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  • An evening breeze blowing from the Río de la Plata caused the treetops to sway gently. At street level, however, the city air was calm, warm. Throughout the day the autumn sun had baked the cobblestones of Plaza Dorrego, and now they were gradually releasing heat as night took over. If I were a braver soul, I might have walked barefoot across the plaza, just to feel the warmth against my soles. The night in Buenos Aires provided beguiling opportunities.

    At one of the many al fresco bistros, I settled at a small wooden table to treat myself to a grilled steak and a glass of Malbec. Despite the glow of the city lights, from my seat I could still see the star-speckled sky through the canopy of leafy trees. This was the Buenos Aires that I had dreamt of. At least frame of it. A snapshot.

    As if on cue, to punctuate the scene, the restaurant’s three-piece jazz band began playing a smooth rendition of What A Wonderful World. Had the song been included in a romantic film, I might have rolled my eyes at the clichéd soundtrack. But there was no need for cynicism at Plaza Dorrego –– at that specific moment, the world felt exactly that: wonderful.

    I took a sip, letting the smoky wine roll around in my mouth, savouring it and watching the legs roll down the side of the glass. Eventually, the band finished their set and the bass player toured through the audience with his fedora turned upside down. I dropped a few Argentinian pesos inside; it seemed reasonable to give to people who made beautiful music, to those who were attempting to up the world’s “wonderful” quotient.

    With my plate cleared, I stood up, settled the bill and began to slowly wander back to the guesthouse. But before I disappeared down an alley, I paused and turned back for one more view of the plaza, of the starlit sky. And, for a brief moment, I slipped off my sandals, and swayed like the trees.

    The warmth of the cobblestones against my naked feet was as sensuous as a tender goodnight kiss.
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