Archive for April, 2010

1 week in

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

That’s an exaggeration, I’ve not been here a week yet. But I am one (work) week into my 6 month sabbatical. Here is Buenos Aires and I’ve come to dance and improve my tango and learn Spanish. I might do a few other things while I’m here but tango and Spanish are the only objectives right now.

This blog will start out as a diary. It will let anyone who cares or is remotely interested in what I’m doing know what I’m doing. And in 6 months, or 6 years, or even just a few days from now, remind me what I’ve been doing.

So here is the story so far…

Arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday morning. Less than 2 hours after landing at Ezezia International airport I was in my hotel on Avenida Cordoba in the microcentro district of Buenos Aires. My reservation here was for just 6 nights. In that time I intended to find somewhere to stay for the next 6 months.

After 3 days of scuttling around I have found a room in a flat on Av. Santa Fe, opposite Jardin Botanico. I hope it’s going to be OK, but if not I can always find somewhere else. I looked at about a dozen places and it’s amusing to compare the reality with the descriptions. In my book a “beautiful apartment” wouldn’t have paint flaking off the walls, or electrical sockets hanging out the wall on the cable, or a white bath that was actually last white a decade or more ago. I could have looked at more places but really couldn’t be bothered. It’s surprising how much effort there is in arranging appointments to view places with people who don’t share the same sense of urgency or purpose. Anyway it’s sorted now and I’ll move in on Monday morning.

The only glitch so far was being pickpocketed on Thursday afternoon. I’m almost certain it happened on the subway, on linea C between the 9 de Julio and Av. de Mayo stops. The carriage was jam packed full of people. Among those squeezing their way in at 9 de Julio were 2 local girls, probably in their mid-twenties (but I’m rubbish at estimating peoples’ ages correctly). As the train lurched out of the station one of them fell against me. She wouldn’t have fallen over, there was no room for that, but I caught her hand and she held on to mine until the next stop. Both girls got off at Av. de Mayo. About 2-3 hours later I found I had no wallet. Now I might have dropped it, or it might have been stolen somewhere else, but it was in a zipped pocket and I’m pretty sure the girl on the train pinched it. Next time I see someone falling over I’ll leave them to it! I lost a tatty wallet, a debit card and a couple of hundred pesos cash, and (I thought) my UK SIM card. It turned out I didn’t actually lose the SIM card but I didn’t know that until after I’d spent an hour on the phone to O2 (thank goodness for Skype) trying to sort it out. I’m sure most pond life is more clued up than the “customer services” numpties I spoke to. At least stopping the debit card was a painless experience.I tried reporting the theft to Tourist Police. They said I’d have to report it to the subway police at Boedo station. Since I won’t be making an insurance claim I think I’ll pass on the aggravation of that one!

My reward for having sorted out some accommodation is to go and tango. I planned to go to La Ideal last night since it’s only a 10 minute walk from my hotel, but after eating a ridiculously cheap pizza (pizza and soft drink for $17 (that’s Argentinian pesos, not US dollars) – about 3 quid) I decided to leave it until tonight.

So I’m about to set off to Los Consagrados at Centro Region Leonesa. Hopefully I’ll meet some friends from my previous visit to Buenos Aires, and dance some tandas and munch a few empanadas. It’s an early milonga, finishing at 22:00 so I might go on somewhere else afterwards.