Carlos Pando, an Argentine lost in South East Asia
A classic of Prensa Polo is back! An Argentine lost in... On this ocassion, we bring a feature on Carlos Pandoand his work in South West Asia.
Carlos have been linked to polo all his life through his family - his father, brothers and cousins played polo. The married 42-years-old Argentinian, tells us his adventures in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as well as his brand new project in Japan. "I've been working in South East Asia for over 16 years. I am currently with Thai Polo, as a player and I am the resident pro at Singapore Polo Club. I am in charge of lessons, practices, tournaments, horse training, among other activites". How did you get to Singapore? Ali Reda, who was the club's Polo Captain, took me there. We already had a relationship because we used to play in the club. In addition, he had a link with Satinder Garcha, the club's current President. Back then, they needed a pro to organise the horse training, the club and everything related not only with polo but also with other activities they have. So we sat down with Ali to give a look at the calendar, and fortunately we could find something that didn't overlap my work as a player in Thailand and my job in both Malaysia and Singapore, so we made a start. My routine: I start my day very early. I give lessons through 7am to 10am (when the ground is open), and if I am not giving lessons, I ride. There are practices in the afternoon on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and on Wednesday the grounds are open for stick-and-ball. These are my weeks, with the exception that once a month we have a tournament, so we fit the calendar. How I organise my year: I usually spend January and February in Thailand. Then I go to Argentina, in March and April, and from May to October, I stay between Malaysia and Singapore. I am back to Argentina during November and December for our season at Pilará. Bad & Good: The good thing is that the opportunity to work in what I love the most - polo and horses - is priceless. On the other side, the bad thing is that I am far from my family and loved ones. And the hour gap is wider - in any other place, you are 10-12 hours from home. Being in South East Asia means 30 hours of travelling...
Situations that caught your eye: I am very adapted after so many years; the jet lag was very difficult in the first years. Actually, it's still difficult for me, we have a 12-hour gap with Argentina, haha!! The other thing is the weather, very tropical, very humid and very hot, night and day. In addition, it rains at least twice a week. One important detail - the food. It's very spicy. We are not used to such amount of spice in Argentina. The city is incredible; everything is modern, clean, organised. There are people settled here, from all over the word. A funny story: We had to go to play a tournament in Thailand with some friends - Raulito Laplacette and Manolo Fernández Llorente. It was a specific tournament by the end of the year. We had a stop in South Africa on route to Thailand, and the plane broke there. The funny thing was that we were supposed to spend New Year playing polo in the club... and we ended up celebrating New Year in the airport bar, toasting with other Argentinians who were travelling there! A project in mind: I am working in the first polo club in Japan with a long time friend. We are already thinking a first exhibition tournament in order to give a strong start to polo there. We are very enthusiastic about this project. At the time, we are organising, but we have no doubts that it will be very successful and we will have a great market, a great destinstion for polo.