Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Viva? Las Vegas?

So having had a great negative adventure in Sin City in my youth-- details to follow unless I lose interest in telling the story-- and divested of my lust for travel, or even a vague hunger, but cherishing a friend who headquarters in Venice where I have oft been but need go to no more for reasons laid out in my pome, --he attending a convention of hoteliers and travel agents only an hour away, I hied me to that desert honky-tonk to say Hello, and maybe Goodbye, because these days one never knows. The trip there, it being Jet Blue, was comparatively pain-free except for the prospect of losing my lip gel which I didn't, which non-loss made me regret not bringing my toothpaste. I flew from Long Beach, twenty minutes more on the freeway past LAX which I recommend to everybody because you can park and there is no hassle getting out on that airline including with luggage especially since i didn't take any. Arriving in Vegas, I grabbed a cab to the Hotel Paris, a place I had discovered when staying last time at the Bellagio, there being so many drapes and velvet swags and carpets in that hostelry that the dustmites had a victory over me, and I hid out at the other casino just breathing, floors at the Paris being marble, with nothing to offend my sensibilities except the Eiffel Tower that overlooks the pool. Oh, and once you're there, of course, you do notice the ad in the elevator for weddings, saying there is no better place for saying 'I Deux.' The stomach does churn, but everybody wants to be international. Or at least they used deux.
Once checked in which was not easy as they say 'Bonjour' badly and want picture ID, still a strain to the unpoliticized spirit used to a free country which many of you remember this used to be, I went across to the Bellagio where my friend was conventioning, and joined a cocktail party filled with hotel people who invited me to guest in exotic places I no longer care to go, unless they have transportation and allow small dogs. After that we had an exquisite dinner of light Japanese fare in the only restaurant you can see through, it being constructed mostly of glass and sheet rock, which comes as a comfort to the eye after all those busy walls.
Then I went back to the Paris(thinking perhaps I would write 'The Last Time I Saw etc.') waiting for The Daily Show, calling the concierge who is on record saying 'Bonjour' and 'all of our busy staff are occupe' till you could go bair-zairque, to find out what channel Comedy Central was, but when you finally get through they don't have it so one had no choix but to think and read, not necessarily in that order. Also I needed to get a new room key, as they have those magnetic-in-the-slot ones, and mine didn't work, and after a half hour of 'bonjours' they sent up a bellman with one that didn't work either, but I couldn't go through that again, so went to sleep.
I arose, did my yoga, went to swim, throwing the dead bolt so the room was open, and I wouldn't risk standing in the hall in my wet bathing suit, took my purse with all my limited valuables(priceless ID-- what if it's lost and they don't let me into the room or onto the plane home? racing through my brain) came back to the wrong floor, found the right one, (door still open) dressed and suffered through long checkout, and went to the Venetian for breakfast, that being the hotel everyone wanted to see. It is veramente grotesque, with millions of chandeliers that look like Versace's surving sister, a canal with Gondeliers, a museum with paintings from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg where I have been(the city, not the museum, as I bolted the tour and joined a Russian family I picked up at the bakery where bread was $10.00 a loaf and they said they were better off when there was a Cold War, even though they were glad we didn't hate each other anymore) but the museum charged $15.00 and I figured Las Vegas was not somewhere you looked for Kultur, or, in view of all the young hookers, a late-life love. So instead I asked Darryl, the bartender who served me breakfast at the bar at the Venetian, the only place you didn't see faux Tintorettos on the ceiling, what was good to visit and he said Mandalay Bay. So I crossed the Strip and made my way through a number of hotels, the most peace-a-fying of them being the Mirage, because there's a fish tank behind the desk that soothes the eyes, none of the fish having a frantic agenda.
All the lobbies I saw seem to be populated in great part by Asians, Chinese being driven gamblers, the tendency having apparently spilled over to Vietnam, and disconcertingly obese people,many of them pushing baby carriages, the rest seemingly carrying unborn twins in their buttocks. Made me sad.
At last I went to the Four Seasons, the only place that doesn't have a Casino, and made a phone call saying goodbye to my friend from somewhere I could think, then tried to call his daughter in London, only to discover I had lost my credit card. Called Darryl at the Venetian, and he had it, so took a taxi back to the Venetian($12.00), asked the driver to wait, got the card, zipped to the airport (10.75) and gave him a $7.00 tip so he'd go see 'O', a spectacle I'd caught in-between allergy attacks at the Bellagio last visit that everyone really has to see if they can. 'Love,' the Beatles Cirque de Soleil, which I really wanted to see, was suspended during my stay of course, as the Universe has a way of sending out little darts of seduction to get you back to places you are better off not going. I played $1.00 in the slot machine at the airport where a man had won 13 million last week and lost it, of course, which brought my losses to $26.00 including the unnecessary cab ride. Moral of the story: even when I don't gamble I lose, and if God had meant us to go to Las Vegas, She wouldn't have taken us out of the desert.
I'll tell you the other Vegas story another time. Always leave them wanting more. Do you?