Vegas, the beast, had not rendered me penniless just yet, but out of both prudence and wisdom, I agreed to join Brazilian Estefan for Saturday night dinner at an Italian joint. I can’t figure out exactly where it was on Google Maps. Somewhere east of the airport on Tropicana Avenue. It was a subdued affair, but the point is it kept me from losing another hundred or two or four on the strip. I certainly wouldn’t have spent $25 for a meal on the strip, though. Unless you count the Outback Steakhouse lunch I just couldn’t resist. The next day, Sunday, I planned on leaving Vegas with my credit rating intact via a hotel near the airport I’d stay at before flying out on Monday. The main problem was I decided to walk there. Catching the monorail south to the MGM Grand, then walking the mile or three east along Tropicana Avenue and south to domestic departures along Paradise Road was really not that arduous, despite the heat and about 50kg of baggage I was saddled with. The first problem was that the few hotels close to the airport I stopped in at along the way were booked out. The second was that, once I got to the airport, I realised it really was much cheaper to catch a plane to my destination, New Orleans, on Monday rather than presently. So I caught a shuttle bus back to the strip – like I’d just Goddamned arrived. Inevitably exhausted after lugging so much luggage (backpack and satchel) through the desert heat, I checked in to the Luxor’s glass pyramid hotel – not a half-mile south of the bloody MGM. Vegas was going to get one more chance. One more chance, that is, to murder me. “A pair of beautiful young women wearing southern-style petticoats and skirts hold my arms up while I lie shivering in my Louisiana bunk bed. Then their equally entrancing mother calls them to her, after which she walks over, kisses my burning forehead, runs her fingers across my scalp and promptly walks away.” This is a delirious dream I apparently had shortly before catching up on these Vegas notes while in New Orleans, a few days later. After checking in at the Luxor, I ate McDonald’s for dinner then wandered to the New York New York (everything on the strip pretty much was a) hotel to ride its rollercoaster with three Mexican ladies – one of whom was extremely cute and gave me oh so briefly the eye. Then she disappeared. Maybe Immigration found her. Feel free to let me know if you think that joke was in poor taste. Afterward, I was ripped off $2 (eight-quarters) by a House of the Dead gaming machine. Almost lost my shit over those vanishing quarters. I bought a pint of Guinness at the riotous Irish bar within New York New York; then sat outside on a balcony overlooking The Strip and drank it with a cigarette while an authentic Emerald Isle band played to great acclaim within. Caught a burlesque (titty) show back at the Luxor; wandered the tranquil and un-used due to winter pool area; got raped on the roulette tables; took a wine-and-smoke break in my room; got even more raped by roulette; tried to get into a nightclub too late and while too wine-drunk; then went to bed.
“When I hold my exhausted arms over closed eyes the upper-case E stretches larger and larger toward me. Along with the noise.” This was more New Orleans sickness delirium. Perhaps I’m being self-indulgent, but by way of analysis of this madness, I guess my arms were the outside parts of the E. And my face must have been receiving the centre arm of the E. I have no idea where “the noise” came from, what the noise was, or what anything at all from the dream meant. I was really, really, really fucking sick, you understand. There were no psychedelic drugs involved. And even if the sickness came about because of drink spiked with some Goddamn shit, there’s no way, surely, that its effect could have lasted a week. Hey, in my defence as either a victim of sickness or drink spiking, I was making a concerted attempt to catch up on the oddly much more immune-system healthy time that was my experience of Las Vegas. I checked out express from the Luxor. This meant simply dropping my key-cards into a provided bin. Then I walked, shudder (which you can read about some of here: http://colingilmore.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/the-dragon-part-one/) from the Luxor to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport from its southern side, which was conservatively four miles south along the Las Vegas Blvd then east too many miles along Sunset Rd. It’s pretty simple stuff when you Google Map it. Even though I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, I was attempting to walk what eventually would have been a total of, again conservatively, 25 miles to domestic departures from the south side of the airport. It was of course an impossible, albeit in my and possibly but not probably your opinion admirable, endeavour. Defeated, I stopped somewhere east of Paradise Rd and dragged myself to an insurance company building, whose receptionist, as relayed in the link a few sentences back, called me a cab. The driver was a real nice guy. I tipped him generously – as I did for some reason all cab drivers during the greater journey. I was repaid immediately by karma, when I overpaid my excess baggage charge at the airport by a couple of hundred dollars (because the weight reading was in pounds, when I thought it was in kilograms), and a nice baggage lady ensured I was refunded. Back to San Francisco, without the infuriating international-domestic transition, then New Orleans where – according to my notes– I became seriously concerned that this and the entire story of my life might have ended.