April 29, 2003
I guess I should point out the obvious, namely that the citizens of the Strip are far, far more attractive and stylish than their Downtown counterparts, making me wish I had put a little more care into my choice of eveningwear and not simply grabbed a clean Gatlinburg, Tennessee t-shirt from my suitcase. A favorite moment of mine was when I watched an innocent, tow-headed ten-year-old pass by the Strip's ubiquitous newspaper-style racks filled with escort ads and assorted porny goodness. The racks are set about ten-year-old-boy-head-high, and I swear I could see that little boy rocket prematurely into puberty after about six feet of those ads.
I didn't do any heavy-duty gamnbling that night, just checked out the big beautiful behemoths of the strip, with a few hands of blackjack here and there, a little roulette, even some craps and three-card poker when I was feeling crazy. Not sure if I wanted to spend big bucks on Caesar's seafood-filled buffet, I decided to let fate decide for me. I placed $25 into a circle on an empty blackjack table, won with a 19 against the dealer's bust, and hey! Crab legs for everybody! I sat down for a little while in the Mirage poker room, but after two or three dumb table arguments (and a small loss) I realized I wasn't having any fun so I left. The long walk back to the San Remo was made easier by a few cheap margaritas.
Another early alarm, another baggage check, and then it was over to the Luxor for breakfast and Mandalay Bay for a small-stakes poker tournament (the details of which will eventually be posted over on Paul Frankenstein's Mimeograph). Again, nothing too thrilling, just five hours of wandering the east side of the Strip. I decided not to boycott the Paris Casino and had a blast with my eensy little $5 craps bets while waiting for my free Corona; there really ain't nothing like throwing the dice. I stopped by Excalibur and spent ten bucks in their arcade, winning a pile of stuffed animals that I handed out to grateful kiddies. I played a little something in the Aladdin, Bally's, Harrah's, Bourbon Street, and a few other joints, and it seemed like whatever I'd win in one place I'd lose in the next, and vice versa, so that for pretty much my entire Strip trip I ended up around even (maybe a little up, counting that buffet and all those $1 margaritas), leaving my big Downtown winnings to pay for the trip. Frankly, it's all pretty much a blur now, and my notes are no damn help at all. I'm pretty sure I had fun though.
And, like on all Vegas trips, I needed to make one official final bet. This time it was after my final prime rib dinner, at an empty craps table back at the San Remo, where the staff seemed thrilled to have me. I put down $10, rolled a 6 as my point, rolled a 9 and a 5, then made my point. That $10 paid for my cab, which was nice, and then it was to the airport and off to Seattle, a happy, happy man.
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