Showing posts from 2013

GSSK International Movers Review

UPDATE #2 (2014-04-29) -- CTV News is reporting that GSSK has gone bankrupt and many people have lost their money and must now retrieve their belongings from storage. :-(

UPDATE (2013-12-20) -- Continuing to display the utmost in professionalism, GSSK has responded to this review with the following email:
"Either remove the complaint or I will make up stuff about you and post to the internet you can sue me in court. I will give you 7 days to remove the slanderous remarks or I will have my lawyers deal with it in due course.
Many thanks and best regards,
GIUSEPPE  B" My reply:
"Dear Giuseppe,
Slander is "the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation".
If you have found any factual inaccuracies in my review of GSSK Movers, please let me know and I'd be happy to review and correct them.
Best regards,
Jason." GSSK International Movers Review

We hired GSSK International Movers in July 2013.

I had dealt with internatio…

Review: Brian Kassab Realty in St. Kitts

We contacted Brian Kassab Realty by email back in June about an apartment rental.

Their agent, Kym, responded in less than 24 hours with a complete list of everything available, complete with details.

All of my follow-up questions were answered very quickly by email. This was great, as I very much prefer using email to having to call.

She helped narrow down our choices, and decided on a unit in the St. Christopher Club in Frigate Bay.

Kym was even nice enough to hold the condo for us while we waited for Mel's work visa to get processed.

The lease and deposit were all done easily visa email. I was able to send a scanned copy of the signed lease, as well as our credit card information. They made the paperwork extremely easy for us.

When we arrived, it was a simple matter of getting the keys from a lock box on the door knob, and we were in our new home.

After our arrival, we did have a few maintenance issues. The condo is in an older building and hadn't been occupied for some ti…

Driving for 20 years

As of this November, I've been driving for 20 years!

I got my driver's license back in the good old days when there was no such thing as "graduated licensing".

On my 16th birthday, I wrote a short multiple choice test to receive my learner's license, and enrolled in the Young Driver's education course -- something I would recommend for any young driver.

Nearly a month later, I took the on-road driving test -- in a manual car, no less -- and was licensed to drive!

By now, I've probably driven in about 10-15 different countries around the world, on the left and right side.

Many, many thousands of kilometers later, driving is practically a natural instinct, and still a great way to get around.

Of course, with Google's self-driving car, taking the wheel may someday become an old-fashioned novelty.

How big is St. Kitts?

Answer: Not very big.

Above is a scale map of St. Kitts beside a small area of Toronto.

That's right -- driving from one side of the island to another is roughly the same distance as heading up the DVP.

Mind you, it could be a bit slower with the winding roads. Or faster if you're comparing to rush hour :)

And Toronto certainly doesn't look like this:

Either way, it's a great little tropical paradise.

Be sure to give us a shout if things get a little cold where you are and you'd like to visit! :)

A sorry bunch of Canadians

You may have noticed that we tend to apologize a lot in Canada.

Much to my benefit, this has led to Canadians being viewed as very kind and polite, all around the world.

As a proud Canuck, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

You see, "sorry" in Canada may not always mean what you think it does.

Imagine the following: You're visiting Canada and shopping for groceries in the local store. A woman ahead is blocking an entire aisle with her shopping cart.

Another woman walks towards her, stops, looks at the cart and says, "Oh, I'm sorry."

The first woman realizes she is in the way, and replies, "Oh, I'm so sorry," as she moves the cart. The both smile at one another and continue shopping.

You think to yourself, "Wow, what a kind and decent society. These Canadians are so polite!"

Now, the secret translation: "Oh, I'm sorry," actually means, "Oh, I'm sorry that you're blocking the entire aisle with you…

Daryl and Cheryl Ashby: Victoria Real Estate Review

"My job is not to make you happy."

"I'd appreciate if you talked less with your hands. I find that very irritating."

"Maybe if you talked less we'd get along better."

These are some wonderful quotes from Daryl Ashby, a local Pemberton Holmes real estate representative in Victoria, BC, during our final move-out inspection.

As we pleasantly greeted Daryl, he gave us with a scowl, telling us how this type of inspection "wasn't his job." It seems that through a scheduling mishap, they had forgotten about it until the last minute.

Our moving day, already a difficult time, was made infinitely more stressful by his sour demeanor.

I found his attitude and statements both astounding, and confusing. Real estate is typically a field that relies on referrals and references to survive.

8 months earlier, we had a similarly rude, aggressive experience with his real estate agent daughter Cheryl Ashby.

The place was in horrid condition during the move…

St. Kitts: First Impressions

My fiancee Melissa and I recently moved from Victoria, BC, Canada to the island of St. Kitts and Nevis.

This small island of about 30,000 people is in the Caribbean aka. the West Indies in the Lesser Antilles, and more specifically, the Leeward Islands.

What's different?
It's hot. Hotter than when we visited Cairns, Australia. But perhaps not quite as hot as when we lived in Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand.

Things move slowly. As with most hot places, people are in no hurry. Posted business hours are only a rough suggestion of when people may be in the office. Accomplishing anything requires multiple trips.

Keep left! Similar to the UK, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, they drive on the left side of the road.

What's the same?
The language. Sort of. The official language is English, and everyone is fluent, but most people also speak a local Kittitian dialect.

Colonial origin. St. Kitts was once a split British and French colony -- the same as Canada.

Friendly people. Similar to Canada, pe…

Selling everything you own: Part 3

The first time I sold everything I owned was 2009, when I moved to south Texas for four months as an experiment to see if I could run my consulting business remotely.

The second time, Melissa and I knew that we were only staying in Toronto for a year, so we bought things cheap and knew we'd be unloading them soon.

This time was a bit different. We had planned to stay in Victoria many years, so we were buying the "good stuff" -- things we planned to keep and enjoy for a long time.

That made selling everything a bit more difficult for us.

Not to mention, It's always a big inconvenience, of course :) I'm working from a coffee shop today because I sold my work desk and chair yesterday.

That said, we've been given an absolutely amazing opportunity that we'd be crazy to turn down, so onward and upwards we go :)

Nearly everything has been sold now, and we're counting down the days until our week-long stopover in Kitchener to visit friends and family on our …

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a lot of public debt

Before moving somewhere, I always do a lot of research into the geography, climate, politics, etc.

Today I found an interesting fact -- according to the CIA world factbook, Saint Kitts and Nevis has one of the highest public debt to GDP ratios in the world.

It's right up there with Greece, Zimbabwe, and... Japan?

It's also interesting to note that the top 25 on this list include usual suspects like Iceland, Portugal, and Belize, but also some more surprising entries like Singapore, the UK, and Canada.

Dear younger generation...

Note: This is a guest blog post from GrumpyOldMan123.
Dear younger generation,

As many older generations have done before, I humbly offer you some sanctimonious, unsolicited advice.

When you encounter a minor obstacle, never, ever make any effort to find a solution by yourself.

If you can't immediately find someone else to solve a problem for you, don't even consider researching it on your own.

Instead, amuse yourself with distractions. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook are all great resources for this.

If anyone asks you about the problem, complain loudly that you "just can't figure it out," and ask "why is this so hard?"

When you suffer the inevitable consequences, be sure to explain how you were "going to do it eventually," and say: "It's not my fault!"

And rest assured, this attitude has no adverse impact whatsoever on your career and personal life.

You're still entitled to the best of everything.

If you are disappointed wit…