In temperate southernmost South America, the peak summer vacation season is January and February, though in reality it begins a bit earlier when school lets out in mid-December. In the northern hemisphere, of course, mid-December marks the beginning of our winter holidays, but the Southern Cone countries also have their winter holidays – in Argentina, most people take them around the country’s independence day of July 9, when schools take a break and families can head out of town or even out of the country.
When I wrote the other day about the spike in Argentina’s “blue dollar” exchange rate, I unfortunately neglected to mention that, with the winter holidays in full swing, increased demand for overseas travel has undoubtedly been a contributor. With few Argentines able to obtain dollars at the official rate due to the “currency clamp,” they have resorted to the informal market to be able to travel to Uruguay, Chile and even farther afield.
For some time now, I have included a “Currency Converter” widget on this blog, but it is useless for the unofficial Argentine market. Thus, with the fluctuating exchange rate in mind, I have also decided to install the “Dólar Blue” widget, provided by the Buenos Aires daily Ámbito Financiero, here. For those planning travel to Argentina, this will provide a dynamically updated way to stay apprised of the latest developments (I could think of no more ironically appropriate visual to accompany this than the Blue Cheer version of Eddie Cochran's classic "Summertime Blues," above).
Moon Handbooks Chile, in Los Altos
Tomorrow – Wednesday, July 17, at 7 p.m., to be precise – I will offer a digital slide presentation on travel in Chile at Santa Clara County’s Los Altos Library (13 S. San Antonio Road, tel. 650/948-7683). Coverage will also include the Chilean Pacific Islands of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Juan Fernández (Robinson Crusoe), as well as southernmost Argentina (Tierra del Fuego and the vicinity of El Calafate) that appear in the book. I will also be prepared to answer questions about Argentina and Buenos Aires. The presentation is free of charge, but books will be available for purchase.