So… what’s it like in NW Argentina, in a country club outside a pueblito of 10,000 people, 3 hours from an airport?
Read some first-hand experiences of La Estancia de Cafayate Owners in residence.
“...a wonderful place to ride out a crisis with relative freedom of movement, tranquility, security and friendliness…”
My arrival to Cafayate and the Grace Hotel was March 12 and since I then have had several attempts to return home to Bariloche and my dogs thwarted by flight cancelations. On March 18 I was told the Grace Hotel was closing and I must move. Friends offered me their home in LEC for as long as I needed it and it is being enjoyed daily with gratitude.
This is affording me the time to settle in and really see once again the day to day beauty of La Estancia and Cafayate in the midst of a crisis that will forever change our world in ways we cannot yet fully imagine. And providing opportunities that I had not envisioned.
“THE FACTS MA’AM, JUST THE FACTS…”
There are approximately 23 residences occupied by owners (with a few exceptions) within LEC during this quarantine. Some arrived from outside Argentina and now cannot leave. Some are full time residents – foreign and Argentinian. There is little socializing or interaction but there is the freedom to do so if you want within LEC. Most remain quietly in quarantine, enjoying the natural beauty and solitude. It is a quiet time, reflective, and people are dealing with it in very personal ways. But all with a gratitude to be in a peaceful and respectful community set “far from the maddening crowds”.
In the town there is food at all grocery stores and fruit and vegetable stands stocked. Nothing missing except occasionally, bananas! The wine store and pharmacies are open in the mornings. No shortages. No panic or panic buying. (But exclude since long ago the ability to buy alcohol gels, masks, or gloves). Long bank lines where people arrange themselves with some distance. All restaurants are closed but there are several options for take-out food. There are people doing what they need to do with minimal police presence. Masks are a rare sight. Everyone skips the cultural kisses.
“...a wonderful place to ride out a crisis with relative freedom of movement, tranquility, security and friendliness…” Terri Casey
Chiri Barrantes, Chairman LEC HO Board
”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 LEC, isolated and protected.
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. possible only with the help and dedication of the staff, who with their kindness 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 with us.”
"The people of Cafayate have been tremendously kind neighbors throughout this crisis; the LEC staff and board have done an outstanding job of keeping us informed and comfortable; and the Argentine government at all levels, health care providers, police, and firefighters have done a superb job in keeping us all safe."
"We feel this is probably the best place on earth to be during a quarantine and we are truly grateful to be here.” Anonymous
Finding Gratitude Amid a World in Chaos
”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.” Marta Girone, LEC HO Board
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Tel: +54 9 11 4145 6640
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