15th April 2020

Darling Paloma

Whenever I go to the airport, I always look at the arrivals and departures screens. I watch anonymous travellers usually with confused faces arriving nobody knows where from, nobody knows where to. All whispering to themselves the gate number they need to reach. And I ask myself if I wasn’t flying to wherever I am flying to which flight would I like to catch instead.

I suppose with what is happening today, it makes the question even poignant. Where would we fly if we had the freedom to go without restrictions?

Do I want to fly to Los Angeles which is really our second home and the city I feel most settled? Do I want to go to New York, to the city I love and the city your mother and I got married in? Or to a country I have always imagined of where red dust sprinkles the air from unpaved roads, purple flowers, orange trees, forsythia, hydrangea, cryptomeria, and where stunning white houses and blue swimming pools roll in the hills? Or perhaps fly to the land we were planning to visit only a month before the restrictions were made? Yes this is where we will go. We will visit the beautiful plazas of Buenos Aires – palms, generals on colonnades, pink palaces, blue sky shimmering like its national flag in the golden sun. We will go to the football match I have always dreamt of watching live, the superclasico between Boca Junior and River Plate at La Bombonera. The atmosphere was described by my late friend Mike when the players walk out onto the field as being “an orgasm of orange peel and white paper, coffee cups, confetti, chocolate peanut wrappers, shredded newspaper – all fung into the sky.”

La Bombonera

And before kick off, we will visit a restaurant, I have been told about, close to the ground. A restaurant where they have named the different steaks after some of Boca’s heroes: Maradona, Riquelme and Marzolini. It conveniently shuts half an hour before kick off so the owners and their friends can settle to watch all Boca’s home games.

From there we will take the train from Constitucion station to the fertile lowlands. The Pampas! With its clumps of eucalyptus, distance and dirt, as gauchos ride blissfully through long stretches of green wheat fields.

So if there is anything I have learnt today, it’s maybe our dreams are worth keeping on to and that when the world is far safer, we should visit a country or place that has consumed us.

Te quiero mucho,

Papa

Published by Simon Astaire

Simon Astaire was the youngest agent ever employed at ICM starting the Music department and representing a variety of clients before turning to head a PR agency where his clients included brands such as Bulgari, Armani and celebrities and members of the Royal Family. He is regularly quoted in the press and has been described in The London Times as a PR Prince. He had a regular column in the Sunday Telegraph called Station to Station where he interviewed a diverse mixture of high-profile individuals on their imaginary last train journey. He has written six novels and two biographies including soccer star Sol Campbell when he was nominated for best new sports writer. His latest novel The Last Photograph, was made into a film of the same name. It had a US theatrical release in November 2019 and is now available on all platforms. His blog ' Letters to my daughter' began March 19th 2020.

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