I've just finished organising 6 years worth of travel photos on my laptop. For the most part I've deleted all the crappy photos so whats left is really just good photos and they tell an interesting story. But without even having to show you all of my 8,000+ photos you can get an idea of which countries I found most interesting just by knowing you how many photos I took.
There is some bias because I did more exploring in some countries than others, but sometimes that is simply because there is more exploring to do. Other times it's because I was working or studying (e.g. Japan) or just didn't have time (e.g. France and Italy). Overall it still gives you a pretty good idea of where you can expect to see cool stuff.
This is not the list of my favourite countries. It's simply where I took the most photos.
So, without further ado, here it is! The countdown for the best country according to my travel photos...
"Zo," he starts in a thick Russian accent, "You like ze Russian women?"
Oh god. Not this conversation again.
"Ahhhh." I start my reply cautiously. I still haven't quite figure out how to break it to the Russian men how I really feel about Russian women. "They are good at makeup."
He glances at his friend and takes another shot of whisky. Obviously this was not the reply he was expecting. The Russian men are proud of their women and like to see the foreigners falling all over them.
"Vot about zis vun hey?" A young Russian women walks to join a small group of people not far from us and ends up with her back to us. She has long straight brown hair, a good figure, tight jeans and of course, heels.
Yes, from she here she looks beautiful but unfortunately my new Russian friend had chosen a bad example. I knew this girl already. Actually, my friends and I had just spent a good part of an hour flirting with her and her friends.
I sent my friend Justin a message to ask him what I should do in Moscow and he gave me a pretty detailed reply, so I figured I'd post it here for you guys to read as well. Justin has been living as an expat in Moscow for 12 years.
Here goes, I hope you find it as useful as I did.
1) visit Red Square and St. Basil's, and Manezhnaya square on the other side of the Kremlin. You can also see Lenin's tomb between 11-2. Better to go early and beat the line. Don't forget you will also file past famous guys like Gagarin (first man in space) buried in the wall.
2) visit the best metro stations. Google the top stations. All the old Soviet stuff you have in you mind is there. (Murals of Stalin, Lenin heads, statues of peasants with wheat and guns etc...)
3) take a boat tour along the river. You can get the nice Radisson boat for dinner, or you can take the cheap city boats which sell snacks and beer and take the same route anyway.
4) visit The Kremlin. It's pretty ok, and worth saying you've been there.
5) Gorky Park. They've done it up, and it's really nice now.
What a strange weekend.
On Friday I went to a salsa party full of single girls dancing, flirting and laughing. One stood out in particular. Let's call her May. It was a fun night and I still have images of May jumping around on the dance floor, flinging her hair about, skipping from man to man and basically just attracting a lot of attention.
Then on Saturday I met a friend who recently graduated, started work and is now engaged. Let's call her June. When we last met 4 years ago she was a student and vehemently anti-babies. Not so much now though. I listened to her tell me how relationships were a compromise and how she was never anti-babies.
And finally on Sunday I visited some old friends who now have two kids and are set up in the suburbs. Let's call them Cath and Shane. It was a strange feeling watching Cath and Shane feed, wash and change their screaming babies and think back to the weekend I had passed with May and June.
Was I witnessing cause and effect?
If I had to form a naive world view from this single weekend I would conclude that:
May surely didn't give pregnancy a thought that Friday night, yet with the benefit of hindsight we can say it is quite probably an eventual outcome of her behaviour.
June used to rant about the ridiculous things her mother told her about security, not expecting the spark to last and choosing someone because they love you and not necessarily the other way around. Now she regurgitates her mother's ideas to me as if they were her own.
And Cath and Shane, well they might fantasise about reliving the highs of being in love but these moments seem to be drowned in the logistics of day to day life.
So what happened?
What happened to love?
Was it ever real?
Or is it just nature's dirty trick?
Every now and again curiosity motivates me to go onto women's blogs and forums to see what sorts of problems they have in the dating game. It's always quite interesting. This week I found a post on the TwoXChromosomes subreddit about creeps and online dating. The post is from a guy who set up a woman's profile on a dating site to see what it is like.
What he discovered is that guys are basically just, like, creepy.
Here is an abridged version of the original post (emphasis is mine):
So here I am playing my violin in the mountains and this big bull elephant turns up and starts blowing his trumpet right behind me (NOT in tune, I might add). So I stop for a photo and he starts getting all huffy and then just starts running at me like it was HIS gig or something.
It's difficult to get a good photo of wild elephants when they're chasing you, but I got this one and some other pretty good photos of the ground. Don't worry, my violin is quite safe.
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