Traveling is Tiring

I am writing from onboard British Airways 747 (though sold as a Cathay Pacific flight, with Cathay Pacific stewardesses, thankfully!) on a direct flight from NYC (JFK) to Hong Kong! A 15 hour flight! Interestingly, that’s not all that much longer than a flight from Vancouver to HK. That’s because the flight from NYC flies nearly directly North from New York until it hits nearly the North Pole. It then begins to swing down to the West of Beijing and then approaches into Hong Kong from the West! According to my large inflight personal screen I am currently just to the West of Fort Chimo and to the East of Poste-de-la-Baleine, wherever those godforsaken places are.

This is one of the longest direct routes in the world. I had previously taken a 16 hour flight from San Francisco to Sydney which sucked! I ended up in a middle seat in economy on that flight and the entire flight was full of school kids all running around and shouting. That flight nearly killed me. I was only in Australia for 5 days and I looked at the return flight on my calendar much the way Bill Clinton must feel knowing that Hilary will be coming home into their bedroom later that night (sorry for all the Hilary slags lately but my god, have you listened to what she says? I listened to 3 minutes of one speech for the first time yesterday and began stapling my ears closed!) Anyway, the point is moot, Bill may be an idiot too but he is smart enough to be out with some college girls rather than be home and subject himself to that vile wench.

Anyway, when I first booked this flight I tried to pre-book a seat and there was nothing but middle seats available in economy (there is no way I am ever paying $5,000 for business class! Do you know what kind of enjoyment $5,000 would buy you in Thailand? Damn close to eternal joy… so I’ll suffer for a few hours). But, at the last moment one seat opened online for the very last row, on the window.

I booked it and am at least somewhat comfortable. But I am extra happy because EVERY seat on this plane has a full AC plug-in! Now if they only had internet (they don’t :( ), I’d be so happy. Ah well, soon one of these airlines will get it all together (Lufthansa has internet, but no power… something of not much help to me and my 17� laptop which lasts about 45 minutes on battery!). Of course, the last airlines to get anything of the sort will be any US or Canadian based carriers, being as they are both centrally planned economies. And I use the word ‘planned’ very loosely.

Anyway, this flight essentially ends my North, Central & South American and Caribbean portion of my latest expedition.

How do I feel? TIRED! It was, as always, a wild ride. From nearly becoming the King of Acapulco; to venturing about Managua with a girl who looked like J Lo but back when J Lo was hot; to spending time with my new Colombian girlfriend in Cartagena; to venturing the streets of Caracas; and to finally arriving in Aruba and meeting a white girl from Boston who had me feeling like a schoolboy again fawning over every time she’d say car, or bar, or father. I’d even try to find ways to get her to say those words… “what do you like better, going to the bar or eating vegetables?�… her: “I like to go to the baaaaaaaaaaaa�. Me: *blush*

UPDATE: I just got pics of her, here is one:

She is the one on the right

I then spent one night in Santo Domingo, taking care of some business… and then one night in NYC, at an airport hotel, waiting to board this flight.

I’ll now spend a few nights in HK with my crazy Thai gf and all her friends.

And then it is back home (well, maybe… you know me)!! There is something good about having your own place somewhere… a place where you don’t have to call and book… you don’t have to wake up by 12 and check-out and you have everything there just the way you like it.

I’ll likely spend about 2-3 months in this region, even possibly looking to buy a small little place maybe in Bangkok, maybe in Phuket… perhaps even in the country somewhere!

And then, around June it’ll be back through Camerica (for World Series of Poker) and then down again through Mexico and possibly to places like Nicaragua and Aruba again, looking for a place to plant myself in the Americas.

I intend to have one or two little spots of my own to hide-out in, one in Asia (most likely Thailand) and one in Latin America (likely Mexico, maybe Nicaragua) as places to hide out for the next few years while the world falls apart.

As I write, Bear Stearns looks like it has completely collapsed (note: I wrote this before they completely collapsed! Always one step ahead!). Gold has soared above $1,000 (well above as I post this). The USD is almost completely worthless. US real estate is in COMPLETE collapse. BTW, on that note, even though US real estate will be virtually free over the next few years, it does not mean it is a bargain. The last place in the world you will want to be in the next few years is the US. There will be riots, famines and a greater depression, to steal the phrase from Doug Casey. The CIA has already built HUNDREDS of secret prisons which will be used to house the millions who will attempt to riot once they have nowhere to live and no food… and they will all be held without trial, all under current existing legislation. They are in the final phases now, trying to disarm the public as much as possible to make this transition as seamless as possible for the new world order. Once it gets to that point, it really won’t take much more to just begin mass genocide (for the greater public good, of course!). It really is following the Neo Nazi script almost to the letter, so far. In fact, their plans are much worse than most of the neonazi plans. They have already started with numerous of them, including the genocide of Africa, by trying to tell them all they have AIDS and then “giving them� (the drugs get paid for, so the drug companies get paid, but the funds come from you, the taxpayer) AIDS drugs which are actually the things that end up killing them (more on this in my next blog post). As you can see in the news, they are now beginning to talk about MANDATORY testing of the US population for HIV in another attempt at mass genocide and massive sales of HIV drugs. This, along with other things, such as chemotherapy and the current effort to take most of the nutrition out of most food are all parts of the plan for mass genocide and world control.

Until then, I’ll be preparing by the pool in Bangkok, for the upcoming World Wars. Might as well enjoy the good times while we still have them!

So barring any unusually interesting SouthEast Asia stories it’ll be quiet around here again for a while except for the occasional rant, which as you can see, has already begun!

Life is a trip – Aruba continued

If you asked me a month ago, where I thought I might have the best time of all the places I was going to travel to (Nicaragua, Cartagena, Caracas, Curacao, Aruba), this would have been the order:

1. Cartagena
2. Caracas
3. Curacao
4. Aruba
5. Nicaragua

It turns out, as it almost always does, that the list is completely different. Here is how good of a time I had in each spot:

1. Aruba
2. Cartagena
3. Nicaragua
4. Caracas
5. Curacao

Furthermore, if you told me that the highlight of the entire trip would be meeting a white girl from Boston, of all places, in Aruba, I would have deemed you unfit for basic social activity!

But, and this is why life is a blast if you are open to letting it unfold in front of you, that is exactly what happened.

Similiar to my first real experience in Bangkok, everything that has happened in Aruba so far has been a wild ride.

For those who don’t follow all my shenanigans, in regards to my Thailand experience, I had initially booked a stopover for a Murray Head-esque one night in Bangkok three years ago. That night I met a girl who, only a few days later, left me bloody in a hotel (not as as bad as it sounds, I was mostly bloodied from her nail claw marks as she resisted me throwing her out of my hotel room, screaming, “PREAS!! PREASS!! I’M SOLLY!!! PREAS!!!!”) and I had to escape under the cover of darkness from the hotel from her. Three years later and that one night stopover in Bangkok, in which I expected I would not like it, has turned into my becoming a virtual half-resident in Bangkok and the world’s biggest promoter of Thailand! And that girl has been my girlfriend ever since! What an odd turn of events!

Well, I arrived in Aruba 5 days ago and initially only booked for 2 days. But my flight out was at 7:30am and I really didn’t feel like getting up. Plus, I really thought this place may be something quite special, so I decided to just ignore my flight and stay another day.

I LOVE nothing more than real connections with other people… most preferably beautiful girls. And while I have had my very fair share of countless wonderful and beautiful girls, including most recently in Cartagena, I hadn’t felt like I really had any sort of whirlwind romance that was a total connection, in a very long time. I’d come close a few times, but it never quite clicked. And I was beginning to think it may never happen again (isn’t that always when it happens! And it always happens in ways you could have never guess in a million years – read on).

So, I was in Aruba on the same day that I had missed my flight and it was Sunday night. I had gone out the prior night in Aruba and really had no luck making any sort of connection with anyone and I was really starting to feel sad about it.

But, being a trooper, I went out yet again in search of something.

It was Sunday night and things seemed very quiet everywhere. I walked past Senior Frogs once, and it looked very quiet. I was about to turn back and go to the hotel and I thought… why not, stop in for a drink… maybe it’ll help me feel a bit better about this lack of connections I’ve had in a long time.

That’s when it happened. I love these moments. They really only seem to happen about once every few years.. at most once or twice a year. So they are truly special. And some people only seem to have them once in a lifetime (likely because they are not open minded and don’t see the many potential connections because they limit themselves too much – “Oh, I don’t like black guys” or “I was told by the American Government Website to never spend time with a Mexican girl as they may be involved in crime” etc etc)

So, I walked in… my eyes were immediately drawn to this beautiful girl. She had a lot of the things I like, in appearance… and she was unique looking. Really wavy/curly dark brown hair. Beautiful brown eyes and face… very attractive.

We locked eyes almost immediately. But right then this black guy she appeared to be with gave me the death stare. I looked skyward. Why… why!!

But upon returning my gaze back down she was right in front of me, striking up a convo.

I was actually confused for the first 30 seconds. A beautiful girl, who appears to have a bf of some type, approaching me almost instantaneously?? What’s the catch!

But after about 30-60 seconds I felt the heat. She was attracted to me too! It was the ultra rare, completely mutual attraction, on site!

As the conversation continued I began to like this girl more and more. A girl who isn’t shy to actually talk to someone?? This girl may actually have a soul, unlike the plethora of mainly Camerican and European girls who take some sort of strange pleasure out of making anyone who attempts to talk to them feel like garbage.

As we continued to talk I was beginning to become really aware of her accent… she was saying things like, “My maaathaaaaaaaa and my faaadaaaaaaa told me I couldn’t take the caaaaaaaaaa”… I was like, “Are you from Boston?!?!!!”

She was. The Boston accent is always funny to listen to, but it had gained an entirely new level of appeal coming out of the mouth of this lovely, vibrant girl.

She told me she was 19. I gulped. Oh man… I have NO problem with that, but I hope she doesn’t find out how old I am and get turned off. She asked me how old I was… I said guess… she said 28. I said, DEAD RIGHT!!! Good guess! 😛 As for her ethnic heritage, she is full Portugese. If this is how girls look in Portugal, I will be making a trip very soon!

As we talked more over the next few minutes I found myself even more attracted. She was young, which always includes some naivety, but other than that, she seemed to be fun, intelligent and engaged! I couldn’t believe it… beautiful and fun to talk to also!

Her friends then came up and told me they were leaving and going to a different club with the group of black guys they were with. I thought to myself, ok, this is where my heart gets frickin pulled right out of my chest, again.

But, no, they say, “Are you coming?” to her, and her response was, “I’m going with him!”, throwing her arms around me!!!

I again looked skyward, but for the exact opposite reason I had only a few minutes ago… this time, I was thanking ANYTHING or ANYONE who may have made this possible!

We ended up riding around all over the island, even played poker a little bit, having a blast the entire time and then ended up back at my hotel.

It was 4am by this point, but Aruba is not like America… it is quite a free place and so the hotel liquor sales at the front desk was still open (24 hours), so we grabbed four beers and gave one to the lady who sold them to us at the reception desk, cheers-ed her, and headed up to my room.

I don’t need to get into specifics here, obviously, but it was amazing. Even more amazing, she told me that she has rarely had any physical relations with any man before… she was totally discovering herself and her womanhood, right there with me. It was beautiful and exciting and I really just felt so lucky to be a part of it.

That was 2 nights ago… we basically did the exact same thing, right down to the buying of a beer and cheers-ing of the hotel reception lady the next night.

**btw, I don’t have pictures of her yet, but have her email now and will be getting some off her soon as I am sure you must be interested what she looks like by now! I would be!

I don’t know what is going to happen, but I have, for the 4th day in a row now, extended my stay here. If it were completely up to me I think I’d probably stay here as long as this girl from Boston is here (another 4 or 5 days) but my Tamagotchi-like Thai gf is nearing the point of expiry and if I were to stay another few days I think she’ll really be hurt because I had promised her days ago I was already making my way back to Thailand.

Plus, she is aware of all my experiences here and has been so good as to let me stay the few extra days already to enjoy it fully… Not many girlfriends will do that! Actually, I know of exactly zero girlfriends who would do that. So, again, I am so lucky to have a gf like that and so I really should tear myself away from this beautiful little romantic interlude and get back to my crazy Thai gf, not to mention all of her sexy friends who all seem to have moved into my building in the last few months, making for what will be some very interesting times by the pool in Bangkok.

In the meantime, however, the magic just continues here in Aruba.

When I first arrived here I played poker the first few nights at the Radisson Casino and made some small chitchat with the numerous beautiful dealers and waitresses and even the singer of the band there.

I hadn’t been there for 3 days as I started playing at the Holiday Inn Casino lately, but I walked in last night… One of the waitresses ran up to me right away, “Sweetie!!” and gave me a hug, “Where have you been?”… another dealer waved to me from across the room, also apparently excited to see me! The card room manager guy walked up, remembered my name somehow, “Jeff, welcome back!”.

This is how it is here!!! Even if I never met that amazing 19 year old Bostonian girl I would still have placed Aruba very highly on my list of places to go and to return to. The vibe here is hard to explain. I’ve never felt a vibe like this in a place with so many Camericans… everyone seems to be happy, smiling, engaged and social.

Also, I ate at an Italian restaurant called Hostario de Vittorio, right beside the Brickel Bay Beach Club and it was UNBELIEVABLY good. And judging from the comments of everyone at tables around me, they all agreed. It was SO good! Even better than the excellent Romanissima in Caracas.

And, not to mention, for those who from time to time like to dabble in paying girls for sexual activity (up front in cash that is, as opposed to later with dinners, diamond rings and condos, not to mention the dreaded divorce settlement!), the area called San Nicolas is apparently home to dozens of venues, mostly filled with Colombian girls. And, being Dutch based here, it is all perfectly legal (imagine that America… sex is allowed here! Unlike in the land of the free!). And, again from what I am told, it is also very reasonably priced. I actually had to ask, “What? Really?” when someone told me the prices. I have only spent a few minutes in San Nicolas because, luckily for me, I have been well taken care of by my new found lover. But I just thought I’d point out that this area exists as being another positive about Aruba.

So, all these things combined have officially moved Aruba high onto my list. I am now moving Aruba to my #3 resort-style place in the world, only behind Boracay and Phuket. I’ve even begun briefly looking about the internet at real estate prices. I always prefer to be in really exotic places like Bangkok and Acapulco but, heck, if this is how life is here, maybe I could spend a lot more time here! Heck, I’m sure if I stayed here another week I’d be the one picking up the cute casino dealers at their house to drive to the 5am Friday night softball game!

What a nice, nice surprise Aruba, and everything here, has been.

Ariba Aruba!

I was on my way from Colombia to the Dominican Republic and, as per my MO, I decided to stop part way in order to cut down the amount of flying time AND also get to experience a new or interesting place.

Aruba met those objectives so I headed there.

I had just been to Curaçao, one of the three so-called ABC islands (for Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) of the Lesser Antilles (more specifically the Leeward Antilles), so I was not heading for an area that was unfamiliar to me.

Both Curaçao and Aruba have direct ties to the Netherlands (it’s complicated, exactly how they are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but they are), and both are in close proximity, so I made what turns out to be a very incorrect assessment that the two islands would be similar.

I was shocked at the differences. They have almost nothing in common. And, sadly for Curaçao, all of the negative things are in Curaçao and all of the really good things are in Aruba.

Here’s a quick checklist:

Curaçao: Huge, morbidly obese black people (I even looked on the internet after going there, out of curiousity, and found articles entitled, “Alarmingly High Prevalence of Obesity in Curaçao“, so it’s not just my opinion!)

Aruba: Countless beautiful, sexy, nice girls of numerous shades (from very dark to light skinned) and most are nicely proportioned with good bodies. I am not sure exactly what all their ethnic heritage is, but it seems to be a really nice mix of latina and Caribbean along with perhaps other things mixed in too… I believe the first inhabitants of the island came from Venezuela so that may explain a lot, given the beauty of many Venezuelan women. I’d really like to find out more about these girls.. hopefully tonight!

Curaçao: Best restaurant on the island: Denny’s

Aruba: Dozens, if not hundreds, of some of the best restaurants around. From chains like Chris Ruth’s Steakhouse and Benihana to countless excellent Italian, Brazlian/Argentine, Japanese, Chinese and even Thai restaurants!

Curaçao: Nightlife: A few clubs. One of the most popular is called Mambo Beach and is behind an unlit, dirt parking lot

Aruba: Dozens of bars, clubs and discotheques of every type and quality

Curaçao: Beaches: As far as I am aware, Curaçao doesn’t really have any nice beaches. It is mostly rocky and not that nice

Aruba: Some of the nicest beaches and water in the world!

Curaçao: One crappy, dingy poker room at the Holiday Beach Hotel (but, and here is the only good thing I can think of about Curaçao: it is possibly one of the loosest, craziest cash poker games I’ve ever seen)

Aruba: Countless glamorous, nice casinos with numerous poker rooms (although many of the games are quite tight, more on that below)

Curaçao: Everything is spread out and not very easily accessible

Aruba: The area of Palm Beach and the short drive to the nightlife of Oranjestad is very easy and is only about a $10 taxi ride.

I think you may be getting the point. If you have to go to either Aruba or Curaçao, either go to Aruba or shoot yourself in the face. But do NOT go to Curaçao!

It’s so funny, from reading about the two islands on the internet, I actually chose Curaçao first over Aruba. That damned internet needs a lot of work! Well, actually, the main problem is that 98% of people are idiots (no offense, to any idiots reading) and so the internet mirrors the thoughts of these 98% of people. Ah well, just keep a copy of Berwick.com on your bookmarks and you’ll do just fine. 😛

Aruba has been great. I was initially just going to stay two days and then go to Puerto Rico for the weekend but I was enjoying it so much I just ended up staying.

Let’s again go to the checklist:

Girls: YES! VERY!
Poker: YES! Very good!
Restaurants: YES! Couldn’t really ask for more
Nightlife: YES! (Disclaimer: I was here during US Spring Break so that may have had a huge affect on the amount of nightlife here, more on that below)

Let’s get into the details:

Girls: Oh my. Very nice! Not only are there countless beauties, but most of the ones I have seen and met have been really nice, smart and easy to talk to. In fact, they almost seem a bit too much! For example, at the Radisson Casino, it seems like a lot of the locals go there a lot (by locals I actually mean Camericans for the most part, who live here part or full time.. more on that later too). These guys, in general, are not very attractive (kinda fat.. kinda old etc) but they seem to be BEST friends with many of the really cute, sexy, nice casino workers. So much so that they’d say things like this: Older, fat guy: “Hey Karen, we should all go bowling later tonight and have some drinksâ€?. Karen: “Hey Nancy, Tia, you want to go bowling tonight with everyone? Ya sure.â€?. Older, fat guy: “Ok, I’ll swing by your house later and pick you up!â€?… (as a side note: they even all seem to have a Friday night softball game together, interestingly enough, played at 5am because that is when the casino is closed!!)

It is this kind of vibe here!! Lots of beautiful, smart, nice girls who seem to have no problem just hanging around with guys you wouldn’t think that most normal girls would want to hang around with. I am telling you, there is something special about this island.

Nightlife: Now, again, BIG disclaimer… this week is apparently Spring Break… so this may not apply year around. But gauging by the sheer amount of discos in Oranjestad and some big discos even out in Palm Beach, there must be enough nightlife on a regular basis to have all these establishments. I waited in a line-up out of Senior Frogs for 20 minutes just trying to get in. When I got in, there must’ve been 500 people all in there… lots of hot girls. Everyone seemed pretty cool. All within a 3 block radius of Senior Frogs are dozens of pubs, clubs and discos with all sorts of vibes from latino to dutch to western style pop and hip hop.

Poker: As for poker, it is pretty good here. There are about 10 tables at the Radisson… but a lot of the players there are actually pretty good.. and pretty tight. I found out most of the looser, drunker players play at the Holiday Inn.

Now, here is one of the only bad things about Aruba: It is a bit expensive. Actually, from what I have seen, things like food, taxis and other general items aren’t that expensive, it’s mainly the hotels in Palm Beach. They start at about $300/night and go well up from there! All the name brands are there, Hyatt, Marriott etc.

I hate spending that much on hotels so when I got here I just rented a car and drove around and ended up finding a nice hotel, called the Brickell Bay Beach Club for about $200/night. But even that is way more than I like to spend. There are some further away from the beach that I saw for $100 or less, but they were all full. Someone told me he was staying in a condo rental for $60/night near Palm Beach and it was nice and had internet. If I can find a place like that, I’ll stay here for a month!

One of the only other semi-bad things about Aruba is that there are tons and tons of Camericans here. But I have to give credit where credit is due… a lot of the Camericans who come here seem pretty cool and pretty nice. Not your usual flower shirt wearing yahoos, so it is not too bad.

But in general it is really nice and cool here. The Aruban people are quite amazing too… they are super nice… plus they speak 4 languages, ALL completely fluently. Dutch, Spanish, English and the native Papiamentu. So, getting around here is absolutely no problem if you only speak English.

As well, the technology on the island is excellent. I bought a SIM for $20 at the airport (you can use USD for everything here too which is also convenient) and it had the super high speed HSPA network. Also, internet was super easy to get here. I’m not sure where they have it (it may be everywhere in Palm Beach) but I get numerous wifi signals from the islands telcom company at my hotel room and I pay $10/day for blazing high speed internet.

Also, of note, the island has its own desalinization plant (the 2nd largest in the world) which supplies all its drinking water. So you can drink the tap water no problem.

Add up all these things and you’ve got one surprised and happy Jeff! If I wasn’t simply dying just to get back to Thailand (I can NEVER stay away more than 6 weeks, ever. I really start to feel the pain after 4 weeks). Plus, my crazy thai gf is like having a Tamagotchi. I just have to make sure she has enough money. Make sure she has food to eat every day etc. But if I am gone more than a few weeks she starts to cry every day. And if I am gone more than a month she actually starts trying to kill herself. The half-hearted suicide attempts have already started and there are threats to escalate them, so I better get back soon! I miss her too.

I’m going to leave either tomorrow or the next day and head to Santo Domingo on some business related items and then I’ll be high-tailing it back to Asia.

If it weren’t for missing Thailand so much, though, I’d try to find one of those cheap condos and stay here for another few weeks, at least! I’ll definitely be back!

Brief, Positive News Update!!

In regards to my earlier comment, here: “If ONLY Mexico and Thailand had legal gaming, I’d never even consider going elsewhere. Argh. What a ridiculous law… no wagering on events! Everything in life is a wager on an outcome! Jezuz. How can people stand this global prison we live in??? Thankfully all of Mexico and Thailand’s other freedoms and treasures make up for this loss.”

UPDATE: One of Thailands Overseers has just announced that Thailand will now allow gambling!! It is now official. I will be in Thailand for the vast majority of the year, every year! For me that means, at least 4 months of the year, if not significantly more.

Perhaps there is hope!

I already have sent dispatches into the King’s office enquiring about a Poker Room license!

Cartagena Againa

I had received an introduction to a local Cartagena chica from a friend and decided to go back to Cartagena and try it again, but this time with my own personal local tour guide.

In regards to Colombia, I like it quite a bit. It is definitely one of the better places in South America to have some fun and enjoy life. Bogota is quite chilly, being at very high altitude, but otherwise is a great city.

But one of the things I dislike is their government… surprise, surprise. It didn’t help that the wolves were amassing on both sides of their country but the amount of bag checks, dogs, military and triple-checking by the aforementioned is ridiculous. All this because a bunch of idiots, called FARC, cause trouble from time-to-time. Also, America’s horrendous, repugnant and idiotic “war on drugs� has infected Colombia. Instead of having huge, bountiful cash crops of coca plant, there is a huge underground economy and a lot of related violence as businessmen ply their farming trade.

The ignorance of the War on Drugs is unbelievable. America, of all places, should understand that in a free market, if ANYONE wants ANYTHING, it will be supplied. It is the miracle of capitalism. No one ever goes unsatisfied so long as they are willing to work or trade for the items they desire.

It is a beautiful, amazing system. Many millions of Americans desire mood enhancing or mood depressing substances and, through the magic of capitalism, it will ALWAYS be supplied to them. Whether those substances provide true value to those people is a purely personal question. It is not up to governments to ‘protect’ people from things which may or may not be of danger to them.

This is completely not even getting into the subject of what constitutes a drug. The name in itself is a complete misnomer as the great majority of ‘drugs’ are just plants. But a “War on Plants� sounds way less worth fighting.

Of course, caffeine, nicotine and one of the worst ‘drugs’ in the world, alcohol, are all the exact same thing.

But, like I said, I won’t even get into that. The fact is that America was once great because it really caught on to capitalism much more than most other regions. This created huge amounts of wealth. Unfortunately, the country is almost completely communist now, something which the state-educated populous doesn’t even seem to have noticed. But the point is, the war on drugs is a fight against freedom.

But to make it even worse, not only is America instituting this horrendous policy, but they are virtually forcing it upon the world.

And this gets back to my only gripe with Colombia. Rather than completely legalizing coca and becoming a wealthy region overnight, they have bought into it and hence, only a relative few gain all the wealth and the country is full of checkstops, militia and police. If it weren’t for this presence, the country would be great.

Their other ‘problem’ is their ongoing battle with FARC. Looking at a ‘wanted poster’ of FARC operatives, I noticed they all had beards. It made me think… most of the world’s stupidest and ignorant people have beards. Why is that? All the Islamic Fundamentalists… all the communists. Most college professors. Ben Bernanke. Hilary Clinton All beards.

Is it because they are more like unevolved monkeys than the rest of us? Perhaps.

Anyway, the problem with FARC is EASILY fixed, overnight. Give them their own land/country and let them go communist-crazy and see how that works out for them. It worked awesome for Cuba and the Soviet Union, so let them go for it. Or, better yet, just dissolve Colombia as a nation state in its entirety and just declare it a free zone. It would, within 2 years, become the wealthiest place in the world. That is, of course, if it weren’t completely taken over, by force, by the American neocon empire, or its neighbors, which would be highly likely as the great majority of people still do not understand that government is the problem, not the answer and instead of fighting them to the death they’d likely welcome them with open arms thankful that someone was there to “take care of them”. The whole world seems to have Stockholm Syndrome.

OK, *end rant*.

I arrived back in Cartagena and met up with this girl, named Teresa. She is a beautiful Colombian girl and is very nice. Here is a pic for those curious.

She also, apparently, fell deeply in love with me from the moment she saw me. LOL. That’s always nice, but you know, a lot of people want to be loved… but I never really cared about being loved. I actually would prefer it if no one loved me, nor even if they knew I existed. I think I’d be perfectly happy anonymously trekking through life.

But, I am serious, she was instantly in love with me from the get-go… and therefore wouldn’t even allow me to be out of her sight, for fear I may meet another girl. As you all know, I am not the kind of man who can limit himself to anything less than every hot girl on the planet, so this was burdensome. But it was fun none the less… the best quote from her was, “I don’t know what it is. When I look you, I feel I want to make love.” 😛

Having a local Carteganite to show me the city made a huge difference on my enjoyment of the place, of course. While it is also great to completely explore a new area on your own, with no assistance, there is something great about getting the inside scoop on everything from the get-go and bypassing many wasted taxi trips and cover charges to places that turn out to be lame.

And so, I have seen a new side of Cartagena, thanks to my adoring new amiga. First, I take back the ‘tranquilo’ statement, somewhat, from my previous commentary. There is at least 1 or 2 happening clubs on ANY given day of the week. I just managed to not find them on my last time through. Also, they are all open until 5am or later! I left the casino one night with my Colombian gf at 4am and she said to me, “Let’s go out.�… I was like, It’s 4am?! She no comprendes what was the problem and responded, “Entonces?�. I shrugged, “Nada. Vamos.�

In the old city, a place called Il Candila (or something like that) is packed every night. In El Laguito, right beside the Boca Grande area, there is a busy nightclub/disco that is full of working girls mostly, called Vida something. I forget the exact name. But it is right beside La Perla Casino.

La Perla also happens to have the only poker action in town. Most nights it will have one table going although it can be hit or miss on any given night. It also doesn’t start until quite late… rarely much before midnight. But the action is great. A few older ladies who play TERRIBLE and most of the others were not good at all. It was easy money.

And so, now that I know there is a decent nightlife. Plus there are numerous good restaurants (Da Pietro Italian restaurants was excellent)… plus some poker action. Plus I have an outstanding offer to stay as long as I want (she’d prefer forever) with a nice, local chica in her nice 2-level apartment, means I like Cartagena quite a bit more now.

Will I return? Not sure. But if I had to, I’d have no problem with it. The country itself has a lot of potential, imo, if they can rid themselves of their various stupid wars on drugs and communism.

Other than those wars the country is quite free… and inexpensive. As example, I bought a local SIM card in a matter of minutes, with no paperwork or anything (same as Thailand) for $5. Compare that to Australia where it will cost a minimum of $50-$75 and will take 10 minutes of paperwork… or even worse in Canada… and it’s not even possible in the land of the free, the USA. *sarcasm alert*: You want a temporary phone number without providing a passport, national ID card, employment references and proof of residency? Impossible! Where do you think you are, China? This is the land of the free, America! No phone for you.

I am on a plane right now en route to Aruba. I am going to stay in Aruba 2 nights and play some poker on my way to Puerto Rico and then the Dominican Republic.

I had a short stopover in Barranquilla. Upon arriving at the airport I noticed there were numerous beautiful girls around. One, in particular, had me slack jawed and confused. 6’ tall, slim and nicely toned, olive skin, stunning green eyes and muy linda. Also, Shakira, the only celebrity person I’ve ever wanted to meet, is originally from Barranquilla… I will definitely have to check out that area my next time in the neighborhood. Man, I almost feel like going back right now… that girl really was unique… sigh. Next time.

Next update from Aruba… stay tooned.

Fracas in Caracas

I escaped from the land of the negro gigante (that’s Spanish fyi for those of you who subscribe to BS political correctness) and arrived in a spot more my style, Caracas, Venezuela.

I’ve never been to Venezuela before, and have always wanted to check it out, so I was very happy to arrive here. Plus, Caracas is a large, cosmopolitan city which is the optimal habitat for adult Jeffs. This type of environment, combined with a daily feeding schedule consisting of leafy vegetables, fruits, meat or fish and wine or vodka and your adult Jeff will be happy and docile with a glossy sheen. Just remember to regularly place a female, preferably of latina or asian breed, in the habitat to ensure your Jeff is completely satisfied. Additionally, internet, X-boxes and physical activities such as golf, surfing or snowboarding will ensure your Jeff is healthy and lives to its full life expectancy so you can enjoy many more fun and fulfilling years with your Jeff.

Anyway, as far as Venezuela is concerned, there is lots to talk about! This region is under the auspices of a very flamboyant, outspoken and economically, incredibly ignorant man named Hugo Chavez.

He has done all sorts of really stupid things, including nearly destroying one of the only wealth-creating industries in the country, the oil business. He also seems to believe that if you take assets from productive enterprises and confiscate them and give them to unproductive enterprises, that this will result in an increase in value. He is either stupid or corrupt. Either he actually believes that or he is just saying he believes that in order to gain votes from the uneducated populous who are happy to receive something for nothing, at least in the short term. In the longer term, no one will have anything, whereas, if they just let the free market evolve, they would receive nothing in the very short term but soon the wealth of everyone in the region would rise dramatically. It’s the usual socialist/communist ponzi scheme.

One of the most interesting, noticeable acts of Hugo, is that he has pulled out a few go-to plays from the stupid-politico handbook in terms of Venezuelan money, called the Bolivar. Actually, it is now called the Strong Bolivar. He chopped 3 zero’s (the zeros had aggregated over time due to the aforementioned policies) off of the old Venezuelan Bolivar last year and created the Bolivar Forte! It is worth EXACTLY the same as the previous currency but instead of it being 10,000 Bolivars it is now 10 Bolivars for the exact same thing. Wow, what a strong Bolivar! He should chop another 20 zeros off so a can of coke costs 0.000000085 Bolivars.. that would be the Super Amazing Steroid Injected Bolivar! What a Bolivar that would be!

Anyway, lopping the zero’s off is all semantics, obviously, meant to try to fool the ignorant populace that instead of their currency depreciating by massive amounts every year it is actually getting much stronger! This actually appears to work on your average idiot… and those include economists, journalists and the like.

But beside that, the most hilarious part is that the Bolivar is losing value at even greater speeds than most people can comprehend…. So much so that in order to not have hyper-inflation (at least for the moment) Hugo has kept the exchange rate for Bolivars to USD at approximately 2:1.

Now, take notes here if you are planning on visiting Venezuela. If you go to Venezuela and do not bring US cash but only use your credit cards and ATM card you will be paying DOUBLE price for everything. That is because the Venezuelan Strong Bolivar is only worth 2:1 to the USD at the official, government exchange rate. On the street, where it matters, the going rate is 4:1. So, in actuality the Bolivar is worth half as much as the government says it is.

As with all things government, this charade will come to an end relatively soon, but in the meantime, when you go to Venezuela bring as much cash as you think you will need for your entire trip. Then, upon arrival at the airport, it will take you only a matter of seconds to be approached, “Cambio senior?�… they’ll likely start at 3:1 but you can get it at 4:1 if you haggle.

When I first looked at hotels in Caracas on the internet I was in shock. $300/night… $400/night… $600/night?!?!!? That was until I realized that they were quoting rates, converted into USD at the OFFICIAL exchange rate. NEVER pay for hotels or anything on your credit card. Do as I stated and reserve your hotel, but bring cash, convert it at 4:1 and then pay cash for your hotel. Hotels that quoted $300/night USD all of a sudden magically become $150/night.

In other words, by bringing USD cash to Venezuela, you will get everything at half the price you would have paid if you used your credit card or ATM. So, it is well worth the effort!

But just remember not to exchange more USD into Bolivars than you need. That is because NO Venezuelan bank, money exchange or institution will allow you to convert Bolivars back into dollars. If they did, at the exchange rate they quote, they’d be bankrupt instantaneously.

If you do have extra Bolivars left, your only option is to go back to the street cash converter guys and convert back… they’ll likely offer you 5:1, so they take a pretty big percentage compared to their selling rate, so don’t get stuck with too many extra Bolivars.

If the Venezuelan government were to let the Bolivar revert to its actual, real value, instantaneously any imported items in Venezuela would double in price. Imagine most of the things in your local store doubling in price overnight… do you think that might cause some stress amongst the populace? They’d likely put Hugo on a stick.

And it will have to happen, it is just a matter of when. And probably a lot sooner than most people realize. I give the Strong Bolivar 1-2 years left of existence after which it will likely completely collapse. That would, in the best of worlds, result in the imprisonment or killing of many of the top politicos, but you never know. They could create a war to take the populaces mind off the carnage and get them flag waving. This week’s comments by Hugo against Colombia seem to be a prelude to war. He stated that “any incursion by the US-backed Colombian government into Venezuela looking for FARC guerillas is an act of war.� So, all that is left now is to make up a false-flag event where Colombians are said to have trespassed on Venezuelan soil and that will be all it takes. (***NOTE: I wrote this BEFORE the news broke of Venezuela mounting troops on the Colombian border! Just as I was going to post this to my blog I saw the news! He has already started).

This will likely be the strategy of many of the countries whose currencies and economies are on the verge of collapse, including the US, UK and most of Europe. So, prepare for not great times ahead in that regard. The next 5 years will see much more famine, depression, war and volatility than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. (on a survivalist note: keep a MINIMUM of 1-2 months worth of CASH on hand (many banks will be bankrupt in the next few years… I predict Citibank to be bankrupt by close of 2008), keep some gold on hand to retain value (gold is nearly $1,000/oz now… look back to where I said you should buy gold around $450 a year or two ago!) and keep a minimum of 1-2 months worth of non-perishable food in your abode… it’s best to prepare for the worst, but the things I am talking about here may turn out to be the best case scenario… the next few years are NOT going to be fun for those not prepared).

Anyway, in terms of vibe, Caracas was pretty cool. I was really thrown off at first by how much everyone wanted to talk with me. I thought they wanted something from me or something… but it turns out, Venezuelans are very friendly and talkative… they love to just converse with others.

Caracas has the latino vibe, and also has a fair amount in common with Brazil. The general style in Caracas is quite machismo with a lot of that Italian style flair. They are very animated and engaged.

The city itself is highly cosmopolitan… I’ve actually never seen a city with so many sushi restaurants (including Vancouver!) outside of Japan… and I had one of the best meals I’ve had in months at an Italian restaurant called La Romanisima in the Las Mercedes area at the Centro mall. Oh my gawd, it was so good… the pasta and the steak were the best I’ve had in a long time. The Chilean wine was, of course, nice as well. It’s not that cheap… total cost was about $30, but that would be $60 if you didn’t convert your cash, so don’t forget to do that!

The Caracas nightlife was quite good. I never really found any nightclubs I’d call really cool, but I wouldn’t doubt if they do exist and I just didn’t find them. The city is just enormous and the amount of nightlife areas is too much to explore in only a few days. The best area I went to was the San Ignacio area. There is a big mall there, with dozens of bars all surrounding it. Inside are a few clubs… the best one I went to was called Vintage.

But, like the Brazilians, most of the people out were all out with their friends and quite compartmentalized. It was difficult to engage with others, from what I found, and so I had a fairly lonely weekend in Caracas. Although, to be fair, Caracas was much better than a place like Rio de Janiero for meeting people. Meeting Brazilian girls is not easy! I had numerous girls give me some friendly glances in Caracas, which was just not even the case in Brazil.

From what I have heard about some of the more beautiful natural areas of Venezuela, it’d probably be worth your while to go check them out too. Also, some of the islands, such as Isla Margarita are supposed to be pretty neat. I also wanted to visit Maracaibo, but didn’t because not many international flights route through there.

All in all I had a nice time in Caracas. It is definitely a cool place to visit. If it weren’t for the government the place would be great, I have no doubt.

In the meantime, I have flown back to Cartagena, Colombia for reasons as described in my last blog post. I may hang around here for a bit and then may finally check out that Santa Marta area.

But, much to my chagrin, I appear to have flown right into the epicenter of a looming battle between the American Empire Pigs and their puppet Colombian government and their ridiculous, horrible “War on Drugs� which is ruining the world versus the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan Idiot Communists. I don’t know who I’d want to lose more! Perhaps I’ll start my own Libertarian Guerilla Freedom Army and declare a jihad on the whole lot.

Curaçao to Caracas

The updates are coming fast and furious now as I have been to three countries in the last three days! Hold on to your hats.

As for Colombia, if I had been able to secure a hotel in La Zona Rosa in Bogota I would have been happily nestled in there… Particularly if I could have gotten in at La Boheme Hotel… A not too expensive but luxurious and perfectly situated hotel in the heart of Zona. But it wasn’t to be so I continued on to Willamsted, Curaçao (pronounced Cure-a-Sow… It’s Dutch.. Isn’t that vierd).

Curaçao is kinda neat because it has that weird Dutch architecture that you normally see in the dismal climate of the Netherlands, but on a warm Caribbean island.

However, that’s about where the “neat” part stops. In hindsight I should have figured it out on the plane over. Nearly half the passengers were ginormous big obese black people. Two of them even carried 3 large boxes of Dunkin Donuts, each, as their carry-on. I passed it off as a strange oddity.

Then after clearing Curacao customs and immigration and their myriad of line-ups, bag checks and questioning I hopped into a mini-van taxi housing a 450 pound taxi drivette.

Strange, I thought, especially after having spent the last few weeks in slim, sexy Centro y Sud America.

But as we drove past a Pizza Hut and a KFC and as enormous beings lazily waddled across the street I realized, in much the way I imagine Gulliver did, that I had stumbled upon the land of the Afro-giganti… Hardly anyone I saw was under 300 pounds… I saw body shapes I didn’t even think were possible in nature. One girl was huge but 80% of her form was on her hindside, including her back… I would have taken a picture for scientific journals but my gag reflex took control of my body and I was paralyzed in a state of half-puke.

Upon arriving at my hotel I saw the other half of the islands population: Vierd Dutch families. What kind of pure hell had I subjected myself to, I thought, as the pasty white Dutch dads walked by in their way-too-short beachwear and their spoiled idiot kids trailed behind. The only silver lining was the rare Sexy Dutch mom, but the chances of closing one of those on a family vacation was near infantessimal.

I looked in the mirror… Sure… Colombia was no Mexico… But my god, what in the world had I done! And why!?

I had actually come to the island having heard rumors of big, loose poker games.

And so I headed out to what turns out to be the only place in town with any regular poker game, the Holiday Beach Hotel and Casino.

I showed up at 9pm and they hadn’t started playing yet but they had a waiting list nonetheless. I signed up on the list and soon everyone showed up but I was still on the waiting list.

I watched from the sidelines. It was a strange mishmash of players… A few very gangster looking local dark skinned brothers, complete with neck tattoos and gold teeth and some Dutch older men. But on the first hand, Raise… Reraise… Reraise… All in…. Call… Call?! I thought to myself, could it possibly be the ultra-rare AA vs KK vs QQ?!?! Then they flipped the cards over.. First AA… Ok I thought, that makes sense… Then the next guy, one of the gangster looking guys with gold teeth.. 77?!?! And then the next guy, also a local, turned over QJ?!?!

There was more than $2,000 on the table at that point!

I licked my lips! Ultra bad playing with large pots! It’s the game I was looking for!

I waited around for 2 hours on the waiting list but never got into the game! It was torture!

I finally gave up and headed to the popular nightspot for the evening, a place called Mambo Beach. It’s in the middle of nowhere and is an expensive taxi ride to get there (note: in 2 days in Willamsted I must have spent $100+ on taxis… nothing is nearby/close and taxis are hard to find and very expensive… if you do subject yourself to Curaçao I highly recommend renting a car because the island is not walkable or taxi-friendly). The crowd at the outdoor venue had a decent live band but the crowd was 97% Dutch families… with their young kids and everything.

I left immediately, went back to my hotel and went to sleep, vowing to leave on the next flight out.

Let’s check the Jeff checklist:

Girls: technically yes. But most over 200 pounds
Poker: technically yes. But very difficult to get into the game
Food: The most popular restaurant on the island, with a long queue, was Denny’s. Say no more.
Nightlife: technically yes. But the sunburned Dutch family crowd isn’t my kind of vibe.

So, that was it. I bid Curaçao a farewell and good riddance! Again, in hindsight, I should have gone to Aruba over Curaçao. Reading about Aruba on the internet, while in Curaçao, I could tell that Aruba was much more my kind of place. That’s two mistakes in a row (Cartagena over Santa Marta… and Curaçao over Aruba). I gotta start getting better intel!

I caught an Aviolar flight to Caracas for $110 and am happily back in a large, latino cosmopolitan city. Updates soon!