Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

June 15, 2018

Retirement has its perks, and one of them is free time to talk with friends in the late afternoon over tea.  John Morton and I have done this regularly during his visits over the last few years.

Bar de Cao on Av. Independencia and only one block from my apartment, was our afternoon place for tea and long talks.  It’s more than 100 years old and is a preserved historical landmark.

This is tea service at the Eloisa Coffee Shop.

Tea time, known as merienda in Buenos Aires, is a tradition for late afternoon since portenos don’t eat their last meal of the day until after 21 hs.  Cafe con leche or te con medialunas is perfect.

John is a regular customer of the Eloisa Coffee Shop (corner of Riobamba & Peron) which has a casual atmosphere.

We sat on the sofa in the rear for more than two hours, and no one asked us to pay the bill and leave.  Most cafes have the daily newspapers for their customers.

Our next outing was to the historic corner of Cafe de Los Angelitos (Av. Rivadavia y Junin) where the Gardel/Razzano duo once performed for patrons.

The waiter easily convinced us pan dulce would go so well with our tea.  It was the best.  We could have ordered another serving, but we both resisted the temptation.

The service is excellent, and the atmosphere feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 1920s.  Photos of tango celebrities cover the walls, and there’s a dinner/tango show in the intimate theater.

We were walking in the Retiro neighborhood one afternoon, so we made a point of going to the French Embassy mansion so Claudine could see it for the first time.  When it started to rain, I suggested we stop at Cafe Bonjour Paris on Uruguay near Santa Fe.

There is seating inside and on this small patio.

Today, June 15, is John’s birthday, and his age is a closely guarded secret.

Claudine and John shared a decadent dessert, and I watched them devour it.

After seeing an exhibition of Latin-American art at MALBA in Palermo Chico, we had merienda at Ninina next to the museum.  Claudine and John ordered tea and French-style pastries, and I had a delicious juice blend of kale, green apple, lemon, mint, and ginger.

It was a beautiful day for having tea outdoors in nature.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement where there is always time for sharing beautiful afternoons for merienda and conversation with tango friends.

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What would you miss most if you left Argentina?

May 9, 2018

That question was the title of a thread on BAexpats.org by a man from the UK.  Many reasons quickly popped into my head that resulted in my post:

I’d miss being greeted on the street by the neighbors
I’d miss being greeted by name at stores
I’d miss the blue sky and lovely warm days
I’d miss walking this beautiful city
I’d miss all the incredible free concerts the city offers in dozens of venues all year-long
I’d miss walking at the ecological reserve and Palermo park
I’d miss tango dancing with lifelong milongueros
I’d miss the magnificent architecture of the city
I’d miss connecting with friendly portenos in daily life
I’d miss all the hug and kisses I receive and give to friends and acquaintances in this grand city

I will never leave Argentina.

Then today I noticed that someone quoted and liked my post.  That person wrote the following:

I love your posts and your passion for this city. This forum is often used as an outlet for people to express their frustration with living in Argentina as an expat, which I completely understand, but your posts serve as a constant reminder of all the reasons to come in the first place, and reasons to continue living in Buenos Aires. Your free concerts thread is one of the best things on the forum!

I will admit that it touched me and caused immediate sniffling.

Six years of Cumbre de Tango

April 28, 2018

The first program was broadcast on April 29, 2012, in the studios of Mundo Sur on Avenida de Mayo.  Chino Fanel does the broadcast live every Saturday from 1:00-3:00 pm BA time.  Listen to Chino’s excellent selections of tango recordings on Facebook or MundoSurFM.

Ismael Heljalil

April 25, 2018

August 30, 1929 – April 22, 2018

Just as I was about to change my shoes to go home, Dany and Lucy made the announcement about Ismael.  He was dearly loved by all who knew him.  Everyone stood and applauded him.  He passed away at home.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 22, 2018

I remember being excused early from school when I was in third grade with a few other students so we could go downtown to attend the Chicago Symphony Youth concerts at Orchestra Hall.  That was my first subscription to the symphony.  We sat at the very top of the hall in the gallery, looking straight down at the orchestra on stage.  Years later in my 20s, I had a subscription to the evening concerts.

I’ve attended concerts throughout my life, but never have I attended several each week as I do in Buenos Aires.  There are three symphonic orchestras in Buenos Aires: Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional, Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, and Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colon.  All three offer free concerts in addition to the subscription concerts by the OFBA and OETC.

The first free concert of the season by the Orquesta Filarmonica de Buenos Aires was Friday night in Usina del Arte in La Boca.  I went to the Teatro Colon box office on Thursday morning for two free tickets.  Mi Primera Sinfonia (My First Symphony) is a series of six concerts.  The conductor explained those concerts will feature the first symphonies which aren’t performed as often as their later works.  Dvorak’s first symphony has glaring composition errors written when he was 24.  First symphonies programmed are Beethoven (May 11), Nielsen (May 24), Sibelius (Sept 24), Prokofiev (Oct 26), and Max Bruch (Nov 10).

I enjoy retirement with so many free concerts throughout the year in Buenos Aires.  It’s a concertgoers’ paradise.

Hector Giocci

April 21, 2018

April 21, 1936 —

What I wouldn’t give to dance one tanda with Hector, but that’s impossible because he dances exclusively with his lovely partner Sara Esposito.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 20, 2018

You probably think this photo is in a bar or cafe in Buenos Aires.  Actually it is in the newest subway station at Las Heras on the H line along Jujuy/Puerreydon.  I discovered it for the first time this month as I was exiting the station after my first ride to Las Heras in Barrio Norte.  I heard the pianist playing a familiar tune that got me to stop and listen.  He was playing, What a Wonderful World, and I began singing along.  When he finished, I said, I know that tune by Ray Charles.  He corrected me — no, it’s Louis Armstrong.  Right!  I thanked him for his beautiful interpretation of a tune with inspiring lyrics.  With all that’s happening in the world today, we need a reminder that life is wonderful.

Music is everywhere in this city — you’ll hear musicians on the subway trains, too.  This is one of many reasons I am grateful to live in Buenos Aires.

Osvaldo Ficca

February 6, 2018

lt has taken me a month to know who people have been talking about.  After dancing for hours at Obelisco Tango, Osvaldo was hit by a motorcycle driving on Entre Rios as he crossed in the middle of the street to reach his car.  An ambulance took him to the nearest hospital, but he died on arrival.

We danced at the Sunday milonga of Lola and Dorita.  He always greeted me with a nod and a smile from the floor.

Milongas for the early birds

January 29, 2018

It’s possible to attend milongas in Buenos Aires from mid-day to the wee hours of the morning.  I checked Hoy-milonga.com and found these places for early birds:

Sunday: Club Pedro Echague in Flores opens at 13 hs

Monday: El Beso in Balvanera opens at 15 hs

Tuesday & Thursday:  Casa de Galicia in Montserrat opens at 16 hs

Wednesday: La Nacional opens at 15 hs; Salon Canning opens at 15:30 hs

Friday:  El Beso opens at 14,30 hs

Saturday: Club Gricel opens at 15 hs; El Beso at 15 hs; and La Nacional at 16,30 hs.

I also heard that Jony’s new Wednesday milonga will open at 15 hs.  There is enough interest among the older dancers for mid-day early bird milongas.

Keeping up with milonga changes

January 26, 2018

Twenty years ago, we consulted the one bi-monthly guide for the milonga schedule:  B.A. Tango – Buenos Aires Tango.  Tito Palumbo  discontinued publication in 2016 and changed to social media.  That’s the best and only way to keep up with the constant changes.

For example, I planned to meet two visitors at my regular place on Wednesday.  Then I learned that El Maipu wasn’t scheduled in Obelisco Tango as usual at 18 hs; it was temporarily relocated to La Nacional at 20 hs. I cancelled our plans.  If I hadn’t checked their page on Facebook, I wouldn’t have known.  The other source is Hoy-Milonga.com

And then Milonga de Los Consagrados in Centro Region Leonesa was mysteriously cancelled a few weeks ago.  The club’s board may have decided not to rent the salon out for milongas; the Friday milonga moved to La Nacional.  Los Consagrados also relocated to La Nacional one week and then to Casa de Galicia. Both places seat fewer than the 350 capacity at Salon Leonesa.  Tomorrow it’s scheduled in La Nacional, where there was a problem with the air-conditioning a couple of weeks ago.

I feel sorry for all the dancers who don’t have access to the internet.  They show up at their regular milonga, many after an hour of travel by bus, only to find the doors closed.

This week is the craziest month ever in terms of venue changes.  I’ve been on FB for a little more than a year.  I relied on Hoy-Milonga for the schedule, but didn’t always bother to check it before walking out the door.  Power outages are common during the summer months.

Tonight, Milonga de Buenos Aires, usually held in Obelisco Tango is taking place in Lo de Celia, a half a block away.  Repairs and painting are being done in Obelisco Tango (which I hope include the ladies room).  Obelisco seats 350, and Lo de Celia 150.  That means seven organizers scramble to find another place so they don’t have to cancel their milongas and lose money and patrons.  The entrance door was just painted.

The milonga organizers are not only fighting with the city government to stay alive, they have to deal with situations beyond their control to stay open.  It’s not easy running a milonga these days in Buenos Aires.

Do yourself a favor when visiting the milongas: always check the milonga’s Facebook page and Hoy-Milonga.com for confirmation it will be open when you arrive at the door.