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The Official Blog of Jeff Berwick and Associated Libertarian Rantings

Much like Gulliver, but more debaucherous, I began travelling the world on my sailboat in the summer of 2004. In the summer of 2005 my boat stopped floating off the coast of El Salvador. After paddling in on my surfboard I bought a backpack and continued on until 2008 when I decided to spend most of my time in the two places I liked best after visiting more than 70 countries. Mexico and Thailand. Now I relax by the pool and hassle the local Mexicanas and Thai pu-yings while ranting from time to time on things politic, economic and philosophic.




The Dollar Vigilante
I realize I have just about let this blog die. It was, after all, meant to be a travel blog and I haven't gone hardly nowhere in nearly 2 years! I am still in Acapulco... happily so.

However, if you can't get enough of my libertarian free-market rantings, I have just started a new financial newsletter called The Dollar Vigilante (dollarvigilante.com). There is a free newsletter you can subscribe to right on our front page.

As well, I write a blog for the newsletter which you can see here and subscribe to in your RSS reader: blog.dollarvigilante.com.

I'll be actively writing in the newsletter and the blog if you have an interest in freedom, finance and libertarian style politics.

As for this blog, I will write again here as soon as I go on my next trip. I am eyeing a 3 month trans-Africa jeep ride in 2011 sometime... that might have some interesting stories!

Cheers from Acapulco!



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Free the Children
This blog post isn't going to be too long... mostly because the person who wrote this article says most of the things I believe on the matter: Why Don't Kids Like School?. I recommend you read that article.

But expanding on the topic, I have never understood the concept of school as it currently exists. I remember being as young as 12 and questioning the value of 98% of the stuff I was being forced to memorize. And, years later, I can't think of one thing of value I learned, besides the first few years when I learned how to read and how to do some basic math.

By the time I was 16 I had made it my mission to finish high school, but only high school, and only by the slimmest margin possible. And the only reason I decided to finish it was that I had nothing else I really wanted to do with my time, at that time, and because I knew my Mom would just be heartbroken if I didn't get this government issued piece of paper.

I managed to miss more than half my classes in the final year of high school, having devised all sorts of ways to elude my Mom who, goodheartedly, was trying to make me do something which she thought was best.

The teacher called one day and informed her, "you know, your son basically never shows up to any class before 1pm". I've never been a morning person and even to this day I sleep in until at least noon every day. But my Mom was shocked. She thought I was in school but, with my bedroom in the basement, I knew that every morning she would awaken just to check if my shoes were in the closet. If they weren't there, then I must be awake and off to school. For a few months I got away with awakening early, going upstairs, getting my shoes and returning back to wonderful sleep for another delightful 3 or 4 hours.

But after the Principle called she caught on to that. This cat and mouse game progressed to the point where I would find various "sleep hideouts" around the house so when my mom checked and my shoes were gone and then came downstairs to make sure I wasn't in bed sleeping, I could still get in more hours of sleep instead of completely wasting my time sitting in some super uncomfortable wooden chair having some moron recite useless info from some book and having me memorize it.

This reached its ultimate conclusion when I calculated the exact amount I needed to get on the final exam of the year to get 50% and get my high school diploma. But, a wrench was thrown into the works when two of my best friends told me they hadn't passed enough courses and that they would have to return for another half year. Again, I had nothing else to do, so I thought, OK, I'll fail too and hang out with my buddies for another year.

It was social studies and I knew I only had to get 60% on the final exam to get a passing grade in social studies and get my final credits to graduate from high school. I had only been to a few social studies classes all year but I skimmed through the textbook in the few minutes before the test anyway because, again, I had nothing better to do. And besides, history isn't too bad of a thing to learn, although, obviously, what is taught by ANY government in ANY school system in ANY nation isn't history, it's just propaganda.

And so I went in for the test and decided to just quickly tick off some boxes and leave. But then my plan was thwarted. Two minutes after the exam started I stood up and began to walk out. I was then informed by the guard/teacher that I had to stay for a MINIMUM of one hour. What the? You have a minimum time requirement??? What is that for? What if someone is so super smart they can finish in 20 minutes, you make them just sit there? Just one of a million little rules, probably to prepare you for living in Canadian society after you graduate...

And so I walked back to my desk trying to think of how I was going to pass a whole hour and not die of boredom. So I looked at the exam and it said 60% of the exam was multiple choice and 40% was written. I then decided, ok, I'll do the multiple choice just to kill time.

I answered the questions as best I could and then spent the remainder of the time drawing pictures in the written answer part.

A few weeks later, much to my dismay, I received my high school diploma! I had passed the exam! I retraced my steps thinking back to how I could have done such a thing... I must have gotten 100% of the multiple choice questions correct!!! Damnit, I never even thought that was a serious possibility and therefore didn't include this risk in my strategy. My Mom asked why I was so upset that I had PASSED high school and I explained I was trying to fail. Needless to say, she was pretty shocked that I was actually trying to fail high school!

For those that have children I HIGHLY recommend home schooling. And just teach them the basics (reading, writing, arithmetic) in the first year or two and from then onward just teach them what they want to know. Some kids might be eager to know everything about biology. OK, go for it! But why waste your time making them memorize tons of stuff they'll never use?

And besides, even if you were going to have a public school system. They don't teach you ANYTHING of value and teach you tons of useless stuff and propaganda. Disagree? Well, if you ask me, these are the BASIC THINGS children need to know... that anyone has a kid and hasn't taught them these things is a travesty to me:

1. Reading
2. Basic Math

Ok, so far, the public school systems in grades 1 to 4 aren't too bad here... maybe that is where the end of it should be. Besides, after grade 4 I only remember getting picked on and beat up a lot... not a heck of a lot more! Whatever happened to the good old days of Kindergarten and nap time and play time??

But now lets get into the other INCREDIBLY important things all children should be taught but aren't:

3. Self Defense. It is mind boggling to me that not everyone knows some basic self defense. I mean, there isn't anything much more important than being able to protect yourself from attack. And speaking as someone with some karate, kung fu and boxing background, nothing feels better than walking around and knowing that if someone wants to try something with you they are the one most likely to be lying face down at the end of the provocation. But, of course, the government wants you to be helpless and therefore you are not taught this in school. But for those who are older and still do not know basic fighting techniques I highly recommend you learn.

4. Health/Nutrition. I know that they teach SOMETHING in school about this but really it is mostly just propaganda for the most part. Learning how to eat and exercise properly and WHY is incredibly important and no one seems to know much about it. Just the fact that most people DON'T KNOW that the human body needs exercise virtually every day to operate properly is lost on most people as can be seen by the body shapes you see on the street daily.

5. Swimming. This may seem kinda odd but think about it. The world we live in has earth and water. And most of the world is water. Whenever I hear someone tell me they can't swim I am just exasperated. They might as well tell me they never learned how to eat. It's that basic of a necessary skill imo. But every year thousands of people drown and it's so needless. But, again, that's what government designated lifeguards and the Coast Guard is for!

6. Money. Seems basic doesn't it, but not ONE WORD is mentioned in school about what money is. Why is that? Well, because the government has the monopoly on the money system and if you actually knew how it worked you'd puke. Just keep paying your taxes and shut up, that's all they want. But even beyond the question of "what is money" are all the things surrounding it like savings, loans, mortgages, investing. None of this is taught in school yet these are some of the most important things a person should at least understand in terms of their own personal financial prosperity. But, after millions of Americans signed up for liar loans and other mortgages that eventually caused the beginning of the ongoing financial collapse in the US, not a word was brought up about perhaps actually teaching people in the public school system how a mortgage works.

7. Sex and your body. I realize there are sex education in some schools now but just the fact that some people fight having this taught to their children is beyond ridiculous. Children should understand every facet of this important human event.

8. A second and third language. This one isn't a complete necessity but I would have been happy if I came out of school and actually could speak a second language well... well, that is, other than French. When I went to school in Canada the only other language they FORCED me to learn was French. And, after realizing that I could only use this language in one small country in Europe (hint: France) and in Montreal and maybe one or two banana republics in Africa, I pretty much decided that wasn't worth my time. For those that have a child I would highly recommend teaching them the following languages: Mandarin, Spanish (more native speakers than English in countless countries) and perhaps even Russian. But, and here is where native English speakers lucked out, English is actually the best language to know in terms of opportunities its knowledge opens up. But to know more than one language is almost always of great use and opens up countless possibilities and opportunities.

But that is the basic list of things everyone should know and, as I pointed out, not much of it is actually taught in public schools. Sure, you could add in thousands of skills and items of knowledge that are useful to know, but these are the basics. And for anything further, such as knowing how to build a house, or how to be a nuclear engineer or whatever, all of that can be taught based on the child's interest in the subjects. As opposed to sitting him/her in a classroom for 16 years (when you add in 95% useless college) with a bunch of totally different people with different interests and just trying to teach them all a bunch of general crap. Which is better, do ya think?

And, adding more to the topic of youngsters, for all those who are constantly perplexed at how their car got keyed again by a bunch of young punks. Or why those young hoodlums are always hanging around the convenience store causing trouble. It is PRECISELY because being under 18 (or 21 or whatever age your local gustapo chose) is almost exactly like being in prison and having no rights. You can't do anything you want. You HAVE to go to these useless schools. You can't smoke, you can't drink, you can't go to discos.

Repeal all laws... and not just for children, for everyone. There need be only 3 laws and these are also natural laws so you don't even need a police force to uphold them. Don't kill anyone. Don't physically hurt anyone without just cause. And don't steal.

These are natural laws because if you tried to do any of them, even without a police force, you would likely see serious repercussions.

Free the children and free yourselves, slaves.

(for more on public education, no one says it better than one of my favorite commentators, Doug Casey, here: Doug Casey on Education)



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My Generation Sucked
I remember when I was younger I would look around at the world around me and think how stupid all the prior generation was. There was tons of race related problems and to me I just saw one race, the human race. What a bunch of fools.

Then I had to sit through TWO separate church/state related attacks on music I loved. First, heavy metal music, which was my first favorite form of music was under attack as being "the devil´s music". This is hilarious in and of itself because, in order for you to believe that heavy metal music is music of the devil, you have to believe in THE DEVIL. A red colored guy with a tail who sits in the middle of the earth and makes people think evil thoughts such as thoughts about physical love and enjoyment of your own body.

Then next they attacked rap music. Either for being lude (Two Live Crew) or for being violent (NWA, Ice T etc). Firstly, if words can hurt you, such as the F word, I suggest you are so emotionally fragile that if I were to spend more than 30 seconds with you I could have you curled up in a ball and in tears. And secondly, NWA and Ice T had it 100% right when they fought back against oppression of the state and talked about wanting to kill cops. I want to kill cops too. Nothing personal... but they are the henchmen of the state which oppresses us... if you don't want to kill cops you are what I call a happy slave.

All this stupidity went on and on through my childhood and I could barely stand it but I kept thinking to myself, my generation will be different. We won't be so stupid and corrupt and so oppressive.

Wow was I wrong. If Facebook is any indication, my generation has came and went. Almost every single person I knew all has babies and the great majority of them, if their photos are any indication, have given up on life for the most part and allowed their bodies to decompose at a rapid rate thanks to limited/no exercise and poor diets.

And so, what are the two BIG things that happened to my generation that you could say really captures the times?

1. HIV/AIDS
2. 9/11

Two lies.

HIV/AIDS doesn't even exist and 9/11 was the most obvious con job I've ever seen. And my generation fell for them both. Way to go, you idiots.

HIV/AIDS: I figured this one out all on my own with very little medical/scientific knowledge. In the 80s some gay guys who were living ludicrous lives (they were doing so many concoctions of drugs that they were administering themselves antibiotics on a regular basis) started dying. The Church and the State latched on to this one instantaneously and basically posited that this was a new disease and it will soon kill anyone who has extramarital sex! Hmmm, that sounds a bit fishy. And for me, a young male who had just entered into adulthood and was eager to give sex a try, it was the most horrible thing that could have happened! Just a few years before were the free-love 70s but when I got out of high school in 1988 and was ready to discover women the whole world was afraid of sex!

Nearly three decades later and I, nor anyone I know, has ever known anyone who actually has AIDS or died of AIDS, and everything seems fine. EXCEPT in Africa. Hmmm, that´s strange. Now AIDS just kills poor African people.

I won't go on about what a joke HIV/AIDS is but there is a new movie coming out, called House of Numbers which looks like it covers it all and looks quite good. You can see a trailer for it at their site. I'm sure the media and all the sheeple will ensure that it is forgotten a few weeks after it is released but at least I will try to help spread the word.

As for the other great event of our time, 9/11, I've already stated many times here how i feel about that. But if you don't question why George Bush senior and some family members of the Bin Ladens were in NYC in a meeting the day before 9/11 and the ONLY people allowed to fly out of the country the day after 9/11 were the bin Laden family AND how the two WTC towers were the only towers in history to fully collapse from fire/plane crash AND how WTC 7 was rigged with explosives in a matter of hours (impossible) and imploded AND how there is no trace of an airplane in that field in Pennsylvania AND how not ONE security camera at the Pentagon (most secure building in the world) caught even a frame of a plane hitting it, then you truly are one of the sheeple. If you do question some of those things, check out Loose Change for more info.

And so, in the end, my generation has been involved in two of the biggest lies in history. Way to go guys.

As for the next generation, so far you guys have sucked as well. You already have your big lie in "global warming" in full swing and the whole swine flu panic is ridiculous. But I still have high hopes for you as you are the first generation in history with access to ALL information (the internet). Hopefully you use it.

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Updates, Red Lights and French Suicides
I am still in Acapulco. I can't find any good reason to leave here and therefore I remain. I did go to Calgary and Edmonton in Canada recently, however, to see family. And, it seems, the more I am away from prison-camp style countries such as Canada, USA and Australia the more I just cannot handle it. I don't know how many red lights I went through even though the flashing of the government surveillance camera alerted me to my impending pickpocketing by the government.

People who live in those places just don't understand because they have never even had any freedoms at all to do anything. But, as I sat at numerous red lights at 2am on the deserted prairies I just found I could not submit. Restaurants in the prairies all close at 10pm, at the very latest and bars are mandated by government to close by 2am so the streets are virtually deserted. And, being the prairies, I can literally look left and right for miles in either direction.

So, I tried it a few times. Sitting there. Alone, in the emptiness, at a red light. The little white walking man sign taunting me as he appeared to have no intention of moving on to the flashing red hand which would indicate that my time in purgatory had any hope of coming to an end. Most of the local citizenry does not even question the ridiculousness of sitting there when there aren't any cars to be seen for miles and letting their soul slowing drain out of them.

Nor do they seem to notice the millions of small little rules, regulations and other invasions into their life by the country that has turned most of them into depressed, empty beings who can not figure out why they are so unhappy.

Imagine for a second that you could DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. I know this is a crazy idea to those who are so repressed. But, imagine, you want to go in your car despite the red light. You are able to make rational decisions. You obviously wouldn't go if an 18 wheel truck was bearing down on you. But imagine what your life would be like if you weren't forced to sit there for no reason in compliance.

You'd have far less need to drink down all that whiskey. Or to cram junk food into your mouth trying to drown the pain. Or to take all those legal antidepressant drugs which the government allows you to take.

I tried to sit at the first stop light. And I made it half way through the next one. But after that I couldn't take it anymore. I resolved to just do what I want to do and what seemed reasonable to me without risking anyones, including my own, safety.

And so, for the rest of my stay, I blew through countless red lights. My picture is probably in some government database now as cameras flashed as I rolled through. I even had it resolved in my mind that if a cop tried to pull me over that I would just keep driving to where I was going and calmly walk into my hotel when I got there, despite what I am sure would be 5 or 6 cop cars and a helicopter or two by that point.

People in these countries see endless occasions of "road rage" yet I've never seen road rage in places like Thailand or Mexico. That's because people aren't having road rage, they are having rule rage. When you try to make millions of people all adhere to literally thousands of rules you will regularly have occasions where someone didn't know one of the rules. This is usually followed by someone who is very angry that that person did not know that rule!

Traffic in general would be way better if there were no rules except "don't hit anyone". Take this as an example. Take a town square that has 1,000 people walking around in it. There are no rules for walking around except, don't hit anyone. Now, if you had government install all sorts of contraptions in that square to try to regulate the flow of walking such as policemen and traffic lights, what do you think would happen? It's pretty obvious, within minutes there would be confusion, anger and frustration. So why do you think cars are any different?

And why do you think no one ever asks questions like "since the Autobahn has no speed limit, is there more or less fatal accidents there". The reason is because I am sure the answer is less and therefore your government nor your government controlled media would ever bring this up as this would take away millions of dollars in revenues from speeding tickets.

Ah well. I am glad I am not in Canada anymore. I feel much more relaxed already.

-----

And now for a bit of humor. This story caught my eye today on the BBC:

French Unease at Telecom Suicides

The story is hilarious from start to finish, mainly for the insinuation that because some people at some unionized company killed themselves there needs to be a government bureaucrat who investigates it! Yes, that is what government is for, after all, looking into stuff like this! Thank goodness!

The union states that "a never ending drive for efficiency" is causing all these suicides!! You can't make this stuff up. Yes, I was in a company once, and they were so focused on efficiency I slit my wrists!!! Stop with all this efficiency, I can't take it! Someone call the government!

It goes on to state, "On Wednesday, a 49-year-old man in Troyes, east of Paris, plunged a knife into his own stomach during a meeting in which he had been told he was being transferred."

I am trying to imagine how that transpired.

Boss: Jean Francoise, you have no use for us at this location but we have found another location where you might be able to add enough value to cover your wages plus actually make some money for the company.

Jean Francoise: Sacre bleu!!! 'Ow can I live like this? You are offering me a job in a completely different location? This is much too efficient! (grabs a bread knife from the union mandated croissante and muffin tray) I am coming 'ome mama! Au revoir cruel, cruel world!!

Boss: Well, that seems like a bit of an over-reaction.





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The number of knife deaths in areas targeted by an anti-knife crime scheme have risen
Well, it's obvious I have almost completely given up on this blog as I am just completely holed in here in Acapulco. I do nothing but hit the gym and have fun. Well, I have done some other things. I now buy, remodel and sell condos and am starting a boutique hotel concept wherein these condos are rented out.. Check it out at www.acacondos.com

I might try to write more here as I find stuff nearly every day that I find appalling or amusing or both. Like this!:

BBC: Deaths up during anti-knife drive

According to the report, The number of knife deaths in areas targeted by an anti-knife crime scheme have risen, the Home Office has said. (they even call it the Home Office... can it be anymore obvious it is the exact same concept as the Stazi!)

If you don't already get why this is so hilarious you really need to take some time to yourself and think about life and how you are missing out on what is going on.

I mean, a bunch of people were killed in the UK last year and a weapon of choice was knives. Sounds like a job for government!! Anti-knife campaign!!! That'll stop people who have been so hurt by someone that they are infuriated and want to kill the person whom they deem responsible! Now, perhaps, thanks to this anti-knife campaign by the government, when this next happens, perhaps that person will think, hey, wait a minute. The government told me that knives are dangerous and bad. Perhaps I should use, I don't know.... my car? a rock? my hammer?

However, if this campaign actually did work (impossible) and people started using hammers to get the revenge they are seeking, then we'll have to sit through 2010's UK anti-hammer campaign.

Possibly the funniest statement in this entire article is the final paragraph... a coup de grace!:

"Police stepped up searches and patrols in crime hotspots and ran courses to highlight the dangers of carrying knives. The results are mixed."

Hahahahhahaa. I am so surprised that these courses aren't working! I mean, if we can't sit people down in a classroom for 2 hours and get them to realize that knives can kill people, what else can we do! I just hope the old saw about "running with scissors" doesn't get forgotten in all this! And how exactly are the results "mixed"? The gov't actually ran an anti-knife campaign and knife deaths went up. If this reporter was anything but a propagandist he would, based on the evidence, have to state that "the apparent result of the government run anti-knife campaign is to increase knife related incidents, perhaps due to raising awareness of the usefulness of knives as weapons to people who otherwise may not have considered it".

The funny (read: sad) part is, taxpayers pay for this. You are paying for this.... and a billion other useless government programs. And yet you still don't revolt??? If you don't immediately punch any politician you meet in the face (except for Ron Paul and the other 0.0000001% of politicians who realize government is oppression and to remove it from virtually all of society is freedom) then I don't know how else I can help you.

Adding insult to injury, this NEWS about the knife program was offered up by the government news agency, BBC. If this wasn't a government run news agency AND/OR a big media company (who owns the government) keeping the masses pacified then the headline should have obviously been, "Ridiculous Government Program Fails for 1,000,000th time in History".

Ahhh, this is probably why I don't write much in my blog anymore. Keep paying your taxes and ruining the world. I'll just hang out in the gym and at the beach in Mexico and try to ignore it all.



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Puerta Vallarta/Guadalajara/Economy & The Most Important Book Ever Written
Hey a blog update! I must’ve gotten off my ass!

After nearly 6 months I actually packed my bags and got on an airplane! I actually left Acapulco!

But I didn’t go far. And not for very long!

I first went to Puerto Vallarta to visit some business friends. After living in Acapulco for so long now I realize just how bad many other Mexican ‘vacation destinations’ are, in comparison. I used to think the nightlife in PV was not bad.

After my latest visit though I am putting PV on a massive nightlife downgrade. It is terrible!

Part of it had to do with the economy as many locals told me that the place was practically deserted compared to how it normally is.

But it was also just the fact that there were SO many gringos there. And not even cool gringos. At one point the dance floor had no woman under 60 years old and under 200 pounds. Not that there is anything wrong with a woman who is over 60 and overweight… that’s fine. But it’s not why I go to discos!

I completely snapped. I was planning on staying in PV for 4 or 5 days. After the first night I took the first flight out to Guadalajara.

I had met countless beautiful, stylish, intelligent, cool Mexicanas over the years who all said they were from Guadalajara so I just had to check it out. It’s only a 40 minute flight from PV so I figured why not.

As a general comment on the city, it is a really, really cool city. Very modern. At various points, while driving about in a taxi, it felt like I was either in Vancouver, Hollywood or Paris at times… If I was forced to live in one of those cities or Guadalajara I would definitely pick Guadalajara… it is better than the others in my opinion.

However, there are many things I didn’t like. First, it is quite car-centric. You need a car if you live in Guadalajara, and I never like that style. Much happier to walk about in Acapulco or hop the subway in Hong Kong.

Also on the negative side, I was VERY surprised that Guadalajaras nightlife is very, very subdued. With a metropolitan population of over 4 million and being a Mexican city I just assumed: MUCHO FIESTA!

I was about to be disappointed. While there are countless cool, chic bars and lounges – it felt like I was in Yaletown in Vancouver most of the time I was there – it has very little actual disco-style nightlife.

The people in Guadalajara seem very content to go out with friends and quietly dine and sip on vino.

In fact, I was in Guadalajara on a Thursday evening and I must have asked 10 different people where is good to go. Every single time I was met with a, “Ahhhh… Jueves (Thursday)? Mmmmm no es.”

There really was nowhere that was happening. Well, there was one place and it was HORRIBLE. It was the worst ‘disco’ I’ve ever gone to in fact. I don’t even know what the deal was. It is called Bar Americas and is near the Fiesta Americana hotel. It is only about 2,000 square feet… all concrete. And it was so packed that at numerous times I almost felt like it was possible I could get crushed to death! Worst of all, there was literally 985 guys and 15 girls there!

I figured it must be a gay bar but none of the guys looked gay or acted gay. They were all just standing there, pinned up against each other elbow-to-elbow-to-elbow “enjoying” the music which was blasting at ear-drum splitting levels.

I lasted 5 minutes there… which I consider a serious accomplishment!

But from talking to some other people about my experiences I heard the same comments: Guadalajara is all about culture and business. It is not a party town. So, if you wanna do some business or you want to go to some museums or operas or art galleries, go to Guadalajara.

And so, again, I snapped. It’s so hard adjusting to almost anywhere, except places like Thailand, after staying so long in Acapulco.

I woke up in the morning and began planning my way home, through Mexico City.

And so ended my big travel adventure! I may go to the Caribbean in March on some business… but who knows.

ECONOMY

And now onto the economy.

I’ve been warning for more than 3 years now about the crisis we are currently in. And while prior very few people agreed with my assessment they have all now moved on to total agreement.

But I have heard one phrase over and over and over. “I will <fill in the blank with some activity> when the crisis is over”. These comments seem pervasive. Even when I am so unfortunate to be walking past a television when a financial news show is on the subjects invariably are, “What to buy when the crisis passes” or “Is this the bottom?”

It appears many people see this as being a minor inconvenience. Sort of like a passing thunderstorm.

Folks, it ain’t even started. This thunderstorm will make living in the 9th ward of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina seem like a full body aromatherapy massage complete with happy ending. Right now many people look at this thunder storm and they are trying to see the silver lining. Being optimistic, I suppose. Like when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, this thunderstorm’s silver lining is full of lemons and they are all about to start raining down through your car windshield.

If you think this is gonna be a few months, or even a few years, of pain. Well, it’s not.

Judging by all the government response to the financial crisis I can only come to one conclusion. This is going to get even worse than I can imagine.

Every government response, from every government, is the exact opposite of what they should do. In case you are wondering exactly how government should “fix the economy” the answer is: NOTHING.

Government can never do anything but make things worse. The best possible government, if you keep insisting on having them, is one that does as little as possible.

The reason we are having this crisis is because of past government interventions. In fact, the entire world economy has been so distorted by all these interventions that the only chance we have to move forward is to have a complete collapse of this artificial fiat-currency, fractional reserve banking system and allow the market to be relatively free again. That is our only hope.

Get ready for riots, famines and wars. And I highly doubt it will be safe to pop your head above ground for a minimum of a few years… I only hope we are not talking decades. That is how serious this is.

And the one guy I can think of even less capable of understanding and dealing with these economic realities than prior President George Dubbyah is Barack Obama. And, to make matters worse, all the sheeple seem to think he is the shepherd who has come to lead them to salvation. Slaughter is more like it. If he makes it through his first term without the US defaulting on its debt (going bankrupt) I will be shocked. In fact, if by the end of 2010 the US is not a failed state I will be very, very impressed.

This ship is a-going down folks. And everyone is gonna feel some pain. But if you move almost all your assets into gold bullion and precious metals related assets you will increase your chance of living through the next few years dramatically. On the bright side, once we do get through this the world will be a disaster zone and those left with any remaining assets will be in a position to make a killing. Times like those are when fortunes are made.

But let’s not even talk about that yet. That is a long, long way away. Most countries, including USA, the Euro zone, Mexico, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia and more will likely dissolve before this is over. And the reactionary wars, protectionism, civil strife and famines in the meantime should be enough to keep us all busy.

While you are hunkered down, if you want to understand how a truly free market works and why it is our only chance for salvation, my favorite book of all time has been published to the internet for all to read for free. It is quite short… I read it in a few hours. Once you read it everything about economics and politics will be crystal clear for you and you will understand why I hate all government. Here is the link to A Market For Liberty.

I implore everyone I know to please read this book… it is the most important piece ever written. Please pass on to as many people as you can. If everyone were to understand the concepts in this book the world would never see another war, famine or even much poverty ever again.

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Trevor Greene Update
It was on March 4, 2006 that I first wrote in my blog of the news that my friend Trevor Greene had been involved in a serious attack in Afghanistan.

I had written on this topic many times since during the more than two and a half years since that day.

For the first time since that day Trevor emailed me a few weeks ago. It was the best and most look-forwarded to email I had ever received. Intellectually speaking, Trevor is still all there. The axe must've missed all the deep-thinking parts of his brain - either that or most of it is actually located in his heart and soul as much as in his brain - something I suspect.

Recently a documentary was aired on his journey over the last few years on the program W5 on CTV in Canada. You can view the documentary here. Or at least I hope you can. I couldn't because it doesn't allow people from my 'region' (Mexico) to view it. But I caught it in HDTV during its live broadcast.

The guy has always been inspirational and it seems he has just gotten even more so now. The documentary was so enlightening to see all the trials and tribulations Trevor has had on his recovery. Most eye-opening to me was the strength of his fiance who has been possibly even stronger than Trevor during all this!

Whether you know Trevor or not I encourage you to watch the documentary as it is a really inspirational story.

Trevor still has a long way to go, as we all do in our own way, but he continues to amaze.

As well there is an interesting recent radio interview which Trevor and Debbie did and someone uploaded to YouTube which is also well worth the viewing.

As for me, there still is absolutely nothing new at all to report. I have dug in deep here in the paradise called Acapulco and it is going to take a lot to get me out!

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Libertarian News Updates & The Valiant Story of Hero McTeague
Well, there is absolutely nothing of interest happening in my life that anyone would want to hear about. I live in paradise. My life is paradise. I literally do what I want and get what I want 24/7... from having girlfriends who actually work in the building and can come, and then go, at my beck and call, to spending my days at the gym, the beach, the pool.... I really can't understand why everyone doesn't live the way I do... but hey, keep doing that 9-5. I'll hold down the fort living the good life for ya!

In the meantime, every day I read a minimum of one or two news articles that boggle my mind. The viewpoints expressed are so untethered to reality that I find myself, even though my life is literally the good life, in a state of anger and frustration.

And so, since I have ended my worldwide tour, at least temporarily, and have absconded to Acapulco and Thailand for the most part in a quest to see how happy I can make myself, I have decided that I might as well use my blog to blow off steam on how incredibly, unbelievably stupid government, the media and most people are.

So, here is todays rant:

Ottawa Must Get Canadians Out of Bangkok

This proposal, and the ideology underpinning it, is so unbelievably ignorant.

No matter where I am. No matter what I am doing. No matter how crazy of a situation I am in... the LAST thing. Literally, the LAST thing I would think, is that my government would save me. In fact it wouldn't even be the last thing, that idea would never even cross my mind.

I, apparently, am in the minority.

Some assinine individual named Dan McTeague, who is apparently a Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) in Canada spent his taxpayer paid paycheck today trying to help Canadians in a highly dangerous situation!

He reads newspapers and those newspapers tell him that Thailand is in chaos and it is a very dangerous situation. Protesters have taken over Bangkok's two airports and the government looks to be on the verge of collapse.

Therefore, it is his duty, as a public 'servant', to save Canadians in Thailand! My god! The horror!

Well, this only once again proves that government is useless and out of touch.

Anyone who knows anything about Thailand knows that this is just their biannual changing of the guard. I was in Thailand for the last coup two years ago. It was fun. Great party.

But Dan McTeague, who has likely never been to Thailand, nor has ever been anywhere or done anything, is writing letters and doing press conferences! We must save the poor Canadians who are likely holed up in Bangkok, eating amazing fresh food, engaging in relationships with unbelievably beautiful and sweet girls and stuck on pristine beaches in 30c+ weather or, god forbid, in some of Bangkok's world class malls or hotels!

We must airlift them out of there and get them back to dark, bleak, cold, communist Canada!!!

Good work Dan McTeague!

Believe me, I wish I never even heard of Dan McTeague. I only heard of him today with this ridiculous 'news' story but after consulting with Wikipedia it only gets worse.

Prior to his recent work trying to get Canadians out of the terrifying situation in Thailand, Dan McTeague also was involved in many other crucial and heroic situations.

It was Dan McTeague, world-improver, who asked Immigration Minister Joe Volpe to restrict rapper 50 Cent from entering Canada, citing the death of a constituent at the performers previous concert in Toronto in 2004. Thank you Dan McTeague for trying to forcibly restrict 50 Cent from Canada! Who knows what kind of terror he would have unleashed! I can't even imagine what would have happened! At the very least, 50 Cent would have told Shorty, its your birthday, and he certainly wouldn't give a f**k if its your birthday!

As well, Hero McTeague recently chaired the Liberal Government Task Force on gasoline pricing, challenging the premium prices Canadians were forced to pay for gasoline in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Apparently McTeague could not understand how, in a free market, when supplies of a commodity are suddenly cut, the price of that commodity rises as demand outstrips supply. Great work McTeague! People like Ludwig Von Mises or Murray Rothbard could never come close to finding out the true reasons behind economic events as well as you could with your highly intellectual and awe inspiring Task Force!

Last but not least, McTeague was also instrumental in pushing his own Government to do more to address the African AIDS pandemic. A pandemic that only exists in the mind of the big drug companies, since AIDS caused by HIV certainly does not even exist. McTeague didn't notice that though, nor the fact that this pandemic only seems to affect black Africans or gay people... what a coincidence... two of the least liked groups by the western establishment and the Catholic church. But McTeague is more than happy to jump on the genocidal bandwagon and push to spend taxpayer billions to pay for toxic drugs which, in the end, are what actually kill those unfortunate enough to be tagged as having HIV.

I never heard of this delusional bastard before today but after reading about all his amazing work I actually pictured what he looked like. I then Google Imaged him. I was right. A grinner.

Keep up the great work McTeague, the world is a safer and better place thanks to you!

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OBAMA - I've been trying SO hard not to comment on this... but I finally had to give in
I watched in dismay this week as millions of people around the world exalted in euphoria over what was should have been an insignificant, if not deplorable, event.

My mind begins swirling at where to even begin with the ridiculousness of this reaction.

Let me start with the most basic items and then move on to the more important issues.

First, many people are excited as this is America’s first “black” President. Barack Obama is not black. His father is black and his mother was white. So, if you are going to call him black, using that logic, you’d be just as equally correct just to call him white. It is almost as ridiculous as calling Tiger Woods black. Tiger’s dad was of African, Chinese and Native American descent. His mom is basically just Thai, with some Chinese and Dutch thrown in. So, actually calling Tiger Woods black is patently incorrect. If you are going to refer to someone by the race which is most prevalent in their blood, then you would have to… unequivocally, call Tiger Woods Thai. African barely even makes the list, tying with Chinese as the next largest segment of his makings.

Not that I care. I’d be perfectly happy if race was never even really mentioned again. I’ve never seen anything but one race since the day I began and that is the human race. Beyond that, everyone is just varying shades of tanned as far as I am concerned… hardly anything worth using in any way to judge a person. You’d be better off judging someone by their shoe size than their hue.

But if you are going to talk about it, at least get it right. Tiger Woods is Thai and Barack Obama is white… just as much as he is black.

But that is just a typical, completely ignorant, common misperception. I see thousands of irritating things like that daily. That’s not what has me cringing every time I watch the news and/or hear about someone talking about how this is an amazing moment of history that occurred a few days ago.

For the sake of having some fun, allow me to enter into a faux discussion with myself as a way to get some points across.

----

Question/Comment (Q/C): This is a big deal, America’s first black President

My Reply (MR): He’s not black

Q/C: Okay, but he comes from a far different background than all prior Presidents

MR: Who cares who is President of the US, other than knowing which person holds the potential destruction of the entire planet in the palm of their hand? If anything, the American government is essentially the largest organized crime racket in the world. And definitely the largest terror organization. If anything, the head of that institution should be publicly stoned, not exalted.

Q/C: But America is the leader of the free world

MR: America leads nothing anymore after decades of corruption and ignorance. And, of all the countries I’ve ever visited it is one of the least “free”. There is hardly anything free about America at all anymore. It is a fascist police state and is barely even relevant on the global stage.

Q/C: But America is the richest country in the world

MR: No, it’s not. By any standard. In actuality, its government is the most bankrupt state in the world. America owes more than any country ever has in the history of the world. The day that Chinese workers decide to stop sending their savings to America every month to carry on its solvency charade will be the day the USA officially files for bankruptcy as opposed to its unofficial current bankruptcy. A bankruptcy I expect will come soon.

Q/C: But America is the most powerful country in the world

MR: Yes, it might be, but that is not a good thing. Power effectively means that you have lots of guns and are willing to use them to coerce people to do things they otherwise wouldn't do. So, by saying America is the most powerful country you are also basically saying America is coercive and takes things by force or by threat of force. Hardly a noble thing. It's despicable.

Q/C: Even so, it’s government is a beacon of hope. Democracy is the best form of government and the US is who does it best

MR: Democracy isn’t a form of government. Democracy is just a method in which to change governments. When the US founding fathers came up with democracy it was hardly the whole concept. It was really just a very small part of the initial plan. A plan to form a free state where individual liberty was enabled. After a few hundred years everyone seems to have forgotten about that and now the American government goes around the world killing women and children with satellite guided missiles in order to try to spread “democracy”. That’d be like bombing, attacking and occupying nations around the world with the intent of spreading the infield fly rule of baseball. It’d make as much sense. But even if you do think democracy is a form of government and do think it is something important, how unbelievably poor is the American democratic system? Two parties? Wow, that’s a heck of a lot of choice! Don’t overwhelm everyone, now! And you could get millions and millions more votes than the guy in the other party and still lose the election. Howzat? Say again?

Q/C: Well, he's way better than Bush

MR: Well, I can agree with that. But is this the only reason we can get excited nowadays? Because someone who was horrendous is replaced by someone who is going to be a disaster, but of a different style? Sure, more Obama and less Bush, in general, likely means less pointless, criminal wars. It'll likely mean less neo-con atrocities such as torture and the holding back of science (stem cell research etc). That is good, obviously. But it will be replaced with homegrown bankruptcies, famines, riots and an even greater Big Brother police state as Obama meddling with the economy will only further the problem. But even that all assumes that the President actually really controls anything. The bankers and corporations are who run the US government. If Obama were to actually really do something to change that, like JFK, who proposed getting rid of the Federal Reserve system, he'll quickly come to the same fate. If he did go against their wishes I'd advise him from taking any convertible, open air car rides through downtown Dallas. But by the looks of things, the bankers and corporations will be thrilled at Obama's coming tsunami of spending so he will likely remain comfortably unassassinated.

----

But the main reason I am dissapointed at the world reaction to Obama is in how everyone has bought into big government now to the point where they think that one man, in one position in government, can change the world for the better. One man, in private enterprise can definitely change the world for the better. The guy who invented antibiotics (although the jury is still out on whether that one will eventually backfire – but for now, no more worrying about gonorrhea!). The guy who invented refrigeration. Or, my personal favorite, the guy who invented the internet…. Al Gore. <gags>

But, government can never, ever change anything for the better. They can steal from one person and give to another but that is not changing anything for the better. That’s common theft. The very best possible case for a government is that it does not make anything much worse.

Obviously, after 8 years of Dubbyah, we can see how much worse things can get. What a disaster. In that sense I can partially understand why some people may have been excited last week. Relieved is probably a better way to put it. I was excited and relieved to know that the Bush & Cheney horror show was soon leaving town too.

If only it wasn’t going to be quickly usurped by the next great disaster. A man who has never… in a conventional sense, held a real job. He spent many years in the incredibly ignorant American university system. The system that gave us Ben Bernanke! And what did he study? Anything of real value? Nope, law. Law! He basically studied the unending, never-ending list of laws that completely choke all remaining life out of America… the land of the free, indeed.

And then, when he finished that, what did he do, he went straight into politics!

Here is a man who knows nothing about the real world. All he knows is all the inner workings of the incredibly oppressive American government. And, from all he’s seen, the big problem is that THERE ISN’T ENOUGH government!!!

That’s his conclusion! I can’t tell if the tears pouring from my eyes right now are tears of laughter or fear!

The man has absolutely no idea what a sad state of affairs the US is in. He states that he wants to spend more on things like healthcare. Spend more of what? The US government is bankrupt. What a fool.

And so I watched his first press conference. Again, like he’s been saying for months now, he didn’t really say anything. He definitely has some skills and his main skill is the ability to talk at length without saying anything and make it sound knowledgeable – at least to the middling IQs of the American populace.

He gave only one concrete proposal during the entire conference, besides his views on which dog he will buy for his daughters. And that was that he wants to do a “stimulus package” the day he enters office. He intends to do what Dubbyah did a few months back, which worked great, which is to mail cheques to everyone in the country, to get them spending! If it wasn’t reality I would never have believed that anyone would even utter this concept without expecting to quickly be sent off to an insane asylum.

Okay, Mr. Obama, the country is bankrupt. The entire Federal Reserve central banking price fixing and money monopoly scam has finally reached the end of the road. The entire country is collapsing under the weight of debt piled on for decades. What do you propose? MORE DEBT! Send everyone cheques! But, Mr. Obama, we have no money. Nothing. Well, just print up more and send it to everyone! This is the solution!

150 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville in his famous work - Democracy In America said this:

“The government covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing but a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

And how the flock was elated on Tuesday! Here comes our shepherd!

How prescient was Tocqueville. It is obvious he completed his education prior to the fascist government “education” system got to work really dumbing people down.

But, his comments are precisely what I see not only in the US, but now it seems nearly round the world. Although there are pockets of hope for liberty and free markets. Where? In places like China and parts of the former Soviet Union. It's like 20 years ago the entire world flip-flopped.

And so, earlier this week, people around the world were overjoyed to find out that a “black” man who has never held a real job of consequence and who obviously has no idea about why America originally was prosperous (hint: small/no government / free market) and who so obviously has no clue how basic economics works was elected to be the leader of an bankrupt, criminal former empire which has no relevance in the world today.

Ya, woohoo! What a day! I’ll always remember what I was doing when I heard that news, too! Fearing for the planet and stocking up my cupboard full of non-perishables and ammunition!

Is Obama the beginning of a great new era? Looks a lot more like the final stages of one to me.

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Told ya..... -- crickets chirping -- And, Don't Rock the Vote!
It's quiet. Real quiet. What more can I say about my daily activities of spending the day at the pool and the gym in one of the most beautiful locales in the world and spending the nights quietly reading or learning some Spanish and, from time to time, out and about living la vida loca with and amongst the beautiful mexicanas. There really is only so much to say about it... and I'm sure you really can only take hearing so much of it!

And so... nothing. I don't have a lot to say about my own life except it is nicely ongoing.

But, I thought I would, without permission, but I doubt he minds, reproduce a short recent article by someone who I have oft quoted here and who is one of my personal favorites, Doug Casey.

It is on the topic of voting, an apres peau topic for this week. Following his article I chime in with a few paragraphs of my own diatribe... here goes:

***

None Of The Above by Doug Casey

Once again we find ourselves in the midst of the quadrennial American circus, when shameless power-mongers come out to blather moronic and vacuous platitudes in hopes of getting Boobus americanus to “get out and vote,”granting them the power of life and death for the next four years.Regrettably, they won’t be disappointed.

But one can hope they will be.

I think back to the ‘60s,when the wistful saying “Suppose they gave a war. And nobody came“ was current. It was a noble sentiment. In that vein, I also like “Suppose they gave a tax. And nobody paid” around April 15. And “Suppose they gave an election.And nobody voted” now.

You’ve heard all the reasons why you should vote.Most of them are humbug at best, and some – like “It doesn’t matter how you vote. Just vote”– are simply idiotic.

Voting today has nothing to do with “civic duties”you learned about in grade school.Your fellow citizens aren’t Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper lookalikes earnestly trying to do the right thing. Well over 50% of U.S. citizens are now net tax recipients, and they’ve trundled down to the polls in their tank tops and shower slippers only to help ensure they stay on the gravy train.

It’s sickening to hear thoughtful nonvoters, who can sense in their gut something is terminally wrong with the process,make lame excuses because they feel guilty for not participating. I would, therefore, like to give you five reasons why you shouldn’t vote.

1.Voting in a political election is unethical.The political process is one of institutionalized coercion and force; if you disapprove of these things, then you shouldn’t participate in them, even indirectly.AsMao, a leading expert on the subject, famously said: “The power of government grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Sure, if government limited itself only to defending its subjects from domestic and
foreign aggression and adjudicating disputes, you could argue there was nothing unethical in voting for who plays the night watchman. But the fact is that
elections have long been, as Mencken observed, nothing but advance auctions on stolen goods.

If you want something, vote with the dollars you’ve earned, in the marketplace.

2.Voting compromises your privacy. It just gets your name in another government computer bank.One that they can use to call you up for jury duty and other forms of involuntary servitude. It’s true that, at least if you live in the U.S. or the UK, privacy exists only as an academic concept.Still, the less the government knows about you, even in small ways, the better off you are.

3.Voting is a degrading experience. Voting (as well as registering) involves spending possibly considerable time standing in line,hanging around government offices, filling out forms, and dealing with petty bureaucrats.A self-respecting person can find more enjoyable or productive things to do with that time.

4.Voting just encourages them. I’m convinced that most people don’t actually vote for a candidate; they vote against the other candidate.But that’s not how the guy who gets the vote sees it; he thinks it’s another mandate for him to rule. It’s ridiculous to justify voting by endorsing the lesser of two evils. Incidentally, I got as far as this point in 1980 when, as luck would have it, I did an hour alone on the Phil Donahue Show on the very day before the elections. The audience had been very much on my side up to the point where Phil accused me of voting forMr.Reagan, and I had to explain why I wasn’t. Unfortunately, telling them they shouldn’t vote was just more than they could handle.The prospect of their stoning me precluded my explaining the fifth and possibly most practical point.

5.Your vote doesn’t count. Politicians and political hacks like to say every vote counts because it gets everybody into busybody mode. But statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on the beach.That’s completely apart from the fact that, as voters in Chicago in 1960 and Florida in 2000 can tell you, when it actually is close, things can be rigged. And, anyway, officials manifestly do what they want – not what you want
– once they’re in office.

The only way your vote counts is to make you complicit in the crimes that will inevitably be committed by its recipient.

Some may argue: “Perhaps you’re right. But my guy is different,he’s good; he sees the problems and wants to change things.”That perception is almost certainly an illusion created by slick handlers.And even if he is good and different,he’ll almost certainly be corrupted in short order. It’s rare that someone of quality goes in for politics. My arguments are based on principle, not on the hope for a deus exmachina event.

My sentiments on the topic have little, incidentally, to do with the fact that both candidates in this presidential election are certifiable liars, lifelong ne’er-dowells, and borderline sociopaths, differing very little in basic philosophy – they’re both statists – except one seems to prefer to emphasize the warfare state, the other the welfare state. It’s rare that someone of quality goes in for politics. My arguments are based on principle.

There are certainly romantics among you who, despite your better judgment,will go out and vote anyway. In that event, the only thing that makes sense is a protest vote for a third party, in which case the Libertarian candidate might have some appeal – at least if you believe in both economic and social freedom. And since there’s absolutely no danger a Libertarian could be elected, it’s arguably a good way to register a protest vote.

Unfortunately, their candidate this year, one Bob Barr, can best be described as a fraud.No help there.Of course, if you really want to treat the elections with the respect they deserve, and insist on voting, you might consider a write-in for, say, “Donald Duck.”

But, undoubtedly, some of you are thinking: “Counseling people not to vote is ridiculous – and unpatriotic. Who would run society if we didn’t have a government? Schools? Roads? Police?”

That question is usually quite innocent and sincere, put forward by someone who’s only ignorant.Occasionally, however, it can be asked in a rhetorical way by the malevolent.

The answer, in brief, is that absolutely anything worth doing can and will be done by the market. Again, I urge you to read Tannehill’s TheMarket for Liberty or Friedman’s TheMachinery of Freedom. If you want to do something right now, watch this video link by John Stossel. It’s in six short parts, each better than the one before.

***

I agree 100% with the above and can only add my own, slightly more aggressive tone to it. Perhaps because I am younger (not young, but younger) than people like Doug Casey I might have a bit more youthful aggression. Or maybe it's just the way I am.

But when I look at all the lost opportunity... the lost lives... the waste... of government, no matter what flavor, I can only add that I wish people would not only realize the things Doug Casey is talking about but would then also march down to their local government building with torches and pitchforks and just rid themselves of this menace.

Alas, the government run schooling system has ingrained in us all of us very well the importance of government. Even making us stand up at various events and sing some anthem devised to make us feel patriotic... patriotism, by the way, is a negative thing and is never a positive thing. If someone tells you that you are unpatriotic you should thank them for the compliment.

There is only one thing we should feel any patriotism for and that, of course, is the planet Earth and the human race. Anything less than that is varying levels of racism and/or xenophobia.

And with that, I blend back into the poolside... not to be heard from again for another few weeks, I'm sure.

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End of an Era & End of the World As We Know It
That’s it. I have made the decision. I am officially ending my period as a nomad and becoming a nearly full-time resident of Acapulco.

I pushed off on my sailboat four years ago with a simple plan: travel the entire world and experience as much as possible. Do everything and anything. Kiss all the girls and live completely spontaneously.

And I did it. For four years, as this blog can attest. I’ve forgotten more crazy stories than most people even have in their entire lifetime. I’ve arrived in countries, via plane, and not even know what country it was I was arriving at (turns out it was UAE, but all I knew when I bought a plane ticket in Kathmandu, Nepal was that it was called Sharjah and it was “west of Nepal”). I’ve taken a taxi four hours from Bulgaria to the outskirts of Istanbul and then had to run across highways and crawl under razor-wire fence and walked for hours through slums and barrios before getting to my hotel. I’ve been picked up for a dinner date in Guangzhou, China by a military convoy to be taken to a restaurant and fed, manually, with chopsticks by some sort of Chinese princess while she fawned over me and kept telling me, “yoo look-a-lika david beck-um”.

I’ve eaten McFarm burgers in Budapest and eaten snake hot pot in China, while somehow participating in producing a Hong Kong movie and hanging out and smoking weed with Jackie Chan and other HK celebs.

I even sank my boat in El Salvador and ended up clinging to my surfboard in the Pacific Ocean for a while before being saved.

Needless to say, I achieved my goal. I travelled the world and did everything and anything! It was a wild ride.

But, as of today, I am announcing the end of my trip. I no longer feel the need to carry on. In fact, it is much the opposite. I now feel the need to just stay put, for a while.

One of my other objectives on my world tour was to find a place or two I really liked, for the future, and end up living there. I did that too. After 70+ countries, I have to say that I wouldn’t want to really live in 95% of them. Most, or all, are nice enough for what they are. But only two countries have become a part of me. Thailand and Mexico.

And specifically, Bangkok, Phuket and Acapulco.

I have a small place in Acapulco and may go to Thailand in December-ish with the possibility of also getting a small place there as well.

In the meantime, I am here in Acapulco and LOVING it. As crazy as the last four years were, and I would never give up the memories for anything, but I can’t say I was really happy, that entire time. Only for periods when I was in Thailand did I feel happy.

But, right now, in Acapulco, I am incredibly happy. I’ve never said, “ahhhhhhhhhhh” so many times in my life. I say it 5 times a day here. I wake up, open the blinds to overlook always sunny, beautiful Acapulco Bay… “aaahhhhh”… I then make my way down to the pool for an hour… “ahhhhhhh”…. Then I hit the gym for another hour and then return to my room which, by that point, has been completely cleaned by the maids… the air conditioning and the smell of a freshly cleaned room hit me upon opening my door… “aaahhhhhhh”.

And that’s not even mentioning the girls here… of which I’ve had numerous dates every week for the last few weeks! “aaahhhhh”

I’ve completely fallen in love with the culture and lifestyle here. NO ONE is going to believe this but I’ve even started learning how to salsa dance and started singing at karaoke bars! Singing and dancing down here is as fundamental as ice hockey and Tim Horton’s is to Canada…. So, when in Rome. I’ve also become totally outgoing and social. I spend half the day chatting with people at the pool, then come up to laugh with my maids about this or that. I can’t walk down the street here in Acapulco without hand shakes, back patting and, of course, the obligatory kissing on the cheek of many of the bonita mexicanas.

And, for the first time in years, I go to the gym daily… which is something I would do from time to time over the years BUT, in the last few weeks, I’ve started to put in major workouts. Over the last decade I’d go to the gym, but I’d do a very light workout… basically just enough to make it so my muscles don’t start to atrophy but not enough to really get any gains. Here, however, I’m friends with the lifeguard guys and they work out HARD… I work out with them and have been making significant body changes in only a matter of weeks! I really can’t even believe it when I look in the mirror… in only a couple weeks I am starting to look like a men’s physique magazine model! Seriously! That, combined with my daily 1-2 hours swimming at the pool, have me looking more bronzed than I’ve ever looked, very lean with noticeably bulging muscles everywhere! And, due to my lifestyle, I look incredibly relaxed and happy… which just further makes people want to interact with me.

Meeting girls for most of my life has entailed downing a number of shots of tequila and then hazily, drunkenly approaching…. Now it just happens, almost like they come to me… no drinks required… all it takes is total relaxation and a smile and a “hola mi amor, que pasa?”… Just as one example, I was out at a local lounge which has a number of nice looking girls work there a few days ago… They were all giggling and crowded around each other, and the internet, to write in English (they used the internet to translate because no one, NO ONE in Acapulco speaks even one word of English) and then they walked over to me and handed me the note… it read, “Jefri, It is Grisela’s bornday Monday. Please do not lose this, we want you to come. It make us very happy.”… so I showed up on Monday… 7 girls… almost all were quite beautiful but a few in particular were REALLY cute… and me. We ended up out until 6 in the morning… dancing on the table…. I never went 5 minutes without at least two girls sitting on my lap… and this has been how it has been nearly every day for the last few weeks! It’s like I unlocked the code to how to get girls in Acapulco… Bueno!

So, it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve really bought into the lifestyle here and both mentally and physically I have experienced a complete rebirth! I’ve never felt so good, ever.

A few weeks ago when I decided to make these changes in my life I sort-of assumed it would take 6-12 months to change myself mentally and physically… Nope. 6-12 DAYS! No one who knows me would even barely recognize me… from the way I am, to the way I socialize, to the way I act and look… a completely new person. It’s amazing how much you can change/improve yourself once the time is right and you are open to change.

So, now I am thinking, if I can change this much in just a few weeks… what will I be like in a few months? Years?? I can’t wait to find out.

I will still travel from time to time. There are still two large areas that I have yet to see… Central Asia (the stan’s) and the entire continent of Africa. But unlike the last four years, it won’t be a continuous trip… likely just a 2-4 week span, perhaps once or twice a year as I transit in between Thailand and Mexico.

So, this also means my blog is going to be much, much quieter than it’s been since 2004. I’ll still write here but other than just talking about how happy I am in Acapulco, and my usual social/political rantings, there won’t be a lot.

It’s the end of an era.

One other thing I should mention is that I decided not to adopt that little girl in Thailand. It really was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make but I felt it was more important to ground myself here in Mexico for a while and find my new life than to return to Thailand at this time. If anyone is interested in adopting THE cutest and happiest little 6 month old Thai baby girl PLEASE let me know. I am still trying to find this little girl a home. If I still haven’t found one for her by December, when I likely will return to Thailand, who knows, maybe I will adopt her then.

END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT

And now, onto the social/economic/political portion of the blog. If you’ve been reading here or listening to what I’ve been saying for the last three years then you likely realize that all of the things I’ve been predicting are ALL happening RIGHT NOW.

I had been predicting a greater depression including complete financial system failure, currency crashes and famines.

Guess what, it’s here! And it’s only just beginning.

I say this with ALL seriousness: If you don’t want the next year or two to be too terrible YOU MUST do the following:

-Keep a MINIMUM of 1-2 months worth of non-perishable food in your house
-Keep a MINIMUM of 1-2 months worth of spending cash in your house
-Sell ALL stocks except for gold, silver, oil, natural gas, uranium, coal and agriculture stocks
-If you don’t already own some gold, silver, oil, natural gas, uranium, coal and agriculture stocks now is an EXCELLENT time to buy… they’ve all been hit hard by panic, forced hedge fund selling
-BUY at least a few gold or silver coins and keep in your house
-Convert at least 20% of your liquid assets into physical gold (try to keep most of it in your house if possible… also places like bullionvault.com and goldmoney.com are very good)

You may also want to consider purchasing a firearm.

And don’t wait to do it. Things are right on the precipice as I write this. A few more days like we’ve had over the last few weeks and it is game over.

It took longer than I expected to begin but it is now all happening much faster than I expected! We are literally on the verge of complete systemic financial failure. That would mean 90% of banks would all go under… US interest rates would likely skyrocket and the dollar would collapse, but so would most other currencies at the same time as the only thing backing them are their “US dollar reserves”.

This will lead to a period of complete chaos. Grocery stores will be empty within days… the entire economic system would grind to a halt… and for a period of time things will be at a standstill, until new currencies, backed by gold (Russia and China are already in the process of doing this) are issued and the economic system starts working again.

It is possible that this might not happen… all countries of the world could go into massive hyperinflation in order to stem the losses from the huge credit bubble and massive debt. This is what they are trying to do now with all these bailouts. But even if the system doesn’t collapse because of hyperinflation, a lot of these bad things will happen… just look at Zimbabwe’s current hyperinflation… it’s not a fun time.

It’s possible we could still be a few months away from this all collapsing. But it’s also completely possible it could start tomorrow. You do not want to be stuck with no cash and no food at a time when the ATMs go dark and the grocery stores are empty. And if you want to get through this and be one of the few wealthy people left in the world, buy gold NOW.

As a sidenote, I can only watch the news and the people in the government and the media talking about this meltdown for a few moments at a time... otherwise I will feel the need to car bomb them all! If you listen to them they ALL blame this whole problem on the markets being TOO FREE and TOO UNREGULATED!! Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason it is all collapsing is because the entire financial system of the world is an artificial system based upon fiat currencies. A fiat currency is a currency that you are FORCED to use by your government and has NOTHING backing it. All those dollars in your pocket have an intrinsic value of zero (or whatever small scraps of pieces of paper are worth). As well, the banking system is completely artificial as well. The central bank (Federal Reserve in the US) decides how much money the banks can counterfeit (print... for loans). In a real system the bank would ONLY be able to loan out a small percentage of the total amount of money on deposit. But in this artificial world they can loan out 900% more than they have on deposit. THIS is why the whole thing can and will collapse. It is a completely artificial non-free market system based on huge amounts of leverage and an ever expanding increase in the supply of money.

SADLY, once again, most people are completely ignorant of the truth and this failure of the artificial system should have most people clamoring to use REAL money (gold) and have a truly free market economy... but instead, it appears they will opt for the exact opposite. Which will only make it even worse the next time around. Really, buy a gun.

As an interesting personal note, a big part of the reason I took off in 2004 to travel the world was that I felt that we didn't have too much longer before the world would enter into some major troubles, including peak oil and the financial collapse, which would make doing any traveling very hard if not impossible for a number of years. So, it is kind of funny, for me, that I have wrapped up my world tour right at the moment when the coming collapse and depression just began. Looks like I timed that one pretty good!

But no matter how bad things might get I look out my window and it is 33c and sunny every day and the natural beauty of Acapulco is there every day... and all those beautiful Mexicanas will still be there. So, the rock band R.E.M. may have been quite prescient. Because, as I wrote above, it’s the end of the world as we know it….. and I feel fine!

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Brief Update
It's been a month since I posted anything... and that can only mean one of three things: I'm dead.... I'm in Thailand... or I'm in Acapulco.

It turns out, I'm in Acapulco. After Poland I made a one night stopover in Brussels and flew straight back to beautiful Acapulco.

I haven't been doing a heck of a lot. At the pool, the gym, the discos... watching these amazing markets, which I've basically been predicting now for the last 3 years and all seems to be coming to a head now.

Other than that, it somewhat seems like I've been awakening lately from a 4 year - maybe even a 10 year - dream. For at least the last 4 years I let myself go... explored... tried anything and everything... and I think I went a bit too far.

But in the last few months I have started to realize it is time for a change. Time to get back to reality... to ground myself again. I started sensing it a while ago... people looked at me strangely... I couldn't really connect with anyone...

Recently I've been lucky enough to have a few people tell me that I need to get regrounded and I now realize that is exactly what I need to do.

This doesn't mean I will be less fun... it only means I will be more grounded and make more real connections with people rather than superficial, usually drunken, connections. I've let alcohol medicate my tendency to shyness and to have real connections for too long now and it is time to get rid of that crutch. For too long I've held too much inside...

I've learned more about myself in the last few months than I've learned in the last 15 years and there is a lot that needs improving... and I will do it.

Along with these changes I also have some other major decisions to make in the coming days. There is a beautiful 5 month year old little girl in Thailand who doesn't have a daddy right now... It's a huge decision but I am close to making it in the coming days. I may go to Thailand to see her before I decide. Or I may just stay here in Mexico and work on rebuilding my body and mind after a very long vacation from reality.

The path I will take is unknown for the moment but in the coming days I will have to make a choice. Either way it will be a good change. It's time.

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One Night in Warsaw
If there is one thing I can say about the Poles, they are hardy. And they have to be to live in this country!

Ha, well, as you may have guessed, no matter how much I rag some countries, there is ALWAYS lots of good things, even if those things (such as churches and fjords) don’t matter a whole lot to me.

Actually, it is probably about time to reproclaim my disclaimer. Many of the places I travel to I ONLY visit for 1 or 2 days, rarely more than a week or two, and almost always to the main city in the country. OBVIOUSLY if I spent more time in any of these places, and saw more of the country, I would undoubtedly find many beautiful things about it. And, I’m sure, more things to dislike. But my disclaimer stands as this: I am just commenting on my own experiences and full well realize that they are extremely limited. But this is my blog and, in one of the very rare moments in life, that means that I get to do as I damn well please. And so I will.

And so, in regards to Poland, I was in Warsaw for 2 days, 1 night. However I did live like a King, unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to coronate a Queen, or princess, in my brief time there.

Similar to all the places I have been in the last two weeks it was a windswept, chilly place. WHY DOES ANYONE LIVE IN NORTHERN EUROPE???? But unlike all the previous places, the English language is barely understood here. It took me five minutes to explain to my taxi driver to go to the most famous square in all of Warsaw, thank gawd I didn’t stay anywhere lesser known!

I booked a room at a place called the Castle Inn… Trip Advisor told me it was a decent place. What it didn’t tell me was that the cute Polish receptionist would take a liking to me and upgrade me to some sort of royalty room for no reason. She even walked in, without knocking, at 11am… I was unfortunately too hungover to take the hint or I would have yet another great Penthouse Letters story.

The hotel is actually great. It is really nicely situated, literally 10 meters from Warsaw Castle and a nice square with requisite sculptures etcetera. The area is very throwback. You actually feel like you are living in the Soviet Union in 1938 here.

But after I got upgraded to the Austin Powers super-room (pics below), with 30’ ceiling as is normal in these parts, it took on an even more cool feel.

-Austin Powers Room 1

From my home base, basically living in the pimp Austin Powers room right at Warsaw Castle I entered into the night.

I went to three places in a row that were recommended by the antiquated internet, which ended up being closed, before I arrived at a place called “The Underground”, somewhere in Warsaw.

As per my experiences in Finland and Latvia I was then inundated with horrific music. The 3 hottest tracks there were Footloose, C&C Music Factory’s “Everybody Dance Now” and the place exploded when they threw on Michael Jackson’s deplorable, “Black or White”. I drank some horrible brand of tequila as quickly as I could to numb myself to the experience. Although there were a fair amount of passable females there and, in actuality, I appear to be of interest to many I couldn’t seem to get fully past the cheesiness.

But if there is one thing northeastern Europe has taught me it is that no dance move is too terrible to do in public

Europe is where old songs go to die but unfortunately they don't die, at all! Like undead zombie sentinels they roam this so called continent (how is Europe a different continent than Asia?? Oh yes, because “those people” look different than “us”… PLEASE… ridiculous scholarly thinking as per usual) even gain strength in this region, becoming more than stupid candy pop tunes from two decades ago and becoming the coolest thing ever. Apparently the only criteria for absolutely loving a track here is that you have heard it before... 20 or 30 years ago. If you are a DJ and you are terrible, go to Poland, Latvia or Finland. No one will ever know! You will be a superstar! You play music??!! AWEEESOMMEEE!!!!

I do have to give them credit for one thing though, when the people here go out they do have fun... Whatever music is played they are laughing, smiling and popping and locking! RAISE THE ROOF!!! WOOF WOOF WOOF DOG POUND!

Maybe it’s the food. Going back to my earlier theme, the food here is hardy food. I am sitting at a café in Plac Zamkowy square right now and just had a plate of perogies with a cup of borscht as chaser. I didn’t really know this before, but borscht is just basically beet soup. I don’t know why, but I love beets. The perogies were flour and potatoes, with some cheese. So basically they eat potatos and beets. They probably need this food to get through the winter considering how terrible the summer is. Every time someone walks into the café, someone quickly rushes to close the door behind them before the bone chilling wind freezes out the place.

As an interesting anecdote, I grew up in northern Canada in a place called Edmonton which had a large Ukrainian population, likely drawn to the place by its barren coldness. It was so Ukrainian there that the biggest tourist attraction, besides ridiculous West Edmonton Mall (the biggest mall in the world at the time, recently surpassed by 85% empty and unoccupied South China mall) was a GIANT Ukrainian Easter Egg. The world’s largest! Hazzah!

Point being, likely because of the proximity to all these Ukrainians I grew up on a fairly steady diet of perogies, kielbasa and the enticing sounding, cabbage rolls. Mmm mmm cabbage!

But, interestingly enough, everywhere I go in the world I run into Ukrainians. They are providers of prostitutes to the world. If you are anywhere and there is a white girl trading money for sex, she is likely Ukrainian. So, whenever I happen upon an Ukrainian I always say, “I love perogies and cabbage rolls!”… to which they always look at me like they have no clue what I am talking about.

So, final point being, even though I always thought perogies and cabbage rolls were TOTALLY from the Ukraine, I think it is more precise to say they are more from, or near, Poland. Especially considering that I am at a Polish restaurant right now and eating perogies. They didn’t bring sour cream with it, though, which is what I was raised upon and I didn’t want to ask, to be the stupid “American” in the room who thought perogies were to be eaten with such a strange sauce. Nonetheless, it was excellent. I do love perogies. And if I lived here I’d definitely eat them all the time to get me through the cold winters AND summers and the bad music.

The girls here are generally quite cute though. If I had to subject myself to ONLY white girls I’d most certainly stay in Eastern Europe or South America. Parts of America have, of course, some amazing and cute girls but the majority have been victimized by their fascist government and a school system intent on dumbing down the population to make finding an enlightened girl there a challenge. And the majority (not all.. but most) Canadian and western European whites are so puffed up with a sense of self-importance to even bother.

I am now heading westward to Brussels. There is an outside chance I may have to go BACK to Norway. If I do I will not be in a very good mood at all and the people I am dealing with there will be in for a very difficult time. If, however, they do as they said they would do, I think I will VERY, VVVVERRRYYY quickly head back to one of Earth’s great regions, Mexico. I miss tacos and the spicy Latinas. Ay mami, Latinas!

In the meantime, the girl I fell in love with in Tallinn sent me some pics and vids, so here ya go:

-Jana 1
-Jana 2
-Me, Jana, her friend and two tag-alongs
-Video taken at Hollywood nightclub in Tallinn (Large file: 12mb)

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Timewarp to the 80s in Riga
Well, one night was enough in Riga.

As with Tallinn, Riga has a neat, nice old town area. All “old towns”, almost anywhere in the world, are great. In the old days people knew how to build a city which is walkable, comfortable and enjoyable. Most modern cities are just concrete jungles with no sense of style or livability.

During the day the old town is very nice. It's quaint. And there are lots of beautiful girls everywhere. Where they go at night, however, is the mystery.

But other than Riga’s old town, I didn’t like Riga much. Tallinn is better in every way I can think of. The people are much friendlier in Tallinn. They are also better looking. And the nightlife scene is much better there too.

It was rainy and cold on the Wednesday evening I was here, which of course did not add to my perception of things. A nice sunny day can make even the dreariest of cities seem just a bit better, and vice versa when it is cold and rainy.

I tried to play poker at the casino at the Reval hotel downtown but they only had a small tournament running and even at 12:30am they only had an 'interest list' for a cash game. So, again, Tallinn is superior in this regard too.

I walked around the Old Town for a bit but not much was happening other than a few escort/strip clubs which had their girls out on the street trying to entice you in with their nicotine induced raspiness and super strong, Russian sounding accents.

So I then hopped a cab and went to a place the taxi driver recommended, called Essential which is downtown.

Essential was terrible. It is small and has an awkward layout with too bright lighting and the crowd there was ultra goofy. In fact, when I try to picture some of the breakaway Soviet states and how they must’ve been right after the Soviet Union dissolved, this club is what I picture. The guys were dressed really badly, like they still lived in the communist Soviet Union. Many were “dressed up” for this big night out at Essential in their grey, poorly fitted, cheap looking suits. The few girls who were there weren’t that attractive. And the dancing was hard to watch it was so bad. And to add even more to the assault on the senses, the place smelled of wet popcorn. Musty! But everyone seemed like they were having a great time though, which just made it more confounding.

Chinese people have the least rhythm of any group of people but white people come a close second and the Latvians at the clubs I visited proved it. I quickly left Essential and ended up at a dive bar called “Pulkvedim neviens neraksta” which translates to “Nobody writes to the Colonel”. Which wins my award for oddest named disco, ever.

The people here were a little younger and had slightly better style, but it was still terrible.

The music everywhere was so bad it was laughable. But much like in Helsinki, everyone seemed to just think this was AWESOME music… they were going crazy raising the roof and doing the running man and roger rabbit. I felt like I had been time warped back to 1992.

Some of the tracks played included “Ghetto Superstar” and I nearly did a spit-take with my vodka-redbull when they put on “Shoop”, one of the worst tracks of all time, by Salt N Pepa. There was this, sort of, break dancing guy there who was really, really bad but everyone thought he was awesome. When he started going buck wild when they put on “Shoop” I literally put my drink down and headed straight for the exit. I wish I had videotaped it, just for humors sake, but if I want an evening of laughs I’ll go to Yuk Yuks, not the local disco!

And so ended my night. My hotel, which is nice enough, called Radi un Draugi was right around the corner from the ‘Colonels’ so I walked home in the drizzle and immediately loaded up Expedia and booked the next flight out. Which happened to be Warsaw, Poland.

I really have no expectations for Warsaw… but much like how I was when I left Oslo, I find myself thinking that it can’t really be worse than where I currently am, so it’s got at least that going for it.

But I’m starting to get tired of being around all these white people. White people, in general (BIG generalization of course, there are obviously millions of exceptions), are a style-less, unhappy, unfriendly and, when drunk, obnoxious people and between Norway, Finland and Latvia they are starting to get on my nerves. As usual, Europe is always a disappointment with Estonia being the only oasis I have found yet on this entire continent. I may have to bust out south, west or east at any moment in search of sun, flava and pigmentation if this keeps up much longer.

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Helsinki...
It was only a 1.5 hour ferry ride on Nordic Jetline from Tallinn so I decided to sail across to Helsinki for a few days. The ferry ride was nice and easy. The ferry itself was quite nice with a cool, loungy layout. Probably the best part about it is that you essentially leave from downtown Tallinn and arrive right in the downtown Helsinki harbor. No taxis required.

Finland is small, in terms of population (5 million) and Helsinki is smaller with approximately 500,000 in the city itself and a total of one million if you include outlying areas.

Before visiting Sweden, Norway and Finland I always kinda grouped them all into one. I figured they were all very similar but my recent trips to Norway and Finland disproved that theory.

The three countries, while similar, have quite a vast range of differences. If I had to live in one, god forbid, I’d definitely choose Sweden and then Finland after that. If I had to live in Norway I’d just kill myself.

Sweden is very cosmopolitan and trendy and nice… and everyone smells really good. Norway is very small and odd. Finland on the other hand is sort of in the middle.

One very nice thing about this entire region, including the Netherlands as well, is that everyone speaks perfect English. They all prefer to speak their native language but once they detect that you are not a local they instantly switch over to English, so that makes things nice and easy.

Finland, like most of the countries up here is a country full of rules and regulations. And people really love the oppression. Even if there isn’t a car for miles in any direction they will stand there, blank-faced and serious, waiting for the little green man to tell them to walk. When they saw me barely even look for cars as I crossed freestyle I could tell I was really testing their whole world. If someone can just cross without the green man, what’s next? Pure chaos!

I partly came here because I was aware that the Finnish national poker championship was happening this week. As per my MO, though, I slept through the entire day on which the tournament started and therefore missed it. But I did go to Grand Casino Helsinki on my last evening there to check out the poker action.

The casino itself is one of the nicer, more upscale casinos I’ve been to. As well, they had 2 of those electronic poker tables that don’t have a human dealer and all bets are made via touch screen. At first I didn’t like it, which is a first for me. Normally I like ANY new technological innovation… maybe I’m turning into one of those old people now who “just don’t like these new fangled gizmos”. But after about 30 minutes I became used to it and didn’t mind it at all. The pace of play is a bit faster and having some of the stats right in front of you is quite nice. It’d be cool to see a table with a live dealer and real cards which utilized some of this technology… hmmm, perhaps a new business venture for me. Nah. Too lazy.

I then went to the main room where actually the final table of the Finnish poker championship was being played out. The poker room itself is really nice. BUT, I have to say, the competition is VERY good. It actually seemed like I was one of the least aggressive and dominant players at any of the tables I played at! If you want to beat these tables you have to bring you’re A game… I’d put it on par with Sydney’s Star City casino as one of the toughest poker rooms I’ve played in. I ended up losing 600 euros but not due to playing too badly. I put in a great bluff on one hand and the guy called me with an unbelievably small hand. Whether that call was REALLY good or REALLY bad I’ll never know, but he seemed to make the right calls most of the time… I give him the benefit of the doubt. I bet every street and it turned out he was only on a flush draw the entire time with K6 suited. By the river he had missed his flush. I had ABSOLUTELY nothing and sensed weakness so I put in a half-pot size bet, which would normally be enough to scare off most people. But the final card that was dealt was a 6, giving him a pair of 6s on a dangerous board (A Q 9 J 6) and he apparently felt that his 6 was good, even though I had bet strongly every street. Again, not sure, might have been a terrible call or a genius call.

And then I lost the rest when I held K J and the flop came J J 6. I went all in and someone called with A J. So, that was that.

I then ventured out, even thought it was a Tuesday night and almost bound to be poor. But a place called Baarikarpanen, right next door to the casino was decent. Although the crowd was pretty lame, in my estimation. They were playing hip hop, which is fine… although their choice of tracks was odd, including tracks like “Welcome to Miami” by Will Smith, which everyone seemed to think was just great.

All the guys in the place were African and all the girls were white Finns who were obviously there to meet a black guy. When girls go out looking for black guys, and you aren’t black, you might as well be invisible. And so I was.

The lame part was all the Africans were trying so hard to act like American blacks. And all the girls were trying to act like American whites, even though it was very obvious by the way they dressed and the way they danced that they definitely were not. And I saw way too much “raising the roof” than I was comfortable with! So, basically, everyone was posing trying to act like old rap videos on TV. Lame. And so 20 years ago. Embarrassingly I used to be a rapper but I quit in 1991 for two reasons. One: I sucked. And Two: rap was already dead by then.

Helsinki is almost as expensive as Oslo, if not more so in some ways. The taxi meters in Helsinki START at 7 Euro ($11!) and you would think for that price it may not just start ticking away right away, giving you a minute or two of value for your $11, but no, the SECOND the taxi starts driving it begins ticking away at mind boggling speed!

I only ended up staying two days in Helsinki because it sucks and it is expensive and so I am at the airport right now on my way to Riga, Latvia. I’ve heard conflicting views on that place so I thought I better take a $100 Finnair, 1 hour flight there and get the scoop for myself.

I’m getting really tired already though. And this cold (14c or less) weather I’ve been putting up with for the last week is really starting to get to me. My nice Mexican tan is turning grayish already and I feel really sluggish.

If I could snap my fingers and be in Mexico in a moment I definitely would. But as is it’ll be a 20 hour journey from here and so I am thinking to maybe go to Minsk after Riga and POSSIBLY to Ukraine and Moldova after that, but I might just snap and head back to Mexico after this weekend… or at least start heading in that direction. Ah Mexico, how I love you.

But first I will go play some poker and harass some girls in Riga. If it is anything like Tallinn I may get a boost of energy and carry on my Eastern Europe poker tour. If not, vamos.

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Ballin' in Tallinn
I escaped from Oslo and flew into Tallinn, Estonia on Estonian Air on Thursday.

I stayed at the Reval Park Hotel & Casino close to Old Town. The hotel was nice enough for the price and the poker action was very good. A lot of drunken, all-in playing. I saw people go all-in after a raise and re-raise with AJ offsuit on more than one occasion! Scarily, on both occasions, the other person called and the AJ turned out to be the best pre-flop hand! The stakes aren’t huge, but a lot of the players had up to $1,000 in front of them on a $5/$5 no-limit game, opening up lots of opportunities for big profits. I actually only played a total of two hours during my entire 5 day stay, however, but that is much more to do with the women and nightlife of Tallinn, and my jet lag, than because I didn’t want to play more poker with that kind of action! I would have loved to play more but more important things beckoned, including Estonian women and sleep.

I really feel sorry for young, single men who live in places like Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland etc. Those places are as inhospitable to young men as Mars is to, well, young men. I only thank gawd I discovered Asia, Latin America and places like Estonia before it was too late.

Tallinn is a pretty small town, so the nightlife isn’t super crazy or anything, but the guy/girl ratio is pretty amazing. And the girls are, well, I’d say from what I’ve seen so far, the hottest in Europe.

I walked into one disco called Venus on a Saturday night and felt like I was walking into a trap. There were about 150 people inside, almost all of them on the dance floor. It was about 130 girls and 20 guys??? It’s like bizarro Oslo where everything is opposite… and that’s a good thing.. And the girls, as stated above, are for the most part tall and very beautiful. The girls actually all seem to be really cool, classy and nice and quite open to talking with people who talk to them. Interestingly, the guys, on the other hand, are in general kinda goofy and don’t have much style. Many of them dance like it is a retard competition or something… you just have to see it to believe it.

Anytime the guy/girl ratio is so heavily skewed to the female AND the girls are exceptionally beautiful AND the guys are in general, dorks, well, that’s a recipe for happy Jeff. Combine that with relatively cheap prices and good poker action and you are just asking for me to hang around! In fact, I was going to leave on Saturday but ended up staying longer. I am leaving today (Monday) for Helsinki but would have no problem staying here longer.

The only bad thing about Tallin is the weather. It is similar to all those other frigid northern spots such as Oslo. It was quite chilly while I was here although I hear it is possible to be warm during the summer… some people I met spoke about how they brought their swimwear and were going to go to the summertime beach city of Parnu except the weather was so poor.

On Thursday night I saw this girl dancing who was one of those girls that EVERYONE, even subconsciously, just ends up staring at. Beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed and a really nice body and moves well. There was already lots of eye candy in the building but as I scanned the crowd my head reflexively snapped back the second I saw her. She was at a bit of a crazier-club called Hollywood. There were more guys at this club… about 50/50 and she had literally a ring of guys all encircling her, just staring. I actually had to fight through them like dense forest to get close enough to talk to her.

She had guy after guy going up and talking to her… and she was actually really nice to all of them, not telling them all to get lost or anything which I find is very common amongst the Estonian women. I wait in line for a while but then finally got my turn and introduced myself… she showed quite a bit of interest which surprised me, given the onslaught of competition.

I ended up losing track of her that night but saw her again Saturday night and got her info and met up with her on Sunday night. The girl is really stunningly beautiful. And not just that, but she is beautiful inside as well. She is 20… named Jana (pronounced Yana), doesn’t drink… doesn’t smoke…. Doesn’t swear, but only in Russian she told me. She’s too young to remember Adam Ant, luckily for her, but it left me kinda asking, “what do you do?” too!

She was actually born in Tallinn but moved to St. Petersburg when she was younger. Interestingly, in the meantime, the Soviet Union collapsed and so she is now a Russian citizen who needs a visa to visit Tallinn.

She plans to return to St. Petersburg today and after Helsinki I might go visit her there.

So, after only a few days in Estonia I had already met one of Estonia’s most beautiful girls and actually one of the classiest girls I’ve ever met. What a country.

For any guys that don’t know it, if you live in any of those aforementioned anglosphere hellholes, but want a nice, beautiful girlfriend, go to Asia, Latin America or, if you prefer the European continent: Estonia. Or be like me and have girls in all 3 ;). Not sure where I’m going next but I may check out Latvia, Belarus, the Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Poland before I regress either West to Mexico or East to Thailand, TBA.

Besides, this may be the last chance to get into countries such as the Ukraine, comfortably, for a while. I already had to scratch Georgia off my list after the US backed terrorist attack of South Ossetia was, rightly, resisted by Russia who is none too happy that the US military industrial complex is placing missiles all around Russia’s borders now, including Poland and soon, possibly, the Ukraine. It’d be like Russia placing nuclear warheads in Mexico and Canada, pointed at the US. They tried something like that once in Cuba in the 60s and that almost ended up blowing up the world. Yet, Americans are yet again fed propaganda that this was a Russian aggressive action - if they are even aware of it at all. As we speak the fascist evil American empire has placed a warship at a Georgian port. All it will take now for massive open warfare will be for the usual American orchestrated false flag, fake attack on one of its own ships to draw Russia into a battle that could have many building nuclear shelters, yet again. Meanwhile America tunes in to the NFL and slips further into ignorance. I hate to say it but many in the US deserve what is coming to them. I just hope they get that wall on the Mexican border built fast to keep them out of Mexico once Homeland Security begins rounding them up for their work camps. I don’t want to be bothered by the broke, bankrupt rabble that may try to escape from the north while I am relaxing poolside in the land of the free, Mexico.

Anyway, who knows, maybe I’ll hang around in St. Petersburg with this Estonian beauty, eat homemade borscht and learn some Russian. Not for too long though, that Siberian winter looms not far off.

In the meantime I’m on a ferry to Helsinki as we speak. It’s less than 2 hours away and I hear this week is the Finnish Poker Championship so I thought I’d sail across and see what’s up. As a point of interest, every country on my prospective travel list above all appear to have some degree of poker action. So I am considering this my Eastern Europe late summer poker tour. Now that I have escaped from Amsterdam and Oslo things appear to be looking up!

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Amsterdam to Oslo
I had to get to Oslo on some business and was so, so, soooo happily nestled in Acapulco it was tough to tear myself away, but I did it.

I flew through Mexico City to Cancun, staying for one night in Cancun where even just a few hours there reminded me why Cancun is the only place in Mexico I dislike. It really might as well be in Florida, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference. At the airport I had lunch before my flight. It cost $12 for lunch and I gave him the equivalent of $20 in Mexican Pesos. He blank-facedly asked me if I wanted change.

I looked up at him, looked down to the bill again, then looked up. Yes of course I want change you disgusting POS. Or do you desire I tip you 80% for your fine airport café waiting service??!! Yeesh. Then he asked me how much change I wanted. I was almost gleeful at this question now. "All of it," I replied. He was noticeably very unhappy about this. Too bad. Shouldn’t have asked, dick.

He begrudgingly gave me my change in USD, further showing how American this enclave has become.

Anyway, after one night in Cancun I flew direct to Amsterdam where I saw an old friend. Amsterdam hasn’t changed since I was last there a year or two ago. The bars are still all gay bars as far as I am concerned. Anytime less than 10% of the crowd is women, that’s a gay bar. And all bars in Amsterdam are like that.

So I spent my two evenings there in the casino. In two brief evening sessions I won 1,000 Euros the first night and 2,000 Euros the second night. I played very well and the competition was pretty loose and they were not used to my aggressive style of play so I got lots of action as they figured I was always on the bluff. So, at least the majority of my trip was already paid for just after a few hours of poker.

Amsterdam is an interesting town, I will give it that much. It is very unique. And there are some things I like… especially how nearly everyone rides bikes, a far more healthy and happy mode of transport that automobiles. But for a man with a taste for the nightlife, Amsterdam is a disaster. It is best to spend a nice evening with friends over dinner before stopping in to a weed café for a puff or two and then either to the casino or home. It’s actually a lot like Vancouver, in that way… best to do dinner with friends than to bother going out trying to meet new people.

So I then moved on to Oslo. Ugh, Oslo.

As you can tell, already, I didn’t enjoy it much. Norway is a really small country in terms of population but it is actually one of the most well off countries in the world, per capita, thanks to plentiful offshore oil reserves.

The city… town really, of Oslo, is very small. I was there in August and it was rainy, cold, dark, dank and depressing.

The people/tourists who go there all seem to be outdoorsy types. Content to sip on a coffee at a street café and hit the sack early to venture out to the museums and fjords.

One backpacking American girl who I spoke briefly with regaled me on all the sights she had seen. “Today I saw a church that has unique architecture, it has a slanted roof!”. I tried hard not to yawn or let my eyes glaze over too much. Or to point out that everything she is saying is word for word from her Lonely Planet, isn’t it. She clutched her lonely planet as though it was her lord and savior. She then told me that, “tomorrow I am going to see xxx fjord. It is supposed to be the biggest in the world!”. I tried to feign excitement. The biggest? Really? Wow. I then asked her what is a fjord anyway. Isn’t it just sort of like an inlet? And if so, at what point, when a fjord is big, does it not become a fjord and is, just basically, the ocean.

She clenched her teeth. I had blown her mind. She began rifling through her Lonely Planet to find the answer to my question as I walked off into the drisly Oslo evening.

I wasn’t there over the weekend, but judging by the weekdays, I can’t imagine it is anything special. On the only evening I went out I asked the waiter where is a good spot to go. “There’s Andy’s Pub. Andy’s Pub is always good. And TGIF”. TGIF I asked? “Thank God Its Fridays”, the American chain restaurant, he replied. I couldn't help but let my eyes roll back into my skull.

Andy’s Pub had 15 people in it. 14 guys and 1 lady bartender. Again, if the percentages are less than 10% girls, that’s a gay bar. We then went to TGIFridays… it was actually better than Andy’s Pub, but only in relative terms. In real terms they are both depressing.

So, there really isn’t much in Oslo of interest. It is a very northern (on the same latitude as the Yukon) small, cold, boring place. There are some cute girls around and I actually got some eye contact from some… they were probably surprised to see a non-gay guy.

To add to the horribleness, Oslo just may be the most expensive city I’ve ever been to. If not, it is darn close to London and Moscow for most expensive. I took a 5 block, 2 minute taxi ride. The meter showed $18. I already was irked at that, but then he hit the ‘stop’ button and it added in the 25% sales tax. Yes, TWENTY FIVE PERCENT sales tax?!? It instantly jumped up to $25. For a two minute taxi ride! The same ride would cost $4 in Vancouver and $0.80 in Bangkok. And don’t get me started on whether I’d rather be in Oslo or Bangkok!

Plus, Oslo really has hardly any hotels and so, naturally, during the ‘busy’ summer season EVERY single hotel was full. It was so bad that one night, after calling and going to more than half a dozen hotels I ended up having to stay at a hostel in a 6-people shared room!!! They told me it was a ‘mixed’ room (meaning girls and boys) which was the only hope I had for a decent evening but, of course, I had 5 guys from Sweden, or somewhere, in my room. Funnily, they were all friends, traveling together and I was the only other person in the room. When we woke up in the morning all the money from one of the guys wallets was missing. Obviously they all peered over at me. I just gave them the, “hey, don’t look at me, I hate Oslo and hate this place and I even hate you guys but I’m not here pickpocketing backpackers!” look. It turned out someone had broken into a lot of rooms that night and stole stuff so the heat went off me. Super. Nice town.

If there was one saving grace, and I am scraping for blue linings here, there are actually a fair amount of Thai girls in Oslo. I’ve seen quite a few Norwegians in Thailand and I CANNOT BLAME THEM ONE BIT for going there, but I figure a lot of them must take Thai girls back, considering there are no girls here, that I saw.

Actually I did see a few cute girls. They are all blonde here and all have white, white skin… but some of them are really good looking. If there is one good thing I can say about how people look here, it is their eyes. Everyone has glowing blue or emerald eyes. Other than that, the only hope for girls here is that there is quite a large population of African girls. I actually ended up with a girl from Togo on my one night out. My first Togan! Togoan? Ah who cares.

I got to the point where I nearly snapped and almost drove direct to the airport and took the next flight out but my jet lag hit and I ended up staying at an airport hotel for the night.

I just woke up and found a flight in one hour to Tallinn, Estonia. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Estonia. But, and this I can almost guarantee, sight unseen…. There is NO WAY it can be WORSE than Oslo.

Get me outta here!

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Acapulco / Transformations *tips for shy people
I am STILL in Acapulco. Remember how I said, don't worry, just cuz I got a little place doesn't mean I'll just stay there all the time and be boring? Well, maybe I lied a bit!

I am not sure, but I think I've been here for nearly 2 months now!?! Why, you might ask? Because it is fricking awesome!

I spent 4 years traveling the world, looking for the places that really suited me and I definitely found them in Acapulco and Bangkok. In fact, Acapulco is so good, it may even overtake Bangkok as my favorite place.

For those that don't know much about Acapulco: find out! Do some googling. It is pretty much the most beautiful city in the world and is turning into the hip place to be again... but even if it wasn't the cool place to be, it is still great.

Here are a few pics from this week:

-Me at Mandara nightclub
-My houseguest this week (more on that below) - pic taken from the pool in my building
-A pic of the beach in front of my condo
-A pic taken from patio on my condo
-A pic of Acapulco Bay

I am, however, taking off next week for Europe for a bit. Not sure exactly where but am starting out in Amsterdam and will go from there. Thinking Estonia, Ukraine... was thinking Georgia, but that may not be such a great idea right now.

So, the travel updates should resume in about a week or two. Truth be told, if it was solely up to me, I'd just stay here in Acapulco for another few months. That's how much I love it. But I have a few things I need to do.

Now that my Spanish is improving a bit more I have really been able to meet a lot of interesting and cool people here. And this is part of the thing I want to write about today.

For all those people who are kinda shy or not great at meeting people in social situations, I have some insights that i recently discovered. The results of which shocked even me.

As prologue, I am certainly no hermit. Most of the time I am traveling the world, making rounds in various restaurants, bars and clubs, meeting people. HOWEVER, much of this is done using alcohol as a medication. Without it, I tend to stand there, look kinda angry and really, just want to go home.

And even if I am drinking, it is still very difficult for me to be really social. It is only after many drinks that all of a sudden I am chatting with everyone.

Because of this, I have spent many a night going home, alone, wondering what my day/night/life would've been like if only I had been able to meet that cute girl.

Well, I figured it out.

I recently had a houseguest for a week here in Acapulco. This girl is, by far, the most social, flirty girl I have ever met. She can't walk outside for more than a few minutes before someone is chatting with her and in many cases, she just walks up to random people and starts talking to them. She is very cute, and that obviously has a lot to do with it, but I began to watch what it was that enabled her to engage so easily socially. And I asked her a lot of questions about it too. It was kinda funny because she looked at me like I was from outer space, wondering HOW could I NOT just walk up to just about anyone and start talking with them.

Things didn't work out that well with her as I was having a hard time walking along with her and having her just walk off, start talking to some guy and even grabbing his hand and be on the dancefloor with him within seconds. I was a bit jealous, obviously, but instead of getting too jealous I just decided to learn from her.

I kinda spent the week thinking things over and thinking about all the things she told me and seeing if I could make myself be like her and see if I had the same results.

The results were UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! Apparently, everyone is just dying to talk to you (especially in ultra-social Mexico), but you have to give them the right signals. And the signals are really simple and easy.

As example, I have been in Acapulco for a few months now and, partially because my Spanish isn't/wasn't that great, I felt even more awkward than normal trying to strike up a convo with new people. I had been hanging around a few bars that employ some REALLY cute girls, but mostly just sat there, not saying a word. They didn't really ever say anything to me, either, which made me just feel more awkward to try to strike up a convo.

There is one place, in particular, that employs a girl who I like so much, she was the original reason I first took Spanish lessons 4 years ago, when I was here on my boat. But I never get much beyond, "hola, como estas" with her.

Well, after my houseguest left I woke up the next day and decided, "ok, let's try this. Try to force yourself to be how she is and just see what happens, no matter how silly/stupid it feels".

Here is all I did... they are all so small, almost unnoticeable, but apparently, everyone notices:

1. look relaxed, calm, happy
2. shoulders back, good posture (this comes just natural if you exercise.... if you don't you have to fake it)
3. smile a bit
4. if there is any music playing, anywhere, kinda bob your head and even move your body around to the music a bit
5. look to make eye contact with people and when eye contact is made, give a nod, wink, "hola", "hello" or some form of acknowledgement.
6. Instead of avoiding people, look for any situation to engage with people

Doesn't seem like much, right? But compared to my usual blank, almost angry looking, face and an almost unconscious desire to remain detached, it is a big change.

So, I started by going down to the pool. It was just the first few minutes and I was just getting the hang of it and already two of the lifeguard guys came up to introduce themselves (I later saw them at a disco, with all their girlfriends, so this already paid off). I got many nice looks from girls at the pool but was still a bit uncomfortable to fully engage in convos with them.

Then I walked up to my condo. You really aren't going to believe this. I swear I am not lying or even exaggerating. In fact I am holding back on a lot details here...

I walk in my condo, feeling kinda happy about my experiment. Then, outside of my condo, I could hear some maids talking loudly. They were out there for at least 5 or 10 minutes. So, normally, I would never open my door and see what is going on, but I thought, with my new style, why not open my door, and just see what is going on.

I open my door, and it is 4 of the cuter maids in the building. They giggle at me standing there in my towel, straight out of the shower. I say, "hola, que paso?" and give a sly grin... they respond and then I kind of give them the "want to come in" look... they were shy for a second, but 10 seconds later 2 are sitting on my bed and 2 are sitting on my couch.

As the minutes go by, I keep smiling and nodding my head to the music and make small talk and acting interested (which, actually, strangely, I was). They get more and more comfortable. Soon, they are all taking turns taking pictures with me, ogling me, touching me. It really was very close to getting out of control. It really was all I could do to keep my towel on... I was getting kissed, groped, fondled and grabbed as they went on, "ay papasito... ay mi guapito!"...

This went on for nearly 2 hours! Finally once I had given them all my phone number and promised I would see them again they finally left.

So, by this point it was only mid day, and I already had some very interesting results from my very minor character changes.

I was in a great mood and headed out for the evening. Just walking in that way, down the street, everything changed. I was getting whistled at by girls on the bus... the guy at the 7-11 told me I was very handsome, and I am pretty sure he wasn't gay... then I walk into the first bar where I normally go and sit in silence for an hour.

I walk in... there was no one in there except the 3 really cute girls who work there and who never talk to me. I bobbed my head to the music, look up at the them, throw my arms out to the sides and bellow, "muuuuy tranquilo!!!!" (very quiet here). They giggle, get me a drink and then all crowd around me, taking my picture, touching my hair... we must've chatted for a half hour straight, ending in an open invitation for later this week for them all, yes all, to come to my pool for the afternoon!?!?!

So, rather than sitting there for an hour, kinda feeling bored, I had a great time. So, I then went to the place with the girl I love.

I walk in, hadn't even done anything yet, except the bobbing of the head and the half-smile and she walked right up to me and gave me a hug and kissed me on the side of the face. The kissing part isn't too special... Mexicans do that with pretty much everyone they know, but that was the first time she had done it with me!!

We went on to have more of a convo than we normally would, but then the lights went out and she had to run around and I wasn't able to talk much more with her. But I REALLY got the impression that this convo was leading somewhere and I bet if the lights hadn't gone out, I woulda had a phone # or something that night!

So, anyway, despite the electricity glitch, I was still super stoked about my entire day. So, I headed off to a disco.

Inside the disco were the lifeguard guys, so I hung out with them and some of the cute girls they were with for a bit and then I decided to go to a different club.

I walked outside and these 2 cute girls were standing there. It's getting repetitive now, but I did the little head bob, smile and gave a 'hola'. A 'hola' came straight back. So, then I gave a, "so, what you doing?". Two minutes later I was walking into another disco with each one holding one of my hands. After 20 minutes of dancing (another thing I would never do, but my houseguest friend just told me, all I really need to do is stand there and bob my head a bit and just let the girls dance around me, which is all I did, and it worked) we were off to my apartment, where they both stayed most of the night! (here is a pic of one of the girls in my bedroom)

So, how many girls is that, total, that I either ended up with phone numbers, dates or actually ended up in my room? Nine!!! Coulda been 10 too if it weren't for electrical technical difficulties! And I had two new, cool friends who seem to know all the cute girls in my building! All in just one day!

All because of a few very, very slight modifications to the way I acted.

And, even more great, whereas I normally would have drank a lot in order to get up the courage/desire to meet new people, I barely drank anything that night. It just seemed like alcohol would have taken away from the fun of meeting all these new people rather than adding to the enjoyment!

So, with a head bob and a smile, my night changed from a night of fairly heavy drinking and, quite often, not meeting any new people, to meeting tons of people and barely drinking much at all and having way more fun than I regularly do.

I'll have to keep this little head bob and smile going! Who knew!

*disclaimer: Mexico is a highly sociable, very energetic, curious and open place. Whether this stuff works in other places will be subject to further testing in the weeks ahead. *bobs head, smiles and nods*, ciao!

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Acapulco / Ramblings
It’s been a loooong time since my last post. That’s because I really haven’t been doing much. Been in Acapulco the whole time, enjoying the scene that is Acapulco.

Interestingly, and unbeknownst to me previously, Acapulco really seems to be taking off lately as a jetsetter destination. I always thought Acapulco was way under-rated, but never really thought too much about why or what might change that. But it appears that my initial instincts were not proprietary to myself. Numerous entrepreneurs have been building and renovating dozens of restaurants, bars and nightclubs over the last few years to the point where it is becoming obvious that this is, again, like it was in the ‘60s, fast becoming one of ‘the’ places to go.

Somewhat similar to my Bangkok experiences, I’ve been stumbling upon really cool new spots every week here. Once a city starts to get some momentum, such as places like Bangkok and Dubai, it really just takes on a life of its own.

Just as proof, check out websites for restaurants such as Becco Al Mare and for nightspots such as El Albrije and Classico Del Mar. There is even a Mexican/Thai fusion restaurant here... which is kinda neat for me given those are two of my favorite places in the world, called Zibu.

The New York Times recently did a piece on Acapulco which sheds some more light on what I am talking about, here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/travel/02acapulco.html

Anyway, so besides the fact that I managed to just buy a beachside condo in probably the best location in all of Acapulco, right at the moment the whole town is experiencing a renaissance, not too much else is new.

My daily routine has been awaking, doing yoga on my patio overlooking glorious Acapulco Bay, then hitting the pool while the maids clean my abode, followed by a healthy, fresh meal, then some work, then usually a nap and some HDTV in the evenings… It’s been good.

I think I may take off for Amsterdam, then Finland, Estonia and the Ukraine in mid August, followed up by my long delayed ‘stans tour, including Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and all the ‘stans, except for Afghanistan, which, as usual, the Americanos have turned into hell on earth… so I will avoid Afghanistan for now until the rest of the world stops accepting the US IOU, officially known as a Federal Reserve Note, the most fraudulent piece of paper ever created…. Likely to begin later this year or in 2009 at latest, which will cause the Empire to collapse and allow places like Afghanistan to have a chance at rebirth.

On that note, hopefully humans at some point wake up and realize the only route to salvation is true, 100% freedom, which means that if anyone wants to do ANYTHING, and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, then you shouldn’t use guns (police/government) to make them stop. This means that the heinous, despicable ‘war on drugs’ would finally end, allowing places like Afghanistan to finally turn their fertile poppy growing soil into legitimate cash cows rather than CIA sponsored underground crime operations. If someone, somewhere, wants to do heroin to numb their pain, so be it. Billions of people in the world right now take alcohol to numb their pain and alcohol is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Why aren’t the CEOs of Jack Daniels Whiskey or Absolut Vodka being hunted down and killed?

If you are a COMPLETE MORON, you think that terrorism is actually a threat to your personal safety. If you are a COMPLETE MORON, you believe all the propaganda that the fascist US media tells you and the socialist, centralized Canadian media tells you (CBC.. it’s the government news station, wake up).

Have you even ever looked to see what the main causes of death are, for example, in the US? If you watch the news you would think, for certain, it must be illegal narcotics, terrorists and crime! Here is the facts… these are the top 3 killers in the US:

Tobacco 18%
Poor diet & lack of physical activity 17%
Alcohol 3.5%

Everything else is less than 2%, including things like motor vehicle accidents, suicide, homicide etc. Interestingly, more people die from killing themselves (suicide) than by others killing them (homicide). So, for those of you who actually worry about things like that, take a look in the mirror, that person staring back has a far greater chance of killing you (directly, and especially indirectly through smoking, poor diet etc) than anyone else in the world.

As for marijuana, guess where it stacks up. 0%. 0 people per year die from marijuana use.

So, if the media were to actually focus on the two MAJOR, MAAAAJOR killers, each newscast would lead off like this, “Hello, I’m Bob TalkingHead, it’s a crisis, another 50,000 people died again this month, for the 800th month in a row, from tobacco related illnesses. In other news, 1,500 people were killed today by poor diet and lack of physical activity.”

But of course, that is not what the sheeple are told. They are told that billions need to be spent to find guys in caves who used $2 box cutters to hijack planes and “attack America” and they are told that smoking or inhaling plants (drugs) are a serious crisis issue.

The plain fact is, if you smoke or eat at places like McDonalds on a fairly regular basis, then you are, by far, by a huge margin, the biggest threat to your own safety.

If you are a believer in the ridiculous notion of nation states and using government to protect yourself, then in order to not be a hypocrite you should immediately have yourself put in a cage (jail) for life. Please do!

In actuality, almost everything that most people believe is usually opposite of the truth. People think that a 'war on drugs' will stop drug-related problems when in fact it makes it 10 times worse. People think that eating foods low in fat will help them lose weight when, in fact, by replacing healthy fats which help you feel full with more carbohydrates that actually get converted into fat in the body and result in you eating more of the item because you do not feel full, you end up gaining far more weight on a 'low fat' diet. Even things like peoples beliefs on mixed martial arts goes opposite to the truth. People think boxing is far safer than mixed martial arts (mma) but nothing could be further from the truth. In mma you might take one or two big shots which might break your jaw, or your nose, or your leg, you can recover completely from those injuries. In boxing, however, you take thousands upon thousands of blows to the head... blows softened just enough so that you don't actually get knocked out but can stand to take hundreds more blows. This, in fact, causes major brain trauma over time, to the point where most boxers, in old age, become vegetables, if they survive that long, as many will die right in the ring.

I guess the point is, that you should never take anything 'accepted' in society for face value. You should always analyze it on your own. Society generally gravitates towards its most basic instincts and reflexes... 90% of which are usually exact opposites to the actual truth. And, helped along by media, which in the US is in complete cooperation with the fascist government and the corporations that control it, the chances of nearly anything you hear, from your neighbors, or from TV, being the truth, is slim to none. And don't even get me started on the ridiculous public schooling system which has, as its main priority, the dumbing down of society.

Use your own brain first. The absolute last three entities that you should ever garner information from are schools, media and the government. Thankfully the internet is still relatively free, and will always likely remain so, to some extent, and thereby will remain mankinds greatest hope for true knowledge and communication.

In the end, however, nothing really matters. You are here for a moment and we don't even really know where "here" is. At the very least just try to enjoy it. I am.

You can find me poolside here in Acapulco for the next few weeks… c’mon down and hear me rant and expound on this and many other topics live and in person!

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A homeowner?
Don’t get any crazy ideas. This doesn’t mean I am settling down. It just means there is a room somewhere on the beach in Mexico full of high end electronics and high speed internet connectivity.

I officially moved into Part I of the Berwick Life Plan today. Part II and possibly III and IV will likely soon follow, where I will get similar accommodations set up in, most likely, Thailand and down the road, perhaps a small lodging at a South American ski resort for snowboarding excursions and possibly a place somewhere in Eastern Europe such as Estonia or Kazakhstan just to ensure I have facilities on nearly every continent as home bases when in the region.

But Part I was completed on Friday when I moved into my seaside enclave in Acapulco. As usual I wasted no time.

I awoke Saturday morning with the intention of ‘picking up a few things’. I went downstairs to speak with the resort manager and he suggested that he send me out with one of his staff… it’ll be easier that way, he said, because I “look a little too gringo.” He was suggesting that I may end up getting some bad deals so he asked Enrique to drive me around for the day.

Just having a guy drive me from place to place and know all the best places would have been excellent on its own. But this guy was no slouch! He questioned, bargained and haggled for everything. It almost felt like I was barely part of the process except for the odd “si” or “no” for any questions. And he would carry all the stuff for me, open doors for me and everything!?

Helper friends of his even seemed to pop out of nowhere at just the right times to help carry stuff out to waiting vehicles which he arranged for delivery.

Considering all the effort and trouble it would have been to do this all on my own, I thought, I might as well get almost every single thing I need today while I have my own personal assistant!

Nearly maxing out my credit card (and that is saying a lot) and a few hours later we returned to my condo where all those delivery guys were waiting patiently outside my door with boxes and boxes of stuff.

There was a large flatscreen LCD monitor, full surround sound system, Xbox, Fridge and a new air conditioning system (which Enrique told me they would install ‘manana’!) amongst other things.

And that was just the stuff we could take today. Still to come were the bed, sofa, chairs, tables and other miscellaneous items in a few days from the warehouse.

The condo was still full of all the really ugly furniture from the previous owners. The guys who delivered all the stuff asked me if I wanted to get rid of all of it. I happily said yes, please! They responded, “no problema” and an army of Mexicanos emptied my place of its horrid furnishings within minutes.

And so, by mid-day on the first day I moved into my condo, it is almost all fully furnished and ready to go!

I had to ask Enrique how much I owed all those guys for delivering all my stuff for me and he was almost embarrassed to tell me $25. I obviously tipped Enrique much more than that, as well as the helpers. Enrique’s haggling alone likely saved me hundreds of dollars and the value of not having to lift a finger the entire day was worth a lot to me! I just love the attitude here in Mexico as opposed to the vile residents of places like Las Vegas where no tip is good enough and where service is rarely of the exceptional variety. And even if the service is done well it is almost always solely to get a big tip whereas, in places like Mexico, people do good jobs for the sole reward of having performed a job well done.

I was already in a great mood but it gets even better! I asked the condo manager about setting up a satellite dish to get Canadian HDTV. If you asked that anywhere in Camerica the initial response would almost certainly be an insta-no. However, in the land of the free, his response was, “Ya sure, whatever you want. We can set it all up for you. We can even buy all the equipment for you,” and he went on to tell me that a French Canadian guy in the building already set-up a satellite and that if it is the same one I want that I could possibly even just tap into that! So, if it is the same one, I could even have my sat tv all up and running in a matter of days too.

Everything in places like Mexico and Thailand is just all so nice and easy. It’s like bizarro world compared to living in unionized, over-regulated, socialist welfare states such as most of the anglosphere. I’m just so used to hearing ‘no’ that it is always so refreshing to be in a place where 99.9% of the time the answer is yes… or, more specifically, “si” or “chai”.

Even as I write this blog I had to go to the door and fight off the maid (apparently I get daily room cleaning included in the price of my condo fees… go ask about that at your condo office in Camerica and see what kind of response you get!). She had just cleaned it thoroughly yesterday during the few minutes when I had left the apartment and so I told her I didn’t need anything. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was like, no, I don’t really need anything cleaned today. She kept asking and looking around, managing to peer past my shoulder to see a garbage can with something in it and pointing excitedly, “la basura senior, limpieza!” (roughly translated: the garbage sir, I clean”)

I finally had to let her clean something as she would not allow my place to go uncleaned for the day. She thanked me profusely.

Between being taken care of by my crazy Thai gf poolside in Bangkok and service and amenities like this in Acapulco, I foresee myself quickly getting way too comfortable. Don't worry, I won't let more than a month go by before I pull up Google Maps and hit the road!

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Mucho Monterrey
I wanted to get from Las Vegas to Acapulco. There is a direct flight from Las Vegas to Monterrey. There are also direct flights from Monterrey to Acapulco (on Viva Aerobus, Aviacsa and semi-defunct but still operating, Magnicharters), so I thought, why not go check out Monterrey.

Monterrey has to be one of the least known big cities in North America. I hadn’t even heard of it until about a year ago when I kept noticing that many of the airlines I was looking at for flights flew to Monterrey. After doing a few quick google searches I kept seeing BEAUTIFUL pictures of the city and the surrounding mountains, which appeared to be right on top of the city itself.

Next I wikipedia’ed it and it very quickly became apparent that this was a culturally significant, modern and cool city. Other factoids that grabbed my interest were stats stating that Monterrey was the “safest” city in all of Latin America. Which is saying a lot, as you could drop your wallet in cities like Santiago, Santo Domingo or Managua and virtually be assured that a few minutes later someone would be running along behind you, “Senor! Senor su moneda!”

I take most statistics to be circumspect and I assume all government statistics to be guilty of falsity until proven innocent, especially in the area of ‘crime statistics’, seeing as how the government is the biggest criminal enterprise in every jurisdiction. Nonetheless, I found that stat to be interesting.

So, I always kept Monterrey in mind as a potential stop over en route one way or another and got my chance last week in Las Vegas.

I’ve been here a week already (man time is flying, is it just me??) and Monterrey has not disappointed. The city is really beautiful. Just do a Google Image search for Monterrey and you’ll see a multitude of beautiful shots, from the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains which frame the city to the architecture, statues and parks within the city itself.

There is sort of a main hotel area where most of the hotels are in the centro. The hotels all are within walking distance of the main walking/shopping street, which is nice. The walking street is similar to those in most cities, including Santa Monica and Sydney, Australia… only difference is, of course, much less mentally insane and street people here in Monterrey than in socialist countries such as those.

There is an ‘old city’ part of town, known as Barrio Antiguo, which is within walking distance from centro. This is a really cool part of town. It is full of restaurants, pubs, bars, discos and tatuajes (tattoo) shops. This area is similar to the old town in places like Montevideo, but I give Monterrey extra marks for just being cool. Mexicans, in general, usually have such a great style, but it is even more so in Monterrey. Everyone was so damn cool there I almost felt like I didn’t belong! From the usual Mexican rich kids to the plethora of funky, stylish, engaged college students (Monterrey has numerous schools and is generally known as a college town). The Mexican rich kids seem to like a disco called Uma, in Barrio Antiguo. The school kids can be found at places such as Coco Loco and Zocalo.

Being so close to the Texas border, Monterrey is, by far, the most Americanized Mexican city I’ve been to. This has its positives and negatives. On the positives, a lot of people here actually speak some English, which is NEVER the case anywhere else in Mexico, so for those whose Spanish is less than fluent, it is a nice benefit. Negatively, the city is laid out a lot like an American city. Meaning, having a car is almost a necessity to get around. There are lots of taxis though, so that is not a problem. But the town is very car centric, from the hotel check-in asking me if I needed a parking space to the multitude of parking lots around the city.

This is a working and school town. Monterrey isn’t thought of as a tourist town, but I’d definitely consider it a great town to visit for a weekend if not longer.

The people, in general, are very nice and friendly… which is normal for Mexico. The taxi driver, on my way to the airport, was a good snapshot of the style here.

Taxi Driver (TD): Where you from?
Me: Canada
TD: Frio
Me: Si
TD: Monterrey is beautiful
Me: Si
TD: Everyone nice
Me: Si
TD: Chicas bonitas
Me: Si
TD: Legs
Me: Si
TD: Ass
Me: Si, bueno

That is just the normal type of conversation and the normal way of talking in these parts where not much matters other than women, tacos and tequila.

Monterrey weather is a bit different than I am used to from all the coastal areas I normally inhabit. Monterrey actually has seasons. The winters can actually get below freezing, quite regularly, in the evenings while the summers are extremely hot. It was 42c today! I looked at the weather and prepared myself mentally before going outside but after 20 minutes of walking around I realized I had barely broken a sweat. I briefly started to panic. My sweat glands are broken! They are broken! But then I realized, it’s a dry heat here… again something I’m not used to on all my coastal adventures. In places like Acapulco I would have had to stop and buy a new shirt after twenty minutes of walking about in the hot sun. But in Monterrey it was actually quite comfortable.

Another thing Monterrey has reinforced for me is the size of Mexico. A lot of northern Norte Americanos just kinda look at Mexico as a small country at the bottom of the continent. I’ll tell you, after having spent nearly a year just trying to sail all the way down the incredibly long west coast and having now visited dozens of Mexican cities, all with their own cultures, styles and unique geographical locations, this country is HUGE. It is huge and incredibly diverse.

If you’ve been to, say, Cancun, and figure you’ve “seen” Mexico, give your head a shake. First, the Cancun that most people see (the tourist zone) isn’t even really Mexico. I call it Florida del sur. It's basically just a place where American college kids can go so they can feel like they have traveled the world, while they eat at McDonalds, stay at the Holiday Inn and, gasp, drink a Corona, what a crazy, exotic adventure! And secondly, as I just said, this country is geographically, economically and culturally huge and diverse.

In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve spent well over a year travelling around Mexico now and there is still a half dozen places I can think of, off the top of my head, that I haven't been to yet but am very interested in checking out. Including Veracruz, Puebla and Guadalajara. Mainly because I have met fantastic girls who said they were from those places. I’ve also heard Guadalajara is really beautiful and unique.

Well, hopefully in the next few days I’ll get possession of my new condo and continue on my semi-residency in Mexico and can easily hop a $50, one hour flight to any of those places to check them out.

On a side note, however, I personally believe Mexico, the country, will likely dissolve in the next five years. Why? The great majority of the money in this country is derived from oil production. Oil production that has been declining at shocking rates. The Cantarell oil field, long thought of as one of the world's biggest producers has gone from full production to almost negligible production in a matter of months! In a few more years it'll likely be completely dry.

There are so many geopolitical variables involved that it is impossible to guess the future. Will Mexico start to collapse, and then the US will try to take it over? Or will it collapse and a new, free state be born? Anything is possible.

So, knowing that the country could go through a major upheaval, you ask, why would you buy a place there now? Are you kidding, the best thing that could happen to any country is to have its government dissolve! I was driving to Burma once in Western Thailand when I heard a coup broke out in Bangkok... I couldn't have driven back any faster! Going to shoot all the politicos and bureaucrats? Not without me you're not!

I have no doubt that if the nation-state of Mexico collapses there will be a few interesting days/weeks/months as the natural order of things coalesces after years of corrupt bureaucracy. No problemo. As long as I can keep my satellite TV and internet connection running, and someone is still making tacos al pastor in the neighborhood, I'm good.

As a super side note, I expect similar things for many of the nation states on the planet over the coming months and years as banks collapse, currencies collapse (first and foremost the USD, of course) and famine and energy crisis' (who predicted all this, btw? points at self, smugly) roll through the planet. If you haven't bought gold, silver and some agriculture and energy stocks, yet, I don't know what else I can tell ya. Time is running out.

In the meantime I just arrived back to a place that is beginning to feel like “a home” (I could never just have one), Acapulco, every time I return. My Mexican love affair continues…

Now hopefully at some point they finally finish my closing documents. They told me initially it would be 2 weeks... 3 weeks max. Well, it's been 3.5 weeks so far and still nothing. But, as Siu Yin told me, "It's hot and mucky down there. And they sleep all afternoon, what do you expect?".

Right, as usual, she is!

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RSS Feed
I just realized that there is an RSS feed function of my website. If you don't know what RSS is, don't worry about it. But if you like RSS, you can subscribe to my blog here: http://www.berwick.com/me/backend.php

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Updates and some pics
I'm still in Vegas. I think I've been here nearly two weeks now, time flies. I've been having a good time though. This town definitely suits my tastes. It is 24 hours, even more so than Bangkok! It has tons of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Has lots of hot girls from around the world. And, of course, it has poker. I guess that explains why I'm still here!

I'll hopefully be getting a call soon about my Acapulco condo and then will head back there to finish up the paperwork and take possession. There are direct flights from Las Vegas to Monterrey, Mexico. And on the weekends there are direct flights from Monterrey to Acapulco, so I think that will be the way I'll make it back there. I've never been to Monterrey, nor even heard much about it, but every time I do a web search on Monterrey I keep seeing stunningly beautiful pictures of the city and it's mountainous surroundings. It looks really nice, so I want to stop in and check it out.

Here, btw, is a pic of the approximate view from my condo in Acapulco. Bueno!

And now, onto the poker.

Here is a pic of me playing with my usual chip stack at the World Series.

I've played five tournaments now, I think. The first four I literally got zero cards and my chip stack always looked like the one in the pic.

Then on the fifth one, the floodgates finally broke and I got a crazy amount of big hands. QQ, KK, AK, AQ, KK... and literally, one after another. I more than doubled my chip stack in the first two hours and was finally able to play my game. I had the whole table off its game. I was raising and reraising and stealing blinds and bluffing.

But then, disaster struck.

I had 11,000 chips (starting was 5,000 chips). I had A10 under the gun. I limped in. Four others limped after me and then a short stack raised 2,000. I sensed it was a steal attempt and I put him all in for 4,000 chips. Everyone else folded. He turned over Q 7, offsuit, sheepishly. The flop, K 9 2 7 2. Agh.

So then I was at 7,000 chips.

The very next hand I was dealt KK, for the third time in an hour. The guy under the gun limped in, the girl to his left raised. I reraised to 4,000 chips, hoping to isolate her. Turns out I was the one about to get isolated.

The guy under the gun re-raised my re-raise! This, really, could only mean one thing. Bullets. Aces. Although, it was possible he also had KK's. It was highly doubtful he had QQs.

But, there I was, sitting with only 3,000 chips left, with KK's and having to decide if I am going to call a double reraise for the rest of my stack. I don't know too many people who could fold KKs in that position. I pretty much knew he had AAs but had to call on the offchance he had KKs and the very off chance that he thought I was bluffing and had nothing.

I called. AAs.

Ten minutes later I was in my hotel room.

I do, at least, feel somewhat happy that for at least an hour or two I got to play my game. And it worked very well. I had that table turned upside down once I finally got some cards.

I am thinking of playing one more tourney, on Monday, and then I think I'll call it a year and head back to Mexico.

I've really enjoyed the atmosphere and the vibe of the WSOP. ALL the pros are here. At nearly every table in the tourney are big name pros. I've watched some of their plays and haven't seen too much that they do much better than me. Their reading abilities are what sets them apart and that is also something I am very good at. I've yet to have any of the players I respect sit at my table and get to duel with them to really test my skills. I had Kathy Liebert at my table. But it was at the rebuy tourney and she was basically just moving all in with any hand.. so not much to learn there except to bring lots of money to a rebuy!

I played a cash game with Chris Moneymaker. I've watched his plays on tv and watched him live now and have to say, he is really not a good player at all. His reads are wrong more often than not and his plays are weak. Even if you watch the highlights of the WSOP that he won, more than 80% of the hands he won he played wrong and just lucked out.

Anyway. Poker to me is just a fun hobby. I really couldn't see myself playing it very regularly, like the pros. It can get pretty boring quite quickly. Sure, you can always learn something, every day, which is part of the reason I like it. But compared to, say, the stock market, or economics in general, it is very limited. There is only so much you can do and really you only have three options. Check, bet or fold. Not exactly mind bending stuff. But, as a nice way to get my mind off the stock market and economics from time to time and still get to use my brain, it is a great pastime.

I think I'll try to get to the WSOP every year now. I'll add it to my 'recurring' trip itinerary. That makes three things I'll try to do every year. The WSOP in Vegas in June, Thai new year in April and Boracay for New Years. And Bangkok, Acapulco and adventures in between.

Not a bad life.

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From Acapulco to the World Series of Poker
I’ve got lots of updates and opinions, so simma down na and grab a snack.

First, I indeed have purchased a condo in Acapulco. It is the first real estate purchase I’ve made since my brief, ill-fated townhome purchase circa 1994.

It also denotes a change in my lifestyle. After 3+ years of pretty much living out of my backpack and travelling the world, I am looking for a place, or two, to call my own.

Unlike my prior, failed condo purchase a few months ago in Acapulco, this place isn’t anything too special. It is just a studio apartment. But the location is nearly unbeatable. The studio is on the 29th floor (of 31 floors total) and faces the bay. And, as I said before, if there is a more beautiful urban setting than Acapulco Bay, I haven’t seen it. The building is right on the beach and has two huge, 5 star hotel style swimming pools (complete with bar at the pool and everything!). On the other side of the building is the main street known as ‘the costera’. The building is about as central on the costera as it gets. 50 meters from the building is disco row, restaurants and any amenity desirable. In fact, in the building itself are many restaurants and shops including a tacos al pastor place! I don’t even have to walk outside to get my daily taco!

The building is facing the exact right direction to receive Star Choice Canadian satellite TV which is receivable in southern Mexico with a 85 centimeter dish. The balcony is large so I will throw up a satellite dish there and get a 50” flat screen, sound system, Xbox and a few computers. And voila, the perfect bachelor pad.

I’ll be watching the Oilers next year, in January, in HD, at the beach. Excellente!

It’ll be another week or so to complete all the paperwork and then I’ll hopefully get possession. I’ll likely stick around there for a while (a month or two).

In the meantime, however, while I wait, I thought I’d fly up to Las Vegas and play in some of the World Series of Poker events.

Some may take some of my comments on the USA as being anti-American. I’m not, though. The US government is heinous, but most governments are to one degree or another, but the people in America are the same as anywhere… there are some amazingly great people and some horrible people.

Actually, that is probably the best way to describe America. It has the best of everything (for the most part) and it also has the worst of everything (for the most part).

Let me start with the bad. I’ve seen two people nearly get killed (hit and run on pedestrians), seen numerous heated confrontations and had two people actually make a point of remanding me for not tipping them enough (one of which was a taxi driver who I made very clear that he had best get back in his cab and drive away very quickly or I’ll give him a tip he’ll remember). I’ve also seen a collision between two morbidly obese people on their industrial strength motor scooters. The collision was only at 4mph and was over instantly, but the jiggling and rippling of cheese-looking, pasty fat white skin resonated long after!

But, I’ve also seen and met numerous people (mostly at the poker tourneys where I spend most of my time) who are really interesting and nice. I’ve also greatly enjoyed my stay at the Rio hotel (where the tourney is). It is cheap (actually everything in the US seems cheap now thanks to the perpetually shrinking dollar) and very nice and the service has been excellent. And barely a minute or two goes by without an attractive girl walking by, of every race and color. And it is just so nice to talk to them in my native language where I don’t sound like a complete retard… notice I said complete.

I’ve actually enjoyed my stay so much I briefly took a look at the local real estate listing, considering getting a little condo here and playing some poker on a more regular basis. But, I quickly nixed that. Hotels are so nice and so cheap here, I’ll just stay in hotels when I visit.

The rest of this blog entry is about poker, so if that doesn’t interest you, go ahead and click off.

I played in some cash games to start and was quickly well up. The winnings from the cash games paid for nearly all the tournaments I played. To date I have played four tournaments.

Sadly, though, on my first try at the WSOP, I got ZERO help from the cards. I must’ve played a total of 18 hours of poker and had, maybe 4 playable hands. I’ve never actually seen such a run of atrocious cards. I survived about 7 hours in two of the tourneys and made it close to the money… but it was almost ENTIRELY on bluffs and blind steals! If I would have just once gotten AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 10 10 or AK or AQ and got action it would have been a whole other story.

I played very well though. In one of the tourneys I hadn’t had a decent hand for 4 hours and I looked down to AQ. Finally, I thought… a hand I can actually play a bit! One guy before me min-raised and the next guy re-raised. I took a minute to survey the action… and remember, this is after 4 hours of getting 10-6 offsuit! Your average person woulda jumped out of their shoes to get in that pot. I surveyed and didn’t like what I saw. Based on their prior plays I put them both on monster hands. I FOLDED. They both ended up all-in. The hands: AK & QQ!!!! I was practically drawing dead! I later ended up all in with my small stack with A9. I got one caller, 66. The flop, A J 4… then 7…. Then, of course, 6. What can you do.

I made one bad call in the four tourneys, that I know of. I put a guy on a bluff and ended up all in with one pair against a made full house! I did learn from that, though.

And in the last tourney I stuck around for 7 hours stealing blinds and bluffing and waiting for ANY A or ANY K to go all-in on as I was very short stacked. It took nearly an hour to get it! I got AJ. All-in. Call. AA! Sigh. Not one break all week.

One thing is for certain, the level of play, in general, at the WSOP is far and away better than any I’ve seen elsewhere. Only the Sydney Star City casino has competition that is similar.

I don’t think I was out of my league… but it’s really hard to tell, given that I had no playable hands the entire week! But, for sure, I cannot include myself in the upper echelon (like with the Daniel Negreanu’s and Phil Ivey’s) yet. This I learned. But I never really had much of a chip stack to play MY game (my game is a lot like Negreanus… I’ll raise with almost anything and call with almost anything, content to use my post-flop reading skills to outplay them after the flop). But I was out played a few times this week. This definitely isn’t your half-drunk casino crowd!

One thing I learned this week is NOT to play rebuys at this level! I played a $1,000 buy-in rebuy. I walked up to the table at the very start and half the table had $5k-$10k worth of chips in front of them! People like Negreanu go all-in dark for the first 30 hands trying to build up a massive chip stack! And, in general, it works. Him and Phil Ivey and others were in the final 27 people in that tourney… but most of them probably paid well over $10,000+ to get there! Whereas I walked in, like a dufus, with my $2,000 and was quickly just run out, getting called by 3 people with ANYTHING, pre-flop and quickly I was out the door! It makes sense for the top pros to buy in for as much as $30k because if they get to the final table or win a bracelet, their sponsorship money increases by much more than the $30k. As for me, my sponsor, Team Berwick, isn’t quite so generous!

I am thinking of leaving on the weekend. Part of me wants to play in a few more tourneys and at least, once, get more than the amount of chips you start with, in front of me (I don’t think I had much more than the starting amount the ENTIRE week!!). I kinda feel unfulfilled leaving now.

But part of me already misses Mexico!

We’ll see what happens… go with the flow, as usual.

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Ahhhh Mexico
It took me 4 years of constant travel but I have conclusively, absolutely decided that two particular regions are my calling. Latin America and Asia, more specifically, Mexico and SE Asia. I’ve mentioned that before, numerous times, but I just have to yet again validate that statement, only this time with even more emphasis and certainty. On a flight to either Thailand or Mexico you will see me with a perma-grin. Not so much a smile but more like a look of contentment. True happiness.

No place is perfect, but the closest I have seen is Bangkok and Acapulco. Depending on your personality and views you may hate or love either place. But, for an urbanite like me, these two places are heaven.

And so, after having spent an interesting evening in wonderful Mexico City I found myself flying in, again, to Acapulco. I have sailed in and out of here numerous times and have flown in and out a few times now. I have yet to drive in, which I am told, is a beautiful, scenic drive from Mexico City but however I get here, the important thing is, I get here.

Acapulco is home to, bar none, the most beautiful bay in the world. It has been described as a glittering bowl of diamonds. The massive, sweeping bay raps nearly 360 degrees around a tropical mountainous urban terrain paradise.

Inside, however, is where the true magic lies.

There are very few truly unique and wonderful cultures on the planet. Most are a mix of various influences and hardly any have the vibrancy and soul to resist, or have no need for, any outside ideas or ways. Why tamper with something perfect?

Only Thailand and Mexico are, in my opinion, amazing cultures, in terms of lifestyle and living. Sure there are others, but lesser. Off the top of my head, Japan, Brazil, France and Spain come to mind, but for my tastes, nothing holds a candle to Tailandia y Mexico when it comes to an atmosphere of vibrant life.

At a glance, the two cultures and styles may seem to be complete opposites. Yet, at their core, they are nearly identical.

Arriving in Thailand you are greeted by sweet, beautiful, graceful, bowing Thai pu-yings (girls). In Mexico, your eyes and brain can barely handle the beautiful, strong, confident, sexual latina chicas that walk down the street wearing jeans in ways that boggle the mind as to how they could make a pair of jeans look so amazing.

Thailand is more about peace and serenity combined with chaos. While Mexico is about living the vida loca, with gusto, combined with regular siestas and lazy days at the beach.

However, beyond that pretense, the two places are about one thing. Freedom. Isara Seri, in Thai. Libertad en Espanol. And living and feeling life with little or no regard for anything else.

Not only my mind responds to these environs but my body as well. When I look in the mirror in Camerica or most of Europa I see an unhealthy, unhappy, sickly looking creature. My skin turns almost grayish and my eyes sink into my cranium. Thoughts of bludgeoning myself to death with a dull rock cross my mind on a regular basis.

Upon arrival in the lands of the free, however, the transformation is almost magical. Seconds upon arriving on the soil in Thailand or Mexico I become alive. It is like a B12 shot, two tabs of ecstasy and an intravenous direct drip of cialis. The colors are brighter. The food tastes more flavorful. The girls well… ay mami.

My skin sheds like a snake within 24 hours and I am glossy and have a glowing sheen. The whites of my eyes turn whiter and the green in my eyes turn from dull to lustrous. People stop asking me if I am 30 and start checking my I.D. to buy alcohol. My muscles relax and yet pump up, like dual injections of valium and anabolic steroids.

Hours later I find myself conversing, in Thai or Espanol, either of which now just come naturally, without thought, to a wonderful, intriguing member of the opposite sex about topics that seem unimportant yet are of greater magnitude than almost any topic that might be discussed in lesser places, such as Camerica. There is no, “so, what do you do?” or “where do you live?”, questions asked only to surmise the net worth in monetary terms of the other as opposed to, “what do you like?” and “how do you feel?”, questions asked of true sentient beings. People living life as opposed to taking it.

Thailand and Mexico may change. Anything is possible. In 10 years neither place may not be so great. But for now, right now, both places are my homes.

I continue to look for possible condos or villas in both spots. I know I have mentioned various plans from time to time but I have never had a more clear idea of where I want to be and what I want to do with the remaining days, weeks, months and possibly years left, liver-willing, of my time on Earth.

A nice condo or villa, dually, in Acapulco and Bangkok are now not just thoughts, they will soon be realities. My travels soon to be only periodic breaks as I make my way from one home to the other, clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever way I feel like at that moment.

Half of the year to be spent amongst the exotic, serene Thais and the other half living la vida among the classy, vibrant Mexicanos.

While they are, and seem, worlds apart, they are the same place. In both places you can find young, usually tattooed males with facial hair driving along on a motorbike or scooter, helmet-less and completely untethered to worry, smoking a cigarette while doubling their wife/gf and numerous children. It’s not that they don’t care about you and your rules. It’s just that they are so busy living and enjoying life they don’t have the time or interest to care about what you are doing. As far as they are concerned, as long as you do not bother them they have no interest in bothering you.

Worry is probably not even a word in the Thai language… and for the most part, the Mexicans are carefree as well except for the unfortunate plague of Catholicism which has supplanted itself here. And, of course, the corrupt government and police mobsters – as usual, the two evils in the world, the church & the state are the only things that can put a damper on paradise.

There is one main difference that I can tell between the two countries, however. And that is as it pertains to cost of living. Mexico is decidedly more expensive and your average Mexican taxi driver will be looking for any way to get an extra couple pesos off you while in Thailand even tipping is usually met with embarrassment.

But, while Thailand is practically free, Mexico isn’t all that expensive either, relatively speaking. But it is definitely more expensive, in general, than Thailand. Not many people realize it but Mexico has a huge economy. It ranks 15th in the world for GDP, double the size of places like Greece and Taiwan. Thailand, for comparison, is 33rd. And the GDP per capita is $12,000 per annum in Mexico as opposed to $8,000 per annum in Thailand.

One thing that has really helped, in terms of costs, has been the continually shrinking Peso. The only currency in the world, other than the Zimbabwean WhoCaresWhatItsCalled, which actually has gone down more than the USD is the Peso. When I first came through Acapulco on my boat 100 pesos would equate to nearly $15 Canadian dollars. Now 100 pesos is worth $9.50… a nearly 40% reduction.

But compared to the cost of living in RIDICULOUS Australia, or Canada, or Europe, Mexico still seems very attractive. Just not as attractive in monetary terms as Thailand.

But even if both places cost twice as much as they currently cost, they still would be my #1 and #2.

And so, back to the pool.

**Note, between the time I started writing this blog entry and finished it I have made a down payment on a condo in Acapulco! See I told you I was serious. More on that, and some upcoming travel items, soon!

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UPDATE AND A MUST READ COMMENTARY – PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS ENTRY
I haven’t written anything in my blog for a long time leading some to email with offers of bail money and queries about my state of consciousness.

I am happy to report I have not been jailed and am actually more cognizant and alive than I’ve been for a while. I’ve mainly spent the last month or so poolside in Bangkok, being fed and taken care of by my crazy Thai gf and spending the remaining hours of the day eating good food, at the gym and attached to my laptop researching and reading.

In recent days I had to make my way to Camerica as there was a family situation that I needed to attend and to spend some time with my Mom over Mother’s Day.

Now, however, I have decided that since I am so close to Mexico, I’m going to Mexico! I’m on a flight to Mexico City right now and intend to go to Acapulco soon after.

After that I have NO idea where I’ll end up, but I intend to stay at least a week in Mexico. So, I’ll report in from there soon.

In the meantime I have some important information I’d like to pass along. It is sexually related so those with incredibly sensitive emotional states who can’t even stand to talk frankly about the human body should go now to Disney.com or whatever wholesome place you normally go to shelter yourself from reality.

The topic I am going to discuss today is something that I would have thought unimaginable to exist in today’s day and age of supposed education and access to information via semi-free networks such as the internet.

But, would you believe that right now millions of children are being mutilated just hours or days after being born and having large amounts of their sex organs removed? It’s true and it’s happening right here in Camerica. It’s called circumcision and it needs to stop. Please read the rest of this rant as I consider this to be one of the most important issues, as far as personal health and happiness goes, in the world today.

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The US has been under the control of a number of special interest groups for decades now. The big banks and their founders have run almost all policy decisions in the US since the beginning of the 1900s. And the Christians have been behind anything ‘moral’. They end up combining quite a bit, in the fascist US government, because in many cases their needs facilitate each other’s agenda (like when Christians cause the AIDS scare which results in billions being pumped into ‘AIDS drugs’ which helps further line the pockets of the big banks and large corporations).

I have already written quite a bit on the big banks (and again, I must state, in a free market banks could never be a problem but it is only under this nation-state style of usery that they can cause problems) so today I want to focus on the Christians.

Many Christian leaders have become totally consumed with the idea and concept that sex is bad. Where they got this idea, I don’t know, considering that none of us would be here without sex. In fact, no organism would be here without sex. So, it is like being against eating, or something.

The most likely reason for this is self-hatred and jealousy. Many of these people hate themselves for some reason and hate their base human feelings. And the rest are probably sexually inadequate and therefore want to find ways to make sure no one else has sex because they are incapable or inadequate.

This led to one of the world’s biggest lies. The lie is that male circumcision is necessary because otherwise you can get infection easier. That was news to the billions of people who lived before and currently who weren’t butchered and who never had any problems.

There isn’t much point in even arguing that point as anyone who even thinks about it for more than five minutes or does any research whatsoever quickly realizes this is a fallacy.

So, what is the reason to cut an enormous amount of skin off of nearly every American male’s penis at birth? It is SOLELY to make it so that person enjoys sexual activity significantly less than a normal male. This, in their warped ideology, would make it so people would want sex less.

As with all man-made plans, there was severe unintended consequences. Unlike most people around the world, American males are not very happy. They are downright angry. They don’t know why, but part of it is that they get anywhere from 1/10 to 1/3 the enjoyment of sex that normal males get. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that much of the American aggression and love of war stems from this simple act. While Frenchmen are happily sitting at a café, smoking a cigarette, having a glass of wine and romancing a lover, Americans are cheering American football and NASCAR, trying to vent the energy that they would have otherwise spent on love. While your average Brazilian is lounging at the beach, sunning themselves and lazing away the day in anticipation of a likely evening romantic interlude, Americans are attacking countries just because they ‘might’ attack them. Why? Partly because they have been mutilated at birth and have never truly been able to fully enjoy physical love. ** As a side note, the other major groups besides Camericans who are retarded enough to participate in this act are Muslims and Jews. Could it be that this entire US/Jewish versus Muslims 'war' is one group of sexually and emotionally damaged boys with half their penis removed fighting the other? I've heard stranger theories.

To make matters even worse, in a further attempt to stop the enjoyment of sex, they (church/state) have spent billions (of your money) making sure everyone is in fear and wears condoms during sex. Condoms, of course, even further reduce the enjoyment of sex. A circumcised male using a condom is now getting about 2% of the actual feeling that he would otherwise get!

And now, unbelievably, they are using their already fabricated “AIDS pandemic” as reason to try to force EVERYONE to cut off most of their child’s penis! They will stop at nothing to get you to willingly cut off your own penis!

Here is the good news, however. If you are circumcised, there actually are ways to re-grow a significant percentage of your penile skin. It is called foreskin restoration and most involve stretching of the skin. There are a number of devices available to help you in this process. It can take anywhere from 6-36 months of a very intensive effort to re-grow, but you can get quite a bit of it back. Nothing can make it 100% as good as before, but you can gain back very noticeable amounts.

If a regimen of skin stretching seems like too much for you, I urge ALL circumcised males to AT THE VERY LEAST, use whatever means necessary to ensure the head (glans) of the penis is covered/protected at all times and most preferably by your own skin of your own penis.

I have just recently began restoration and while I don’t expect to see noticeable results from the stretching for months I have already had noticeable results after only covering my glans for a few days.

Many don’t realize it but the head of the penis is SUPPOSED to be covered and protected 99.9% of the time, as designed by nature/god (pick your life provider). This is because the head of the penis is actually a membrane, much like the female clitoris… it is not human skin. It is only meant to be exposed briefly during times of sexual arousal.

By circumcising males and exposing the glans to the air 24/7 it ends up drying out that membrane immensely to the point where it becomes hard, calloused skin devoid of much feeling at all. And, furthermore, by bouncing around all day in your underpants, it becomes almost completely destroyed of any sensations.

After just a few days of using a $10 device called a Your-Skin Cone, which just covers the end of my penis with my own skin I have already seen some of the old hard skin flake off of my glans. It is already beginning to have a nice glowing sheen much like a healthy male penis. I’ve actually never been so excited! I consider the best thing I ever did, personally, was to get laser eye surgery 15 years ago. I now consider this restoration to be almost as amazing, if not moreso.

I anticipate that within 1-2 months I will have a completely healthy glans and incredibly increased sexual feeling. And within 3-9 months I should start to have my own foreskin which will further increase sexual sensitivity and begin to cover my own glans with my own skin without any artificial aid. I’ll never get back 100% of all nerves/sensations that were cut (the actual amount of skin cut from the penis in circumsicion is actually a HUGE amount of skin by the time adulthood is reached amounting to an unbelievable 50% of the total skin of the penis being removed!) but I should be able to regain a LOT more than I currently have which I’ll be very, very happy with.

I’ll leave it at that except to say: If you are having a male child soon I urge you to do some research and DO NOT circumcise/butcher your child. Secondly, if you have been the unfortunate victim of this process there are hundreds of resources out there and thousands of men already restoring themselves. Just google ‘foreskin restoration’ and you will find as much info as you want.

And finally, just as a matter of record, I do not resent my parents for having played a part in this. At the time it was done it was almost completely institutionalized that this be done to all male children born in Camerica and without resources such as the internet to find out the truth they were virtually incapable of avoiding this abhorrent child mutilation. The really fantastic news is, though, that it is possible to regenerate a very significant portion of what was taken from me by the church (sellers of god, not providers of god) and the state (our slaveholders). I encourage everyone to spread the word and save anyone from this heinous crime in the future.

And who knows, if we can end this practice, we may also get world peace as a nice byproduct!

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Phnom Penh II
Phnom Penh (PP) has moved up much higher on my list of favorite places due to my recent visit.

As I mentioned before, on my prior visit I wasn’t feeling well so only really went out for 1 day in Phnom Penh.

I arrived here over a week ago and had booked 2 separate tickets out but on both occasions I decided to cancel the flights out as I was just having too good of a time in PP.

For anyone who likes to get into a place before it really gets popular and establish a residence/business and then watch its value grow in leaps and bounds over the coming years and decades, I would put Phnom Penh at the VERY top of the list.

I never saw Thailand in the 1960s, or earlier, but I bet it was a lot like Cambodia.

PP is a really neat city. It has a gorgeous downtown waterfront (Tong Le Sap River) location on which the Royal Palace is literally front and center and accessible. There are a few cool establishments that have been developed including the aforementioned FCC Hotel but for the most part it is nothing but little shops and businesses… no grand developments, although I have heard that a Korean company is building a huge resort/casino development somewhere in this area which I expect will lead to continued investment and development in PP. I foresee this area as being an amazing, cool, funky, modern, highly desirable address in the years to come.

Buying or investing here now would be the equivalent of buying some Shanghai or Hong Kong waterfront property in the early 1900s. Not that I expect Phnom Penh to evolve into something exactly like Shanghai or HK… but to invest here with a time horizon of 5-30 years would almost certainly look like one of the wisest moves in retrospect.

So, am I going to? Probably not. I’m very short term minded. I really have no plans to be around in 20 years and even if I am, being a real estate tycoon in Cambodia isn’t something to which I aspire.

That said, I would definitely look at purchasing a little abode given the right set of circumstances. With circumstance #1 being major improvements in the internet infrastructure in this region (something that could easily be cleared up in a matter of months once someone begins working on it).

DISCLAIMER: PP is very early in it’s development… and that’s why there is so much opportunity. But don’t come here expecting all the modernity of Thailand or Hong Kong. There are lots of things that need a lot of improvement. But even since my last trip here two years ago the changes are very noticeable.

When I first came here it seemed most streets were awash in garbage. Not sure what the deal was but obviously waste management was not working well.

There are still issues here. Certain parts of town, especially the market areas, once they shut down for the evening turn into smelly, gross dumping areas. Rats, bats and bugs abound.

As well, as I mentioned previously, poverty is still a fairly noticeable issue here… something that will naturally ease as the economy becomes more prosperous. But there are parts of town where you could end up walking through garbage, avoiding stepping on rats while being hounded by naked children begging for food… so, as I said, parts of this place are far from perfect AT THE MOMENT.

However, the same could be said for the downtown East side of Vancouver. You could find yourself walking through trash, trying not to step on needles while 80lb methheads filter along behind you offering manual stimulation for $10 and feeling lucky if you got out of there without being stabbed.

As with most places, if you know the places to avoid you would never see these spots… but in PP there are a fair amount of areas that the less adventurous type may not find appealing.

However, an average evening for me in PP entailed waking up at one of many beautiful modern hotels, all for under $100/night, some under $50/night, taking a dip at the pool. Working until dinner then taking one of thousands of available tuk tuks for $2 to the FCC or to the Rainhouse (another good place to start the evening with a cool club upstairs) or one of dozens of very good restaurants riverfront for dinner. Then dropping in for a drink at one of dozens of lounges and bars, most filled with nice, beautiful, fun girls who would be thrilled if you bought them a drink for $2. And then carousing about one of dozens of discos from the very modern places like Rock or Spark or to places such as Orange, Heart of Darkness, Martinis or others.

If you don’t mind a place that is just a bit rough around the edges you really should check out PP. And if you have designs on becoming the next Stanley Ho or Li Ka Shing in Asia, investment into PP, and Cambodia in general, will pay off in spades.

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I'll rest when I'm dead... back to Phnom Penh!
So much for that plan. I returned to Bangkok and was only there for a few days when for the 1,800th time, I broke up with my crazy Thai gf and left again! This time for good. Yes, I can actually hear a collective guffaw and a shaking of heads, but this time it is for good, I am sure! I always said, when it got to the 1,800th breakup, it'll be time to call it quits! :P

So I ended up spending a few days in Phuket mulling over some travel options and then decided to head back to Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the 2nd time in 2 years.

On my first visit I didn’t feel well and so, even though I stayed in Phnom Penh for 5 days, I only actually left the hotel on 1 day… so, needless to say, I didn’t see too much of PP.

I have made up for that on this trip, having spent nearly a week in PP this time and having ventured out and about every day.

There is a lot to like about PP. Prices has to be one of the main positives though. This has to be pretty much the cheapest, livable country I’ve been to. They mostly use US dollars here and it is like going back to the 1960s… here $1 is actually worth something. A tuk tuk ride, $2. A nice meal at a good restaurant, $2.50. Vodka redbull, $2. A shot of tequila, $1. I left my hotel with $15 in my pocket yesterday and didn’t even have any concern that that amount wouldn’t last me easily the remainder of the day… and even if I want to be extravagant!

Another thing really nice about PP is how laid back it is… coming from frenetic Bangkok it’s a world away in terms of leisurely pace and style. Taxis in Bangkok seem to defy all sense of caution as they rip through traffic at 100 mph. In contrast, the average car in PP rarely gets much over 20mph. They could, as there is generally lots of room on the wide boulevards, but they just don’t seem to be in any rush.

The air quality is also great… blue skies and billowy white clouds acquiesce above the gentle flows of the confluence of the Tong Le Sap and Mekong Rivers.

But there are some negatives here… at least for me. Firstly, I have switched hotels 3 times now hoping to find one with a decent internet connection… while most hotels here offer wifi, the internet connectivity for the entire city seems to be atrocious. Download speeds mimic the pace on the streets and dozens of times throughout the day internet traffic appears to halt completely. And so, for this reason alone, I won’t be staying here too much longer… it’s too bad. If it had blazing internet here I could see myself hanging out here for weeks or months at a time.

Another semi-irritating thing here is the amount of UN type people and NGOs. NGOs are, for the most part, despicable and repugnant as they smugly drive their obscene Land Rovers and Lexus SUVs around town, going from conference to conference, patting each other on the back, mainly expounding about how it is important that a place like Cambodia doesn’t use cheap coal powered electricity generation and instead uses expensive, inadequate solar or wind power instead. This, and most actions of these NGOs to help ‘regulate’ Cambodia only serve to stifle an already incredibly small and poor economy… a topic for yet another conference in the future, no doubt.

Which brings me to another unpleasant side of PP: poverty and general street begging. Very few cities in the world have any type of street-begging. The only cities I have seen that have a significant amount are Vancouver, Mumbai and Quito. But PP has quite a bit as the country is still early in the process of recovering from the brutal, genocidal communist regime of the 70s which halved the population of Phnom Penh alone.

Other than those three things though, Phnom Penh is really nice. Like I said, if they can fix their internet problems you’d find me sitting many night of the year at the open air bar at the Foreign Correspondents Club overlooking the river banks.

Speaking of the FCC… that is an absolute must stay hotel… what a great vibe and great style. It is actually one of the cooler places I’ve ever been. You kinda have to be there to understand what I mean… but it is just really cool. If ever in PP you have to go. Another really cool hotel is called Villa Langka. Super trendy and nice with a fantastic pool… just try to ignore all the NGOs sitting around the pool and restaurant tapping away at their laptops while they try to make the world a “better place”.

For nightlife seekers, here is an excellent itinerary:

9pm FCC for dinner (try the wood fired pizza) and drinks
10pm Saunter upstairs to the open air lounge at the FCC and see what new female tourists are in town that evening - just smile and nod and act like you give a damn as they regail you on this or that temple they've been up since 6am touring
11pm Walk over to DV8, a nice little bar full of girls all too happy to talk to you. Some of them are really beautiful… and most are really sweet. Something kinda lost in a place like Bangkok now where many girls have lost a bit of that sweetness… alternatively to DV8 you can take a tuk tuk to 104 street which is home to about 10 bars.
12pm Pay the bar fine ($5 per girl) and take 3 or 4 girls with you… they’ll know all the good spots to go and will no doubt be a blast to hang out with
12pm There are numerous spots to go at this time… the locals like Orange… it is pretty good but it is very local… you won’t see any gringos in there… which is of course a good thing… but if you want to be amongst foreigners, check out Heart of Darkness. Also, Martinis is kinda a cool little bar area. And there is a big venue called Spark. There is also another odd place full of Chinese people and mainly Vietnamese working girls, oddly enough. As much as I like China, and as I have noted before, Chinese people have NO clue how to party. They can’t dance, at all… usually just flailing about and chain smoking and looking weird. So, while it is an interesting place to see, I’d skip that place…

It’s a small city so very quickly you’ll get to know everyone… I already appear to be quite famous…. It’s a great vibe here. And man, if you are white and have a little bit of money (like $50 even), you live like a king here. Every girl loves white men… and they don’t seem to care how old (I’m talking 80 years old is no problem!), fat (400 lbs? No problem!) or ugly (I’ve seen guys with faces full of warts walking hand in hand with a local young beauty down the street!) you are! It actually is pretty much white man heaven here… if you are fat, old and ugly but still want to have an unbelievably beautiful 18 year old girlfriend, go to PP.

I’m not too fat, old or ugly yet but I’ve already got a girlfriend here… she is beautiful and one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met…. Named Avy.

I’m telling ya, if they can get this internet connectivity problem sorted out, I’ll be a regular in PP.

Lastly, in regard to safety, if you are a watcher of Western "news" programs you no doubt think that the world is a very, very scary place full of plagues (AIDS!! Watch out!!! You're gonna die if you make love!), terrorists (people in caves in Afghanistan are knocking over skyscrapers with jet aircraft! really!!!) and violence... but if you live in the real world you know that all that is hype and for the most part, just downright lies and misinformation. When I was in Cartagena, Colombia, hanging out with my Colombian girlfriend and her friend, they asked me, "Why do Americans think Colombia is dangerous?"... I couldn't give them a good answer except just to say, "well, they're idiots". And the same goes for here... I mentioned to a few people I was in Cambodia and got the instant, reflexive, programmed, "is it safe?" response. The answer is, simply, yes... completely. Turn off your TV and do not listen to anything your government tells you. I was asked by a woman from New York I met in Aruba about all the places I travelled.. she asked me, "I would never go to most of those places... have you ever been in a situation where you feared for your life?"... I paused... "No... not that I can think of. Oh, well actually, one or two times in New York."... I think she thought I was kidding... the next day I had to spend the night in NYC on a stopover... I reflected on our conversation as I made my way through the swarms of heavily armed militia, barking dogs and out into the bone chilling weather through to the rundown taxi who ripped me off and spent 20 minutes trying to find the airport hotel as we drove through Jamaica, NY through various neighborhoods complete with burned-out abandoned buildings, barbed wire fences, crackheads and unfriendly looking gangster dudes. I quickly reached over and locked my door as we came to a stop at a stoplight and just said to myself, "just get through this... just a few more days and I'll be safe and happy in places like Cambodia or Laos."

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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!

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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! :P 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.

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How much does Jeff suck?

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· Ooohhh my gawd LLLOOTTTSSSSS
· He sucks very well, sank you very much
· I hate him more than George W Bush AND the pope!

[ Results | Polls ]


Votes: 3
Comments: 1


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