world may think, he was loved here.

We stopped in a cafe for some wholemeal cakes and more coffee, and still the people came, helicopters passed over head it seems the whole of Argentina was here to pay their respects. We returned to pick up the shoes but still they were not ready, now though the guy who had been serving in the shop was rebuilding our shoes.

When eventually we returned, we stopped at 3986 Guardis Vieja to pick up the thrice repaired Sams. It seems the repair man could not get the exact buckle to replace the broken one, despite me saying “no importa” and trying to explain that you cannot see it when they are fastened he gave me back twelve pesos. Viv said she felt guilty and I said we must go back and buy some stuff from the shop, service this good deserves reward. Has anyone spotted our deliberate mistake? We were actually in the place where these shoes were made and could have had them repaired there.

We headed off to Tango 8 in Abasto, Viv looked at loads of shoes but one pair in particular were ideal for Joan, only they did not have them in her size. Despite trying others, when you find the ideal thing that is what you want. I asked if they had them in another shop, the girl checked the computer and we were in luck, they have them in San Telmo. Up until now I had done well with my Castillano but she was saying something I did not understand about one o’clock. It was time to call for the other guy, the one who talks english. What she was saying is that although the computer says that they have them they may well be sold and there is no one in the shop except from one till five and it was now five thirty. So we must come back tomorrow.

Thursday is a Fulgor night, so as usual we traipsed off to Villa Crespo. When we arrived there was no noise, not much light and no doorman. I was met by Ruben (Robertos son) he said that they were closed out of respect for the president who had died. I thought better of correcting him, not the president but her husband. So we had a think and decided that we should go off to Viejo Correo. The only trouble was we had come out without a map. I know where both places are but Villa Crespo is a maze and without going home and then to Caballito I did not know the way. So I ventured back into the club and asked for a tango map, Ruben kindly found me one in the back somewhere.

It was an interesting walk, along streets which were unfamiliar to us, and we approached Parque Centenario from the other side so we found some museums and places of interest that we made a note to return to.

Many years ago we went to Viejo regularly on a Thursday before we discovered Fulgor. Now we were glad of the chance to meet again the organiser Nina. She rushed over to us hugging and kissing saying “hace muchos anos” time has not been kind to her, she is suffering terribly and cannot dance as her foot was all bandaged, but her spirit is as alive and bright as ever. Moments in her company will lift the day of anyone.

We were early and sat with a beer while the class finished. We were amused to see that despite being told where we must sit because “mujeres solo estan aca, y hobres aca, aqui parejes” There were men with the women, women with the men, and even the odd couple. I do not quite understand why they altered the seating in here, to me it would have made more sense to have the couples nearest the bar as they are more likely to order food and drinks.

When the dancing started we were unsure, the DJ did not play La Cumparsita until halfway through the second tanda and we were already up. (DiSarli you just have to dance). There were some great tandas and it was hard to find time to sit, until inevitably they played a Pugliese and gave me a rest.

An asian looking guy danced past and Viv said “that is one of the Canadians” and when he sat down we saw his friend as well. After the next tanda I walked over to their table “You buy me a drink then not a call, not a message, I feel abused” I said in my best camp voice, they thought this was hilarious. We chatted a bit and thanked Nestor for bringing this about.

We were getting tired, but as the Canadians had just come back from Iguazu I could not be seen to crack first, luckily they soon left and we stayed for just one more tanda.

As we left, again Nina was all over us and we exchanged emails with a promise to keep in touch. Now whenever we go to Fulgor we may have to head straight for Viejo Correo afterwards.

3 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Tango

San Telmo

I thought we would do something touristy today, after all we are on holiday. So I checked the Buenos Aires government site and see if there is anything in San Telmo we have not yet seen.

We took the subte into town and then line “C” across town and down to San Telmo. First stop was for a coffee in Peru, there was no point in paying tourista prices in Plaza Dorrego. It seems the pigeons here fear nothing certainly not two extranjeros. One boldly came to patrol our table untill I shood him away. Next one came ont the table next to us, then I got showered with water as they threw a glass over their pigeon. They only gave up when I made a determined effort to grab our interloper by the throat. This pigeon had no desire to end up in the oven, so went off to harass someone else.

I had a list and we set off to tick as much off as we could. We have been to Plaza Dorrego often but it is always a good starting point. The market stalls that populate the square on a weekend are in short supply but the hawkers trying to get us to eat in their restaurants were not, and we had to keep saying “no Gracias” over and over.

The centre of the square has been turned into a restaurant come tango show, and there is a smartly dressed couple dancing away, with some style, but we are not impressed, the hold is too loose, arms doing the leading and, he is looking down all the time. (yes I know I do that as well, but I am not supposed to be a professional dancer). Still it impresses the tourists and that is the point, still when one of my favourite milongas comes (Reliquias Portenas by Canaro) on we have to stay and watch.

We took in the market, El Viejo Almacen, La Cumparsita, and then headed for Museo del traje (literally museum of the suit, but actually a museum of clothing). Typically when we arrived it was not open and as we had not eaten and it would soon be open anyway we decided to eat.

We do not do big lunches these days and it was hard to find something that fitted our needs but eventually we happened upon an Ice cream place that did coffee and snacks. As we sat eating the news was on and we were amazed to see that fifteen of the chilean miners were already out, even with the sound off and with spanish subtitles it was compulsive watching.

We were no help to the miners sitting in a cafe in San Telmo so we set out again for the Museo del Traje. They do not charge entrada but ask mearly for donations, just as well really we were through all the exhibits in a matter of minutes. What was great however was that this was in a traditional Buenos Aires house with an interior patio area and little had been changed, from here it was possible to get some idea of what life would have been like for a better off family of the 1900s.

After watching more live feeds from the BBC of Chile we set off for Viejo Correo. The guy on the door remembered us and asked how we were but Jorge (the organiser seemed not to recognise us. They have rearranged this place yet again. At first sight it looked like they had moved the DJ, but that would be almost impossible. They have, in fact, moved all the chairs so that the dance floor is effectively moved half its length nearer the door.

At first it is quite quiet and we have plenty of space but as the night goes on it gets more crowded, but never to a point where dancing becomes difficult.

We sit in one of our favourite venues with a bottle of Quilmes Negra good music, and now all the miners are out, it doesn’t get better than this.

2 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Tango

The Old Post Office

There was still some shoes to buy, we have an order from a non tango dancer; sparkly, not too high, red or black, closed toe. The closed toe was giving us problems, Flabella could not (or would not) help, Comme il Faut said only non dance shoes, so today we tried Tango 8.

Tango 8 is behind the Abasto Centre not far from us, we had been in before on our last visit and I was surprised that Viv had waited so long to return. They had a range of shoes second to none and the guy there was more than helpful, even though we were buying for someone else.

Pretty soon the floor was covered in shoes of every description. I do not know if we got exactly to specification, but he assured us if we came again he could make what we wanted within three weeks. We left happy, I think he was hoping we would buy more than one pair, but we need to keep some space in our cases for our clothes.

Being so near home means we can return for coffee saving us some money, and we can drop off the shoes before we head out to Jumbo for some supplies.

Milongas here come and go and also they seem to vary in how popular they are. At one time Viejo Correo was one of out favourites, but it started to loose its lustre, and by the time we were here last time, it was sad and almost empty. The Tuesday night has ceased altogether and we wondered if it would continue at all. Well it is still going although the Tuesday never got restarted, they have spent some money inside and have altered the seating again since  we arrived this time.

Short of some where special tonight we thought we would try The Old Post Office again as it is within walking distance and always a good stand by. It seems to have undergone a renaissance, for tonight it was packed, unusually for here there were many singles and there was a lot of cabeceo going on, but also there was a huge party at the top end. We are still on holiday so we celebrated in our own way with a Stout (quilmes negra) without doubt one of the best things here. We were sat right up at the bar and the way they had arranged the floor, it meant a long walk every time we wanted to dance. So when they played Canaro’s Poema (one of my favourites) we missed half the track walking to the floor.

Dancing here as always is variable, one guy danced so well I tried to always get behind him, it is so much easier to navigate when the person in front is predictable. When we got up for milonga, however, there was one guy who thought  that he owned the floor and would charge backwards down the floor crashing through anyone in his way. I have developed a technique of staying close, to stop them building up momentum and turning so my back is to the line of dance, it protects Viv and stops them seeing how annoyed I am. We he realised he was not getting the space he wanted to show off in, thankfully he left the floor.

The milonguero life is getting to us, so when they had two birthday dances, followed by “tropical” we decided we had had enough and took the slow walk home.

Next post may be delayed, due to the inconvenience of haveing to fly home, it sort of cramps my style.

5 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Back again in Buenos Aires

After the long flight, we could do nothing but sleep. The drive from the airport was horrendous, normally we travel at weekend, so we were not prepared for what the autopista had to throw at us at eight thirty in the morning. The taxista was used to it however and just shrugged his shoulders when asked. when I told him we normally arrived Saturday he said “si si” as he understood well. After the drive though, I hung a few things up while Viv made the bed and then we slept until noon.

When we got up and thought “some croissants would be nice”so I trotted out to our favourite panadaria. Tragedy! it was closed, gone, Se Vende, what are we to do now? to make matters worse I had come out without money and had to run back up to the flat. As I dodged in one of my neighbours jumped in the lift “por favor” I said “espera me”. So I have met another of my neighbours but again forgot to properly inroduce myself, with my memory I would probably have forgotten her name anyway.

As usual we spent our first day doing domestic stuff, shopping for food, fruit, and essentials. We hung our new curtains and did a little cleaning and decided sod the cooking tonight we would eat out.

We had a lot of welcome messages on my mobile but nobody was suggesting a place to go tonight so we set off towards Viejo Correo. On the way we pas La Catedral and we checked out what was happening there, unfortunately it looked like there would be no dancing until at least Midnight, far too late for our first night. (Bear in mind here the plus four hours, mking that four in the morning for our bodies).

There is a restaurant on Gascon we visit now and again, so as we were still not fully settled we decided to eat out tonight. There is a film director who has a house near here and we could not remember his name, so, testing my spanish to its limits I asked the waiter if he knew who the film director was that owned a house in Palermo.   He looked puzzled and asked a guy who he said spoke english. It turned out he had been in the merchant navy many years ago and could remember a few words. Somebody else butted in “does he want to rent an apartment”(in spanish, obviously)  Before long every one in the restaurant was having a go, no body wanted me to speak spanish as they all knew at least two words of english. I now have the addresses of numerous realtors and people renting apartments, but not the name of the film director . (for those curious it was Francis Ford Copola, I used the internet later).

Leaving behind the chaos at Gascon, we carried on to Viejo Correo. As we walked in to our old familiar place  I was astounded at the price, it has actually doubled, little wonder then that the numbers were down. The old guy again asked us where we were from, just as he does every time we come. I suppose he must see hundreds of touristas, but you would think the amount of times he has seen us there would be some spark of recognition. Thats me I, suppose, easily forgotten.

We did not stay long, as usual the music was good, some of the dancers not so good, and just enough space to have a good dance. But as I said the hour was still too late for us so at about half ten we wandered home tired but happy at having tangoed again in Buenos Aires. We had afterall only had three hours sleep in two days.

Juan rang while we were a bed, then texted me to say he was in Canning. Unfortunately he was too late, not realising that we had not slept properly for two days, hopefully we can meet up soon.

1 Comment

Filed under Argentina, Tango

Expensive Day

It took some time to raise Viv this morning, the hectic life is getting to her, but after finally getting herself ready we headed out about twelve thirty.

We arrived at the subte to see the sign “subte paro 1200 a 1400” my first thoughts were to go back to the apartment pick up my monedas and catch a bus, as we were heading for Comme Il Faut on a shoe expedition. Then Viv said “how far are the wig shops” so we set off down Corrientes at Gardel we turned left and then into Lavalle (I hope you have your maps out, I will be testing you aall later) as we had walked Corrientes before. This part of Lavalle was fascinating for Viv, it was filled with haberdashery and material shops. The thought of spending my money on hair and shoes however spurred her on.

We turned into Pasteur the place we were looking for was 650 Luba had found it on the web for us, we never made it. This must be the wig centre of Buenos Aires on the first block we found a shop, and Viv wanted to look. The girl inside said every one was real hair and very soon we found just the one. The girl trimmed the fringe for us and took my credit card. So that was my first big expense of the day.

We walked back towards Corrientes and found a cafe, unusually we. had some lunch, once I start spending I cannot stop. We needed time before the subte was open again that was my excuse. I even bought a wind up torch from one of the guys who go round the tables. There was no stopping me.

Once we got to Comme Il Faut the shoes just kept on coming. We were on our own at first, then a German woman came in, she spoke perfect castillano but just like Brigitte. Then some American women arrived, then another with her husband, it was getting crowded. Best of all three Yankee lads arrived to buy shoes for one of their girlfriends. This as you can imagine caused chaos, there was gentle ribbing about whether it was their colour, and of course I had to tell them, no matter what they chose it would be wrong “because they are men” the husband who had been sitting quietly at the back stood up and all but applauded that remark (you can always tell the long suffering husbands). Finally when they left, with some very over the top shoes, they said “try and see some more of Buenos Aires before you leave”.

We finally left with five pairs of shoes and a very damaged credit card. (two pairs are for friends but I will probably not see the money).

Every time I spend money I need coffee to recuperate, so we walked along Talcahuano until Paraguay. (do you still have your maps out) As we prepared to cross the road a girl, on hearing our English asked about the location of an ATM, Viv’s answer was classic “sorry we are not from this part of town” I just laughed and pointed her towards the centre as her best bet. On this corner is a bar called La Tekla, it has to be the maddest bar in the world. Next to our table we had some greasy hub caps two old telephones, I could not resist picking up the Bakelite one and asking for Whitehall one two one two

Over the bar. was a sign no camping, in Spanish of course. There were old typewriter’s, boxing gloves and punch bags a pair of legs, nothing was related it was like Steptoes house. All that was missing was the bear. I had occasion to use the urinals and the sign above, again in spanish said beware of the dog. If you are ever in this part of town I recommend you call in for a coffee you will not be disappointed.

After this our return was somewhat uneventful, we again failed to contact our daughter, and again suffered the Buenos Aires subte crush. We arrived so thirsty that we drank all Philippe’s beer, then went for a sleep.

It seems 9 degrees is too cold for our Argentine freinds, so our plans were out of the window. We decided to walk to Viejo Correo. Tonight the standard of dancing was still not great, but there were fewer people there so it was enjoyable for us. As mostly we dance together the crowd matters less to us, so we had an enjoyable evening.

When it was time to leave, we decided again to walk. At the corner of Diez Valez and Yatay is a garage, open all night, and as if to prove that it really was not cold, we bought two Ice creams on sticks, chocolate coated in white chocolate mmmmmmmmmmm.

9 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga

Gridlock

Another of Sally’s recomendations is the Rosedahl, so I thought we would have a relaxing day there. I spent twenty minutes with the Guia T trying to decide which collectivo to take. In the end I gave up, we are on holiday with plenty of time, it is easier to walk, and more healthy.

As we walked through the gate a dog passed through as well, obviously this one could not read, as a big sign said “Perros No”. We sat and ate an apple drinking our Jugo Pomelo and watched ammused as a warden tried in vain to catch the dog. When she had finally given up the dog, who obviously could recognise dog lovers, came and lay down behind our bench.  He was a mangy beast covered in sores and scratches. He also seemed to spend most of his time in a state of arousal.

The gardens were full of maintenance people and we were moved on by a guy with a strimmer. He did not want us hit by flying gravel. The dog followed. We relocated to some benches by the waters edge, and Viv carried on reading. In time a family came past, they made the mistake of stroking our faithless dog, now he was theirs. We watched again ammused as they attempted to get rid of him, even calling one of the wardens over.

As we sat, suddenly we were sprayed with bird droppings. Just at that time a couple suddenly appeared to help, with tissues and water. What we did not realise imediately was that said droppings arrived from the side and were not of bird dropping consistancy. Viv had the wearwithall to put all her things back into her bag and close it. I allowed the woman to offer my wet tissues but would not let her touch me. The ladrones soon gave up and went after other prey, but the stuff they had sprayed on us stunk.

We moved away and eventually found somewhere else to rest. I left Viv reading and explored a little. There is another exit over the water on a bridge that looks almost Japanese. On the far side of the bridge I saw our dog again whimpering, it seems he never found a new owner, had we been more permanent here I would have taken sympathy on him, but I do not think Philippe would have thanked me for lumbering him with a dog.

We walked back past the zoo, and on the back fence was a big poster entreating us not to abandon our pets. Was this aimed especially at me?

As I have said before, for those who do not know, almost all the streets here are one way. The one we were travelling up now was no exception other than although the traffic was all facing the same way, non of it was moving. Aparently if you make enough noise with your horn people will get out of the way, but not today. Further up the street some cars had turned around, trying to drive against the flow causing even more chaos. About the centre we saw a furniture van delivering a bookshelf, I thought at first this was causing the holdup, but the chaos continued in front, and the two guys delivering were laughing with a sort of schadenfreude.

When we got to the next junction it all became clear, in typical Argentine fashion, they were repairing the road. The whole of the junction was being resurfaced, but noone had posted signs at the ends of the roads, so there were two streets full of traffic with nowhere to go. All they could do was sound their horns and overheat their engines. No one had the where withall to get out of their car walk to the end of the street and tell the drivers coming up what was happening, and to simply turn around.

For our nightly dance we return to Viejo correo, literally the old post office. There have been some alterations here, the cieling has been covered with some sort of splatted concrete and the old facimily of La Boca has gone, also alot of the paintings are missing and there has been some general rearanement.

I was dissapointe with tonight, the tandas were arranged in a completely random fashion and the standard of dance was awful. There was much changing of lanes, people running into the back of us, and just inconsiderate use of the floor. Considering that it was not crowded the dancing was very difficult. Friday night here was one of my favourites I think I will have to cross it off my list.

There was even one guy who was doing some very fancy nuevo stuff, big lifts, ganchos and stuff. The problem was he was completely out of time. When there was a milonga he was almost there, but when Canaro was played, he did not slow down a bit. We left for an early night.

4 Comments

Filed under Argentina, Dance Venues and Schools, milonga