the Backpack ~ Strange and Unexpected
when I post something from the archives, it involves bringing
back an essay or article or such that had appeared on the In My
Backpack web site and was removed during one of the updates or
computer issues over the years.
entry is a bit different though… in addition to appearing on the
site, it was part of the Travel
Trilogy project… or, more specifically, Strange
and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road – Volume Three: Las Vegas.
that means a couple of versions exist… somewhat specific, almost
definitive versions if you will… the work that was on the site,
and the chapter that was edited and potentially revised from that
piece and used for the book.
material was originally posted on December 31, 2004. It was later
published in April 2013. Some minor proofreading edits and adjustments
may have been made while bringing the material back to the site
in this posting.
~ ~ ~
five, Tuesday, December 14, 2004
our fifth day in Sin City, and our fourth morning waking up at
the Fairfield Grand Desert Resort... and I’m back to their real
name for a moment because we are about to encounter a story for
which they deserve full credit.
of the interesting things about walking into a time share unit
and finding a checklist is that you tend to start paying attention
to all the little things that normally don’t come to mind when
you head to a regular hotel room. You know, things like… oh… say…
the hairdryer in the bathroom with the top screws coming loose
and the unit pulling away from the wall… the rack for the iron
and ironing board in the closet that is missing two screws… the
flyswatter in a room with windows that don’t open. Things like
that. I’m willing to say, with a fair level of certainty, that
if one completes a checklist that includes lids for mixing bowls
and views that list seriously, one tends to look around for things
that aren’t on the list as well.
Tigg got in to bed on Monday night, I was still watching television.
She called out to tell me that a metal brace running along the
bottom of the headboard seemed loose. She thought I might want
to add it to the checklist.
had decided before splitting up on Monday night that today was
going to be the day… stuffed French toast at Kahunaville. The
alarm was set so we would wake up, get ready, and be at Treasure
Island by about 10am, when they would still have another hour
of breakfast service left.
was in the shower when I woke up. I got a drink and sat down in
front of the television. After a few minutes, the alarm started.
I went back to the bedroom to turn it off, and sat on the edge
of the bed to see if I could figure out this unfamiliar thing.
soon as I touched the bed, the edge of the metal brace for the
headboard swung down behind the top of the mattresses.
pull the top mattress away from the wall to find that there’s
an electrical outlet centered behind the top of the bed. Brilliant
room design there. (Not because of the outlet location… things
get moved around, and you can never have too many outlets. Instead,
because they were plugging items into it.) With no real bed frame
(the headboard was attached to the wall), the mattress had been
rubbing into the cord enough that the plug on top had come a bit
loose. The metal brace had swung down, made contact with the metal
from the plug, and shorted everything out. There was a black ring
on the wall, extending about four inches in every direction around
the outlet. There were black marks on the sheets.
had our second fire.
I ask you… once again, as I did in the section about day four…
How many hotels have you stayed in over the course of traveling
in your life? And the total number of fires you have encountered…
big or metal-brace-striking-a-plug-and-shorting-out-the-power-with-a-flame-and-black-smoke-small…
if I was asked how many fires there had been in my hotel room
in the past two days due to broken appliances or poor construction
in the room… regardless of the danger involved (really there was
none here either)… I would honestly have to say that we had two
asked friends this fire question since our return. Friends that
travel a lot -- including Ellen and Richard, who you may recall
had troubles with an open door (could have been their fault) and
the broken thermostat (definitely not their fault) on this same
trip at this same resort. And, including the travels of Tigg and
I before this trip, all of us came up with a grand total of no
two days, Tigg and I have now had two fires.
yet… umm… I’m not superstitious… on the bright side yesterday’s
fire started off a day that included winning enough money to buy
Tigg jewelry in the morning and put us up after everything we
bought on Monday night. I hadn’t even left the room and I was
already looking forward to tomorrow’s possibilities from the Fairfield
to Treasure Island for breakfast. We got to Kahunaville and had
our stuffed French toast… a complete sweep of four orders. Tigg
and I also got a side of potatoes that was pretty tasty. The French
toast was delicious… to unanimous approval. So good was this breakfast,
and so filling, that we didn’t even think about eating again until
almost seven hours later. Not a bad deal.
kicked around a few ideas and pretty quickly settled on heading
over to the Stratosphere. Ellen, Richard and I enjoy roller coasters
and theme parks. Tigg doesn’t mind sitting alone, but refuses
to be left missing all the fun, and can be tricked into the lines.
Las Vegas has its share of great rides and attractions… but each
one comes with an expense. In order to ride three or four of them…
one time only… it isn’t out of line to suggest that it would cost
a minimum of over $50 per person to do it. Plus, there are other
expenses… cost, time… that need to be factored in if these rides
are all at different properties. Fine… maybe you ride one a day
while moving around so you don’t really spend an hour just moving
from one resort to the next. There’s still a $12 or more price
involved per ride. Anyway…
talking over roller coaster in Vegas options, we decided to ride
the roller coaster on the top of the Stratosphere. It’s called
the High Roller… and while it isn’t your standard high-speed,
lots of hills and drops coaster… it does run around the outside
of the tower, 909 feet above the ground.
took a cab over to the property and walked inside. We have to
ask a few people for directions to the player’s club desk, which
isn’t along the edge of the main casino area. Once we get settled
in, we find a $3 blackjack table and sit down for a while. In
general the property isn’t amazing. Like a lot of the places we
see off of the main strip, a casino is a casino is a casino.
thought my friend and I came up with when talking after we returned.
There are high-end Vegas resorts… along the Strip, like Bellagio.
There are middle-of-the-road Vegas resorts… say like this, ones
that are just there, the Stratosphere. And then there are low
end resorts… say, without naming names, where you don’t want to
use the bathroom and are too scared to order a drink because the
glasses likely haven’t been washed. The difference between the
mega-glamour-properties and the bottom-feeders? In the mega-resorts,
you can happily waste an afternoon just considering each waitress
and whether or not her boobs are fake. In the bottom-feeders,
you’re frightened that the waitress’s stitches are real.)
losing about $50 between us in just over an hour, Tigg gets up
to use the restroom. I toss another $20 on the table and have
Ellen cut the deck for me after a shuffle. With Tigg taking her
time… she’s a bit frustrated with me (probably quite justifiably)
because I want to keep playing at the table… and Ellen’s good-luck
cut, I managed to work the money back to where we started. I head
over to a roulette table to play a promotional coupon that came
in a packet when we signed up for the player’s club card. One
of my numbers hits, and with that and a separate even-money bet
called for on the coupon in order to qualify for the special pay-out,
Tigg and I are now up about $22 for our visit.
to ride the roller coaster.
we could only find it.
often wondered what it would be like to experience some of the
moments from This is Spinal Tap. No, I’m not kidding.
I love that movie. I don’t know, perhaps to be on some book tour,
with a bestseller on all of the top lists, and have enough people
interested that a reading was called for and I had to be led along
back-of-the-house corridors to a stage while offering “Hello Cleveland!
Hello Cleveland!” I think that would be pretty cool. Well, after
visiting the Stratosphere, it turns out I no longer need to wait
for that successful book tour to experience being impossibly lost…
order to ride the coaster, you have to purchase a ticket to the
top of the observation tower… or so we had been told by the promotions
associate when getting our cards. (She believed there was a discount
when you buy a ride ticket at the same time… she was wrong. There
was just one price for admission depending on the ride, which
also comes with a ticket to the observation level. Anyway…)
security guard tells us to follow the path directly ahead of us
to get to the ticket counter, and after asking only three more
people in a game of “you’re getting warmer… getting warmer… you’re
on fire” with the Stratosphere staff, we eventually find ourselves
at the stairs/escalator that lead to the ticket booth.
people to give us directions to where we purchase the tickets,
and honestly it was because we noticed a sign that we made it
to the counter. Not a good sign number one.)
got our tickets… but we had to wait five minutes for them. See,
evidently it was indeed a slow day at the old Stratosphere. As
we arrived to get our tickets, the girl selling them was placing
a hand-written “back in 5 minutes” sign in the window. With us
clearly in sight, she walked away… I don’t know for certain, but
let’s be forgiving and understanding and say it was probably a
restroom break… and comes back, sure enough, in slightly over
five minutes, to sell the tickets to us. She tells us to move
ahead and then turn to the left.
in state of stunned disbelief to purchases the tickets. Not a
good sign number two.)
move ahead and turn to the left.
find a security check.
that’s a good thing. Tigg, Ellen, Richard and I are all for the
security procedures in place when you travel now. We have no problems
with them at all. However, it’s worth mentioning here because
I have the “mom bag” with me. So Tigg, Ellen and Richard breeze
through the metal detector, and I’m left waiting for someone to
check the backpack. While I’m doing this, three people are trying
to organize the rest of my group against a blue screen for a fake
picture of them on top of the Stratosphere at night. My friends
are trying to explain that I’m with them too, which apparently
in Stratospherian sounds nothing like “if you’re going to force
us to take a picture, fine, we’ll do it, but that guy over there
is part of our group” and exactly like “where do you want us to
stand?” because the staff is directing them to the screen and
ignoring all of their efforts and comments to bring some attention
to me. The more my friends point at me over by the metal detectors,
the more the staff says “it only takes a moment, just stand here
the comedy routine takes long enough that I’m able to clear security,
arrive at the screen, get into the picture, and they take it.
(I was going to add this being sign number three… but honestly,
stick with it, because you’re going to see I would run out of
fingers and toes counting the bad signs by the time this is done.)
are three funny things about the whole picture thing: (1) We’re
there during the day, having this picture taken at the base of
the elevators that lead to the top of the Stratosphere Tower.
We haven’t even been to the top yet, but whatever. Is there a
special reason I don’t understand for why we would want a photo
of us overlooking the Vegas strip at night to commemorate our
memorable visit when our visit was actually early afternoon? Maybe
they don’t have an afternoon display scene? (2) We were being
stopped to take this picture before going to the top of the tower.
Stop me if this doesn’t make sense… but wouldn’t it be a neat
idea to take a real picture of our group at the top of
the Stratosphere and try to sell that to us instead of a fake
one shot at the bottom? Yeah… yeah… rain or bad weather or the
sun shining into the camera lens. Still. (3) This is the best
one of the three. After taking the picture, the staff members
direct us to the elevators. We never see the picture stand again.
We never see any other picture stand. In other words, we were
never shown the pictures they took and never given an opportunity
to even consider them. The only reason we knew it was a picture
of us simulating a night view was that they had a monitor that
we could see next to the camera, displaying the final image and
what was being set behind us on the green screen. So much for
working the sales.
giving this careful consideration, I should be left with only
one possible conclusion -- the pictures are a time management
effort. A distraction. They don’t want to sell us something. Instead,
say when it’s really, really busy at the old Stratosphere, the
few minutes occupied to have the picture taken keeps the attention
off of the wait for the elevator ride.
we’re just racking up the bad signs at this point. And, experience
would show that the picture incident was going to be a minor event,
and a Kodak-photo-opportunity to distract us was hardly a likely
theory compared to one of incompetence and apathy.
along, we get in a line that winds around to the elevators. We
are the only ones there, and yet we have to wander and stroll
and twist and turn and parade around all of the chains and paths
that lead to the front of the elevators. And once we get to the
end… or, since the wonderful surprises will keep on giving with
no end, when we reach a chain separating us from two staff members
with radios standing in front of an elevator with a sign behind
them indicating we just might be in the right place for the observation
deck and rides… nothing happens.
been silently exchanging looks, with all of us thinking some version
of the same thing: “Wow. This place is just… wow.”
finally ask them where to go. They tell us to go around the elevators
to the other side.
you ever been on one of those elevators with doors that can open
on either side? Well, we go around the elevator structure, through
more paths and more chains, and, as directed, finally reach the
doors to the elevator on the other side. The doors open, and as
we get on, the doors open on the other side of the car and the
two staff members that made us walk all the way around get on
the same car with us.
get off the elevator, and the operator tells us to follow the
signs for the rides. The doors to the elevator close behind us,
and -- TA-DA -- there are no signs.
a group of us… a few others had joined us on the elevator at different
stops along the way up… start wandering around the bends of the
hall trying to find the way to the rides. Eventually we find someone
that directs us to a corner where there is in fact a sign for
a ride. Unfortunately, it’s not the ride any of us want. So we
are sent further along the hall.
do finally get to the roller coaster. We get on and it is pretty
neat. The worst part was actually getting into the car. There
is nothing directly opposite you on the far side of it, and it
looks as though you could take one extra step and fall because
you can’t see the tracks and netting below you. Once you sit down
and get ready to ride though, it’s fine. In fact, they didn’t
even say anything when I put my digital camera in front of me,
turned on the video option, and taped the ride with a wonderful
audio of my wife swearing.
the ride, we want to head down to the observation deck. We are
told to use the stairs. Back inside we go… and… well… let me wrap
up the whole series of Stratosphere problems with this story…
short time later we came off the observation deck and asked a
security guard how to get down. He told us… and there were eight
of us gathered together when I asked him, so I have witnesses…
to head down the hall. That route turned out to be basically a
can’t stress this enough... the entire group heard his
directions -- all eight people, without another question being
asked or comment being made after hearing what the guard said
to me – and the entire group followed me down this path, since
we all understood the instructions the exact same way. We all
turned around and walked back to the same security guard.
We’ve been gone for maybe twenty seconds. He rolls his eyes when
I ask again and directs us down one flight of stairs.
we reach the bottom of the stairs, I turn around to the other
seven people and ask: “Didn’t he tell us to follow the hallway
the first time?” After everyone tells me that I wasn’t losing
it, we start walking along the next hall.
swear I am not making this up. And... go around and enter the
elevator over there, go down this set of stairs, just wait and
you will see me again so I can give you different directions while
making a face as if you messed up... it sure feels like the employees
at the Stratosphere are using us to play a game.)
is a small arcade in front of us… one of those shooting arcades.
There is plastic hanging from the ceiling, held in place by duct
tape. And there is a wall with seven… 7… 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6
– 7 – seven signs on it. They are pieces of paper that
have been run through a printer. Not a collection of time-consuming,
machine produced signage. Six of them say “tower elevator” with
arrows pointing to the left. One of them says “tower elevator”
with a sign point to the right. We ask the clerk at the arcade
if the elevators behind us are the ones the majority of signs
are referring to, the ones we need to use to go back down. He
points around to the other side of the arcade... which would be
to the right, where the single sign was pointing.
guess what? Sure… soon we’re right back at the arcade, in a line
to get on the same elevators he told us weren’t the ones we wanted.
time though, we didn’t again run into the person providing us
with crappy guidance. In a span of thirty or so seconds, this
particular guy is no longer there when we get back to the arcade.
funny thing I noted was that the Stratosphere was missing some
great sales opportunities, because in all of this mess, we hadn’t
been directed to walk past a single store.
by the way…
few moments ago I mentioned that one possible -- perhaps in some
ways even reasonable -- explanation to the taking of pictures
in front of a background that allowed for a fake top-of-the-Stratosphere
picture would be to distract guests from the line… the wait… the
passage of time. And I finished that off by saying “ignorance
and apathy” would prove that theory wrong. And here it is… we
kept running into staff that would give us poor directions, and
then mere seconds later would meet those very same employees again
while suffering because of their guidance. Use those stairs… not
that elevator… the ride is around that corner… hop on your left
foot while touching your right hand to your nose… almost adding
up to some sort of game. Could it possibly be that they give bad
instructions just to watch the resulting chaos?
it is so bad here that I can’t even recommend the view from the
top of the Stratosphere. Between overlooking the Bellagio Fountains
and being located in the center of the strip, the Eiffel Tower
Experience was not-even-close significantly better. It’s not even
would also like to recommend the roller coaster. But it wasn’t
really a terrific coaster so much as it was really high off the
in the end… the entire experience was overshadowed by a property
and a staff that were in disrepair and totally inefficient.
get a cab and decide to head down toward the MGM Grand. We have
tickets to see Carrot Top that night, and with Mandalay Bay, Luxor
and Tropicana all in the area there are plenty of places we haven’t
been to that we can explore for a couple of hours.
though… I have a date with a green M&M.
get very restless in hotel rooms. They’re fine and they have a
place. But when I go on vacation, I’m usually not in town for
the bed or the shower. While a good selection on the television
is always nice, in my travels all of that stuff is usually for
winding down at the end of the day or killing time while others
are getting ready. So when we got into the room last Friday, Tigg
was actually pretty excited to see the checklist. She figured
it would give me something to do while she unpacked. (I should
probably interrupt this background story to explain something
normally a last-minute traveler. If I could, I would wake up the
day of a trip, spend ten minutes tossing things into a bag after
I finished taking a shower and getting dressed, and then leave.
I hate trying to remember what I forgot because I didn’t pack
my toothbrush when I packed the rest of the stuff from the bathroom.
I don’t like not wearing certain clothes for a week or two because
they’re clean and I may need them, so let’s place them out on
a chair ahead of time.
that brief explanation, what do you think the odds are that I’d
want to unpack when I arrive?
I love the fact that Tigg does it… and unpacks my stuff too. Once
it’s done, I think it’s pretty good. I just don’t like spending
time actually doing it. And, in some ways to make up for the time
she invests there that I don’t, I lug the mom bag around. So don’t
think that I don’t provide my share of the work… I just do it
in other ways.
any event, it’s Friday, we had just arrived in Vegas, and I’m
hungry, dying to play blackjack, and incredibly fidgety in the
room. So, to try and stay out of Tigg’s way once the checklist
was finished, I started flipping through some of the travel guides
we had grabbed in the airport and the resort lobby. And here’s
something I found…
chocolate lovers, it’s a fantasy from their wildest dreams.”
Picking up the Las Vegas Guide and reading that line
about chocolate lovers… well… I felt like Navin R. Johnson in
The Jerk when he finds a nice girl looking for a man
with a special purpose. He had a special purpose… and I’m a chocolate
years ago when Ellen, Richard, Tigg and I went to Disney World,
we were standing on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and had just
watched one of the parades. They wanted to turn in after a long
day and call it a night. I wanted to watch the fireworks over
the castle. We left the park.
trip… having seen Penn & Teller twice before… I said it was
alright if we didn’t include them as one of the shows we went
to. There was no way I was missing M&Ms World, and I let it
be known so there was no fireworks-level misunderstanding.
had actually stopped by the place a few nights earlier, but the
movie they show was closed for the day. So we made plans to come
back. The best recommendation that I can give for the movie is
that they handed out free M&Ms when you walk in. Unfortunately,
the movie was a 3D type of thing that was so out of focus it gave
us a headache (we finally all watched it with only one eye open).
Also, the narrator… a live character playing a lab assistant…
had such a heavy accent that you couldn’t understand anything
he was saying. Not a single thing. But then again… free M&Ms.
we got out of the store… four levels of shopping and between the
peanut butter, almond, and holiday-colored peanut varieties, I
had over five pounds of M&Ms in a bag for Tigg to bring back
to work… we decide to focus on dinner. Ah, but I have a quest
friend of mine had mentioned the man-made beach at Mandalay Bay.
We have roughly an hour before the sun is gone for the day. I
figure that is just enough time to get to the beach, see it, and
then discuss eating at Mandalay Bay or the Luxor. So off we head
to catch the tram in front of the Excalibur.
ride the tram to Mandalay Bay, and get pretty good directions
to the beach from an employee at the tram station. Quickly heading
across the edge of the casino floor and around a corner, we go
down an escalator and start looking for signs. Eventually, we
find ourselves outside, facing a wall. Turns out only hotel guests
are allowed on the beach. One staff member tells us about an observation
deck, but after walking to the other side of the enclosed area,
we never find one. Another employee looks confused when we ask.
to be honest… the walk around Mandalay Bay felt longer than any
of our walks outside along the strip.
go back inside, check a couple of menus and decide everything
we’re seeing is a wonderful combination of pricey and unappealing,
and that we should head over to the Luxor and try the Pharaoh’s
Pheast buffet. (Mandalay Bay charges over $22 a person for their
buffet… Luxor comes in at just over $16. Bearing in mind that
all savings can be directed to gambling, and Mandalay wearing
a bit on our collective patience, Luxor wins.) Two properties
impressed me for the way they approached their design and dedication
to theme… Paris was one and Luxor the other. From the pyramid
design to the statues and art inside, it is quite an impressive
building. Though I never saw them, a friend tried to explain the
inclinators to me… the Luxor version of an elevator, designed
to rise with the incline of the pyramid as opposed to the standard
up and down. The food was outstanding. Very good for a buffet,
with a wide range of selections.
wants to get over to MGM about an hour before the show so she
can check on our tickets and make arrangements if something unexpected
happens. Looking at our watches, we have about an hour to use
and still meet her deadline. A quick trip through the gift shop
(I love Egyptian history and items, and bought two figures… one
of Ra and another of Thoth), and we are heading for the door.
we were walking over to the Excalibur-Luxor-Mandalay Bay row,
we passed the Tropicana. They were handing out flyers for their
player’s club, advertising free playing cards and free show tickets.
It’s time to play theory and corollary…
basic idea… or theory… about Vegas is that there is always something
going on. Now, this isn’t a myth. It’s the truth. Everything out
there is round-the-clock. Yes. Everything. And beyond the things
you would readily expect… gambling, drinking, food… the city itself
attracts an on-going procession of shows, conventions, and other
events that transform the basic atmosphere. During our trip it
was the rodeo. Next month it might be a major electronics exposition
or a poker tournament. There is always something going on.
corollary to this idea is that more often than not, what is going
on isn’t what you expect to see going on. You might come in to
the city with tickets to see Penn & Teller… Carrot Top… Mystere…
O… and suddenly there’s a billboard showing long-term
runs by Rita Rudner… or the opening of preview performances of
Ka… or someone in town for one or two nights that wasn’t
showing up on any of the performance schedules you checked just
moments before getting on the plane.
our case, we knew that the holidays were leading to some interesting
things. For instance, Penn & Teller performed the first few
nights we were there, and then their show went dark until after
Christmas. O was going to be dark for our entire stay.
Lots of shows were like that… Danny Gans and Lance Burton for
example. But, we had tickets to Carrot Top and Mystere,
and figured we might consider another show or two along the way.
The unexpected thing was finding shows such as Sirens of TI…
the pirate battle at Treasure Island… closed for almost all of
here we are, heading in to the Tropicana, promotional coupons
in hand, planning on getting some playing cards for the people
at home. Maybe even score some tickets to a free show. (Maybe.)
And… stupidity hits. Outside the Tropicana, they have
people handing out information and flyers saying come on in and
see a show for free. Inside the Tropicana at the player’s
club registration desk they have people handing you a deck of
cards and explaining that both of their in-house shows are dark
for the holidays.
It’s never the something you would imagine, but it is always something.
would like to make a note here for the management of the Stratosphere,
that if they would like to purchase my “it’s never what you would
imagine” campaign for use, they can certainly contact me.)
to the MGM for Carrot Top.
get our tickets and the seats are pretty good. The show is in
the Hollywood Theatre, a 740-seat room. We are positioned center-stage,
perhaps four rows of tables back. I love this kind of location
because as opposed to the seats up close, our table is elevated
a bit. We aren’t looking up at the performer… causing blinding
pain in our necks… and yet because of the other tables in front
of us being lower, there is no one really blocking the view at
all. It’s perfect.
the drinks are not. (Sit back, this is going to take a while.)
a menu on our table, listing prices for a few beers and liquors,
and showcasing the special pay-even-more-and-keep-the-glass drinks.
I’m not normally a big drinker… but with no car keys around, I’d
been drinking a fair amount every day… and after the ladies each
decide to go with a beer, I follow up by ordering a Malibu and
pineapple. Richard asks for a black Russian. The bill comes with
the drinks… at a total of $30 for the round. Tigg goes from happy
to ticked off so quickly that the rest of us are left way behind
at just plain incredibly upset. Why?
she happened to see the breakdown of the bill first.
me to back up a bit. The beers were served. A juice glass… and
I’m being generous because it wasn’t as big as the smallest of
juice glasses… was placed in front of me, with ice nestled from
top to bottom and roughly a thimble of pineapple juice filling
the spaces between the ice cubes. After that a white Russian is
placed in front of Richard (he didn’t taste it, so it easily could
have been one of a thousand varieties of Kahlua and cream drinks,
but I’m guessing white Russian based on the drink’s color and
what he ordered). Only Richard has noticed that his drink is wrong
at this point, and… well, you may know we call him Mumbles. While
I reach for my wallet, Tigg asks how much the bill is for. When
I say $30, she takes it from my hand, looks at it, and realizes
that they charged $10 for my shot glass of ice and pineapple juice
and $9 for Richard’s drink. She’s off and running before any of
us see the full bill, and we’re holding on to keep up once we
she isn’t yelling at all. She’s not mad about high drink prices.
It’s that the bill doesn’t make sense to her.
is trying to explain to the waitress that $10 is a bit extreme
for this drink, especially since there isn’t any type of listing
of drink prices, and not one of the drinks that is listed on the
menu is even close to that high except the specialty-buy-the-glass-too
ones. And that if we had known we’d be paying $19 for two mixed
drinks, we’d probably have ordered one or two of those drinks
with the souvenir glass. At this point, Richard gets our attention
concerning that he has the wrong drink and hands it back to our
waitress. As she is getting ready to leave, Tigg asks her if it
would be possible to get separate checks and the waitress says
she will take care of it.
few minutes later she returns. Now… when she left, we had two
beers, two mixed drinks and a bill for $30. When she returns with
Richard’s new drink she brings two bills, each for $15.50.
says that she fixed the problems and places Richard’s drink in
front of him. So far, so good. Then she hands the bills to us.
Those of you a bit faster at math may have already realized that
$30 divided in two doesn’t come out evenly to two bills each for
$15.50. Apparently, Richard’s black Russian is $1 more expensive
than the white Russian.
where do we stand at the Hollywood Theatre? Evidently when four
patrons are upset over high drink prices, and then mention that
one drink is wrong and separate checks would be appreciated… drinks
that I’ll point out here are being served for free out on the
casino floor not fifty feet away… “fixing” those problems means
bringing the right drink and raising the bill.
before you start trying to rationalize this from the side of the
waitress (you know, “she’s only doing her job” or “she doesn’t
set the prices” -- both of which are absolutely true
enough)… please refer back to the Monday night cab ride from Fremont
Street back home. You may recall that the transmission died, leaving
us stranded in the left lane of one the busiest streets in the
world. And I paid the fare.
short, this incident in the Hollywood Theatre wasn’t really about
the money. And I have shown on this trip that it isn’t about the
money. It’s simply the best way of telling the story. See… we
weren’t mad at the waitress for setting the drink prices or really
even bringing the news of those prices. We were mad at her for
ignoring our questions about the prices and instead pretending
the problem was the single check. We were very mad at… well… put
it this way…
you go into a restaurant and order filet mignon and they bring
you a hot dog, correcting that problem… and raising the bill from
the $3 hot dog that was brought to the table to an $18 charge
for filet mignon… makes sense. It’s a mistake, sure, the items
involved though are vastly different. But if you order chocolate
ice cream and they bring vanilla, and the mistake was made by
them, when they correct that problem you don’t expect the bill
to go up. Seriously. What’s the difference between a black Russian
and a white Russian? Bonus points to those of you that quickly
replied that a white Russian has cream and a black Russian doesn’t.
In other words… and keep in mind, they were in part offering their
sincere “sorry for the error” efforts… this new total for our
drinks included an extra dollar for not adding cream.
you may have guessed, the waitress never returned to our table
to ask about a second round.
I was younger I became a huge fan of Gallagher thanks to his cable
specials. I have seen him perform many times. That excitement
has wavered in recent years. The jokes started getting a bit stale.
But I still appreciated the basics. I was impressed that he often
took time to sign autographs after shows. Years ago I kind of
tuned Carrot Top out. His humor is in many ways unique, but I
have been watching Gallagher pull things out of trunks on stage
for roughly twenty-five years. So when I would read that Carrot
Top said no one ever performed this type of show before, it kind
of confused me. (And I am not talking about watermelons here…
I am saying that Gallagher had brought his own props and sight
jokes on to the stage for years. Had he never heard of Gallagher?
Doubtful… if not impossible considering his profession.) Currently,
Carrot Top’s web site still says in his bio that he created his
own brand of humor with this stuff. Yeah… umm… no.
enough about that.
he converted me as far as viewing him as a performer.
was very funny. And what I appreciated even more was his ability
to laugh at himself. He went on for about ten minutes about his
1-800-CALL-ATT telephone commercials, making fun of himself and
the entire situation. There was a ton of original material in
his show, and he did a great job presenting it. I was impressed.
I certainly didn’t go to the show expecting to say this after…
but I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.
left MGM after the show, and I was in full pack mule mode. I had
a backpack completely stuffed and was also holding two bags from
the M&Ms store. We wanted to play for a bit before heading
back home, so we decided to see if one of the casinos nearby might
have a lower-limit table. I thought someplace like the Boardwalk
Casino might be the best place to look. But before we get to the
Boardwalk, back to the dirty cards.
cards are every place you look. They are positioned on trash cans.
They are discarded on the street. People are handing them out.
They are placed on poles with rubber bands holding twenty of them
at a time. (And making you wonder how people got the bands around
the poles.) And… in this case… there are those newspaper-style
boxes on the street as well. While walking away from MGM and M&Ms
World, I see the most beautiful card of all time. (Kids… skip
ahead past the next five paragraphs.)
some reason… which I consider a blessing, but more often than
not it gets me into trouble… I have very good observation skills
and a perverted mind. If there’s something dirty to be seen, usually
I’ll spot it. So as Tigg, Ellen and Richard wandered a few steps
ahead of me, I came to a complete stop and started laughing to
myself when my eyes caught sight of a few cards… all versions
of the same picture. There were two women on the card… and they
obviously knew each other very well. I know this because they,
umm, were involved in doing something that you wouldn’t normally
see without needing a lot of dollar bills. So I call to Richard
and tell him to take a look.
he completely embarrasses me.
turns around and I motion over to the cards. In my mind, to this
day, I fully believe I had given him the perfect signal of “don’t
make it obvious, but check this out.” He looks at the boxes, steps
toward them, bends over so his eyes are perhaps a foot to a foot
and a half away… and he squints at the pictures! I swear
you would have thought he was looking at a picture of a couple
of golden retrievers frolicking in a field of daisies instead
of one blonde girl staring right at another blonde girl’s naked
don’t know, maybe he was savoring the sight the way you appreciate
the first fragrance of a fine wine. But it doesn’t look like it’s
registered with him… he’s taking way too much time to look at
the picture… and we’ve been standing still for too long… Ellen
and Tigg are on to us by now and step off to an angle so they
can see what Richard is looking so intently at.
ha ha Richard! The incident is sort of laughed at. Which… sure…
what else were the girls going to do? Still, this has absolutely
been filed away for possible use against us.
the street, the Boardwalk Casino is advertising their property
as the home of the $3 minimum tables. We head over and find out
that apparently the “s” on their sign should have been turned
off. There’s only one $3 minimum table. They should also have
a police officer outside… “move along, nothing to see here”… because
I won’t need to head back on my next visit to Vegas, and you probably
shouldn’t worry about stopping by either.
this point we find ourselves at an entrance to the Bellagio. (We
do manage to wander, don’t we?)
few nights earlier, Tigg had spotted someone she knew and stopped
to say hello. He told us that very few places seem to even admit
the holidays are close. (He was right… we saw a few Christmas
trees and not much else.) But, he told us that the one thing we
absolutely shouldn’t miss was the decorations set up in the Bellagio
Conservatory. (And he was right again.) Not certain if we would
be back this way, we take a chance and head in.
are three basic scenes set up in the conservatory. The first is
three huge polar bears created out of live flowers. (Mums, I think.)
Each bear would easily stand about 16 to 18-feet in height. The
second is a huge Christmas tree centered between two ponds and
water fountains. The third involves reindeer, created out of cedar
branches, skating on a frozen pond. Beyond the three scenes, ornaments
and other details… such as music and occasional snow falling…
are wonderfully incorporated into the display. I don’t know what
they do the rest of the year, which supposedly consists of floral
arrangements that are changed seasonally, but the holiday display
playing a few spins on a roulette table, our group leaves the
Bellagio and heads back to the resort.
six, Wednesday, December 15, 2004
fire today… actually the fires are done for the trip… but I do
wake up and see the message light flashing on the phone. I call
the front desk and have a fairly nice, quick conversation with
an operator. I explain to her that on Monday, Richard had called
down about his message light and was told to use the back of his
room key for instructions. Mentioning that he eventually had to
call back because there were no message instructions on the room
key, and that he spoke with a different operator and was finally
told to dial a number, I tell the operator that I need help getting
my message. And she tells me… (wait for it)… the system Richard
was told to use isn’t operational yet, so those room keys that
he was told to look at aren’t being issued.
communication at the old Fairbanks Resort there.
like the Stratosphere -- When something inconvenient or inexplicable
or inexcusable happens once, it’s stupidly funny. When it happens
twice, it’s embarrassing. When it happens three times, it’s enough
checks in the “con” column for you to take it as fully and accurately
representative of the person, place or thing in question. (Go
four times or more… you have the Stratosphere and the Fairfield
Grand Desert Resort.)
check the message and find that it’s from the maintenance staff.
They want to know how the repairs went on the electrical outlet,
and let us know that if there are any problems we should call
them. Fair enough.
is a special day for the group… or so I have decided. I had been
watching the dirty cards all week. I kept thinking that there
seemed to be dozens of them… all different. I figured it would
be kind of neat to collect 52 and make a deck of playing cards
out of them. Seeing the one with two women on it last night only
gave me the motivation to try it.
Wednesday began, and I proclaimed it “Dirty Card Day.”
was excited about this, but a bit disappointed that I had started
doing it so late. After all, I had wasted five days of possible
collecting. Most of the cards, to varying degrees of… ahem… modesty,
had placed stars and dots to cover portions of the woman’s anatomy.
Some were… ahem… less modest. Did I miss out on the card from
the previous night? Beyond the wasted time, I was probably never
going to find a card with two women posing like that again… that
was the Holy Grail of dirty cards. And I left it behind.
before we leave the Fairground Resort for a day of peaceful card
collecting, it’s time to visit again with Cheryl… the arrogant
casino host at Caesars.
been busy, so Tigg hasn’t looked at some of the stuff she had
written down… recommendations from friends and such. But with
no real plans for the day until Mystere that night, as
we talk about the day ahead she remembers that she hasn’t tried
to contact Cheryl again. So, she finds the number and calls. Someone
answers, but it isn’t Caesars. When she hangs up, she double-checks
the number and realizes that she called her friend’s number, which
was next to the one for Cheryl. She dials again. Cheryl is off
the property for the day, so she leaves a voice mail for her.
figures she should call her friend back and apologize for the
strange phone call. His first question is whether or not we’ve
met up with Cheryl, who he claims is expecting us. Tigg explains
the Saturday message and the phone call today. He gets Tigg’s
number, tells her to wait about five minutes, and hangs up. Barely
three minutes later he calls back. He spoke with Cheryl and she’s
on her way back to Caesars. He wants to know if we can meet her
there in about thirty minutes. Tigg says we can and they finish
their phone call.
we go to meet up with Ellen and Richard. Ellen has spotted an
ad for free slot play at the Riviera, and wonders if we want to
head up that way. Tigg explains about the phone call to her friend.
The plan becomes simple… head over to Caesars to touch base with
Cheryl, and then decide on the Riviera depending on how much time
is left before tonight’s show at Treasure Island.
take the Averagefield shuttle over to Harrah’s, head out onto
the boulevard, and turn to walk toward Caesars. And there they
are… Dirty Card Day is about to begin.
Las Vegas Boulevard you will see people standing around, holding
cards, books and leaflets. They’re old… they’re young… they’re
men… they’re women.\
get a grip on the whole thing and how unsettling a few of these
people are, consider Tigg’s comment about one woman: “I wonder
if that’s her daughter on the card.”
these folks tap the cards and such against their hands or other
cards to make a noise and draw your attention. They all
do this. And having watched them for a few days, I decided the
best way to approach Dirty Card Day was with a bit of respect,
a bit of decorum, and a bit of casual indifference.
obviously, went flying out the window as soon as I decided it
was Dirty Card Day and wasn’t even an option. But I can respect
a naked woman on a dirty card. And I can hold a dirty card with
enough esteem to afford it decorum. (Yes… yes… dignity and decorum
are at times somewhat interchangeable. Let’s move on. After all,
the real problem was going to be the casual indifference.)
point is just that once you’ve decided to take a card like this,
if you’re not in a group with about five really drunk buddies
making seemingly brilliant observations about a woman’s breasts,
the best approach just appeared to me to be to reach out, take
the cards, and just keep walking as though nothing special had
happened -- nothing at all.
I may not have my dignity, I do have my pride… I wasn’t going
to pull a card out of a trash can or pick it up off the ground.
If someone else threw it away, I didn’t want it either… even if
it was the Holy Grail card and I didn’t have it.
though, in explaining the general concept to the group, I forgot
to discuss and outline the whole approach to Dirty Card Day with
we near the first wave of distributors, I reach out and grab two
cards from an extended hand. This doesn’t go unnoticed, and the
other two guys holding material try to lean toward me but I just
shrug them off and keep moving.
sensing that I fully intend to follow through on my plans for
the day, Richard decides he’ll try to help me. (At least, that
was his defense on the whole thing. He figured if Ellen gave him
any grief about taking the cards, he could just say something
like: “I just wanted to help Bob.” Secretly though, I believe
he was hoping to assemble his own deck of cards during the day.
I’ll give him credit for the idea, and if I’m right about his
true intentions, then more to the point I admire his quick wit
in developing a plausible cover story and sticking with it. For
that, I will remember him when I start to think about what to
do with the cards that made it home.)
on the street though, when the time for action arrived, Richard
gets it wrong.
isn’t watching too carefully, and the first thing he grabs is
a booklet. It’s probably about twenty to forty pages thick, and
if you want a true visual description, it resembles those real
estate books you might find at the grocery store -- only these
have naked women on the cover with stars that aren’t quite big
enough covering the naughty bits instead of a picture and description
of the $350,000 property of the week. (And yes, I will avoid making
the “property of the week” joke that goes along with that, the
money, and the women on the cover. In any event… time for a side
story to help with your visual of the situation…)
have two dogs. They’re great, and I love them very much. They
love meat though, and they will do just about anything they can
to get to it when they know it’s there. They’ll run over you for
a piece of bacon. They’ll lean over the coffee table and drool
on your plate for a cheeseburger. And when you are walking from
one room to another with something good in your hands, their sole
focus is on you… to the extent that they will walk into, over
and through anything in the way… ottomans, door frames, small
children… anything. (Keep these images in mind.)
took the cards, placed them by my side and tried to ignore the
other purveyors of fine adult literature, in the end waving my
hand at the other two guys as they approached and they backed
has taken a booklet from one of them. He slows a bit, unfolds
it, and looks at the cover. Well, that did it. These folks with
material to distribute dove for him. They shoved people
out of the way. One literally jumped over a small bush that was
planted in a cement pot by the curb.
me to pause for a moment. Consider that. A man… jumped… over
a small bush… to hand something to Richard.)
of this activity was taking place to get to the man walking with,
and reading, a booklet in his hands. Their sole focus was to get
to him and hand him whatever he would take.
looked like someone that had never seen a dog in his life that
suddenly found himself standing in my living room holding on to
a steak. He quickly got rid of the booklet and decided to concentrate
only on the cards in the future.
side note about my casual card-taking theory. Another corollary
if you will. There are a lot of things that go on in Vegas. Similar
to handing out porn is the “want to see a show” approach from
time-share representatives. (Trust me, in many ways the two groups
are very similar... and honestly, the time-share people are actually
more pushy and obnoxious.) Around the second day I started saying
“we’re leaving tomorrow morning” any time someone came up to me
asking what I was doing later or if I wanted to see a show. I’m
still stunned by how quickly and efficiently that comment worked.
the way to Caesars, we pass a Margaritaville that we had heard
about, but hadn’t been able to place other than the fact that
we knew it was at the Flamingo. Good to know. We arrive at the
Palace, get inside, and head straight for a phone. Tigg places
a call to Cheryl. Tigg gets disconnected, by an operator that
at first said she didn’t know Cheryl. Another call or two is made.
Finally, Tigg is speaking with Cheryl, and written words won’t
completely do justice to the expressions on Tigg’s face.
to say, if a friend of yours insisted that you go someplace… and
they went to great lengths to assure you that someone was waiting
there for you… when you did arrive you probably wouldn’t be expecting
that someone to act as though you were catching them by surprise
and that they had never heard of you.
how Tigg felt.
Cheryl was still off-property, and she explained that by the time
she arrived she would only be there for about ten minutes before
leaving for the day. She asked Tigg if we could come back on Thursday
and she’d do something at a restaurant for us.
arranged a time with her and hung up. Then she explained to us
that she couldn’t be sure, but Cheryl sounded like we were imposing
on her and wasting her time. I won’t go into details, but Tigg
is very knowledgeable about this subject… and if she says Cheryl
isn’t a people person, and is acting very strange, then Cheryl
is a self-centered fool acting very strange. Tigg was quite certain
that the impression her friend had about what contacting Cheryl
would mean for us and the reality of what Cheryl intended to do
for us were two significantly different things.
look at our watches and decide that heading north to the Riviera
isn’t in our best interests for today. With all of us a bit hungry,
I suggest appetizers at Margaritaville as a lunch and then checking
out some of the smaller properties while making our way back up
what I mean? “TI” doesn’t work. It has to be Treasure Island.)
a question… What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Almost everyone
has heard that ad campaign by now. So can someone explain to me
the “what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico” that Toby Keith
is talking about? Because I didn’t get it. Probably just me… as
it was playing I didn’t even know it was Toby Keith. I don’t listen
to him at all, not really a big fan, and after our trip it was
my niece that told me he sang the song.
web browser happened to be on a search engine a few moments ago,
so I typed in “what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico” in the
search box. The first five results I got included… two references
to Toby Keith, one for the Vegas ad, one that said “what happens
in Cuba stays in Vegas,” and one that said “what happens in Peru
stays in Peru.” I still don’t get it.)
it is odd to be in Vegas and hear Keith singing about it staying
all end up abandoning the appetizers in favor of sandwiches and
burgers. The meal is good overall… you may not love the menu completely,
which is a bit short, but if you want a good burger you won’t
be disappointed here. I’ve eaten at Margaritaville in Orlando,
Key West and now Las Vegas, and they were all worth the trip.
Music… good (even with Toby Keith). Food… good.
now we’re on our way to the Casino Royale.
begin running through our normal arrival routine… over to the
player’s club, checking out any special events or such, walking
around the tables trying to figure out what the table limits were
and also how the slot machines were positioned. You know… getting
a general impression and figuring out if we even want to stay…
what is happening here that we might want to make sure we do…
are we going to play any table games, and if we do are there any
that would be better than the others… where will Ellen be sitting
if the rest of us do play at the tables… the basics.
is absolutely no reason at all to recommend the Casino Royale
to you. And that said, we probably stayed there longer than we
did for a single visit at any other property. It was the only
place I found with a live roulette table playing 25-cent chips.
(There were places offering 50-cent games, but you sat at a bank
of video monitors to place your bets.) I played craps for the
only time on the trip. Blackjack. Video poker. We all spread out
and did a bit of everything.
it a lot of fun? I can’t tell you it was… but one thing I want
from a casino is based on a simple idea -- I don’t expect to win.
It’s nice of course, and I’m going to try to win. But if you’re
going to take my money, at least let me use it for a little while
and get some entertainment from it. And none of us was losing
too much here, so we kept moving around and playing. Tired of
roulette? Spend some time playing blackjack. Eyes blurring on
the video poker machine? Try a few rolls at the craps table. We
definitely got great value for the money we left behind.
stayed there long enough that we decided to eat after the 7:30pm
Mystere show. Eventually, it was time to head over to
Treasure Island. And it was there that I would meet Melissa.
note… we watched the volcano at The Mirage on the way over, and
it was pretty cool. Nothing stunning, but good enough to be considered
quite decent for a free street-side show.
is in its own theater at the Treasure Island complex. It’s quite
close to Kahunaville, and along a row of shops. Across the corridor
from some of those shops we found a small section of slot machines.
In that area was a smiling, adorably cute waitress named Melissa.
At the risk of Tigg reading this, I will tell you that there was
no other cocktail waitress in Las Vegas that I liked as much as
Melissa. Just a great combination of perky and pleasant. Anyway…
were a ton of people doing exactly what we were doing… wasting
time until the theater doors opened. Playing a few spins and sitting
down to get a free drink. A woman gets a drink from Melissa, then
points at a row of machines across from them. Watching this, I
figure out she is pointing to her husband. Melissa walks two or
three steps to him, takes a beer off of her tray, and politely
reaches to his side. Without turning around or acknowledging her…
apparently he was entitled to the beer and she was some insignificant
servant to him… he grabs the bottle. She pauses for a moment,
then walks away. No thank you, no acknowledgement of any kind,
and no tip. The jerk just kept playing and ignored her. Forgive
me… someone brings you a drink and you don’t want to tip them,
fine. But at least say thank you. Nope. Not this creep.
went up to Melissa later and gave her a business card about the
web site… just as I had with Aaron, Ana, Biljana, Nick and some
others. I told her I thought she did a great job and let her know
I would be mentioning her. She said she didn’t have a computer,
but thanked me and smiled as though my compliment had made her
day. (Which naturally made my day.) I hope… and I really have
my fingers crossed because it is a little web site and it’s a
big internet, and selling a million copies would be nice but I
don’t expect it from the book… that someone reads this, knows
Melissa, and can tell her I mentioned her. She deserves it. Best
personality I found in Vegas, and there were a few really great
ones to consider.
show is actually a summary of my problem with Vegas. I had a lot
of fun on this trip. I will definitely be back to this city, and
Tigg and I had a fantastic time with Ellen and Richard. But great
and fun as it was, it never matched my expectations.
I mentioned before, back in 1999 the four of us saw La Nouba
in Orlando. It was brilliant. The entire show was incredible,
with one terrific act taking the stage after another. The finale
wasn’t the same for me. Overall I’d tell you that the show wasn’t
as good. I enjoyed it. The performers were very talented and entertaining.
La Nouba was simply much, much better. A few people have
suggested that maybe since it wasn’t my first Cirque du Soleil
show, perhaps it didn’t surprise me as much… many of their shows
incorporate a few similar acts performing different routines.
But I checked the La Nouba portion of the Disney web
site. And I’m convinced that wasn’t it. Mystere was a
very good show… not a really great show.
I got that same feeling in Vegas… as much as I wanted to enjoy
it, and much as I know I want to go back… it wasn’t as unbelievable
as I thought it would be.
time for dinner.
and Richard had gone to a restaurant before called the Hole in
the Wall. They couldn’t stop talking about it. Once we spotted
it early on… it’s on Audrie Street, pretty much right behind the
Flamingo… it was only a matter of when we would get there. Battista’s
Hole in the Wall is the full name. We enjoyed both Fiamma’s and
Battista’s, but I’ll tell you right now that it is completely
unfair to compare them to each other as Italian restaurants. The
category doesn’t work. Fiamma’s might be considered a new age,
high end, gourmet Italian restaurant… Battista’s is definitely
the traditional, old time, neighborhood place.
come as complete units... soup or salad, the entrée, and
then a cup of cappuccino as a dessert (and it is a dessert cappuccino…
tasting much more like a hot chocolate than a cappuccino). Because
of that, even though most meals at Battista’s are posted as costing
from about $20 to $30, the total price is more than reasonable.
House red and white wines are on the table, and along with the
bread, are refilled as needed. The food isn’t designed to be knock-your-socks-off-good.
Same with the wine. This is a place to hang out, to feel comfortable.
A place for the gang. Where the wine is homemade and flowing freely.
Where the food is served hot and in big portions. In short, where
everything is family-based. This isn’t a place working on plates
fancy enough to show on cable television or worrying about what
the local food critic might say in a review. And for people that
don’t get this, they won’t enjoy the restaurant.
Clarification? Ok. If you go to see Tom Hanks in The ‘burbs
and are expecting to see the Oscar-winning performance from Philadelphia,
you are going to leave disappointed and you won’t enjoy the movie
for what it is… no thinking required fun. If you go into Battista’s
expecting the best dinner ever, you are going to leave disappointed
and you won’t enjoy the place for what it is… a place to settle
in, eat good food, and not worry about anything. What I am trying
to say is that some people will absolutely love it, others will
prefer to find the nearest buffet.
there was a “yes you did – no I didn’t” fight at the restaurant
that night. It involved Ellen and Richard and their previous visit
to the restaurant. So, in the interest of fairness, let the record
had the sausage.
ordered the eggplant.
and I both went with chicken parmigian.
also went with the minestrone soup instead of a salad.
left Battista’s and decided to try and chase something else down.
Tigg had been told that she had to go to Nobhill and have a cosmopolitan.
So we’re off and heading down the strip to MGM.
kind of funny picking on Ellen and Tigg tonight, because they
have no clue where we are. They keep asking Richard and I if we
are taking them the right way. We keep asking if they want to
go to the MGM, and when they say yes, we tell them everything
is fine. Soon, the conversation takes a turn…
see yet another dirty card. This is our first time all day south
of Flamingo Road… south of Caesars, etc… and after a long stretch
of duplicates and triplicates and dear lord nothing new, I am
starting to see a few dirty cards that I haven’t seen before.
Tigg decides I’m a pervert… as if that’s news.
was closed when we arrived. No cosmopolitans tonight. But the
trip to the MGM Grand is not a complete loss… we passed those
newspaper boxes again along the way and I found it.
Holy Grail card.
take two of them.
Dirty Card Day quest is complete.