Shrimp 1141476 1920

The Sydney Futures Exchange

February 17, 2017

Chapter 86 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

I had been traveling all over Europe for months, one week on the road and the next in the office. It was a tiring life and it was winter, a time of the year when the sun rarely shines and where darkness pervades in Europe.

One afternoon my phone rang and it was Harold Levy, the attorney for the firm in the New York office. He told me that the Sydney Futures Exchange had some questions on trades I had done in the London market with Australian gold producers. The trades were over-the-counter hedges but the exchange thought Philipp Brothers was circumventing the futures market in Sydney. I asked if we could answer their questions in writing, the answer was no, they needed us to come to Australia within the next two weeks.

Australia is a very long journey from London; in fact you can’t get much further as it is on the other side of the world. Business was busy so I did not have a lot of time for a long marketing trip and decided that Harold and I would travel there for the single purpose of answering the Exchange’s questions. I needed a lawyer because it was to be an official deposition.

First class is a wonderful thing but it gets old fast when you spend lots of time flying around the world. I could only spend one business day in Australia because of my schedule. The flight was in two legs, London to Singapore and Singapore to Sydney. It was a 24 hour journey, each way. The flight there was fine; I got some rest and prepared for the deposition. I arrived first thing in the morning and would fly back at night; I got a hotel room in the business district so I could shower before the meeting. I met Harold at the office of the regulator and answered their many questions for around four hours. Then it was back to the airport and back to London.

I was relieved when I got back to the airport and boarded the first leg of the flight back to Singapore. I was tired and hungry and ate a fateful shrimp appetizer about an hour after the plane took off. That was a big and brutal mistake.

One of the shrimp was a problem and I began to feel the effect soon after. I spent the rest of the flight to Singapore in the bathroom getting sick. I was able to get myself together, miraculously, for the transfer in Singapore for the flight to London. The next leg was a nightmare. I continued to be sicker than a dog for what turned out to be the longest flight of my life.

When the plane finally landed at Heathrow, I was still very ill. White as a ghost I when through customs and immigration and the officers on duty singled me out as a person of interest as I was sweating, pale and very shaky. I looked guilty of a crime but the offense was eating that shrimp. I explained the situation as the immigration officer searched me and looked through my small carry-on bag. He could not understand why someone would travel to Sydney for just one day. Eventually, after more than two hours he let me go figuring I was telling the truth.

The taxi home was another adventure as the food poisoning returned and the driver had to pull over several times for me to get out and get some air. When I got home, I slept for two straight days and vowed that I would never travel forty eight hours for a four hour meeting again. I also swore that I would never, ever eat shellfish on a plane in any class.

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Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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