A Fully Clothed Dip in the Pool

Stuck In Customs Rant

I have just gone through an 8+ day epic journey to get a simple piece of $1,000 computer equipment through New Zealand customs. It’s just crazy… I’ll go on a little rant here about how useless and archaic the entire process is.

First, let me offer New Zealand Customs a Very Simple Solution. I ordered something off Amazon. Amazon is very smart. If NZ Customs worked with Amazon, Amazon could simply add the Import Fee at checkout, and then the money would go right to the appropriate account. I know this would be very easy for Amazon to code, and it would be much more efficient. Also, NZ would not have to employ so many people who do unneeded jobs that slow everything down.

The problem was my package was being shipped to “Trey Ratcliff” but my Official New Zealand Importer’s Code says, “Raymond Ratcliff.” I told them I’m the same person, but they refused to send me the package until the invoice was updated. I was like, come on guys, just send it to me, how many Ratcliffs are in New Zealand. I also sent them a copy of my passport that shows I am Raymond Franklin Ratcliff III, and Trey is a common name for the III. They wouldn’t budge.

So they started contacting the shipper to see if they could get it changed. That was a dry hole.

Then I called Amazon and spent HOURS on the phone with them and all their supervisors. I finally had to go into my settings and change my name on Amazon to Raymond Ratcliff, but that did not update the P.O. So they suggested that I send back the computer equipment, have it refunded, then I re-order with my new Amazon Account. I was like… you gotta be kidding me.

And if you think I’m complaining about the Customs process, you should have heard the Amazon people. They were ripping all Customs processes a new one.

The thing is, that the entire purpose of the New Zealand Customs is supposed to HELP New Zealand, but, in fact, it ends up hindering New Zealand. Me NOT getting this computer equipment is slowing down business. I have an international business I run out of Queenstown, and if I can’t easily get the tools of the trade, then it’s ultimately bad for New Zealand. Plus, it frustrates tens of thousands of people per day and employs a bunch of people whose entire job it is to collect money in an antiquated manner.

There’s a larger economic policy that all import and export duties are ultimately bad for both the consumer and the worker. But I won’t get into all that “Free to Choose” Milton Friedman stuff.

I feel bad for these poor people that work in Customs that are stuck in a system not of their own making. The whole thing needs to be torn apart and brought into 2018.

Daily Photo – A Fully Clothed Dip in the Pool

This was my personal pool at my room in Koh Samui at the Ritz-Carlton there. Pretty fancy, eh? Well it got to be so hot in the daytime, and I was often just drenched in sweat, so I would come back and jump in the pool with all my clothes on. Man, it felt good, and it was a pretty effective way of washing my clothes. I would get undressed in the water, then lay out my clothes on the deck to dry off. That only took about an hour before they were bone dry again. Note this is something that only a guy would do.

A Fully Clothed Dip in the Pool

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-21 12:14:23
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture11
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Oyster Fishing in Koh Samui

Updated Sony Review!

I added a few new photos to the Sony A7r Mark 3 Review. And yes, there is still a hidden Google Pixel 2 photo in there. Can you find it?

Hey Gents!

While in Koh Samui, we met the two gentlemen that run the “Hey Gents” magazine. It was so fun to get to know them and hang out. We went out on yachts, partied on the beach, you name it! Really fun guys… actually right now they are putting together a little video that I can share with you. In the meantime, here is the article they just released about our time there together.

Daily Photo – Oyster Fishing in Koh Samui

And speaking of Koh Samui, one evening we went to the other side of the island where the fishing boats come in. That part was pretty interesting, but I was drawn a bit away to these oyster farmers. I waded into the water with them to follow their movements. They would make little “clicking/rubbing” sounds with their fingers to get the oysters to make themselves seen in the sand below. I don't know why that worked, but it does!

Oyster Fishing in Koh Samui

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-23 00:21:03
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/80
  • Aperture8
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length24.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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Stepping Stones in Koh Samui

Baby Burner

My friend (and awesome aviation photographer!) Jessica Ambats came to her first Burning Man this year. I only got to see her once at the photo walk, and she was happy to have her baby there. I always think it’s awesome and brave for people to bring their kids to the Burn. She just sent me this cute video she made while there.

Passport 360 Special from Tokyo pt 2

Passport Members get back-to-back videos. Today I give tips on how to capture the busiest intersection in the world!

Tokyo 360 pt 2!

This second video has a few more practical tips about how I take street photos at the world’s busiest intersection ( Shibuya, Tokyo). If you missed yesterday be sure to go back and take a look!

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Daily Photo – Stepping Stones in Koh Samui

This beautiful little spot in Koh Samui is a serene location to watch the sunset. Anyone can go here and have drinks to watch the sunset, and you don't have to be a guest of the Ritz-Carlton. They actually do set up little drinking tables on these stepping stones, but no one was out there, so I quickly removed them so they wouldn't get in the way of the shot!

Stepping Stones in Koh Samui

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-21 00:40:59
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/8
  • Aperture7.1
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length22.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

Comments

Kayaking at the Bond Island

A Video Art Tour from Aro-Ha

You all may know that I have been out to the yoga retreat called Aro-Ha here in New Zealand a few times. I love it there! Well, the gentleman that owns it is one of my art collectors and he decided to put a few pieces up there. Enjoy this little tour as I show you around a bit!

Daily Photo – Kayaking at the Bond Island

This isn't actually the famous James Bond island from Thailand, but just another miscellaneous one off the coast of Koh Samui. Can you see a face in it? I definitely saw it in there the whole time. I love seeing these islands with this strange, undercut limestone shape. I wonder what it looks like when an island like this tips over into the ocean. It must make a tremendous crash and set of waves… I'd love to see that some time!

Kayaking at the Bond Island

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-03-21 21:04:09
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/1000
  • Aperture6.3
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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