Monday, June 22, 2015


I predicted that the major tourism surge from the U.S. to Cuba would come by cruise boat, mainly because there just weren’t enough hotel rooms there. While I still think that is true, the “hotel” inventory just grew dramatically thanks to Airbnb. They are the American online home rental service. It is a really cool thing since I think it will really allow visitors to have a much more authentic visit, really seeing how people live and getting a feel for their culture. This can be done much more effectively in someone’s home than a hotel or cruise ship. While it has only been a few months, Airbnb is part of a growing number of American companies who have already established business relations in Cuba. IDT Corp out of New Jersey established the first direct calls between the countries. Netflix and Mastercard are there as well, albeit in limited capacity at this point given the existing restrictions. I think once you crack open the door of capitalism it is awful hard to shut and control. How quickly will this happen here? Depends a lot on the removal of the embargo and the sponsorship of terrorism designation. That looks like it is about to be lifted within the month and then we will see what happens in the Senate. It is fair to say that this has a lot of momentum and with all the problems happening in the world now this could be a rare diplomatic victory for the U.S. It is within our sights now, so close to happening. I cannot wait to visit there and hope that the Cuban people will get the opportunity for freedom they so badly deserve. There is a lot at stake here indeed, much more than just money. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

Airbnb offers Cuba lodgings in major US business expansion

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I really love living in Florida. Every day I wake up I am thankful for being able to live here. One of the things that always strikes me is the raw beauty of the nature we have. Between lizards, insects, birds, etc. there is rarely a dull moment out West where I live. And there is so much undeveloped land, wherever you look out West, it is sort of comforting. Nonetheless I was shocked to see this article, about the largest contiguous tract of undeveloped private land East of the Mississippi River, going on the market for sale. The size is 560,000 acres, which is nearly the size of Rhode Island. It is expected to bring $1 billion dollars or more when it finally sells. It is located on the gulf coast just south of the Panhandle in Northern Florida between Tallahassee and Gainesville. It is owned by the Foley Timber and Land Company and largely consists of forest now. Prospective buyers are expected to include real estate investment trusts, pension funds, university endowments, and sovereign wealth funds, all of whom are attracted to stable long term investments like timberland. I have never heard or seen of a plot of land this size being sold, anywhere. It is amazing to think about how big it is and all the possibilities that it will become. How fast will it happen? It will be very interesting to see and I promise to let you know as soon as a buyer is announced. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

560,000-Acre Swath of Florida Land Going on the Market

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


“The only tried and true solution to combating rising seas levels is to rise with it,” said Eric Carpenter, public works director for the city of Miami Beach. Does it sound crazy? Makes a lot of sense to me and I bet it is the most viable and cost effective way to battle the rising water levels. Already Miami is raising its lowest roads and sidewalks 1.5 – 2 feet. More from Carpenter, “There’s a very real possibility that the entire city’s infrastructure – roads, buildings, parks – will need to be elevated an extra 2, 3 or even 4 feet over the next 100 years.” Now you start to see just how serious this problem is facing South Florida. And make no mistake about it, it is the entire region not just Miami. But Miami does have it worst given their low sea level so it makes sense that they are starting the process of how to deal with it sooner than later. But the building codes everywhere will have to be changed and if it happens soon enough we will be ready when it happens. There is a lot at stake here, not the least being flood and home insurance premiums, which are already the highest in the nation. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the coming years as politicians face this new reality and start planning and budgeting accordingly. If they can do it in Holland we can do it here. Look at Key West for a closer example. As always thanks for reading and have a great day.

An Idea To Mitigate Rising Seas In Miami Beach: Lift The Entire City