Posted May 15, 2023
By Sean Ring
The Devil’s Down in Georgia
- It’s 05:13 Monday morning as I frantically type!
- What a crazy trip yesterday was.
- This little southeastern bit of Georgia is out of this world.
Happy Monday from a still-dark Jekyll Island!
I tried to pump out something before I crashed last night.
Mr. Sandman demanded I sleep, as I had traveled from Milan to New York to Jacksonville to Jekyll Island in one crazy day.
So nuts was my day, I’ll tell you all about it.
Then, when the rest of my friends and colleagues get here, I’ll get back to business. Warning: the Rude may smell of single-malt Scotch this week.
Before I start: some of this Rude may sound like a moan. I assure you I’m thrilled to be here at Jekyll Island, in all its ethereal beauty.
Wake Up Call
“Does my phone really read 06:37?” I asked myself yesterday morning.
It was rather inconvenient, as check-in time was 07:00.
Thus started what would become the pattern of the day. Fits and starts and rushes around, trying not to miss flights.
I took a three-minute shower, brushed my teeth, packed what I needed, and ran out of the hotel. Luckily, Matt Insley put me up in a hotel adjacent to the airport terminal.
Even at my advanced weight, I made it to the check-in desk at 07:05. I was pretty impressed with myself.
As I’m a conscientious traveler, my documents are always in order.
Before boarding, I only needed to pick up the single malt I had been ribbing the team about.
Nothing raises my hackles than seeing whisky spelled with an “e.” When whiskey is spelled like this, it means the Irish or, heaven forbid, the American stuff.
I prefer “whisky,” which means Scottish stuff, or just plain Scotch.
So when we were talking about the trip and the team mentioned a Whiskey Bar, I knew I had to do something!
So I picked up a bottle of Laphroaig Four Oak to start. Known to its friends as “Froggie,” Laphroaig packs a peaty punch. And no, Lagavulin was not available in the duty-free shop, if you were wondering.
Then, a bottle of The Balvenie stared at me from the top shelf. I first drank The Balvenie at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Rudyard Kipling called the fort “the work of giants,” and the Indians call it “The Citadel of the Sun.” It’s an incredible wonder of architecture.
My boss Alex asked me to teach a seminar there back in 2018. He brought that bottle. I fell in love immediately. With the whisky, not Alex.
I try never to be snobby about booze. But if you’re going to be, getting snobby about whisky is worth it.
That part of the mission was accomplished—time to get on the plane.
The Flight to NYC
For some reason, I love dystopian Japanese-themed films and movies. Perhaps it’s because they have an exactness of design, a melancholy, and a fatalism about them I simply don’t possess.
Whether it’s The Wolverine, Altered Carbon, or The Ghost in the Shell, I eat it up. It’s also the reason I love the John Wick franchise so much. Weird, but true.
So I had to watch Bullet Train with Brad Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It was a hoot, though I don’t think it’s for everyone.
Then I passed out for about 5 hours, thank heavens. I had had a terrible three hours of sleep in the hotel, so I was thrilled when I woke up and saw that we were only 90 minutes away from JFK.
So I ate my breakfast, and we descended into the world’s dumbest airport.
What Are They Thinking in JFK?
As I arrived at the Immigration Hall, I thought, “This can’t be real.”
No kidding: at least 1,200 people, by my conservative account, were waiting to be processed. And they were just standing there!
It seems “da union” doesn’t get its people in until the entire hall is clogged. But for the first fifteen minutes, I might have moved ten feet.
My flight to Jacksonville was still two-and-a-half hours away, so I wasn’t worried. But after an hour, I asked to get moved up front, so I wouldn’t miss my flight. Much to my relief, they obliged.
I passed the Immigration officer’s test with flying colors, and he let me in.
I don’t know if you know this, but the USG has this stupid rule. If you’re flying into America from abroad and have a connecting domestic flight, you must pick up your luggage and check it in again.
It’s the dumbest thing ever.
So I did that, and the guy barely looked at my tag before dumping my bag on the luggage belt. I thought, “What’s the point of this exercise?”
Then I realized I was outside the airport - where they put this conveyor belt - and I had to go back through security.
Of course, that took another hour.
Once I got through security, who meticulously checked whether my Scotch was plutonium, I checked my gate.
And how many gates are in T4 at JFK?
So it was time to revisit my track days to ensure I made the gate.
I did, with 15 minutes left until takeoff.
Luckily, they let me on the plane.
The flight was smooth but cramped.
JAX Is Almost a Perfect Airport
Did you ever land at an airport and remember that you’d forgotten something essential?
As I stepped off the plane in Jacksonville, I remembered that I had to pee since I landed at JFK.
Luckily, I hadn’t exploded like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote and quickly found the men’s room.
JAX is a lovely airport but has no restaurants after the baggage claim. Ugh. I was hungry at this point.
Fortunately for me, Paradigm’s very own Miss Moneypenny, the perfectly named Lydia England, was landing right within the half-hour.
The Ride North With Moneypenny
Lydia organized this week for us, so I knew I was in good hands. She flew down from Baltimore early to get a headstart, ensuring everything was just so.
Blonde-haired, cheery, and ready to rock, Lydia had rented a car for us to drive the hour north from JAX to Jekyll.
What a pleasant ride - and a pitstop at McDonald’s to boot! (See, I’m not a snob about everything.)
The sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, and the road was wide open for us.
Arriving on Jekyll Island
In no time at all, we arrived here at Jekyll. Lydia noticed the Spanish Moss dangling in the wind from the larger trees.
It’s every bit as exotic to me as the trees growing at Ta Prohm temple at Angkor Wat. (Think Tomb Raider.)
The Jekyll Island Club and Resort hotel is as Old South as this Joisey boy can imagine.
I checked in and was quickly off to bed.
Of course, the reason I’m here is our livestream.
If you haven’t signed up already, I’ve made a trip for nothing! Just kidding.
I want you to join us because, well, where else will you get Jim Rickards and Danielle DiMartino Booth chinwagging about the state of the world?
It’s all for you. Free. Gratis. Gratuito.
And no hard sell at the end.
Like Rickards Uncensored on steroids.
Sign up here if you haven’t already. Last time I checked, over 11,000 people are taking a two-hour lunch this Wednesday at 1 pm to hear what Jim and Danielle have to say.
I can’t wait, myself.
See you there!