It’s just a small airport – our large aircraft purring on the tarmac dwarfs the smattering of small regional and private flying machines. We step down the rolled-in stairs from the airplane’s open door. It’s summer in the southern hemisphere and outside it’s warm and sunny. It’s after one in the afternoon. Standing by the plane is Herman Valerius the General Manager for Empresa Editora Gabriela Mistral’s small publishing division. They are the contrary’s largest  printing company. I am welcomed like a visiting dignitary. Herman grabs my passport and the ticket and hands them over to the man standing next to him. Within minutes, he comes back with my passport duly stamped. My bags picked up and tucked into the back of the VW mini-bus waiting for us on the tarmac. And I am whisked away.

I am staying at the Sheraton. That night I am the guest of honor on the prime time variety entertainment TV show being broadcast live from the hotel’s poolside. I am not aware that the camera is focused on me until the host announces in Spanish and English: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we have a very special guest in the audience, who has flown in this afternoon from Chicago. Please welcome Mr. Haresh Shah of one and the only Playboy magazine. Applause applause.

While I stand up and take a bow bathed in the glow of the flood light, I am not feeling that glow inside. Instead, what crosses my mind is that I am being beamed live and perhaps the mighty Augusto Pinochet himself is watching me standing there – and a sudden jolt of fear scurries through my nerve system. I imagine myself being put away in one of the torture chambers of the Pinochet machine for attempting to peddle pornography in his exclusive domain, never to be seen again, like thousands of desaparecidos – the disappeared ones. I have left behind at home, the woman who loves me and ten months old daughter.

But my fear is groundless. I spend very pleasant and productive eight days with the Chileans. We work on the first issue. I am treated to some of the best restaurants, bars and discotheques of the city. We would invariably end the evening at Red Pub, a cozy European style sidewalk café  owned and run by Herman and his wife Veronika.  I have a sumptuous dinner at La Estancia the second night of my stay with GM’s three owners: Juan Fernandez, Guillermo Tolosa and Rodolfo Letelier, and of course Herman. On the Saturday afternoon, we even take a quick ride to Viña del Mar for a bird’s eye view of their seaside wine region. It is during those few days that I get to know and begin to like and appreciate the Chilean wines.

By the time I leave Santiago, we have pretty much agreed on the contents and the layouts of the entire first issue – which is actually going to be just one shot test issue. Coffee table perfect bound book, printed on glossy heavier paper, containing the Playmates of the Years from 1969 through 1979, and it’s designed to be a Latin American product which would have an interview with Argentina’s star football coach Luis Menotti and include the works of the Chilean sculptor Juan Egenau Moore, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, Bolivia’s Botero. The publication is scheduled for March 1980 to wait out the summer vacation in Chile and to give ourselves enough time to gather the material. I board the plane, feeling content and good about my trip. But the issue would be further delayed and  would not come out until more than a year later, in June 1981.

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