While my wife sat it out in Varig andnLineas Argentinas offices (the latternline said to be losing a million dollars anday), I hied back and forth to variousnsources for the loot. Since we like tontravel first-class in such parts, thisninvolved carrying cruzeiros in the millionsnin my walk shorts through somenpretty hoody thoroughfares. Your averagenmom-‘n’-pop tourist might notnwant to do this, even accompanied, asnI took the trouble to be, by a rent-abodyguardnboy behind. Furthermore,nthe conservative Copaeabana Palace tonwhich I kept returning, since it hadnjust announced some excellent ratesn(with probably the least counterfeitnmoney), began to develop suspicion ofnmy large requests. A superior individualnwas summoned to interrogate me,npossibly because I look a little oldernand more organized, not to mentionnclad, than the average Rio beachcomber.nSome time later in Brazil,narriving at the lovely Varig (viz government)nhotel over the Iguassii Falls, farnfrom any change sharks, I thought thatnV had finally caught up with me. Thisnwas not the case. The bellboy whoncarried up our bags began peelingncruzeiros out of his pants pockets asnsoon as he’d reached our room—quitenthe best rate we got in Brazil.nParaguay: Since there is no bank atnthe tiny airport for Asuncion, Inchanged taxi fare at a stationer’s at thenthen-official rate of 160 guarini to thendollar. The pleasant hotel on the rivernoutside the capital to which we laternrepaired gave me 348. I did not see anyncambios in the unimpressive town, nornin either of the two Dictator Gothicnhotels there. But, parenthetically, Paraguaynmust not be oversimplified, as itnis by stupid American liberals who willndoubtless declare war on Stroessnernafter they’ve finished with Pinochetnand who make for much local suspicion,nif not plain resentment, of thenrare norteamericano visitor. Amongnother pleasures, the food in our hotel,nwhich cost a song, was some of thenbest we had in South America.nArgentina: Don’t cry for me,nmoneychanger. Here again the dollarnfrenzy was in full, if more orderly,nspate. So were prices. While Claridge’snin London was charging 200npounds a night, our room in its BuenosnAires namesake, with breakfastnand a garden terrace over the pool.ncost $65. Florida, the famous BAnshopping mall, was positively stakedoutnwith quick-change artists. Duringnfour stays in the lovely city, I havendealt with several, favoring one pair ofn/ouc/ie-looking Italian gays who spentnmost of our transactions screamingnhysterically at each other in the subterraneann”office” marked Cueros (LeathernGoods), to which 1 was directed.nNeedless to say, there was no leathernabout, only, as in such redoubts, anwall safe and calculator. I changed anlot of dough with Piccolo, as the agingnimpressario of the pair was called, andndid not regret it at 34 pesos rather thannthe official 24.50. It made my hotelnroom even cheaper.nIn lakeside Bariloche (while a groupnof Tolstoyan teenage girls besieged mynwife with questions like “What was thenfirst poem your husband sent to you?”)nRiccardo, our friendly changeman,noperated from an open counter in anbusy mall. He would have lasted twonminutes in Times Square.nPeru: I never went near a cambionthere (if such exist). Since places likenLima and Cuzco are such pickpockets’nparadises, I invariably carried the minimumnof sols on my person (even so, Inwas relieved of some in the latter townnby a stage prestidigitator manque). Asnto the other countries, I have onlyntouched on Uruguay, now with itsnown new peso, found Ghile beautifullynorganized and totally off limits tonnegros of the monetary variety, itsnGuardia extremely civil, and havennever been to Golombia or Bolivia nornwish to repair the omission.nNow, before my experiences bentaken for “Never leave home with it”nadvice, I would emphasize that thencredit card is useful in checking out ofnthis country or that. Though I havensaved thousands of dollars dealing withnlegitimate cambios, I still nurse far toonmany depreciating South Americannbank notes, from failing to calculatenlast-minute needs carefully enough.nNeither, apparently, did somenCuban Intelligence types who fornnearly five years occupied a housenopposite our home in Grenada. AfternU.S. Rangers had encouraged them tonleave, two young boys guarding goatsnnear the local village came up to saynthey had found several satchels stashednin some dried-out bush close to ourngrounds. The find was reported to thennnincumbent 82nd Airborne bombdisposalnsquad, since the Cubans hadnlearned some savage booby-trappingntricks from their Russian instructors.nThe kids came out ahead. Six millionnin noncounterfeit U.S. dollars wasnfound in those valises, and the boys gotnhandsome bounties — from all ofnwhich I assume there are no creditncards in Cuba.nGeoffrey Wagner’s new novel, ThenRed Crab, a farcical thriller set in anCaribbean island, has just been publishednby ]ameson Books.nLetter From thenLower Rightnby John Shelton ReednDoes Anyone Feel a Draft?nI grew up in the Volunteer State ofnTennessee, so called because of itsncitizens’ enthusiastic response to thenFirst Mexican War. Maybe growingnup there colors my view that warsnought to be fought by folks who wantnto fight them—and it certainly increasesnmy estimate of the number ofnyoung men who enjoy that sort ofnthing. So I start with a prejudicenagainst conscription, anchored in anbelief that it wouldn’t be necessary in anhealthy society.nThat’s why I viewed with suspicionna recent report from the Ford Foundationncalled National Service, WhatnWould It Mean? I thought it was goingnto make a case for reinstituting thendraft. But in fact it’s something farnworse, and I hope it is just ignored.nAccording to a summary in ThenChronicle of Higher Education, thenreport is hot for the idea of Americans’nserving the public good at public expense.nBy the public good, it doesn’tnmean just the armed forces, and bynAmericans it doesn’t mean just latenteenagers: The writers think such anprogram could well enlist the retired,nvictims of midlife crisis, displacednhomemakers, and others of the idle,nunskilled, or directionless. They worrynabout the negative effects on some—nteenaged mothers, for example—butnby and large they like the idea ofnAmericans donating a year or two ofnMARCH 1987 / 37n