It was one of those dreaded 'middle of the night' phonecalls: “Can you come to the hospital with me?”. He'd had a major heart attack a year earlier and was currently having familiar symptoms. I hailed a cab outside my building, picked him up, and headed to the hospital of his choice in the undesirable La Boca area of Buenos Aires.
Now, I want you to erase any thoughts you may have about what a hospital experience in a foreign Latin American country, in the worst section of the inner city, in the middle of the night of a full moon, might be like; it was nothing like that. After walking into an empty waiting area and explaining the problem we were immediately ushered into a private room and my friend was attended to, efficiently and thoroughly, in fluent English. Not such a long time after what turned out to be a 'pleasant' experience (dare I say even 'fun' - because my friend, an ex NYC comedian, turns every experience into a fun experience), we were escorted to the exit, cautioned to take care out there in the street, and released without even so much as a request for payment.