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Why Brazil is One of Earth’s Greatest Places

January 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham,

Brazil is one of the world’s most intriguing places. You can find crystal clear beaches, lush jungles and a fast-paced city life all relatively close to one another. There are so many sights to see, especially with the World Cup approaching. Find out what makes Brazil so fascinating, and what you should see on a trip there.


The city of Manaus has great buildings lining the streets, and it will be home to England’s first matches in the World Cup. It’s also the start-off point for Amazonian rainforest adventures. You can catch a river boat that will take you down the Amazon, or hang out at the bars in town. If you want to spend a night in the jungle, try booking the jungle lodge to stay in homes raised on stilts.

Rio De Janeiro

The beaches of Rio are where some of the hippest night life in Brazil is to be found. Take a street car to the beaches and go surfing, or eat at one of the artsy cafes. Rio also has its own version of Central Park called Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, a charming place to bike.


If you’re looking to take a class in Capoeira, the brazillian dancing martial art, you’ll find it in Salvador. This city is the center of Afro-Brazillian culture, and it has some of the best food on the continent. Especially if you can handle spicy dishes. The beaches are laid back, or you can hire a guide with camping supplies to take you into the rough.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Facebook page.

How to Enjoy the Grand Canyon

January 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Samuel Phineas Upham,

The Grand Canyon is one of Earth’s natural wonders. It’s an amazing place that holds many geological and natural beauties to behold. The canyon stretches 277 miles across the state of Arizona, leaving plenty for any outdoorsy family to do.  How you enjoy the canyon is up to you, but here are some tips.


A day hike is possible, but the real majesty is found in an overnight backpacking trip. It’s important that you dress appropriately, with boots for traction and plenty of covering to keep out bugs and the sun. The hike is arduous, but children and the elderly make the journey yearly so it is doable for most anyone.


There are helicopter tours that take families over the rim of the canyon. It’s an excellent chance to admire the canyon from a high vantage point, and really absorb the landscape. You can see mountains and layers of rock cascading into the distance. Truly, a beautiful sight.


Trips can go on as long as 25 days if you’re up for it, but there are plenty of rafting options in the Grand Canyon. All commercial operators are licensed by the State Parks association, and you can choose motorized rafting trips if you’re worried about your own stamina.


There are railways that give visitors stunning views and a different method of seeing the land. Some of the train equipment is vintage, built in the 1950s and modeled to look like earlier trains. The style and comfort of the train cabins make for an excellent ride through the Grand Canyon.

Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his LinkedIn page.

How Education is Evolving in Hong Kong

January 17, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phin Upham

The education system of Hong Kong is modeled almost entirely after the UKs system. As a part of the social welfare department, the school system is over seen by the Education Bureau. Up to 1970, educating the poor was not a priority, but this is changing. A whole host of new reforms are coming to Hong Kong’s school systems, which officials hope will better equip students for the future.


Students must learn Chinese, Math and English, which are the core subjects. Schools also offer art, music and physical education classes, but they get dropped in favor of the core disciplines near exam time. The traditional style of teaching involves rigorous classroom study, and an emphasis on memorization and understanding.


A silent classroom is believed to be the ideal environment for learning, so Chinese students are slow to grasp Western concepts like group projects. For Chinese teachers and students, a project has purpose and fits into the greater lesson plan. Teachers speak through a microphone to classrooms full of up to 42 students, providing little individual instruction.

 Traditional vs. Reformed Ideologies

The world is evolving, and so is Chinese education. Schools have been accused of spoon feeding materials to students, so secondary cram schools help students work with concepts on their own. The biggest criticism schools face is that students are ill-prepared for decision making in the real world. As a result, group projects have gained increased emphasis in schools. Students need more than a piece of paper to survive the real world, and Hong Kong seems poised to help them retain skills and understand what they learn.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

5 Haunted London Attractions

January 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phineas Upham

London’s gothic architecture is a great source of scares for travelers and locals. From abandoned train stations to hollowed out jail-cell hostels, the city has something for ghost hunters and fear finders alike.

Clink Hostels

Staying in Clink’s hostels is an exercise in bravery. Guests are crammed into an authentic prison cell with heavy doors, and bars on the windows. Share a cell for some extra scares.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

The 370 meter long tunnel was built in 1902, and has been abandoned since then. Sound carries, so that feeling that someone behind you is tangible. You can find the access point in Cutty Sark.

Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is like a set in a horror film. Walk the grounds to find eerie gravestones, rising crooked from the ground. Broken and headless angels are overgrown with ivy, and dark passages between tombs make Highgate Cemetery a spectacular space for ghost hunting. Also some of Britain’s most amazing Gothic architecture, and the burial place of Karl Marx.

Jack the Ripper Tour

During the years of 1888 and 1891, up to eleven women were massacred by Jack the Ripper. To this day, his identity is unknown, but you can walk the streets where the bloody remains of his victims were found.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children

Built in 1866 after a bad cholera outbreak, this hospital served children with physical and mental disabilities for almost one hundred years. The building was in a state of disrepair, beginning with dereliction in 2000, until its recent purchase by a private housing company. See it before the historic locale is converted into apartments.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

4 Intriguing Facts about the Hong Kong Rail System

January 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Posted By Phin Upham

In Hong Kong, if you want to find the subway and you follow signs for “Subway,” you might be surprised to find yourself on an underground path way. The definition of subway in China is quite literal, so it is a path beneath the streets rather than a train. Once you’ve found your train, here some facts to think about as you coast through one of the most advanced systems in the world.


You will generally find MTR service hours from 6:00 AM to 01:00 AM, so service lasts almost all day. Trains may stop service, but buses and minivans overhead still move people from place to place.


Stations in Hong Kong are relatively safer than what you might expect from the rest of the world. An exterior barrier protects you from the tracks, so bystanders can’t be pushed or fall onto the tracks. There is the chance of getting your pocket picked, but the stations are all well maintained with many safety precautions.


The train system is designed with the city of Hong Kong in mind. The system itself is integrated perfectly with underground walkways, office buildings and other people moving systems. You can hop off the train and onto another bus, or a ferry in a matter of minutes.


The system itself is fast and efficient. Trains will carry thousands of people to their jobs and homes each day, and the system is built to handle those stresses. Delays are infrequent and typically less than a few minutes in length.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.