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August 29, 2012

Mongolia Road Trip Part II


Please see Part I for the first 2 days of our trip. As we travelled around, we got to visit dozens of small cities that I would never have had a chance to ever visit. When you pass by rapidly, they really don’t look like much… …but once you stop and look around, you find all sorts of interesting sites to check out and people ... Read More
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August 22, 2012

Mongolia Road Trip Part I


I’ve now spent the majority of the last two years of my life in Mongolia, yet I haven’t really ventured much outside of the capital of Ulaanbaatar. Last weekend, some good friends of mine took a roadtrip and I naturally decided to tag along. Here’s the photologue of our trip. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed living it…. We started ... Read More
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August 3, 2012

Kazakhstan Part II


Please see Kazakhstan Part I if you missed it. You cannot have a real estate bust without debt — lots of it. When looking at real estate busts, very few American cities can even come close to the epic collapse that Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, experienced. Of course, to have a bust, you also need a boom, and here again, Almaty’s ascent from Communism is the ... Read More
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June 17, 2012

Kazakhstan Part I


It’s now been a bit more than 2 weeks since I spent a few days in Almaty, largest city and economic capital of Kazakhstan. I’m still trying to process it all. When people think of Kazakhstan, they naturally think of Borat, but that is simply a mistake. Almaty is such a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city with the unfortunate residue of Soviet architecture. Even here, ... Read More
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March 6, 2012

Namibia


There are many reasons to visit Namibia. While the economic possibilities are intriguing, I really went for the scenery. I had read about the dunes and even seen some pictures, but until you’re actually climbing on them, you cannot really understand just how amazing they are. I recently read that in 2010, 984,000 people visited Namibia. That compares to 16.9 million people going to ... Read More
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February 8, 2012

Zimbabwe Part III


It’s been called Uncle Bob’s (Robert Mugabe) insane asylum. It’s destroyed the wealth of almost every white investor (and many of the black ones too) over the last thirty years. It’s functionally dysfunctional and the concept of rule of law is as vague as Mugabe’s moods. Why would I ever invest there? One reason, Mugabe is 87. He has to die eventually. This is ... Read More
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February 8, 2012

Victoria Falls


I apologize in advance for this piece having nothing to do with finance, but you cannot go to Zimbabwe without going to Victoria falls…. And the difficulty in getting there, only made it more worthwhile when I actually got there. Our flight was cancelled “because the national airline didn’t bribe the right guys for the plane to take off,” according to our travel agent–no ... Read More
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January 20, 2012

Zimbabwe Part I


In the West, many of us think that we know the Zimbabwe story and it goes something like this. The prosperous colony of Rhodesia was abandoned to its fate by the British as they succumbed to socialism after World War II. Ian Smith, the leader of Rhodesia, was condemned by the West for seceding from the British Commonwealth, but he stubbornly refused to let ... Read More
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January 15, 2012

Mozambique Part II


Like most countries in Africa, no one really knows the numbers in Mozambique. The government numbers are politicized, the NGO numbers completely ignore the unofficial sector—which is frequently many times the official sector, and businessmen operate by guesstimate. How many people live in Mozambique? Any number between 20 and 25 million is about as accurate as it gets. How big is the economy? The ... Read More
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