To Buenos Aires, with Love (1) : an evening at Nonna Bianca

I determine to make my pilgrimage back to South America. The continent spelled a charm on me. Never before that my scrapbook been filled up so quick.

It was raining on my last night in Buenos Aires. The carnaval was cancelled. There was no street tango at 8 p.m. as supposed to. I guess that must happened for a reason: that I have to make my long journey back there again–the next time, to watch an opera at the stunning Theatro Colon, see professional street tango dancing at Plaza Dorrego, take an Argentine tango class, and watch several underground plays at Avenida Corrientes. The latest place was mentioned to me by my new Argentine friend–Eduardo, or Edu, for short.

On the last Sunday evening, we were at Plaza Dorrego. Then it started to rain. Edu and I managed to find a sanctuary at an ice-cream shop named “Nonna Bianca”, owned by an angry old Italian woman of the same name whose gelato ice-cream was heavenly deliciouso. My “crema Americana” was otherworldly yummy. I even ordered it twice! First time came in a small cone and the second time–came in a big one, which I sacrificed all my 45 Argentinian Peso on it and left myself with only 32 AR Peso altogether. I was leaving tomorrow morning anyway.

It was a great time, the evening at Nonna Bianca with Edu and crema Americana. The texture of the ice-cream was thick and sticky. I must say it was one of the best ice-cream I have ever tasted, or maybe not one of the best, but the best! The ambiance was perfect. Edu and I, we were sitting near the window. I looked out and feeling unbelievably for a moment, that I’m in Latin America. I recalled the hotness of the climate plus some similar scenery from the book I have read. The book has the word ‘orange tree’ in its title. I told Edu that. The author is Jose something.

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At “Nonna Bianca” ice-cream shop, San Telmo
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We were sitting by the window watching the rain and talking. The bench at the table on the left side was my spot. And that’s him–Edu.

But the best part of all, was having a great companion. That evening I kind of knew that I might miss the tango and carnaval because of the rain. But I also knew too that it’s gonna be a great afternoon no matter what, because I have Edu and we could have endless and interesting conversation. And yes we did! He asked me about my favourite Thai authors. Of course, who else could it be if not แดนอรัญ แสงทอง and Rong Wongsawan (‘รงค์ วงษ์สวรรค์). I showed him some of แดนอรัญ’s works on the author’s blog on my iPad. It seemed like his only book that got translated into English is “Venom”, a novella. I recommended that to Edu. I told him that even though it was a good story but it’s not one of my favourite. My favourites are เจ้าการะเกด and มาตานุสติ.

Edu’s favourite Argentinian writer is Jorge Luis Borges and he writes only short stories. I made Edu recommend some of the short stories of Borges. Did I jot them down or if I did where did I put it? Never mind, I’m planning to write to him and ask for his suggestions on many thing Argentina anyway: Tango music, films, and novels. (So Edu, if you are reading this. Please recommend me some of those :)) But at least I managed to made him write down the name of Borges’s poem that he likes. It’s called “Fundacion Mitica de Buenos Aires” (Mythical Founding of Buenos Aires). He said he doesn’t like poems, but he likes this one. His handwriting is at the back of the beautiful postcard I bought at a street stall. Of course the postcard has an image of a couple dancing tango. I’m getting a little crazy about tango you know.

Edu’s favourite ice-cream flavours:

  • Crema Americana
  • Mate Cocido a la (with) Crema
  • Limon

My favourite ice-cream flavours (so far):

  • Crema Americana (first introduced to me by sampling Edu’s at an ice-cream shop near our hotel in Retiro)
  • There will be a lot more if I stay longer!

“You have only 3 favourite flavours?” I asked him. “Yes, I’m a classic type. I’m afraid to try new things” he said. Before that we were walking pass a little indoor market. I wanted to look at Argentine fruits. There’s a lot of fruits similar to where I come from. “What’s your favourite fruits?” I asked.

“Apple,” Yuck, apple is boring, I interrupted.

“Apple, banana, orange, tangerine, grape” he went on. “Because I’m classic.”

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Crema Americana (white) and Grosella (kind of berry-the pink one). 45 AR peso.
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Wanna try all the flovours! Wish I could revisit Madame Bianca again!
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There’s more than ice-cream. If only I could read those names. Guessing was not a good idea. One should not toy with AR peso esp. when the currency is facing inflation.
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Fruits stall in an indoor market near Plaza Dorrego. What’s the red one in the middle? Looks interesting.
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