beer drinking crazy chinese

Danny and I met this beautiful asian girl in the hotel and she took us out on the town in Panyu on Friday night.

Once again, though, she repeated the same mantra we have heard the entire time we have been here, which is “Drink! Drink!”… what is with these chinese people and slamming back beers?!?

Danny got killed at lunch the other day with all the chinese politicians… and he got pretty obliterated the night before by the cake girl and her crazy dancing friends… and then on Friday night he got it again… this was hilarious!

We sit down at a table and, I don’t even know who ordered it, but they brought over a BUCKET of 12 beer’s for the 3 of us… every bar in China seems to have this dice game at the table and this one was no different… so we started playing it…

It is a fairly simple game where you basically bet whether or not someone has what they say they have or not… the game is called Bull$hit. It seemed simple enough, but this girl was SOOOO good at this game… like, freakishly good, she guessed almost every single time Danny was lying, and when he wasn’t…. Whenever you lose, you have to pound back, you guessed it, an 8 ounce glass of beer?!?!?!

Danny must have lost 15 of the first 20 games we played in the first 30 minutes!!! This girl kept beating him… I was dying laughing…

Danny and I are going to Guangzhou tonight, just for the night as we heard that is a cool spot to be on Saturday night… We either have to get a lot better at this dice game, or find a way to avoid getting involved in it, or Danny is gonna die… I don’t think he will ever forget his time in China though, I’ll give it that!

Panyu – Part II

There were 2 other things that happened on my first 24 hours in Panyu that were fairly interesting… a motorcycle collission and a confusing story about cake:

motorcycle: After our business drinking lunch (btw, here are a couple pics from that day pic 1, pic2), our driver was whisking us through the hills, about 3 hours north of Panyu… the road was paved but extremely narrow, only enough for one car to go down… and it was very curvy… we had been up in the mountains looking at a hydro power plant (don’t ask).

We came around one corner and I saw these two chinese dudes on a motorbike coming right at us… I don’t know if our driver drank too much or if he just has the reflexes of a 3 toed sloth, but he didn’t even tap the breaks… the bike smacked off our front left bumper and propelled the two chinese dudes into the bushes.

I was the first one out of the car to check on them… no one else seemed that interested… but when I got to them, they were both sitting there in the bush, looking like scared children (one looked 50, the other about 30)… I then realized that with my broken cantonese I couldn’t really say anything, and somehow Lay Ho ma (how are you), didn’t quite seem appropriate…

The other people in my car just got out and surveyed the damage on their car… then finally they walked over to the two bleeding motorcycle guys and started yelling at them. There was an argument for about 10 minutes and then my driver gave them 200 yuan (about $30) and we left.

Cake: The night before we were at a nightclub and there were these girls at a table beside us who were really excited about us (I have yet to see a white person here so I think we are kind of like exotic animals)… they kept wanting to shoot beers with us (they must get this from their fathers!!)… anyway, one seemed to like me… and she was really cute… 19 years old…

I was with a guy who spoke Cantonese so he talked to her… she then wrote down a bunch of chinese writing and gave it to him to give to me… I asked him what it says and he said it is an address… here is the rest of the convo:

me: an address to where?
john: i think a bakery
me: why?
john: she told me to tell you she makes really good cake
me: ??? cake?
john: yes
me: does she mean something else when she says cake??
john: i don’t think so
john: she says she would like to make you a cake
me: cake?
john: yes… but i am a little bit confused, she says she works at a 24 hour cake shop
me: is there a possiblity there is something being lost in translation here?
john: i don’t think so
me: well, what if i don’t like cake
john: well…. i think she’d be really disappointed

Hong Kong and Panyu, China

I spent two wild and crazy nights in Hong Kong… Christos just happened to be in town at the same time I was there and I haven’t seen him in years, so we had a great time catching up, and doing the things we used to do, 5 years ago, in Lang Kwai Fong…

Then I took a bus to Panyu, China. Panyu is about a 3 hour bus ride from Hong Kong… about 1 hour from Shensen… also about 1 hour from Guangzhou, and 1 hour from Macau…

I am mainly here on business… and it already has been bizarre. I have been with a friend of mine, Danny Deadlock here, looking at some internet companies, as well as some other business ventures… We ended up having lunch today with most of the top ranking officials in this part of China, including the Mayor of one of the cities here. During the lunch, about every couple of minutes someone would stand up (there were about 10 of us total), walk over to someone and “cheers” them with about an 8 ounce glass of beer… the two “cheersers” would then shoot the whole glass of beer. I managed to avoid a fair amount of it… but Danny somehow was the center of attention and he ended up doing this about 10 times during the lunch… he was pretty much completely hammered by the end of the lunch.

Welcome to Chinese business school! As is almost always the case in business, hardly any business was discussed and pretty much everyone just got drunk…

The night before, Danny and I, and a cool guy who has been designated by one of the companies we are speaking with to “show us around” were out at a nightclub here called the Jazz Bowl. And, we had numerous Chinese girls all doing the same thing… coming up, cheersing us, and then shooting entire bottles of beer. This is one crazy, fast drinking country.

The girls here dance so crazy… they basically flail around, whipping their head around violently… i’ve never seen anything quite like it… and they do it for minutes at a time… if i even tried to do what they do for more than 5 seconds i’d pull something for sure…

I was last in this region 10 years ago and man has it changed… it has developed so much… when I was last here it was quite dirty, poor and squalid… now it is very nice, with big gardens and treed esplanades with all sorts of high end clothing and car stores… The person we know here, Joe, says that this area is changing dramatically on a yearly basis right now. It is definitely interesting times to be in China… but I don’t know how much more ‘cheersing’ we can do with the locals!?

One Night in Bangkok

I was supposed to actually spend two nights in Bangkok, but I missed my flight on Saturday due to the fact that it took me nearly an hour to get a taxi in Dubai! That town is crazy… pretty much every hotel room was booked, and very expensive… and it sometime took hours to get a taxi. And the traffic there is insane… at any hour of the day or night you can just be sitting in a traffic jam in Dubai!

Well, anyway, I made it out on Sunday and got into Bangkok on Sunday night… it was a 6 hour flight and after not getting barely any sleep on Saturday night I pretty much just went to sleep.

It has been nearly two years since I have been in Asia I think… I was briefly in Hong Kong a couple years ago… after being in Bangkok for just a few minutes I remembered how much I like Asia! I am going to Hong Kong today and then China for a week, then HK again for a week… after that I don’t know but I think I will stick around in Asia for a while… maybe even until November when I need to be in NYC on business.

In the meantime, I hope I am not back on the jetlag bandwagon… but I am writing this at 5am as I woke up wide awake around 4am.

Dubious in Dubai

I stopped over in London for the night on my way from Paris, and then flew the 6 hour flight from London to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

I have never been in the Middle East before, so this is interesting for me… Dubai is certainly not a typical place in the Middle East, by any means, but it is interesting nonetheless for its own reasons.

The flight from London looked like it was going to take us right over Baghdad, but the plane veered to the East just as we got to the Iraq border, likely not allowed to fly in Iraq airspace.

I arrived in Dubai at 9pm on Thursday… I don’t know if this is normal or not, but we were in traffic jams pretty much from 9pm up to even 2am…

The city looks a lot like Las Vegas… without all the glitzy casinos. What I mean is it is very spread out… probably typical of any city built right on the desert… space is not a problem, so they just build things wherever they want…

The weather is insane… I haven’t felt heat like this since when I was in Bangkok once when the temperature hit 49c. I walked two blocks last night around midnight and by the time I got there I was soaking wet. Going outside in the daytime is something I am trying to avoid at all costs!

The city seems VERY modern in terms of its restaurants, nightlife and overall entertainment scene… even more so than most North American cities… I leafed through a Dubai city magazine for this month and pretty much every major performer and/or DJ comes through here…

I visited a few clubs here last night and they were pretty good… Mix at the Grand Hyatt was good… also went to Oxygen and a few others. There is one called Trilogy that everyone tells me I should go to, but it is a 20 minute ride from my hotel so I don’t know if I will or not… plus I need to leave for Bangkok tomorrow morning at 9:40am so I might not even go out tonight.

I was kind of hoping to meet middle eastern people and women while I am here, but the crowds at all the places I have gone to are very international… there seems to be a LOT of Russian, and former Soviet block girls here… I met people last night from Georgia, Latvia… and a fair amount from Pakistan and India… there are also quite a few asian people here… quite an interesting mix… but I only met one person actually from Dubai last night and she was blonde and looked Russian…

So where are all the Dubaians? Well, I have seen tons of women (at least I think they are women) wearing head to toe black robes with nothing but an eye slit (not even a slit to breathe?!)… they are actually walking around in this heat wearing that. Religious oppression can be very brutal, especially to women who have been on the short end of the stick of most religions (always run by men of course) for a long period of time. And if you think it is limited to islam, think again… Catholicism, in one of the most evil things I know of, spent most of its crusades and the last 2,000 years trying to cover up the fact that Jesus was married and had a pregnant wife… they rewrote the entire religion to oppress women… including things like making Eve the bad guy (girl) who sinned and ate the apple of knowledge… all of this was to repress women… if you are a woman and are a believer in any major religion I urge you to look into the history of your religion and, like Public Enemy, to fight the power. IMO, all organized religion is evil… but if you are going to be a member of it, get educated.

Anyway, that’s that for now…

Next report likely to come from Bangkok.

Paris, or as Kanye West calls it, Paayyreeeeehh

I flew from Prague to Paris on Monday. I had to get out of Prague, it was killing me!

I am half French… my mom’s maiden name is Dionne… her side of the family was so French Canadian that I pretty much couldn’t really even talk to my grandparents on that side… they spoke very little english… and REGRETABLY now, I didn’t pay much attention in the EIGHT years of french classes I took in school.

Whenever I am in Quebec, it only takes a day or two for me to start to remember a lot of that french I learned… but after spending the last year loosely learning Spanish, it has messed my brain up. On the flight here I couldn’t even count to five in French… I was like “uno.. dos… tres… quatro..”… DAMMIT! “uno… dos… tres… quatro”!!! I couldn’t figure it out.

But after being here for a few hours it is slowly coming back… but now I am losing the Spanish… Some people are really good at numerous languages, but apparently my brain holds a max of 1.5 at any given time and if I learn any of another language I have to compensate by forgetting some of others.

So, anyway, being half french I thought I should come here and, well, see if I am King… but just like in Scotland, I appear to not be the King… at all. So I will leave soon.

Actually I am scheduled on the chunnel train to London tomorrow afternoon… so I might go walk around the Champs Elysee tonight a bit, then maybe try to check out the Louvre or something tomorrow before I get on my train.

So far the only thing I have noticed here that is different from anywhere else I have been: their subway is this crazy labrinth (I was lost in there for about 20 mins just trying to get out)… I kept walking by artists and singers, and they always had a fairly decent sized crowd around them… and usually the crowd was like, highly fashionably dressed… like one black guy i saw was sitting on the subway stairs in a pinstriped black suit with a sweater and tie underneath, smoking a cigarrette, listening to this girl play guitar. I kinda get the feeling the french like to sit, smoke, drink coffee and wine and just talk and listen to music etc.

I will obviously see the more touristy side of Paris later when I visit the main areas near the Champs and Eiffel Tower etc.

I am reading the Da Vinci Code right now as it is one of the only English books I have been able to find in the last few months… it is actually a very good book, I recommend it… but half of the book is about Paris… the Louvre… etc… so it kind of has me interested in doing the tourist thing… VERY BRIEFLY tho… I do not want anyone to think I am a map carrying, photo taking tourist like every single other person I see… seriously… why would you take a picture of something like the Eiffel Tower… I can kind of understand if you are in the picture (even then, it is terrificly lame), but people just stop and take a picture of it. The internet has 1,000,000 pictures of the Eiffel Tower… why do you need your own special one? And heck, even if I wanted (why I would never know) a picture of myself in front of the Eiffel Tower, I could just download a pic off the net and photoshop myself in if it meant that much to me.

Anyway, I don’t understand it, but there must be some reason everyone does it, because everyone does it… to each their own. My own personal brand of tourism consists of sleeping most of the day in my hotel room, then spending the rest of the day on the internet… working… researching and reading about the place I am in… then going out, having dinner and then harassing the local 18 year old girls at dark, smokey discotheques… I am sure to many that doesn’t make sense either.

Au Revoir!

Prague Baby

I am officially a big fan of Prague. What a great place… most of the people are really nice… really nice looking city with great vibe.

I was hanging with a few friends I met a few nights ago last night… these guys are hilarious… they call each other Don, even though that isn’t either of their names, and they call me Don too… ? ha, they are hilarious

But anyway, I was hanging with Don last night and we went to an interesting bar… can’t remember the name… ‘something’ Music Club… its in Old Town. It seems like a little pub, but the more you walk through the little hallways you find different rooms with different music… its pretty cool. One of the rooms kinda has strippers… that room is FULL of guys, just standing there watching drinking beer… so Don and I were like, hmmm, this place kinda sucks… its just got a few small pub like rooms, and then one stripper room full of guys… but then we walked a little further downstairs and found another room playing Hip Hop, and that room was FULL of girls… like 3 guys, 50 girls.

Don and I were very thankful for that stripper room taking all the guys out, lol!

So, anyway, it is Sunday now and I am actually contemplating staying longer here… but I need to be in London on Thursday… and I really wanted to hit France… so I am considering going to France on Monday for 2 days before London… but will decide later today.

I need a few days off… I got into Prague on Tuesday and from Tuesday until Saturday I was out until 6am every single night!?! This place is crazy.

It’s been kinda cool cuz each night I was sorta hanging with someone different. The first two nights I hung out with this guy from Toronto I met playing poker… then I hung out with the Don’s a few nights… and one night a beautiful Czech girl showed me a whole different side of Prague I didn’t even know about… took me to all the exclusive, upscale places.

And then last night I was just hanging with the one Don, cuz the other Don left that day… and then we hung out with some girls from Austria all night. One of the Austrian girls was stunningly beautiful too. There are a lot of beautiful girls in this part of the world.

Just an fyi though, the Dons were telling me that they heard that Estonia is the best place in the world for beautiful, easy to meet, women… they said it is even better than Brazil… I wish I had more time in Europe, I woulda definitely checked that place out… maybe I’ll take the Orient Express from China to Moscow and then Estonia after asia… hmmmmmm……

There are lots more cool things I can say about Prague… like for example, my hotel was full so I had to leave today so I just walked around a bit.. saw a little boutique hotel, looked nice… The rooms were 1500 crowns for a single, which works out to about $60 USD, so very reasonable… and it has high speed internet in the room… but the room I got is huge.. it has about 3 bedrooms and a kitchen!! Not bad for $60!

Anyway… Highly recommend Prague. If I had to rate the places in Europe I’ve been, it’d be very difficult because all of them (except Scotland… but I was only in Glasgow and barely even went out) were fantastic… but if you want to go somewhere cool, not too expensive, and lively… Prague should definitely be on your list. If I had to choose between Budapest, Prague and Bratislava, Prague would definitely win… Budapest was great… Bratislava was great too, but Bratislava is very small so it is good for a short stopover in between Budapest and Prague/Vienna.

That’s it for now!

Don

Czech, Czech, Czech it out y’all

I took a train from Vienna to Prague yesterday. When I first arrived, in the first 2 hours, I noticed about 5-7 people with some sort of laceration on their face… usually a welt/wound below their eye… I have NO idea if this was just a coincidence or not, but thought that it was a bit strange.

Later that night I went to the only casino with Texas Hold ’em Poker in town, called Casino Blanco. I met a guy from Toronto and another guy from LA, both their by themselves like me… they were both really cool so we ended up hanging out all night and had a great time. But there were two older guys at the poker table with tattoos and stuff, and they weren’t very friendly. A local there was telling us they were ‘mafia’ and we should be careful around them… lol. Man, mafia/gang people are so lame… they only think they are tough because of their guns and all their friends behind them… Put them by themselves, with no weapons and they 9 times out of 10 are the most weak, scared people.

Anyway… I am not sure if all these people with wounds on their face are related to some sort of gang activity or what… maybe there was just a big roller derby last week or something?!

Other than that strange coincidence and the two lame “mafia” losers, who I took most of their money from (they seemed pretty upset at one point… but didn’t say a word to me, of course… just acting tough), Prague seems really cool! (side note: why don’t we legalize all drugs and prostitution and get rid of all these mafia losers?)

I have a great hotel right near the main square… surrounded by fast food restaurants of all different types (McDonalds, KFC, Donair place, Chinese place), so that makes me happy! Plus my hotel has wired and wireless internet, so I am pretty content at the moment!

The main shopping/dining area is really cool… its quite huge, and surrounded by quite neat, large churches and big official looking buildings. Its got a cool vibe here… everyone seems cool and are all easy to talk to. There seems to be a lot of tourists here (Canada, USA, Australia (of course Australia!), Russia), which I found a bit surprising… I didn’t realize Prague was such a tourist destination… but I can see why it is… very cool here. Even on a Tuesday night there were numerous places that were very happening, even late into the night.

I think I will stay here until Saturday, maybe even Sunday because I like it so much. Then I have to decide on either Milan, Amsterdam or Paris before I head to London to go east in a little over a week. I think I will try to hit Italy, just out of my love for pasta alone… and then I think it is requisite I at least go to France for a day or two to see the other half of my heritage (I saw Scotland, my other half, about a month ago…)

There is a possibility I might go to Oslo on some business too in the next week but we’ll see if that works out.

Bratislava… unt now Vienna

So I spent one night in Bratislava… neat little place. One of the interesting things I found about it, is that a lot of young people there REALLY love hip hop… I haven’t even really heard much hip hop in a long time… barely any in South America, Sweden, Greece, Budapest… but in Bratislava there are these hip hop kids everywhere… I actually heard 2 or 3 REALLY good french rap tracks there… I wish I knew what they were cuz they were actually very good. Actually, now that I think about it, there was a lot of french stuff there… hmm, wonder what that is all about.

If you are ever looking to go somewhere that is just neat/different, put Bratislavia, Slovakia on your list. So many little things that were neat there… everyone seemed really nice too… like almost too nice… this one guy went out of his way, walking with me for 5 blocks to show me where I could get free wireless with my laptop… but he might have been gay… that might explain that one. But everyone just seems really cool there in general.

Bratislava is pretty small, so after one night of taxi’ing it around from club to club, I had pretty much seen the whole place… so on Sunday I took a Hydrofoil up the Danube river to Vienna, Austria.

Hotels seem really expensive here, so I spent a while just walking around trying to find anything under 100 Euro’s per night… I finally found one around 10pm and checked in and went to bed. I will stay here today… they apparently have Europe’s largest poker room here so I will likely go check that out and see if I can get some Austrian’s to pay for my hotel… I had a really good night in Budapest at one place which was like free money… there were at least 3 or 4 players at the table that were just terrible. I was up about $700 at one point, but then I got a bit cocky with this one guy who always played terrible cards, but he actually had an okay hand… I dropped $300 on that hand, but still walked with $400. I’d have to say the majority of my losses come when I get a bit too cocky… I’ve got to control that more at the poker table.

On that note, it did actually occur to me the other night, while at a casino in Budapest, that I am living a pretty interesting life at the moment. I was sitting there at quite a high class casino in Budapest, after having spent the day researching and trading stocks, commodities and currencies, as well as working on a political book and a movie script, then went to the casino to play fairly high stakes no limit poker… then I went to a really cool outdoor club called Rio in Budapest… ran into some people who said they were from Vancouver and are StockHouse users… get a lot of attention from the girls… etc.

While it is interesting… and I am doing it for 2 main reasons: 1) education… I find the only way I can really learn about countries/places is to go there and see what it is like and talk to the people etc… and 2) life presented me with complete freedom a few months ago, so the time never seemed better to spend a few months travelling the world.

That said, though, I can’t say I am really all that happy or anything. Many who know me well know I’d be just as happy being in a very small apartment somewhere, maybe close to a beach, with a good internet connection, Hi Def tv setup and just spend all day reading/researching/writing etc… and just eat/cook good simple food and exercise…

But for now, this is the path I have chosen and I do not regret it, although I think when I finally find a place I want to live, or something i want to do, I will be very happy to stay in one place for a while… but that is still at least a few months away as I still have about 2 weeks in Europe and the middle East and then will be in Hong Kong and China for at least a few weeks, then likely other parts of asia.

Anyway, I am in Vienna now… Vienna is the first place I have been that says I am in Western Europe… very nice, tons of beautiful architecture… very civilized… maybe even a bit too much, but that is okay… after having been in places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico etc. it is kinda nice to be in a place that is highly polished and clean.

But it is too expensive here for my liking, so I will leave tomorrow for Prague, which I hear from many different sources is a very cool place… until then!

The cost of internet!

In the last year I have spent stupidly huge amounts of money to get the internet, and have also spent stupidly small amounts… what is up with the price of the internet around the world?

By far the most I spent was on my stupid boat internet system that I didn’t notice cost actually 8 times more than I thought… so instead of spending $2,000 over a few months to get internet on the boat, I ended up spending $16,000. That really hurt.

But besides that one irritating period, there is just huge variations in the price of the internet. When I was in Central and South America, the average cost at internet cafes was $0.25-$1.00 per hour, and at a few places where I frequented, whenever the girls were working they usually gave it to me free!

But then you go to places like Greece and Budapest, where it can be up to $10 per hour!

But I just got into Bratislava (and btw, only been here a few hours and it looks AMAZING! Will have more details tomorrow), but they have wireless free hotspots all over the city… I am at a cafe right now using Pizza Hut’s free wireless network… so I am spending $0 here…

And then you get a huge range of internet prices in the hotels… many of the smaller/medium hotels I go to offer free internet, which is awesome.. and many have wireless now. But some of the larger ones are ridiculous. At the Hyatt in San Salvador, they were charging $5 per 15 minutes!?!?! And in San Jose (the home of the freaking internet!) the hotel only had a kiosk that was like $0.25 per minute or something?!?!?!

But even disregarding that whopping satellite internet bill, I still probably average about $300 per month just to get internet… it all depends where I am, some months are much less, some are more. But the cool thing is the internet is everywhere… I haven’t been to a place yet where I couldn’t find the internet at all.. so I am at least happy for that… for the internet is my lord and saviour. 😛