Copacobana, Rio De Janeiro, Brasil, 1st of January 2003, 00:02
Well, the year 2003 is making sure to end with a bang.
It has been a scorching hot day with temperatures over 35 degrees C and flip-flops melting on the hot beach sand. The waves were over 10 feet high and now there is a tropical thunder storm.
This last day of 2003 was also the day I asked Carla’s dad for Carla’s hand and his answer was a delightful yes. Now there is only one more person that has to agree.

Building a future

Brazil is a country that is relatively young; 500 odd years old. Despite its youth it is quickly catching up with some of the most developed countries in the world.
The people have a zest for life and work hard. The optimism for a brighter future was further fuelled with the recent election of peoples favourite Lula as their new president.
Things can only get better.

Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King

There has been a multitude of sequels and prequels during the last two years and in my opinion most of them have failed (no names). While the first movies were entertaining and fun to watch, the sequels were often a repetition or rehash of the first movie and sometimes just relied on a bigger budget and more action scenes (no names).
LOTR triology has been different. It is based on a fantastic triology which evolves very naturally. The director (Peter Jack) has been true to the story and the third and last episode (Return of the King) delivers 100%.
One thing that was bugging me while reading the third part was the constant jumping between the various parties and adventures; just when it was getting interesting on one side of Middle Earth, the story would jump to another part to start building up yet another tension.
In the movie however, this created a dramatic effect. Every now and then I looked around at the rest of the audience and there were many dropped jaws; that’s how gripping the movie was.
The scenery in the movie was stunning, probably the best scenery in any movie so far. Changing between green hills, wast prairies, snow covered mountain tops and not least volcanic ground.

The money food chain

Our car was serviced the other week and most of the costs were for parts. I paid by credit card and thus postponed the actual debiting of my account until the end of the month. I was also rewarded with a few reward points that I eventually will be able to trade in for trips, hotel stays or car hire.
The owner of the car shop was a very friendly gentleman and we ended up chatting for a good half hour about life and things. He mentioned that he is paying by credit card for most parts that he orders for his clients. He is using the same credit card company as me and recently he was on a trip to Paris for two, paid by reward points.
Now, what if the dealer that he is ordering parts from is using a credit card as well for their rather large amount of purchases. This would mean that possibly the same credit card company is able to charge a fee 3-4 times for the same product; while it is traveling from a producer, via various middle hands to the final consumer (me).
It also means that possibly 3 individuals/companies have earned reward points on behalf of my purchase. No doubt something that I as the final consumer will be burdened with in the form of higher annual fees.
So, does this make me a player at the top of the food chain? Am I positioned at the top as I pick and choose what to consume by spending money on it?
I think not. Instead I suspect I am at the bottom of the money food chain. I, like billions others, are like small plankton feeding some slightly larger predators above us. At the top are a few global predators and I bet that American Express is one of them.