Sunday, April 15, 2007

First Place

First place in the AL West: Your Seattle Mariners! Let's hope that more games get canceled so that Felix can pitch every other game.

No pics of French girls from last night. The party was a lot of fun and I met a lot of really nice people. There was also a lot of good wine. We're driving back to Wiesbaden this afternoon, as soon as Cliff and Matt finish their marathon. On Monday, Julia and I are heading to Munich for the day and I'll be flying home on Tuesday! Homeward bound!

I'll answer the questions re: poker and drinking in a later blog when I have more time. Thanks for the concerns and I'll see everyone early next week!

Saturday, April 14, 2007


We didn't leave Wiesbaden until 10 PM last night which means we rolled into Paris right around 3 AM. I drove the whole way and ate sunflower seeds to stay awake. Sunflower seeds rule.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that our hotel offered free wireless internet and, tired as I was, I hopped online for a few minutes. I started talking to my French friend, Gab, on Instant Messenger and he invited us to a big party this afternoon/evening at a friend's apartment. Apparently, the party starts around 4 in the afternoon with everyone drinking on the lawn in front of the apartment then everyone heads inside once the sun goes down. It sounds like a lot of fun and since Cliff has his marathon on Sunday, I'll be drinking enough for two. My only hope for tonight is to return with some sweet pictures of French girls doing morally questionable things. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, April 13, 2007


Belgium, a.k.a. the 32nd country that I've visited, was never really on my "must see" list. I like Belgian beer but I didn't know much else about the place. It was my mom's idea to drive out to Bruges and Ghent and Cliff was working long hours all week so we headed out early Tuesday morning.

Our first stop was Cologne, one of my favorite cities in Europe. My mom was impressed with the cathedral but wasn't in the mood for any of the old Roman artifacts. Cologne was an important city in Roman times and there are still a bunch of cool old walls and roads right in the middle of town. We didn't spend a lot of time dawdling and after hiking to the top of the Dom's south spire we continued east into Belgium.

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We got to Bruges around 4 PM and it was teeming with tourists. The town is really "cute" as my mom would say thousands of times over the next 24 hours. I do recommend coming here with a lady friend. Mom and I checked in to our hotel then rented bikes and tried to get away from the craziness of the city center. We spent the last hours of daylight bouncing on along on the cobblestones of a very quaint town and eventually returned to the city center once things died down. We didn't get many good pictures of the Bruges town center but you just have to believe me when I say the charm was through the roof.

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On Wednesday morning, mom and I took off on our bikes for the coast. It was an overcast day and the ride through Belgian farmland was quite pleasant. Our bikes were horrible but I only complained about mine 75429731042720 times. The seaside reminded me of Normandy and it was pretty cold so we didn't linger for long. The ride back to Bruges was good but toward the end I really started to get sore. All told we rode about 40 Km which is about 25 miles. This weekend my brother will be running 26.2 miles in the Paris marathon. I can't even fathom the ridiculousness of that. Anyway, once we got back to town we returned the bikes and drove to the Bruges Brewery. They have a dark beer called Zot that my mom liked a lot and we bought some glasses as souvenirs. I almost bought a shirt that said "I'm Zot(Mad) About You" but the "Mad" in parentheses angered me. Again, I limited myself to a single beer so that I could drive and we made it to Ghent around 3 or 4 PM.

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I liked Ghent even more than Bruges. Ghent has about 90% of the charm that Bruges has but only 10% of the tourists. The first thing we did after check-in was go to the top of the belfry for a city view.

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Ghent also seemed like a nice town to party in but I never really found out. The closest I came to the party was sitting outside of the gay bar, The Out, and using their free wi-fi. The bar had a steady flow of patrons and looked like it would be a lot of fun if one were so inclined. Anyway, here are more Ghent pictures:

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On Thursday we had to drive back to Wiesbaden but Cliff was working until 7 PM so we had plenty of time. I found out that the Hoegaarden brewery was only a 30 minute detour so we obviously headed there for lunch. The smoked salmon salad was delicious, as was the glass of white beer. I like Hoegaarden a lot and bought myself some of their paraphernalia including a sweet beer tie. The drive home was uneventful and my mom snoring kept me from falling asleep.

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This morning I picked up Cliff's friend Julia from the airport and we went on two different walks. It got up to 80 degrees here in Wiesbaden and beer gardens seemed to spring up anywhere and everywhere there was open space. We drank a few Erdingers, not the best beer in Germany, and now Julia is passed out. We're all sitting around waiting for Cliff to get off of work so that we can drive to Paris. I think the marathon is on Sunday so tomorrow we'll do something low-key like drink 3 or 4 bottles of red wine. Peace.

P.S. BONUS PICTURE! They're just called "sprouts" in Brussels.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

What up!?!

Hello everybody!

I'm kind of stoked that there's still an "everybody" out there after going AWOL for over a month. The "get off your lazy ass and write" requests have picked up as of late and have remotivated me to get this blog rolling again. I'm currently in Wiesbaden, Germany with my mother and brother but I'll elaborate how I got here from Thailand:

Sunday, March 4th: I traveled from Koh Pha Ngan back to Bangkok. I almost booked a room at the Intercontinental, where our group had stayed earlier in the trip, before remembering that I'm really really cheap. I found a sweet hostel in a pretty good location for just under $4. Upon arrival I went to eat my last cheap Thai dinner(phad thai and green papaya salad) and got my last Thai massage, then went to bed early in preparation for my 6:40 AM flight home.

Monday, March 5th: I woke up at 4 AM and caught a cab to the airport. When I got there, I was informed that the flight was canceled and would be rescheduled for the following morning. I wasn't too pleased but there are worse things that could happen. United Airlines put the entire plane up at the Novotel(I think) right next to the airport and paid for three meals. I probably should have taken advantage and gone back to the city but I was feeling lazy and never once set foot outside of the hotel. The food was decent but rather disappointing after eating authentic Thai for nearly two weeks.

Tuesday, March 6th: My flight actually took off and the transfer at Tokyo Narita went well. I got in to Seattle at 11 AM and decided to catch the bus home and was pleasantly surprised with the ease of the experience. The bus goes straight from the airport to around Spokane Street then basically drives up 4th Avenue into downtown. I got off on 4th and University, walked down to 3rd and picked up the #72. The #72 drops me off 2 blocks from my mom's house and the whole experience only cost $1.25. Compare that to over $40 for a taxi and it's quite a deal. Erica came to pick me up for lunch at Paseo and it was good to be home. I left for India on Christmas night and this had been by far the longest trip of my life. That night we drank some beer at Ozzie's then headed to Die Bier Stube for some good beer. Dave and Tasha ended up spending the night at my house and it was good to be home.

Wednesday, March 7th: This recap is taking too long. Watched the Huskies beat ASU in round 1 of the Pac 10 tournament at Sport. Headed to the Little Red Hen for karaoke. Went to Jessica's place and stayed up until 7 AM. Dave and Tasha kept it real again and were up until 4 AM. Somehow they made it out the door by 7 AM for work. Unreal dedication to keeping it real. Marcus also kicked it hard but he didn't have to work until 2 PM.

Thursday, March 8th: Watched the Huskies lost to WSU in round 2 of the Pac 10 tournament. Words can't really describe my disdain for the Cougs. People were drinking heavily but I went home early to pack for Vegas.

Friday, March 9th: Caught an early flight to Vegas, arriving at 8:45 AM. Had a conference call with my financial adviser poolside at 10 AM. Started drinking around noon. Pina Coladas with 151 are good. God bless the Imperial Palace. Went to Treasures for Happy Hour. Went to the Bellagio buffet for dinner. Got a table at Pure for Eli's birthday. Put $1600 on my debit card. Had fun.

Saturday, March 10th: Rough Morning. Went to watch Carl in the PokerDome. Poker is rigged. Decide to change my flight to Phoenix to tonight instead of tomorrow morning. Get to the airport 15 minutes before the last flight to Phoenix. My checked bag doesn't make it to the plane so I have to pick it up in the morning. Try to rent a car but my Debit card has been deactivated due to "suspicious activity". I call WaMu and tell them that I did, indeed, put $1600 on my card. They reactivate my card but it won't go into effect until 5 AM. I have no other credit card to rent the car. Kenny is nice and drives out to the airport to put the car on his card. Kenny's apartment is nice. Life is good.

Sunday, March 11th: Wake up early to go pick up my bag at the airport. It isn't there. We find out that it went to Oklahoma and will be back in Phoenix later in the afternoon. I ask for it to be delivered. They agree. I go back to Kenny's place to shower and pick up Roxanne for the M's game. We go pick up Steph then eat at In N Out. It is good. Kenny messes up our free tickets so Steph has to buy a GA ticket. Steph, Roxanne and I sit in the outfield and drink beers. Life is good. After the game we go to Steph's for Dilly Chicken. It is good. Steph's dad and I start drinking heavily. He puts a hurting on me. Southwest delivers my bag at 10 PM. Life is good.

Monday, March 12th: I drive back to Kenny's early in the morning and feel like regurgitated crap. I tell Kenny that I'll try to get to the field by 10 AM to watch practice. I pass out until 1:30 PM and miss everything.

Tuesday, March 13th: I finally make it to the ballpark early enough for practice. It's pretty awesome and I'm upset with myself for not making it out more often. Practice ends so I head home to pick up Roxanne and Antony's girlfriend, who's name I can't remember right now. BTW, Kenny is Ichiro's interpreter and Antony is Johjima's. Just a FYI. We watch the game from box seats. Much easier to pay attention to the game. Ben Sheets is good. After the game I take the girls to the mall then head home for a nap. After the nap I head to Steph's place to say goodbye then out for some BBQ. It is delicious. After BBQ we go to the Blue Moon Saloon, which Kenny has mistakenly told me is the Blue Moon Brewery. They do serve Blue Moon so it's all good. Hit the hay reasonably early because I have an early flight home.

Wednesday, March 14th: Hit the road at 6 AM and Phoenix traffic is awful. I am late and just turn my car in without paying. I owe Kenny about $200. I make it on my flight. I catch the bus home but it gets a flat tire in the International District. Erica saves the day and takes me to Paseo for a prawn sandwich. Life is good. Erica takes me home and i drive down to Vancouver, WA to visit my grandma. We eat Hawaiian BBQ for dinner. I like Huli Huli Chicken. I feel like crap at bedtime and wake up often throughout the night with horrible stomach pain.

Thursday, March 15th: I leave Vancouver at 6:30 AM because the cable guy is supposed to come over between 10 AM and noon. I feel like crap. I have to pull over in Centralia because it hurts so bad. I park behind the AM/PM and recline my seat. 30 seconds later I hop out of the car and vomit hard 5 or 6 times. I go into AM/PM to buy water and gum. I pass out in my car for an hour and wake up feeling marginally better. I make it home at 11 AM hoping I didn't miss the cable guy. I walk in the house then look out the window and see him pull up behind me. Awesome. I install SlingBox for Clifford and I am pleased with myself. I fall asleep from noon until 7 PM. Life sucks. I worry about not being able to sleep that night but sleep easily from 9 PM until 9 AM. Pain, sir.

Friday, March 16th: I don't really remember what happened today. I packed for Germany I think.

Saturday, March 17th: I fly to Germany. Awesome flight with a short 1-hour layover in Cincinnati. Sadly, I felt like crap and couldn't appreciate the incredibly efficiency.

Sunday, March 18th: I arrive in Germany early. Cliff is hungover from St Patty's Day and is late to pick me up. He is amazed at how hard I'm coughing and chastises me for bringing the bird flu to Germany. We eat a doner for lunch and it is good. We try to go out at night but everything is closed so we head back to Cliff's place for Car Bombs. They are good.

Monday, March 19th: Kitty and Jason arrive in Frankfurt. They left Seattle about 8 hours after me and arrive in Frankfurt 24 hours after me. Suckas. I don't remember what we did today.

Tuesday, March 20th: Jason, Kitty and I drive to Wurzburg, Roethenburg and Ansbach. Wurzburg is really cool, Roethenburg is kind of overrated.

Wednesday, March 21st: We drive to Munich and stop in Dachau on the way. Dachau is very depressing. Munich is fun. We go on a beerhall tour and hit 4: Paulaner, Hofbrau, something, and Hacker-Pschorr. I love Hacker-Pschorr.

Thursday, March 22nd: We spend a day in Munich. The Residence Museum is awesome. So is our hostel. We stay up pretty late drinking there with 16 or 17 year-old Danish girls. Holla.

Friday, March 23rd: We drive to Neuschwanstein castle and take the tour. The castle was built by Ludvig II and was the inspiration for Disney's castle. It is gorgeous and lavish. Then we drive back to Wiesbaden.

Saturday, March 24th: Cliff, Jason, Kitty and I drive to Cologne, one of my favorite cities in Europe. Cologne is home to my favorite cathedral, The Dom, and my favorite Doner shop, Euro Doner. We explore the Dom and hike to the top of the south spire then head to Euro Doner for lunch. Jason and Cliff order the Doner Special which is basically a dust pan full of meat dumped in a huge slab of Turkish bread. I was full of my regular doner which was about half the size of the doner special. Cliff and Jason both finished and felt like puking. Doners are amazing.

Sunday, March 25th: Relaxing day in Wiesbaden. Kitty heads to the thermal bath for a massage. She reports back with stories of nudity and attractive women. Jason and I consider going at a later date.

Monday, March 26th: Kitty, Jason and I fly to Marseille. I like Marseille a lot, it's kind of like a poor man's Monte Carlo.

Tuesday, March 27th: Train from Marseille to Monte Carlo. We go to the Poker Stars party and drink a few beers. Everyone is incredulous that I'm not playing. My friend Noah offers to stake me for 3K Euro if I can collect the other 7K from others. I make a feeble attempt to find backing and actually manage to "sell" almost 80% but no one has cash and I eventually give up. It's good to see a lot of old faces though.

Wednesday, March 28th: Day 1 of the tourney. I sweat some friends for a while and do an interview with the EPT crew. They're doing a "where are they now" feature and think it's cool that I don't play poker anymore. We'll see what happens when the feature airs but it's possible that they just wanted to make fun of me for being busto.

Thursday, March 29th: We take the train to Nice for the day. Nice is nice. Easiest pun ever. The weather is too cold for topless bathing. Booooo.

Friday, March 30th: We explore Monaco. It is ridiculous. So much wealth. The palace is nice and the attached museum is small but interesting.

Saturday, March 31st: We leave Monaco headed to Milan for the Roma - Ac Milan Serie A game. Milan is really nice but we misread the schedule and the game is in Rome. We find a bar to watch the game but it isn't quite the same as watching it live.

Sunday, April 1st: We fly home from Milan and relax all day. Feels good.

Monday, April 2nd: Kitty and Jason leave. I am sad. They were good travel partners.

Tuesday, April 3rd - Thursday, April 5th: I sit around most of the time. Cliff works from 8 AM until 7 PM then goes to bed at 10 PM. It kind of sucks but the 3 hours of hanging out make everything worthwhile.

Friday, April 6th: My mom arrives. We drive to Kaiserslautern to visit my friend Jason. We end up spending the night there.

Saturday, April 7th: We drive to Bamberg. Enroute we stop at a monestary and drink beer. Monks make good beer. I only have one beer so I can drive. Bamberg is awesome. Very cool old German town. Originally I think it's called "bomb"berg but later find out that it's "BAM!"berg. Silly me.

Sunday, April 8th: We explore BAM!berg then drive home. Cliff has a training run for his marathon next weekend. Sadistic.

Monday, April 9th: My mom and I walk around Wiesbaden. It's a pretty cool town. We find a old castle that was destroyed. It is cool.

Tuesday, April 10th: My mom and I drive to Belgium. Belgium trip report coming soon. It will have more detail than the month in review. Maybe I should just blog like this from now on. See y'all next month!