John Bechtel, B2B Writer: When Content Matters

“When results are mission critical, inspired writing is no longer a commodity.”

 

The next generation of adobe house builders in the village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, Corrientes province, NE Argentina

And so it is that in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, where architectural design is frequently on display, the village building codes require that only local building materials be used with traditional methods, thereby assuring that no well-heeled investors come in and build gaudy McMansions that clearly do not blend with the landscape and look of the village.

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The insane traffic situation and other things you should know before visiting the village of Colonia Carlos Pellegrini on the edge of the Ibera Marshes, the 2nd largest pristine wetland in the world.

Three words come to mind right away: pristine, pretty, and primitive. Not primitive as in stone age, but in the sense of doing the best you can with limited resources, and putting your best foot forward with dignity and pride.

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Teaching merchandising and entrepreneurship to kids under 12 in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, Corrientes province, Argentina

Stay tuned for a hilarious post on the next generation of adobe house builders, and then stay with me as I explore further northeast of here, to the Argentine province of Missiones and its 400 years of Jesuit-Guarani history and the conflicts endured as the borders between Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina took shape. This will include early histories of Buenos Aires, Asuncion, and Corrientes, and yes, even a plunge into dense jungle. Travel with me without a single mosquito bite!

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Memories of Mesopotamia

In the weeks to come I will be traveling even further north, and entering jungle on the border with southeast Brazil to the west of Iguazu Falls. I will also be traveling through the province of Missiones and the Jesuit history that was the basis for the 1986 movie The Mission with Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons. This might be one of Hollywood’s few successes depicting history with some degree of accuracy.

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Getting past the fear

I want to be less afraid, of fewer things. To accomplish this as I grow older, I have to constantly push back at the boundaries of what I dare not attempt, and to resist the sense of life’s opportunities shrinking. Life still is what it is, but I for one will not go quietly into that dark night.

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What I learned in Buenos Aires (and why I’m going back)

This time I plan to stay in private homes, where I will work or contribute in whatever way desired, and I will learn Spanish and really get in touch with the Argentine way of life. Why? Because everywhere in the world, people are the same in some basic ways. They want to be left alone to live their lives with their family and friends, and trade with others as they choose.

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The Palacio Barolo: An instructive tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven in one Buenos Aires afternoon.

Palanti was a scholar of The Divine Comedy and filled the building with references to the poem. The building is exactly one hundred meters high, one meter for each of the 100 cantos in Dante’s poem. The building is divided into three parts, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, also symbolizing the Holy Trinity of God, Son, and Holy Ghost. There are 22 floors; there are 22 stanzas in some cantos.

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The Other Argentina

Argentina has achieved the final end result of decades of bad ideas and misguided public policy: total loss of faith in her institutions, universities overflowing with passionate Argentine rhetoric about social theories, ubiquitous framed photos of Che Guevara, but a desperate lack of knowledge about how to get anything done.

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It’s about time.

Humans typically become more conservative with their risk taking as the time left to them shrinks. But what is the value of unfulfulled promise, the potential we left wasted on the table of life if we fear to try? How good could we really have been, if we could have taken our foot off the brakes?

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A conversation between a writer and a scientist at Puerto Limón Hostel about sunsets, malaria, and buzzwords

They want their travel writer to do more research, work harder to find something new, or an innovative perception of the traditional. Dare I say it, maybe less sunsets, or at least only those sunsets so rare they are profoundly difficult to describe, and then they expect you, the travel writer, to find the words to match the challenge.

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Thanksgiving, smiles, springtime, and where to have sex in Buenos Aires . . .

The Traveler: The traveler has no safety net. At home the familiar and unchanging serve as a safety net. But the traveler needs to be in the zone, and in the flow. Otherwise he can get lost with no one to help him. He can’t bother with worry or fear. So he allows for everything and can know nothing for sure, trusting that in the end things will be as they need to be.

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