Archive for February, 2012

Seville and Morocco: Trip Report Part 1

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Hi Guys,

So, not long ago, I went on a trip to Seville, Fes, and Marrakech.  Here’s the story.

I was an Arabic major in college and speak the language pretty well.  I did my abroad term in Fes, Morocco, a place that I ultimately fell in love with for its culture, history, and the kindness of its people.  Morocco is a particularly awesome place given that it’s incredibly exotic yet safe and accessible for Westerners.  As a result, many of my friends have wanted to visit the country, and many have asked me to guide them in exploring the country.  I have a hard time saying no.  My brother, James, had work in Dublin and a few weeks to travel afterward, and asked if I wanted to do a Southern-Spain-and-Morocco trip.  Given that Seville is one of my favorite places on Earth, this one was too good to refuse.  So, I booked a ticket, met him in the Madrid airport, and the adventure began.

Our first day in Seville was spent wandering around the city and enjoying the beautiful sights.  However the real highlight came at our first meal.  Enter Robles Placentines.  Rarely in life do we get to experience food that melts faces; I can count the number of meals on one hand that fit this description (TarTar Lounge in Cannes, Dar Tazi, and only a few others).  So, we sat down, unsuspecting, at Robles Placentines for a late lunch.  First, enter some beautiful sangria.  Then, enter the greatest tapas I’ve ever tasted.

DISCLAIMER:  Food often looked so delicious that I forgot to photograph it before I’d finished half of it.  Please forgive.

Bacon-wrapped shrimp and pork filet with bacon.  The bacon-wrapped shrimp was a clear favorite.  The other top pick was the lomocito filet with jamon serrano on top.  Absolutely phenomenal.  Here is a link to the google map location in case you’re ever in Seville.

We spent the rest of our time in Seville trying other classic Spanish foods– Paella, Zumo (Spanish orange juice), Spanish ham sandwiches, but nothing came close.  So, on our last day, we returned to Robles and it was even better than the first time.  Incredible.

Seville is also a beautiful place to walk around and sight-see.  The Andalusian history and art is so persuasive in the city’s personality and architecture.  Here are some photos that explain what I mean.

Classical Spanish guitarist on the sidewalk

Plaza de Espana, massive and peaceful in the morning

Alcazar, the royal palace in Sevilla

The history of Alcazar is particularly interesting to me as an Arabic major.  First, the word “Alcazar” literally means “The Palace” in Arabic.  Secondly, this region of Spain was conquered and then reconquered and then re-reconquered so many times that the palace facility kept growing larger and switching faiths.  So, along with the pervasive Islamic themes (square rooms, central water features, open air chambers), the place is also littered with Western paintings, tapestries, and other pieces of artwork.

After reaffirming Seville’s place as one of my favorite places in the entire world, it was time for James and I to set off toward Morocco.

More on that later!


What happened to BalugaBay? Also, quick life recap. Holla.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Sup guys,

I know it’s been quite a while since I updated my blog.  Also, you may notice that all of my previous blog entries on balugabay are gone–in short, the blog was hosted through DeucesCracked, they decided to no longer host blogs themselves, and I didn’t really understand the process I needed to save my stuff, so voila! it’s gone.

In a sense, it’s a pretty kick-ass metaphor for what’s been going on with the poker world in general.  We had our money with full tilt, it didn’t do too well, anddd…. its gone.

Well, we have the option of blaming (easy to do), languishing (even easier), watching NetFlix (awesome, but eventually my patience ran out), watching Game of Thrones (awesome, give me more), or finding something productive to do (really???).

Yes, really.

So, my life has now become two lives– my poker life and my non-poker life.  Let’s do them both, one at a time:

Poker Life

 1) I relocated to Canada to play online poker.  I ran 40BI under EV immediately.  Lol.  That’s okay, though.  I don’t live in Canada anymore (I moved to San Francisco), but I maintain a residence there and sometimes return and play poker.

2) I published Easy Game 3rd Edition and have received quite positive reviews.  It’s really awesome to hear feedback from so many people telling me that my work has helped them understand how to think more effectively, play better poker, and enjoy the rewards of winning.

3) I’m knee-deep in an awesome poker-related project based on my experiences traveling abroad and meeting other poker players.  I’ll write more on this in the future.

4) I’m working on another book, this time about theory of tournament play and the difference between cash games and tournaments.  Before black friday I became increasingly interested in tournaments, did a lot of work and studying, and almost immediately won a 100k gtd for a beautiful 29k of money that now resides in a safe at Chris Ferguson’s house.

Non-Poker Life

1) I’m getting close to launching an awesome business with my older brother and another person I met through the pokersphere.  The idea stems from a conversation my brother and I had about wanting to own a very large, very ballin’ yacht, but neither of being able to afford it.  So, we brainstormed ways to afford it, and came up with a pretty good idea.  Again, will produce more once the site is closer to going live.

2) I just took an awesome trip to Spain and Morocco with my other brother.  Seville and Fes were major highlights!  I’m doing a full trip report that will probably be up later today.  The outcome of the trip might result in me opening a Moroccan rug shop in the USA. Maybe.

3) Big UPS to my man Molson, president and founder of Kikbo for his brief story in TechCrunch.  Entrepreneur doing things amazingly well.  What a boss.

4) Getting set up in San Francisco is taking up a lot of my time, but I look forward to doing some more blogging (including  starting another, totally non-poker related blog), experiencing the city, being warm (finally), and learning some new tricks.  And, of course, eating great food, listening to good music, meeting gorgeous and intelligent women, etc etc etc.  Life’s not so bad.


Anyway, that’s all for now.  BalugaBay will remain my poker-related blog, as well as the source for most of my general life-ramblings and to-do’s.  I have some exciting trips planned for my future, including Spring Training in Arizona, Israel in May, NYC in June (with possible Dartmouth visit!), and then I have a hankering for some Panama or some Colombia or something like that.  Of course, if we get our FTP money back that would just be icing on an already very delicious cake.

Alright y’all, catch you soon!