Wednesday, September 5, 2007

These Days in Las Vegas

Sunday, Sept. 2

As usual Zirpu and I got to the airport two hours early. No, KT, Paulo, and Dre were on the same flight and they appeared shortly before we got on the plane. When we arrived in Las Vegas, a friend of No's picked us up in his limousine, and after checking in at TI Zirpu and I had our inaugural games of video poker and comped drinks. No's friend came back to take us to Del Frisco's for dinner, during which we had a good syrah and a fabulous GMS blend, both from Australia, plus wonderful steaks and we all shared a lobster tail and sides of macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach, and creamed corn. At the end of the meal, the waiter brought us slices of a good lemon cake with candles in them in honor of my and Zirpu's birthdays.

A conversation about free agency and athletes vs. team owners started. I didn't follow it that closely, but I observed the dynamics of the conversation. No's friend Psycopat, who I mentioned in the wedding post, is someone who likes an argument. No asked Psycopat if Psycopat was trying to have a conversation with him, or if Psycopat was just trying to push his buttons. I admire that in No... when someone pushes my buttons, I just get annoyed. Instead, No was sort of laughing at his friend. I drank my wine and huddled with Macho, talking weight-training.

The dinner was expensive, but delicious and the restaurant's reputation is well-deserved. Of course it helped knowing that what we were going to spend. The company was wonderful - Dre had organized the dinner for us, and Psycopat's posturing was more amusing than anything else. One thing I learned in Mexico: I really dig vacationing with a group of people.

Monday, Sept. 3

Zirpu and I came here for our first anniversary. Because it was a three day weekend the year that we got married, our anniversary always falls around Valentine's Day, and the casinos were swarming with wedding parties. At one point, Zirpu and I were sitting a (relatively) quiet part of one of the casinos, playing video poker and drinking comps, when a couple came and sat at the end of the bar. I guessed they were in their late 50s, he a freckled African American with freckles in a tuxedo and she a dark-skinned woman in an embroidered white dress. They ordered champagne and fruit juice and when the bartender came back to our end of the bar I told him that I wanted to pick up their tab, as a wedding gift.

This couple had run away from the Bronx to Las Vegas to get married because when they announced their engagement to the adult children from their first marriages, the children went crazy with planning "suggestions": A church wedding with all the daughters and sons participating followed by a big reception, with invitations for this cousin and that co-worker and these people from the old neighborhood... They just wanted to get married so they ran to Vegas. The bride told me she'd already had a wedding like that and one was enough. The groom said he hadn't had a hand in planning his first wedding and he didn't want to do that again.

Tuesday, Sept. 4

Someday I would like to come back to Vegas and do some old-school Vegas stuff, like attend a headdress-and-feathers show, go to the sign graveyard (though it's so hot in Vegas that doing anything outside doesn't sound like very much fun), see The Fremont Street Experience, and even catch an impersonator show (I'd prefer the Rat Pack but if Desi insisted on Elvis, I would do that too). I could never get Zirpu to do any of those things - he doesn't have the fine appreciation for cheesiness that I do.

Of course I really really want to see Cirque du Soleil's new show Love (the CD is great, with Beatles mash-ups!), and someday I will get to O.

Wednesday, Sept. 5

Speaking of Cirque, Dre, Paulo, No, KT, Zirpu and I went to see Ka last night. I've seen Mystere a couple times, Alegria and Quidam on TV, and Zumanity so I know that Cirque shows' storylines are hard to follow. In Ka, it seemed like the storyline was more important than it is in the others, so the show was pretty confusing. Afterwards, we figured out that each of us had picked up on a different element of the story, but none of us totally understood what it was about. Also, there was less of what I think of as more typical Cirque activities, like acrobatics, dance, rope swinging, and trapeze art, as the first portion of the show is all about martial arts display. Zirpu and I were both distracted by the mammoth set: One of the two stages moves in all three dimensions, and it's disappointing that the Cirque site has no images of how this works because I just can't describe it. For much of the show one of the stages is at an angle (often 90 degrees) to the floor, and most of the time the artists are wearing harnesses because they are forty feet (or more) in the air. When they weren't, I was terrified one of them would fall.

In the airport waiting to go through Security, there was a young woman in the line next to us whose blue hair was shaved in streaks for her head. She wore heavy blue, silver, and black eye makeup and a big smile on her face. Even for Vegas, her presentation was kind of out there. I told Zirpu that I thought she might be a Cirque artist going home for a visit. Even the fearless have families.

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