Can u say Ushuaia?

Seals-Beagle-ChannelUSHUAIA, ARGENTINA- Today I am in Ushuaia, on the island of Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost city in the world. Woot, woot! I took a leisurely boat ride through the Beagle Channel — so named for the ship in Charles Darwin’s famous journey — and learned about the Yamanas, the indigenous Fuegons as they like to be called. Right. More on the Yamanas later, but I think they will prove my theory about the body’s natural thermostat.

Nearby are the Straits of Magellan (Ma-fricking-gellan…think of it!) and the Drake Passage, one of the world’s most dangerous waterways (Go Shackleton!). It’s the place where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans commingle, where nature definitely has the upper hand, where time is measured by migration and weather, not by the clock. I can understand why this part of the world led Darwin to ponder the origin of species. It’s quite an amazing place.

Another cool thing about being far far away from Estados Unidos is that you meet people from other countries. It’s not so much the people that I care about, for they will be gone from me in mere days. But the information they impart about the U.S. is very interesting.

Today I had dinner with a guy from Madrid. He had some interesting things to say. He said — I swear I’m not making this up — that the country’s current financial meltdown has been orchestrated by what he called old money. The old money players — the names we all know and many that we don’t — have always held the cards and been able to take the chips at will. With the rise of the dot-com era, and the explosion of high-technology in general, the old fuddies have been losing their grip on the American power grid and have been forced to share the pie, loosely defined as the system, with young upstarts who play an entirely different game. Backgammon versus Wii.

The meltdown will lead to the collapse the financial system as we know it (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase — who, oh who, will be next?!), the dollar will tank (but who really cares when you’ve moved all of your assets into offshore investments and South American real estate?) and the government-corporate consortium will join hands, chant tick tock the game is locked, nobody else can play, and the lawn bowling can continue uninterrupted.

And for those of you who rail against conspiracy theorists, everyone who lives outside the U.S. is a conspiracy nut. However, they prefer to be called intelligent!

Gotta run. My thirty minutes are up!

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