“Bill, you should move to Argentina,” said our old friend Doug Casey. “So should your Markets and Money readers. I really think people that come down here are going to fall in love with the place.”
We caught up with Doug in Buenos Aires. But, like your editor, Doug is looking forward to spending time away from the city…up in the wine area in the northwest of the country.
“This place we’re developing – Estancia – is turning into one of the most enjoyable places in the world to live, even if you can only spend a couple months a year there to recharge. It’s got one of the best climates in the world, and I speak as someone who’s been to 180 countries. It’s a short horse-ride away from Cafayate, a town like Aspen. You wouldn’t dare ride a horse into Aspen, trust me. Cafayate has a score of good restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
“The key is that Estancia has everything a civilized person could want, right there. I wanted a mellow place to hang out, but couldn’t find anything – anywhere – that suited. I’ve lived in Aspen for many years, but it’s become, frankly, unacceptable. Way too expensive, too snooty. Incredibly over-regulated. Rife with class warfare. And, frankly, the United States is just not the place it used to be. But Aspen has elements worth retaining, like the restaurants, gyms, the intellectual activities. So I figured the only way to do it right was to build it myself. I’m a huge fan of spas in the Orient, for instance, so we’re doing a fantastic health center, spa, and gym – including a parcours, and a lap pool. Yoga, pilates. I don’t believe we’ve missed a trick, anywhere.”
We went to look at Doug’s place the last time we were in Argentina. It’s only about 2 hours from our ranch…and worth the drive. He’s building what will probably be the finest place to live in South America. To disclose an interest, and admit a weakness for property…we were so impressed; we invested in the project…and even bought a lot.
“I know people sometimes worry about the political and economic situation in Argentina. But it’s actually a plus. Since the Falklands War the army, and the police have been held in low regard – a very good thing in Latin America. Most Argentines are of Italian extraction – the country is, at this point, perhaps the most demographically European in the world – and have a natural aversion to paying taxes. The place definitely has a gently anarchic flavor. The fiscal problems of the government don’t affect foreigners, unless you lend them money – which I don’t advise.
“The Argentine government has been incredibly stupid for well over 60 years. The good part of that is the average person has learned to live with it, and work around it. The Argentines are much more able to adapt to the things the world is going into now – Americans are going to have an unpleasant learning experience.”
Doug is planning to live through what he calls ‘the Greater Depression’ in comfort and style:
“We’ve got a Bob Cupp golf course, which we expect will be perhaps the best in Latin America. I’ve taken lessons, but don’t consider myself a golfer. I’ve played polo for years, so we’ve got a couple of polo fields, for friendly farm-type games, rather than the type of thing they do near Buenos Aires. Salta is also an epicenter for Paso Fino and Peruana horses, which have the smoothest gates in the world; you can ride them for hours on our trails. Or days in any direction out of town, probably without seeing another person. Estancia answers the question of what you do after a golf, polo, or tennis. Some people (I’m among them) will shoot skeet. Others, including me, will relax at the library, or the cigar bar. Have a game of billiards, or croquet, or bocce. Or perhaps play bridge, chess, or poker. I like all of these things. We’ve got 200 acres of grapes, partially because they’re economic, to keep the fees as close to zero as possible but, also because they’re quite aesthetic. In addition we’re putting in every description of fruit tree, berry bush, and veggy we can think of. Plus fresh dairy, Argentine beef – which is not processed in feedlots, and actually is the best in the world – and fresh fish from our own lakes; it’s a chef’s delight. Our concierge is a great Belgian chef who, coincidentally looks like a carbon copy of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
“Best of all, so far we have buyers from 12 different countries. I’ve met many of them, and can tell you they’re all the kind of people you want to hang around with – smart, successful, and libertarian oriented. It’s a pace where a Renaissance man can feel at home.
“If your readers want to find out more they can go to estanciadecafayate.com. Sign up to come on down this October.”
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