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Hidden Restaurants on Grand Cayman

March 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A vacation in Grand Cayman isn’t complete without eating out. After all, you can’t enjoy a Caribbean vacation without eating authentic Caribbean cuisine. Fortunately, the locals at RE/MAX Cayman Islands know the best eateries on the island. Our experienced real estate agents have been suggesting restaurants and hot spots for vacationers who want good food without all the crowds. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or have been traveling there for years, ask our agents for information on great restaurants while visiting Grand Cayman.

Rum Point Club

It doesn’t get more hidden than Rum Point Club. Located in a secluded area of the island, Rum Point Club is a wonderful place to relax and wind down. This restaurant and bar offers what the restaurant calls “a fusion of Modern European style and Caribbean taste.” We love the food and can’t get enough of the incredible ocean view.

The great thing about this place besides the food and scenery is the fact that you can eat your lunch or dinner while relaxing in one of their many hammocks. To beat the crowds, simply visit during the weekday. Rum Point is famous for their mudslides, so don’t forget to try one while there.

Sunshine Grill

Another off the beaten path type of place is Sunshine Grill, located inside Sunshine Suite hotel. Enjoy a poolside lunch, dinner, or drink at this hidden gem, which offers classics like Angus burgers, fish tacos, and unique island drinks. The food is incredible but still affordable, making the perfect spot for a low-cost meal that will keep you coming back for more.

Whether you’re out exploring Cayman luxury property or one of the island’s many beaches, both Rum Point Club and Sunshine Grill should be on your itinerary while visiting Grand Cayman.

 RE/MAX Cayman Islands is a real estate agency in the Cayman Islands offering services for buying and selling Cayman luxury real estate and Cayman Brac real estate.

Getting Romantic at the New Orleans Tree of Life

February 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham.

In Audubon Park, there is a special tree that seems to have a romantic air about it. Nicknamed “The Tree of Life,” the tree has great branches that easily cover a wedding party. As a result, the park is a local favorite for short wedding ceremonies and picnics. You won’t find any signs or markings noting the tree is of any significance, but you can’t possibly miss its grand stature.

Considered one of the oldest trees in the park, The Tree of Life has a huge thicket of roots at the base, with massive branches that extend overhead. It’s part of an installation in the city known as “The Labyrinth,” which is a garden path built inside the park. The tree is very close to the giraffe pens in the zoo, so visitors can sometimes spot the long-necked giraffes rising above the canopy.

Local legend holds that the tree was planted as a gift from a plantation owner to his wife. Couples choose the tree for this reason, hoping that the gift of love will rub off on their relationship. The tree is located on East Drive, near the labyrinth installation. The labyrinth was meant as a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, where visitors can walk and speak their intentions for the future. The place is like a gift to visitors, a place where one can meditate in nature.


Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Samuel Phineas Upham website

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

February 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham,

The Great Barrier Reef stretches along 2,300 km of beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s world famous for its collection of coral and sea life, making it one of the most interesting and beautiful snorkeling spots in the world. First-timers will find plenty of shallow waters to explore, while veterans can do some deep sea dives that explore a much more diverse range of wildlife.

Wherever you are in the Great Barrier Reef, you’re less than an hour away from a snorkeling or diving spot. Tours depart daily, based on weather, but many leave early in the morning for a full-day excursion.

Cod Hole and the Ribbon Reef

The waters are extremely clear in this dive off the Northern Reefs. There are only about five different dive companies that service the region, so it’s relatively protected and out of the way too. This ensures you have a more intimate experience with the wildlife down below, and that you have more freedom to explore. Trips to the region usually last for a few days, so be sure to check with your guide to see what you should bring with you.

The biggest draw, and where the place gets its name, are the potato cod fish who reside there. These creatures have become trusting of divers and will often come close to swimmers. You can also dive with whales during the months of June and July, when Dwarf Minke whales visit the area. If you’re planning to visit the area during the summer, ask your guides about packages that feature diving with whales for this one-of-a-kind experience.


Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Samuel Phineas Upham website

The Animals of Galapagos Islands

January 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the most diverse wildlife groupings in the world. It’s no wonder the species of the Galapagos Islands helped give birth to Darwin’s evolutionary theories.

Tortoise

The name “Galapago” actually means tortoise in Spanish. The giant tortoises of Galapagos were part of what inspired Darwin’s ideas behind evolution. These tortoises have no natural predators roaming the islands, making them mostly docile and easy to approach. Today, intense conservation efforts are underway to protect this rapidly dwindling species.

Marine Iguana

The marine iguanas of Galapagos are some of the only marine lizards in existence. They take to the sea in search of seaweed for nutrition, and they have special glands in their nostrils that filter out the excess salt from the sea and expel it from the nose.

Cormorant

The cormorant birds in Galapagos are the only members of the species who have lost the ability to fly. The bird has grown rather large as a result. It has also become the target of predators introduced to the island relatively recently, including dogs and cats.

Finches

Darwin’s finches helped present some of the clearest evidence that evolution exists. Using these finches, Darwin discovered that most of the islands of Galapagos held different species, evolved to handle different conditions. These finches are currently endangered thanks to a new species of fruit fly that feeds on the finch’s nestlings.

Penguins

The penguins in Galapagos are some of the smallest in the world. They are also the only penguins capable of living south of the equator. They take after their imperial relatives, forming monogamous bonds that continue throughout their lives.


About the Author: Phineas Upham, is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Phineas Upham website

Amazing Facts about Bora Bora

January 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham,

The islands of Bora Bora have a rich history. From its usage as a military base, to the island natives love of American speech, Tahiti’s oasis is one of the best kept secrets on Earth. Read on for some amazing facts about the people, and the island itself.

Natives

The people of the island range in ages, but the average is 20 years or younger. Natives are typically quite friendly, and often shy. Visitors will often hear the phrase “ia ora na,” which is how natives of Bora Bora say hello. Tahitian hospitality is also another landmark of the island, with the populous being well known for their good natured attitudes. If you encounter a native, say hello to them and try to break the ice.

Pearls

The Islands of French Polynesia, where Bora Bora resides, are famous for their beautiful black pearls. The islanders are so proud of this tradition that they maintain the world’s only museum devoted entirely to pearls. For Tahitians, pearls have a place in history and in culture, where they may represent elements of the mythology or religion of the islanders.

Customs

Members of the indigenous tribes practice an unorthodox method of fishing. Known as “stone fishing,” the practice consists of dozens of canoes that form a semicircle. Men use stones tied to ropes to beat the surface of the water, which causes the fish to scatter. When the frightened fish move toward the beach, the men leap from their canoes and yell while they beat the water to cause the fish to run aground. That certainly is one method of catching dinner…

Also see some pics from Bora Bora by Phin Upham on Daily Motion:



Phin Upham Presents Bora Bora by dm_52022698b459b


About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

Timeshare scams and how to avoid them

January 23, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Here are 7 things you can do to avoid timeshare scams:

    1. Don’t ever, ever buy (or sell) ‘on the spot.’ Sleep on it, and take the time
      to evaluate whether the deal is a good one.
    2. If you are offered a prize as an incentive, read the ‘fine print’ on the
      prize, and DON’T PAY for anything.

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  1. Read the contract and have it reviewed by an attorney. If the sales person
    promised you something that’s not in the contract, don’t sign the contract!
  2. If the presentation is too high pressure, leave. You have every right to
    leave when you want. Simply stand up and politely say ‘thank you very much but
    we’re leaving now.’ Then go — don’t let them argue with you.
  3. Ask for references — and call them. Ask for folks who have been happy and
    unhappy with the previous service.
  4. Don’t ever call a 1-900 number to book a trip — it’s very likely a scam.
  5. Consider a timeshare the same way you’d consider any other real estate investment.
    Do research and educate yourself on the market and the value.

Let’s now talk for a moment about timeshares as real estate investments. A common
question Nolo Press gets asked is “I’ve been told that I shouldn’t buy
a timeshare because it will be hard to sell later. Is this true?”

Here’s their answer:

“Very likely, yes. Timeshare owners face a few difficulties when they try
to sell. The first hurdle is the lack of a strong resale market. Although statistics
vary, all studies show that there are many more timeshare owners wanting to
sell than there are buyers.

“Another problem is the likelihood that you will lose money on the sale
of a timeshare. The original price of a timeshare may have included premiums
of up to 40% to cover sales costs. Also, timeshare properties age and can become
less desirable. So, your resale price may be anywhere from 20% to 60% of the
original purchase price — plus you will have to pay a commission to the broker
(often as high as 20% of the resale price) who sells the property for you.”

Shopping at Causeway Bay

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Samuel Phineas Upham

Causeway Bay is one of the biggest shopping centers in Hong Kong, but tourists seem to focus on the overwhelming ocean, and the sea of people hunting for the best bargains from a plain looking shopping center.

The truth is that Causeway Bay has overtaken New York’s Fifth Avenue as the world’s most expensive retail shopping center. This actually forced out many of the smaller shops that had been there for years, ushering in the era of big box retailers from international cities.

But Causeway Bay isn’t just a big tourist trap. There is real value to be found on some interesting goods.

SOGO

SOGO was opened in 1985, and it is to this day the biggest and most popular Japanese department store in Causeway Bay and Hong Kong. The shopping center consists of 12 stories (including two floors below ground level) that cater to everything from high fashion and cosmetics, to toys and games for children.

Island Beverly Center

About 100 small boutiques dealing in fashion from Korea and Japan are housed in the Island Beverly Center. The mall also features consignment stores that sell goods from the community, and it’s a fun trip through the best (and worst) trends Hong Kong has to offer.

Retrostone

Retrostone got its start by selling second hand t-shirts of American bands. The store is known for selling vintage and imitation vintage that is apparently very convincing. Shirts are still the main stay, but fans can also find leather goods and designs they can’t get in Hong Kong. A rocker’s paradise, Retrostone offers everything that a band’s number one fan would need.


Samuel Phineas Uphamis an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Samual Phineas Upham website or Linkedin page.

Five Amazing Films Shot in Hong Kong

January 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Submitted By Samuel Phineas Upham

The 70s was like the golden age of Hong Kong cinema. Today, movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero and Transformers can all trace shots back to this Chinese city. The list of well known films doesn’t stop there. Hollywood and Hong Kong share a rich history of incredible films.

Dark Knight

The epic retelling of the Joker’s origin story features a shot in China when the titular hero raids a corporate office for evidence. The building in the scene is located in  Hong Kong’s central financial district.

Enter the Dragon

Enter the Dragon was a return to roots for Lee. The famous scene where Lee discusses the importance of “emotional content” was shot in a monastery that has remained relatively unchanged since then.

The Killer

Directed by John Woo, before Woo’s films become clichéd, this ballet of bullets featured a scene that caused a ruckus in the dockside at Causeway Bay.

Police Story

One of Jackie Chan’s earliest films, and also one of his biggest hits, this film was shot all over Hong Kong. Nicknamed “the Glass Story” for all the fake panes of glass that were broken on set, Jackie Chan wanted the situations in the movie to relate to the locations they shot at. This is contrary to Hollywood style film making where the script writer typically designates locales during the writing of the script.

Kill Bill vol. 1

With a plethora of Japanese cinema references and some heavy handed symbolism, it might come as a shock to learn the “Asia” scenes in the movie were actually shot in Hong Kong instead of Japan. The film also draws from Hong Kong style martial arts films.

5 Foods That are Distinctively New Orleans

January 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phin Upham

Looking for the true New Orleans experience? You can find it in the restaurants and bars all over the city. For that authentic New Orleans taste, read on for foods that really flavor the region.

Gumbo

The dish originated in Louisiana, and typically features a flavored stock with meat or shellfish, and seasoned vegetables. Typically, these vegetables are celery, bell peppers and onion, but if you add garlic then natives will call it the “holy trinity.” It’s actually the official cuisine of Louisiana, so eat up!

Po’ Boy

A “shorty” is a six inch long version of this popular sandwich, and it’s the bread that really sells the experience. Traditional versions typically come with roast beef or fried shellfish, but you can find varieties with chicken, sausage or even French fries.

Grits

Grits is a bit like porridge. It’s traditionally served as a side dish for breakfast, so expect to see a bowl next to your scrambled eggs and bacon.

Jambalaya

One of the most distinctly New Orleans dishes, Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts. The cook first prepares the meat and vegetables, then adds flavored stock and rice to complete the dish. Be careful with this one if you don’t like spicy foods.

Red Beans and Rice

This dish was traditionally served on Mondays, cooked with the pork bones left over from Sunday dinner, but you can find it anywhere in New Orleans. The dish was preferred by Louis Armstrong, who loved it so much he often signed his letters “Red Bean and Ricely Yours.”


Phin Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.

5 Films Shot in New Orleans

January 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted by Samuel Phineas Upham

New Orleans, often called “The Big Easy,” is the backdrop of many stories and films. Here are some personal favorites from many different genres.

Miller’s Crossing

One of the most powerful gangster films since the Godfather, Miller’s Crossing concerns two rival gang factions during the prohibition period. New Orleans was the chosen location due to architecture and aesthetics, but the cops made filming difficult. Apparently the NOPD routinely stopped by the set to give out citations for permits the crew claimed to have already purchased, mirroring the corruption from the film.

Lolita

The 1997 version of Lolita was not as critically acclaimed as the Kubrick version, but still has its own merits. The film features the brilliant Jeremy Irons as Humbert Humbert, and a soundtrack composed by Ennio Morricone of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” fame.  The scenes in Beardsley were filmed on location in New Orleans.

Ender’s Game

This sci-fi epic required epic space battles and large set pieces. The producers chose an old NASA facility, called Big Easy Studios, as their locale for green screens.

This is the End

Though the apocalyptic film was set in Los Angeles, it was shot almost entirely in New Orleans for tax purposes. This becomes glaringly obvious when the camera pans over a CGI version of the Hollywood Hills, or the cast strolls down a fictionalized “Rodeo” drive.

Streetcar

It is unsurprising, but still worth mentioning, that every version of Street Car Named Desire has been filmed in New Orleans. This story tells the gripping tale of one woman’s quest for sanity in an abusive relationship.

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