Holy f***ing s***!! How do I get myself into these situations!!? I have had the most random day, when I think about it now, it doesnt seem plausible, feels like a dream. But let me tell you and you can see what you think.
I got up from the table when the man from Brunei put down TWO THOUSAND US DOLLARS. Holy. f***ing. s***.
I am sitting in Leos house. Leos daughter is moving to Nottingham to go to University. Her Aunt accosted me in the street close to where Im staying ("I like your sunglasses, you look like Madonna." Uh-huh.. "Where are you from? England? Ah, my niece is about to go to England for University"). Everyone has a motive, I quickly shook her off ("look, Im busy") but later on I walked past her and a friend eating lunch ("Hey, I thought you were busy? Come and sit with us. Look what I bought for my niece, for her trip to England, do you think she'll like it?. Yep, crocodile skin - very now, good choice." And I felt bad for being a bit abrupt earlier. They were just local ladies out shopping for their families..
Whats that youre eating?, I asked her. Fried fish, mm I think Ill order some of that. No need, she says! You can come to the family's house, we want you to eat lunch with us, you can talk to my niece all about England, give her some advice, then we'll bring you back here. OK?? Now this is always a tricky one. Do you accept the hospitality of stragers; is it good for your understanding of the culture or is it the same old rule of dont speak to strangers? Anyway, I try to take the chance to be with locals and their families when the opportunity arises, doesnt do to be too mistrustful, so whisked away I allow myself to be.
Leos lounge. Leos wife has just fed me fried fish and deep fried pork scratching thingies. Leos is interested to hear all about my trip, Ive been to Hong Kong - why - he works on a cruise ship, based in Hong Kong! He works in the casino. On the blackjack table. Yep, Ive been to Hong Kong and I loved it there, maybe one day Ill work there for a couple of years. Is that so says Leo, you could come to my cruise ship, you and I could be partners. Aw bless this guy, so full of enthusiam. Yes, we could I say, except Ive never played a Blackjack game in my life. That is not a problem says Leo, because you would be playing for me, you would be my partner, and you wouldnt ever lose, because Im the dealer. Come on, Ill show you.
We go through the kitchen and into a small room with.. a table for Blackjack. He introduces me to the principles, do you want another card? What card would you need to win the hand? A 7. He deals me a third card, its a 7. What do you need to win this hand? A six? He deals me a third card, its a 6. We go on this way and soon I have all the chips, Ive cleared him out. And I say, yes, thats very clever (No idea, really, if Im honest. how any of this is working). He says gleefully, you see, if you were at my casino, and we were in partnership, me dealing and you playing and we split 50/50, we would have made x-amount each. Uh-huh. Yes, very good, all good fun.
And now it gets weird. So he paints me what I think is an 'in my casino, hypothetical senario' (blah blah) - So, a man I know will come in, hes a business man from Brunei and I will tell him you already played today and you lost 900 US dollars. Okay I say. Im going to give you 200 dollars capital he says and all youve got to do is place the bets and decide whether you need another card to be dealt. Like Ive just shown you. Uh-huh I say. Thinking, wow this is random, Im in this families house and theyve got a special room for blackjack and the wifes out there clearing up and... He hands me 200 dollars. Um... And then theres a knock at the door and in walks a businessman, suit, briefcase. "Miss Christie here already played today, she lost 900 dollars", says Leo. Ah thats the thing with Blackjack says the businessman, sometimes you lose, thats part of it. Very pleased to meet you Miss Christie, where are you from, Oh England". And he gets out and counts out 2,000 dollars and puts it on the table.
And that was right about the time when I could see myself from outside and I could see what was happening here. Although I couldnt quite believe it. My heart started beating really damn fast because it didnt matter whether I had agreed to be a puppet in a real game or not, theyd seen me coming a mile off and when I inevitably lost, they were going to take all the money I had, and make it seem like it was fair game. Even if it wasnt a patch on what he brought to the table, once Leos 200 was gone, theyd find a way to make me pay.
Its a good thing Id checked my bank balance recently. I have about 10 pounds in my account, I am basically flat broke and that made a very loud voice in my head say 'get out of this house'. So I did, 2 bets in, I stood up and walked out and you can imagine the scene... Then from the random train station I had to go about a billion stops from the house in the ass end of nowhere back to downtown KL.
And the moral of this story; dont talk to strangers. I never did meet the 'daughter going to Nottingham'..