Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The world my playground


  From late December 2001 to late December 2003, during two of the best years of my life I traveled across the world, playing poker, seeking and meeting likeminded people, writing more poems than I've ever done before or after and being constantly high without any drug but life itself.
  What follows are mostly the main events. Describing it in more detail will require an entire book.
  It began with London, as many things do for me. I traveled there just before New Year’s Eve and celebrated on Trafalgar Square. It wasn't that much. I had attended several memorable celebrations there a decade earlier, but that night in 2001 the cops had erected an iron ring around the Square and took care of even the smallest attempt at rebellion. It was like we were convicts let out in the yard.
  The path brought me to Ireland, to what would become good friends there. I spent several weeks in a cold house with a great fireplace and had a truly good time. I had already spent most of 2001 outdoors, so it wasn't that much of a trial to me.
  There were several other physical journeys between January and May, but they felt pretty much like a preparation of sorts, to my first visit to Las Vegas, Nevada and also what I consider my first trip to the United States.
  Las Vegas isn't much of a city, really. You can’t do much more than three things there. Those are drinking, fucking and playing. That was okay, even though I also did the other two I had come there to play poker. The first half hour at Mirage Casino I lost twice with pocket kings. During the weeks to come things (and my finances) improved dramatically.
  I drove around the south western United States for four weeks. Besides playing poker I also wrote lots of poems and walked in the tracks of my characters. The drive took me from Vegas to Los Angeles, San Francisco, back to Vegas, further on to Denver (through southern Utah), from Denver south to New Mexico, Arizona and back to Las Vegas.
 When I didn't find a live poker game I excelled on playing on the Internet, like I had done so successfully the entire year.
  I had reached a threshold, a watershed, where I could enjoy life to the max. For only the second time in my life I could say I had money enough to do pretty much what I wanted, especially since my needs were and are fairly modest. One of the dreams I had and goals I set for myself when I was twenty was to travel the world playing poker and now I did.
  I returned to Norway for a while and enjoyed its summer. I don’t enjoy traveling when everybody else is doing it. I have experienced crowded airports twice in my life and that made me more than fed up with it.
  During the fall I visited several European countries, several times and London, of course. Most of the northern winter I spent in Africa, Victoria Falls, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Kilimanjaro, other countries and other mountains, snow in Africa. Brrr. It was weird, but still satisfying. The snow was only at the peaks, of course. Everywhere else was heat and fire. It was such a great experience to hardly experience winter at all that year.
  I returned to London, to Las Vegas and visited New Orleans, my favorite city on Earth along with London and San Francisco. I learned to love fish in New Orleans and lots of other things besides. I love places of magick and melting pots of cultures. And I was there before Katrina, which is clearly significant.
  I returned to Norway for the summer, rested and wrote like I had never written before.
  In October I started on my most ambitious physical journey. I returned to New Orleans, playing poker, eating delicious fish and generally speaking enjoyed myself beyond words. I traveled westward, through Texas (and even survived it), through El Paso/Ciudad Juarez (before the later constant shootouts) and further into Mexico, traveling south, through the Yucatan peninsula and further into South America, Caracas, Sao Paulo, Rio the Janeiro, all the way to Tierra del Fuego. Sao Paulo is the London and New Orleans and San Francisco of the south. I will definitely return there if I ever get the chance. From Cape Horn I stared towards Antarctica in the mist. Everybody should go here, to experience a part of the Earth where not many ever go.
  I traveled back north along the western coast, Santiago, La Paz, the Peruvian Andes, with the ancient ruins, and then further on, across the Pacific, to Macao and Hong Kong, two cities where cards and money fly.
  Then India and Thailand, a month in Thailand with celebrations, great friends, peaceful beaches and stormy waters.
  Two years, twenty lifetimes’ worth of experiences I will always carry with me wherever I go, in the billions of years to come.
  I have been all over the world, in countless countries, except most of the former Soviet Union, most of China (Macao and Hong Kong can hardly be said to be part of China at all, the way I understand it) and Australia, New Zealand. And not the Canary Islands, where most other Scandinavians go every year.

  More, much more details later.

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