As with any big city, it is the people on the street that you meet that determine the quality of your experience. Hostel Puerto Limon makes you want to stay or come back to Buenos Aires again and again.
On the way to the Tampa airport I felt some vague discomfort in my right hip that grew progressively worse. I was traveling light, with only a backpack and camera case and nothing to check through. However by the time I hobbled from the parking lot to the ticket counter to check in, I knew I was in trouble. I struck up a conversation with an American Airlines staffer who had sensed that I was in pain, and told him it had just happened and I didn’t know what it was about, but I would need help to get through security. He got me a wheelchair and asked if I wanted him to call an ambulance, and I said no, I was going to Buenos Aires.
Only later did I realize what a golden opportunity was given me to turn back at the last minute and how different my life might have become. Sometimes life comes down to just a few moments, and this was perhaps one of them. Did I experience a moment of doubt? More than a few of them. I knew of course that many people younger than me had already replaced major joints such as knees and hips, and perhaps my time had come. How did a bad joint announce itself anyway? Like this, on the way to some airport? And if this is what was happening, what was I going to do once I got to Buenos Aires? Turn right around and come back for a hip replacement operation? And if I did that, what would the chances be that I would ever resume my path of expatriation and extended travel? Was I an absurdity, attempting such foolishness, and had I just been given a sure sign that I should give the whole thing up? Yes, I wondered, but not for too long. I was going to Buenos Aires and we would let the chips fall where they may.
I am a 67-year-old retired businessman who has been an accidental writer all his life, and who now devotes his swan-song years to freelance travel, food, wine and cultural writing. Recently I liquidated all of my belongings except my beloved books, downsized to a backpack, and bought a plane ticket to Buenos Aires, with a two-night reservation at a hostel recommended to me by my vagabonding daughter Allison, who stayed here last year. In my first week I applied for permanent residency to be followed by dual citizenship. I write these words on my laptop from its makeshift perch atop a decaying wooden speaker that is the perfect desktop height as I sit hunched forward in the worn and tattered vinyl overstuffed chair that is ridiculously comfortable—all this in the community room of Puerto Limon where life is just beginning to stir at 7:30 a.m. Argentina time. I am preparing for months of extended travel throughout Argentina and other parts of South America, to be closely followed next summer by more of the same in the Far North of the Arctic region. I chose the hostel method of accommodation because it fosters interaction with other guests from all parts of the world; it puts me close to where I will learn the most. I seek far more than the tourist experience.
What will you do about healthcare?
In the process of getting here, some difficult questions needed to be asked and answered. At my age of course, one of the first such questions is what will I do about health care? Coming from a North American culture obsessed with longevity and denial of the inevitable, this is, or should be, of paramount importance. What will be the quality of health care in a third world nation, what will it cost without the infrastructure and safety nets provided by the world’s most recent empire? My recent health care experiences in Port Richey, FL however, were a revelation.
Website designers and their clients often make for fractious and unhappy marriages. What is astonishing, given the frequent poor communications between designers and clients, is not the high rate of dissatisfaction with the experience, but that it is not even higher. A little knowledge and better preparation can go far to reducing the stress of creating a new website.
1. Designer vs developer
As a freelance writer with a primary focus on website content, I am writing this from the perspective of the client, the buyer of website design and development. I have worked with a variety of web designers, and each has been a learning experience. Let’s begin by defining terms. A web designer is what I would loosely refer to as “the front of the house”, meaning the person who is your primary contact for your website project. This person will probe your interests, goals, and ask lots of questions about any specifics you may have in mind, especially with regard to the “look” of your finished website. Your designer is essentially the sales person for the project, whether he is a sole operator or part of a team. The developer is what we will call “the back of the house.” This is a person who figures out how to construct the website so that it functions as it should. If the basic design or template that you are working with needs tweaked or customized, your developer will figure out how to do it and write the code. You may never meet your developer or even know his name. Think of your developer as the builder and your designer as the interior decorator. They may be staff employees of the same firm, or freelancers that work on a fee split of some type. It is important to understand that each of these professionals has a different focus when it comes to website creation, and there can be conflict between the two visions. The designer wants “pretty” and the developer wants efficiency and functionality. You may want both, but when compromises have to be made, you will most likely put more emphasis on one than the other. Or you may have no idea what you want, and are waiting for someone to tell you what your options are. This is usually where the problems begin. (more…)