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Travel Well And Prosper

Archive for February 2009

- - -- by Ed Reif»
A Post Without Image

Spending Your Derelict You(th) at the Poker table-The Helium Report

It's been a real crazy week playing my own version of The Asian Poker Tour---Macau is where it's at. What happEND in Vegas now happens in Macau.



Poker is not a form of gambling---but Macau gambling is a form of poker; and the Chinese are just getting to know holdem and took huge gambles that rarely, but eventually, payed off---But anyone who gambles in poker can get lucky on one hand 100% of the time.

Sex And The Gambling Man In Macau-Denial is a river one outter.
A little past playing good is playing badly. I couldn't help myself. It was like potato chips---I couldn't just eat one....I eventually ended up like all the other JOES, played ATC, any two cards...but was hitting flops and winning not just pots but chips. I call that Card Lust.

My malignant optimism got to me when I switched games and went to Blackjack. afterall, In Blackjack, there is always a correct decision, a perfect strategy right?
The glass wasn't half full, it wasn't big or fast enough. I started drinking the koolaid---the cult of the amateur--- Chinese players were drinking gallons.

They played 53 a Bacarat hand like Aces and got lucky. I got dealt black jack hands 73 off suit, I figured I'd move over to Black Jack if these cards were running "good"...and they did!(Magical Thinking)

The Fish Out Of Water

NLH poker is a western game and new to most Chinese, they play it like a house game....and for a few hours I switched to Black John (Jack and I were on a first name basis) I did it---and got away with it because the poker police were eating donuts.


My brain is the most powerful computer, on tilt, My brain is the most powerful broken computer.

I saw guys call down with Ace high and win! You can't spell manslaughter without laughter--I was hysterical laughing as these guys put me on tilt; eating what they killed was so money.
I abandoned my small ball poker style and Get Rich Slowly attitude--because when you lose it quickly you want to get it back quickly...that's what separates the Joes from the Pros---being able to put the brakes on.
As Mickey Mantle said in his 1985 autobiography you keep aiming for the fences, you're bound to strike out a lot ." Small ball poker avoids the MIS (move in specialists) and let them have their hands. Black Jack, however, is a war of attrition. I passed the test and failed the class---Back to gambling school! Time to re-read my post on The Great Poker Lobotomy: Nothing is the hardest to do in Poker.

The Impatience of Patience kicked in. The House Money "Effect"

There was Mr. Right and Mr. Right NOW---Mr. Ed Reif very robustly wanted instant gratification right now, and wanted to be patient in the future.

Instead of inspiring caution, when I risked money, my brains' typical response to this uncertainty was to sharply reduce the importance of the future in my decision-making, an effect I know in Behavioral Finance as hyperbolic discounting.
School psychologists call this ADD, the boutique white male diagnosis of "Poor Executive Function!" Nevertheless: You can always tell a poker player, but you can't tell them much---about holdem being a game of position, about holdem being a game of (selective) aggression, about folding 60% of your starting hands, the invisible way to win.

Furthermore, I broke my rule of playing other games: Because risk of ruin is 100% sure over time with House Games like Black Jack.

Although I had a few disciplined BlackJack hit and runs up 11,000 at one time, putting chips on my front money deposit account at the Wynn, I gave "their" money back which was actually---The House Money Effect getting to me--- with chip overload of playing loose with their money--actually it is ALL my money once won!

The Sex of Macau Poker Reward Circuit Runs on Dopamine

Forget about the degeneracy that surrounds Macau poker---the addiction, drug and alcohol use, depression, and sleep deprivation. After all, Few things are harder to put up with than a good example--- If it wasn't for pimps, prostitutes, and hustlers there wouldn't be No Limit Poker as we know it today. What went on in Vegas now goes on in Macau...and in three months, they'll be a poker room in Cambodia!


Let There Be Flop-The Rise and Fall of John Delorean

There were a few crews--Finnish, Australian and American, plus the Rouge Traders, a Swede in particular, named Leo, who stayed at Augusters Backpack lodge like most grinders---just a bed to sleep, so you could play more poker!



Leo and I hung out a while--He was a great strong player who got paid off on 70% of his hands.
Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oy Oy Oy---The Aussies were beasts--Poker rewards aggression and they were the 800 lb gorillas. I had to leave--- couldn't take all the Steve Irwin accents of "Heaps" of annoyance and "Cheers Mate" after taking down pots uncontested.

The Finns set me up at The Star Galaxy, probably the nicest poker room, right up there with The Wynn---
I have the button, and raise with Pocket Jacks. I get re-raised by the small blind and re-raised by a guy in middle position. I call...and the flop is AA Rag. He checks I bet they both Call. I Say Go to Helsinki and shove all in on the turn and get a call from Pocket 99 Nines! and I hit it and quit it, doubling up to $4000, and leaving. They were speaking Finnish during the hand!!! MY new found Finn friend Mike was laughing but I didn't find it funny. I never sat with them again.


Kept hearing stories about the legendary Sauna 18. After this Turkish Guy known as FY, pushed with AQ at The Grand Lisboa, I called with AK, and he sucked out...and said, "I'm going to Sauna 18" the way John DeLorean said "I'm going to Disneyland." as I remembered those fabulous 80's. They don't pay those chicks for the sex---they pay them to leave!

I had another crack at him at the Wynn, with top pair, and he hit his draw! and again he took chips from me again after telling me about Girl Number 245 in the fish bowl. Happy Thanksgiving Turkey! Glad I could finance your 60 minute "relationship". "Are you going back there to Sauna-Lounge 18? " I asked, but could care less. "You bet", he said. FY eventually gave all of his chips to an Indian guy, a local, who played Smashmouth Poker.

I had to re-frame the losses with Lift Ticket FY: It's not success or failure only outcomes. It's not about winning or losing, but excelling and making good decisions in spite of the outcome.. I know I had this Turkey beat pre flop with the Ak, and the draw, well that's poker.

The Kung Fu Book of Caine Says Be careful When you bluff bad players who only look at their cards and don't read the board.

Don't call us we'll call you

Poker without cards---bluffing didn't work that well---There were too many calling stations.
The cards are just there to confuse the bad players, the Helen Keller’s. It’s not what you look at that matters but what you see. You don’t need cards to win. You need cards to lose. Yet the Chinese only play their hand--they don't read the texture of the board. In this case,I needed cards to lose, firing three bullets into a pot and getting called with Ace high, and me with Air.

Money Is Poker's Report Card--Online University--Poker Stars, the Harvard of Holdem

I decided to stop playing bingo and see more flops: Most Macau players, after all are experience rich and technique poor. They most likely are gambling not betting---so I switched gears and saw more flop. Things don't even out over time, they even out with the number of hands you see.
Last year I did online course work at Full Tilt and PokerStars, I was 60,000 chips short of graduating before I dropped out of the online poker scene to be a cash game specialist.

I made some dough this week in Macau---but spent it on the cost of doing business---chips and the overhead---hotel food and that stupid house game called BlackJack., waiting for my table to open up at The Wynn!

Saying, "It's only a game" is the lesser known, I don't have a dream speech. Yet the aim of NLH is not just winning, but progress. Inspiration increases (to excel) when the left brain gets good at telling the right brain what to do--Ok brain, listen up--stick to poker! They call it Blackjack because the word f_ck was taken.

I flew out of Macau this morning and am back in Bangkok. I had some of the most magnificent luck in Macau ---QUAD nines twice in a night.

First, with pocket nines hitting the flop hard with Quads, later that same evening (actually 1am) morning ---NEXT, at a high stakes 25/50 table on my second hand.... I had $3000 behind me (short stacked) I am in position last to act. It's a family pot (everyone is in) for a bump of 150. the flop is Queen 9 9, and I am last to act with K9.

The raiser wants to pick up the dead money with the scare cards 9 9 (It usually works), so he throws in a $2000. everyone folds, I hesitate and call. on the turn it's a nine-- He has to figure I don't have a nine because there are only four in the deck! So he throws in a $5000 chip---I only have 1000 left! I say I call--I have the absoulute cold stone nuts! The best possible hand. He mucks (probably a Queen full house).
Americon-Can't Put Chinese Players On TILT

Press 1 for English! Couldn't push any buttons with my banter---Nobody understood me!


For the beginner, everything is even money, when you don't know any better. Replacing that with true odds is the goalmost of these guys are learning the game. Keeping the ick in Dick, the c#nt in country-- I played the ugly Americon poker player , speaking English loudly and slowly to get my ideas across---
Betting eventually had to do my talking. It's a slang that spit in the street, rolled up its sleeves and said "Let's Get To Work!" I got action...and the bad beats were amazing--- I had Kings cracked five or six times with random donks bluffing off their chips and hitting cards on the turn and river. It was hard to read most players because if they didn't know what they were doing, I didn't either.

Bad Beats Happen-we retrofit a narrative to tell ourselves that we should have seen it coming because we ourselves could not have been that stupid. And yet, we are no better prepared for the next one.

No Limit Hold ‘em or NLH is designed to have a high luck factor that can quite easily lead to a sort of pathological optimism. It’s a fast, easy to understand game that pulls down huge bucketfuls of short-term luck. In fact, playing because you are “feeling lucky” is (almost) the right way to play.

Going for broke, however, is more poetic than calculating the odds. And crunching numbers. We really don't have any Poker enemies. It's just that some of our best friends are trying to kill us. I had this Aussie Guy Hudson shove over the top of my raise with my pocket Aces verses his Ace 6 and hit trip 6's on the flop--He racked me on that one.

Neurons that wire together fire together---Making money and then making money again is our chemical romance. It produces a “desire to continue”. We are all wired to "invest". Being Digital. It’s not about atoms or how little people behave, it’s about the juice, The Card Lust, where people and bits of information meet.
Poker is a game of situations, like milk, with an expiration date stamped right on the carton. There are no perfect strategies. Poker history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme! I had AK verses A5 with an ace on the flop, and the guy with the dry aces raises, and I re raise all in to prevent his draw and he calls! This is the kind of attitude here---I don't give a F$ck--He even said I know you have AK but I call....He had three outs! and he hit. yet this is precisely the kind of player you want at the table.

They say the Indian Rain dance works because the Indians never stop dancing. Therefore, I was bound to run into good hands---because I never stopped playing poker!

Here's the Wealth/Helium Report:


Don't go broke in an un-raised pot---

In addition to the above, I had QUAD Aces--I limped with a dry Ace A4, and the flop comes AA6. First position bets out a pot sized bet of $150 to steal the small pot. I Smooth call, everyone else gets out. The turn is another Ace--that makes Quads for me, and again he bets out, this time $200. I smooth call. The river is a deuce. Obviously he has a 6, and this time he makes a huge bet og $1000. I am short stacked and go all in-He has me covered,a nd I show him the bad news.

Another cool lightning- in - a -bottle moment---


I get seated at a full table of nine. They make an extra 10th seat...so I am the tenth person. I muck my first big blind.

The second hand I get 6 8 off suit and limp in. I flop the nut straight and check in first position. Everyone, and I mean everyone calls this guys 100, as do I, the turn is a 3, so the board shows3457. I am sure someone has a six now, because the betting gets crazy.

Again, in first position I check, and then seat 2 bets out his straight to the 6 with $200. This time the rest of the table gets the message except one guy, who calls, as do I. The river is a 2, with no flushes out ther the board reads 23457. I have the nuts and give them the bad news---"I'm all in", but they both call me.


And I get paid off...And this is the lesson I learned in Macau, against Chinese players---They will call you and pay you off every time, consequently bluff outs don't usually work. I had a guy call my bluff, with a flush, and a straight on the board, and he won with Ace high! He called my all in! and I was stacked. Bluff Outs--Additional "outs" you might have if the player reads the board and sees scare cards dididn';t work.

Bob, I got a bad feeling on this one, all right? Ship It Anyway.


When I first arrived , wheels down, I was up so much, it was ridiculous. I hit everything. No kidding. My first hand I get dealt pocket sevens, and get re-raised by AK. I go all-in, and it's an ace and a race. I win. The next hand, I get Ace King, but I am in early position and call.

The Button raises to $150. I call instead of going berserk---although the button begged me" Go all-in again". You got to be willing to die in order to live in NLH (No Limit Poker).
Even though most of the players didn't speak a bit of English, I quote from Platoon" Bob, I got a bad feeling on this one, all right?" I don't know if this guy has ever seen Platoon, at least not an un-pirated knock off version.


AND I did have a bad feeling ...that is, until the flop hit me hard with Ace King, but there were two clubs...This time I said to the guy I check. He threw in $200. I went all-in. Since he saw me shove all in with Pocket Sevens, he really couldn't put me on a hand, so he called and flipped pocket Queens. I won....and then Hit and ran. Hit it and Quit it. Tripled up and hit the road over to the Wynn to make a deposit...
Then I sat down at the Wynn, a 10-20 game, and my first hand in the big blind --I turn a wheel with ACE Five and felt this American Bryan, who quit school to play poker. he looks like John McEnroe, with the head band and the wild hair.
I called a raise out of position and I know the way he plays--he will make a continuation bet no matter what---The flop comes 23Jack Rainbow , and I have Ace 5 suited. he makes it 300 and I smooth call with four outs! and the miracle four comes on the turn and I check. He bets, I go all in-he insta calls, with Pocket Aces. he's still drawing live to a split pot if a five comes, but it doesn't and I double up---back to the Grand Lisboa after that.

We are born broke, and we die broke, everything in the middle is fluctuation.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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The Kowloon Report -Vintage Chaos
2/27/2009

Where's all that Feng shui in Sardine land's "concrete forest" ?

Greetings from the user-friendly universe of Bangkok, to the most densley populated piece of real estate on the planet; at least according to The Guinness World Records, three blocks from the Mong Kok subway station 旺角, Hong Kong.

Caffine Central,Bean and Nothingness

At some point, inevitably, the "off-the hook-off-the-chain"- extraordinary becomes the ordinary. The steady diet of fast food, the 24 hour news cycle aka the CNN effect of knowing everything, the napsterization of cutting out the middleman, the tivoization of on demand time-shifted-content. Here comes everywhere again---this time in Chinglish.
So it was with Bangkok; and so it is with Hong Kongness. Giant escalator take me "up" to get a cup of coffee from my favorite drug dealer, Starbucks. Coffee is the new tea in China. The Starbucks Effect--Everwhere and Forever has its gravitational pull even on the locals---exerting almost cosmic influence on their lives.

I really enjoy being inside a Hong Kong Starbucks, especially after managing to dodge food poisoning from all that street vendor padi thai food on Khao San Road. Drinking coffee from that paper coffee cup, there's nothing better to remind me of where I was, and where I'm going.

I consume, therefore I am

I get to show that "I voted" for Starbucks again, just like all those Obama stickers on Hybrid Prius' in la-la- land Los Angeles---overkill. I'm a long nose, a round eye in the Far East. So I'm not Chinese, huh?"

It's not about the coffee; it's about the lifestyle. The Urban Monk attitude, no strings attached, living in this world but not of this world, telecommuting at location neutral, Hotel @nyware from a wi fi hot spot. I am back to that place that I have never been before.
Hong Kong- From Nation to Notion

I sit in one of their epiphany chairs to self-reflect, write about Hotel @nyware , and give in to a mood swing here or there. Besides it takes the edge off all these cars driving on the left side of the road, not to mention the impecably dressed generation text, especially in knock-off/ kitsch ready wear, and lots of folks in knock out uniforms. It's all just part of the landscape, full of magical rides patiently waiting for my wits to test drive---a business class ticket to cool, with complimentary mojo on take off.
Macau certainly prepares you to pay way too much dough for very little. I wasn't disappointed... The Grand Lisboa suite, howvever was over-the-top. Hey, you put Portuguese in my Chinese. You put Chinese in my Portuguese. A little bit of both and not enough of each.

In Kowloon, however, I low keyed it---Stayed at The Champion Guest House, By the MTR--it's not called the subway here; it's the MTR, by the Jordan Stop--- for $500 Dollars...wow I actually know the value of those chips I have been splashing the pot with. I got a shoe box room with AC and a 1/2 bath.
That black action ($100) chip can buy me two meals. Starbucks is $40 Bucks.

Man, as I have said before--too much respect for money makes you a bad NLH player...so I guess I'm a bad player today---because I actually can buy things with this monopoly money besides chips at The Wynn and The Grand Lisboa.


The map is not the territory, the statue not the saint, but the menu is the meal; when the meals are in Chinglish. Reputed to be the Culinary Capital of Asia,Meet Your Meat with these Hong Kong Signature Dishes...as they get Lost in Translation.


We serve dead shrimp on vegetables with a smile
Pork with fresh garbage
Dreaded veal cutlet with potatoes in cream




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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There's No Limit Like No Limit! in Money Heaven

Aircrafts (Metal) and Yachts are not the latest fad in Macau---Texas Hold'em is. China’s version of the Forbes list — the country now has 106 billionaires, second only to the U.S---were out throwing away their money on the house games this weekend, but poker is catching on.


There are some sick pots being taken down. Tonight, the Slumdog Chinese Millionaires of Hong Kong are playing deep stack poker 3 Mill. HK Behind them, a credit to conspicuous consumption and a What the F*ck attitude of the global financial crisis--- with a 7 Million Hong Kong Dollar pot just an hour ago, before I broke for the Hotel.

I'm staying across the street at the Grand Lisboa--the epitome of bling.In it's hey day, it was the greatest hotel Macau had to offer. Inspired by the lotus – Macau’s national flower, check out this photo, where I played a real Sunday night loose game and was up $600.

My hourly rate was $100 US an Hour.

Today I went to the Wynn, and played a $10 $20 no limit loose game and had a bluff fest. Got caught a few times, but I'm going back there now---It's Midnight!

I got a Wynn Poker Hat from the Floorman, and a great rate on a room., 1,750 HK Dollars. They usually charge -4, oo0. Might stay there tomorrow.




- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Catching up on my reading---David Sklansky's The Theory Of Poker---in Bangkok.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Instant Gratification Takes Too Long

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Viva Venetian Macau For Valentine's Day
In a rare display of compassion for casino owners, now that Las Vegas Sands-owned Venetian Macau posted Q
4 loses, Ed Reif has decided to "Go East, Far East", Going on the Dopamine Power Diet—In Search of the “All-In” Button.
I'll be headed for Macau. The Venetian is among the city’s largest venues but there's no Poker! The Grand Lisboa is on my hit list and so is The Wynn.
I hear the tables are soft as most players are coming straight from the Bacarat tables, with many Chasing,or staying in a pot to make an unlikely hand, usually (but not always) with poor odds. Poker is a lot like investing---both are games of incomplete information.
Graduating from the West point of Capitalism, Harvard University won't inform my poker. Behavioral finance can . If I am to have a Superlative performance, it will not be just the ability to eliminate chance, but also to recognize opportunity.
Many irrational poker-player behaviors actually “make sense” when viewed from a Behavioral Finance point of view. I'm sure I will be spotted the nuts in the hopes that Lift Ticket will suck out with a miracle one outter. On any given hand, poker is about 85% luck and 15% skill, but
over the course of thousands of hands, it is the reverse - 15% luck and 85% skill. See Poker's Pattern's Are Not Our Own.
Good Investors know the 60/40 end of a proposition--- when to hold em and when to fold em--- when you have some competitive advantage over somebody else.
Good investors know when the odds are in your favor and bet, or know when the odds are not in your favor and get out of the way. You don't "invest", unless you have some competitive advantage.
Impossible Is Nothing.
Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy chips, which is kinda the same thing. See My Brain Made Me Rebuy!
I have a complete understanding of Poker's Chemical Romace---DOPE-amine, the neuroeconomics of a good buzz and elation.
Let's see when my LEFT Brain gets good at telling the RIGHT brain what to do. Nothing Will be The Hardest Thing To Do.
Neuroeconomics--making "emotional" decisions and their economic sigificance is the deciding factor. See: The Demographics of Overconfidence.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Fish is now a vegetable


I'm in Vegan paradise---Soi Khao San, Bangkok,with one low price guarantee----an economy class ticket to cool, with complimentary mojo on take off.


I have just redefined what it means to be a Vegan--- thanks to a street vendor who curried up some Padi Thai with octopus and shrimp.





"We have located the durian smell to this room, please step aside."


Coconut Magic

I'm coo coo for Coconuts--- They are anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial. I'm up to six a day.The water is the purest liquid second only to water itself. It is full of electrolytes, calcium and magnesium. An average size coconut has more potassium (at about 294 mg) than most sports drinks (117 mg).

Coconut Water has more food value than whole milk; is a Natural Isotonic Beverage - The same level we have in our blood; and, it contains lauric acid, which is present in human mother's milk.

Budweiser may be the King of beers, but Durian is the King Of Fruits. You just can't get fresh Durian in the States, so I have been beasting out on Durian. Developing a taste for this may be an Asian thing, but I love the unusual taste and flavor...the odor is something else ---

Banned in public places such as subways, malls and hotels because it smells like lockeroom socks, it shouldn't stop you. If you are in Thailand, and don't try it, it's like living in America, and never having a slice of bread!


Here's a reprint from Hotel Anyware's last jet to Khao San Road -the most spectacular outbreak of mass delirium that you are likely to see


"I travel a lot. Travel means temporary freedom: Detachment, fractional ownership or no ownership at all, trying out new things, no commitments and no obligations, endless new experiences." ER


Khao San University

Like Vegas, Thai Me Up, Thai Me Down....what goes in Bangkok, stays in Bangkok, It’s the most spectacular outbreak of mass delirium that you are likely to see. I will,however, let you in on a secret---it's calledถนนข้าวสาร Khao San Road .

Khao San is "a short road that has the longest dream in the world", RPCV, ("the toughest time you'll ever kill") returning Peace Corp volunteers live hand to mouth on their paltry stipend, weeks on end. Khao San Road is a popular destination for 'alumnis' of world renowned institutes of higher learning.

Kaho San sees everything in quotations. It's "Kaho San" knockofff clothes and "Kaho San" pirated Cd's. "Kaho San"knockofff Clothes. "Khao San" rolex watches . Then there is, "Khao San University---fake educational diplomas--- a last stop for broke backpacers.

Cowboy Falang, (foreigners) who end up teaching English, if they have a good personality and speak the mother tongue, use these credentials as their meal ticket, or make plane fare back to wherever they are gowing to be picking up their mail.
Zencrafters, instant enlightenment in about 20 minutes or less.



The Edumacation at "Khao San Road University" is dirt cheap. Just spell your name on this piece of paper. They'll print you up a diploma cum laude if you like. No tests.No Books.Noone is turned down. You give them money. They give you a degree. I always liked the idea of reaching my human potential. I just never liked the price tag. At "Khao San Road University" The Price is right Bob, the low flat fee of 3,500 baht about $90 bucks, you can have three or four degrees---University of Texas, UCLA, and throw in a TEFL certificate to fast track your work permit for teaching English. This really pisses a lot of University of Spolied Children (USC) types, and Now Your Unemployed (NYU) defaulting on student loans types. "

" Wow, while you we're working for $22,000 a year at that law firm, I made just as much in six months in Thailand and ______." The real fun comes when they come back to the states, and try to use it to gain a position of trust, lying their way to the top. All the lies will be washed away by the truth, albeit, there is always a degree of suspicion. This is the real cult of the amateur. A"Little Miss Sunshine" moment-you don't really need a degree confered on you to be beautiful!

The whole thing about college being some higher education only experience is ridiculous. "What's your major? Vodka,now that's a major, with a minor in Beer. Excellent, the Grail!, Nacho. I know a lot of workaholic in college, mention the word work and all they wanted to do is get drunk. Let's get real.You have to know when to quit and try again later. That's what's so endering about the Backpackers, "stopping out" for a while, chilling.I undersdtand their logic: Why go through all the bother it takes to get a degree from an accredited institution? Diplomas from those same schools can be bought for $30 bucks.No one is turned down.

Cowboy English teachers, who quit school to travel around the world, or for whatever reason just didn't dig school, and buy these"non-traditional" degrees, I have no beef with (as long as they don't "enroll" at Kha San University and "become" a Dentist)-

A machine says “I was only following orders. It only does what it was programmed to do. That's walking the painted line, finishing school. Beasting out on degree and transcripts has replaced stamps and coin collecting as the hobby of choice for the Lonely Planet crowd. Although I couldn't find a hazmat Truckers card, this makes Alverado Avenue's Downtown Los Angeles, with its cheap green cards, fake SSN#'s and California Driver's license look like kindergarten.

- - -- by Ed Reif»
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Big Yellow Taxi

"Paved paradise to put up a parking lot"

Wheels Down, I enter Lonely Planet, and wish there were more people. Countdown-3-2-1...



Remember the gypsy curse---May you get what you wish for.

Ba-bamm, like rap music, in your face, pedal to the metal, one is none, and I am part of the idea that everyone is better than anyone, kind of an open source chaos for living freely in the land of smiles. All sorts of seemingly contrasting things and peoples share space.

Here Comes Everywhere


About to get stuck in happy chaos, completely unaggressive, I hardly hear a rude noise or anyone shouting. Nobody cares. The great mingle-mangle flows smoothly and I am about to wonder how so many cars and people can be jammed into such a small space and not one soul seems disturbed.




I hit the ground running and grab an Airport Taxi. So many to choose from.


I bump into my PokerPlayer friend Dennis coincidently again.... saw him at the layover in Bahrain... He's hard to miss, kinda big in a bon vivant pavarotti sort of way. he asks his driver to hook me up---and he does, taking care of the negotiations on price and directions to the Sukhumvit area ...and I'm off to Nana Entertainment Plaza (or NEP).


You're talking to a tourist


"With a pink hotel, a boutique And a swinging hot spot"

When I get to my hotel, the legendary R&R Vietnam Go-Go bars days--The Nana Plaza Hotel, it still reaked of stale beer, and the disilusionment and cynicysm of Watergate and Nixon.


"I had to come to Thailand to meet my neighbors!"



Hearts of Gold at The Devil's Arcade

It's not where you go, it's who you meet--I've met a lot of people with heart. In French, Bon Courage from Coeur, means doing it with heart. Thai, however, has more expressions for the heart than any other tongue. The Good hearts ,the Bad hearts---jai dam pitiless and the ugly. Small heart , Dancing heart and Earnest hearts. My linguistic skills got a triple bypass at Nana. There are over 900 jai phrases. I stopped counting.

Elephants and Smiles

Elephants are not only the symbol of the nation, but also the symbol of happiness. There was a live baby one walking past me. I love elephants because they don't eat people!


Next up was the smile: the "I'm being forced to smile even though I don't want to" smile feun yim, to the "I just won the lottery" smile yim tang nam dtah. Being able to distinguish one from the other is no easy task.


The Usual Suspects-The Loyal Order of White Elephants in the Room



"Impossible is Nothing"


Doing the "blue chip" thing, always being proper,walking the painted line, and buying furniture at Ikea... Starbucks and Yoga, just don't cut it anymore. Call it Post September 11th ennui, Thailand is an enema.



I checked in to NANA and saw a band of brothers and sisters--the hookers,drunks, drug addicts, geniuses, psychopaths, and mercenaries of the world; some with black hole eyes who have seen the ugliest, most cruel sides of life without a bit of sweetness, light, trust, innocence or belief in goodness remaining within. At this point, with a lot of TOE, Time on Earth, I can only recognize what I already know.

There was no need for crisis intervention, even though the proverbial elephants in the room were impossible to overlook. The truth serum(alcohol) takes effect quickly for most, but that's the cool thing about Nana, the obvious truth---places the idiom "White Elephant" in the context---It doesn't exist.


I would rather talk to a scotch drinking expat in a bar , with a cigarette in his hand and a bargirl on his knee, than to the cleverest GS10 Accountant. Hobnobbing like this can be better than watching any episode of "Oprah" of "The View"

Ok, note to self---The virtue of vice is everywhere in Thailand.


I love the 80's-A Brass Pole in Bangkok


One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster,The bars are temples but the pearls ain't free.


Gods Behaving Badly


Namaste, the god in me sees the god in you.

The shock and awe---the mother of all Vegas'---weapons of mass distraction---this is the city of angels for expats, sexpats, working girls, back packers and beggars passing in complete safety and anonymity, living by their wits.

NEP

If you build it, they will come---Check the internet's after dark stockfootage on the diversity of humanity for NANA . Be prepared for a surreal experience, no matter how far and wide you have traveled.

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