It was the early hours of Sunday morning and the mockingbird soared high above the Rio de La Plata. From that vantage point it looked like the continent itself was trying to swallow the ocean. Mouth wide open, the upper lip the coast of Uruguay, the lower lip Argentina’s eastern flank. As the mouth of the river narrowed, the bird, like many of the people below, felt the magnetic pull of the city that appeared down to its left. Looking from up high the lights of Buenos Aires stretched out along the coast and far inland, like a patchwork of tiny bonfires. The grids of light were occasionally interrupted by darkness where the city’s green spaces breathed air into the congested centre. Vast avenues that cut through the patchwork of roads were dotted with occasional traffic, mainly yellow and black taxis, straddling eight, nine, sometimes ten lanes.