Vol 2 No 13…have some Madeira, my dear

We woke up at 3am and arrived at the Lisbon airport at 5am. Why? Because EasyJet (oxymoron) is anything but easy, requiring you to check in one hour before flight time…that is when they close the window! I was surprised at the number of people headed for Madeira which is 600 miles away and about a hundred off the coast of Africa. It was foggy all the way until we approached the island (there are two others, one small and the other long and a national park). We were met by our driver, Daniel Freitas, who has a large van and runs a taxi service who came highly recommended. We were with him from 8:30am until 6:30pm and we could never have seen all that we did by renting a car or on a tour bus. As we climbed up into the mountains we were in low fog but soon we were above it and it was beautiful. It is one of the most picturesque Mediterranean-climate islands in the world. It has hundreds of miles of hiking paths, many of which require great stamina, but the views are worth it. We drove to the lookout at the top of the second-highest peak on the island…if you hike 9km you can reach the highest which is only 50 meters higher.

There are 360 degrees of fantastic views. Daniel pointed out some small houses in a valley surrounded by towering peaks that are almost vertical. That is the Valley of the Nuns, he said, but said we are going to the other end of it. We then drove down roads with switchbacks and steep cliffs and when  we arrived the lookout of the south end of that valley was unbelievable…probably 1,000 feet below us. To get to the town from the other end is a two hour walk. These are rugged people who happen to live in a paradise.

There are surprisingly good highways around the perimeter of the island and beautiful bays. He took us to a restaurant that cooked meat on hot fires and made them into something like kebobs. The tables had a square hole in the center and they brought the skewers to the table and hung them on hooks on a rod that fit into the hole. A plate was placed below them to catch the drippings. You just took your fork and pushed down on a square of incredible beef and put it on your plate. Everything there was fantastic including a view of the ocean over the town.

From there we visited Henriques y Henriques, a Madeira company established in 1850 with a solid reputation and excellent Madeira’s. Madeira is placed in hot rooms which, unlike Port, pasteurizes it, making the wine last indefinitely both in the bottle and unopened. You can find Madeira’s back to the 1800’s…and priced accordingly but despite the song that lent the title to this piece, are not for old ladies’s. The one’s to use for cooking are at least Sercial, and for drinking Bual or Fine Malmsey. You can find young ones for around $20 a bottle and worth it!

We then visited The Madeira Wine Company where Blandy’s and many other labels are made. It is a very commercial yet old feeling setting, highlighted by the Madeira’s.

Saving the best for last, Daniel drove us past the tram to the top of the mountain (just normal sky ride gondola’s), for something I had wanted to do since I was a kid and saw Around the World in 80 Days! The toboggan ride which has been billed by some magazines as ‘the best five-minute commute in the world’! …and it is. You sit in a basket with a seat that is made for two and is on wooden skids…then two men wearing white shirts and pants, and black sashes with straw hats give you a healthy push down the hill and then jump on the back of the skids and using one foot each, steer the toboggan down the hill. It isn’t scary but it is certainly fun. 25 euros for one person, 30 for two and well worth it. I used my camera phone to film it and it is fun to view.

We arrived back at the airport again having to check-in an hour before the flight. The amazing thing is the original runway had a ramp built in to extend the surface and was billed as the second most dangerous airport in the world. A plane crash by an airline pilot who didn’t use common sense caused them to extend the runway on the land side to accommodate the newer and larger jets…but there still isn’t a lot of runway left at the end.

A final comment on EasyJet, which is the low cost provider, but makes up for it in others ways: the seats are crammed in so close that they made them unable to recline. More importantly, they don’t even give you water on the plane unless you pay 3 euros for it.  Most airlines want you to drink all you want to keep hydrated. but not this one. Also, the drink prices are so high that from the time they start the drink service it only takes about five minutes to cover the entire plane! Nobody buys anything. Then they spend the rest of the trip trying to sell you over-priced duty-free items…we saw few takers on that. I didn’t have to use the restroom but quipped that there was probably a 1 euro coin slot on the door!

We arrived back at our hotel in Lisbon at 12:30am, exhausted but wouldn’t have omitted the excursion for anything in the world. FYI, Daniel charged us 160 euros which we felt was a great deal…and got a nice tip too!


©TBOW 2016; all rights reserved


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How did Trader Bill originate? It was conceived by me as a way of providing information summaries of global financial markets so that friends and associates could bring themselves up to speed on events and changing market conditions upon their arrival at work. In addition, it provides information on speakers and economic releases that day with consensus estimates and level of last release so that the reader is prepared to react, or knows how the market might react upon the release of information. Who is Trader Bill? Initially any reference to me was as ‘i’. This is to remove the aura of ego and to suggest that i am but a humble reporter, albeit with 35 years of investment experience. Investments are demanding of ego, however, or one would not feel that he was qualified to manage someone else’s money in the first instance. Therefore i needed an ‘alter-ego’. Like Winchell and Mahoney, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and especially Trader Vic and Mai Tai’s! Why Trader Vic? Because he was a likeable man who delivered pleasure to his customers and knew exactly what their desires were. The reason for the alter ego became obvious once I introduced Trader Bill into my commentaries: people started asking what Trader Bill thought. They had never asked me what I thought before, but suddenly they wanted to know what TB thought! Now mind you they KNEW that I was Trader Bill but for some reason he became bigger than life. Maybe it was the small ‘I’? What does Trader Bill try to do?His goal is to educate from his years of experience. Consider that most of the traders and people managing investments weren’t even around in 1987 for the crash! Consider that Graham and Dodd, and even Warren Buffet are not relevant to them, too old hat. Their historical perceptions of markets and fundamentals (earnings, price/earnings ratios, bonds, debt service coverage) are irrelevant in this fast moving world. This is the NEW ECONOMY, or is it? How did your style originate?Years ago i found that i had a knack and talent for writing. In addition, i developed an ability to analyze market news about 15 years ago. It took the Crash of ‘87. Prior to that i was just listening to what others said about the economy. But bond yields had been soaring in ‘87 yet the stock market just kept hitting new highs. That was when i began to learn about markets. i have both a dry and witty sense of humor (some call it inane!). Therefore i attempt to make even the worst news somewhat amusing: whether it is the absurdity of an economic release, or the comments of a CEO. This is trading desk humor (or gallows humor). It isn’t politically correct but it does ease tension. Ironically, it is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (in the Navy they say: it’s always darkest before it’s pitch black!), that allows you to be more objective in your analysis, as bad as a situation is there will still be a tomorrow! You will see that i practice three-dot journalism, a style made famous by San Francisco reporter Herb Caen, whom i idolized. At least to me it is effective. What is so special about your analysis?Frankly, i don’t know that it is special, but at least it beats “the market closed down today on profit taking.” What i do know is that most of what you read is spat out without considering whether or not it is rational, like the above statement. Is it right? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that is the key to what is different about my analysis: it is meant to make you think. Is Dan Rather right or is Trader Bill right? If it causes you to stop and think about it, regardless of whether you agree, i win! Because THAT is my goal…not to have you think i am a guru, got that? Bet you never heard that ANYWHERE before in my business! Instead they want you to think just how smart they are but remember in this business if you are right 60% of the time you ARE a genius! Another thing that is different is when i am wrong on an analysis i will tell you, not hope you forget what i said. So now you have the tools to do what the speculators and hedge funds do: challenge authority, and if you make money it is because YOU did it not me. i was just a tool, your flunky to do the grunt work and let you decide…course you could be wrong too but at least you looked at the big picture. But the goal is also to have fun! This shouldn’t be a business of hushed tones and grim faces. It is a living, breathing thing and nowhere else in the world do you have the odds as much in your favor as here. Just beware of the guy who wants to put his arm around you and tell you he is your friend. So there you have it. I hope you select me as one of your sources for market information. If you do I promise to work my best for your financial success. Trader Bill

2 thoughts on “Vol 2 No 13…have some Madeira, my dear”

  1. Sounds like Daniel and his tour was a blast. EasyJet sounds like a great miss.

    Nice article.


    From: Trader Bill on Wine Reply-To: Trader Bill on Wine Date: Thu, 12 May 2016 16:42:19 +0000 To: Warren Wagner Subject: [New post] Vol 2 No 13Šhave some Madeira, my dear

    WordPress.com traderbill posted: “We woke up at 3am and arrived at the Lisbon airport at 5am. Why? Because EasyJet (oxymoron) is anything but easy, requiring you to check in one hour before flight time…that is when they close the window! I was surprised at the number of people headed fo”


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