Saturday, January 06, 2007

Aussie Arrival

Either God (if he exists) or the powers to be who handled the seating for my UAL flight from LAX to Sydney has to have a wry sense of humor. I was able to upgrade to Economy Plus for $99 after refusing to pay $5K for an upgrade to business class. For $99, I was still stuck in coach, but gained five inches of extra leg room and a coveted aisle seat.

I needed the extra leg room for the huge boner that I promtly popped when the hottest chick (a cross between Jessica Alba and Carmen Elektra) on the flight sat down. If I was sitting next to her on a JetBlue flight from JFK to Las Vegas, I would have pegged her for a stripper.

We shared the middle section seats and both had aisles seats. The two seats next to either of us were empty. Like most Australians I've met, she was friendly, cordial, funny, and extremely chatty as she bombarded me a ton of questions about why I was traveling to Australia.

"I'm a writer," I explained. "I got hired to drink regularly at the Crown Casino and get paid to write about it."

"Sounds lovely," she added. "Wish I could get a job like that."

I had one of those moments, "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this."

That's when the old lady in front of me switched seats. In her place was a young mother with a two year old. On the verge of tears. In the seats across from me were a young couple with another baby.

Sense of humor? Indeed. One hot chick negated by two babies. Where were my pharmies?

That's the one thing I have a tough time dealing with. Babies. Crying babies on long flights.

The flight from LAX was delayed which was the first of several crappy moments. The three meals they passed off for ffood sucked ass. Plus, I barely slept about two or three hours over the course of the 14.5 hour flight.

I sat through four movies; three bloody awful flicks and Little Miss Sunshine. The baby in front of me started crying at the Louvre scene in The DaVinci Code and by the end of the flick, both babies were crying in stereo. I suspect they didn't like Tom Hanks fucked up hair or they loated the script from Akiva Goldsman.

That's when I popped the first valium after I ordered a beer. I was saving the pharmies for an emergency. That was one. I almost wanted to kill myself when I decided to watch Guardian, the awful Coast Guard flick with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. I should be shot because I watched the entire thing. I wanted to talk to the hot chick but she was sleeping after drinking a glass of wine and popping what looked like two sleeping pills somehwere near Hawaii.

I read one hundred pages of a Dave Eggers memoir and watched four episodes of 30 Rock before the hot chick woke up and chatted me up the remainder of the flight. I missed the first glimpses of Australian soil as my plane landed because I was fixated on the hot chick's cleavage.

Welcome to OZ.

* * * * *

I met up with Justin (the producer of the radio show) at the airport. John Caldwell picked us up and we eventually checked in. I have a swanky room at the Crown Promenade which is located in the Southbank area of Melbourne along the Yarra River.

I took a walk around the impressive Crown Casino. The place is huge with tons of slot machines and over 50 places to eat. The food court is dominated by Asian fare and I already crushed a Green Tea milkshake.

There is only one craps table in the entire casino and no Pai Gow. What the fuck? There are other table games like Sic Bo and Pontoon, a variation of Spanish 21. In my mind those games are called... Take Pauly's Money. I'm already stuck $100 playing craps. I haven't even been in the country a full day and I was chasing a loss.

I wandered down to the poker room area which blew me away. There are PokerTek tables which have $0.50/$1 and $1/42 NL tables. In addition there are 50 other poker tables in the huge room.

When I walked in, Event #1 of the Aussie Millions had just begun. Over 515 players signed up for the $1K event which included Dan Alspach, Scott Fischman, Kenna James, Marsha Waggoner, Shannon Elizabeth, Tony G, Mel Judah, Sarah Bilney, Mark Vos, and Matt Hilger. In fact, Hilger made the final table of Event #1 which will start at 4pm local time.

You can follow the action over at Poker News. Tim Lavalli is heading up a super team of live bloggers which icludes "The Barracuda" aka Chris Newton. Take a peek at their Live Tournament Updates.

I went to the cage to cash my US dollars into Aussie bucks...

I don't officially start work until Monday, so I can play tonight. On Saturday night, I met up with one of the CBCG (Canadian Butt Grabbing Chicks). Jules and Graham met me for drinks and dinner. They were kind enough to show me around town and clue me in on how an American should adapt to the local surroundings.

We had drinks at Servo in the Crown Casino and I had several bottles of James Boag's beer. Jules made reservations at a swanky Italian place on Lygon Street, which is Melbourne's version of Little Italy. The food was amazing and we wandered down the street to a local pub for more booze. I took in the late night scene and was fortunate to have Jules and Graham as my local guides. And yes, she grabbed my ass once.

We stumbled back into the Crown after Midnight and Graham ended his poker-hiatus by sitting at a 10/20 table while Jules headed over for 2/3 NL. I sweated them for a while before I had to leave. I had to sleep.

After that long ass flight, a three hour layover in Sydney, then another flight I was more tired than expected. I crashed hard. I slet for four hours staright before getting up for 30 minutes before passing out for four more hours. Now, it's Sunday morning and I have the NFL playoffs on the TV. The NBC feed is coming through via ESPN and it looks like I'll be able to see the Jets-Pats game tomorrow. BG would be happy... there's two horse racing stations on local TV.

That's it for now. You can follow the Aussie Millions over at Poker News. Saty tuned for more updates and head over to the Tao of Pauly for more pics and stories.

Editor's Note: There are Pai Gow tables... I haven't found them yet. But they do exist. Time to get unstuck!

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