Tag Archives: Villa Crespo

The Famous Bob & Viv Finch

I made a start on photographing the flat today, got as far as the bedroom. I really will have to get moving soon.
Viv wanted some flowers so we set out for Sarmiento and Figueroa where I know there are many flower shops. We got two bunches of roses at a bargain price and then headed back. Just around the corner was a shop selling plant pots and there in front of us was a trough just the right size. So I bought that as well.
The ladies from England were coming and I expected them to call so that I could show them the way from Medrano. I had given them instructions, but never the less, I never expected that they would just arrive.
A good job that they had not phoned first as I would have been out.
We took them down to Gardel and they took photos of the new statues. We then went down to his house, but could not go in as it is Tuesday.
We then walked through Zelaya and looked at all the Filatela on the buildings and the Gardel music. It was at this point a guy came out and accosted us. At first I did not know who he was or what he wanted. Then he said he knew us from Villa Crespo, “Villa Crespo, Fulgor” he said. He told our ladies how we danced and how well Viv did the chacarera.
At last our fame is known, we can no longer walk the streets of Buenos Aires without being recognised.
Our ladies were hungry and thirsty so we headed back to Passaje Gardel for an empanada. While jugo was the preferred drink I stuck with cerveza.
I thought that these ladies were not for walking too much, but we ended up walking all the way into town. Shows what you can do when your mind is diverted by all those shops.
After a short stop at their hotel we went to Suarez and had some ice-cream. Then to a tango shop for some music. I was a bit miffed, because if I had been forewarned we had walked within feet of the biggest music store in town. Still it was their last day and tango had to be bought.
We had walked into town and now missed our milonga so why not walk back. At least that was Vivs thinking. So we did, and we stopped at Stuart’s for a hefty sandwich to take back for our supper.

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Is Villa Crespo on the move?

We did not do much today, but at least I finally finished the painting. Next job is to clean the cooker, and that will be epic. I had a look and it is bolted to the wall the jets and air mix is in the burners so the top will not lift off and there is six years of grime under it all, watch this space.
We called in the chino again (I am not allowed to call it a chinky, it seems) and bought a nice piece of steak for tea. $28 less than £1.50 you just can’t argue with that. With just enough griddling to sear it, it was gorgeous. A couple of facturas from the new confiteria on the corner for afters. Not much point in eating out when you can eat in like this.
Still we had Fulgor to look forward to. I am sure that they are moving it further away, every night it seems to take longer. Marian had our drinks ready again, and as always it takes a good fifteen minutes to get in, what with all the kissing.
It is a much better night on Sunday, they have a proper DJ, but they still play too much Pugliese for me. The numbers are starting to rise as well. There were even some new faces, who seemed quite perplexed, that all these locals were greeting these extranjeros, kissing them even.
The Cumbia gives us a rest, but often is tagged alongside a Pugliese tanda so I am getting stiff by the time I get moving again.
I never won the sorteo tonight, still Viv thinks I drink too much anyway.
Roberto is still not there, but Ruben is doing a sterling job.
Now for that walk home again.

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Todo un poco caro

We wanted to rest today as tonight will be a late one. The weather is gorgeous, the sun is shining and it is just too nice to stay in. So after a late breakfast and some domestic chores, we set off for Villa Crespo.

On our regular walks to Fulgor we pass many new buildings, shop fronts that look very modern and hip. They are, of course, closed when we pass, so Viv wanted to see what they were like when they were open.

Mostly they are outlet shops selling everything from jeans to handbags. We raised the pulse of many dependientes, but it was all a bit caro for these extranjeros. Prices here have risen exponentially since we have been coming, and they seem to have doubled in the last year. Far from being the rich tourists we are watching our purse strings very carefully.

Still it was a wonderful day to just wander and when we had our fill of the outlet village we walked down to Palermo, hoping to get a coffee somewhere in the sun. The Argentines don’t seem to like sun so sunny spots are somewhat of a premium, so when we found one we were sticking to it.

“Dos cafe con leche, por favor” “la machina no funciona, hay una confiteria alli” and with that she started to walk off “Ok dos chop” “no puedo la….” ok I got the message, but we could have a can of beer. She started to rush off again, “senora!” “si” “y cuatro empanadas picante, por favor” now she was not moving until she was certain we had finished.

It was all very pleasant and the empanadas were tasty, but as we saw several customers going down the road to the confiteria I couldn’t help wondering “is it beyond the ken of everyone here to make coffee without an industrial machine”. If it were my restaurant I would have brewed some up in a pan, or at worst gone to the supermarket for some nescafe, especially when it is not possible to sit down without spending a tenner.

It seems a nice day is also the time for house sales, we passed a few and entered two of them. Again though everything was far too expensive. Even though prices here have risen there is not reason for second-hand stuff to be so expensive, often it is cheaper to source new items than buy second-hand things that often need repair. “Bike for sale, no peddles, one brake (no funciona) no seat and a bit scratched only $650”

We did treat ourselves to some very nice browny from our favourite confiteria for after tea though. Well we are on holiday.

So as I said tonight is going to be a late one we are off on the 92 to Matederos and Glorias Argentinas. Now I don’t know if it’s because fewer people are using the taxis now or we are just unlucky, but the numbers on this bus have grown. In fact it was Flores before we could get a seat and we were on Directorio before we could sit together. Normally this bus at this time of night would be almost empty.

The walk up to Glorias was not uneventful either, some drunk guy sent us down the wrong road. I had been counting the blocks but it’s easy to get distracted. Still it just meant we arrived from the other side so it was no big deal. I never asked for his help but he saw me looking for the street sign and obviously that was enough.

Janis was waiting when we arrived, Carlos Anzuate was there with many friends and all of Chiche’s family was there as well. (that is Chiche Carlos’s friend and dance partner, not to be confused with Chiche the milonguero). So we were relegated to the next table.

From here though we had an excellent view of the floor and an amazing folklore show that was put on. I have it on video, and will post it after I return home.

All good nights must come to an end and we had to speed off into the night. After being delayed first by Carlos who didn’t want us to go then the waitress who didn’t want us to pay then the cashier who didn’t want to do our bill.

So as we left we had less than ten minutes for Janis to catch her bus. We almost made it, I ran in the road waving my arms like a dervish, but he was not for stopping. Janis told us she would be ok so we walked to our stop.

We know that there is one here but we can never find it so we walked two blocks to where we know there is one. It was twenty minutes later our bus arrived. So at least now we know the time. We got on and round the corner was Janis still waiting but waving at us joyfully.

The bus stopped right by her and we waved back. I felt guilty leaving her there, but at least I know next time we can stand with her. Our bus shares the same stop.

Being this far out we were one of the first on so we had a seat, but again the bus was packed by the time it got to flores. Different crowd this time, all youngsters, drunk and swigging out of bottles. You know, we felt perfectly safe here, if this had been the last bus in Chester or Wrexham (four hours earlier) we would have been extremely nervous and I would be keeping my hands at a height where I could use them quickly.

A crowd of twenty or more drunken youths and not a sign of trouble, oh! to have such a thing at home.

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Aniversario

Due to the lateness of last nights festivities we did not get out of bed until nearly two. We had arranged to go to Janis for lunch, so we were running late, all sorted and out the door, we had reached Corrientes when Viv said “Where are your dance shoes?” so we had further delays while I went upstairs to retrieve them. I had misplaced my camera the night before and that, I think, was distracting me.

Being Sunday it was hard to find anywhere open, but right opposite the bus stop there was one supermarket where we managed to get a bottle, so finally armed we waited to cross the road, just then Janis rang to say do not hurry we are only just up, again distracted I almost committed suicide crossing in front of the traffic. I asked Janis to check the back of Adolfo’s car for the camera, it is worth very little but for my photos, but it would be a disaster if they broke into Adolfo’s car to steal it.

I don’t know how we always do it here, we had said four o’clock, and despite all the setbacks, the late arousal and the vagaries of the Collectivos, we arrived at two minutes past, , Janis greeted us at the door waving my camera at us, it had been lying in the back seat.

Adolfo cooked us fresh pasta and chicken, we ate far more than we normally would, but the food was so good. Adolfo kept on that he should have cooked four packs, but we would only have eaten it and felt too stuffed to dance, as it was we left very little and we had room to polish off the iced cream that Janis had bought in.

We had a bit of an impromptu dance class in the lounge, Adolfo reluctantly finally putting on his shoes. Janis has made a video and I am under orders to post it here later. Feeling guilty, about leaving, at about eight thirty we set off for Fulgor, Janis was going to Lo de Celia and would sit apart from Adolfo, so tonight would not have been a good night for us to go out together.

I am getting good at this collectivo lark, we managed to get off at the right stop for Janis and we did just as well for Fulgor. It helps, of course, that I know this part of town well, but preparation with comoviaje is the key for me.

These streets I know well it was how we used to reach Fulgor in the past and I could reel off the names before we got there, so I though my old brain was working well, but obviouslynot, I had forgotten it was the Fulgor anniversary. The old rottweiler on the door would not let me in “si no tienes reserva, no hay sillas”. On a night of storms a week ago the place had been empty but for the crowd I had brought, this was not going to happen. “Hablamos con Roberto” I said and although looking doubtful Roberto let us in, but said “no hay sillas” so we had two plastic patio seats and sat at the back. When you are a regular here things happen, and the couple at the next table were soon moved to join some friends further down and suddenly, we had a seat and a table.

Tonight was not going to be all dancing and as I put my coat away I noticed a group of downs children in Tuxedos, we did not get the first dance in before we had a demo. They were enchanting it may have not been step perfect but they had fire and enthusiasm in bucket loads, I had not yet seen the best but definitely this was the most enjoyable show. The applause was genuine and warm all the way through and I joined the others around the room in the ovation at the end.

Almost every other tanda was followed by a demo, including, at one point, a belly dancer. Most did only one dance, but one guy did a tango, a Vals then a fabulous milonga, he even finished with Rock around the clock. As I have said, I am not impressed with fancy demos, but this guy was incredible, he did a full circle just walking, his posture, his timing, everything was just fantastic. I come to this hemisphere to dance, not to watch or to take classes, but I said to Viv “that is the guy I want to have classes with. I now have his card and his blog address Jorge Garcia go there and watch him dance.

Once I had spoken to him he was already giving me advice (as always head up) he was doing this for free because he loves it not just to grab the tourist dollars. I felt his eyes on me assessing my moves and my posture, he would be a hard task master.

Although I love the dancing here, this is not really my scene, I prefer to dance than to watch, and soon I had my opportunity; Roberto asked our names and said “te gusta D’Arienzo?” Viv was not happy about what was about to happen, Roberto stood mid floor and said “Desde Gales, Bob y Viviana” everyone was clapping, there was no way out, so we took the floor. I don’t think we disgraced ourselves, I did pull one or two crowd pleasing moves, after all this was now a demo, not a milonga, but of all the nice comments we had later, the one I enjoyed the most was that we danced the music. As we moved around the room I thought “head up” and looked at Jorge Garcia as I did, he was nodding sagely.

What a night! great food, cooked by a porteno, great demos, torte y cidra, and Los Galeses wowed them in Villa Crespo. Viv may not like to admit it, but she enjoyed our demo immensely and I think we will be talking about this night for a long time to come.

Oh and one other thing, The ONLY place in the world where you can see two men kissing in the toilets and know they are not gay, is Buenos Aires.

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Buenos Aires

We had three visits last year, and when we returned home in September May seemed a lifetime away.

Now finally after badgering people daily, and a mountain of paperwork I, at last have my May break organised.  So yesterday it was with some joy that I got online with Air France and ordered my air tickets.

I can now safely say we will be in Buenos Aires from Saturday 9th May until Saturday 30th. This will mark the end of  my longest period away since our first visit in 2004.

Whether we will be in Salon Canning on the 9th remains to be seen, but I can see no reason why not.

Philippe has looked after our apartment,  and so we should be able to manage a few hours sleep in the afternoon. But I will definitely be in Club Fulgor, Villa Crespo Sunday night the 10th.

SO LET THE PARTYING BEGIN….

Salon Canning last year

Salon Canning last year

 

By the way, How do you like my new banner? It is La Glorietta in The Belgrano district of Buenos Aires, an outdoor milonga.  If anyone prefers my old banner of my houswarming in Almagro, let me know.  I may just alternate them every few months with the sign above Corrientes 348 as well.

For anyone who does not know the significance:

The first line of the Tango, A Media Luz is:

Corrientes Tres cuatro ocho, segundo piso asenssor.

Corrientes Tres Cuatro Ocho

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