Long Beach Seafood

That’s where we went to dinner. In Dempsey. Wherever that is.

It was an interesting posse. Put together by my old buddy Lee Trink, who worked with Jason Flom and then was a partner with Jeff Kwatinetz and now manages Kid Rock.

Oh, we’re friends now. Bob may put on a lower class demeanor, but never forget his father was a Lincoln dealer, he’s super-smart on the inside. Which may be why he does it his way. The lower classes keep saying yes. Bob keeps saying WHY? And if you make enough money, you get to do it your way. Bob’s got a clothing company and a beer company and if you mess with him too much, he’ll just shut them down, that’s the freedom of having money, that’s the freedom of being a star.

That’s Bob Ritchie, Kid Rock’s real name.

And then Rob McDermott. Who built and maintained Linkin Park. They parted ways, which proves once again you can’t trust the acts. But what I love about Rob is his passion. Too many managers just say yes in order to stay in the act’s good graces. Rob’s got ideas. He loves Pantera and can also talk business. He comes to Asia every year. Hell, he brought Linkin over here when no one else would come. Now he’s bought a metal magazine from an eastern magnate and is doing it all over again.

And then there was the concert promoter from China. Who lost his shirt twice. Fascinating that promoters are on the ass end of the business, when they put up all the money, when they take all the risk.

He’s English. And looks like a thinner Philip Seymour Hoffman. And he promoted shows in Chamonix until he lost everything when the city said he could have deejays spinning until 4 AM and then shut him down for noise way before that. All that land he owned…he no longer did.

So he moved to China. And cried when he got screwed and lost it all again. I love a man who can cry, or at least admit he did. He thought he was a Euro millionaire, and then he was…broke.

And the fourth guy was a VC. He used to be an analyst. Hell, he used to live in the U.S. But after college at Bowdoin he did the Asia thing. That’s where you go if you don’t quite fit in anywhere else, if you’re looking for opportunity. It’s the Wild East. They’re building the infrastructure. If you’re a businessman, not an act, go there now. Be part of something.

So, like I said, we went to Dempsey. Which used to be barracks and has now been rebuilt as an upscale restaurant/shopping area.

Not that Long Beach Seafood was particularly upscale. And we had to sit outside. You see it’s the same damn temperature every day in Singapore, being right by the equator. Kinda like Barbra Streisand in "The Way We Were", but at least in California it sometimes DOES rain!

And our newfound buddy, the U.S. expat, ordered.

First we got drinks. I don’t know why they’re ice-challenged. At first I thought there was a shortage, a premium. You get the soft drinks hot and there are like three tiny cubes in the glass and by time you pour the ginger ale in, they’re toast. What about the rest of the can?

We got more ice. And napkins too, which had been strangely absent.

I was excited we were getting calamari. But this was like any crustacean I ever ate. It was crispy, hard, like eating lobster shell. I had to ask…was I eating the wrong part?

Trink said anything was cool as long as it didn’t move.

But when they lifted the lid on the pot right in front of me, I jumped. Because the shrimp jumped. They were ALIVE! Then the waiter poured alcohol over them, shook the pot, got them drunk, and then boiled them. Ergo, "drunken shrimp".

Very tasty.

And the chicken was good, but you go to Long Beach Seafood for the crab. The black pepper and chili crab.

And when you sit down, you think everybody’s been served soup. But really, that’s a finger bowl. You see the crab is…messy.

Trink is a neatnik, he tried to use his utensils. It was useless. You had to dig in. If I go again, I’m wearing my bathing suit. I had sauce dripping down my arms.

But it was oh-so-tasty.

The black pepper crab is hot. It’s like you’re Al Jolson eating it, you’ve got a ring around your lips that is positively burning. For long after you stop eating.

And they bring fried bread to dip in the chili sauce. Which was positively yummy. But as I’m cracking and eating, I begin to wonder…will I be able to sleep?

Dessert was mango pudding and fruit. The pudding came upon these green cylinders filled with dry ice. They kept smoking. The pudding was tasty. It cut the edge off the pepper/chili heat still remaining.

And I still haven’t told you about the conversation. Had we been to the "Four Floors Of Whores"? Not normally something I’d be interested in, but Trink was so horrified by the experience I had to hear more. It was endless stalls/bars, where women outnumbered men ten to one. Lee didn’t partake, but our friend the VC…his buddies did.

And then there was Chinese politics. How the country is eviscerating the culture of Tibet. Building a railroad straight there and incentivizing the Chinese to move in.

And we got to money-laundering and U.S. taxes and credit cards and I felt a million miles away yet right at home.

You see if you’re willing to make the trip…

It’s a whole new world.

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