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This Is Where I'll Go to Escape America

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Monday, November 2, 2009

"Tom!"

My wife screamed. I turned around. She was clasping her backpack. The pocket was open.

"He took my purse!" she said.


The thief had followed us, waited until we reached a major street crossing, unzipped the backpack, and pulled the purse out. The thief disappeared into the crowd and we never saw him. It was the perfect crime. We lost $125 and the camera with all our pictures on it.

My wife and I have come to South America to look at property. We're not planning to move here... We just want an escape pod in case we ever need to flee from the United States. Our first stop was Punta del Este in Uruguay. Then we went to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina...

Buenos Aires has great restaurants, museums, parks, and shops. It's also noisy, polluted, and crawling with thieves. Fun to visit, but it's not a place we'd ever want to live...

So I came to Cafayate.

Cafayate is a small town in northern Argentina. It's set in the most spectacular scenery I've seen since I crossed the Canadian Rockies in a railroad boxcar three years ago. The town is small, but sophisticated. It reminds me of an art community in the Colorado Rockies. There's a large plaza in the center of town with world-class restaurants and outdoor cafes around it. You can get a full steak dinner and a bottle of wine for $5 in these restaurants.

The weather is perfect... warm air with a mild breeze... all year round. The mountains get snow on them, but Cafayate is in a valley and so close to the equator, it's always warm.

But here's the real reason I'm so excited about this town: Doug Casey is building a world-class resort here. He says it's going to be the world's finest community on the face of the globe. Doug is a brilliant guy who has traveled the world 100 times, so it's an extraordinary claim. If anyone can pull it off, it's Doug and his partners.

Here's how Doug described some of Cafayte's choice aspects:

The centerpiece is an 18-hole golf course designed by Bob Cupp, whose last project was the $140 million Statue of Liberty course in New York. Bob says this may be the best course in South America and one of the top 100 in the world.

...We're growing every type of fruit, berry, and vegetable that you can imagine, organically right on site. So the food is a far cry from what you're used to getting at McDonald's. If you get tired of the fantastic beef, you can fish in either of our two lakes. We're in the middle of a wine region with thousands of acres of grapes planted around us.

What gets me even more excited than the location, however, is the people behind the project. There just aren't a lot of people out there who still believe in 100% personal responsibility, small government, and minding your own business. I know Doug and his partners believe in these things.

I'm playing golf on Doug's development this afternoon... and touring it tomorrow. I can't wait to see this place. It's going to be a libertarian Shangri-la for American expats. More in my next column.

Good investing,

Tom




Market Notes


NEW HIGHS OF NOTE LAST WEEK

Visa (V)... credit cards
Diageo (DEO)... liquor
Novartis (NVS)... Big Pharma
NutriSystem (NTRI)... weight loss
Rocky Brands (RCKY)... insulated boots
China Life (LFC)... China's largest insurance company
Google (GOOG)... search engine
Collectors Universe (CLCT)... collectibles grading
Peet's Coffee & Tea (PEET)... coffee & tea

NEW LOWS OF NOTE LAST WEEK

First Busey (BUSE)... bank
First Bancorp (FBP)... bank
Bank Mutual (BKMU)... bank
First Merchants (FRME)... bank
Hampton Roads (HMPR)... bank
Guaranty Bancorp (GBNK)... bank
Premierwest Bancorp (PRWT)... bank
Farmer's Capital Bank (FFKT)... bank
American River Bankshares (AMRB)... bank
Rosetta Stone (RST)... language education

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