A tooth for el ratón Pérez
This was the first time in my life that I'd kissed a dentist, and now as a reward she has extracted a tooth for el ratón Pérez.

Well, not really a reward. I like this Argentine custom of kissing perfect strangers as a greeting, especially when the strangers are of the opposite sex. (Men sometimes kiss men, too, as a casual greeting or parting, but not until they have been introduced.) I was also pleased to see that Dr. Flavia Dell'Acqua was quite comfortable in her dentist's whites, version miniskirt and cunning little bow at the waist. Soon, though, she had my mouth open and what I was most aware of were her hands. Very competent hands, fortunately. The tooth in question was not much of a challenge -- when you've had a baby tooth for half a century, it's usually ready to go with a slight tug. It's opposite number, however, is still firmly gripping its place in my jaw with its tiny roots. She packed the little extract up in a plastic bag for me to put under my pillow. In this country, a mouse named Pérez does the job of the Tooth Fairy.

Meanwhile, all of Argentina is waiting to see what happens with el gato FMI -- or IMF to English-speakers. Unlike Pérez, who leaves a coin under your pillow, this gigantic and voracious cat snatches all the money you have and leaves you a bill for future payments. Our little mouse is standing up and squeaking mightily in Dubai, so soon we'll know if the big cat backs off.

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