I think of this late 19th century farmer and his ambition to leave his home, one of 45,000 to do so at the time, attracted by the real possibility of being an estanciero – the owner of a ranch of some 1,700 hectares. It’s an unfathomable kingdom compared to my impossible dream of owning a bedsit in London. No one likes a bitter lemon, I hear you say. But who wouldn’t want to be a Princess of the Pampas?
He would have landed first in Buenos Aires and so I will one day start my search from there. Looking at old paintings, I wonder what his impressions would have been of this “Paris of South America”, of hearing a new tongue in his ear. He would have disembarked there, before venturing into the lowlands to stake his claim. I know I can find out most of what I need to know online, but where’s the fun in that? I am resolved to go rogue just as James did and be analogue-only as we come out of lockdown – perhaps, like him, never to return.
Five ways to experience Argentina’s capital when we can travel again