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Vegas Journey With Snapshots &

Two views: Inside the bus, outside the bus. I loved the bus to Vegas. The best way. Even without…


15 May 2007. First day. Vegas run. Miscellaneous conveyances. Town car from home to the shuttle in Hollywood, shuttle to the bus in Anaheim, bus to Vegas. Great courtesy all the way.

Natasha. Our hostess on the Lux bus. Funny, very funny, informative. This trip wasn't supposed to be a tour, but amplified Natasha would occasionally ask for our attention and tell us what she felt we should know about the scenery, etc. Joshua trees, age unknown, no rings, maybe 900 years; Carole Lombard, died young in a plane crash on a mountain visible from bus. "Who was Carole Lombard married to?" said Natataha. She expected an answer. "Clark Gable" said a passenger in front of me. Natasha, as comic, also mentioned some passengers' inability to remember what soft drinks are available on the bus after she had announced the choices five times. Five times! Imagine a heavy Russian accent. Caring and charming. I heard her speaking with another passenger: "I would rather beg on the street of this country, U.S., holding cup in my hand than again live in Russia." A film was shown en route.: "Dreamgirls," which I think of as punishment for slavery. (We're now even.) On this particular coach there were no earphones so we had to listen to the whole goddamn film. Oh, god. Jennifer Hudson, screaming. Natasha apologized to me when she noticed my discomfort. "Very sorry about no earphones. P.C. film" said Natasha.


Barstow Station, half way. Didn't even look at the food. Army post nearby. I spoke with that soldier. He said that he had been in Iraq. I told him how happy I was that he was safely home. I didn't mention Bush, his commander-in-chief.


Here is Golden Nugget. I sound like Natasha. Golden Nugget is where I am staying. That canopy is the Freemont Street Experience. Light show each night. Why is everything "an experience"? Next week I will have a root canal experience. I am sixty-eight years old, an old grouch experience. A good hotel experience, Nugget is early Vegas. Possible to find your room without sherpa and bearers. Thick walls, quiet.


My first meal in Vegas. Starving, didn't pack a sandwich for the bus. I took the pic of me myself, as I did throughout this experience. One bartender said, "Taking picture of yourself, sir?" "Ain't it sad?" I said.


My first vodka. I have now had maybe four vodkas, and I'm on third day in Vegas. A strange experience to not drink excessive vodka. I have had no killer hangovers this trip. and it's a damn shame too because without them I've had little to do. Usually in Vegas I nurse hangovers, play the slots. I've decided that I loathe the slots. Anyway, first vodka. "Taking a picture of yourself, sir?" Sad.


I don't know what this means; it's not clear to me. Maybe with more vodka I would understand. This pic was taken at a restaurant in the Golden Nugget. Whenever I go to Vegas I think about the women who work here. This is such a macho place, and the women here must suffer from it; I know it. Yes, and I'm from the south and admit my confusions with women. I spoke with the woman in the background, a waitress, "God help you if you're not young and blonde and tall," she said. Vegas is full of dick-heads.

Don't I look silly? And not just because I'm taking another pic of myself. No, it's because I'm playing the slots. I didn't play much this trip. I lost maybe $150 playing the slots while looking very much like this. And then I stopped. Because I realized that the greedy dick-heads who run casinos have found a way to confuse old fools like me into betting more money by designing machines that flash and burp and scream "Wheel of Fortune!" Then the wheel spins and one more visit to the proctologist. Feel good about that, Pat? Vanna? Happy to steal from old Grandpa Goony? I think I lost $20 in three minutes on a nickel slot because I had to choose items like number of lines to bet and bets per line and the square root of 4096. And they don't give you cash, silver, anymore if you do win a few dollars. No, it's a voucher that you have to redeem somewhere across the casino. Happy, boys? To hell with you. Grandpa Goony says to hell with you. No more from me. And I have 24 hours to go.


"Come in, honey. Take a chance."


Second day. I always take my journal to breakfast. It's part of my not-here trappings. "I'm not really one of you, you know. I don't have fun while I'm here, don't drink. I'm only observing. I write in this journal with a fountain pen."


Look at this nonsense. A penny slot and a nickel slot. But look at the choices, those buttons at the bottom. Punch of few of those and you've bet fifty cents. I was told to stop taking photos of the machines. O.K. Just one more.


Not an admonition.


Wednesday, I'm on my way to AquaKnox at the Venetian for the best restaurant food I have had in my old-like life. The shirt is new as are the shorts. By the end of the evening I had managed to stain both my new shorts and vest with ink. But the food was wonderful. Very expensive. Prawns, John Dory, jumbo Crab cakes and something with...Oh, hell. You know.

Nor mine.

Salvation is not yours.


This is The Venetian. AquaKnox, the restaurant, is in The Venetian. The Venetian currently has over two million rooms and is building three million more. It can accommodate over two-hundred million guests and ride all of them around in gondolas.

Here is a photo of the restaurant, the interior. Here is also a photo of a man, the exterior. Am I clear about that? I look like my dead uncle, Uncle Peanut.


Here I am having a photo-taking experience, within the Freemont Street Experience. Without vodka I'm a shadow of my former Vegas self. I'm going to dinner now. It's Thursday night. I will return to L.A. tomorrow on the Lux Bus experience. I hope that Natasha is again my hostess. What an experience!—B.L.

17 May 2007


"Fabulous Las Vegas."

"Diamond Vegas"

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