Posts Tagged ‘cafe’

Tangueras in tow

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I am still here. Despite the evidence to the contrary in the form of no updates for three weeks. I have been stupidly busy running around with two visiting tangueras in tow.

A couple of tanguera friends arrived from the UK two weeks ago. They knew some of what to expect but could really use a guide to facilitate their visit and make it as satisfying and rewarding as possible.

They blitzed Comme il Faut not once, not twice, but three times. They drank champagne and ate medialunas and facturas, steak, pizza and pasta, and ice cream. They watched a tango show. They danced at a milonga every night except the night of the show. But they made up for missing that night with a matinee milonga on their last day. They tried traditional, tourist and informal milongas. They rode the open top city tour bus, wandered around the Botanic Garden and visited Eva Peron’s tomb in Recoleta cemetry. They took group classes and private lessons. They shopped in the markets at San Telmo and Feria de Mataderos. They admired the gauchos and their amazing display of horsemanship and skill, and the folk dancers at Feria de Mataderos. They soaked up the atmosphere at El Ateneo and appreciated the ceiling at Galerias Santa Fe. They visited Caminito, had hot chocolate and churros, saw the Palermo flower. They avoided the dog poo and potholes when they walked the Buenos Aires pavements. They rode the subte, colectivos and taxis, and hoarded their monedas. They took afternoon tea at Cafe Tortoni. They shopped for tango outfits. One bought a stunning silver/grey dress and wore it while competing in the salon category of the Mundial de Baile. They enjoyed sunny weather and on a couple of days highs of 25 degrees.

Finally, exhausted but very happy, they were whisked away by taxi for their return flight to the UK. When they come back to Buenos Aires next year they will come for longer and take things a little slower.

After I waved them off I returned home totally cream crackered and slept for half the day. Now I’m catching up on three weeks worth of unanswered emails, photos that need sorting and a neglected blog. There are photos of some of our exploits in my Flickr photostream. When I finish getting them organised there will be separate sets for Feria de Matderos, the Mundial etc.

A busy day

Saturday, July 31st, 2010


I met a friend for coffee yesterday in an historical cafe in Avenida Corrientes – El Gato Negro. It has a nice atmosphere and an olde worlde feel to it. Originally a spice store when opened in 1927 it has the original wooden display cabinets and furniture. Being something of a tourist attraction the prices are relatively steep.

We sat and watched people scurrying past the display window on a rainy afternoon, under their umbrellas or with collars turned up. We chatted about all things tango and Argentinian. We had an order of a drink and two medialunas each, and later another couple of drinks, a sandwich and a slice of cake. And then they kicked us out! It seems we weren’t consuming enough even though we were making the place look busy by sitting in front of the window. The bill was $65 (pesos not dollars). In the four hours we were sat there I think they had about six other customers come and go.

So next time someone tells you that you can sit all day in the cafes in Buenos Aires for just the price of a coffee, don’t believe them.

There is no shortage of cafes in Buenos Aires so we walked for a few minutes in the rain to Los Galgos on Callao and Lavalle. This is another establishment from the same era with a worn marble step on the way in and a facade hidden behind scaffolding for renovation. Our discussion expanded beyond Argentina to Europe and Australia and exotic beaches in Thailand before returning to tango. After three hours and just a single drink each we decided it was time for food and asked the ancient mozo for our bill. It was the princely sum of $16 (about £3). For excellent service and no hassle we left a 50% tip.

A ten minute stroll down a packed Avenida Corrientes towards Obelisco brought us to another famous Buenos Aires institution: Pizerria Güerrin. Spread over three levels this is a contender for the title of “best” pizzeria in town. It is very popular with the locals and on all my visits has been almost full. After a couple of hours and a shared grande pizza, two puddings and two mineral waters we emerged with change from $100 into the Buenos Aires night. The rain had finally stopped.

Nine hours spent chewing the fat and watching the world go by. I just love this sabbatical.