Temperature and Productivity

December 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

As I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires meandering nonchalantly like a fly in winter, I thought about the concept of Productivity and Temperature, and their c correlation.  Why is it that cities that have seasons or are in colder temperatures tend to be larger, have more companies, more business, more wealth?

But if the summer heat slowed me down so much, then my theory about different seasons didn’t hold.  Then I thought about air conditioning.  I decided to look up the effect on temperature and productivity to which I found a lot of information. For example 1/3 of participants in a CareerBuilder survey said their productivity was affected by temperature.  Too hot or too cold and it’s impossible to concentrate.  I found the same when traveling in Central America.  If the wi-fi was working, still all you could think of was the beach and fast-melting ice cream.

Below is a productivity graph from productivity-science.com.  They say

As you can see, the productivity changes significantly and highest performance achieved in relatively short peak between 70° F (21° C) and   73° (23° C). Outside 63° F (17° C) and 82° F (28° C) temperature range the productivity decreases more than 5% and significantly impacts on workers ability to work and even can influence health”

This makes sense now, as I searched for a place with air conditioning to dry my sweat beads and allow me to concentrate, as though I were in the perfect temperature all along.

Temperature and Productivity graphic

Henry David Thoreau

December 22, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined.

Traveling again por fin! Bs As, Argentina

December 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Buenos Aires!  Launching out again – another test in life, knowing myself, and working and living virtually from another culture, another continent, another history, new rules, new foods, and a whole new set of experiences!  A dream come true… on purpose.

Someone said to me recently

“… remember, you’re very luck to be experiencing all of this.”

Though I fully agree I have to say it has nothing to do with luck.  I carefully planned, prepared, notified business associates, coworkers, family, tenants, etc of my absence.  I set up my Skype phone, my Google Voice number, my International plan for my iPhone, got a SIM card for my local Argentine phone, searched for and set up an apartment via Craigslist before I left.  I have been no less available to anyone away then I was when in Seattle.

This is the 3rd test so far and each time I learn something new.  My only criteria:

1) a quiet place, with my own keys

2) with Internet

Sounds simple enough?

So far, from staying between hostels, friends’ houses or hotels, to renting a shared apartment – I’ve learned what works and what does not work.

Wi-fi being ‘available’ – if you’re in Central America, it can be like dial-up, with 8 people sharing the same connection, and maybe just maybe the power won’t go out for hours.

In Eastern Europe, they may have wi-fi but if the cafe is open until midnight, they might decide to cut it off (just because?) around 8 pm.  It’s probably great to turn it off so people will relax and enjoy life, but, some warning helps.

Buenos Aires is a city that is always connected, unless the neighbor decides to do construction and cut the power lines.  A quiet apartment in a city that never sleeps isn’t impossible, but noise canceling headphones for Skype turned out to be an invaluable purchase.

I’m learning that I need:

- a private apartment

- noise canceling headphones

- a dedicated Internet connection that can’t be turned off

- an environment with good temperatures (not too hot, not to cold, or the ability to moderate – see Productivity and Temperature)

Still sounds simple and I think we’re very lucky in the US that we have this, and also it’s something I’m accustomed to.  But Buenos Aires has been a great experiment in living/working virtually.  I’ve been able to have some of the most important business meetings and conference calls while experiencing Bife de Chorizo, Tango shows, Christmas in 80 degree temperatures, Empanadas, nightlife that goes until 6 am, speaking Spanish every day, a mix of European and Central (and North) America, theaters, the widest street in the world, great parks, and everything great about a new culture – while still being in the office.

Wherever you go, There you are

December 22, 2009 at 9:25 am

One of my roommates met an 80 year old man on the bus.  This man had lived in NYC, BA, and other places in the world.  The man said ‘wherever you go things are the same’ – same buses, same people, same taxis, and so on…

This may sound pessimistic.  But I love hearing what people that have gone before us have to say about life.  Travel has indeed made me realize that everywhere, though the scene may be different with different culture, food, history, etc that which gives a place a heart and soul and make it fascinating, that at the same time – people are good and bad everywhere, people laugh, people cry, people eat, sleep, drink, work, do business, have families, need to get to work, make money to survive, have happy moments, can be sad, greedy, selfless, afraid, bitter, tender

…. are simply human.

Though the differences are what ignite a passion for travel in me, I also realize that it really comes down to being human.  Learning to deal with happiness and pain, working or not working, sadness or trepidation, all are there no matter where you are.  Learning to find happiness and tranquility, your purpose and meaning for life, complimentary and reciprocal relationships, and building a better future for yourself and those that will walk your footsteps when you leave, can happen no matter where you are.

My mom coincidentally gave me the pin that I wear on my backpack that says

“Wherever you go, there you are”  Simple yet profound.  Thanks mom!


December 22, 2009 at 9:18 am

Mosquitos are very common here, so common that people walk in the streets with cans of OFF in their purses or bags.  Signs all over warn of Dengue – a disease spread through mosquitos.  Fever, body aches, muscle pain – 40 million cases and 100’s of thousands each year.  Deaths are in the teens and children and elderly are most affected.

My legs are covered in bites.  Yikes!  Think I’ll be investing in that can of OFF.  The mosquitos are unavoidable and at the concert on Saturday I’d sworn they marked that human feast on their calendar for months!  I love BA but one thing I could do without are the mosquitos!


December 21, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Stay tuned….  The crazy tomato is coming (as soon as I find the video)

Just what is a tomate loco?

Dancing in the streets of San Telmo

December 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Dancing in the streets of San Telmo at the local market a few short blocks from my apartment.  Sunday afternoon, decked out in the Argentine national team attire.  One of several street markets and events that seem to appear around every corner of Bs As.

Porteña sings Shakira

December 21, 2009 at 3:04 pm

One of the first nights out walking the streets, came across a hole-in-the-wall parrilla (grill – referring to a meat grill restaurant/shop that grills the infamous Argentine beef, as well as chorizo).  The wine was cheap, and everyone bought bottles to share.  Singing was common, old men singing traditional songs, and 2 professional singers.  This video is of a local portena singing Shakira.

Rain in Buenos Aires!  

December 21, 2009 at 2:58 pm


Rain in Buenos Aires!  Within a few short hours the whole city was filling up nearly flooding with rain water.  It was great, I stepped outside for a second and was literally soaked.  I don’t miss the Seattle rain but I did miss the soaking wet warm rain!  It’s hard to get the whole idea but here’s a small sample.

Traveling again por fin! Bs As, Argentina

December 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Buenos Aires!  Launching out again – another test in life, knowing myself, and working and living virtually from another culture, another continent, another history, new rules, new foods, and a whole new set of experiences!  A dream come true… on purpose.

It’s strange celebrating Christmas with a tank top, flip flops (ojotas), and a sunburn.

The city is enormous.  9 de Julio,’the widest street in the world’ is here, 13 lanes and always crowded.  Unless you run, it’s impossible to cross in one go and even then it’s difficult.  Buses (colectivos) are constantly screeching, horns honking, taxis and cars riding side by side on one-lane one-way streets.

It’s a combination of Europe, Central (and some of North) America.  Much richer than Central America but still carrying the danger of being robbed if you don’t watch your stuff.  For example, don’t leave your cell phone in open view, and watch your pockets on the subway.  Otherwise, the architecture, the castellano accent, the doors, the ovens, the attitude of the people – all very European.  For me, it’s the best of both worlds.  The only thing missing is the beach, though that’s a few hours away, either Mar de Plata in Argentina or Punta del Este in Uruguay.

The city is full of parks.  Thanks to my friend Mike, I’ve experienced a new concept – self-guided running tours of the city.  Grab a map (or not) and run around the city to see all the tourist attractions.  Running / walking / getting lost… all have led me to see the famous cemetary where the body of Eva Peron (Evita) lies – with the family Duarte not Peron, the cathedral, gorgeous churches, famous monuments, parks, political protests, panaderias (empanadas on nearly every corner!), town squares, tall buildings, theaters, tango shows, huge markets, sports arenas… so much to see, every day a new adventure!

Again a challenge to be a vegetarian here so I’ve slowly returned to meet.  Bife de chorizo and every part of the cow you could imagine or never wanted to know, can be served on your plate.  As a local Argentine / Porteno (from Bs As) said ‘what do you mean all cows aren’t grass fed and roam around all day’, it’s only natural here, not mass production for human troughs.

Dogs, unlike Central America, are well respected here, which makes me quite happy.  You’ll often see a person during the week, obviously a career choice, walking up to 20 dogs!  But, lots of dogs in the city means constantly dodging dog poop while out running!  It’s a challenge to balance dodging poo while looking up and guarding yourself from the rusty water drops from the terraces above – or, remains from the neighbor’s lunch.  The other challenge, which I learned the very first day out running, is to play QBert on the uneven sidewalks where you never know when an ankle might roll.  An ever entertaining challenge while avoiding the diesel fumes or city dusting as you’re out running.

The city makes you feel at home.  The people are friendly and I spent part of the day dancing with bands in the streets and in the market.  I could only hope to dance like the locals or the Brazilians or people from Uruguay, but I had complete welcome uninhibited fun regardless.

You can live very inexpensively or the high life here, there’s a little for all.  I can get my infamous banana milkshake on the corner for 5 pesos, or about $1.20, or I can jog a mile and pay 4 times that.  Prices vary. I live in a neighborhood called San Telmo – a trendy, hipster, artsy neighborhood, maybe not the safest when you see someone crack a bottle of wine over another’s head, but an area well known and with culture nonetheless.

I’ll see what else I can jot down, but that’s what I’ve learned thus far. The city has taken a hold of me, I love that every day I can see something new, have many experiences, keep working yet learning new words and new foods, start the day late (unless there are hammers and chisels pounding near your head from all the construction) and end late, be in the hot sun in December, meet great people, dance / live / learn, and end the day be excited to see more.

Pictures are here -