Monday, August 17, 2009

Vegas: July '06 II

So we’re hanging out in Rumjungle, and I’m not really doing anything more then taking up space. Actually, I was just about to get up and leave, when I caught a familiar face at the end of the bar to my left, less then eight feet away. I don’t mean familiar like someone I knew and was glad to see there. I mean familiar like a face I’ve seen many times before.

Doing my best to be casual, which of course means I was not casual in the least, I kept trying to steal glances until my curiosity overwhelmed me, and I just had to lean over and look. Confirming my theory of who my bar mate was, he suddenly looked at me, grabbed his chest, and jumped back like he’d seen a ghost. I guess that’s the kind of thing I deserved considering my non-casual nature I spite of myself, from a jokester like Jim Carrey. Kind enough to laugh off my star struck interrogative glances, he smiled, shook my hand, introduced himself and his girlfriend, Jenny McCarthy. Dude, what do you think, I’ve been living in a cave for the last ten years? Or are you really just that cool and even-keeled about the enormity of your success? I think he really was that cool.

The rest of the night passed without incident. But for the second night, there would be no sleep had, as my father’s snoring likely woke our entire floor.

For the third day in a row, I found myself hanging out killing time on the strip. Still not the most fun thing to do when you’re solo. But everyone was all set to be out for the day by about noon, so the pool was calling. No sooner did the stroke of noon hit, then I was out asleep, dead to the world for about five hours. Two nights “sleeping” on a foldout cot listening to Grizzly bears argue had finally caught up to me.

By the time I got up, dinner plans were in the works. That night, the plan was to go to Mon Ami Gabi with something like a party of 12 or so. By this time, I knew a fair number of people that were in our group, but these guys were all knew. Of course, I came to find out that only one of the four new people joining us were docs. Everyone else was just friends with the right people, and since it was all on the company, why not bring them all along?

If you’ve never eaten at Mon Ami Gabi, it’s something that is really worth trying. The food is good. It’s not Michelin-rated good, but good nonetheless. It’s not terribly expensive, at probably around $25-30 a person. And it has, bar none, the best outdoor seating of any restaurant I’ve been at on the strip. Did I say bar none? Well it’s worth repeating. Bar none. Al fresco eating is a pretty slim market on the blazing heat of the Vegas strip, but when you’re on a cobblestone patio looking right across the street at the Bellagio fountains, it doesn’t really matter what the competition has to offer. It just doesn’t get better.

The next morning, I found myself packing to get ready to make the trip home when there was a knock at the door. Still sleepy, and rather confused, I opened it to find my dad standing there beaming like a child with a plate of food in his hand. “Here, I grubbed you. Gotta run back.” He actually went to a lecture where they were offering breakfast, waited in a buffet line, stole food, ran it up to me, and then ran back to catch the end of the seminar. It was cold buffet food, but the circumstances were all too funny, and I appreciated the effort.

With a little less then an hour before we had to leave for the airport, dad decides he’s going to sit and gamble. It was Friday in the early afternoon, so the prices on the tables were already higher then I felt like dealing with at $10-15 tables all over, and not a $5 to be found. Undaunted, he wanted to play, so he found at $10 table with a continuous shuffle machine, and sat down. I hate those machines, but tolerating them is becoming a necessary evil in just about any casino anywhere. With a seat open next to him, he beckoned me to sit down and play. I touched the chair to pull it out, and something about it just felt all wrong. I have no idea why? I have no idea what it was? But for some reason, sitting down right then, right there just didn’t seem like a good idea. Probably a good thing I didn’t sit down as dad lost $100 on 11 hands never winning a single one.

It was a different kind of trip, no doubt about it. It was fun, but probably not one that I would want to make again. Walking the strip by yourself in the middle of the afternoon, sitting at a table solo, or hanging out alone by the pool is just not my thing. I know there are people who would kill for that kind of down time, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re looking for down time, you’re in the wrong city.


Blogger Katrina Clement said...

There is nothing about a big hot dog anywhere.

12:37 PM  

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