Back to InetPix Just the Pix
The less you bet the more you lose when you win.
-- Our mantra, taken from a casino menu.
Our friend Dr. Craps organized one hell of a bachelor party, carrying on the Vega$Fe$t tradition. Let's hope that now that he is married, this will not be the last such occasion.
Pictured above is this year's motley crew of participants. Notice Paul's surprise (far right) upon noticing that there is a guy who looks exactly like him sitting across the table (weird).
As is tradition first class accommodations for all Vega$Fe$t participants was provided by the fabulous Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Their combination of convenient downtown location, decent Pai Gow Poker availability, nicely furnished rooms and sunny outdoor pool make this the place to stay.
Cab fare from the Las Vegas airport is about $20 with tip. Be sure to take pictures out the window as you speed down the strip...
Gaming is clearly a central activity of any Vega$fe$t. This trip was no exception. As always, one should attempt to win money as soon as deplaning. The friendly slots at the airport, were as obliging as ever!
They don't call him Dr. Craps for nothing, and as shortly after gathering as a group late Friday, the journey to the Mecca of craps, Binion's Horseshoe was on. Once the home of "10x odds on craps". Binion's now has "100x odds on craps". What a country! Although Dr. Craps came out shooting, making points left and right, when I last saw him that night the chips looked rather scarce.
Look out "Red Dog" and "Caribbean Stud Poker"; spotted at the New York, New York casino is perhaps the stupidest table game yet, "Casino War".
Here's how it works. You place a bet (this tabled happened to have a $5 minimum bet), the dealer gives everyone at the table a single card face up, then gives herself a card face up. Now here's the tricky part... If your card is higher you win. If her card is higher you lose, if you tie, you match your bet and each of you gets an additional card, applying the previous set of rules.
In the words of one happy gambler at the table: "It's so simple, it's confusing".
Vegas is trying to cater more to the family crowd these days by offering more shows, video games and rides to attract families with kids, who might ordinarily go to someplace like Orlando. This is not to say that lecherous and sinful activities are not still available in abundance; clearly we would not have gone had this been the case.
But hey, if they're going to build some exciting rides, more power to 'em.
I would highly recommend the following two activities:
No bachelor party is complete without the traditional bachelor dinner/roast. We gathered together at Caesar's for this affair. The upscale "Nero's" restaurant being our destination. Shortly into our meal, this kind woman asked if we'd like our picture taken, she left shortly thereafter after merciless harassment by 12 drunken hungry men.
Rick raised the interesting question that if a restaurant today can be named after a sadistic tyrant from 2000 years ago, is it possible that 2000 years from now there will be a restaurant called "Hitler's"? Food for thought (no pun intended).
Vegas is crawling with celebrities. You just need to throw your dignity and self respect away temporarily in order to beg for a picture when you spot one. Here's me with quarterback for the Denver Bronco's, John Elway. After not turning around while I was following him shouting, "John, John", I eventually cornered him, and asked "Are you John Elway?" After answering yes, I asked the obvious next question, "Really?"
Since this was a bachelor's party, we decided to break with tradition and actually hit a strip club. (That previous sentence is an example of what is technically known as "sarcasm"). Dr. Craps' choice, "Club Paradise".
Our cab driver conviently sold us "Free Passes" for a mere $5, which still saved us half the admission cost. After greasing some more palms inside we were able to get some decent group seating. When dealing with maitre D's, bouncers and other folks in charge of seating, one should always ask "And where would President Jackson be seated?"
Oddly enough, photography is prohibited in Club Paradise. The following two pictures were obtained from anonymous sources:
Pretty much like any other HRC, except with a big casino in the middle. This place is clearly where the hip go be seen. Wild hairdos, wild clothes, piercing and tattoos, all with free drink service as long as you're gambling!
I especially liked the Sex Pistols slot machine, with the likeness of Sid "God Save the Queen" Vicious.
Documentation of the hours between 2AM and 5AM remains sketchy at best... This picture was taken around 3AM...
The wake up call at noon was perfectly timed, since check out time at the Golden Nugget is 12.
Things were going so well...
I'm booked on Reno air flight 504 to San Jose, leaving at 3:05. I checked my backpack around 2:15 and then walked to the gate for an uneventful flight home.
Upon arriving at the gate, there appears to be some commotion. Apparently our plane is stuck in Reno with mechanical problems. Not only that, but they inform us that there are no other available flights back to San Jose tonight. We are told that an "update" will be given at 4:30 PM.
Another passenger suggested to me that the reason for the delay was a faulty door on our aircraft. Apparently it would not close properly. They didn't have a spare airplane or crew, but the mechanics thought they might be able to use a door from a different type of airplane. Great News!
After gaining this information, I decide it might be best to go back to the ticket counter, since the line at the gate is moving nowhere fast.
As suspected the line at the ticket counter was shorter. When I got to the counter, I asked if I could be booked on another flight tomorrow and get comped for a room tonight. "No," I was told by the ticket agent, "you need to wait until the announcement is made at 4:30."
"But I don't believe they're really going to get this plane fixed and I prefer not to wait around for another hour and a half just be told it's cancelled."
"Well you need to wait sir."
At this point the ticket agent walks off and returns with her manager, Ray. She asks me to repeat the request I told her to Ray. Ray listens and repeats that I'll just need to wait. Not being very happy with this, and wishing to document how much more of my time was going to be wasted, I asked Ray to jot down his name and the current time...
As you can see it is at this point.
In expectation of trouble ahead, I ask for them to at least give me my bag back. "Alright," I'm told. Wow they actually did something helpful! But I'll need to wait for it to be retrieved. By 3:45 my bag shows up and I trudge back to the gate to await the announcement.
Shortly after 4:30 we are told that yes in fact the flight has been cancelled, we all need to go back to the ticketing counter to rebook and get hotel accommodations. Surprise!
To celebrate this great moment, I decide to buy an autographed book from the well known author, Robert Davis. Robert's sold the screen rights for all four of his books! The new one is The Plutonium Murders.
By the time I get back to the ticket counter, the line is not looking good, and Ray makes it clear that I'm not gonna get any favors. I'm guessing that the line's going to last at least 2 hours after watching it stand still for the first 15 minutes. Since I'm basically last in line, I decide to try the phone. Gee wouldn't it be a good idea if they had their phone ticket agents be able to help people out too. That way they wouldn't need to rely on just 3 people at the counter, their phone operators could these customers out!
The phone operator didn't seem to agree with this logic. "No sir you'll need to do this at the ticket counter." "Can I speak to your manager?" At this point I speak to a Fraser, who repeats the same answer. In order to make sure that I'm hearing this right, I put it very simply:
So you're telling me that you can't provide any service from the ticketing terminals located at your phone bank. That I'll need to instead wait yet another two hours in addition to the two I've already done?
Wow I'm almost at the front of the line. I see people I've gotten to know waiting the past two hours, walking away with vouchers in their hands. I'm finally going to get out of this pit of an airport!
Ray has already gone home by the time my wait in line ends. Now it's Rudy. Well Rudy seems to be makin' a little more sense here. Let's see a comp room, a free roundtrip and I'm booked on tomorrows flight at about 10:00. It's still fairly early.
Not really where'd I'd like to stay, but so what, I just want to get out of this airport!
I see a few familiar faces from the Reno Air line here. I get to the front of the line and am told that "We can't accept these vouchers, we told them we didn't have any rooms".
OK, let's try out this talking to the manager thing again, I'm 0 for 2, but maybe third time's a charm. Nope, the manager was a very odd woman. She quickly told me I'd have to go back to the airport and get a voucher for another hotel. You can't do this here? Nope, I'll need to go back to the airport.
When asked her name the manager insisted it was "none of my business." I then asked if I could take her picture? At this point she runs for the door to the back room and never returns. Another higher up suit comes out the door in a minute and I snap his photo, as he covers his face (man I wish I hadn't already used up all the storage on the camera).
In short order I was escorted by a quite reasonable security guard out to the taxi area.
Do you feel lucky punk?
When I arrive at the airport again (now having spent a good $30 on cab fare), I see my pal Rudy verbally duking it out with a very agitated man. Seems he had just gotten the same "We don't have rooms" story at the Riviera, and wanted to make sure Rudy understood his disappointment.
Eventually the man and Rudy appear to agree. But then the man requests that the new hotel be contacted by phone in front of him and guarantee that there is a room for him. Not gonna happen. The man insists, Rudy declines, the man insists... At some point during this spectacle, the police have been contacted.
An officer walks up along the ticket counter and stands between Rudy and the man. The man begins to explain to the officer what he wants.
Meanwhile, I look behind me and see another officer standing there. "It's been a long day," I say to him, and then begin to describe the events of the day. As I continue through the story, I notice that several passengers waiting in line for a different flight are listening in. When I got to the end of the story with my return to the airport, I held my thumb up and shouted to the listening passengers, "Go Reno Air!"
The officer was unamused.
I was quickly ushered to the back of the ticketing area and asked for identification. The officer seemed quite intent on playing the over the top hard-nosed take-no-shit cop. I was quickly told that I could be arrested on a number of charges including "Attempting to incite a riot" Ouch!
Eventually the other cop returned with my ID having found no record, much to his disappointment I can only assume. I did a lot of "yes sirs" and the general brown-nosing these guys seem to need, and was told not to cause anymore trouble.
Now I'm at the front of the line! And it's now about 8:30. "Hi Rudy," I smile.
Apparently it was all just a big mistake and they're going to fix things by putting us up at the Howard Johnson's. Wow! Everybody goes to Vegas to hang at the HoJo's. This ain't gonna work. Rudy actually agrees that I should get reimbursed for cab and the hotel I chose to stay in (New York New York). I'm given a note jotted on his business card as a "voucher".
Well we'll see if I actually get reimbursed... Stay tuned.