Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Last Minute Detour - New Orleans

French Quarters - New Orleans
I heard a rumor that there was Mardi Gras on the weekend when I was in the hostel in Houston …. A festival I had no idea what its about … a festival where in Malaysia / Singapore we watch on TV shows and have no idea what is the reason or symbolic meaning of it but somehow relate to it since we have our own version which is the Chinese Festival of the Dead Parade (aka 7 Month Hungry Ghost Festival).

Still it was Mardi Gras …. I was not about to miss the real thing while I was in America so I headed to New Orleans. If I had knew in advance New Orleans was famous for witches and voodoo and all the weirdest stuff you can find in midtown USA I would have definitely bookmarked this amazing town into my map. All I knew then was that it was the first settlement of the French in America. Blasted Guide Book … always telling you the history of the place first …

Detours Time - I love Detours …. 

Of sourcing and hunting the net … I found … only 1 night in a Hostel … only 1 night … all others are fully booked … motels are fully booked … hotels are fully book … fuck … Oh well … 1 night is better than missing it … so I took the 6 hours bus ride from Houston on the Greyhound bus …

The Queue for the bus was Horribly Long …. I was holding onto my discovery pass which means if the buses was already fully booked I could not board. Queue up and hope there was empty seats on the bus … that was basically what the pass was about since most of the time there was always always empty seats … I felt horror that I was about to miss New Orleans all and all with the queue forming …. Just barely 40 pax of people lining up in front of me …

As the bus dock at the bay and the queue started chugging up the bus stairs it was the moment of truth …. CRAP …. The bus was full and I was just short 2 people from boarding the bus …. and the SIGH followed by CURSINGS from people behind me … which could fill up another bus sank my heart preparing it for acceptance that I would not see Mardi Gras this round …. and suddenly another bus pulled up at the bay HOORAYY … apparently the Greyhound people saw the long queue and called up a backup double the bus number … too much good money to make to put to waste … so I was settle down in a cramp bus headed to New Orleans -

I once saw on TV show they show boobs to random strangers for something …. We shall see …. We shall see

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Did Man Really Walked On the Moon ??

Why did I came to Houston of all places …. Well central America was really tough for backpackers as far as I could tell but it was worth exploring. After traveling for a while I got sick of the standard touristy stuff , the standard backpackers stuff, hence getting to the more secluded road was an adventure of a kind.

Houston was one of the very few places that I had fixed on my mind to visit when I first started the journey 5 months back. Why ? Well because of an old friend that I had not seen in over a decade was there. Modern technology is amazing … how you can keep in touch or rather keep track or stalk your friends nowadays on facebook makes it almost impossible to disconnect once you are connected …. and  don’t get be started on that “you can always un-friend people” shit for unless you want to burn bridges seldom a friend become un-friend. Heck some people on my face book I struggle to remember how I know them but they are still “Friends” on my page. 

Well back to the story .. So my friend was tracking my progress steadily across the world and leaving comments on my photo posting and every now and then the question will pop.

When will you get here … Houston ??

Well ever since I touchdown New York …. I had Radio Silence …. Still I went to Houston anyway and never ever saw my long lost friend … so I explored Houston on my own

HUGE HUGE HUGE

I now get why NASA built their base in Houston …. The Houston was huge … This was a flat city as far as I could tell and people built outwards instead of upwards. Problem was for a traveler … means you cant see much unless you research it online first.

NASA was a no brainer so I goggled my way there and joined in the tour … like any other science museum it was but a tad bit more cooler as we actually get to walk through a glass corridor fully escorted to see the actual people working inside the base. The guides gave lots of information but I was just a wide eyed little boy looking at spaceships.

Did Man Really Walk On the Moon ?

One smart old chap asked the guide …. And I couldn’t help smiling … He had a whole conspiracy theory that it was all a hoax. The video taping was held on earth supported with wires for long jumps which could not be seen due to the poor vid tech during those days. Everything was pre recorded and all America had to do was launch up into the sky where everyone could see and play a fake video and come back down to earth a hero … Who was there to quality check that it was real anyway other than NASA :) Heck I google it later and I guess its still there. The answer the guide gave …

Trust me … Its Real :)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Rock & Roll, Hooter’s and Coyote Ugly in Memphis

Memphis was like a small rollercoaster. It really remind me how big the states really are. First was the bus ride from Chicago which was delayed for an hour and arrived at the new bus stop in Memphis outside of town near the airport. The direction for the hostel or motel as I found out later was outdated as they said it was less than two blocks away. The only thing I saw outside the bus station was road and the airport tower. I chance it and took a local bus heading downtown and tried finding the hostel with only its address. I found it at the wrong address but same street and it was a motel … cheapest room was USD 72 that night including tax 

It was the first time that advance internet research had failed me ….

Hence Memphis became the most expensive place in the states for me so far. I had a kings bed in a motel to myself with my personnel bathroom. One night was all I had in Memphis, still it was worth the trip down.

The birthplace of Elvis Presley, funny thing was I was curious to see the birthplace of Elvis and all the great musicians inspiration yet I never bothered to step foot to his home and see his grave … I mean Memphis felt like a magical place for beauty in music with the rustic feel of the town, the quiet streets like backwater county and inside every pub / bar or place was a lively jingle with deep meaningful songs, not those pop bands that they play on radio … songs were always selected and used like an identification of ones souls.
Baele St

If you get asked by a new friend / stranger of what kind of music you like … it almost felt like your soul type was being judged.

Still wherever they was a significant story there will always be a tourist place … so I became a tourist with a time limit and rush to see all that I could. The only lively street in Memphis was Beale St… and of all the bars and pub and live music they offered I decided for the one and only night I had there to visit two places which made no sense at all. Hooters & Coyote Ugly


Hooters

I probably could had visited more meaningful places … no idea why I choose these two to go in and explore. Now, I had never been into a Hooters place even back in Singapore so I went in quietly sat and asked for the menu. Great smiles on the girls in tight white tops with dipping neck line and hot pants revealed a voluptuous body despite fully clothed. These girls knew their assets and was ready to use them.

So what would you like ? , the waitress asked

She was smiling so big and genuine I thought it was nice till she decided to elbow herself up the high table I was sitting to gain some height since she was short and nicely plonk her two boobs onto the table, squeeze them with  her elbows innocently and lean forward with her big grin and winking eyes teasing me … I had no idea how to react but awkwardly blushing. So I ordered, got my food …. More teasing in between bites of my food which I noted was on purpose … so this was the famous hooters … one could get use to being serve like this … alas dreamland did not come cheap …. I left with a generous tip and a chuckle out the door

Coyote Ugly


The second stop of the night after dinner was coyote ugly …. Now that I think back the original was not even in Memphis …. It was in New York … but I did not know it at the time. Only reason I went in was for I remembered the chick flick of a movie in the same name.

The bar was long and wide, plenty of space for girls to dance on them and the pub was way too empty or rather too big for the crowd. There was a decent group and surprisingly it wasn’t all guys there to gawk at the bartender girls … most were there with their girlfriends and wife and even group of girls.

The highlight was of course bar top dancing and lip synching but I was amazed on how these girls was actually pulling up the customers onto the bar top to join them … always girls only of course … boyfriend can watch and eventually guilted into buying a body shot off his own girlfriend. Aha … so that was the trick …

It was not a place for the hungry boys craving for flesh …. It was actually a place for girls to show off their confidence and independence … you cant of course show off without an audience :)


and my lousy poem in malay which i wrote when in memphis as a closing note to this post .... 

Berjaya - jalan mencari diri
Meneroka bumi sendiri
Kalau boleh nak peroleh kematangan
Mimpi mimpi tak jadi Kenyataan.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Cursing Fever #$%& - Macau

How was Macau ? Friends asked when I got back

F*cking Dangerous , I replied …

The place was pretty save actually where one could stroll out at night without a thought but I was referring to the Casino’s and Gambling which can be a dangerous venture to those who cant control themselves.

So my friend and I, two buddies somehow cursing work and getting itchy feet to go gambling one day in the blue booked a flight ticket for 5 days in Macau. Why fly to gamble when I could do it right here in Singapore …. Well my friend was a PR and refused to pay the SGD 100 levy to enter, so a Gambling Trip was planned …. 

5 Days ??? …. You gonna be broke when you get back , other friends said … So as the dates came closer we were starting to feel 5 Days was way too long … too dangerous … hence a trip across to Hong Kong was devised but that is not part of this story.

3 Full Days in Macau it ended up and we hit countless Casino in Macau … total number we couldn’t remember but it was more than 30 for sure. The Venetion , City of Dreams, Wynn, MGM, Lisboa, all the grand names but more of the unglamorous casino was where the fun begins. We notice immediately the favorite game was Baccarats, too many Baccarats ….

We ended up playing mostly BlackJacks in Macau and if there is one thing you need to learn before Gambling in Macau is to bloody CURSE in Cantonese. For some higher cosmos power people curse for any reason they could find and they will curse your whole bloody family down to four generation and more if given the slightest chance

In summary the reason’s for cursing
( All this was in Cantonese and I was laughing away at the stupidity of cause )

1. Curse the electronic roulette machine for not dropping the ball on the number you wan
2. Curse for repeating number ( Impossiburu )
3. Curse the slots for not hitting jackpot ( Play forever also never hit Jackpot )
4. Curse for not pushing (Tie) no money won - no money lose
5. Curse the dealer for getting 21
6. Curse the Anchor for drawing a card in blackjack ( Why you Draw !!! )
7. Curse the Anchor for NOT drawing a card in blackjack ( Why you never Draw!!!)
8. Curse the players for winning
9. Curse the players stupid for losing money
10. Curse the players for not listening to advice ( advice given after the game ended )
11. Curse the players for listening to others advice and losing the game
12. Curse the Casino
13. Curse all nationality and race ( If you are white, black, banana, chocolate, yellow, makes no difference … since you are difference anyway …. Prepare to be cursed)
14. Curse the Miracle ( Impossible I won money #$% & )
15. Curse when others curse others ….. ( just join in the fun )
16. Curse the noob ( #$%& dunnu how to play also can Win )

I am quite sure there was more than the 16 items I listed … add your curse experience in comments if any of you have ever encountered this in Macau :)

#$%& … must be a stressful place indeed ....