Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Vegas Trip

The crowd in front of me parted and through the madness I spotted a cocktail waitress, expertly balancing her tray as several tourists bumped into her. People here were oblivious to anyone else’s personal space, only concerned about reaching the next cocktail bar, or more likely, the next blackjack table.

Her long, braided hair was as gold as the morning sunlight, and though I could only see her from behind, I could make out a headband wrapped around her forehead. I guessed that she wore this solely for the purpose of preventing any stray hairs from falling across her face as she would be unable to wipe them away while serving drinks, collecting tips, cleaning out ashtrays or performing crowd control - gently nudging some people out of the way, forcefully pushing others. Her right arm was up in the air, balancing the tray on fingertips the way only a professional waitress can, fingers splayed, the tray becoming an extension of her own arm.

Always interested in seeing the outfits the cocktail waitresses wore, my eyes followed the braid down her back to her jacket, tuxedo style, tapered at her tiny waist and tails reaching to the bottom of her black micro-mini skirt. Fishnet stockings covered her thin yet muscular legs, and I gasped in amazement as my eyes spotted the four-inch high-heeled shoes she wore. How she could walk in them, let alone work in them day after day, was beyond me.

There was something different about her, unlike all the other cookie-cutter waitresses that the casino employs, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until she turned around. Staring back at me was a wizened old face, 70 if a day, and grandma just smiled and continued on serving her drinks.

Only in Vegas.

Well, it has taken me three days to catch up on sleep and get my body functioning on a regular schedule again. All in all it was an outstanding trip, and if I had any choice in the matter, I would still be there.

I flew into Seattle from Calgary last Wednesday, and expected a three-hour layover. Three hours became seven though, as there was something wrong with the electrical system on my connecting flight. To my great relief, they managed to move all of us over to another airplane and I made it in around 9:30pm. Bill had arrived at 3:30, so he rented the car, checked into the hotel, and went to Food For Less to stock up on an arsenal of drinks and snacks. He bought a case of beer, 6 bottles of champagne, several bags of Chicharrones (they dont sell good pork rinds in Canada) and beef jerky. Sustenance.

We proceeded to make our way through two bottles of the champagne, and decided to go check out the casino. We weren't up to playing much of anything, so we decided to just go to one of the lobby bars, play video poker, and drink some more champagne for free. When Bill sat down at his machine, it said "Manual cash out required, call attendant". He hadn't put money or even his players card in the machine yet, but when he asked the bartender what was going on, they sent over a sweet lady named Nicki who was the slot supervisor. Before he could tell her that it wasn't his payout, she handed over $54.75 and was apologizing profusely for any inconvenience that we may have encountered. She seemed to know that the money wasn't rightfully ours, but wasn't concerned about it. Ten minutes later, she brought over two free dinner coupons to us, and told us to go see her the next day and she would get us two more. True to her word, every day that we were there, she sought us out and gave us more free dinners.

Bill had several job interviews over the next few days, so we didn't do too much other than hang around the hotel and relax. Thursday night we managed to make our way downtown with the intention of going to Binions, but ended up at the Golden Gate Casino instead. We had an amazing prime rib dinner ($5.95 each) and settled in for some blackjack. We each bought in with $50, ($5 table) and played for several hours. Bill ended up going bust, but I almost tripled mine, so all in all we were up over $30 after tokes, tips for drinks, and our meal. Not exactly making the big-time, but certainly can't complain.

Friday night we decided to finally play some poker, so we checked out what the Imperial Palace had to offer. Their poker room has tripled in size since last May and it was packed full, so we were anticipating some pretty good action. However, the only options for tables were $1/2 no-limit, and $2/4 limit. We decided to play the no-limit tables, and each bought in for the maximum of $100. I wish I had a better story to tell, but needless to say neither of us did well. Bill did manage to drop the hammer, so I was very proud of him, but that really was the most exciting hand we saw. We both had the worst streak of cards we have EVER seen, but even when I did get good hands, they were ultimately cracked on the turn or the river. It was disappointing to say the least.

For the rest of the trip we just toured the city a bit, saw the show "Splash" which was quite good, and played the odd game. It certainly wasn't a weekend full of poker, but we were totally able to relax and just spend time with each other, which was the ultimate goal anyways.