I once took for granted US supremacy – military, economic, and technological. Now, our economic health has been shaken by the disastrous financial crisis. Technological innovation has also fallen behind other countries – US IPOs are at an all time low even as China surges ahead. Until I spent time abroad, I did not realize the extent to which US reputation is tied to our military strength and diplomacy, how much other countries appreciate the unique position the US holds to regulate potentially dangerous states, and how delicately the balance of power and politics stands. Unfortunately, US relations with foreign states are being eroded by policies undertaken in this and previous administrations, who sacrifice long term relations for short term political gains. Before we wake up one day and realize our political power has gone, consider what the US is doing now. Obama’s labeling of the Armenian ‘genocide’, only the smallest consolation for a decades old massacre, severely disrupts US relations with Turkey, which could have been an invaluable ally in the region. The suspension of military-to-military exchanges with China further undermines a relationship we desperately need to maintain as the world’s third largest economy grows. The US public may not recognize these subtleties but it is the job of the administration to be aware of the consequences of its actions, and not be so sensitive to public pressures.
We stopped at Dingle town for lunch at a cozy restaurant and had ‘Dingle’ food that turned out to be just fried prawns and chips. At least it was pretty inside.
And the dessert was quite delicious:
We walked around town which was very small:
And bought some souvenirs:
Our last stop was to see the lakes of Killarney:
After we got back, we went to look for a battery again. We tried a far away outlet and scoured the city before we ended up back at the photography shop that was closed earlier. The amazing thing was that they had my battery! But for 50 euros, my pictures tomorrow have to be amazing.
I woke up today anxious to find a battery for my camera because in my rush to leave yesterday I forgot it with the charger . Janice and I spent the morning running around Killarney asking at camera shops, but I didn’t expect anyone to carry it. The last shop, which advertised wedding photograghy, was closed so we went to browse in gift shops instead. The shop keeper was a very nice old lady who called us “friend” in a sweet voice and gave us a parting gift when we left . People here are so nice!
Our hostel arranged a tour of Dingle Peninsula for us and at 10:15 a van came by to pick us up. I was very sad because I wouldn’t have a DSLR to take photos of one of the most beautiful places in the world, as I’ve been told.
The day started out cold, wet and windy. Our bus full of Americans seemed quite subdued but I sat at the front and told jokes to cheer them up.. and annoy Janice who thinks my jokes are childish. The bus driver was a very nice old man who spoke with an accent that was hard for me to decipher.
But he let me ride in the very front when I wasn’t driving:
I look wet because we just came in from seeing Inch Beach in the pouring rain. There was a very cute dog there and a not very good looking beach so I won’t include a picture of it here.
We made a few stops along the way but I really enjoyed relaxing on the bus watching the cows, sheep, and very very green hills along the way. I had to take pictures with my phone because I didn’t have a working camera
Dingle peninsula had mostly cliffs punctuated by short stretches of beach.
It was very windy.
Off to watch ManU v Barcelona!
It’s been a while since I posted because I’ve been busy enjoying life outside of studying and traveling around continental Europe. Now I’m in Ireland!
Today was very busy because I had to do projects for engineering and attend a supervision for my last exam in modern societies, which I should be studying now.. Our adventure started at 4 pm when Janice and I caught a taxi to the Cambridge train station, then a train to Stansted Airport, then a flight to Kerry, Ireland.
As the plane descended, I looked out the window and saw how incredibly green Ireland is. Lush green fields stretched out uninterrupted in all directions, with cows grazing lazily in patches by the rolling hills. Windmills also dotted the landscape, but beyond that there was little sign of civilization.
At the airport, I went through the smallest border control I’ve yet encountered, and the police smiled at me when he stamped my passport with a GREEN stamp . We walked to the train station which was 20 minutes away, passing signs of campaign advertising for very Irish named politicians like O’ Keeffe and Kelly. Unfortunately they reprsented the Fail party..
The train station was a modest grey building that looked eerily abandoned as we approached it. After circling a few times and knocking to no answer, we noticed spider webs covering the doors. I was beginning to feel that there was no civilization left in this place.
We decided to go ask at the bar across the street, which I found initially intimidating because I only saw two beefy guys drinking. But with Janice by my side I felt braver . We went in. According to the bartender (who was very nice!) the train station only opens right before a train arrives. So we ordered some soup and dessert and sat down to wait. It was very nice and bright, even at 9 pm.
We went back to the train station after eating to find the station still locked. We were lucky that it was still bright out, but as it neared the time for the train to arrive with no sign of anyone else around, I was afraid we would be stuck in the middle of nowhere for the night.
But a train rolled in at 9:29 according to schedule, a short three car train that looked completely empty. We ran over to the conductor and found that this was indeed the train we were waiting for.. but what about tickets? He was nice and said we were ok – free ride to Killarney!
The train was very nice inside – clean, bright and spacious, with a power outlet at every seat! Unheard of in the UK.
We arrived at Killarney shortly and walked to our hostel, right next to Killarney National Park, which we are going to visit. Tomorrow we’ll take a tour of the Dingle Peninsula!
The end. Good night!
Someone mentioned to me that I haven’t updated in a while … so here’s my upcoming schedule:
Mon 4/27 – 900 exam
Tue 4/28 – 900 exam, 1430 exam
Wed 4/29 – 900 exam
Thu 4/30 – 1430 exam
Tue 5/5 – 900 exam
Thu 5/7 – 900 exam
Thu 5/7 – 1030 done with engineering exams!
tldr =p – 3 exams done, 7 more to go
I was trying to figure out what people meant by a D-process and came across an old interview with Bridgewater’s CEO:
Barron’s: I can’t think of anyone who was earlier in describing the deleveraging and deflationary process that has been happening around the world.
Dalio: Let’s call it a “D-process,” which is different than a recession, and the only reason that people really don’t understand this process is because it happens rarely. Everybody should, at this point, try to understand the depression process by reading about the Great Depression or the Latin American debt crisis or the Japanese experience so that it becomes part of their frame of reference. Most people didn’t live through any of those experiences, and what they have gotten used to is the recession dynamic, and so they are quick to presume the recession dynamic. It is very clear to me that we are in a D-process.
Barron’s: Why are you hesitant to emphasize either the words depression or deflation? Why call it a D-process?
Dalio: Both of those words have connotations associated with them that can confuse the fact that it is a process that people should try to understand.
You can describe a recession as an economic retraction which occurs when the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy normally to fight inflation. The cycle continues until the economy weakens enough to bring down the inflation rate, at which time the Federal Reserve eases monetary policy and produces an expansion. We can make it more complicated, but that is a basic simple description of what recessions are and what we have experienced through the post-World War II period. What you also need is a comparable understanding of what a D-process is and why it is different.
I live in Peterhouse College which has its own deer park. The gardeners were very busy last year and here’s why:
My pictures don’t do them justice.
Here is a tour of the college. The first thing you see when you walk through the gate are the Chapel cloisters in front and the Chapel next to them:
Through the cloisters is the Old Court, with the Combination Room and Hall on the south side. Our hall was built in 1290 and is the oldest collegiate building in Cambridge.
Looking back from the other end of Old Court we can see the front of the Chapel:
Behind Old Court is Gisborne Court, where Lord Kelvin used to live:
I spent the last few days in Venice, Italy. Everyone else was busy studying so I went by myself .
At first I had trouble finding my way because Google maps is a couple years old in that region and doesn’t show a new fourth bridge crossing the Grand Canal in front of the Piazzale Roma (nor does live maps), FYI. This bridge is gorgeous and modern unlike the other ones:
The next day, I decided to go to two of the islands near Venice, on the recommendation of some people I met at the hostel – Murano, which is famous for making beautiful glass and Burano, which has colorful houses.
It’s really easy to get around Venice on vaporetto, the water buses. I spent hours riding around the island and along the Grand Canal after I got tired of walking. Here’s a vaporetto next to Rialto bridge:
I later moved to a hotel closer to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) because it’s the center of Venice and I thought it would be more convenient. It was nice to be 2 minutes from the square but the room was scary; I found this one night when I got back:
I called the guy at the front desk to help me and he killed it by smearing it onto the floor. He only took the remains away when I asked, but left the majority of the legs on the carpet (they’re probably still there so don’t stay at Hotel Astoria if you ever visit Venice). Also, unlike the hostel I first stayed at (Absolut Venice, near the train station), no one cooked me dinner and breakfast, or made delicious espresso in the morning. And no free Wifi .
I spent as much time as I could not in the room.
St. Mark’s Square was beautiful, surrounded by a bell tower, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, and the sea.
Inside the Basilica, which is a mix of European and Middle Eastern architecture, were beautiful golden mosaics:
The Doge’s Palace was even more opulent with ceilings and walls covered in paintings, including the largest oil painting in the world – Tintoretto’s Paradise:
I liked to make them fly away. The most effective way isn’t to chase them, but to throw something over them, like my scarf. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures of them flying away because I was throwing stuff into the air.
More pictures here.