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Vietnam Tour #1
  Nazgul, Mar 12 2008

I figured traveling through Vietnam would be a good reason to pick up my blogging again. I’m here with my girlfriend Melissa and there is just so much to see here that I can hardly talk about it all. We have been taking tons of pictures so far, I’ll try to pick the nice ones to show you as good as I can how we are experiencing the trip.

A small intro might be needed here, impatient ones scroll down for the pics. I met Melissa 4-5 years ago at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam when I was still a student. That’s about the time when I picked up poker as well. I came straight from Korea after staying there for 6 months for progaming, and when I returned to Holland I started playing poker before the school season started. We were both studying international business but true to my calling as a poker bum I dropped out about one year ago, after already slacking for a full year before that. Melissa is Vietnamese and has been in Holland for studying. Now almost finished with her master she’ll soon be trying to find a job there as well.

The trip starts off at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where her parents live. The trip was going to be long, about 13 hours in the plane and 17 hours from door to door. We were leaving in the late-morning and having a completely messed up sleeping rhythm I figured it would be a good idea to skip a night before getting on the plane. After falling asleep during takeoff the next moment of consciousness came 8 hours later when we there were only 2 hours left before transitioning. Solid start so far.

First night in Saigon we met her parents and went out for dinner. Her mother had already come to Holland once before so that was at least a familiar face. Back home there are no good Vietnamese restaurants so this was my first experience with Vietnamese food. The dinner was fun and her parents were really nice and wanted me to try everything. I’m returning from this trip fat from overeating or skinny from eating healthy.

Melissa, me

Jetlag is usually pretty good for my rhythm (unless its Vegas where waking up too early is a sin) and the next day we woke up at 7am after a good nights rest. Today we’d be meeting Phuong who has been Melissa’s best friend since they were very young. She’d be bringing her boyfriend for dinner and her cousin who she said played poker as well. Meeting poker players through non-poker players is always a bit sketchy. Usually whenever someone says they are a poker player alarm bells immediately go off inside my head. People who think because they are beating the weekly homegame that they are actually good at poker, but in reality don’t know the difference between diamonds and spades (diamonds are better). It was a relief to hear Sai (Phuong’s cousin) 24 tables on stars and is actually not much different from the crowd here at LP. He had even heard of LP that was really fun to hear.

From left to right: me, J.J. (Phuongs boyfriend), Sai (cousin), Phuong

So by now we crossed the city these last few days a fair bit and the streets here are just something else. There are about 10 times more mopeds on the streets than cars. At first seemed like complete chaos, but after riding on the back of the moped with Melissa driving it is starting to look like these people actually have some idea of what they are doing. That doesn’t mean they intend on following any traffic rules but it is something. The way traffic works here is that if you want to cross the street or take a turn you dump your vehicle in someone else’s way and hope they stop. Everyone is anticipating this drives kinda slowly. I didn’t get to take any pictures of the traffic yet but we are returning to Saigon at the end of the trip and then I’ll be the ultimate tourist making pictures of the traffic.

it probably takes more than 5 minutes to fix your electricity, common sight in the city

On the third day we planned to visit the Vietcong tunnels in Cu Chi. This being one of the things I was looking forward to the most I was really excited to go here. Might be that there isn’t so much to just a tunnel, but to live, sleep, fight, and eat in it is mind-boggling. Cu Chi is about two hours removed from Saigon and an agency in the city arranges tours, so we took a bus with them from Saigon early in the morning. After about one hour the bus stopped for a break at a huge handcraft shop outside of the city. Usually all you see in the city is tiny stores and a lot of the stuff they sell is lower quality tourist stuff. Here you entered into the working area where you could see how everything was being made, and then went into a larger part where they were selling everything. This shop has some of the nicest decorative items and we will definitely be returning here to bring half the store back to Holland.

In Cu Chi they had a big area functioning as a museum for the tunnels. Our tour started off with showing the traps the Vietcong used. If anything qualifies as sick then this is probably it. They show some crazy inventiveness in terrifying the enemy by using simple traps. They had a bunch more but here’s a few I remembered the use of.

Spinning trap, both sides are camouflaged and spin around a middle point, first guy falls in then the trap is ready for the next victim

Rolling trap, enters your leg multiple times while you get suck in

Sticking trap, step on the wooden panel and 4 spikes enter your leg from different angles so you cannot get out

After a quick course through the traps they took us to a tunnel where you could go in yourself. The tunnel was cemented and widened for fat tourists so it’s not really the same, but it gives you a good impression of how it would feel to live in these things. At first you are excited to experience such a thing but once you start crawling after 10m your legs start to hurt. The air is thick and breathing is harder than normal. A bit further you need to go on all fours (which was always the case in the original tunnels) and things become even harder. Eventually after 60 meters you are anxious to get out and physically exhausted. After coming up I was sweating all over and felt like I just played a football match.



After spending 4 days in Saigon, meeting the family and going to the tunnels we flew to the North of Vietnam to visit Ha Long Bay. At the time of writing this blog we just returned from Ha Long Bay and arrived at our next location Nha Trang. Ha Long Bay is without a doubt the most beautiful natural scenery I’ve seen so far and that is not just in Vietnam but I really have never seen anything like this. I can’t really describe it deservingly but here’s a quote of something I read that translates my feelings nicely.

  Majestic and mysterious, inspiring and imperious:words alone cannot do justice to the natural wonder that is HaLong Bay. Imagine 3000 or more incredible islands rising from the emeral waters of the Gulf of Tonking and you have a vision of breatheaking beauty. Halong Bay is pure art, a priceless collection of unfinished sculptures hewn from the hand of nature.

We took a couple hundred pictures at HLB, or at least I took some and Melissa took hundreds. My next blog will be on our three day trip through Ha Long Bay.

That’s it for today hope you enjoyed it, here’s a few random pics to end with.

at what point do they start calling these lobsters?

fighting for ice scream against 13 year olds at an all you can eat ice cream buffet


snake wine

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Comments (28)

UFC 79 - First Blog
  Nazgul, Nov 30 2007

Welcome to my super-awesome blog. Even though it is likely I give up on this within a couple days there exists a small chance of me keeping up with the hassle of your entertainment. Though small it is worthy. I'm not sure what I intend to write about on this blog. I will probably try to limit writing about poker as much as possible. Unless obviously I am in a bad streak and feel the need to post screenshots of my sklansky (whatever the crap those may be) bucks to show I don't actually suck but am mostly unlucky.

Other than that I intend to be writing in detail about things that are going on with LP and projects we are working on. Secret info might just happen to leak through this blog. Since most LP stuff is highly classified and this blog could quickly become boring I will also be talking about MMA betting. I'm trying to see if it's possible to actually be profitable in sportsbetting. So far I have made over 100 bets and have learned a lot with a slight profit. Without redepositing I luckboxed my way up a massive $500 on my $1500 starting bankroll by betting small most of the time. 2008 will be the year to take MMA betting to the next level!

MMA is pretty much my biggest hobby these days. Although once I start making big bucks from predicting the future it will longer be a hobby.

I use to find lines that are worth putting money on. For UFC 79 5Dimes and BetCRIS are the ones that have had the lines for a long time, all the others were recently released.

First off a quick peek at the Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale with Clay Guida vs Roger Huerta. Even though multiple sites had the lines for this online for a few weeks and Guida is at -140/-145 for most of them Pinnacle made me very happy when they released their UFC lines today; they were all off by miles. I managed to quickly put $140 on Guida at -121. I do think Huerta is a very good fighter but he is really unproven whereas Guida has gone to war with the best fighters in the division. Huerta is probably overhyped and should have been fighting better fighters already. Little note to Roger: just because you look good doesn't mean you can beat The Carpenter buddy. You're in for a surprise.

Then on to UFC 79 itself which features three awesome matches. If these fights actually happen it is safe to say that this is the best card UFC has ever put up. During UFC79 Raszi will probably give me an angry call about forgetting his birthday but so be it.

The first match being Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva. Of course Silva is a freaking monster and it's pretty clear Chuck is not a very good fighter and only knows how to beat strong wrestlers with weak standup. He is a bit similar to Crocop because they are both so hard to take down, except that Crocop doesn't have mediocre striking and Chuck does. There is a good chance Wanderlei is going to expose Chuck for what he is; a drunk with a giant tummy.


Anyway beforehand I was thinking Wanderlei was the favorite in this fight and when the lines came out he started at EV (basically +100) and I immediately put the max $200 on him. The lines quickly moved into Wandy being the favorite and rightfully so. Now Wandys line is hanging between -120 and -130. However Pinnacle to the rescue even though some other sites had the lines for weeks and had him at -120 Pinnacle came with the brilliant idea to open him at +101 and I managed to put another $140 on him.

Machida vs Sokoudjou is really hard to predict, but I have the feeling Sokoudjou isn't going to outstrike Machida and will have a very hard time taking him down. I wouldn't be shocked if he managed to upset me though. Anyway Machida at -118.

After Matt Serra dropped out due to an injury one day later the UFC actually did something cool. They announced GSP vs Hughes. Now I don't have a clue why Hughes took this fight because he had a good chance of beating Serra and becoming the champion again. This mans ego is going to be his downfall. I don't see any way of Hughes taking this fight. At least Chuck has the capability to knock someone out, same for Sokoudjou. But who are we kidding Hughes' t-rex arms aren't going to knock out anybody. He has very little chance of upsetting. His skillset is completely built to dominate but once he faces a better fighter there's simply not much room in his arsenal for upsetting. Unfortunately I had to take GSP at -250. Today pinnacle also released a weird line on this one and had it -206 so I put some extra money at him. I guess we'll soon be seeing that one at -250.


blablablabal, chuck is a drunk, blablabla Guida/Silva/Machida/GSP plz win.

Chuck 'I need subtitles' Liddell:


Wanderlei Silva


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