This is my personal blog. Travel, financial and political observations. Notes to myself and my friends. Content development for my monthly newsletter, Porter Stansberry's Investment Advisory (www.stansberryresearch.com).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Gran Pacifica Looks GREAT

Plus, Wad O’ Cash

*** ROADS! ***

I’m fired up today... about roads!

I got a JPEG picture in an email from my friend Mike Cobb. Mike is the CEO of Gran Pacifica, a real estate development company with beachfront projects in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The picture Mike sent me is of newly paved cobblestone streets! It was taken in Nicaragua, at the Gran Pacifica development. The roads even have curbs and a sidewalk! There’s nothing else like this in all of Nicaragua.

Steve Sjuggerud and I bought a beachfront lot in Gran Pacifica about six months ago – before there were roads of any kind. The roads look nice – as nice as any you’d find in America. Maybe nicer. And that’s a wonderful surprise. We bought for the beach, the surf, the people and the price. That the developers (our friends, Mike and Joel) are doing a first class job is icing on the cake.

Take a look for yourself. The folks standing in the photo are my future neighbors. They all came down for a party and shareholders meeting in January. The roads look great, don’t they? Holy cow. I’m sure it’s hard for you to understand why it’s such a big deal…but basically nothing else in the whole country looks this nice…

By the way, Gran Pacifica will soon be selling “turnkey” casitas (with two bedrooms) for less than $100,000. If you’re looking for a very low cost second home in a very low cost destination…you should check out Gran Pacifica (http://www.granpacifica.com/). If I wasn’t in the midst of a buying a new home for my family in Baltimore, I’d scoop up as many of those casitas as I could afford. In a few years (3-5) I bet they’ll sell for $200,000 or more. Full disclosure: My wife and I own a tiny stake in the development company.

*** WAD O CASH ***

I found about $10,000 in cash ($100 bills) in my camera bag two weeks ago.

I was sitting in the airport in Managua, digging around in my camera bag for a cable to upload pictures onto my laptop. What’s this envelop…? I cracked it open and $100 dollars bills started pouring out.

Holy cow – I’d just found a huge wad o’ cash in my bag!

Of course, I didn’t really think I’d found $10,000, I thought I'd re-discovered a stash of my own "travel money.” I'd taken out for one of my past trips and then forgotten about. I tend to do that from time to time, because I'm always afraid of running out of money. I have this never ending fear that my American Express card will simply stop working one day and I won’t be able to pay my hotel bill. So, before I travel, I take out $10,000 in 100s and hide them in my luggage, in case I ever need "get away money."

It's funny...finding $10,000 that you didn't know you had feels better than earning $100,000 investing.

Anyway...I was so freakin' excited. I thought about what I could do with the money -- go to New York, buy a new mountain bike...get a few really nice new suits, etc. Maybe a case a great wine...
Then I remembered: a colleague of mine, Lief, gave me this money to deliver to another colleague. I’d spent the night with Lief at an apartment in Buenos Aires six months ago. I was supposed to deliver the money months and months ago, when I flew to back to Miami. But I’d completely forgotten. I'd hidden the cash in my camera bag, in a pocket I never use, so that it would be safe. I knew my camera bag would be "on me" at all times during the trip, so the money couldn't get stolen...but by the time I got home I'd completely forgotten about it.

I was so depressed...


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