I’ve been reading “The Return of Depression Economics” by Paul Krugman. It is an attempt to explain the financial crash of 2008 and why efforts by the Fed and Treasury were largely ineffective.
The book goes into the shadow banking system, the products created by investment banks that largely parallel the depositor banking system but avoids the regulatory aspects. Paul makes the argument that the crash began as a currency crisis which precipitated a “run on the bank” of the shadow banking system.
He goes on to explain that most of the tools the Fed has are meant to shore up confidence in the depositor banking system. The shadow banking system is not at all backed by the Fed. When the US Govt came up with special efforts, such as TARP and quantitative easing to add money into the economy, their efforts were thwarted by private investors pulling out money.
The author clearly explains that we are not heading into a depression. A lot of the monetary policy controls the Fed has become ineffective, we are exposed to the economic risks that existed during the era of the great depression.
Anyone interested in economics should read this book. It provides an interesting explanation of what occurred in 2008. It also lays out the risks we face in the current economy and those risks are largely not being addressed by the government.
After horseback riding, we drove to the airport for our flight home. We flew from Guadeloupe to San Juan and then to Philadelphia. On the flight from San Juan to Philadelphia, I caught this image of the sunset while we were at 28,000 feet. In the lower portion of the photograph, I really liked the shadows of the upper cloud layer off of the lower cloud layer. It made the lower cloud layer appear as if it were a lake reflecting the upper clouds.
One of the activities Jill loves to do is go horseback riding. Just about every vacation at some point we end up on horses.
This horse back trip took us down by the beach near the ocean and through some mangroves.
What jumped out at me was the amount of trash that was on the beach and along the roads. The tour guide made a comment about the French just throwing away their water bottles, but that doesn’t explain the TVs and washer machines that were also strewn about. The place we went to for horseback riding was only 10min from the resort. It was easily the most dirty place on the island. All during the week we were from one end of Basse Terre to the other side of La Grand Terre island.
Riding the horses along the ocean was different. The ocean view was great.
Being the last day of vacation, the 4 hour ride was a bit long and hot. By the end of the third hour we all wanted to get off the horses.
On Friday, July 10th, MJ wanted to go back and do windsurfing again. Jill and I were going to go take surfing lessons, however Jill got really bad sunburn so we had to cancel the lessons and keep her in the shade. So I decided to join MJ and try windsurfing myself.
After about 2 hours of either falling or getting yanked into the water, I slowly gained my balance on the board. After the third hour I was able to get the board to move, although only in one direction.
By the time the third hour was over, I was done. Definitely something I would do again.
While in Guadeloupe, we had rented one of the largest cars that you could rent. It was a Chevy Captiva. As in most European vacation destinations, the car had a manual transmission. Over the course of the week, it had come up in conversation a few times that MJ should really learn to drive stick.
After Flyboarding, as we were driving back to our resort, we didn’t have anything really planned. I spotted a large empty parking lot. I pulled into the parking lot with everyone asking me “What are we doing?”, “Why are we stopping?”. I stopped the car and looked at MJ and simply said “Get Out”. He looked at me and said “Really??”
Hey we were in a different country, the rules of the road were similar to the US, but the customs and signage was different. We were using a rental car with the whole family there to watch. What could go possibly wrong?
After 20min of him bumping and grinding the gears, he began to get the feel for the clutch. Although several times I had to instruct him to “ride” the clutch when starting out. He had a mental block and tried to treat the clutch like the brake or gas pedal.
The whole time we were in the parking lot Cathy didn’t say a word. When I felt he had gotten comfortable with starting the car, up-shifting into second and down-shifting, I told MJ to take the exit from the parking lot. All of a sudden Cathy had a lot to say. “Oh, wait!”, “I’m in the car!”, “You’re not going to have him drive in traffic!!”.
I had MJ drive us the remaining 20min to the resort. He popped the clutch a few times and once had cars behind him honking. I just had him pull over and let everyone go by us. We did get safely to the resort. Both Cathy and the car survived.
What is it like to fly like Iron-Man? Try Flyboarding. We did.
While in Port Louis, MJ and I tried flyboarding for a half an hour each.
The flyboard attaches to the output of a jetski via 3″ firehose. The full propulsion from the jetski lifts you out of the water by your feet.
It took MJ about 10min to get the feel for the balance and get out of the water. It was closer to 15min for me to get my balance. At the highest point we were about 10′ out of the water. The instructor controlled our height with the jetski throttle. I really wouldn’t have wanted to go higher until my balance becomes really really good. It is not that you simply fall 10′ when you lose your balance, the jet boots on your feet drive you in to water.
On Thursday, July 9th, we drove up to Port Louis. The town is on La Grande Terre island, about 45min from our resort. The beach front there was absolutely breath taking.
Port Louis is a sleepy little town. Mid week and most of the streets were quiet.
What brought us over to this town was Flyboarding. We ended up in a small restaurant “Le Marin du Souffleur” for lunch. While the food was very good, in comparison to the rest of the island, we decided it was just ok.
Tuesday, July 8th, in the afternoon we went out on the Nautilus. The Nautilus had windows all around the bottom of the boat so you could get panoramic views underwater. It was a nice relaxing afternoon. We got to go swimming and snorkelling off the boat.
Tuesday, July 7th, Jill and I took a Sea Trek Adventure. Originally I was calling it SNUBA, but after getting home I found out that Sea Trek and SNUBA are different. Both are surface supplied air with an avg depth of 15′. But SNUBA is more free swimming where Sea Trek is all contained in a helmet and you walk on the bottom.
We were in the water for about 30 minutes. There was some coral and a lot of sponges. I always like diving with tropical fish. I love the variety of fish on the reefs. You need to be attentive and look in the crevasses. The fish tend to seek protection and don’t always swim in the open. We even got to see a couple of seahorses.
Being Jill’s first time underwater, it was exciting to she her reactions. The first half of the dive, I don’t think she much of the reef or fish. She was enjoying the novelty of being underwater and being able to breathe. During the second half of the dive Jill started to look around.
In the last few minutes of the dive we came across a small jelly fish. The divemaster started handling the jelly fish. This species of jelly fish obviously didn’t have any stingers. He brought the jelly fish over to Jill so she could cup it in her hands. talk about exciting!
On the dive I did bring my new GoPro, however I screwed up the case and the camera got flooded. Fortunately the divemaster also had a GoPro we were got some video of us under water. The pictures above were individual frames taken from the video that we did get. At some point I’ll put together a short video clip of it and post it.
On Wednesday, July 8th, we drove to the town of Bouillante. It is on the western side of Basse Terre island. From the town of St. Francois, where we were staying, Bouillante was about as far away as you could drive. It took a full 2 hours and we had to drive over highway D23, which cut through the northern end of Parc National de la Guadeloupe.
Highway D23 is a twisty two lane mountainous road that wanders across the island. Our car was a 6 speed manual. At one point I turned to MJ and made the comment that I was being forced to really drive the car. I had to constantly up-shift or down-shift with each curve and hill.
The trip was worth it. The beach in Bouillante was pristine. The sand had a lot of ground up obsidian mixed in, so it was a very dark brown. Of course with the new camera, I had to play. I sat the camera on the beach blanket and took a picture of Pigeon island. you can see the light and dark sand grains.