Tag Archives: Viv

United Nations of Tango

Ever feel like just banging your head against a wall? Last night when I passed a kiosco I asked if they had adheviso, “No entiendo” She said, well today I went to the chino for some provisions and there on the wall was tubes of contact adhesive. So I took it to the till “como se dice es?” I asked “Poxi ran” she replied. I eventually got her to say “Adhesivo”  Good job I didn’t ask her about the bananas “I would be going in all the shops asking for Fyffes.

Viv wanted some things we could only get from Coto. I knew how this would end but we went anyway. How it can take ten minutes to serve each customer when every item is scanned is beyond me. So we queued for half an hour, then went back to our local Chino to buy the coffee which is $2 cheaper. I know it is only 10p but why pay 10p more and carry it six blocks up the road.

Funny old game this milonga malarkey. Somehow most of the regulars were not at Nuevo Chique, yet we had one of our best nights yet.

Viv barely missed a tanda and I managed to dance with the entire United Nations. With the help of Austria we have a plan for world peace and every one knowing your name. Germany and France are now our allies in tango while Chile and Columbia have invited me to join Mercosur.

Then it all went wrong, Viv found the clothes vendor outside and blew away a weeks money. The guy selling the entrance tickets spoke perfect English and as I waited while the clothes were tried on I told him “never get married”. He thought that was just British humor.

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Happy new Tap

After my morning shop, I found a mail for Philippe In the foyer, so I contacted him to tell him it was here. He was in the area and arrived about an hour later. We sat and chatted for a while and he told me that he had replaced the leaking tap before. He also told me what it cost him. Well it may be outside my budget, but it was a lot less than I would pay at home. So after he had left and Viv had gone off to Yoga, I took a trip to Easy.

Finding the taps was anything but Easy, not with the kitchen fittings but with the bathroom. The prices were very variable, anything up to $3000, far too much for me. I did find one at $700, with a 20% discount and then a further reduction. Well that will ding dang do for me. I wanted one with a fixed spout as that is where the old one leaked, but at least the spout had a separate entry so would be easier to repair. I then saw it had a ten-year Guarantee, probably not worth the paper it is not written on, but it has got to be better than the year that the last tap lasted.

I got home, fitted it without any problems or leaks, Viv was very happy when she returned. I also finally found out how to strip the base of the old tap.  Any takers for a second-hand mixer tap?

Anyway Viv was so happy we went for a celebration Jugo and tarta manzana, at Naranjo y Flor. Then we just sat in the sun for a while.

Off to Lo de Celia tonight for a change. We have not been since our first week, hopefully we will meet up with Janis this time. We spent a few happy hours talking and dancing. We even met Pauline and Geoff, who had decided to give it a try tonight. Unfortunately they had arrived early an left before I had a chance to dance with Pauline.

I am sorry but I still cannot see the appeal of this place, still we had a good night, and managed to catch up with Janis.

I never actually managed to say goodbye though. I saw the lights were in our favour and rushed across Humberto Primero, Janis stayed on the side. I had to satisfy myself with a wave. Never mind I am sure we will meet up again before we leave. We caught our 151 home and then Viv said she would not be able to sleep, so we popped over to Imaginario for some stout before bed.

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Friday in

I thought it was going to be a nothing sort of a day today, with Viv off to Yoga, but things never go quite according to plan here.

I was soon through my small jobs including another trip to Easy, and that was before her first Yoga session was over with. I had not booked the Asado so I would not be travelling with her to the school. Instead I went up the road to look in the plant shops while she was there. I was hoping to sort some shade out for the Balcony, but again nothing went to plan.

When I came out of the building I found my sun glasses were broken. I did harbour the idea that I could repair them, but I think it is terminal. The bright sunshine makes reading outside difficult, I foresee a trip back to Boots opticians when we get home.

When Viv was back we went out for a Jugo and then to the verduria for some more veg. I think the woman in there is now quite entertained by our antics. We then went off to find the fish shop. I am not keen but Viv really wanted some Salmon. We walked two blocks down Salguero sure that it was on the first. We did not see it, but instead we ended up in a very nice Almacen called El Blanqueta and we ended up with some lomo and crudo and some fruit for my breakfast.

On the way back we found the fish shop, of course it was closed, and that is why we had missed it. Apparently it opens again at five, you just can’t use logic here, it doesn’t work.

Vivs latest Idea is to eat in on Friday when we have the day free, not so sure myself, but at least, it gives me some guitar practice time and beer on the balcony.

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No numero, No compra.

The big day, we are off to get a washing machine. First though breakfast and a trip to the chino for supplies. Everything comes in small packets here so we are restocking almost every day, but at least, things do not have time to go bad.

We walked around to the shop and found the machine we wanted, but there was no one to serve us. A guy in a red shirt was checking stock so we asked him. He said no you need a guy in the white shirt. Viv found one hiding around the corner, so we collared him. We showed him the machine we wanted and said we want it “mañana por la mañana” everything was going well then he said “numero de documetario?”. We do not have DNI and I do not carry my passport everywhere with me, so I argued. We are paying cash, I don’t need cuotas, nothing helped. Without proof of who I am they will not sell me a washing machine. They say “money is king” not here it ain’t, I had rolls of money in my hands, but it cut no ice.

In the end we relented and went back for my passport. The affair was still not simple though. There were now two guys in the shop, but they would not serve me, we had to wait for the original guy. You simply would not believe how hard it is to buy a washing machine here.

After that Viv went off to Coto (she loves to shop, but I hate the place. Too many queues) and I went off to get my hair cut. There was a different guy this time and he was quite chatty. He could not understand though why I wanted to show him my passport. The conversation was useful, though perhaps, I could have saved money on Spanish lessons and just got my hair cut each week.

We went to Nuevo Chique again, difficult crowd tonight but we managed well enough. I kept telling my ladies about needing a passport to buy a washing machine. I still think it is crazy.

We took our 151 colectivo home and then went to the bar on the corner again, Imaginario, it is called. Almost the same meal, burger for me and omelette for Viv and a plate of patatas rusticos, but this time we had two litres of stout. Thirsty work all this buying things. Still it was only $255 or £12 to you at home.

We met a guy in the lift on the way back up. We have seen him before, not much of him and he is in a wheel chair, we found his name is Franco. He regularly has food delivered, so we often see him at the door. It takes some time to get to know your neighbours here, but we are getting there.

Early night, because we have no idea what time the washing machine will arrive in the morning, between 08:00 and 14:00 they said, so it will either be at 06:00 or 16:00. Time will tell.

 

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El gran fin de semana

Strange place this, it is a bank holiday weekend so nothing is open. Just like anywhere else, you would think, but you would be wrong. The ferreteria across the road is open, the salad shop (that is never open) is open and quite a veritety of places are open. Now on bank holidays people are off, and when they are off they go out. Non of the museums are open, many of the bars are shut as are some of the Ice-cream shops. As I said, it is all a bit strange. Not put off we decided to go to Easy, because Viv wanted a reading lamp. Not only did we get a lamp but we had a choice of bulbs. We were able to test them in the display lamp so we now have one that suits Vivs needs. With a 28W energy saver it is quite a powerful thing. We finally found a shoe rack as well, although it does look like it may not last very long. Shopping done, we stopped at Murilla (Pronounced Murisha) for some juice before the walk home. All set up and tidy now we can go off to Obalisco for the afternoon. We expected our faithful 168 collectivo to be nearly empty, as it is a ferria, but no way it was packed to the brim. We got off again at Carlos Calvo, hot and flustered. When we got to Obalisco it was also full to bursting. I was squashed between tree men and had to move one of them every time I wanted to sit down or get up. This I did quite a lot, so many women. That said I think that there were many men that Viv knew. I did see her miss the odd tanda but all in all she did well. Then The German guy got her up. Considering Viv does not dance open hold and do ganchos, she followed him well. She did not realize that I was dancing just behind her, my dance partner had no idea what was amusing me so much. I danced with the lady from Galicia again, she has taken to calling me “Flaco”. I told Viv and she said “Gordo, more like”, She speaks more Spanish than she lets on.

Viv said 7:30 to eight so when the tropical started at just after 7:30 I called time. We reached Humberto Primero just as our 151 pulled out. There was no way he was stopping for us now, so we resigned to a bit of a wait. When the 90 arrived I asked if it went our way, the driver said it did so we jumped on. When I gave up my seat for an old lady she regaled Viv about the youth of today. Viv just looked totally blank, it was quite amusing really. Again the bus turned off before Corrientes, because of the carnival, they said. So we jumped off. I stopped at Farricci on the way, for some ice-cream to have with our after dinner brownie. It set it off quite well, the trouble is we need more brownie now to finish the ice-cream. Viv said “then we will need more ice-cream to finish off the brownie”. “And the problem is?” but she was having non of it. She had seen through my plan. Far too tired for any of that murga madness tonight. Early night I think.

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Gardens in the sky

I was led astray this morning, “lets get some gravel for the plants” Viv said. We got halfway along Guardia Vieja and it changed to a trip to Jumbo. I was had.
Still we got some provisions and I left Viv to go back on her own and turned onto Corrientes to get the gravel. Actually what I got was clay aggregate which was much better. Had I been looking for it I probably never would have found it.
Later we went out again. First stop was the corner of Salguero for some ice-cream. It just has to be done.
I is impossible to just walk to where I want to go, there are too many shops for Viv to browse in. Eventually we got the extra plant we wanted, my high level garden is coming on nicely.
Had to stop in the almacen on the way back for some cheese. I wanted a range for the cheese and wine on Friday, but they would not do less than 250grams of each, so I had to settle for a smaller range.
We went back to Sala Siranush to see if it would live up to it’s promise. I’m afraid it did not, we danced more together than with others. Viv had her Korean guy, but I only got a couple of beginners and a lady from Bahia Blanca. It was nice to have some connection to DiSarli however tenuous.
It improved later on, but never reached the levels of Nuevo Chique.
We may go back, but the jury is out.

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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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Fried brain

Another Monday another cycle of Spanish. You would think it would get easier, but it does not. A whole new way of using verbs and pronouns, on top of which I had not a clue what the teacher was asking of us. I wondered if Viv was finding it any easier. At the half time break I found out. She was having similar problems. I am sure this must get better, I just wonder when.
By the time we caught our 150 collective my brain was fried. I barely knew what I was doing, and when Viv asked where we were I did not know.
Still we arrived safely at the corner of Solis and Carlos Calvo and walked the block into Obalisco.
Somehow I managed to loose my shirt, in the short time from paying to finding my seat. I had to go back around the tables to look for it again. I was still in confusion when I went into the toilets to change. I took my glasses, that I normally leave on the table, to mark my spot, and I left my after shave on the table.
Still once we started dancing my mind cleared. It is a form of meditation that somehow frees the mind and all stresses disappear.
Neither of us missed a tanda all night. I only did one Vals with Viv but she was happy just the same.
Monday is all a bit of a rush these days so the only meal we get is after the milonga. So it was back to the Old Lady again (Guarda la Vieja) for salad chips and empanadas, and, of course, a bottle of stout.
When my head hit the pillow, I did not take much rocking.

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Parque Centanario

I worry sometimes that people take my posts too seriously. I take a light-hearted view of all the problems that there are living in a foreign land. So far we have only asked for outside help once and then I managed to get out of trouble before that help was needed. Never the less, I do appreciate offers of help. I just choose to go my own way, as I have done all my life.
So please laugh at my problems by all means, but do not be too concerned, just enjoy the ride.
Having a leak in the bathroom was not a big deal. There is a drain for the water, but it does annoy me. Philippe told me you can get second hand tools around Parque Centenario on a Saturday, so that was todays mission.
I have subbed Viv £100 in pesos so she can have some fun there as well. (£100 will go a long way here).
It is only about ten blocks so we walk. I am still amazed that as we pass the huge building that says “Jesus es el Señor” that they need bouncers. Surly anyone with mal intent is unlikely to get passed an all powerful God, or am I just being a cynic.
We arrived at somewhere around the midpoint of the market. Not sure if it goes right around or not, we decided to head to the right.
I quickly found a wrench at $70 but it was not exactly what I wanted, so we carried on. Viv was constantly distracted by the clothing stalls, while I rummaged through every tool and bric a brac stall there was.
I found a beautiful new guitar, small frame $900. Fortunately I had not brought that much out with me, or I might have been tempted.
At last I found an adjustable spanner. A bit crude and rusty, but it would serve the purpose. “Quanto es?” I asked “dos ochenta” he said that will do me, but whet I gave him five he said “No doscientos ochenta pesos”. “Damasiado caro” I said and gave it him back.
The search continued and Viv bought a skirt and some kitchen implements. (the first potato peeler was $150 we later found one for $15. They must think we just got off the banana boat).
I found another spanner “Dos quarenta” the guy said. Fortunately this time his wife said “Darme trescientos” That one was staying as well.
I did buy a hole punch, which was not on my list along with the kitchen appliances, but you have to buy when you see here.
We reached the end of the market and backtracked. Then we set off in the other direction. I found a stall with some new and some used tools. Two adjustable’s and a pair of grips. They ran at $100 each for the ajustable’s and $80 for the grips.
It still riled me to pay £5 for something I had numerous spares at home, but I bought the new adjustable anyway.
By now we were hot and thirsty, so we set off for a drink. On the corner of Anibal Troilo are three cafes. We were stuck for choice. We sat on the street drinking jugo and fizzy water, while speculating why name such a small street after such a great man.
Most of the things I had set out to buy were still on my list. Viv’s list though was completed in Farmacity.
I wanted something to stop the desk marking the wall and was not having much luck. Then in a household shop we found some bottle stoppers. More confusion as we gathered three black ones out of the jumble, only to find that 3x$10 applied to the klipits. The tops were $10 each, so I bought two.
We popped into an almacen for some meat. Once we reached the counter we realised that we had not picked a number again. The kind lady who was next let us go.
We went to the till to pay and Viv picked up some nuts for tonight. This then meant that we could not pay, as they had to be weighed at another counter. The girl asked “De donde son?” I have no idea how she worked out we were foreigners.
On the way back we bought other provisions, something salty for Philippe, for tonight.
After some food and rest we set off for Boedo, to the house of Mariela.
We decided to walk as we had the time and it was a warm night. When we arrived, as usual, we were among the first.
Gradually more and more people arrived, but being the only native English speakers, we had a little difficulty. We were soon mixing with the French contingent. It must be something odd about Europeans that they stick together even if they do not talk the same language. Luba was there as well, she was, of course, happy to talk with us, but we could not monopolise her.
One big guy was a singer and knew some British folk songs. I think the argentines were impressed by our duet. (Knew I should have bought that guitar)
Much food and drink was consumed, and then we had a tango interlude. There was not a lot of room and mostly they were beginners, but it was very sociable, changing partners every track.
We went back to the French when the rock music came on. Then Philippe served up the ice Cream.
It was getting late (for us) so we decided to leave. As always happens, Luba said “You can’t go we have not had the cake yet” but we know this can take hours here. So we left anyway.
After a couple of blocks we managed to catch a 160 Collectivo. I was not sure where it went as we had to run to catch it and could not read the sign. “Va a Corrientes?” I asked “Si” he replied, so we jumped on.
At Plaza Almagro it turned down Sarmiento, it could join Corrientes anywhere, so we got off at the next stop. Only four blocks from home that was pretty good.
I found out afterwards that it crosses at Gascon and stops on Guardia Vieja, but by my reckoning that is five blocks, so we did well.
We took an hour to get there and only twenty minutes to get home. good ol’ collectivos, eh!

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Perry

We had a few jobs today before our class so we set off down Corrientes.
First stop El Correo, to pay the electric bill. First problem “No Hay Luz” the post office had a power cut.
Never mind we carried on towards the HSBC where Viv wanted t draw some money. Her card was not allowed in this machine. Knowing how Argentina works we tried again with a lower amount, same response. You would not mind so much but this is, after all, our bank.
We crossed the road to the Abasto Centre, I know that they have Link machines upstairs.
We got the same response, and some annoyed customers who were waiting for us to finish. I responded “Es su loco pais, no quiro mis dinero”
Any way further up the road we found a Banco Francais. First machine had no money, second machine gave the same response. We tried for $300 and finally got some money. Viv said “What am I supposed to do with just $15?” Makes you wonder.
We wandered on and at last managed to buy a tray to fit under the drainer, Viv has been looking since we arrived. That’s one job out of the way.
So we decided to stop in La Reina and try again. “Quarto kilo escones de Queso” I ventured. Then I pointed to the cheese straws and asked “Quarto kilo por favor”. To my horror she put them in the same bag, and then I realised, again I had just four of each. “No quarto Kilo” I said. She put them back and re-weighed. At last I had what I wanted, and with a couple of empanadas for lunch we were done.
Well the class went well again, we left and walked towards Callao. On the way we stopped for ice cream. More confusion as I asked for chocolate with peanuts for Viv and Duche de Leche with brownies for me. What I got was one cone with both flavours. Nothing for it but to order another. A, no two, mountains of ice cream for a couple of quid.
We were walking to El Ateneo but by the time we got there we were positively covered in ice cream. It took some cleaning up before we dared to enter a book shop.
You would think that the amount of English speakers there are here that we would have no trouble finding a Spanish English dictionary, but there was non here. German, yes, Cantonese, dozens. Every language you could think of but no English.
We had seen a fascinating building from the collective on Monday, so as we were passing we thought we would take a look. Palacio Sarmiento is the ministry of culture and education. Beautiful building and worthy of the man who brought education to the masses here.
The search for a dictionary continued, we tried four more shops without success, but the last one did tell us to go to Cordoba y Parana, but it was out of our way so it will have to do another day.
I did manage to get Viv some glasses though, in Callao subte station. The guy was very helpful and we even got a case. Perhaps Viv can now manage with my pocket dictionary.
Time to rest and lick our wounds, then we are off out to meet Perry for a meal.
As usual chaos reigned, all my fault We were at Mochica we should have been at Mamami. We sat drinking our stout wondering where Perry had got to. I did not have Pericles phone number in my new sim card and I guessed he did not have my new number either. When all hope was lost I thought of checking my wallet, and found a business card. Then it all became clear. He was waiting where he had said and we were in the wrong restaurant.
Ten minutes later Pericles arrived. We ordered the pollo a la brassa, and another Quilmes stout.
We got a full update on Pericles business activities and we gave him an update on our apartment. We now have a number of mutual friends, so we talked for hours.
When we left Perry showed us a sandwich bar that we had seen before but had not yet been in. Turns out it is run by a Londoner by the name of Stuart. We promised to come and eat there some time.
The stout was now starting to kick in so it was time for bed.

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