Paul Perry is a man of many talents. Writer, English teacher, actor, translator and tour guide, he left the comfort of his Philadelphia upbringing, and has been building his home and life here in Buenos Aires since the nineties. He has just launched his new book, ‘Buenos Aires Chronicles…Poetically Porteño’ – a collection of poems that depict life here in Buenos Aires from the perspective of an onlooker.
When did you first come to Buenos Aires?
My parents bought me a ticket here as my graduation gift. Everyone else got a car. I thought I had been unlucky…but that trip changed my whole philosophy of life. It took me out of the bubble. Most of my other friends are still in Philly.
What brought you back?
I saw there was more to life. That brought me back. Then I met a girl. Gradually my vacation became my life.
What’s your favourite part of Buenos Aires to walk around?
Downtown…though I have a love hate relationship with it. The noise and the hustle can get to you, but at the same time it makes you feel really alive. I will always look at the city through the eyes of a tourist – it never ceases to intrigue. I feel I could be anywhere in the world.
What is your favourite Argentine cuisine?
Asado…no locro…actually fugazza. I really like fugazza (pizza dough with onion topping).
What Argentine foods do you dislike?
Mate…haha. I’m not really a big fan of food. It’s more like routine, and generally I’d rather be doing something else, so it’s hard to say really.
Best thing about Argentine people?
Their friendliness, and their admiration and respect for me. They have always treated me very well, welcomed me in.
Favourite Argentine phrase?
“No pasa nada.”
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Jamaica. Or Egypt. They feel like other worlds to me.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
What time did you get up this morning?
I regained consciousness at 7:30am.
Do you head straight for the coffee pot or the shower?
Coffee pot, definitely. Then breakfast.
Favourite day of the week?
Favourite ice cream?
What did you want to be when you were little?
What is your best childhood memory?
Playing in the street.
What do you treasure most in life?
Do you have a hero?
If you could be anyone, who would you be?
Someone just like me.
Does anything scare you?
Do you believe in the afterlife?
I lived with a ghost in Rio for six months…so, yes.
If the world ended tomorrow and you could take one thing with you what would you take?
A pen. I’d say paper too but that’s two things. I could write on myself.
If you could do one thing to change the world, what would you do?
Make myself president…haha. No, I’d write a great book.
Would you want to be a millionaire?
If I wanted to be one then I would be. I’d have worked for it. But I don’t want to work for it. I wouldn’t mind inheriting it…but I don’t want it enough to work for it.
Words of someone famous that inspire you?
“All the world’s a stage, and all its men and women merely players”. Shakespeare (‘As You Like It’).
Words from you that might inspire us?
Life is about surviving today and living tomorrow.