Traveling By Land, Sea and Air Hotel @nyware: May 2012

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Archive for May 2012

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Holy Cow
After my trip to India, a place rife with professional thieves, beggars, con artists, and skinny cows, a vegetarian is only as lactose intolerant as his options.The happy go locals  will eat anything with wings except airplanes, and everything with legs except tables.

Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead said "It is easier to change your religion than your diet". After further  study, you don't have to change your diet or your religion to live in America, just keep an open mind and  and an open mouth.

It took Picasso 10 years to paint like Rafael , and a life time to paint like a child. Children are, after all,  completely gullible: they will believe anything and, more than that, will eat anything. I am eating like a child again!!!  It's not as important what I eat as how I eat-in my case frequently (6-7 small portions per day) 

The Apprentice- "Everything in life is luck." Donald Trump

Although I am a Math Athiest, The hardest arithmetic I've had to  master is the one which enables me  to count my blessings. It requires a long apprenticeship (Think Gladwell's 10,000 Hours of practice rule or 10 years)  Cruising around the world, provides  a legitimate short cut for taking things with gratitude instead of for granted. 

The experiences at sea turned my can’t into cans and leveraged my Adventures (which was nothing more than bad planning) into serendipity a thousand unseen helping hands of  allies, synchronicity, and the Michelangelo effect.   

Coffee Is For Closers -"You call yourself a salesman, you son of a bitch?" Blake (Alec Baldwin) in Glengarry Glen Ross

I met a guy in Starbucks  yesterday who said "What a gift... to be able to travel like that, selling art and get paid  too.". 

It really is the best kind of gift, because you can't buy it, you can't find it, People have to give it to you. I've met a lot of people who believed in me. My obsession with traveling is in fact my private religion, where the bulk of my  spirit has been actually invested.There is no doubt about it, the exhilarating state of mind that travel can evoke, when everything seems suddenly fresh, vivid, intensely interesting, and memorable.

 An Escape to reality, when all you care about is here, this is a good place to be.The point here is that the journey is essentially a journey to nowhere. Yet the awe of just doing it, is what moves me forward.

You can't even say "Sorry I'm late" because "That's ok. Time doesn't exist at sea."
Cruising is when laziness and slack finds respectability. Losing My Religion is a song about obsession, not lose of faith. I'm thinking of Nietzsche: 'Be careful, lest in casting out your d/evil you exorcise the best thing in you.

There’s an old Chinese saying that I just love, and I believe it is so true. It goes like this: “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.”

It's time to take another cruise!

I know that it's time for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time for a cool change

Well I was born in the sign of water
And it's there that I feel my best

The albatross and the whales they are my brothers

There's lots of those friendly people
And they're showing me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration

Some thoughts while biking around Goa.....

ZAMM-Zen and the Art of High Maintenance

There seem to be cows around everywhere I go. I am not sure if they have a charmed life, the ppl don't seem to worship them. It is, however,  revered as the source of food and symbol of life and may never be killed.  They seem to be walking neglected around  Goa city streets, living on garbage from the gutters.

Sacred cows may make the best hamburgers, but I don't eat my friends. As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. As for milk and cheese- they are an utter delight.

Rules of the road when driving a motorcycle-
The horn is your friend. Use it often, use it well.Lanes don’t exist. Do not pass. Wear a Helmet! Cows have the right of way.

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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You win some, you lose some, you wreck some.
The 96th Indianapolis 500- the best way to convert money into noise---was fast paced with lots of lead changes and drivers dabbling  in and out of  the boundaries  of disaster. There’s no secret to ovals. You just press the accelerator to the floor and steer left. The drivers  who think the brakes are for stopping usually don't win. As Mario Andretti said, "“If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.”

These open wheel drivers are like fighter pilots, flying in a gymnasium. The crashes fans  remember, but drivers remember the near misses, but nobody remembers who finished second but the guy who finished second. For the record, New Zealand's Scott Dixon was runner-up this time.

The weather was hot in America's Midwest after an emotional tribute to last year's winner  Dan Wheldon, the popular Englishman whose  thrill of speed overcame the fear of death  and in fact, actually died horrific crash in Las Vegas in October.

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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The Infinite Smile Of Ordinary Living

My linguistic skills got a triple bypass at Nana. 
There are over 900 jai phrases. I stopped counting. 
Genius is constant attention but pure attention, without advice, without judgment is absolute kindness. What better compliment to pay my host country,  the land of smiles, than with pure attention, as I did in Mae Sot, Hat Yai, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Nong Khai  and Bangkok.

See:All Thai'd Up  Khao San Road -
the most spectacular outbreak of mass delirium that you are likely to see

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

To achieve great things, two things were needed: a plan and not quite enough time. I had both.

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. (Unlike my former Lawn Guyland New York "edge" which in reality is an inferior sort of strength to stress) 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.

Big Yellow Taxi

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"

Putting the "fun" in DysFUNction.When there is an elephant in the room, they introduce themselves to you

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.

Instant Gratification Takes Too Long

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.

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

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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Shaken- You can't  win an earthquake.   but you can get odd or even

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake.We learn geography if we happen to be cruising in the same hemisphere (but 3000 miles away) in Bali Indonesia where I am right this instant. GR8 internet connection  by the way.

I remember the 1994 Northridge Quake in California on my way back from Japan- So when I heard just now  the news that Japan's 8.9 Earthquake- Ouch. I feel for my Nihon Jin Tomodachis(Japanese Friends).  I remember my worst earthquake experience...

 I certainly was one of the last American's to go into
 Christchurch's Cathedral before it shattered this  Kiwi Architectural Landmark

Lonely Planet Earth, the very status symbol  of all that is solid, had moved beneath your  feet like THAT, one second of time conveys to your mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of ZEN reflection ---Wayne Dyer, Ram Dass (Be Here Now) never have created. It's a great equalizer-democracy in action-an equal opportunity offender...and I say to myself I am going to survive even if it kills me. Honestly, You can't  win an earthquake.   but you can get odd or even by  living well -So check into Hotel @nyware, rooms are still available.

Eat.Pray. Tsunami.

Missed the Christchurch Quake by 500 miles, The Japan one  by 3000, I'm thinking The Big One-in California is next and I am 8000 miles away! Screw Disneyland, I'm going to Singapore.

Rice Is Nice

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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Work Is Prayer
My universe is made of stories, not atoms: land, air and sea travel and the power of now. If I  wanted to be a multinational soul, I couldn't  do it in cities  where I taught English like New York or Los Angeles, Paris  or Tokyo alone-I needed to get consecrated  by sailing on the oceans.

 It's a wonderful thing to get rid of everything and everybody and just go some place where you don't know anyone; where, as Melville said,"God's one and only voice is Silence." 

If hollywood is loneliness under a Hawaiian  palm tree, then happiness is solitude sailing through  the fjords

Ship Happens

Living on a ship, might be summed up as monotony tinged with hysteria. It's not real life but an alibi. It  is like going out of your mind everyday- in order to come to your senses; and a fool who persists in his folly becomes wise. After 10 ships, yes TEN, I no longer want to cast doubt on perfection-America.

“It’s not about the money” is the lesser known,   I don’t have a dream speech. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs who said “Money is life’s report card. I've seen this kind of "success" as a drug of choice.More than that, success without fulfillment, is failure, yet, this kind of failure is going to get your best material. 

As An Art Director and World Cruise Coordinator, the experiences at sea turned my can’t into cans and leveraged my dreams into serendipity a thousand unseen helping hands.

Money isn't the root of all evil, boredom is the root of all evil, a spiritual anorexia- the despairing refusal to be oneself. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, once you  let go of the life you have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for you.

Being born in America is like being kidnapped and sold into slavery and the shared hallucination of running on the treadmill of consumption and materialism.  It's a mask that eats up the face. It's also like winning the lottery,  a currency, and I wanted to spend it well.

Yet, we value material, we ignore emotions. If I wanted to serve my  country,  I had to betray it. What was the  blue chip idea worth betraying? What was  the lie I told myself?  The disease of more in a world of plenty where most of the developing world is starving.  The lack of simplicity and the yearn for complexity was, and in many ways still is, my blind spot.

The most total opposite of pleasure is not pain but boredom. I was  willing to risk pain ( culture shock)  to make a boring life interesting and re framing  (Home is a feeling not a place)  travel as a verb and not a noun. You have to DO it.--- 1 man National geographic on that everywhere trip.

The good, the bad and the ugly American- Why be difficult when you can be impossible--Hell was about to be other people,other cultures, other languages, and the National Anthem of Hell, was Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way". I had to make the switch from tourist to traveler, and adapt, otherwise this journey would be Karaoke traveling, a cheap imitation of the best yet to come.

 Without risk, faith is an impossibility. My  "leap of faith" to give up all things material was curiosity..The cure for my ennui and   boredom was "Any place but here" and "I want to be surprised everyday".  There's nothing ethical about the work ethic on ships. I got paid in cash, visited nice places,  had a hotel room and six all you can eat meals a day! If the passengers were behaving badly, there was always a new group every 7 or 14 days to keep my interest.

Now that I  didn't need Power Point to explain my job, how much was I worth now that I was no longer in the w2 world of 9 to 5. I was a time millionaire. It was going to be about resourcefulness and not resources.

Who does not love the sea? The beach is a place of healing and joy. The salt cleanses us and the sun embraces us in its warmth. The ocean heals the heart, mind, and soul. life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. 

Yet, the sea has never been friendly to me. At most it has been the accomplice of my restlessness.So there is no cure for this  curiosity.TV is an eraser and Youtube and Blogger, a paint brush. My  leap of faith  to go on  ships was recreation and re-creation and re-invention. There are second acts in American lives, and third and fourths.

No Man Is An Island, yet after age 40, land is seldom seen and you can count your friends on one hand.I am an expat, yet not every country will do. I don't know why, some countries fill the gaps and others emphasize my expat-ness. In reality those that satisfy me are those who simply allow me to live with my ''idea of them." Life’s a beach in an ocean of ennui is the take away from places like Fiji, Tahiti and the Maldives. These Islands are extraordinary within their limits, but their limits are extraordinary. Yet if I do the math, an emotional algebra adds up to 1+1=infinity. It's a pristine place.This is no 9 to 5. You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. It is just a fraction of you. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating  on a cruise ship, walking the painted line, where everything is nicely arranged--formal nights, shore excursions, shopping, bottled water.

When you’re perpetually  cruising , you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yes in yesterdays on the road.

 I know both sides because I am both sides: a tourist who doesn't know where I've been; a traveller who doesn't know where he's going. I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list. I thought college was the longest vacation I ever took; but this Graduate School seamester is a kind of study abroad in Nomadic Pursuits

I meet therefore I am- a multinational soul. I shrink therefore  I am part of — and apart from  American, European and Asian culture. and the  countries I visit(ed) and live(d) in  are as eclectic and restless as ports of call  I "inhabit" for six hours or at most three daze. . Along with the displacement, and the associated "jet" lag" and culture shock, I  am simply a fairly glib product of a movable feast, living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly hybrid---a transit lounger, forever heading to the all "aboard" by 6PM gangway.

The cult of the amateur  wanderers is growing; global souls who haven't been everywhere but it is on their list; for whom home is a feeling,  not a place in the soil but inside yourself. I am one of the privileged homeless. Is there a  new kind of person being created by a new kind of life?

I sequestered  myself to the cruise ships to get away from poker and  the number one thing I hate about the game I love- see:TILT

Getting My Baht Outta Macau and Back To Bangkok

 It's not winning that makes a winner, but losing. The excitement is not from the winning, it's avoiding the disaster, because you're flirting with it every day. It's not like every game you play is the Super Bowl, but every game is the Playoffs.

In March and April 2009, I had my head in the clouds with The Helium Report, #winning  and losing the American dream in Macau every night, playing high-stakes no limit- poker with out a helmet on The Hong Kong Express

 Note to self:  Every Americon Gambler is only a hand away from a very humbling wake-up call.

The selfish brain fears death and looks for predictable experiences, poker is a great placebo that hijacks the brain with a predictable surprise: card players are surprised if they win and surprised if they lose

see: Poker= f(dopamine flow); Money= happiness in the United States of Unconsciousness

According to the promotional material for the song, It's A Beautiful Day is about a guy who has lost everything and couldn't be happier... it IS indeed a beautiful day. Like Rolling Stone- a song about liberation. Clarity I kiss the ground.

You love this town even if that doesnt ring true
Youve been all over and its been all over you
It's a beautiful day
"Every day is a journey," wrote Basho, "and the journey itself is home." If the Zen poet hadn't said that more than 300 years ago, I would have. I am Basho on a frequent flyer pass, with complimentary mojo on take off.

Footnotes-  2009 All Aboard

Space travel sure is fun

Greetings from the user-friendly universe---The Peoples Republic of Santa Monica; Home of The Mac Store, and Apple, the forbidden fruit.

First in January, I was in the Majik Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a bit like Mars.

Then in February, I went to The Land of Smiles, Thailand, and walked on the moon.

Finally, in March and April, I had my head in the clouds with The Helium Report, winning and losing the American dream in Macau every night, playing high-stakes no limit- poker, on The Hong Kong Express.

Leaving Las Vegas
In May and June, I got my Baht out of Asia and went back to the United States of Unconsciousness, playing tournament poker in the black holes of Midwest bars and Las Vegas Casinos. Spent the best part of my losing an Army Jeep, from what I can recall.
There's that line from Sheryl Crow-Standing in the middle of the desert waiting for my ship to come in...
In July, I decided to take a World Tour-Cruise (creating my own luck) to get away from the game. I had a false start with a run at Amsterdam's Holland Casino.Nevertheless, mission accomplished---I love poker but I am not in love with it anymore. Poker and I have decided to see other PPL.

Last month was the Epiphany. On a visit to Monaco , I was scheduled to level up, turning my bogus Poker PH.D. from ESPN, to the real deal in Monte Carlo. I didn't have any gamble in me and didn't even walk through the doors. After all, you can only quit once.

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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1. Santorini, Greece

Let The Orinoco Flow

2.Maldives, Islands

Consciousness Is Wireless

3. Bora Bora

Tahiti-Stopover In Paradise

4. The Fjords of Norway

Mother Nature and Father Time Are Effin Special

5. The Fjords of New Zealand

Milford Sound-Are We There Yet?

6.Full World Cruise

L.A.To London in 110 Days

7. The Oasis Of The Seas
Game Changer- The Ship IS the destination. Remarkable. This  225,282-ton, 5,400-passenger colossus that cost Royal Caribbean $1.4 billion. 
 It only ends once-anything before that is just progress
Too much cruise ship? Quantity is its own kind of quality.
8. Honorable Mention-The Hawaiian Islands
1994-My First Ship -
A Rust Bucket- SS Constitution(a glorified ferry) with a lot of heart
known  as "American Hawaii Cruises"

- - -- by Hotel @nyware»
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Rudyard Kipling once said Milford Sound is the eighth wonder of the world.  National Geographic Traveler Magazine  selected Norway as  the top natural tourist attraction in the world. After visiting Norway in 2010, and the Milford and Dusky Sound in 2011--it's Same Same--- only different. All that remains is- The Persistence Of Norway.

A  good blog post should includes a waterfall. So Norway's fjords are blogs, or literature in a hurry,  Norway's ecstasy. The definition of ecstasy is that you are not doing your ordinary everyday routine....essentially stepping into an alternative reality.This is the second time I have sailed in these fjords. It's like opening a door in the middle of nowhere and all you have to do is go and turn the handle and open it and let yourself sink into it, and just float..

“All the pathos and irony of leaving one’s youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time.” – Paul Fussell
The ZEAL in New Zealand

A View From the Not-So-Cheap Seats in NZ
Norway 5 New Zealand 3.5

The Geirangerfjord-Mother Nature and Father Time Are Effing Special...
Narrow Road To The Interior
4 season in one day
Mother Narture laughs out loud
Life is forever
I'm past the point of no return. I'll just concern myself with the best way of moving forward.
Mindless Purity
Putting the ODD back in God
Before, Norway, Earth Goddess was just a yuppie  salad dressing you could buy at Whole  Foods. I never thought  that people died. They just went to organic health food stores... and  that Japanese guy who always wins the hot dog eating contest is the anti-christ.

Today as I kayak in the fjords and observe the sun, the water,  the green and everything in flow, I say to myself  "Yes indeed, all this belongs to me!". and, more than that,I play a role in its appearance.

As I get a glimpse of the deeper, random, chance  encounters of my 3 pound  universe (brain), with Mother Nature and Father Time being demoted from actual reality, to my mere subjective experience of my consciousness, I feel immortal.

 The ephipany being:  Old school selfishness sez, I am  the center of the world, New World Order sez, I create the world. Space and time aren’t objects — they’re my brain`s tools for putting everything together. Without "me", they don't exist.

  Father Time Simply Reboots
 Reminds me of the joke, if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound.....
We carry space and time around with us like turtles with shells..Without mind, matter doesn´t "matter". It hovers  in   waves  of probability. Thus, there is no absolute grid we live in where things occur independent of our own thinking about it.

Although our body may self destruct, the 20-watt  fountain of energy operating in the brain. doesn’t go away at death. Father Time simply reboots. The universe is in our head,and not out there seperate from us. What the bleep?

Grass Roots

The grass was greener where you watered it, now I have reconsidered: It IS greener in Norway.In fact, this infinite landscape has such lush and hearty grass, it is good enough to eat.The sod and grass turf roofs symbolize the Norsk love of nature; sustainable and  energy efficient, the old has become the new.

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence

High on this mountain,the clouds down below, Im feeling so strong and alive. From this rocky perch Im beginning to search for the wind and the snow and the sky-Dan Fogelberg Nether Lands

Flåm- Enriched by a Wonderful Osmosis

Free For All-H2O
In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is strength, in water there is bacteria. Unless of course you are in  Norway-- where meltwater  is useful,  humble, precious, and pure.The best wine may be the oldest, the best water, however, is  the newest. With cupped hands, drinking  melted glacier. It's pure inspiration. We're all downstream from here!  For those at home, may I suggest VOSS.

Narrow Road To The Interior... Frozen water once, Now melts into my heart. Joy comes dancing lightly

Stavanger-I´m Not (all) There

Jumping The Shark In Norway 
Why Climb a mountain? because it is there.What I would really like to do is  Bungee jump--- dive off the top  of this cliff because I am not all there, This would be my version of Happy Days, when Fonzie jumped the shark. That defining moment when you know your favorite TV program has reached its peak.

If Hollywood is loneliness beside the swimming pool, then Norway is solitude by the fjords.What\s on Norway? Ed TV... Time to change the channel.

Here are my top posts from this awesome place.

Oslo-You Know Where It's @

As Allan Watts said, Everyday, you have to go out of your mind in order to come to your senses. A fool, afterall, who persists in his folly, becomes wise. I haven\t been everywhere, but it is on my list. After all, when you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Back to Norway...

Why Pay less?
Oslo, Today, Beta World City Plus. The most expensive city on the planet. The Norse saga continues. I think I'm in Minnesota, AKA New Norway.
Norwegians-- healthy, enlightened, effective people or too much alcohol? Make the call.
They eat lutefisk, are passive-agressive, pronounce their W's as V's, look as though they were soaked in bleach and the ones from the old country listen to death metal. Born with skis on, they like their Viking past.

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