Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vegas, Baby

Well, not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But then, with a group of geezers like us, not that much happens in Vegas.

Back when I wore a younger man's clothes I used to go to Vegas two or three times a year with buddies for a long week-end of carousing. Haven't been back all that often lately but a bunch of us decided to spend a few days last week. We decided to stay downtown not only because it is a lot cheaper but it is also much less hectic than the strip. Fitzgerald's was our choice, and it was a good choice.


It is a decent enough casino with inexpensive rooms, especially this time of year, and it is located just a block away from the central Four Corners which pretty much is the anchor of downtown. On each corner is one of the four major downtown casinos.



Golden Nugget


Ironically, back in the days when we used to do much more gambling, the El Cortez was one of the place where we seldom, if ever, won. I say ironically, because this was the view that greeted me from my room when I opened the drapes.

The Beautiful El Cortez

I hadn't realized that the El Cortez is the oldest, continually operated casino in Las Vegas. In fact, Bugsy Siegel owned a piece of it before building The Flamingo out on the strip. It was somewhat gratifying to see that even if I can't win there, someone can.

A Winner

I can't say I won anything, but I did keep a winning slip from the slot machines to give me an incentive to come back one day.

34-Cent Winner

Also not far from where we were staying was something that just seemed to call out to me.

I Feel Like A Cold One

Four out of the five of us stopped in here for a couple of cold ones. The fifth member of our merry group was locked up in his hotel room figuring out how we could lose money on four-bet parleys. Take it from the Bar Man, these are never good bets.

John, Jon, Bar Man, and Bruce

I don't remember the name of this bar, but you really can't miss it. Just look for the big Bass Ale. The bartender, Sarah, who was a Massachusetts transplant, was quite friendly and made a nice Half and Half.

Sarah Strutting Her Stuff

Neither John nor Jon had ever been to Las Vegas before so we took a few trips to The Strip to show them the sights. One nice thing about Las Vegas is that they have a bus called The Deuce. It costs $2 (hence the name) for a one-way trip or $5 for a 24 hour pass. The bus route starts downtown and runs to the end of the strip. You can get on and off at a number of casinos along the way so it is a really good deal. Nice double decker bus too, so you can see a lot. Should have taken a picture.

Here is the gang, minus me, in front of the Paris casino which has a 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower out front.

We Will Always Have Paris (Bruce, Jon, John, Albert)

When I first started going to Las Vegas in the late 60's you could actually walk across the Strip. Now you have to use pedestrian overpasses which have both stairs and escalators. I commented that it was amazing that in Las Vegas the escalators all seem to work but in New York the public ones, like in the subways, seem to be mostly out-of-service. Wouldn't you know, the first out-of-service elevator we ran into was in the New York, New York casino. I guess they were really going for authenticity.

Just Like Home

A bit of a hike off the strip was a place we couldn't help visiting.

Haufbrauhaus Las Vegas

Most of us had manly beers.

Hoisting Our Beers (and coffee)

You may notice Jon, in the back corner, hiding his beer. That is because he opted for the kiddie special.

Jon's Beer Is The Little One

Interestingly, Jon's nickname has always been "Little Guy." It isn't just because of the little beers he drinks though.

Showgirl and Little Guy

Well, we had a great time. I actually came out ahead due primarily to my betting against the Knicks the two games they played while we were there. I used to be a Knicks fan but started to fade away when they brought in Isaiah Thomas as president and gave up my season tickets when he brought in Stephon Marbury. I could see the team's future collapse from a mile away just based upon both Thomas's and Marbury's (call me Starbury, oh please, call me Starbury) track record.

I would have been even further ahead if it wasn't for Albert (The Cooler) talking us all into throwing in money to make those parley bets. To his credit though, we won the first three out of four bets on one of them and then lost the last when at game time they announced that Duncan wouldn't be playing due to a toe injury or something. There is a story behind that too involving last minute changes to the spread and someone not checking the board before placing the bet. But we shall leave that for another time.

We had a great time and I wish I had taken more pictures. But I did get one of a beautiful sunrise as seen from our hotel window.

Beautiful Sunrise

For those of you who have never been to Las Vegas, I strongly recommend that you visit. It is a relatively cheap vacation, especially if you don't gamble, and it is a city like no other.