Not a bad place to hang out - The Daily Reckoning
The Daily Reckoning by Bill Bonner
On This Day - 15 November 2013
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Not a bad place to hang out A  A  A

Rancho Santana, Nicaragua

Dow up again yesterday. Gold up too...still below $1,300.

Is the US stock market headed for a 'crack-up boom?' Maybe.

A crack-up boom is exciting. Stocks head for the moon. But it's a flawed moonshot. The rocket ship blows up because there are no real earnings or revenue growth to justify the high prices.

What do you do in a crack-up boom? You hold onto your hat! It's like walking through an inner city alley in a high wind. Everything gets picked up by the breeze - plastic bags, old newspapers, sandwich wrappers and styrofoam cups. And when the wind stops, the whole lot of it falls again to the ground...messier than ever.

We're not predicting anything, mind you.

We're down here in Nicaragua. The weather is warm and sunny. The waves crash upon the beach, as about 20 surfers try to catch a wave in front of our house. The wide, flat beach is like the surface of a mirror; we see the clouds and the setting sun reflected in it.

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The beaches here are very different from those of the East Coast. They are more like California, but prettier and much warmer. Our beach is about a mile wide, shaped in a crescent...with hills rising on each side, and flat lands, flushed by two small rivers, in between. In the morning, we walk from one end to the other and back, and then jump in for a little swim. It takes about an hour. Then we are ready for breakfast. After we have eaten, we retire to the porch to take up our work, via internet.

Not a bad place to hang out? Yes, we're considering 'retiring' here. Why not? The living is easy. The views are stunning.

When we first came here - about 10 years ago - the beach was deserted. Except for a shack with a guardian, his dog and a pig, we had it all to ourselves. Now, at any time of the day, there are 20-30 people...most of them surfers...out in the waves.

There are about 15 private houses along the beach, along with two condo complexes of about 10 units each. Since we've been here, the houses have become more elaborate, bigger, fancier. Some of them are well designed...some with a colonial Nicaraguan touch...and some more like Malibu houses, sleek and white, with lots of glass facing the ocean. Others show a lack of foresight or lack of aesthetic sense, with clunky columns and balconies that seem to have been pasted on with no regard for the overall effect.

People should pay more attention to architecture. The cost of building a new house is about the same - whether it is well designed or not. And when it sits on a public beach, we all have to suffer it. Bad architecture can blemish the landscape for generations. We have no solution for this problem, but occasionally, an architect should be hung in front of his monstrosity...as a warning to the others.

Prices have gone up too. Ten years ago, these were 'cheap, beachfront lots.' Now they sell for $400,000 to $500,000. Still cheap by California standards, but a lot more than the $130,000 or so that sellers expected a decade ago.

At first, we worried that development would make the place less attractive to us. So far, it hasn't been a problem. People say 'hello' to one another on the beach. Otherwise, we are still mostly on our own.

This is the tail end of the rainy season. Everything is green...jungly...lush. Very different from the dry season, when the leaves have fallen off the trees and all you see is brown and yellow.

Nicaragua...not a bad place to hang out.

Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.

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