Posts Tagged ‘traveling’

On the European Road Again

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Well, almost! I’m still handling last minute preparations before spending about three months overseas, and there is quite a bit to take care of. Besides finding a loving soul to look after Jace while I’m gone, as he’s not well enough to travel yet, there are all of the home details to attend to before I head out. And I’m trying to map out my entire trip and all of the tournaments I’m going to play. I’m exhausted before even getting on the first flight – LOL!

One of the most important things I’m handling before I leave home is the arrangement of my father’s three-year praying ceremony. It’s coming up later this week, and since I can’t be in Vietnam for it, I wired the money to cover all expenses and have been on the phone with my cousin almost constantly to make sure the organization and preparation is being done perfectly. The ceremony falls on the week of the Vu Lan Ghost Festival, which is a significant event for the people of Vietnam and throughout Asia, as Buddhist temples all over the region celebrate the deceased wandering spirits. And since the anniversary of my father’s passing happens to fall on that week, it’s an even bigger memorial, which features charity for those in need and a tribute to spirits. It’s the best way I can celebrate the memory of my father, and it’s very important that I make everything perfect.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton)

“Vu Lan Festival” is believed to be the spirit month in Vietnamese culture as a way of honoring the dead. On this day, souls are believed to return to their former homes.

From this assembly, many Buddhist countries developed the custom of offering food, clothing and other items to hungry spirits in the month when the realms of Heaven, Hell and the living are open.

The object of this ceremony is to feed the hungry ghosts and to pray for their salvation. This ceremony is a way for people to meet their compassionate filial duty. During the ceremony, offerings are made to rescue up to seven generations of ancestors from whatever misery they might be suffering. During the month, every family can choose a day to present a feast and burn joss paper and incense in front of the house to invite the spirits to eat.

The most distinguished feature of the ceremony is the “offering snatching.” After the incense burns down, the neighborhood children are allowed to grab the food. No one will stop them as it is believed the spirits may be angered if they do so. The ceremony is also a great chance for people to express their gratitude to their parents.

One more tradition of this day is for people – Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike – who wish to express their gratefulness and appreciation towards their mothers, to go to a pagoda, often wearing a rose. Thousands of people flock to pagodas wearing red roses if their parents are alive or white roses if their parents have passed away. The rose has been a symbol of love and sharing among parents and their children regardless of social background.

Once that is ready, I can jump on a plane this week. The first stop on my whirlwind trip will obviously be London, as I need to check on my home there and see my beautiful cats that I miss so much, as well as some friends and colleagues. But the first tournament I’ll be playing will be the Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes that starts on Sept 2nd. After taking some much-needed time off to rest, do some charity work, and connect with friends, it will be nice to get back to the tables and play some poker.

Here is my schedule of tournaments for the next few months:

September 2 – 7: Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes
September 9 – 12: Chilipoker DeepStack Open in Paris
September 23 – 28: WSOP Europe Main Event in London
September 29 – October 4: WPT London
October 14 – 17: Chilipoker DeepStack Open in Vienna
November 2 – 6: WPT Amneville in Amneville, France
November 20 – 30: Marrakech Poker Festival in Morocco
December 13 – 19: WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio in Las Vegas

It would only make sense that I should final table at least half of those and win at least one of them, right? 😉

It seems like a lot of travel, which it is, but I will have some time to relax in London for a few days in that time period, though I will be handling quite a bit of business when I’m not playing tournaments, as usual. And when I write it all out like that, I realize just how busy I am! I’d also like to include a trip to Vietnam to do some charity work before the end of 2010, but we’ll have to see how everything plays out over the next few months.

So, I hope to keep everyone up to date as I play in some of these European events, and I’m sure I will even see some of you at those tournaments! I encourage everyone to play the Chilipoker DeepStack Open events, like the ones listed above in Vilamoura, Vienna, and Marrakech, as the buy-ins are always €550 and start players with massive 50K chip stacks. And for those without the money to buy-in directly, Chilipoker has numerous satellites running to give away seats. Check out the website for details!

I’ll see you on the road!

Cheers!

Smooth Travel is Not an Option!

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I don’t know what the problem is. Maybe I was a very bad train conductor in a past life? Maybe I angered the travel gods by bringing too much luggage? I may never find the answer. 😉 ha!

It was supposed to be simple. I was going to the train station in Aix-en-Provence to catch a train to Nice. Though there was a strike among train workers, some trains were running, and I was told I could buy a ticket when I went to the train station on April 13. And that’s where the problems began.

My travel friend, Liv Boeree, and I arrived at the Aix TGV station, where we were told that no trains were running from there, so we should go to Marseille to catch a train. So we went back to the city by bus, and then we caught another bus to the Marseille train station. From where the bus dropped us off, we had to walk up a massive hill to get to the station, and I had serious luggage with me. Mine, I think, weighed about 65 pounds, and I wheeled my luggage for a short distance before Liv kindly offered to switch luggages as hers was a lot smaller and lighter, so she took over mine and wheeled it uphill the rest of the way. At that TGV station, we were also told that no trains were running. Seriously? Zero communication between the stations. So we were told to catch a bus to Nice, though we had to wait three hours for that bus. Once we finally got on it, we’re looking out the windows and thinking that everything looks rather familiar. Oh, that was because we were going back through Aix! We went all the way back to the Casino in Aix-en-Provence because the bus needed to pick up more passengers. From there, it took two hours by bus to reach the Nice airport.

Funny bus story. Sitting in the back of the bus for the entire trip made me car sick. That’s not really funny, but I thought I’d share. It was such a fun day that just kept getting better!

When we arrived at the Nice airport, we caught a cab, and the ride that took more than an hour finally got us to San Remo. A trip that was supposed to take about 2-3 hours ended up taking more than ten. Liv was dropped at her hotel first, then I was taken to mine. By the time I checked in and put down my luggage, I was exhausted! I did try to get on the internet to check a few things, but the internet wasn’t working at the time, and I didn’t have one ounce of patience left. It didn’t take long for me to pass out and sleep for quite awhile.

One of the most frustrating things about the horrible travel day was the inability to really enjoy the countryside or the sights as we traveled. France is so beautiful, especially the regions we traveled through, but it was so mentally and physically draining that I wasn’t able to soak it in as I would have liked.

But, I’m in San Remo. And despite having to get some work done and deal with a couple business matters, I’ve taken a few moments to take in the view from my wrap-around balcony here. It is absolutely gorgeous to be in this little Mediterranean city in Italy and to see the sea from my room.

Also, on the bright side, the EPT San Remo doesn’t start until the 16th, which gives me time to rest up, get back to a good mindset, and even see some of the sights in this town before the tournament begins.

Hopefully, I’ll be bringing you some great updates from the tournament when it begins later this week.

Cheers!

The Joys (or Not) of Travel

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Airline travel is not a fun thing, plain and simple. There are the security lines, limits on baggage weight, limits on the number of checked bags, and rules about what can be in your carry-on bags. Everything is so complicated!

Packing alone is a chore, especially when trying to pack for a few months. It’s hard to know what clothes and accessories to bring. How do I know how often I’ll be going out to nightclubs or nice dinners? I have to consider clothes for those occasions, for my new exercise routine, for casual days around the apartment, sleeping, casual lunches with friends… And speaking of exercise, I really wanted to bring my bike, , so I had to check with the airline about how much it would cost to check it on the plane and how to pack it, then I had to go to the cycling store to have them disassemble it, box it up, and help me get it back to my place before going to the airport.

Getting to the airport with all of my bags is another task, and once I get there, I had to deal with checking all of my bags, paying the fees for them, and only then could I go to the security line. Those lines are never fun, especially when you have to remove shoes, belt, jacket, and jewelry that might make the security alarm buzz. I take the computer from the carry-on bag, remove baggies full of liquids, throw away my bottle of water before going through the line, and remember to hold my boarding pass. After passing through security, it’s time to put everything back in their packed places, put my clothes and other accessories back on, and then trudge to the gate.

Oh, and once I arrived at the gate, they informed me that my flight was two hours late. Times like this is when first class tickets really comes in handy. 😉

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I am going to be spending a few months in Europe in the springtime. It just used to be much easier to fly. And most people thought that by 2010, we’d be flying around in little space-mobiles like the Jetsons, right? LOL.

Anyway, I’m safe in Europe with my luggages, bike, and everything else that took me days to pack. Twelve hours later, I was back on the road headed to the airport again, hopping on the another flight to my second destination.

Cheers!