Monday, January 30, 2012

Not much tango but lots of local life, such as party

Last week we just went to Salon Canning on Tuesday and La Viruta on Friday. The other night we were busy preparing the trip to Iguazu and Rio afterward. Rio is so full in mid-February during the Carnival. Just a tent on roof top costs 45 Reis (HK$ 225 a night). It is our cheapest choice already. We keep finding couch-surfing (CS, it is to ask if anyone has a couch at home to host). The couch providers in Rio are mostly out of town or have other couch-surfers already. It seems that local people will get away from the carnival if possible, are we doing the tourist thing by getting there at that peak time ? (M: Yes, we are, darling. Afterall, it's a world big event once a year, just be there as a tourist, once, okay?^^)

So far we just find a couch/room at Medianeira, 55km away from Foz de Iguazu, the Brazilian side of Iguazu Fall. The family has a deep history and is very welcoming. Our concern is that it costs 12 Reis one way to get to and fro the fall. However, as CS is about meeting people instead of staying for free, we would like to try by visiting the fall for 2-3 days and then go to Medianeira particularly, just getting to know local people. Wish us luck.

We went to Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Malba) on Wednesday, when they had the main exhibit by Carlos Cruz-Diez. The work was amazing by combining simple colors and lines to complexity. The amazing will get boring when seen for too long. (But Cruz-Diez had been playing with this concept for over 30 years!) The more amazing thing was that those "modern art" work on display was created 40 years ago and are still looking very contemporary now. They stay 'modern' as time goes by.

Last Thursday we had a great party with HK tango girls at their apartment. To our delight, we can stay in BsAs for one more week in their apartment by setting up a tent in the terrace outside the kitchen. Thanks Carrie, Anne and Eva. We'll cook good meals for you.

We were nearly robbed in Retiro train station, on Saturday, by cunning thieves who spread some liquid to distract our attention. While we were busy cleaning, my rucksack was opened. Luckily we lost nothing, but I felt ashamed of my low awareness and easy fall to the psychological trap (as Maria said, Monkeys see Monkeys do). In similar situation, we should have ran away, instead of standing there cleaning.

We follow the queue and not knowing what's ahead of us!

After the scary incident, we found our refuge by visiting a nearby museum - Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Issac Fernandez Bianco. It should have been closed at 7pm, but there was still a queue at 6:45pm. We lined up to visit the museum but ended up sitting in a monologue poetry reading/ drama session in the museum (in Spanish). It was good to familiarize with the language, soaking into the dramatic monologue with a good actress emotional performance and melancholy singing (something about a dead child and a sad mother), nice air-conditioning to cool-down, also with art collections around us. Later we found an English speaking church nearby.

Being too tired, we slept through the morning and missed the English Sunday mass and the possible Tigre re-visit on Sunday. After buying the bus tickets for Iguazu and Rio (only 550peso per person), we went to a local circus polo (tent set-up for circus show) at Juan de Garey. The free show was performed by local acrobat (I wonder if they are amateur, it is free anyway). (M: interestingly they give a look of 'lucky! I've made it', after every difficult tricks they've performed in near success.) We joined the locals and kids in applauding and cheering and had a good time.

After French onion soup, it rained and we stayed at home, though we thought about outdoor milonga in Plaz de Derrego.

We haven't packed for moving out on Jan 31. Wish us luck.

The Comme il faut Episode

The Visit

My first visit to THE Comme il faut is sooooo pleasant and uplifting! Not only that their tango shoes are all so pretty, unique, elegant, stylish, modern, fancy and make your legs look so sexy with the maximum 9cm heels, nor is it compared to Manolo Blahnik of Tango's the shopping experience that's simply unforgettable.

Walking into the elegant corridor of Arenales 1239, passing all designer's footwear, chic boutiques and galleries, then go up one level of Puerta 3, I pressed the doorbell with adrenaline rushing.

There was baby crying, am I at the wrong door!?

The door opened.

With uplifting jazz music, in English, creating an relaxing ambience, the place is spacious, and well lit, with 2 grandeur, almost 10 feet tall mirrors in fancy baroque golden frame on the wall and some sparsely scattered velvet lounge and armchairs place around the side, very minimal display of shoes and a bulletin board with pictures and graphic of shoes on the wall. Other than that, there was a wooden table, which is the cashier, one door leading to the baño and 2 others doors to the storeroom, with rows and rows of boxes in white.

There were few other women seated on each sofa, and one spare lounge at the far end. I was told to be seated. Adley followed.

A pathetic father was standing expressionlessly, with his back on the wall looking at a crawling baby (who screamed and cried occasionally or performed yoga to attract everyone attention), while his lovely wife happily trying the stacked boxes of beautiful dance shoes.

All ladies have an amazing pile of shoes in front of them.

I asked the sales lady, 'How should we begin? Should I read a catalogue?' She said, 'tell me your size and I'll bring it to you.'

I said siete, she then brought me a pair for trial. It's a bit lose, then she brought a 36.

Next, she asked, 'what color you prefer?'

'Something colorful.'

Then boxes after boxes of beautiful tango shoes were displayed in front of me, all lying on the floor saying 'Hola.'. Adley can't help saying, 'I'm jealous! How come ladies have all these fancy shoes!'

The sales lady looked at us smilingly and said 'Enjoy!'

This is definitely so enjoyable! I feel like a queen.

The CIF mode of shopping is 100 times pleasurable than spending 10 times or more money on Louis Vuitton even in Avenue des Champs-Élysées, where you are treated like trash - being asked to show your passport for checking previous shopping record to begin with, then you are screened and may be banned to shop, or you would be told that you are only allowed to buy a maximum of 2 items, or else our items will go out of stock because of you!

actually no photography is allowed

If I were flying back HK right after Buenos Aires, I would be buying pairs after pairs for different tango occasion, however, I still need to travel and a pair of pretty comfortable dance shoes for any occasion is all I need. Well, I told the sales lady she could take them away after a happy round of trial. While she close the cover of the boxes one by one, I felt butterflies in my stomach, seeing them out of my sight.

The amazing thing about their shoes is that they displayed completely different style for different customers at different visits ! Nothing is the same in that room! The sales lady told me because of different sizes, the style and stock varied. And they have new ones every week!

I will be coming again!

Meeting the CIF queen - Prelude
Niño Bien got comme il faut shoes display and even a desert named after the brand. Then, I was dancing with an American guy at Niño Bien the other day and he told me that the lady there is the designer of Comme Il Faut, Alicia Muniz. All I can see is her beautiful golden heels. That was reminding me, I need to make a pilgrimage to CIF the very next day!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


下午,到Retiro Omnibus站問有關到Iguazu及巴西的巴士資料,以為可以碌咭,那知只收現金,沒帶夠錢,查詢了營業時間,只好明天請早。






其實,被一幫人圍住團團𨍭之際,我有一秒想過:又不是鳥糞、白白的不像太髒,回家洗個澡便沒事,又什麼好抹呢?另,這樣一片混亂的,會被偷嘢嗎?但不知為何,人人也在抹身,monkey see monkey do,就自然跟著做!並失去了所有警覺性。(`_´)ゞ


An enjoyable Sunday with two adorable princesses

Pable and Noelia, our tango teachers, invited our Hong Kong friends to their vacation house outside the Buenos Aires city, and we followed.

It's a pity that it rains in the morning and as told, the house have more outdoor area than indoors, we are hesitated if we should still go. Our friend, Gaby, our tango teacher and his partner, Eve arrived to pick us up. Another friend of Pablo, who could have drive us decided not to go, with the 7 of us, we called an extra taxi.

Finally, with some delay, off we go.

After a month in the city, the closest to nature place we had been was Tigre, which was still a town and residential area. It was refreshing to see rows and rows of trees and green grass field.

After an hour drive, we arrived. There is a garden, a pool and 2 cute little twins waiting for us and of course, their lovely parent.

So glad to see the princesses Lucía and Ornella who can melt Pablo the father. They got his eyes (I think). There has been saying that daughters are the wife/girlfriend of the father's previous life. Pablo might be lucky enough to have two wives in previous life.

 As for Noelia, she is so fit after bearing the girls, even getting stronger on both arms for taking one on each. She said she was happy if we could take one of the girl back to Hong Kong as souvenir. Wow, then the lucky one will be the queen in Hong Kong.
We had parillas all afternoon, with wine, beer, good chat and three occasionally straying dogs.

We had some real mate for the first time, I mean we never did that in a party. The host, Noeila prepared some 90 degree Celsius hot water, drink first round, then offer to the first guest, who have to finish it and then return to the host, who prepare the next one and offer to the second guest! Everyone drink from the same cup and straw until you say thank you to the host. It's interesting and cozy!

We swim, dance and act as paparazzi with the little princesses, until they are unable to leave us without crying.

It was a wonderful Sunday, thanks to Pable and Noeila.

The weather was amazingly well when we got there and lucky we didn't stayed in the rainy Buenos Aires.

Friday, January 27, 2012


在阿根廷及巴西,價列方式與香港大不同。如 (.) 號以後代表千,而(,) 以後的則代表毫,那麼,一千零四十五個二毫半便會寫成Ar$1.045,25 !



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A trip to Tigre - we want a house like that!!!

After 2 hours of long bus trip on 60 (actually train only takes 1 hour), we came to Tigre. A town on a delta at the north of Buenos Aires. It was Tuesday when we got there, finding out that most museums open from Wednesday to Sunday. We just walked and tried some luck. The only good thing of taking a bus was to see the street on the way, then I found many sailing gear shops along the way. We walked to the quiet Puerto de Frutos, a market which should be more noisy on weekends, there we did the tourist thing by taking the sight-seeing boat around the delta to see how the locals live. They have houses near the river and a world of themselves. The river has road name that boats can go amongst different houses. There are also hostels and boutique hotels around costing a few hundred peso a night at least, but give a quiet island-like place for vacation.
A museum showing local house

We got a little hassle when reading the notice board near the ferry pier, a rugged guy speaking English with us claimed that he was from Africa and was robbed, now owing a few peso to take a ferry out. In my opinion, if he could live in the delta house he was not that poor indeed. A desperate way is to swim there, I saw kids swimming in the murky water. Certainly he asked for money after asking for a lighter for his cigarette, a typical way of street nuisance. We just moved away.

Then we went into the casino and see how it was in latin america. We were like zoo animals as only locals were playing there and were not used to see Asian like us walking in. We took some time watching how they played roulette, got sweat when seeing them putting chips (minimal 5 peso, mostly 10) to buy all the numbers like they were not money at all. A bet would have been our use for a week. What a good way to see their pathological gambling behavior. They were so used to the stiff faces on themselves, a way to show no emotion to mask themselves up. I believe that such habit could be internalized, masking their emotion within, so as to suppress others.

Getting out of the casino, we passed a local electric train station with a booth named "Delta Safari". A day trip costs 350peso per person to have powerboat getting to far inside the delta for nature. Attractive but it was not our budget, although a pair of tango sneakers from Farbio would have cost that...It is all about what you value more.

Then we passed an amusement park with an all-you-can-play pass costing 120 peso (in great discount because of non-peak day). It was nearly 5pm so we passed again.

There are many local rowing clubs, but like Hong Kong they are clubs for those who can pay for club service more than the sport club itself.

We shall come back again, not because of the amusement park, nor the casino, but the beautiful Muse de Arte Tigre.and sail gear shops.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


阿根庭年廿九即香港年初一,我哋去咗中國城跳舞。唔係夜總會,而係唐人街。呢度牌坊都叫中國城。附近公園有露天舞會,唔駛錢,當然要去啦。舞會八點先開始,我哋四點已經迫入中國城逛。因為農曆新年,好多遊客慕名而嚟睇華人過年,周圍迫得水洩不通。點知我哋做埋啲遊客嘢,如果唔係為咗買華貨,去外國入唐人街真係有啲憨居。好多人要試吃各式煎炸嘢,食好嘢嘅我哋緊係敬而遠之。 呢個時候華人超級市場變成大排長龍嘅博物館,遊客同當地無乜入過中國城嘅人對好多嘢好新奇。佢哋拿住奚錢專心硏究、又有個阿婆指住龍眼問我係乜,我用西文話fruto,佢好開心,我都好開心(因為可以講到)。

入超市買中菜食材係為準備香港探弋同學會嘅大食會。嘩!啲嘢好貴,半斤冬菇(不過都大嘅)賣成百港銀。啲蝦乾仲衰,只不過係蝦皮,成五十港銀一小包。為咗之後整蘿蔔糕,買咗幾個唔啱季節嘅白蘿蔔、十幾元一包(x2)粘米粉,用沙樂美乾腸當臘肉。仲貪得意買咗啲貝殼類嘅嘢,成12 peso一公斤,點知喺隔離超市仲大隻啲賣9 peso,唉...


仲有非華人組成嘅阿根廷蔡李佛龍虎武師,奇怪嘅係呢度啲人見到舞龍就要走去摸,好似摸狗仔咁,其實個龍頭好似狗頭 (讀狼圖騰就知我講乜),咁得意啲人想摸下,應該無乜吉祥意思。

等到八點,終於有舞跳,Maria好發市,好多佬請佢跳。我還可以,有一個女嘅同佢跳完兩隻歌就講mucha gracia 咁就走咗,打沈咗...之後都有個跳得好好嘅同我跳Pugliese,佢講咗一大堆西話我都聽唔明, 我估佢話好熱又或者喺附近音樂會好嘈掛。




Saturday, January 21, 2012


- 老婆,最近我哋生活幾糜爛噃...

- 有啲咁嘅事? 點糜爛呀?

- 晚晚出街蒲到三四點先番,上床得嚟天都光,朝朝起身日上三杆,今日起身成三點。

- 呢度啲人都係咁啦,入鄉隨族啫

- 不但止,我晚晚攬女跳夜舞,你又晚晚攬仔/佬跳夜舞

- 大家social下啫

- 而家日光日白出街都怕光,好似僵屍咁

- 咁一齊做僵屍啦,老公,WOW

- 喺BsAs做完僵屍番香港就話啫,我哋仲有成個世界要去,其他地方唔係咁喎。

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pleasure in fruto dolce

After a breakfast with self-made egg tart and beer, we packed our sandwich as dinner and went to see Mission Impossible 4 in a cinema. There was discount on Wednesday costing only 19 peso each. With CITI bank credit card there was priority ticket line. The movie was exciting Hollywood, that's it. After sandwich on the bus we reached Villa Malcolm (club) for class by Alejandra y Adrian, they are my nuevo favorite. Glad to see Alejandra having a baby and she could still do boleo with a tummy, amazing. She is very friendly and patient in teaching us who are still new on the nuevo. The class was big with 20 pairs. Good to see them again since Barcelona. After the class we still enjoyed the milonga, crowded floor with better music. We are in the inner circle of table (because we reserved, using spanish to write email) and able to see the performance of another couple upfront. We were too tired after the class and milonga and we left at 2am, which was early by local standard.


The great Sube adventure

It may be easy for locals but we had such a hard time looking for somewhere selling the limited Sube card!!!

Unlike Hong Kong, not only that you got money, be able to find any railway stations and you can buy an octopus in any service counter- it's nothing like that!

To explain first, why we need coins (moneda) in the first place?

First, we are on budget and apart from the ride from airport, we haven't got on any taxi thereafter!

Bus ride is 24 hours here (compared to subway- Subte, operating 5am-11pm on Mon-Sat and 8am-10:30pm on Sundays and holidays.) and very convenience. But the problem is the coins!

Coins are precious in Buenos Aires!!! (According to lonely planet, to be like locals you have to treat coins like your treasures) In order to get on a bus, you need coins, and no note accepted. Despite Ar$2 note exist, you must save every coins to get on a Ar$1.1-1.7@ bus!

Read this! 'Spare change? There is none in Buenos Aires!'

Despite pleading, begging and asking for coins everywhere, and telling everyone 'no moneda por autobus' in order to urge some small changes with a sorrowful face (like Adley did to the waiter in Sunderland Club after milonga), we got a glimpse of the wonderful Sube smart card that people are using! And you need only one card for your group of friends in the same bus ride.

The next thing, we start searching crazily for one!

Okay, we've asked around, some online source said its available in underground station, we tried a couple of Subte station and train station, only to find that only recharge for the card available, but not for selling.

Do you think it is a post office ?
We asked someone using it and was told its only found in post office (Correos).

Then, we found the official website, explaining how useful it is! and have all the 'where to get it' location listed! Fantastic!

We went to the listed location nearby, it's a kiosk cum post office but the lady told us its not available there and suggest us going to some bigger post offices. We found one, queued up for half an hour and was told its all sold out!

And then Adley found the other listed post office in our neighborhood, which was either sold out or unavailable. Then he discovered a temporary Sube booth in the Constitución Train station in rejoice (while I retreat back home to make lunch after searching around our neighborhood painfully for hours in despair), when he managed to get into the long line among the locals, took out his passport and have the form filled up, there was a fire in the station and everyone fled! The fire-engine had to come into the gate and the booth near the gate was dismantled (Well, this is south america). The discontented mop cursed and left.

With limited Spanish, Adley managed to learn that they will be back same time, same place next week! Next week, not tomorrow!

He was home for lunch. We searched on the official site again, and suddenly found a Sube car will be appearing in front of the Casa Rosada for some the days only! We dashed there after lunch and luckily get our limited edition Sube card.

We are proud to learn afterwards that not all local managed to get one as its sooooooo limited!

Now we kill one problem - not having enough coins to go around the city!