the dollar vigilante blog
The Weekend Vigilante
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Hello from Sunny Cafayate,
I've had quite the few days. It took me 3 flights to get home to Acapulco from freezing cold Toronto and the PDAC conference. I then spent less than 24 hours in Acapulco and flew back to Mexico City airport where I spent the night at the beautiful NH Hotel located in Terminal 2. It is the most beautiful airport hotel I've ever stayed in, by the way. It's always nice to return to Mexico and their first class offerings after going through some of the third world airports in the US such as LAX and Miami.
I then flew COPA from Mexico City to Panama and then from Panama to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. We arrived at 1am and our flight to Salta, Argentina didn't leave until 8am, so we stayed at the opposite extreme of airport hotels at the Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz.
There is a place on the second level of Viru Viru airport called En-Kma. To be fair, it isn't really a "hotel". They call themselves "nap rooms"... and (entrepeneur alert) I think it is something every airport should have. It basically a row of very small (about 5 feet wide by 8 feet long) rooms with a small single bed, a fridge, air conditioner and a TV. They sell the rooms by the hour, reminding me fondly of some of my "love hotel" experiences in Japan. They rent for $11/hour. The accomodations are as basic as they get... but for someone who has a 6 hour layover in the middle of the night I was thrilled not to have to go through the trouble of taking a taxi into town to a real hotel... or sleeping on the floor in the terminal.
All airports should have something like this. As well, they should also include a shower area that you can also rent by the minute (this is quite common in many Asian airports). Taking a shower or a quick nap in private quarters during a long haul can make a big difference.
I then awoke after about 4 hours of sleep and hopped on the AeroSur flight to Salta. The reason I was in such a rush was that I was speaking at a conference from 4-6:30pm hosted at La Estancia or I would have taken more leisurely route. I then undertook the 3 hour drive to Cafayate and we stopped for lunch like I always like to do, about halfway, at Posta de las Cabras. I took my computer in because they say they have free wifi... but it never seems to work, so we just had lunch and we got to Cafayate at 3:30. Perfect, I thought, I'd have about 20 minutes to take a shower and then go to the conference.
That is, until I realized that I had forgotten my laptop, with my presentation on it, at Posta de las Cabras! The conference knew I'd be cutting it close on time so they had me scheduled to speak at 6pm which meant I had a little over 2 hours to make the 1.5 hour drive to Posta de La Cabras and back on the winding roads through Salta Province!
I then turned my rental Citroen into a Dakar Rally car and made it back to Posta in 50 minutes, nearly half the regular time! And I made it back in the same amount of time. Luckily there is no such thing as speedtraps still in this idyllic part of the world... although I did scare the crap out of a few llamas and goats on more than a few occassions!
And then, after 2 full days of travel and some rally car driving I arrived just minutes before my speech time, gave my speech and then felt relieved to sit down amongst a large group of like-minded individuals and have some refreshing locally grown Torrontes wine and some delicious Argentine food.
Many dollar vigilantes have made it down and many more are coming next week as well so I'll look forward to meeting many new friends and possibly new neighbors.
NEW GYM AND SPA AT LA ESTANCIA
The new gym and spa facilities are now complete here and I have to say I am incredibly impressed. I spent most of my first day there and feel completely refreshed after all my hectic travels. My wife, who liked it here her first trip down now officially loves it here. She's a gym fiend and she was thrilled to work out in a world-class outfitted gym and then we spent some time in the pool afterwards. She went on to have a massage after while I lied out in the sun with Doug Casey.
I took a 360 degree view of the gym facilities using the iPhone 4S "360" app which you can see here: http://360.io/hfXW9D?ref=nf
I also took a photo which better shows the views outside:
I'm more excited now than ever to have a place in this growing community of dollar crash survivors!
Our next trip down will be in November so keep that circled on your calendar if you have any interest in trying to get one of the last remaining lots available here. But, don't worry if you miss out, I'm hard on the look-out to start my own expat community of western nation-state refugees. So far, places on my short list include Patagonia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Myanmar and Palau!
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME
It's that time of the year again, at least in the US (each country has different dates), to be forced by government to actually change time! I like to take a moment each year as I am forced to change my clock by government decree to think about how ridiculous it is.
There are many reasons given for why governments began doing this... and in each country it is usually a different reason. The first instance of its occurrence was in Germany on May 1, 1916, in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I. In the US it was instituted in 1918 but was soon abolished. It then was instituted again on February 9, 1942 under the same pretense of saving fuel during World War II. The US again stopped using daylight savings time (DST) in 1945 after the war. Then, in 1967 the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was passed re-instituting a national DST.
It has been with us ever since and is further proof that any government regulation, no matter how temporary (as was DST in time of war), will stay with us forever no matter how pointless and/or detrimental it may seem today.
And now all DST does is make people suffer sleep setbacks, anxiety, missed appointments, even car accidents as a result. In extreme cases, they can spend days feeling as if something is "off," experts say. Not to mention the waste of time having to change all your clocks.
All for no reason. Thanks again, Government.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Here's another interesting photo of youth wonder. I don't know where the photo was taken or what it is of exactly. But it looks like some Indian kid living life. The caption is enlightening as well. While this child is living life many people's kids sit in a basement staring at a screen drinking high fructose corn syrup and eating chemicals. Who's "rich" and who's "poor" again?
TDV ON HOWESTREET.COM RADIO
I was on with Phil Mackesy of HoweStreet.com Radio last week. You can hear it direct from them here: http://talkdigitalnetwork.com/2012/02/escape-to-pdac/. Or you can view the video at YouTube here or by clicking below:
UNTIL NEXT WEEK
That's all for this week. We have a lot more info on the EU passport opportunity we have discussed prior... it will be going out to TDV Subscribers only early this week.
Until then, ciao from Argentina!