Cozumel – Island of the Swallows

September 29, 2008

Did you know that Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea?  In fact, it is Mexico’s largest island.  It is located off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, opposite the Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel.  Cozumel is a very popular tourist destination and is known throughout the world for it’s scuba diving and snorkeling.  Some of the most spectacular coral reefs are found in Cozumel.

The island of Cozumel is approx 30 miles (48 km) going north & south and approx 10 miles (16 km ) going east & west.   It’s the largest Atlantic island of Mexico.   It’s approx 12 miles (20 kms) from the mainland, and approx 36 miles (60 km) south of Cancun, Mexico.

Cozumel is serene, laid-back and somewhat undiscovered.  Cozumel compares to many Caribbean Islands because of it’s activities, and stunning beauty. The appeal of this island lies with the combination of the best of Mexico with the allure of vacationing on a Caribbean island. The island of Cozumel is tone of the top destinations in the world for cruise ship visits.  This island is surrounded with ivory white sand beaches and crystal clear water, which ranges in color from turquoise to deep indigo.

With the tropical climate of Cozumel, the weather can change from one day to the next.  It is warm year round with an average temperature of 81 F (27 C).  Heavy rains start in June and go on through October.  Even if it rains every day, the usual duration of a shower is short.  Humidity is naturally high during the rainy season.

The west side of Cozumel is calm – ideal for swimming, diving or just relaxing in the sun.  This part of the island is also the most developed with banks, markets, shops, restaurants and hotels.  The east side of the island is more secluded, with very few people living there and little activity.  There are some calm beaches with clear emerald green water.  There are at least 20 live reefs so close to the shore,  it makes snorkeling and diving a must. The island also has it’s share of Mayan ruins hidden in the jungles that can be explored by car, bike or foot.

The area’s diving and snorkeling are legendary.  Following a 1961 documentary by Jacques Cousteau, Cozumel earned a worldwide following of divers who ranked it one of the top five scuba diving and snorkeling sites on the planet.  The island’s surrounding waters are filled with undersea life, colorful reefs, and the wrecked hulls of Spanish galleons.  The area’s marine life & reef structures attract more than 75,000 divers from all over the world, every year.   With over 30 kms of reefs & water visibility up to 200 feet and over 200 species of tropical fish, Cozumel is considered by many to be the best.  It’s very easy to find dive shops – they are everywhere!

For non divers, the island has something for everyone.  Sightseeing includes some archaeological sites.  You won’t want to miss the shopping & dining in the village of San Miguel de Cozumel.   Nature lovers come to Cozumel to see giant see turtles laying their eggs from May to September and to view the island’s variety of exotic migratory bird life.

Fishing is also a major sport in Cozumel.  Species like dorado and barracudas can be caught.  It’s easy to find charter boats.  Other water activities include sailing, water ski & windsurfing.

According to Mayan legends, the home to Goddess Ixchel, the islanders built temples to honor her, the goddess of love & fertility.  In return, Goddess Ixchel sent the swallow, her favorite bird, as a gesture of gratitude, thus the name of “The Island of the Swallows”.

Wikipedia Facts

Google Map

Cozumel International Airport

Stomping Grapes in Atlanta with Samantha

September 22, 2008

I was visiting my friend Mark Evans, DM at his new home in Atlanta last week.  We went to a Wine Festival and I had the pleasure of meeting & stomping grapes with Samantha Brown.  Samantha is a well known Host on the Travel Channel.

Mark is an internet entrepreneur and author.  I have know Mark since 2004.

We met at an Internet seminar in Detroit and became fast friends.  We even toured Haiti with our buddy Frank Mckinney back in 2007.

Mark Evans and Douglas Doebler at Marks Front Door in September 2008.

Fun things to do in Gulf Shores, Alabama

September 17, 2008

With a mild climate year round, Gulf Shores is a wonderful place to visit to enjoy fishing, water activities, historic sites,  golfing and festivals. The area offers a large number of activities. I consider this to be a great beach town.

Kids and adults both will love the Alabama Coastal Zoo which features more then 250 animals, reptiles and birds.  Every year there is a Shrimp festival in October that features entertainment, fine arts, arts & crafts and of course, the main event, shrimp!  For a little bit of history visit the Bellingrath Gardens which consists of gardens and a mansion located on the Fowl River in nearby Theodore, a suburb of Mobile, Alabama.

If you are a war buff & interested in history & the Civil War or the Revolutionary War, you might want to visit Fort Morgan.   This fort is at the mouth of Mobile Bay.  Some regard it as “one of the finest examples of military architecture in the New World”  The fort was named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Daniel Morgan.  The fort is maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Other fun activities include fishing, water sports, hiking, biking and bird watching.  Golf at one of the 9 local golf courses which include a 4 star rated course and a course designed by Arnold Palmer.

Check out these links for good info if you are planning a trip to Gulf Shores or Mobile Alabama.

National Shrimp Fest

City Link

Baldwin County Link

Chamber of Commerce Link

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Mobile Regional Airport

Pre Construction in Gulf Shores, Alabama

September 16, 2008

The 37th Annual Shrimp Festival is around the corner & it reminded me of my visit to Gulf Shores 3 years ago.  I was there to compare notes with a friend/associate/Real Estate Broker who lives, works and plays in Gulf Shores Alabama.

Click here if are interested in checking out this 3 year old pre-construction condo project

The 37th Annual National Shrimp Festival coming soon Oct 9-12 in Gulf Shores, Alabama

September 15, 2008

The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held each year during the second full weekend in October on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama.  The Festival is one of the nation’s premier outdoor festivals featuring over 300 vendors that offer fine art, arts and crafts, a retail marketplace and of course, SHRIMP!!  Check it out

Damage in Haiti – What Can We Do?

September 12, 2008

I just received this email from Frank McKinney.  I have been to Haiti twice.  The people there have become a passion for me.  Please take the time to read the email from Frank.

Dear Caring House Project Foundation Friends,
Self sufficiency cannot take hold when survival is all that matters, and that is what is struggling mightily given the impact of four hurricanes in the last month in Haiti. The situation is dire.

Here is what we are doing and how you can help:

We sent down 200,000 meals with a 3-to-1 starch-to-protein ratio that will clear customs tomorrow. When buying in bulk, we can secure a meal for $0.10, so this shipment cost our Caring House Project Foundation $20,000. We will ship more once we receive an assessment from our partners on Saturday. To participate in providing emergency food relief to the people of Gonaives, you can donate $250 to serve 2,500 meals

We are well into the process of building a large self-sufficient village in Gonaives, an area shown on the national news and in the attached photos. Below is a summary of the village. Of the planned 35 homes, 20 are complete so far and are acting as a temporary emergency shelter. The 20 homes, each constructed out of concrete and set on higher ground, are housing 300 people who have been displaced.

Our upcoming Frank McKinney’s Ultimate Tour of Extremes – From Rich to Enriched event will benefit CHPF’s efforts in Haiti. Please take a minute to visit the link, This will allow an unprecedented opportunity for you to see firsthand the impact you are having in Haiti, not to mention all of the other experiences that are a part of the event.

Frank McKinney’s Ultimate Tour of Extremes – From Rich to Enriched is the next time we will be visiting Haiti. It will be memorable. If you can’t come, we would still appreciate your support as soon as practical.

Gonaives Summary:

Gonaives is located approximately 106 miles north of Port-au-Prince on Haiti’s west-central coast, and is the country’s third largest city. It is an extremely arid, dusty city with saltpans and brackish lowlands on the east side and deforested mountains overlooking the city to the west. The majority of its estimated 70,000 inhabitants live below the poverty level. The majority of the adults are subsistence farmers who provide for their families by means of small crops.

Many residents of Gonaives still remain homeless due to the devastating hurricane in 2003, now compounded by the four hurricanes of 2008. The city’s water system is still in ruin, due to damaged/missing water well pumps, mud-clogged drains, and contaminated water.

The Caring House Project in Gonaives will promote community development by providing safe housing, nutritious food resources, education facilities, potable and accessible water, and a multi-purpose facility for community engagement for the residents of Ponte Quenepe in Gonaives:

1) Construction of 35 concrete double-unit homes. Each home will also include an individual sanitation unit, inclusive of pit latrine and shower stall.

2) Distribution of 35 sets (3 each) of fruit trees for every home built.

3) Construction of a 9-classroom schoolhouse, which also includes an office for school administration and a separate office for teachers. The campus will also feature a playground area for outdoor activities. Sanitation facilities will consists of 2-indoor units, and one-sanitation block housing 8 pit latrines.

4) Construction of a multi-purpose community center building for skills and vocational training.

5) Implementation of an animal husbandry initiative, which will provide a goat to each housing recipient. Also 24 milking cows will be purchased and deposited on a 300-acre farm where they will be raised for the production of dairy products. Food products from the farm will be donated to the school, and made available to the community.

6) Establishment of a vegetable and fruit tree farm, complete with irrigation system, which will be situated on the aforementioned 300-acre farm. The horticulture project will provide for the cultivation of mango trees, avocados, breadfruits, and cassava sticks, and assorted vegetables and fruits. All produce will be accessible to villagers, distributed to local feeding programs, and sold at market. Revenue from sales will be reinvested back into the farm. Local residents will maintain the farm.

7) The construction of a concrete cistern, installation of a submersible pump, and plumbing connections and pipe fixtures.

The Caring House Project in Gonaives will improve the lives of 20,000 people living in the impoverished community of Ponte Quenepe and provide needy families with basic resources that will radically change their lives, resulting in a healthier and promising future.

Please join us in helping these people that have just experienced such loss, whether it is helping to build the sustainable village with safe housing or to send emergency food relief to Gonaives.

Thank you for all your support and interest in helping those in greatest need!

Frank McKinney

Here is a link to learn more about the Caring House Foundation

This is Frank’s link to his Caring House Project (turn up your sound)

My Thoughts & Prayers to the People in Haiti – WOW – The Haiti “Tap” story goes on… what’s next?

What does my barber know about Alicante Spain?

September 10, 2008

Not much… just what his friend told him.  I was sitting in the barber chair a few weeks ago talking about beach towns & my barber mentioned his friend who had just returned from Alicante, Spain.  I had never heard of it so I just had to check it out.  Alicante is a beachtown in the southeastern part of Spain.  It is also an historic Mediterranean port – complete with a castle!

The heart and soul of Alicante is the grand La Explanada de España.  I’d love to take a stroll on the beautiful marble tiles that actually depict the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.  There are four rows of palm trees bordering the marble walk that offer shade even in the heat of summer. This elegant boulevard is rich with its red, black and cream tiles – all 6.6 million of them!  They say it is a sight to behold!

I would also love to visit the Alicante Marina & El Puerto Complex for a touch of luxury.  This is where you can mix with rich and famous while dining or shopping.

The Santa Barbara Castle sounds like something I would really love to visit.  This castle sits high on the Benacantil Mountain & overlooks Alicante City and the beach.  From what I have read, the views from the castle are amazing – definitely a photo opportunity for sure.  They say that Santa Barbara Castle is an excellent place to visit at anytime of the year.  In the height of summer it’s a perfect place to catch the sea breeze, while in the cooler months the walk up to the castle through the parks and pine wood allows you time to reflect on the difficulties of trying to capture this castle – let alone building it.

There is so much to do here!  Alicante has a large array of gardens, parks, plazas and promenades to visit.  Park activities are offered all year round.  If you are interested in museums and history, there are many museums to visit in Alicante.

The summer months are of the best to experience water sports.   Wind surfing, water skiing, jet skiing, para-gliding, scuba diving, boat rides are all fun water activites.  Just walking the beach or catching some sun rays will make you come alive.  Beaches are aplenty in Alicante.  Visit them all!

  • Playa del Postiguet
  • Playa del Coco
  • Playa de la Albufereta
  • Playa de la Almadraba
  • Cabo de las Huertas
  • Playa de San Juan

Check it out on the Google Map Link

Here are some Wikipedia Facts

Chamber of Commerce

Alicante Airport Link

I found this great link to tell you all about  Alicante and what to do there.

I have never been to Alicante but it sounds like a great place to visit.  I am so glad my barber mentioned it.  Please send me an email me if you have been there – I’d love to hear your story. click here to Email me.

2008 Music Festival in Oranjestad, Aruba

September 8, 2008

REO Speedwagon & Gloria Estefan will be performing at the 7th Annual Aruba Music Festival in Oranjestad.

The 2008 Music Festival is coming up October 10 & 11th

Aruba is among the most southern of the Lesser Antilles islands.  It’s about 15 miles (24 km) from the coast of Venezuela.  On a clear day the Venezuelan mainland is visible from the southeastern coast of Aruba.  It’s about 42 miles (67 km), or 20 minutes by airplane, to the nearest Caribbean neighbor, Curacao.

The island has a jagged coast & heavy surf on our north, windward side. On the southern, leeward coast there approx seven miles (11 km) of honey-colored sand beaches. Aruba is about five miles (8 km) at it widest point and 19 miles (30 km) in length.

Aruba attracts some one million visitors and cruise passengers per year, most from North America and nearby Venezuela, and it ranks as one of the Caribbean’s most popular vacation spots.  There are miles of beaches; some quiet beaches & some beaches with stiff winds & a choppy surf.   Of course you will find many 1st class resorts, gambling casinos, shopping, and dozens of opportunities for fine dining

Oranjestad is the capital city.  It is located on the southern coast near the western end of the island.  It is extremely colorful with its Dutch colonial architecture and pastels.   Along the wharf,  you can find merchants selling fresh fish and produce right off the boats every morning.  The downtown area with shopping malls surrounding it is the primary shopping area on the island.

Visitors looking for beautiful beaches, glamour, glitz & plenty to do, choose Aruba. Make sure to visit the Natural Pool, the Natural Bridge and the Quadiriki Caves while you are visiting Aruba.

Google Map

Official Site of Aruba Tourism Authority

Aruba Travel Guide

Chamber of Commerce

Wikipedia Facts

Aruba Music

Aruba Television

Aruba Video

Queen Beatrix International Airport

Amelia Island, Florida

September 1, 2008

Amelia is long and narrow.  It is 13 miles (21 km) long (21 km) and approximately 4 miles (6 km) wide at its widest point.  Amelia Island is situated just south of Cumberland Island, Georgia, off the east coast of Florida in Nassau County. Fernandina Beach and Amelia City are both located on the island.

It is host to the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the Bausch & Lomb Tennis Championships.

Amelia Island has several beach resorts.  There are many interesting day trips if you feel like moving from the beach or pool.  Take a nature walk or boat tour, stroll through a beautifully restored Victorian town, visit a historic fort or ride horses on the beach.

If you are planning a trip to Amelia Island or Fernandina Beach, you might want to check these links:

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Chamber of Commerce

Amelia Island Museum of History

Fort Clinch State Park

Jacksonville International Airport

Hurricane Fay Hits Haiti Hard

August 22, 2008

The local people in Haiti have become a Passion for me.

I have visited Haiti 2 times.  I have seen the poverty & the filth.

I have seen good things happen as more & more people are helping this starving country.

The have been hit hard by Hurricane Fay.

I have yet to hear the assessment of the damage & hope the people in Cap Haitain are safe.

Diving in the Cayman Islands

August 18, 2008

The Cayman Islands are an outstanding choice for couples or families looking for a fabulous vacation. The Cayman Islands consist of 3 islands – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.  This group of islands is located in Caribbean Sea, approx 150 miles (240 km) south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica.  The Cayman Islands are located approx 20 degrees north of the Equator. This results in nice temperatures year-round. The coolest month in the Cayman Islands is February and the warmest month is July.

Winter (Dec-April) is the peak tourist season.  This is when hotel rates are usually higher and the beaches and lodgings are more crowded.  The winter temperatures average  75°F (23.9°C) during the day and 68°F (20°C) during the night & humidity is at its lowest.  Summer is great time to visit if you are looking for a bargain.  The weather is hot, but accommodations are less expensive (approx 40% ) and the crowds are much thinner. There is more rain in summer but it tends to clear quickly.  During the summer, temperatures average 83°F (28.3°C). Rainfall is highest from middle of May to October, but the frequent showers clear as quickly as they arrive.  Remember though, summer is also hurricane season.

Grand Cayman is approx 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point.  Grand Cayman is approx 90 miles south of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are approx 5 miles apart.

Cayman Brac is approx 12 miles long and 1 mile at its widest spot.  Cayman Brac has the highest point in all of the Islands with the impressive “Bluff” that rises 140 feet out of the sea.

The smallest island is Little Cayman.  This island has a population somewhere around 150 people.

This illustration is not to scale.  Little Cayman & Cayman Brac are much further north and east of Grand Cayman.

This map puts the islands into better perspective

If you are a beach lover, you have many choices on Grand CaymanSeven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Public Beach, Spotts Beach, Smith Cove, West Bay Public Beach, Cemetery Beach, Rum Point, East End Public Beach, Cayman Kai and Heritage Beach.

Depending on your likes, there are many places of interest on Grand Cayman:

  • Boatswain’s Beach (Cayman Turtle Farm)
  • National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
  • Pedro St. James Castle
  • Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park
  • Wreck of the Ten Sails Park

There is public minibus service on Grand Cayman but I suggest renting a car.  This is the best way to explore the island.   Motorcycles and scooters are also available on all three islands. Traffic moves slow and driving is on the left.

Taxi are readily available on Grand Cayman, though they become fewer the further you get from George Town.  Taxis are not available on Little Cayman or Cayman Brac, however, many hotels offer shuttle services to guests.

Surprisingly enough, there isn’t a ferry service from Grand Cayman to either of the sister islands.  There are many private boat operators that will shuttle you between Cayman Brac and Little Cayman for a fee.If you don’t want to charter a private boat, the only way to get from Grand Cayman to the sister islands is by air.  Cayman Express and Cayman Airways offer regular service from Grand Cayman to Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.  Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman is less than 3km (2mi) south of George Town. Taxis are abundant for the trip into town.  Gerrard-Smith International Airport is located at the western end of Cayman Brac. On Little Cayman, Edward Bodden Airfield is located just west of South Town, on the southwestern coast.  These 2 sister islands do not offer an airport taxi service, but the hotels will be happy to pick you up.

The Cayman Islands are noted for diving.  If diving is your pleasure, check out these links:

Before you book your trip, take a peek at these links for a little more info.

Wikipedia Facts

Google Map

Anguilla – Tranquility in the Caribbean

August 14, 2008

If looking for a more exclusive and private beaches, Anguilla is the place to visit. The white sand beaches and turquoise water, as well as beautiful weather year round with temperatures ranging between 80-86 degree, make this a great place to visit. Uncrowded beaches, water sports and a spectacular coral reef are just a few reasons to visit for relaxing and unwinding.

The best activities to take part in are scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, charter boats and water sports. One can also take day trips to St. Maarten and St. Barts. There are also more then 80 species of birds, so bird watching is another great activity. Other land activities include hiking, bike riding and horseback riding.

Anguilla is a British overseas territory, one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It consists of the main island of Anguilla which is approximately 26 km (16 miles) long by 5 km (3 miles) wide at its widest point. If you are seeking a special, romantic getaway on a small island, gifted with 33 of the best beaches in the Caribbean, this could be the island you are looking for.

Yes, there are 33 beaches, each one super in their own way. They range from the really serene Little Harbor to the wild Windward Bay, from the popular East Shoal Bay & Rendezvous Bay.  And don’t forget Maunday’s Bay, Shoal Bay West and Cove Bay for starters.

We have heard that the rich and famous go to other Caribbean islands when they want to be seen, but they go to Anguilla to hide & disappear. You do not have to be rich and famous to vacation here. Interesting – there are no chain stores or restaurants here – no franchises are allowed. This is a 100% genuine, tropical Caribbean island getaway. The shoppng here is not great, but if shopping is on your agenda, a 20 minute ferry ride to St.Martin/St. Marteen is worth the ride.

Click on these links below to get more info:

Chamber of Commerce

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Wallblake Airport

Anguilla Tourist Board

Barbados the Island

August 11, 2008

Barbados is located in the Caribbean in the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela.  The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627.  Slaves worked the sugar plantations established on the island until 1834 when slavery was abolished. The economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms in the 1940s and 1950s led to complete independence from the UK in 1966. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.The capital is in historic Bridgetown, is one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean.

There is much to see and do in the Barbados.  You can easily rent a car or take one of the guided bus tours. If you choose to rent a car in the Barbados, the roads meander and are often unmarked, so don’t get frustrated if you get lost – seems like everybody does!  If you make a wrong turn, consider it part of the adventure of touring Barbados. You might want to pick up any of the several free maps available everywhere.  The locals are usually very helpful in getting you to your destination.  They will do their best to try to steer you the right way, even if the directions seem a bit skewed. But not to worry, you will get there eventually.

The prime resort area with its beautiful beaches can be found on the West coast.  Here you will find some small towns with a wide selection of restaurants, accommodations and duty-free shopping.

The southern end of the island is the hub of the island’s nightlife with St. Lawrence Gap as the center of activity.  You will find a variety of restaurants, accommodations, duty-free shopping and action-filled beaches during the day.   Here you can visit the nature & wildlife reserve and/or the rum distillery.

On the east Coast, with the Atlantic coastline with its crashing waves and empty beaches, this is the quieter part of the island, though very popular with island tours.   In the rugged area of the  Scotland District, you can find spectacular rock formations – this is a photographers dream.  A trip on one of the island’s Safari Tours will ensure that you will see it all.  This area is especially known for its relaxing accommodations and restaurants.

In the northern part of the island you will find secluded coves, a wildlife reserve, weathered cliffs, pounding surfs, breathtaking viewsand sleepy fishing villages. This northern section is also the least developed part of Barbados.

In the central part of the island, you will find a great experience for lovers of natural beauty, who want to see an array of botanical wonders, gullies and cane fields. You can go underground by electric tram and see some of the most beautiful caves found anywhere, or soar sky-high over the tree tops for a bird’s eye helicopter view of the shores and countryside.

You can sail along the tranquil waters on a day or night cruise, touring the lovely coastline and witnessing the beautiful sea life.  It’s fun to swim with the sea turtles or snorkel on a coral reef.  You might just want to lay on one of the many palm-fringed, coral sand beaches and relax!

There are some upcoming festivals yet to come in 2008.

The Taste of Barbados Food Festival starts October 3rd and runs through October 11th.
2008 Virgin Atlantic Music Festival Barbados starts October 30 and runs through November 8th.

More links to visit if you are thinking about a trip to the Barbados:
Official website of the Barbados Tourism Authority.

Fun in Barbados

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Chamber of Commerce

Barbados Government

Grantley Adams International Airport

Transportion on the island is good, with ‘route taxis’, travelling to most points on the island. These small buses can at times be crowded, but will usually take the more scenic routes to destinations. They typically depart from the capital Bridgetown or from Speightstown in the northern part of the island.

There is also a helicopter shuttle service, which offers air taxi services to a number of sites around the island, mainly on the West Coast tourist belt. Air and water traffic is regulated by the Barbados Port Authority.  More information regarding the Port at Bridgetown can be found here:  The Port of Bridgetown.

Patong Beach, Island of Phuket in Thailand

August 4, 2008

Patong Beach is a beach on Phuket’s west coast, and to the town adjoining it. It is the main tourist resort in Phuket.  If you are looking for some exciting nightlife and cheap shopping on the island, this is the place to visit.  Patong Beach became popular with western tourists, especially Europeans, in the late 1980s.  Numerous large hotels and chain hotels are located in Patong.

Patong Beach is the most popular & well-developed beach on Phuket Island.  Long recognized as one of the world’s Top 10 diving sites, Phuket is now Thailand’s most important tourist destination, offering a variety of beaches, attractions and exciting night life.  Koh Phuket is Thailand’s largest Island.   It is 50 km long north to south and 21 km wide and joined to the mainland by Sarasin bridge.

Phuket Island was assumed by geologists to be once part of the mainland in the form of a cape sticking out into the Andaman Sea but millions of years later the cape was gradually eroded by natural forces and finally detached from the main land.

Phuket Island has 17 sandy beaches.  Click here for the  Patong Beach Guide

The Seafood Festival in May is designed to promote seafood, this festival that happens all over Phuket is also a celebration of the cornucopia of indigenous fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices available in such abundance here. Your mouth will water at the sight of stalls laden with red snapper, rainbow runner, lobster, prawns, mussels, baby clams, squid, octopus and crab. Your taste buds will tingle, especially at Patong beach as you indulge in a freshly squeezed mango juice, an ice cream or sorbet made with passion fruit, papaya or coconut… sheer heaven!

Click on these links for more information

Welcome to Patong Beach and Phuket

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Phuket Chamber of Commerce

Phuket International Airport

Phuket Tourist Information

Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, NC

July 29, 2008

Ocracoke is really a place sit back and relax.  The pace of this island is slow.  Take your time to watch the sunrise and set – both over water due to the unique location of this narrow island.  Take a dolphin watching tour.  Bring or rent a bicycle as there are miles of bike paths on the island.

The only way to get to this island to fly in or travel by boat.  If you take the ferry, your car will have to take the ferry, too.  And, if you miss the last ferry, you’d better plan to spend the night.  Click Here for ferry information and the schedule.

Visit the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse to see North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse which is still operating but it isn’t open for climbing.   Hang gliding and water sports, including kayaking and fishing, are very popular here.

If you are a fan of Blackbeard the Pirate, You will want to visit Ocracoke for sure. They say that Blackbeard the Pirate Ocracoke’s Most Famous Visitor.  Blackbeard was the most notorious pirate in the history of seafaring.

Click on these links for more information on Ocracoke Island

Chamber of Commerce

Wikipedia Facts

Google Map

Ocracoke History

Norfolk International Airport

Outer Banks History Center

Wild Horse Safari

Beach Information

Nag’s Head in the Outer Banks

July 28, 2008

If you have the fantasy of horse back riding on a lovely, sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see, Nags Head, North Carolina is a great place to make that fantasy come true.

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, a public authority, has a very comprehensive website listing of places to go, places to stay, and where to eat.  Click on the links for more information about Nag’s Head.

Chamber of Commerce

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Norfolk International Airport

Outer Banks History Center

Wild Horse Safari

Beach Information

Dauphin Island – Alabama

July 21, 2008

Dauphin Island offers great fishing and some of the best bird watching in Alabama. There are several bird sanctuaries and it’s the first stop that many birds make as they migrate to and from South America. Fishing is one of the main activities on this island whether you want to go out on your own or charter a boat.

Camping and swimming go hand-in-hand for the water lovers. For popular activites & information, check out these links…

Historic Fort Gaines is also a great place to visit. It offers daily reenactments and tours of the fort.

Estuarium Public Aquarium

Chamber of Commerce

Welcome Info

Town Website

Google Map

Wikipedia Facts

Mobile Airport Information

The Caring House Foundation Project

July 14, 2008

If you read my post about Cap Haiten, Haiti, this post is about my 2nd trip to Haiti.   I was there in June.  Frank McKinney and our group toured food distribution centers and the housing projects that some of my associates and I helped build. Just click on the link to see my photo essay.  There are many photos. As a result, the web page may load slowly
My Haiti Trip 2008/

Real Estate in Cancun Mexico

July 7, 2008
A very hot International Real Estate Market was emerging when I visited Mexico in Sept 2005.

Doug with Cancun – Playa del Carmen (just South of Cancun) Real Estate Broker friend. We were touring available beachfront projects in Cancun.

Bay View Grand Condo Project on the beach in the Cancun Hotel District. Miami style projects with much lower Mexico style prices. Primary issue is a lack of financing for foreigners.

South Florida style condo projects on the beach in Cancun.

Fantastic waterfront views from completed condo project in the hotel zone in Cancun. Walking distance to the nightlife of Cancun.

True “pre-construction” Mayan Ruins near Tulum.

Doug at Mayan Pre-Construction.  I tried to sell condos that day but no takers as it didn’t look like the developer was going to finish the project.

The Great Wall of China

June 30, 2008

I was fortunate to visit China & the Great Wall of China in December of 2007.  I learned that China has the fifth most millionaire households of any nation. China ranks behind The United States, Japan, United Kingdom and Germany. Personal wealth in China has been booming and creating a quickly emerging economy. We sure don’t read that in our media.

The China Real Estate Market something to watch. Although there are currently restrictions on foreign real estate purchases I’m going to keep my eye on that market. I met a man in the First Class section on our flight home from Shanghai. He’s a modern day Taipan. He’s from California but has multiple businesses in China and has been investing in Real Estate there for years. He tells me has made a fortune in the Chinese Real Estate Market.

I visited China with fellow members of an International Internet Business Master Mind Group.  All of us do business on the Internet and are looking Internationally to grow our businesses.  We were pleasantly shocked and amazed at the high level of commerce and entrepreneurship we witnessed. In Shanghai and Beijing I stood in shopping districts that rivaled Times Square in NY (actually they were nicer as the streets were blocked to vehicle traffic). Restored Historic buildings full of brand name products from around the world. The food we ate and the sites we saw were amazing. We even attended the Miss World Beauty Pageant in Sanya China on the South China Sea.

One of my lifetime goals was to see the Great Wall of China – I met this goal on this visit & climbed to the top.  What an awesome feeling & sight.  After all these months, I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I was not dreaming this part of my trip.

To see my photo journal from my trip, just click on this link
My China Trip