Monday, May 3, 2010

Pictures of a Week Off

I thought I was going to have a nice slow recovery day but I had to go to the grocery store, pick up a bunch of branches that fell all over the yard after high winds last week, and mow the front and back lawns which somehow managed to grow as tall as right before I left last week when I mowed the grass the first time. Anyways, a reader asked about The Bahamas and I thought a few pictures and impressions may be a nice thing to write up.

I have yet to get into the economic swing of things, and it may be next week until that happens. Things like this annoy me to no end via Market Ticker:
More Ponzi: Fannie/Freddie
From the forum:
"Fannie (40+ billion)and Freddie (84+ billion)have purchased a combined $125+ billion of 120 day delinquent loans that they guarantee. (can't reveal my source, but they are a major player in MBS).
Loss severity typically have been running around 65% so on a $100,000 outstanding balance banks recover about $35,000. So one can assume F/F are sitting on $81+ billion of losses. Thru the magic of Ponzi accounting they can hide it for a while."

If you're wondering where all the money Treasury borrowed from January to today went, we can now account for where ~$80 billion of it has to go - eventually.

One problem here arises from the other part of this message, which is that the holders of that paper that was bought back at par (gee, thanks Taxpayer for paying my mortgage!) rolled over into I/O strips, which of course is a bet that lines will not prepay (and thus continue to pay that coupon.)

Oops - rates in the mortgage space have not advanced due to the fleecing of the taxpayer, and as a consequence someone is eating some major coinage here - if the underlying prepays out the guy who bought the I/O strip takes a massive bath.

While some still pretend that mortgage rates are low due to natural market forces (yes you CR) it is very clear the whole thing is a freaking joke. I would appreciate if well regarded writers/bloggers would stop telling the story of low mortgage rates without this massive qualifier.

Moving on....

Pictures of a Week Off
This last trip was the 6th trip to The Bahamas we have made. Other stops have included:
-Napa Valley
-Lake Tahoe
-Montego Bay Jamaica Sandals
-Salisbury Beach Massachusetts
Clearly we love The Bahamas!

What brings us back? A few things:
-Weather (from April-June) is perfect. It gets hot but it is never really humid as the sea breeze keeps things moving
-The area is safe; I feel 100% confident leaving the resort and going wherever I want
-The people are very nice, and while that may all be for show, it is very convincing!
-Good mix of things to do
-Beaches that cannot be beat
-Warm water

The resort we stay at is the Sandals Royal Bahamian. I am biased of course, we love it there and were married there 6 years ago. The resort is large and now features an offshore island that is a nice quiet place to relax. All inclusive means all inclusive; meals, drinks (regular types, mixed ice drinks like pina colada, beer and wine). Your fridge is stocked daily with water, soda, beer, whatever you want at no extra charge. There are 6 restaurants and yo can also eat at the nice set up on the pier. While it seems higher priced at first, you cannot beat this deal in any way on a vacation. The Bahamas is not a cheap place to stay.

Other nice things about this resort:
-Couples only so no groups of dudes trying to scam girls or groups of girls trying to steal husbands (maybe a slight negative, HA!)
-No kids allowed so it is not a playpen for the little buggers
-Well maintained and always clean
-Provided snorkeling and diving trips

Of course it depends on what you like to do on vacation. I like to chill out at the pool or beach, go swimming, and have drinks. One day we visit downtown and you can see the huge cruise ships come into dock, shop at the thousands of shops (some big, some very small), go to the zoo (see below), see Fort Charlotte, or play at a casino. That's about it.

If you are the type that has to be doing something all the time you not find the area that fulfilling. While you can do many things (fishing, snorkeling, meet dolphins/sea lions, etc) you will run out of stuff before long. If you are always on the go this place may not work for you.

Other resorts in the area include Breezes (A Sandals for kids as well), The Windham (with a casino), and The Sheraton. The Atlantis Resort is an absolute zoo and I hate it there. Crazy drunk old degenerate gamblers are all over the place as well as small children running around the gaming floor while people are getting drunk and smoking cigarettes and cigars. People even wheel their kids around there in strollers for crying out loud! It is also expensive as all get out!

Anyways, that is my take. If you want more details I can answer questions via the comments or email listed at the left. I have zero affiliation with Sandals except that I go there quite a bit so that has whatever bias it does.

A few pictures?

We arrived on a Sunday and the weather was perfect. Monday was great until a big storm blew in about 11am and I had never seen one this big while in The Bahamas. Here is a view of the nasty sky:
You can see the large boat dock in the foreground.
Another from our balcony:
The big blue building is the Manor House.

The storm went out that evening and the next day was island time! Here is a view from the island looking back on the resort (you can make out the blue building from the previous picture in the distance:
Nice and quiet!

Saw quite a few critters in the water this year. A live sand dollar:
A perfect 5 point starfish:
Very nice.

The staff go all out at the resort and when I asked for flowers for the wife for our 6 year anniversary (this was not included in package) this was the wonderful set that arrived:
This was a nice thing for them to find by my request.

One day we went to the Ardastra Zoo. A $15 admission brings a nice visit. If I were rich like the inventor of the Halo 3 game (Mark?) I would love to donate a huge amount to this place. They need some extra help to keep this place running.

Some more critters:
Meerkats in a huddle:
A double Black Swan Event!!!!!:
This Jaguar was great to see:
The show piece of the zoo are the Flamingos. These birds are trained to walk like soldiers and march on command! It is pretty wild to see:
This is fun.
I thought this parrot was spray painted because the colors looked fake:
It was real.

That's about all. I hope you enjoyed the pictorial.

Have a good night.


Zydecopaws said...

Great pics, it looks like you had a good time on your vacation.

getyourselfconnected said...

Hey Zydecopaws!

I did indeed. I had today off but work looms large tomorrow, ugghhh..

For the readers,
the above comment comes from the author of the great BBQ site No Excuses BBQ:

..Which has been a great source of information fo me with the new grill.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Nice pictures! The parrot looks a bit like mine, but the colors are vastly more vibrant.

The jaguar needs a caption I think.


getyourselfconnected said...

I was thinking the same thing!

When the flamingos are not on their march parade they roam free around the zoo. It seems the stop in front of the jaguar cage quite a bit. What a tease...

Dave in Denver said...

Awesome pics, gyc. Was that the Sandals on Nassau or Great Exuma? I stayed on Nassau back in the mid-1990's. Loved it.

getyourselfconnected said...

It was Nassau. I looked at the new Emerald Bay resort on Exuma and I am thinking it may be worth a shot, though it is way more expensive. Maybe I can get a donation button going for that trip if I promise to take pictures?

CT-Hilltopper said...

Very nice pictures!

I'm glad that you and your wife had a good time!

getyourselfconnected said...

Wow, a super special visit!

So glad to see you dear, I hope all is well. We had a great time. Now I have to go back to work in "our" environment. You should post more by the way.

jeff said...


Looks like you had a great time!

I was laughing when I saw the black swan. A sign perhaps???

Yeah welcome back to our world.

D-Day for us is early June. 60% cut in the sales force...3000 people..Yikes.

Casey L. Conley said...

WoW! great pictures! Looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary!!! Glad you reposted this.. I've been so out of the loop lately.. Would love to visit a Sandals someday. Any beach is good for me tho..
Looks very relaxing and the water is amazing..