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Harry Newton's In Search of The Perfect Investment Newton's In Search Of The Perfect Investment. Technology Investor.

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8:30 AM EST, Monday, July 16: I'm back. My first cruise. Relaxing. That's the operative word. It's the most relaxing vacation you will ever take. You have a simple choice -- cabin fever or relaxation. It ain't cheap. Figure $12,000 for 8 days. And that doesn't include the airfare or the shore excursions, which added another $2,000 to see bears (no bears, wrong time of year), to see some glaciers (way in the distance) and to see whales (saw a few, also way distance). We did see some cute sea otters. Fact is you'll never get the travel pictures the professionals take. You'll never see what they see. A friend sent me these. They make my pictures pall.

This is a humpback. Its tail is typically 15 feet wide. I saw a few, but way in the distance.

These are Orcas, so called "killer" whales. We saw some way in the distance.

This is called breaching. We didn't get to see this.

This is called bubble feeding. A pod of whales circle a school of fish (also called lunch). The whales blow bubbles, forcing the fish up. Then the whales rise with their mouths open and swallow all the fish. We didn't get to see this, either.

Sit on your balcony and watch Alaska waft slowly by. Eat another great meal. Sleep in a great bed. Everything impresses, especially the layout of my cabin. I wish hotels would learn from cruise ships and design their rooms better.

The main view, as you walk in.

Here's the layout. My "suite" was 376 square feet. The balcony was 73 square feet.

The view from the other side

The "bedroom" and the "living room." Best idea: A curtain you could draw. I could work at the desk in bright light, while the bedroom stayed dark.

The right side showing a huge full-lengh opposite the bed.

The desk. Very well laid-out. Behind the big door is a refrigerator. My laptop worked wirelessly on the Internet from this desk.

The bathroom is a brilliance of compactness.

Like the desk, the sink stuck out. There were ample shelves for putting your stuff. Most hotels lack adequate shelves.

The closet -- some drawers and some hanging space.

The closet, looking right. Plenty of hanging space, and plenty of hangers, for a change.

More travel tips:
1. WiFi for laptops is getting better. Our ship had it -- at 20 cents a minute. Alaska Airport has it. Most airport clubs have it. Carrying a laptop makes sense.

2. Outlook is no good for travel. It downloads everything. And it often won't upload because the local wireless provider blocks it. But all will allow web mail. Before you leave, find out how to get onto your Outlook mail using a browser and the Internet. That way you can also delete big files before you download them slowly at 20 cents a minute.

3. Take extra laptop batteries. A remarkable number of planes (like Continental's cross-country 737s to and from Alaska) still don't have laptop outlets. AC outlets are disappearing from airport terminals. If you're me, you need 6 hours of battery life, minimum.

4. When you leave town unplug everything. That includes TV sets, which suck a lot of juice while in "standby." Summer thunderstorms could hurt your gadgetry with lightning strikes. You don't want to come home to thousands of dollars of destroyed equipment. Trust me. Unplug.

5 . The Duxiana Travel Pillow is worth the schlepp. Pillows are disappearing from planes. The ones Continental advertises are skimpy, even in "first class." Learn to sleep in spurts. With your own pillow you can.

6. Take binoculars.
Alaska has rules. No closer than 100 yards to whales. No closer than 500 yards (or whatever) to sea otters. And glaciers are dangerous. Ice bergs actually floated past our ship. They weren't big. But then we weren't on an icebreaker. So we stayed a long way away.

7. Take European power adapters for your laptop. Cruise ships have North European plugs.

8. Check timing. The bears come out in August. We went in July. That was real dumb!

9. Go shopping: Alaska cruises drop you off at tiny towns -- Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka, etc., -- whose main "industries" are tourism and fishing. They sell diamonds and watches. One salesman spent 25 minutes pushing a $35,000 Ulysse Nardin watch on me. The watch was far less interesting than the sales pitch. Learning about watches is almost as interesting as learning about whales. What got me: This salesman is trying to sell me a less accurate watch (a mechanical one) than the $15 quartz Timex I was wearing. He should have known. But, heck, I had gray hair and had just got off a pricey cruise ship. He discounted it three times as I delayed. He never got anywhere near $25..

One day I walked into the ship's spa looking for a haircut ($35). There in the spa was an 8-year old girl having a manicure. The sight threw me. An 8-year old girl spending $50 (or so) on a manicure which she could do herself using the free manicure kit which the ship had thoughtfully provided in her own bathroom.

Here starring me in the face was the extraordinary investment potential of tourism. The ship was 100% full.

Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe: Every time you buy something online, the store adds you to their junk mail list. Now you're on vacation, and on per minute intermittent Internet. It costs a fortune to receive all those cents-off, shipping-off, great summer-sales, emails. Now is the time to unsubscribe to everything. And -- to my amazement -- it's pretty easy. Go to the bottom of each of those emails. There in the smallest type are instructions on how to unsubscribe -- how to stop their endless promotions. I stopped a zillion this weekend -- so many that I'm beginning to feel decidedly unloved.

Investments on the cruise. I bought some OIH and IYE. Both are ETFs in the oil biz. They're the easiest way to play the escalating price of oil. Boone Pickens says oil will hit $80 a barrel by the time he hits 80 (about 10 months). I think he's right. I'm convinced we'll see oil at $100 within three years. For the absolute best explanation of oil's future, go to Jim Kingsdale's Energy Investment Strategies web site and read his latest July, 2007 newsletter. Click here. He has a bunch of investment recommendations.

Mexico's oil output drops: From, which calls itself "Your gateway to the oil and gas industry":
+ Calderon 'Alarmed' by Fall in Mexico's Oil Exports, Efe Monday, July 02, 2007

President Felipe Calderon said here Friday that he is "alarmed" by the fall in the volume of Mexican oil exports, and for that reason finds it necessary to reduce the government's financial dependence on oil revenues.

Addressing finance-industry executives at a function to celebrate the 75th anniversary of BBVA Bancomer, the president announced that between January and May 2007, crude exports dropped 11.5 percent compared with last year. "This year and the next will be no exception," Calderon said.

Mexico is one of the world's leading crude exporters and the No. 2 supplier to the United States.

Defending the tax-reform proposal that he sent to the Mexican Congress for debate several days ago, Calderon said his government needs more resources that "come from alternative sources to oil revenues."

"It's time we transformed this oil dependency before it's too late. It is vital that we find more stable sources of finance, above all to pay the huge social debt for those who have the least," he said. ...

Mexico obtains about 30 percent of its tax revenues from taxes paid into the exchequer by state petroleum monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex. For some years, oil-industry analysts have been sounding the alarm about Pemex's dwindling reserves and about the firm's lack of sufficient capital or technology to exploit new deepwater finds in the Gulf of Mexico.

On Jan. 1, Mexico's proven oil reserves were estimated at 15.51 billion barrels, or about 5.8 percent less than at the beginning of 2006, and only enough to last about nine years at current production levels.

Chutzpah of the week: Conrad Black now faces 35 years in the clink for fraud. During his trial, his lawyers argued their client would not get a fair trial because he is a wealthy man and the jury members — nine women and three men — were presumably not.

Garfield on the oil crisis

A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country. Well, there's a very simple answer.

Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located in ALASKA, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Our DIPSTICKS all are located in Washington, DC.!

Any questions ???

Nah? I didn't think so.

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. Please note I'm not suggesting you do. That money, if there is any, may help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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