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The Majesty of the Moment, an excerpt from Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment

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The Majesty of the Moment, an excerpt from Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment

Furious Fish CroppedWM

The Majesty of the Moment
an excerpt from Being Here: Modern Day Tales of Enlightenment
by Ariel & Shya Kane

In early September 2004, our first day offshore in Venezuela, Shya caught and released his very first white marlin using a fly rod. Photo ops abounded at this exciting acrobatic, dancing, leaping event.

Earlier that day, the ocean was calm, calm, calm. Very unusual for that particular place, so we were told. But as we came into port at the end of our offshore adventure, we found out that the marina would be closed the following day. They were anticipating hurricane Ivan (the terrible), which was predicted to come closer to Venezuela than any hurricane ever had.

Due to where the country is located, big cyclones usually scoot by and leave the coastline unmolested. Although the storm was happening to the east and north of us, there was the expectation of big swells rolling in from the sea. On a walk around the marina, we found that the general consensus among the staff and crews of the docked boats was that closing the marina was a colossal over-reaction. Chances were, they said, that this would be another beautiful day.

After a meal of fresh fish and a glass of wine we retired, not knowing what to expect in the morning. We awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of rain pounding on the roof, the deluge of a tropical storm.

By morning the rain had stopped, but when we stepped out of our door and strolled to the boats, we could feel the adrenaline. People there were still rocking and reeling from the trauma of December 1999, when after 16 days of nonstop rain, the mountains along 65 miles of coast let loose. Tons of mud, rocks and debris had fallen into the sea just after midnight when most people were in bed. There were workers at the marina who had their entire village destroyed. One young man reportedly helped pull 50 people from the mud and destruction, saving their lives. His home was only one of four buildings left standing in his village after the slide. So with the prediction of extreme weather, the villagers who had survived that tragedy were on edge.

As we walked out along the dock we could feel the tension. Thirty million dollars worth of boats were lined up at the marina, cheek-by-jowl, and crews were rushing to add extra lines and bumpers… all hands on deck kind of thing.

Soon the tide began to surge and the boats went “clackety-clack” all in a line from left to right as the water rushed into the marina. In the distance, we could see the surge begin to jump over the sea wall. Shya and I fortified ourselves with double espressos (we still have our priorities straight, hurricane or not) and then I retrieved my camera and began snapping shots of the preparations. When some of the local men saw me, camera in hand, they suggested we climb to the roof of a nearby half-completed building (construction stopped after the mudslide of ’99 and had not yet resumed) if we wanted an unobstructed, bird’s eye view. We followed them through the dark and dusty underground garage, past the detritus of big boats, banged up props and the like, and began the assent to the roof. It was kind of eerie up there with half-finished railings and an open elevator shaft.

As we climbed the stairs, we stepped over the imprint of an iguana. It had died right there and was absorbed as it decayed, until only a ghostly shadow was left. When we reached the top, we went to the penthouse windows, a breathless eleven floors up. We could still feel the controlled chaos as we watched those below us.

A 63-foot Garlington, a big blue-hulled beauty, motored further into the marina and farther from the mouth of the harbor. The surge had been so unexpectedly large and fierce, the stress had destroyed the cement cleats on the dock to which it had been tied. Now they needed to find a new place to safely moor their boat. We paid special attention to that boat’s security, not only for them but also for us. This was the boat we had rented and all of our equipment was still onboard.

I began to take pictures as the sea first crested the seawall and then later as it went crashing in great massive waves. The seawall stood twenty feet but the swells were twenty-seven. Mountains of spray jetted skyward. The sailboats bobbed like toys. We could see brave souls clinging to masts with arms and legs, attempting to ride the storm. Soon the wind came up, sending sails lashing and flags whipping. And then, then the waves peaked and the worst had passed. Surprisingly, there was no rain. All was soon quiet.

The next morning, we found out that three people at the outer marina died that day. Hungry waves had devoured the docks and boats and men. Five surfers who foolishly had attempted to ride the walls of water also had perished, but our boat had weathered the storm without so much as a scratch. Later, as we rode past the destruction and out to sea, I found myself thinking about those lost souls.

I doubt that they woke up in the morning and knew it would be their last day on earth. They probably had plans for the next day and for the weekend ahead and for their lives. I found myself saying silent prayers for the victims and the grieving families of the men. It was one of those instances where I had a direct experience of the impermanence of things. One where I was grateful for the quirk of fate that left the two of us safe to live another day. There was still time for our lives to continue to unfold.

Shya and I had been brushed by the wingtips of nature’s fury, a single feather touch that left us trembling. It was a reminder of the preciousness and fragility of life and also of the majesty of the moment.

Why Venezuela Matters by Té Revesz

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Why Venezuela Matters by Té Revesz

VenezuelaVenezuela’s rising wave of anti-government protests & the bloody government response has drawn far less attention than the Ukraine. It shouldn’t. The crisis in South America’s large oil producer, says Victor Hugo Rodriguez, CEO of The LatAm Alternatives Group has the potential to impact the economies & stability of many LatAm countries. Venezuela is not only the region’s largest oil supplier; it is its biggest importer, adds Daniel Osorio, President of Andean Capital Management. Together my guests will explore how alternative outcomes could change the risk/reward equation for multinationals and for institutional & private investors. How will it affect access to LatAm growth opportunities? What countries will be hurt? Who will benefit? How will the conflict impact the burgeoning Trans Pacific Partnership (Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico)? Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay)? The Caribbean economies? Is there a China factor? How should investors & MNCs position themselves?

Tune in for “Global Reach” with Host Té Revesz for her new episode “Why Venezuela Matters” on the Voiceamerica Business Channel on every Thursday 11am Pacific Time.

We are all operating in a dynamic global marketplace, whether we reach across borders to find new customers and fresh ideas or face overseas competitors in our home market. Global Reach embraces the opportunities and challenges we encounter when operating in multiple countries and cultures. We talk with entrepreneurs and executives about their strategies for winning in fast changing world markets: cross-cultural communication, global branding, media and marketing, transportation and manufacturing, the future of finance, alternative investment strategies, innovation and IP protection.Global Reach interviews thought leaders about 21st century megatrends that impact international entities: trends like the business and politics of sustainability, the morphing nature of competitiveness, globalization, global companies vs national governments, worldview and growth prescriptions, emerging markets issues, and the corporate impact on society (governance, ethics and leadership).

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