Ireland are playing France away in the Six Nations. The stand-out fixture in the tournament.
Even better, it has been scheduled, this year unusually late, 8pm Paris Time.
This is very considerate of the French.
Because it’s several hours earlier here, a 12.30 or even 2.30 o’clock kick-off would mean a heniously early start.
Thanks to the French the match starts at a civilised local hour.
Or rather, it doesn’t. The match is of course cancelled, barely seconds before the appointed kick off.
There is quite a lot of swearing and disappointment in the bar.
We are sitting just inside off a sunsoaked pavement in beautiful Palermo Soho.
God knows how the crowd feel, shivering in the Stade Francais, after their outlay on flights and hotels.
In lieu of rugby, what to do with the day ?
I consider something worthy and cultural. One of art museums perhaps?
But my heart’s not really in it.
I’m feeling more sociable than that.
Luckily for me, I’m adopted by a group of young Irish ex-patriots, resident and working in Buenos Aires.
One is a mathematician working as an actuary in Insurance. Another teaches at his own langauge school. Most of the others work for a US logistics company.
I’ve been here less than a week but the accents and the humour are a welcome taste of home.
We order a round of beers.
One of the guys talks of a hurling club he’s found in the leafy Northern suburbs of Buenos Aires.
Several of the others immediately declare they will travel out and join up.
Who knows? Perhaps at some future time BA will complete as a county in the All-Ireland, like London and New York.
Another of my new acquaintances is playing rugby for a local club. Nearly all of them declare they love living in BA.
I haven’t so much as glanced at an English-language newspaper or TV this week and have no notion what has been happening around the world.
I’m sad to learn Whitney Huston has died. They also tell me the England manager has resigned. We order another round of beers.
11.35 Saturday Night. Palmero.
Four hours and many rounds of beers later. We walk eight or nine blocks to a party.
On the way I chat with Sean, a man from Donegal who, back in the bar, was mostly intrested in the Manchester United midfield.
On our walk I find he is equally at home discussing the English mathemeatician and codebreaker Alan Turing.
Specifically we discuss Turing’s postwar work, his pioneering contribution to genetics- genomorphsis. Turing found a mathematical basis for changes in colour, in fish for example. I’ve watched one BBC4 documenatary. Sean knows considerably more.
Sean used to breed and harvest oysters. At an oyster farm.
Maybe this explains his knowledge of genetics.
He tells me nearly all oysters bred today in the Atlantic for the European market are in fact Pacific oysters.
The native North Atlantic species are apparently so tender and fragile they are next to impossible to farm commercially. I instantly have a brain wave and, rather generously, I share this startling insight.
I moot a chain of restaurants, serving only the rare and exclusive North Atlantic oyster.
We discuss viabilty of same. I am convined there is a snob-value to almost any form of differenciation. And a primium that can be charged accordingly.
The oyster farmer is less convinced.
Where is his sense of vision?
We arrive at the party. It is loud as it starts off in the downstairs kitchen of a very large house, formerly a youth hostel.
Mercifully things mellow out as we moves upwards.
On the stairs I ask one of the occupants, an Englishman, about the Spiderman costume, drying on the banisters.
He tells me he is involved in a wager. This wager is a competition for the most spectacular series of photos, in the guise of a superhero.
So far he has been to Patagonia, the Andes, Machu Pichu and other far flung locations, all dressed as Spiderman. His opponent is Batman.
I say something admiring, because I feel I should. Internally, I’m wondering- Why?
On the rooftop terrace, among other folk , are a considerable amount of atractive young American women. Some are studying. Others work for the US embassy here. One was in the navy.
There is no conventional mixer for my vodka, so I experiment with beer. The combination is surprisingly good.
Memo to myself –Another business concept for home.
A likeable Argentine settles in beside me. He tells me he’s lovelorn and broken hearted. He went to Patagonia and fell in love.
But then his ex-girlfriend suggested, over the phone, that the woman he now loves may not be all he thinks she is.
He mused about this very seriously for some days.
When the girl in question asked him why he looked preoccupied, he told her what was troubling him. Just for good measure, he then admited where the inspiration for his bout of soul searching came from.
He was, of course, dumped him on the spot and eventually left Patagonia, heart-broken.
He has been brooding on his error, and lost girlfreind ever since. I tell him to go back, grovel like a worm and regain the girl of his dreams.
I now meet a man from Texas I like a lot. Contrary to the usual stereotype Ryan is urbane and liberal. He also has an excellent sense of humour.
Lovelorn and his very tall Argentine pal, know of another party.
This is in a nightclub. There are promises of a group of Irish women, celebrating a birthday.
It’s gone half-three in the morning. The American ladies are tired. They can not be persuaded to go to another party.
Even my Irish friends from earlier have faded, callow youths, they have fallen by the way, victims of their early first pint.
Lovelorn, Mr Tall, Texas-Ryan and I make for the late party.
The after-party party, if you will.
We do a reasonably good job charming the burly doorman, or at least boring him in a non-threatening kind of way. We only have to wait a few minutes at the door. We gain admitance. We order drinks.
We never find the Irish girls, perhaps because it is well after 4 am.
But we do meet Javier, my dinner companion from Friday night with the South African-accented perfect English.
To mark this mad and superb coincidence we order another round of beers. And some shots.
Javier is out with a group of his friends, who are also good fun.
A good time is had by all.