Required viewing

There is a new documentary out, called “America: From Freedom to Fascism” which is pretty good. It is off base on a few things, but on the whole is fairly right on. Everyone should watch this if you want to know what is currently going on in the world:

You can see it here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4312730277175242198

Also, for further required viewing, check out the following videos, also on Google Video:

BBC Documentary: The Power of Nightmares (3 part series)
Loose Change
AIDS=HIV Fact or Fraud

If you watch all four of those, you will have a very, very good understanding of what is really going on in the world today.

Turn OFF your TV, turn on your brain.

If those 4 videos awaken your mind and you want to know more about how the world should be and how we can help make it so, pick up the most important book ever written, The Market for Liberty.

What we are currently involved in is much larger than any threat we have seen in history… met at a time when more people are more sanguine than ever. If you do not stand up and fight now, it will all soon be lost.

Fight government. Do not pay taxes. Do not vote (unless it is for someone who has proven that their only intention is to get elected and then tear down government completely). Demonstrate and riot.

Power to the people.

Quick Investment Update

I had mentioned a few times over the last year that there will be one last chance to get on the gold bandwagon at good/cheap prices… I stated that I expected gold to go below $600 one last time and it could go as low as $550, with a possibility of hitting $510…

Well, in the last month or so gold has gone as low as $560 and is currently in the $590 range. I expect it could possibly stay in this range for another few weeks but by early next year we will be on the next major upleg, likely taking gold past the previous recent high of $750.

I expect gold will be well over $1,000 in the next 3 years, possibly hitting $2,000 at which point gold stocks would be trading 10-100x the levels they currently are trading at.

So, this is your last chance to get aboard. Gold will outperform virtually every asset class (most certainly the big US stock indexes, which I expect to drop by 30-50% in next 2 years) over the coming years and if you can position yourself now you will be one of the only people building massive wealth at a time when most people are losing it.

The best way to make big gains is to invest in some of the smaller producing (or near producing) gold companies… but you can play it safe by buying big cap gold stocks, or even gold itself… there are a few gold ETF’s which make it easy, like GLD on the NYSE.

Email me if you’d like some specifics on any stocks I think will easily double in the next year or so, and likely go up exponentially over the next 4 years.

Barcelona to BKK

I have numerous flaws, as all of you know, but one that has to nearly top the list for me is my poor memory.

I went to Dublin, Ireland and Moscow earlier this summer, completely forgetting how much I disliked going to the same area (Scotland, Sweden, Berlin) last summer because of two reasons: the nightlife isn’t that good ANYWHERE in the Europe region (with possible exception of Eastern Europe), the people aren’t really that nice, it is way too expensive and also because it was summer and I was in places where the weather wasn’t even that great, not to mention they had no beaches or anything.

And then, again, I went to Italy and Spain over the last two weeks, completely forgetting how poor of a time I have had on all my recent trips to Europe.

Not that I regret the trip… it was really amazing to see Rome. But I have to try to remember that if I am looking for a good time (in terms of the things I like), DO NOT go to Europe.

As a way of illustrating my point, here is how my 2.5 days in Barcelona went:

First of all, Barcelona has a really nice vibe to it. It is an old city but has a really nice mix of ancient and modern. As we drove through the city from the airport it had the same feeling I have in Vancouver… everything is nice, relaxed, green, clean etc…

I stayed at a hotel called the Silken Diagonal. It was very modern and trendy. It was actually too “hip� though.

The hotel was one of those hotels that try to make everything so different that you can’t actually figure anything out. As example, when I first got into the elevator, there are no buttons on the inside, making me stand there for like 30 seconds like an idiot wondering how to get it to go to my floor. Upon exiting the front desk people told me how it works.. they must have to do this for everybody as it is not very self explanatory. The way it works is that on the outside of the elevators is a number pad, where you are supposed to pick your floor and then it tells you which elevator to use (A, B or C).

Everything in the hotel was like that… even the bottle opener took me a minute to figure out… while I appreciate their attempts at doing new/different things, the end result is that you are basically just in a state of constant confusion as to how to use the phone, tv, lights, etc!

Anyway, I even had a tough time getting to the hotel. For those that speak Spanish, are the actual Spanish speaking in Spain quite a bit different from Latin America? Because I had a heck of a time understanding anything, whereas in Mexico I was fairly decent.

For example, to get to my hotel, I (stupidly) just pronounced it the way the English speakers would, “DY-AG-UN-UL Hotel, por fa vor�… the taxi driver looked at me with no comprehension. I tried to say it over and over, no luck. I then showed it to him on my phone, he then went, “ahhhhhh YE-UAH-HO-NAHHL�….

So, I eventually got to the hotel, figured out the elevator and the lights in my room and then went out for the evening.

I was happy to be in a town with a casino, so went to the Casino Di Barcelona and played poker for about an hour or so, then I went out in the area there, called Port Olimpico. It is a nice area by a marina on the water with numerous clubs. But most of them weren’t that great, and it was difficult to meet anyone…

It was then that I put 2+2 together and realized, once and for all, that ALL of Europe is a complete waste of time if you are interested in going out and having fun and meeting people.

And considering I was paying 3-10 times more than what I would pay in a place like Thailand to have 3-10 times less enjoyment, I caught the next plane out of Barcelona.

Once again, on booking flights, I found yet another hilarious airfare discrepancy.

It was actually really tough to find any sort of direct (even 1 stop) flight from Barcelona to Bangkok, so I looked at every possible option, including stopping over in Istanbul, Ethiopia, Athens, Paris etc…

Most were really expensive, and the times didn’t work well, but after spending 2 days in Ramadan and then a week in boring-ass Europe, I was desperate to get back to heaven (asia), so I kept looking.

I looked at a flight from Frankfurt direct to Bangkok on Lufthansa, but on Expedia it showed the price as being $2,500.

However, I then typed in Barcelona-Bangkok on Expedia and it gave me a flight on Lufthansa from Barcelona-Frankfurt and then from Frankfurt-Bangkok for $650!?!?!?

Note to self (and you): try playing around with flights on sites like expedia… for example, if you are trying to go from Toronto to Miami and all you can find are $1,000+ flights, try typing in something like Winnipeg-Miami… so many times I have found that you may end up getting a $300 flight from Winnipeg-Miami that stops over in Toronto anyway, in which you can just skip the initial Winnipeg-Toronto flight and save yourself a few thousand dollars.

Anyway, I was SO happy to get this flight because Lufthansa has HIGH SPEED internet on all their long flights based out of Frankfurt!! I was so happy… I’ve never had high speed internet on a plane before… and for some reason, it was even free (I heard the charge was $30, which I would have happily paid, but it was free on my flight). The speed of the internet was really good, I was very surprised. I was getting up to 250kbs (25Kbs approx) most of the time and could even watch my Slingbox on it… so I was on a flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok, flying over Iran watching Canadian live TV etc… very cool. The only problem was that in peasant (economy) class they don’t have power adapters, so I could only use the internet as long as my laptop (and phone) had power… my laptop is a massive 17 inch widescreen beast, so it lasts a max of 1.5 hours under battery… they have power adapters in first and biz class…

Note that no Canadian or American airlines have high speed internet, of course, with those two countries being some of the most socialist, fascist, communist (pick one, or all), non-capitalistic countries in the history of the planet.

I arrived in Bangkok and, as always, was so happy. This is my favorite place to be right now… I think I will take a trip to Myanmar in the next few weeks as a ‘holiday’ for a few days just to check it out… and then I want to take a trip down through Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and then over to Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, starting in late Nov or Dec… I am taking bets on how long I am away before I return to Thailand… even money is around 3 weeks… however, Latin America is the only other place on earth, besides Asia, that I consider to be livable, so it is possible I could actually stay 2-4 months over there… we will see!

But until then, I am happily back “home�.

Roma

What a city!

I never gave Rome too much thought… names like ‘Roman’ Catholic and ‘Roman� Empire were all just names to me and I never stopped to consider that those things, plus many other, all originated right here in this city.

Last year I was amazed at Athens, with the Parthenon on a hill right in the center of town, lit up at night… but Rome puts Athens to shame! This city is an entire museum unto itself. You cannot walk one block without seeing some very old ruin or massive statue or fountain… and most of them are so magnificent it makes you stop and gawk just like the multitudes of tourists who flock to this city.

I didn’t go to the Vatican, although we walked all around it… there are two people you don’t want me to get too close to… George W. Bush (actually, Cheney and Rumsy too) and the Pope. I may unleash my murderous rage upon them if the opportunity presents itself, so better to keep my distance for now until the time comes.

It is really amazing how some of the icons of Rome are literally right there, in the city… like, if you can go to Rome and NOT see pretty much everything (ie. Colosseum, Pantheon, etc) then you are legally blind or comatose. Everything is right there, we drove past the Colosseum in a taxi at least 5-10 times.. and it’s not like it is behind some fences and away from the street, it is right there, like just off the sidewalk… it is really amazing.

Because of the history of the Colosseum (what an amazing history it has, if you aren’t aware of it, check it out on the internet) I figured that the Colosseum would be the thing that impressed me most, but it wasn’t. The place that impressed me the most was the Pantheon. Google it if you don’t know about it… it is one of the most glorious, amazingly designed buildings I have ever seen, and the fact that it was built thousands of years ago is mind numbing. In fact, they still don’t know how the built the giant domed roof without it collapsing of its own weight… and the fact that it is in almost perfect condition is a testament to the amazing craftsmanship of the builders. Compare that to the Big Owe in Montreal, built 30 years ago and falling apart! Nowadays, we build junk and we, as people, are pathetic in comparison to those in the Roman Empire.

I am at the airport now going to Barcelona after 4 days in Rome… I have numerous reasons for this:

1.. Hotels in Rome are incredibly expensive (I averaged nearly $400/night and I would say those same hotels in Bangkok would cost $25/night or less). As well, every hotel is practically full, so I had to move every day just to find rooms, which brings me to the next point

2.. This town is FULL of tourists… I can’t blame them for coming here, it is the most amazing city I have been to in terms of ‘tourist attracations’, by far… but it makes for a stressful feeling as every place is packed full of gawking, overweight, middle aged tour followers with map in one hand and camera in the other. I don’t know how the Romans put up with it

3.. The nightlife sucks. There is no nightlife to speak of in Rome, at least in terms of the kind of nightlife I prefer and am used to. I like to go out, have some drinks, and go to some nightclubs and meet girls and stuff… they don’t really do that here. The lifestyle here is to go out around 10 or 11 for dinner, which will last a minimum of 2 hours, while they drink a minimum of one bottle of excellent wine and have numerous courses of AMAZING food, and chat with their friends all night. Italians love to just hang out and talk and spend time with their bf/gf’s and friends… it is actually a really nice vibe, very appealing, but the chances of meeting an Italian girl in Rome is slim to none, so…

I am going to Barcelona. I hear it is really great there, so we will see… I have been to two places in Spain before… Ibiza and Madrid… both were great and I hear Barcelona is even a lot better than Madrid so am looking forward to it.

After that, I am not sure, I am giving a lot of thought to doing a quick tour through Africa… I’d especially like to see Zimbabwe right now where they are experiencing hyperinflation (money loses value by the hour, literally) and want to see that because I expect the US dollar, and most currencies will be doing something similar in the next few years and want to see how things work in those situations.

But, again, I have only been gone from Bangkok for a week so far and I miss it a lot. So, depending on how I am feeling, and how things go in Barcelona, I may head back to BKK fairly quick… Bangkok is just so perfect for me, right now, I find it so hard to be away from there for more than a few weeks at a time.

So, until next time, arivaderci

What a Day

I had quite a day yesterday and thought I’d regail you with some of the details for your viewing enjoyment.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had been awakened at 4am in Bahrain by religiously drunken Ramadan hardcore prayers and was not in a good mood. My flight didn’t leave until 9:40am so I killed the next few hours working on my laptop.

The airport is very close to my hotel so I knew I could leave fairly late and still be very early for the flight. Around 8am I walked downstairs and asked for a taxi.

The guy at the desk was very nice and said, “Oh no sir, we will drop you in our car.� I thanked him and he said, “just 5 minutes�. I went and sat down, 25 minutes later the car showed up.

I wasn’t in a big hurry so I wasn’t worried, I still had plenty of time. The van had no air conditioning and it was already nearly 40c in the Arabian Gulf, but for some reason he kept the windows up… perhaps it was less hot that way, I am not sure.

We drove for what seemed to be a longer time than I reckoned it took to get to the airport. Finally we pulled up to a place with American soldiers guarding some blockade. I was confused, had the American thugs attacked and taken over yet another country while I slept?

The van driver at that very moment got a phone call, but he kind of motioned me to get out. I was confused, as this didn’t look like the airport at all so I waited until he got off his phone call to ask. Nearly FIVE minutes later he finally finishes his call and looks at me and says, “Ok?�… I said, “No. Where’s the airport?�… He says, “Navy? No?�…

He had driven me to the American gangsters (military) navy base in Bahrain. I was confused as to why he would even do that, but then I looked down and realized I was wearing my green army shorts and my shirt even was green army color.

Ok, I’ll give him a break on that one.

But now I am really sweating in the van due to the heat and I am starting to get late for the flight. We finally get to the airport and I am now very concerned about catching the flight… and I DID NOT want to spend another day in Ramadan.

The airport is really small and has just one really long road leading up to it. We were about 200 meters away from the building and he stops. I am sitting there, thinking to myself, why on earth would he stop here, in the middle of nowhere when the building is a quarter of a kilometer away still… he pointed at the security guards and told me he cannot stop up there.

Ok, so I got out and hoofed it in the heat to the airport… luckily I made the flight. But that was just half of my day.

I arrived in Athens, and as I said, I had a hard time getting a hotel on the internet as they all seemed full so I thought I would just show up and see what I could find.

I went to 2 “hospitality� kiosks and they both told me there are no rooms ANYWHERE in or even near Athens that night.

I was like, “greeeeat.�. I then traversed the airport looking for a flight to somewhere interesting that was leaving in the next hour or two. I tried to get on a flight to Rome and Milan but they said I was too late for both.

I then went to an internet café and found a hotel that was available in Athens and booked it.

I then took the nearly 1 hour train ride to downtown Athens only to arrive at the hotel where the girl was expecting me, perplexed and sweating, saying that they shouldn’t have let me book online because they have no rooms.

She then called most of her Greek family members seeing if they could find me a place to stay.

But every hotel in town was full. They said there were “3 congresses� in town that night. I don’t know what a congress is, maybe they mean conference.

But finally she got me a room at a hotel that was in a good central location but was probably the worst hotel I had ever stayed at. For those that know Vancouver, think Cobalt Hotel, but with less drunks and drug addicts and hookers around (Vancouver seems to have more of these kind of people than almost any city in the world, btw).

By this time it was 6pm and my journey had taken nearly 12 hours just to get here so I was exhausted. As I walked up to my room, outside of the room was a door with the sign “WC� (water closet, or bathroom) on it. I was like, oh god no, don’t tell me my room doesn’t even have a bathroom and I have to share?!?!

Thankfully, my room did have a bathroom… and its amazing how your perception of things changes depending on your circumstances, but I was SO happy to see that crappy little bathroom in my room.

Anyway, half the reason I came here was for some nightlife as I had spent the last 2 days in Ramadan and was hoping to at least have one night out this week… so I set my alarm for 9:30pm and went to sleep for a “nap�, exhausted.

I woke up 15 hours later on Sunday morning, having slept through the alarm and the whole night.

Oh well, at least I was refreshed.

But this story continues. In the morning I took a taxi to the hotel I had booked on the internet the night before at an internet cafe.

I showed up and, same thing, the guy was like ‘they shouldn’t have let you book, we are full’… note to self: do not use internet websites to book hotels in Greece.

I then spent about 2 hours walking in the heat (around 28c and sunny today) trying to find a hotel or internet cafe to find one.

I FINALLY found one and went to it just now. It is very nice. It is called the Theoxenia Palace and is a bit out of the way in a trendy suburb of Athens called Kiffisia.

And it has high speed internet so I am very happy.

The area right around here is actually super trendy and cool… a bunch of small restaurants and lounges, all open air, and on a day like today it is really great.

So, FINALLY, after Bahrain and my first day in Athens I am relaxed and happy.

I leave tomorrow for Rome but haven’t booked anything there yet… deja vu?