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Happy Birthday

It was January 7, 2007, The fateful day when my plane touched down at Beijing International. I landed confused and befuddled. Disoriented and ill suited to meet the calamity of my new everyday facing me, pessimistic about my odds. One short year later I am stronger, wiser, and just a little less fat. I’ve lived had good days, sad days, great days, plus some regular ones too. I’ve been sick, concussed, lost, misunderstood, beat up, smitten, and hung over. I’ve taught, traveled all over the darn place, I climbed mountains, rocked out, and my only regret is that my Chinese still sucks, but getting better slowly. I met good people, had good food, I had weird shit too, and it ain’t over yet by a long shot.

It was over one year ago that Marcus started this website for me. Back then, I remember he asked if I wanted to sign up for the one year or the two year deal. I laughed, no way I will even be there one whole year, just do one, no problem. Well, earlier this week the domain expired, and Marcus fixed that shit with a quickness. I was momentarily scared that the site was gone, but Marcus fixed everything. He is the man you guys. So in the meantime happy birthday to all of you that have been reading my diary this year. Keep the emails coming.

I am writing by pen in a notebook (originally) on a four hour bus from Guangzhou to Zhuhai. I took a 20 hour train from Shangqiu, the same trip as the one I wrote about in the post car 13, this time with a bed which made all the diff. China by train is really quite pleasant when you have a bed. I traded the bottom bed with a girl for the middle of the three bunks. The bottom bed is considered more desirable by the Chinese, but by day becomes the bunk on which everyone sits and chats on. It is for this reason that I much prefer the upper beds where I can relax with a book, laying around all day, watching China slug by from the window. So it was nice, aside from the girl on the bottom bunk making a cell call in the middle of the night waking everyone up, including the baby who once awake, made her adorably screaming presence known for the duration.

So after that bus ride to Zhuhai I made it to Macao. I can’t remember what I told you about Macao the last time but this is my third trip and also my third time at Septembers bunk hostel. Septembers is a two bedroom apartment at best with 2 double bunk beds in one room, one double bunk in the other room, and a third double bunk in a utility closet. The big dorm from where I am now writing, has not been redecorated since the days it was a little kids room, still sporting cartoon puppies frolicking on the wall and glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. The place is owned by a dude from Bangladesh named Joe. My first stay here a girl in the dorm had left her passport on the China side and Joe, being the knight in shinning armor type, arranged for his brother to pick it up and bring it to her. He also spent ten minutes trying to convince her she really ought to have sex with his brother for his trouble. Only fair, reasoned Joe. That was where I met Ben, an ex big deal entertainment lawyer from New York (he reped 50 cent among others) who one day said the hell with it and threw a party where he gave away all his stuff and has been traveling for the past several few years. He was a gambler and we hit the casinos. He told me he used to own a Cadillac he kept in Los Vegas and a Cadillac just for Atlantic city. We all were talking about the fact that Macao beats Vegas in gambling revenue, we couldn’t figure it out. Ben came back the next day after winning enough to pay for his whole week in Macao, and he reported that from what he could tell, Chinese people could not gamble, hence big winnings for the casinos in Macao. He was playing black jack and said he saw people with a four showing and they wanted to stay and keep betting. There is no other card that you could have that would make that a good hand. So according to 50 cents old lawyer, Chinese people can’t gamble.

That was the same week I came in with a cheap bottle of bum wine and split it with Joe. When I told him I was American he took the opportunity to praise George W Bush Endlessly, which I didn’t know how to respond to. That is the only time that has happened. Weird. That was on the way to Thailand, I went back through Macao on my way home from Thailand a month later. That time in Macao I met up with an Australian dude who has been traveling Asia for the past ten years chasing woman. We went out hitting bars but ultimately we had no luck, nowhere to take them, was his point. Can’t take them to the bunk hostel. That time I stayed at Septembers Joe had drastically overbooked. I get the feeling that Joe doesn’t turn away business. I wound up sleeping on a cot next to the front desk, crammed next to another cot. Right now (when this was first written by notebook) a cot sits next to the bunk comfortably cramming 5 in this tiny puppy room.

Earlier tonight I was talking to Joe, I asked him about the old man who was there the last couple of times I was there. This was an old Korean guy who always sat smoking in the corner with his shirt off, always watching American professional wrestling. I thought he worked there. Joe told me that the old man didn’t work there, he was a gambler who’s family had told him he wasn’t allowed to go to Monaco for gambling anymore. He had a real problem and was losing all their money. He had actually been missing for several months and finally his family found him, sitting in the corner of Septembers Hostel smoking and watching wrestling all day, gambling all night. I mentioned what I had heard about Macao making more money off gambling than Vegas. Joe gave a sage nod and said he had heard that too. Then he said “The Chinese are naturally good gamblers. It is in Chinese peoples blood. Like eating human flesh.” I asked him to repeat, and he talked of times in WWII during the Japanese occupation, times of awful famine. He said in those days people ate their babies, “turned their babies into soup” I believe were his exact words. And so, according to Joe Chinese people are good at gambling because eating babies is in their blood. I told Joe that I had had dog in China, but never baby soup.

Joe is a good guy, he likes to talk, and he wants to help. And I will gladly stay there on my way home at the end of the vacation I am now on.

I am in Singapore at the moment, last night I met up with a posse and tonight we are going to a night safari in the Singapore Zoo. Georganna and Andy tell me that the Singapore zoo is amazing. I can’t wait.

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday”

  1. Amy Bugg Says:

    Night safari at the Singapore Zoo sounds amazing. I expect a full report. =)

    Stay safe. Love you!

  2. elenore Says:

    you should go to look up lotusluna to see my new zealand adventure.

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