For the Global Thinker

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

America's First People

Photo of Ah Chee Lo, a Young Indian Child. It was taken in 1905 by Edward S. Curtis. 

 Hollow Horn Bear, an Indian Brave. Taken in 1907 by Edward S. Curtis. 

Mosa, a Mojave Girl with Face Paint

See many more great photos of America's Native People here...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cheap Cities to Escape From It All...

Old Apartment in Shanghai, China.

I've lived in Asia and now Mexico and for me there is no more of a romantic idea than filling a small backpack, taking an airplane to some far off place and renting a dusty old apartment...cracking open a Heineken and looking out from my new balcony...ahh.  Anyway,  here are the Top 10 Cities in the world to do just that.  Why?  Because they have the Lowest Costs of Living in the World... 

(Click on City Names for more Information and Photos)
10. Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Dushanbe means “Monday” in Tajik, named after a popular Monday marketplace. The capital city has good access to mountain climbing and mountain biking opportunities in the Pamir Mountains. Mild winters might help ease the 40% hardship index. Groceries and housing are extra affordable, but the city’s nightlife is not up to Western standards and more expensive than other cities on the list.
9. Kampala, Uganda
English is widely spoken in Kampala, but there are opportunities to learn Swahili, which is the official language. Kampala is home to many NGOs, and therefore has a well-established expat scene. Kampala is a convenient base for activities like rafting the Nile River, going on safari and visiting chimpanzee sanctuaries.

8. Tunis, Tunisia
Olive oil, carpets, and the Mediterranean – must be North Africa. Tunis doesn’t have much in the way of beaches, but it makes a great jump-off point for Carthage.
There seems to be less hassle of foreigners here than in Morocco, but remember that anyone acting too friendly may want something from you. Ladies, don’t go to bars without a male, you may be mistaken for a prostitute.

7. La Paz, Bolivia
Matador Trips editor Hal Amen writes of La Paz: higher elevation = less money. 3,660 meters above sea level and the lowest GDP in South America – Bolivia has an overall low cost of living index.
Bolivia is the place to experience one of the world’s most dangerous roads, the altiplano, and the Southern Circuit.
Read Hal’s 7 Facts of Expat Life in Bolivia for more information.

6. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Southeast Asia has several factors that make it a draw for expats: warm water, delicious food, friendly locals, and low cost of living. Well, at least it’s still cheap to live in Phnom Penh even if neighboring countries’ capitals are a bit pricier.
Monsoons and corruption are both drawbacks, but transportation is ultra affordable, and so is healthcare. One American expat lives in Phnom Penh on two dollars a day.

5. Colombo, Sri Lanka
Living on an island tends to be expensive, but Sri Lanka is an exception. Housing is ultra affordable and there is an established community of expats. Alcohol is cheap, but if drinking makes you affectionate, be careful, public displays of hugging and kissing are culturally unacceptable.
If you’re thinking of visiting or moving to Colombo, check out Matadorian Dominic DeGrazier’s 9 Reasons Other Than Cheap Booze to Visit Sri Lanka.

4. Bhutan, Thimpu
I find it interesting that a country whose leadership has declared it is more concerned with Gross National Happiness than its Gross National Product would appear on this list; Thimpu has some of the of the cheapest housing and recreation options for expats.
To control tourism and protect the environment, Thimphu charges tourists a fee of $200 a day to enjoy Bhutan. Word is, that has been reduced to a government tax of $100 a day. But as an expat you wouldn’t be required to abide by tourist rules.
Adventure tours are starting to pop up which include mountain biking, rafting, hot springs, and trekking. Just thinking about moving to Thimpu makes me happy.

3. Tripoli, Libya
Although Tripoli is rated with an extreme hardship level of 40%, it’s ranked at number three for having low prices on entertainment, housing, and recreation. This seaport is the largest city in Libya and still largely unaffected by mass-tourism.
Here, you can learn Arabic, swim in the Mediterranean, and climb the still-standing city walls for the best views. Most jobs for expats in Tripoli are in the oil and gas industry.

2. Nuku’Alofa, Tonga
Nuku’Alofa has the cheapest hotels and restaurants on the list, but it’s another 40% hardship location. Now I’m going to throw out some persuasive verbs: snorkeling, surfing, dancing. And now some nouns: rainforest, coral, markets.  Nuku’Alofa is small enough to walk around. English is widely spoken. (Click on city names for photos and information)

1. Sana’a, Yemen
The cheapest place to live on Xpatluator’s list is Sana’a. This Yemeni city has the cheapest food, cheapest housing, cheapest furniture, and cheapest medical care of all the 282 cities ranked. UNESCO has named the whole place a World Heritage Site. Sana’a is also one of the best places in the world to learn Arabic.
For more on living in Sana’a, read Matadorian Baxter Jackson’s Dreaming in Arabic, Learning in Yemen.

Alternatively, if you are wealthy, here are...

Top 25 Cities with the Highest Cost of Living

1 Japan, Tokyo
2 Venezuela, Caracas
3 China, Hong Kong
4 Switzerland, Geneva
5 Japan, Osaka
6 Switzerland, Zurich
7 Brazil, Sao Paulo
8 Norway, Oslo
9 Japan, Nagoya
10 Russia, Moscow
11 Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
12 Liechtenstein, Vaduz
13 Japan, Yokohama
14 Denmark, Copenhagen
15 Brazil, Brasilia
16 United Kingdom, London
17 Australia, Sydney
18 Angola, Luanda
19 China, Shanghai
20 Australia, Canberra
21 France, Paris
22 Monaco, Monaco
23 Kiribati, South Tarawa
24 Jersey, Saint Helier
25 Bahamas, Nassau

See full list of the 300 Cities here...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Little Trick

A beautiful short story that highlights Chekhov's creativity...

The Little Trick 
By Anton Chekhov

It was winter and I was with Nadyenka.  We had a toboggan ready to go down a steep hill.
"Let's go down, Nadyenka," I asked her.  "Just one time.  I promise that it's safe."  She looked at me and I could see the terror in her eyes.  She was afraid.  The hill seemed too steep to control the toboggan, and I knew that she didn't want to go.

"Please come!" I said.  "There's no need to be afraid."  She finally gave in, but I could see that she was very scared, so I held on to her tight.  Off we went, down the hill.  The cold air hit us in the face, it whistled in our ears, and bit at our ears.  Faster and faster we went.  We were almost out of control.  Just when it appeared that we would lose control, I said in a low voice, "I love you Nadya."

The Toboggan began to slow down and we finally stopped at the base of the hill.  No longer was the cold wind hitting us straight on.We survived the trip.  Nadya's face was white and she was barely breathing.  I helped her to her feet.

"I wouldn't do that again for anything!" she said.  "Not for anything in the world!  We nearly killed ourselves!"  After a few minutes, she began to look at me.  She was questioning whether or not I spoke those four words.  She took my arm and we walked a little bit, talking casually.  But still, when she looked at me I could tell that she wanted so badly to know whether or not I spoke to her during the toboggan ride.  I wasn't going to say a word about it.

"Let's take one more ride," she said to me.  "Are you sure?" I asked.  I was playing with her.  I knew the reason why she wanted to go for another ride, and it was not because she enjoyed tobogganing.  Up the hill we marched, then as we were sailing down the hill, just at the moment when we were almost out of control, I said in a low voice, "I love you, Nadyenka!"

When the toboggan stopped, she looked back up the hill, then at me.  She seemed puzzled.  She wanted to know, but could not bring herself to ask me the question.  And on her face it was written: Did he say those words to me or was it the wind?  The mystery was getting to her.

"Do you think we should go home?" I asked.
"Well, I like tobogganing.  Let's go again."  I could tell by the fear in her eyes that it was not the tobogganing that kept her here.  Again we went down, again we almost lost control and again I said in low voice, "I love you Nadya!"

The next morning I received a note, which said, "If you are going tobogganing again today, I would like to join you."  So again the rush of cold air and the "I love Nadya."  She still could not tell whether it was I or whether it was the wind.  Each day for weeks we went up together and I played with her.

One day she decided to go down the hill alone.  I wondered what would happen without me to whisper to her.  Down the hill she went and when she finally stopped, I couldn't tell from her expression whether or not she received an answer.

Winter ended, and with  it the tobogganing.  No longer would Nadya hear the words, "I love you."  I went to Petersburg that summer, and never saw her again.  Nadyenka married and had children.  She did not forget the time we went tobogganing together long ago, and that the wind carried to her the words, "I love you Nadyenka."

It may have been the happiest, most beautiful moment in her life.  Even now, I cannot understand why I said those words to her, nor why I played the little trick.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Letters of Note

A great website filled with interesting letters from leaders, celebrities, writers and artists.  Some of them are hilarious like Hunter S. Thompson's expletive-filled fax to Holly Sorensen then Production Executive of the indie movie studio The Shooting Gallery.

 Excerpt From Hunter S. Thompson's Fax:

Dear Holly,

Okay, you lazy bitch, I'm getting tired of this waterhead fuckaround that you're doing with The Rum Diary.

We are not even spinning our wheels aggresivly. It's like the whole Project got turned over to Zombies who live in cardboard boxes under the Hollywood Freeway... I seem to be the only person who's doing anything about getting this movie Made. I have rounded up Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte & a fine screenwriter from England, named Michael Thomas, who is a very smart boy & has so far been a pleasure to talk to & conspire with...

So there's yr. fucking Script & all you have to do now is act like a Professional & Pay him. What the hell do you think Making a Movie is all about? Nobody needs to hear any more of that Gibberish about yr. New Mercedes & yr. Ski Trips & how Hopelessly Broke the Shooting Gallery is.... If you're that fucking Poor you should get out of the Movie Business. It is no place for Amateurs & Dilletants who don't want to do anything but "take lunch" & Waste serious people's Time.

Fuck this. We have a good writer, we have...
Read more here: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2009/09/okay-you-lazy-bitch.html 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waste Land

Waste Land begins with an eco-friendly premise, but quickly transforms into an uplifting portrait of the power of art and the dignity of the human spirit.

Watch Full Documentary Here:


Chaos A.D. Inside Japan's Armageddon

• Up to 10,000 feared dead in Miyagi prefecture alone
• Cooling system fails at a second nuclear plant
• Japan PM: "worst crisis since WWII"
• 190 people exposed to radiation
• Original quake upgraded to magnitude 9 by Japanese authorities
• Over 250 aftershocks so far

 Live updates...

Extraordinary video of the Japanese disaster...




Stunning Images of the Earthquake and Tsunami...


Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami

Move the slider to compare satellite images, taken by GeoEye, from before and after the disaster.
Interactive Map of Worst Affected Areas...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Extreme World-Juarez, Mexico

Finally a decent documentary about the real situation on the ground here in Mexico.  I`ve been living three hours south of Juarez, Mexico for a couple of years and the situation here in Chihuahua is not much different from Juarez...too bad like Ross Kemp says, "the people are very nice."

Watch full documentary here:


Here is another EXCELLENT documentary about the situation in Juarez and Mexico in general.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Truth about Gender "Differences"

"Hyde observed that across the dozens of studies, consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis, gender differences had either no or a very small effect on most of the psychological variables examined. Only a few main differences appeared: Compared with women, men could throw farther, were more physically aggressive, masturbated more, and held more positive attitudes about sex in uncommitted relationships.

Furthermore, Hyde found that gender differences seem to depend on the context in which they were measured. In studies designed to eliminate gender norms, researchers demonstrated that gender roles and social context strongly determined a person's actions. For example, after participants in one experiment were told that they would not be identified as male or female, nor did they wear any identification, none conformed to stereotypes about their sex when given the chance to be aggressive. In fact, they did the opposite of what would be expected - women were more aggressive and men were more passive."

Read more here:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inside Job

This year's Academy Award winning documentary, Enjoy!

'Inside Job' is the first film to provide a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

Watch the full documentary here...


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Circling Alaska in 176 Days

Nobody had ever done it before: Hike, ski, and raft 4,679 miles through eight national parks, dozens of mountain ranges, and the length of the Yukon territory. Then along came Andrew Skurka.


"Accustomed to capturing his thoughts with a video camera, he recorded a stream-of-consciousness monologue about the caribou, the weather, and his sense of smallness, of being at the mercy of nature just as everything around him was and always would be. Tears flowed again.
"I haven't figured out why I'm crying," he says into the camera, "why the sight of these trails made me cry… I'm just like these guys. I'm just a creature on this Earth."
Even after the trip, he's still not sure. But he knows the tears weren't the same as the ones he'd shed near Slana. During the time I spent with Skurka, I never asked him what he was after, because he'd already shown me, in writing, in miles and ounces and hours. I don't know whether the moment with the caribou, so raw and moving, indicated that he'd found something deeper, but given how far he'd traveled and how difficult the journey had been, there was little doubt that Andrew Skurka had discovered something new.
"I was humbled," he says. And that small realization was as big as anything he's ever felt."

Read more here:

Photo Gallery of the Trek...