I write to you from the other side of the longest one-way journey I’ve ever taken, having flown all of the way to Macau, that Special Administrative Region of China located near Hong Kong on the east coast of Asia where poker is happening for the next week-and-a-half. It’s the first ever Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP), an official stop of Season 6 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT).
As I wrote yesterday from Chicago -- really more than a day-and-a-half ago -- I had a flight delayed for several hours then finally canceled, which meant it took me more than 24 hours just to begin the 15-and-a-half-hour plane ride to Hong Kong. That is about twice as long as any other flight I’d ever flown before.
The route indeed took us up through North America, over the North Pole, and dropped us back down through Asia to our destination. Was seated in a less than ideal spot that prevented window gazing, and thus ended up passing a lot of time listening to tunes, reading, gobbling up the two meals and snacks provided, and watching the programming provided. Saw Wes Anderson’s terrific, inspired Moonrise Kingdom and was suitably transported for that hour-and-a-half.
At about the halfway mark of the flight I marked the occasion with a long chat with a Dutch traveler named Rene whom I’d meant the day before. We’d been scheduled to sit next to each other on the original flight, and during the three hours or so we sat on that ultimately aborted trip had a fun conversation trading stories about our respective pasts and immediate futures. A nice fellow, and I have to admit, between his accent and inquisitive nature I couldn’t help but think of our buddies Frank and Remko more than once, the latter of whom will be joining me here in Macau a couple of days as part of the PokerNews team coming to cover the Main Event.
I also got further along in Garry Wills’ fascinating Nixon Agonistes, a book I picked up a short while before leaving. I mainly did so after having revisited Richard Nixon’s poker playing and thus built up some further curiosity to find more references to it. But the book has proved especially interesting and timely during this run-up to the election on Tuesday. Written after Nixon was first elected and pre-Watergate, it covers the 1968 campaign extensively and thus includes a few mentions and analyses of Mitt Romney’s father, George, one of the Republican hopefuls that year.
We landed about 2 p.m. local time yesterday, and it was a simple matter finding the counter to purchase a ticket for the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau which cost $235 HKD (about $32 USD). (There is a pic of the ferry above.) I think the trip was about 45 miles or so to the Macau Peninsula where I went through customs.
In truth, that wasn’t too terribly arduous, although it was the case that by choosing window #13 rather than #14, I got to spend the wait watching a line move twice as quickly right next to me as the officer expertly stamped people through at a clip much more rapid than the fellow I’d chosen. Thus it took about 45 minutes for me to get through while those who came after me and avoided unlucky #13 were out the other side in 20.
Took a taxi over to to Taipa island where my hotel is located, checked in at the Grand Waldo Hotel (site of the ACOP), tossed my bags in my room, then went downstairs to the tournament where I immediately began pulling together my first post of the day for the PokerStars blog. They’d been playing for a couple of hours by the time I arrived, only starting at 3:10 p.m. local time (rather than the noon start I’m used to with other tourneys).
This had not been the plan, of course, as I was supposed to have arrived a day early, gotten checked in and rested, then been there to start reporting as the first hands of the tournament were dealt. But the ACOP/APPT guys were especially helpful and the scene was fairly relaxed, which made putting in a full day of work immediately after all the traveling easier to accomplish.
Finally got to sleep around 2 a.m. or so, then woke up to weird dreams of presidential candidates playing poker, inspired no doubt by Nixon Agonistes, thoughts of the election which will be happening in my absence, and the poker I’d been following during the hours before I finally rested.
the PokerStars blog starting this afternoon.