In Buenos Aires there are many wild cats, which seem to lead quietly contented lives, supported by the food scraps provided by tender-hearted matrons. In Mar del Plata, wild dogs share the streets and parks and shadows. They appear to live in a parallel world, accepting food when it is offered, but I never saw any of them begging from or bothering their human neighbours. On the bus out of town, we passed a lame dog trying to make itself go faster. A few hundred metres ahead, a pack of four other, more able-bodied, dogs were running, led by a handsome Alsatian. And then the bus sped up, and the dogs, and the town were left behind.
I’ve been back in London a week now, and still get rueful flashbacks from moments at the poker table when luck was against me. If only those 5s had held up, if only Gustav Wagner hadn’t hit his two-outer on the river, if only… There were fine poker moments too, going up repeatedly, with mixed success, against Andre Akkari, discovering that I had acquired a pair of fans, Mario and Jean-Paul from Cordoba, who seemed to think I was some kind of poker pro, and followed my progress through the tournament and elimination from it with a graceful enthusiasm. I’ve rediscovered my enthusiasm for big tournaments, and realised that I no longer have any taste for Julio Cortazar as a novelist (his short stories though are a different, superior matter). And the image of the wild dogs of Mar del Plata lingers in my mind, and I’ve got two novels to finish, and I want to go back to Buenos Aires.