Monday, August 28, 2006

Slow Night for Tuk Tuks

A fleet of tuk tuks waiting outside of the night bazaar in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Not a busy night as I recall.

A Little on the Sexist Side

You will have to click on the photograph to enlarge it enough to see the sign. I took this at a temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am not sure why "lady cannot enter" and my wife did not do a very good job of explaning it to me. It did not seem to bother her though so I guess in her culture it is normal.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My New House

Now the one downside to selling your home, even at a pretty good profit is that you are going to have to buy another. When I sold my house, it was a sellers market and I took advantage of it, but I moved to Baton Rouge to take a better job and needed to buy a house there. As luck would have it the week I sold my house in New Mexico, Hurricane Katrina hit MS and LA. Baton Rouge was spared most of the destruction, but the population of Baton Rouge doubled overnight and housing prices hit the roof. Houses that weren't selling at 130K the week before sold for 180K after the hurricane. I ended up waiting about 6 months for the housing market to adjust and finally bought a nice 3 bedroom house with about 1500 square feet in a nice neighborhood about 10 minutes away from both me and my wifes places of work. We paid 150k for it, but it is in immaculate shape with tiled kitchen and baths, hardwood floors in the living areas and hall, and Berber carpet in the bedrooms. So far, I am pleased with it.

My Best Investment

My best investment, by far, was to buy my first house. I was in graduate school and was only making about 12K a year. My wife was working in a large retail store as a Department Manager and was making nearly the same as me. I had some money saved up and impeccable credit so somehow we managed to buy a house. Now mind you, I was living the life of a grad student, so the house was not luxurious by any means, but it wasn't a dump either. We paid 57K for three bedrooms, two baths, and 1500 square feet of living space. The best thing about the house was the kitchen, it was huge. If I had not gotten a job out of state I would have liked to keep it. However, after living in it for 4 years and putting very little money into it (only minor repairs), we sold it for twice what we paid for it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Brother in Laws House in Thailand

This is a photo of my wifes brothers house in Chaing Mai, Thailand. He owns a small farm that produces papaya, lum yai (longan), and other fruits.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Traveling Overseas

One of my favorite things to do when I have the time and money is to travel overseas. I have been to Mexico, The Bahamas, England, France, Italy, Spain, Algeria, Thailand, and Burma. Of these destinations my favorite by far is Thailand. One reason is that I have in-laws in Bangkok and Chaing Mai. I get along well with my in-laws and they like to travel within Thailand with me, showing us sites from a Thai perspective. The know I hate the tourist traps and take me to the more interesting places. Like I mentioned before, they want me to buy some land and a house there (In my wife's name of course) so I have a place to stay when I visit or retire. At this time they do not mind if I stay with them when I am there but they know that after a while I need some privacy. They are still the greatest in laws a farang (foreigner) could have.

Snakes on a Plane

In the Herpetological circles there is a lot of concern about the movie "Snakes on a Plane". Most herpetologist and biologist are concerned that this will add to the irrational fears of snakes that many people have. I have not seen the film and I am not sure it is even released yet, but I think that the at the very least the title is funny. There have been snake films in the past with titles such as hiss, slither, rattler, anaconda. Snakes on a plane is such a ultra simple title that I can't help but be amused by it. I am sure there are some people out there who will believe the things that happen in this film to be true snake behavior. They need to realize it is fantasy and just enjoy it (if it is any good). I will probably rent the CD when it is released and I will post a review at that time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Today I was given another big project to manage. That is the third new project in less than a week and now I am juggling seven projects simultaneously. At least I am keeping busy at work. Last night my wife told me that her brother told her about a house in Chiang Mai, Thailand for $7000. We have talked about buying a place in Thailand to stay at when we visit her family and to use when we retire. I already own a piece of land (less than an acre) and a small cabin in the mountains in NM. Unfortunately she did not get any details on the property or the house. I would not buy anything unless I saw it myself anyway. However, it is a good excuse to go to Thailand when I can take some time off.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Snake Photography

Sometimes when I am working in the field I come across interesting animals. I have a lot of photos of snakes. I will post one or two of them from time to time.

Get rich slow or quick?

Since most of the get rich quick strategies are scams and I am probably too old to get rich slow, I would like to get rich at a slightly accelerated rate. Are there any books, tapes, or websites that offer advise on how to get rich at a slightly accelerated pace? Iwould like to retire in the next 15 years and have enough money to buy a house on the beach or in the mountains.

Things I am one year closer to:

  1. Paying off my mortagage
    Only 29 years to go! Actually I plan to pay at least two extra payments a year to pay it off early.
  2. Retiring
    I would like to retire at 60, but that is only 15 years away. Even though I max out my 401k and put 50% of the remainder in savings, I am not sure if I will be able to swing it.
  3. Collecting Social Security
    Provided there will still be money in the fund when I reach 67 1/2.
  4. Death
    Although inevitable, I would like to hold off on this as long as possible.