Living The Quarantine

We are all aware and concerned about the current events taking place in the world today. As an international community of owners, our thoughts are with you, and hope you are safe, whichever continent you are reading this from.

In this issue of our monthly newsletter, we thought it would be nice to share some thoughts and experiences from our fellow owners.

We hope you find these stories interesting, and perhaps they motivate you to visit us soon. We look forward to that.

But before you start reading, we would like to thank the LEC staff for their tireless efforts to keep the owners safe and comfortable, giving their absolute best, always with a smile on their face.

Quarantined in Paradise
by Nick Giambruno
My wife and I started coming to coming to La Estancia years ago, helping Doug Casey and his colleagues with the various events here. Over time we fell in love with Cafayate for the same reasons many others had and became LEC owners as well.

Unfortunately, though, we never had the chance to spend more than a week or so here in each trip. That’s why last year, we planned to spend the entirety of the beautiful month of March 2020 in La Estancia.

Our timing could not have been better…

Of course, we all know what happened next with the coronavirus and the ensuing global shutdown. We were extremely fortunate to be here when that happened. Rather than return to a potentially chaotic big city like Buenos Aires, we decided to stay an additional month.

While Cafayate and La Estancia feel like paradise in good times, we always wondered how they’d fare in a crisis.

One issue big on our minds when we became LEC owners was the need to have a secluded safe haven somewhere in the world that we could escape to… in times such as this.

Being in La Estancia right now means we have the chance to put the safe-haven theory to the test. So far, La Estancia and Cafayate have performed about as flawlessly as possible. Given our experiences during this crisis, we can confidently say there is simply no place that we’d rather be when the world goes crazy.

The food is still fresh, local, and plentiful. There’s been no interruption of electricity, water, and internet. The sense of community in La Estancia has been outstanding. The staff at La Estancia have gone above and beyond to help everyone. In Cafayate, people are behaving civilized—there’s been no fistfights over toilet paper. 

La Estancia and Cafayate have now proven themselves in a real crisis situation. 

We look forward to coming back for extended stays more often.


Life in La Estancia is Wonderful
by John Stevens

In less than a week, life changed drastically in Cafayate and La Estancia, as I’m sure it did for almost everyone in the world. The changes may be a bit more noticeable here than in some other places. The town and the resort normally have highly social environments. Not now! There are no public gatherings.
Of course the Argentine custom of greeting everyone with a warm embrace and a kiss on the cheek has been suspended. An elbow bump and eye contact suffice as greetings.
The clubhouse restaurant is offering a somewhat limited menu, for pickup or delivery. As usual, our dedicated staff provide this service with cheer and a careful eye to serving the residents’ exact needs. We’re very fortunate to have these wonderful people at our beck and call.
A few absentee owners arrived early for the Owners’ meeting and associated events scheduled in the third week of March (now cancelled). These people will be here for an indeterminate amount of time until travel restrictions are lifted. Despite the inconvenience, they’re very happy to be “stuck” here, and we’re happy they’re here. 
Others who scheduled later either cancelled their trips or turned around mid-journey.

For those who are here, in most cases if they went back to their work somewhere else in the world, they’d be working remotely, which they can do here. Others, such as Mike Girone (a Southwest Airlines pilot), would not be in great demand, with restricted schedules.
For me and, I think for most of the visitors, this is one of the best places on earth to be while the rest of the world is in turmoil. All of Argentina has less than 1500 cases of Coronavirus, and our Salta province now has 3, all quarantined in hospitals in Salta city, 3 hours away from LEC.
We can buy food, gas, and medicine in town. Store hours are limited, with restrictions on how many people can be in the store at one time. We must be careful scheduling shopping trips, since shops have different hours of attendance. As in many cultures, we buy fruit and vegetables in one place, meat in another, and dry goods in yet another. Gas and medicine are also separate. The concept of a mega-market has yet to find its way here. Since we’re traveling even less than usual (last year I drove about 4000 KM - 2400 miles), gas isn’t much of an issue. 
As always, life in La Estancia is wonderful! My sincerest gratitude to all who make it so!

The Lucky Ones Who Stayed at Their Refuge in LEC
Reflections of an absentee Canadian.

by Randy Gilbert
I miss La Estancia de Cafayate. I miss it from the moment I leave until the moment I return. My wife, Kikuko, and I look forward to our planned retirement in LEC. It has been a long journey as we were the seventh owners to buy into LEC. Work continues to be a primary barrier to fulfilling our vision, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting bigger and I am confident it isn’t a train. Suddenly, the world sends us a curve ball in the form of COVID-19. Understanding of such personal misery on a global scale is only known to a few…those of advanced age or those who have lived the reality in certain corners of the world.

I look at the current situation with a duality grounded from a medical perspective and as an owner in LEC. I have spent much of my life in health care as a clinician and healthcare leader. I view our new global challenges and realities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as a true crisis…one that challenges our bodies, our souls, and the very fabrics of our diverse societies and cultures around the world.

In the midst of this uncertainty lies LEC and Cafayate…sharing the same concerns and realties as shared around the world but, somehow, remaining relatively untouched as a Shangri la in the middle of a blizzard. Somehow, it remains tranquil and majestic, despite the whirlwinds that surround it. I admit this is my perception from afar as I sit in Canada among cool temperatures and rain, surrounded by fear and uncertainty…the same emotions that increasingly resonate around the world.

Prudence has taught us—for those willing to listen—that physical distancing is critical to reducing the spread, just as a forest fire has difficulty spreading treetop to treetop when the trees are too far apart. You will hear the term changing from “social distancing” to “physical distancing” because there is an acknowledgement that greater distance doesn’t mean social distancing and, in realty, can require closer social contact in order to sustain us through times of stress.

I can’t help but be amazed by the sense of family and community that I see and feel when I follow our LEC WhatsApp chats. For me, LEC embodies the balance of access to  incredible open spaces and beauty that support physical distancing, while providing close social contact through the daily electronic embraces I see demonstrated by those who call LEC home permanently or, as time permits, for those of us engaging from afar.
Cancellation of the March Owners Event is a sad reality, but necessary if we are to protect the very future that we all believe is truly possible in our very special and unique piece of the world. Loss of opportunity can create an occasion for reflection. I find myself filled with feelings of contentment and also regrets…contentment because of the time we have spent in LEC and the amazing friendships we have developed with our fellow owners and amazing staff members…regrets that we have not been able to spend more time in LEC, building more friendships, and living the future we dream of every day. 
I sit in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, as I write this. I have the freedom to move freely during this time of crisis as I continue to deal every day with our very real pandemic threat. We maintain physical distancing and still shop for the necessities of life with little interruption, other than the constant reminders of distancing and caution that are becoming part of our new social fabric.

We still maintain friendships at a distance and leverage technology to stay connected…and yet, I still find myself constantly wondering and inquiring about life in LEC. I observe LEC from the outside as if watching a movie and I validate my understanding of the Cafayate reality through communications with our friends in LEC. I hear of no personal hardship, despair, or concern. Rather, I hear of minor inconveniences grounded in realism…but mostly, I hear of LEC life continuing, tempered by a pragmatic recognition of doing the right things and at the right times to preserve our very unique way of life and sustain our shared vision into the future.

I feel something very special permeating through so many of the written words…friendship.

Friends / Friendship

It is helpful to understand the concept of systems…understanding everything is connected to everything else and everything impacts everything else in both known and unknown ways. Most importantly, everyone entering or leaving a system similarly impacts it in both known and unknown ways. A truly caring community is a system, built upon mutual respect and a willingness to help others. It recognizes the impact that our individual and collective actions have upon each other and on the system as a whole.

We continue to learn from each experience. Our community is a truly eclectic one with roots grounded in societies from the farthest reaches of the world. We believe in the unbridled potential of LEC and we want to share in its future. LEC remains a global community and a family. As with all families, we have our agreements and disagreements but, like with any good family grounded in strong personal values, we are there for each other in times of trouble and still rally around each other despite our disagreements and differences. Our differences can be dividers, but those very differences can give our community the diversity critical to growing and sustaining ourselves now and into the future.

LEC is such a special community and family. We must always remember we are different but, at the same time, we must preserve the same passion and vision that drew us to LEC and drives us in the direction of kaizen. Constant improvement and change in the right direction are critical, unless we want to go the way of the dinosaurs. And here we are…faced with a world-changing event that cannot go unnoticed…LEC owners and staff come together, like diverse musicians who have learned to create beautiful music together without an obvious conductor at the front of the orchestra. It is more like a jazz band, when—without a conductor—diverse people bring their amazing talents together to create incredible music. As a community, we continually find the special middle ground that steers us in the right direction because, ultimately, we are all there for similar reasons.
How do I know this? I share conversations with friends and staff in LEC. I read the WhatsApp comments every day. I read them to stay connected and help me fill the gap I find is missing when I am not there. The comments energize me and remind me why our goal remains to retire in LEC. I can feel the love and willingness to sacrifice for others from half-way around the world. It makes me want to be there now and forever. To quote Margaret Mead, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Your support in Cafayate during the flood and now your selflessness help to our neighbours in need during the COVID-19 pandemic provide glowing examples of the very moral character that sustains us. Simply looking at the daily takeout menu offered to residents from the restaurant and the vegetables from our LEC restaurant garden shared across our community speaks to the unique fabric that is “us”.


So Many Things to Do

No better place to be…LEC by its very nature allows for personal distancing while still connecting with everyone as if we are shoulder to shoulder. I routinely look at pictures of LEC to remind me of our future there. Where else can you walk, bike, ride, play golf, and enjoy such an idyllic life in the face of our current reality, surrounded by beautiful nature, calm, and serenity. How can you not love watching the sun rise on one mountain range and set on another, as its warmth passes across a valley filled with life and prosperity. While many people complain of cabin fever as they try to outwait the pandemic, a degree of normalcy continues in LEC with so many things to do. Of course, there is that family thing that holds it all together and preserves us into tomorrow. 
It is said that societies rise and fall…one can measure a society by who is the master and who is the slave…in rising societies, bureaucracy serves the people and in declining societies people serve the bureaucracy. I see in LEC, the continued rise of a society with people passionate about building a community…a passion that is more important than the petty wishes of any one group. Yes, we face challenges as any community or society while we find our way, but we always seem to ground our discussions in respect, caring, and passion. How can this not be a recipe for success? To quote Lao Tzu, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” We have travelled a long way in our journey and have a long way to go. I can’t imagine failure when I am surrounded by such an amazing group of loving and caring visionaries. I am proud to call many of you friends and I look forward to making more friends in the future as we continue to build our dream. Dare to dream is the only path for me.
You Are the Lucky Ones Who Stayed at Your Refuge in LEC.


Life Interrupted
by David Galland

I wholeheartedly hope this missive finds you in good health and stoically navigating the havoc wrecked by the Black Swan now known as coronavirus.

As you certainly don’t need me to tell you, life as we knew it back in the good old days of only a couple of months ago has been upended to a stunning degree.
Our portfolios have been decimated (if we are lucky), our businesses have been disrupted, and our travel plans tossed unceremoniously out of the window. And that’s just for starters.

We consider ourselves among the fortunate, as years ago we made the choice to move to a small town in middle of nowhere Argentina which, as luck would have it, has so far been spared from the virus now stalking the land.

And in the entire province there has only been one confirmed case... so far.

I suspect our luck won’t hold out, though to it’s credit (and quite possibly the only time you'll read me giving credit to anything the Argentinean government does), the authorities here were quick to act.

Which means we are even more isolated than usual, as all foreign visitors are now banned, and a general lock down has been put into place on a local level. Basically, unless you are going or coming from a food store or pharmacy, all travel on public roads is prohibited.

Happily, the people here in Cafayate don’t appear prone to panic, so the fruit and veggie vendors, the local butcher, etc., are still well stocked.

Fortunately here at La Estancia de Cafayate  keeping active and entertained is not a problem.

The photo here is from my new “office”, in our wine room. The internet won’t reach my actual office and I can’t get it fixed until the quarantine is lifted, so it is here that I am sequestering to escape the noise of my daughter and her friend as they binge watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the living room.

So, we’re getting by just fine.

Finding Gratitude Amid a World in Chaos
by Marta Girone

Twice a year, in November and March, I make the trek from the U.S. down to Cafayate to enjoy the property my husband and I purchased many years ago as a potential place to vacation and one day retire.  Every March, my husband comes with me and we stay for at least 4 weeks, enjoying the wine harvest and the friends who congregate for Owners’ Week and the associated Assemblea.
We actually decided to stay a little longer this year, as we arrived with friends in late February to get a head start on our experience.  Neither of us imagined that our consideration to stay longer would turn into a chance to spend a minimum of two months, and quite possibly more, in a situation less like we’re accustomed to and more like an “escape hatch” to safety.  And we have found the experience of life under quarantine something more than what we expected….
We share the worries and concerns of every human being right now – the loss of businesses, hit on financial portfolios, cut in pay or loss of jobs all together.  The COVID-19 crisis is changing each of us in profound ways that are still evolving.  It is certainly a time of hardship and sacrifice.  But it is also a time of reflection – a time to re-evaluate what is important to us – and it is a time of gratitude.


Being here at LEC and in Cafayate during the Quarentine has made me realize more than ever what a blessing it is to live in this safe and supportive community, surrounded by spectacular scenery, fresh clean air, and a comfortable climate.  The people of Cafayate have been tremendously kind, to one another and to us, their neighbors.  The LEC staff have gone beyond all expectations, keeping us informed and comfortable, providing us with food and delivery service, always cheerful and accommodating despite their own personal fears and concerns.
Watching how others respond to stress, both here and in other countries around the world, has helped me focus on gratitude itself, and how the energy of those thoughts has the power to reduce stress and help me realize what is important in my life.  Yes, health and safety are paramount to life, but the relationships which support these things are what gives our lives meaning.
I am grateful to be in a beautiful and calm place during the pandemic afflicting the world.  I am grateful to have safety and tranquility.  But even more, I am grateful for my friends and community here in Cafayate.  This includes friends in town and friends amongst the staff and board of LEC.  We purchased our lot here hoping to find a nice place to visit – we found friendship and a loving community.

We found home.

COVID-19 at La Estancia
by Jorge Barrantes

The arrival of the COVID-19 virus and the associated isolation measures taken in Argentina found us gathering with five of the six members of our family in La Estancia de Cafayate - while aware of all the tranquility this implies, still knowing that we were all in an isolated and protected environment.

In minutes we had to decide how not only our own lives continued but also, in my case as a member and Chairman of the HOA Board, how the lives of our employees, who saw their income and perhaps also their source of work at risk, would be affected.
Following the guidelines dictated by the Argentine Government, we organized work shifts in order to maintain social distancing, and vacations were given to those who agreed to take them, so that we managed to keep the maintenance at LEC ongoing without compromising the health of our employees or affecting the excellent level we always present. And, I must say, all this was possible only with the help and dedication of the staff, who with their kindness and disposition have made life at LEC much more pleasant that it would otherwise be.

The lives of the fifty-five people who are going through this unusual period at LEC continue almost normally, although maintaining the required isolation, without ceasing to enjoy the spectacular landscapes, tranquility and way of life that we at La Estancia have come to rely upon.
Perhaps this has become the best experience possible to help us realize what this place means. In a chaotic world not only stymied today by this pandemic, but by the countless events that have long threatened the tranquility of our families, especially in large cities, it means peace and security. I hope that many of those who read these lines will come and live this reality.

Please Stay Safe.
Contact Us
Copyright © 2019 *La Estancia de Cafayate - Wine & Golf, Todos los Derechos Reservados.
Puede actualizar sus preferenciascancelar la suscripción a esta lista.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
La Estancia de Cafayate · Ruta 40 Km 4340 · Ca · Cafayate, A 4427 · Argentina

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp