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A gift from Hugo Chavez

Amazingly enough, Hugo Chavez is giving us a gift.  Allow me to explain.

World leaders are gathered today in Berlin, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain.  What would have been the greatest armed conflict in the history of the world was successfully avoided... peace prevailed.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Hugo Chavez is stoking the flames of war in his region.

Notwithstanding the collapse of European communism,[...] Click here to continue reading

Answering your questions after the wreck…

I'm actually reporting tonight from bed-side in my hotel room; I managed to crash my $3/day motorcycle rental this afternoon, and between the cracked rib and other pleasantries, I've decided to call it an early evening.

Fortunately for me, Thailand has some of the best healthcare in the world, at least if you're an expat and go to the several renowned and accredited private hospitals... but more on that in future letters.  Tonight I[...] Click here to continue reading

Fight night in Pattaya

The air smelled of sweat and blood, and I could barely hear my friends talking to me over the screaming crowd.  With each blow, bookmakers were shifting odds and taking bets with such a frenzy that the arena may as well have been the New York Stock Exchange on Black Monday.

This was the scene tonight at a local Muay Thai match here in Pattaya... and aside from being a much needed break for[...] Click here to continue reading

Why the only direction for Thailand is up

November 4, 2009
Thailand

I arrived into Thailand at 3am this morning from Shenzhen, and instantly I felt a bit happier. China is undoubtedly a booming colossus full of opportunity, but culturally it can be a bit grating after a while.  After a month on the mainland,  I needed a break, and Thailand was the perfect choice.

Aside from being one of my favorite countries in the world, I wanted to spend some[...] Click here to continue reading

Two unique privacy solutions

Here's the scene... you've just landed and are making your way through immigration. Bleary-eyed and a bit disoriented, the portly fellow behind the desk singles you out for 'secondary screening,' and you are whisked away to the catacombs of the Customs service.

At this point, it really doesn't matter what country you're arrived to... until you clear customs and immigration, you're in no man's land.  For customs officials, anything is fair game, including laptops[...] Click here to continue reading

Five reasons you should consider China as a place to live and do business

I spend a great deal of my time on the road, traveling around the world in search of opportunity. I put boots on the ground while I'm on the hunt and end up screening a tremendous amount of both business and investment ideas.

Some of these ideas make the cut, and we take the concept further. Others don't.

Regardless, the time that I spend on the ground getting to know the cityscape and[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Latvia’s devaluation is certain

What if they held a bond auction and nobody came?

This is exactly what happened in Latvia a few weeks ago, as the country failed to receive a single bid for $16 million of debt, maturing in April 2010. In other words, investors were not willing to loan what amounts to international finance pocket change to a sovereign government for a measly 6-months.

Why? Because everyone expects that Latvia will devalue its currency;[...] Click here to continue reading

What China’s wealthy want…

 

I spent the better part of my day today at a small conference attended by many of Shanghai's wealthy, plus their lawyers and accountants.  Considering the subject material is highly frowned upon by the government, I was surprised that so many were in attendance.

So what was the topic of discussion at today's event? Second citizenship.  Specifically, the St. Kitts second citizenship program.

Throughout the afternoon, local Chinese listened intently as[...] Click here to continue reading

How to play a dollar rally

It had to happen eventually.

Nothing moves in a straight line in either direction, up or down... and when it does, there's clearly room for a correction. 

In this case, I'm talking about the dollar, which has surged in the last week. 

What a roller coaster ride-- we watched it continually slide for years against major currencies while the credit bubble fueled capital flows into foreign currencies and commodities.  When the bubble[...] Click here to continue reading

Dubai is struggling, but rising (a bit)

Dubai is looking something like Rocky Balboa late in his first fight with Apollo...bruised, battered, struggling to his feet-- but still fighting. Of course, if you remember the movie, Rocky didn't win that fight. He was all heart, no belt. I think the analogy fits.

To be clear, I think Dubai is great... I have done a lot of business there and I enjoy it; it's fun, safe, diverse, historic, and cosmopolitan. For the[...] Click here to continue reading