the dollar vigilante blog
The Weekend Vigilante October 12, 2013 - Hong Kong, Bangkok and More
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Hello from Bangkok, Thailand,
I left Acapulco on Tuesday and was amazed at the condition of the airport. A few weeks ago it was under five feet of water and full of crocodiles but you would never have known it. They must have known it was going to fill with water and removed all the machinery and even the check-in podiums because I didn't even see any signs of water damage anywhere.
I then flew through Mexico City airport on to San Francisco which was by far the worst part of the trip. I had an overnight stay and a late morning flight so rather than heading into San Francisco for some of the worst nightlife on Earth (they have a strip club but it is like arena seating like you are at a hockey game and a bunch of girls who obviously don't want to be there meander around... and you aren't even allowed to drink alcohol!
So I stayed at what was called the trendiest airport hotel at San Fran airport called Aloft. It prides itself on a lively lounge. There were about 10 people there, eight of them guys and 2 fat, unattractive women. Two of them were playing "battleship", I kid you not and the rest of the people were hypnotisized by their smart phones. Having come from Mexico where people still know how to have fun and on my way to Hong Kong and Bangkok where the fun never stops I just bided my time and tried to put it out of my mind that in the morning I'd have to go through the East Germany style checkpoints.
And, to be warned, by an audible alert that any "inappropriate remarks or jokes concerning security may result in your arrest"!
Having made it through with my usual patdown I felt the need to relax and had a few glasses of scotch at the bar. I then bought a bottle of vodka at duty-free and boarded the aircraft full of hornery, unionized United airlines flight attendants which had me dipping further into the bottle of vodka.
Also not looking forward to a 13 hour flight on an archaic 3rd world airplane that didn't have power plugs nor even an inflight personal entertainment device I then decided to take the Clonazepam that my wife bought in the black market (free market) in Mexico... she told me it'd knock me out.
The two Americans sitting beside me on the plane started up some small talk before I imbibed and told me, "we were so happy to see one other person on the flight who spoke English."
I responded, "Well, we are going to Hong Kong... what do you expect?"
They then went on to tell me how they had to go to Singapore for work but were very scared. I took another drag out of my vodka bottle to numb the pain of hearing the typical fearful stupidity of Americans.
However, I think I took too much Clonazepam. My wife, who is almost like a pharmacist in her knowledge of these things told me to just take 1-2 drops. I think after the scotch and vodka I poured nearly the entire bottle into my vodka and the last thing I remember was going to the bathroom to smoke.
When I opened the door there was a number of very angry flight attendants who told me I was in big trouble. That's really all I remember but somehow I ended up sitting in a different seat (I was later told the Americans sitting beside me were scared of me because I smoked in the washroom). None of the Chinese people on the plane seemed to think it was much of a big deal though.
I awoke as we touched down in Hong Kong and the stewardess had my vodka bottle, cigarettes and other paraphanelia in a plastic baggie marked evidence and she told me there would be someone waiting for me upon arrival.
I walked out and a Chinese airport official took the bag and told the lady she would take care of it. "Good!" she said, very angrily.
We walked down the jetway and he laughed, "you had some drinks and smoked on the plane?"
I replied in the affirmative.
"Ha, no probrem," he said and handed me the bag and told me to enjoy Hong Kong.
People outside of the USSA just don't worry about little things like they do in the land of the free. In the USSA I am sure a SWAT team would meet me on arrival and I'd be thrown in a cage.
It's amazing how much the US has changed. Most people don't even seem to notice that most of the seats on the decades old planes that still operate in the bankrupt US still have ashtrays in the armrest. Thirty years ago you could bring your gun on the plane and have a smoke. Today, it is terrorism!
I hadn't been in Hong Kong for more than five years and it was so nice to be back in a first world country again after the US. The city is unbelievably modern and nearly completely anarchic and ultra-capitalist. The city is an organized chaos that is pure beauty. Every second or third shop is getting torn down (because it was not profitable) by a bunch of guys with no health or security regulations and within a day or so it is a brand new shop open trying to make a go of it in the free market.
Wealth is everywhere. Nearly every car on the road is a high end BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, Aston Martin, Ferrari. People are zooming from here to there making deals and the business district buzzes with activity. If you want to make money go to Hong Kong. But, it won't be easy. Everyone here is a high level entrepreneur so there is lots of competition and they'll fight it out to get the lowest prices for the highest quality products to consumers.
I had a computer issue so I took the excellent MRT system over to Kowloon to Mong Kok which is an entire city of computer and electronic shops selling things I've never even seen before at prices much, much lower than you'd see almost anywhere else. The amount of consumers buying up merchandise was almost unbelievable.
And, my entire week there I saw only two policemen sauntering down the street in very unmilitary clothing... and didn't see a police car my entire time here. Hong Kong may be the closest thing we have to anarcho-capitalism on the planet. I love it there.
I met with some clients who are very interested in our passport services (TDV Passports)... not for people from Hong Kong as much but HK acts as a surrogate for wealthy Chinese clients who do have a need for foreign citizenry to get outside of the still quite fascist and oppressive Chinese government and its travel and currency controls. The clients have massive amounts of wealth and a passport costing $30,000-$400,000 is pocket change for them. Many are interested in a new passport program we have in Mexico that we just recently announced to TDV subscribers. A Mexican passport is now in very high demand as an excellent travel document and also to do business there as Mexico is becoming the new China of production... with production costs that are now even cheaper in Mexico in many cases due to the rapid rise in wealth in China. (Call TDV Passports if you are interested in our new Mexican residency and passport programs)
I then moved on to Bangkok. I lived in Bangkok, off and on, from about 2006-2008 and loved it here. Bangkok is another nearly completely anarchical place where you can do almost anything, anytime, anywhere. The city is a truly amazing place... especially if you like to have fun.
Unlike Hong Kong, which is quite expensive, Thailand is the opposite. I am staying in an incredibly nice hotel room just off the main road, Sukhumvit, that is ultra modern and about 1,200 square feet for $60/night! I just ordered room service... wonton soup (which was, as is normal in Thailand, absolutely fabulous) and a double Johnny Walker Black for about $5.
On my first night here I met up with a TDVer who has expatriated here and heads up the Bangkok TDV Group. A fabulous guy who is making a lot of money exporting products from here purely via Ebay. He wrote up exactly how he did it (and how you can too) in a prior edition of the subscription TDV Newsletter. He showed me around a bit. Bangkok has changed tremendously. All my old favorite hangout spots are gone or have changed and dozens of new areas have sprung up... typical for Bangkok where, like Hong Kong, business moves fast and when customer interest changes they immediately accomodate.
Probably the best thing about having been in Mexico, Hong Kong and Thailand over the last week is that no one cares, at all, about what is going on in the US. They don't even know what the "shut down" is, nor do they care. Mexico is booming, HK is infinitely richer and more modern than the US and in Thailand things are also booming and people are too busy dancing, drinking, eating and having fun at night to care about what is going on in the dying US.
From here I head to Sydney, Australia to keynote speak at the Gold Investment Symposium along with the likes of Rick Rule. I am not a big fan of Australia, per se, as they almost make the US look lax when it comes to rules and regulations. Australia gives Canada a run for its money on ridiculous border security. Check out this absolutely ridiculous TV show in Canada about "Border Security"! I know ALL those people by name, by the way, as I get pulled to the backroom everytime I go through Vancouver airport.
But I am sure if I get through border control I'll enjoy the fine company and some white wine near the Harbor Bridge.
Then I am on to Singapore for a day to check up on things there. Singapore, like HK, has a lot of wealthy Chinese clients that we are looking to help out with our products and services (and we are still looking for someone to head up TDV China, by the way... it will be a multi-million dollar business for zero dollars down). TDV Spain has already launched as has TDV Latin America... and soon TDV Germany. And, possibly, TDV Russia (contact us for more).
We are also looking to continue to add TDV Groups of freedom loving expats around the world to help others find opportunities and possibly expatriate to their regions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more on that.
And then, after Singapore I'll be on to Cambodia to check up on our Cambodian passport operations which appear to be going well. And then finally, back to Hong Kong for one night for another meeting with a high level Chinese expatriation expert on how we can work together to help Chinese internationalize their ass and assets.
And then, sadly, back through San Francisco and then on to Spokane, Washington for the Silver Summit. While I hate going to the US I still do because there are still great events there and great people, like one of my favorite silver analysts, David Morgan, in Spokane.
From there I'll hopefully head back to Acapulco to my wife, kids and four dogs... and for that I truly can't wait.
I won't be there long though. I may attend an investment event in Belize in early November and I may also try to make it down to Galt's Gulch Chile near the end of the month where they are throwing a spring (fall in the north) event. For more on that, sign up to Galt's Gulch Chile's email list.
Phew. Lots of places to go, people to see and people to help free themselves from the governments who purport to own them. You can follow me on Facebook to always see my current whereabouts and if I am in your area message me for a drink.
Until next week, likely from Spokane Washington, try to be or stay free my friends.
Anarcho-Capitalist. Libertarian. Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks. Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante, CEO of TDV Media & Services and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast. Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and gold conferences including his own, Anarchapulco, as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, CNN and Fox Business.
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