Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Superb Owl in Las Vegas

I love owls - they are superb. And when I talked Mrs AC into watching the superb owl in Las Vegas I was as excited as an ADHD kid who had forgotten to take his Ritalin. Not only did I have a long weekend of drinking to look forward to, the mighty 49ers (spoiler - it didn't go well!) had made the big game and I was seeing Mrs AC for the first time in 2 weeks since I'd left NY before the MLK holiday weekend.

So on Tuesday (I did something that I've never done before: I'd got it into my head that my flight was on Wednesday and I'd even put Wednesday into my flight spreadsheet, luckily the app sends reminders about my flights so I had a surprise on Monday afternoon when a pop up told me to check in for Tuesday's flight - a good job too as there is no BA flight on Wednesdays) I took the afternoon flight from London to Vegas and did my usual trick of going nuts with the booze as soon as I hit the airport - I'd actually not had a drink since the night of the NFL championship games, plus I'd not been able to partake of any of BA's finest champagne since I'd already had a glass in the lounge on my first trip back to New York after new year. As I'd ballsed up my drinking challenge on that Sunday night and had no reason to keep going I had a couple of drinks in the lounge plus another one on boarding the plane. As soon as drinks were served in the air I had another glass of their champagne, plus at least 3 more whilst I did some work. More wine was drunk over dinner before having a decision to make - do I stay awake for the flight then get an early night when landing or do I have a nap now then get up to some fun once I get to Vegas? I obviously chose the latter, so having had about 4 hours sleep on the flight I'm as fresh as a daisy when I get to Vegas and am checked in, showered and changed just after 8pm. I've got exactly 48 hours before Mrs AC arrives from NY so I'm going to use that time wisely. By wisely I obviously mean stupidly though - poker and beer are high on my agenda.

So off through the MGM to the poker room I went, hoping for a repeat of my session there back before Thanksgiving To say the game was dire was an understatement! It's too early in the week for the weekend crazies to be in town yet but at least the waitress service was good and I managed to hit double figures before calling it a day about 2.30am with an extra $24 in my pocket. I keep hearing about Coronavirus in the news but I'm not sure if Corona is the cause of, or cure to, this problem so it's almost guaranteed that I'm either immune due to my intake or will most surely become another statistic. Given that I'm not writing this via a medium from beyond the grave I'm pretty sure I'm immune.  

Due to my flight date screw up I still needed to do some work so spent all of Wednesday working and I'd tentatively made plans with Flynn & Ollie to meet for a beer or a poker session. But mid morning I received a call from my client in LA asking if I could get to their offices on the Thursday. Oh joy - what is it about employers actually wanting me to do some work rather than enjoy myself? Just what I'd wanted so I ended up booking a 6.10am flight over to LA which put paid to any ideas of poker or drinking so my session the previous night turned out to be the only time on this trip that I got to play - what do they say about the best laid plans of mice and men? Sorry F&O - I'm sure our paths will cross at some stage. 

I've been awake at 4am in Vegas before but that is usually in some sort of drunken stupor at the poker table or leaving a club - awake and stone cold sober getting ready to head to the airport is a first for me but I'm in a cab to the airport before 5 and surprisingly the place is empty. That's because anyone with a modicum of common sense is still asleep or having fun from the night before rather than heading off somewhere - but at least I get a longer than usual TSA groping as the agent is just happy to have someone to delay. A boring flight to LA followed then I'm at my client's office by 8am and a day spent drinking coffee ensued.

Once I'd finished with my client on Thursday afternoon I headed back to LAX to await Mrs AC's arrival (AA don't fly directly from JFK to LAS at the moment so her flight was via LA) and I had a few drinks in the lounge before she arrived before we took the same flight from LAX to LAS. That's after she'd walked straight past me at LAX anyway - I hadn't told her that I'd meet her, just in case my plans changed, and she told me she thought that I looked like a weirdo trying to hit on girls at the airport as she had her "New York ignore everyone, thousand yard stare" on whilst changing planes. I admonished her for implying I'm trying to hit on girls at the airport but I had to concede her point that I probably look like a weirdo. We made my original seat mate's day when Mrs AC gave up her seat in the pointy end and slummed it to sit next to me in the cramped seats - I can't promise I'd have done the same!

When we got back to the Signature and sorted ourselves out we headed out to pick up some weekend supplies from Walgreens and just caught up over a few drinks and a late dinner in the MGM for the rest of the evening before heading off about midnight - we'd both been up since before 4am once the east coast time difference is factored in.

We didn't really surface until late morning on Friday so after lunch at the restaurant outside Paris (bizarrely missing F&O by an hour or so as I found out later through Twitter) we just did some touristy things along the strip for most of the afternoon. Being from NY, Mrs AC is a fast walker and I'm usually the same but it was quite nice being the ones who got in other people's way for a change as we slowly walked up towards the Wynn and back down the western side of the Strip. Mrs AC said she'd booked us dinner at Fleming's in Town Square (which I'd never been to or heard of) so after changing we headed down there about 6pm for drinks at some fancy bar which I can't remember the name of then a lovely steak and a decent bottle of wine. We headed back to the MGM after dinner and Mrs AC said she fancied a few more drinks so we bar hopped our way through the MGM before crashing out around 2am.

Saturday was spent much like Friday - really nothing blog worthy so I won't waste your time!! But if you ever get the chance head to the skybar at the Waldorf Astoria - expensive cocktails but the view over the strip is very good. We had a very good evening at the Mayfair Supper Club inside the Bellagio - it reminded me of the fancy restaurant that Henry takes Karen to in Goodfellas although when I told Mrs AC that she was as old as that film it made her feel old and me feel even worse! So we plied each other with booze which cheered us both up.

So now it's Sunday - superb owl Sunday and I can't wait to see the owl. But where? Mrs AC is on the hook for this weekend in lieu of us going to the game so she's organised everything except the hotel and she hadn't told me where we'd be watching the game. When we'd last looked at locations together the only places we could find were Caesars' sports book which was charging a ridiculous amount just to sit and watch the game, or strip joints which seemed to be advertising like hell on google. Now Mrs AC is no prude and knows what guys get up to in Vegas (I've told her all about my misadventures with her boss when he took me out last time I was in town but even I didn't particularly fancy watching the game in a strip club.  

So over breakfast she asks me where Silverado Ranch road is. No idea sweetheart - I know the Strip and maybe 4 roads off it. Turns out it's fucking miles away - a good 20 minutes in a cab, which at Vegas prices is probably going to need some sort of government bailout to cover. It's (only!) a $45 cab ride before we arrive at Slater's 50/50 - a beer and burger bar. A very good beer and burger bar as it turns out.

It's ticket only so we've already been guaranteed a seat plus it's effectively an open bar - although I've already been warned that this does not mean I have to get as drunk as a poet on payday. I may have had my fingers crossed when I told her I wouldn't get too drunk!

We shared a table with another couple plus a group of 4 - the latter were 49ers fans as well so they were very pleased when I said who we were supporting as neither of us were in team colours. I can't bring myself to wear sports attire if not actually going to a game - it's just not "English". Actually it is very English - but the people who wear their soccer shirt in everyday life usually look like it's the finest item of clothing they possess and that they'd give themselves a coronary kicking the ball back to the actual players if it ever came their way. The other couple were neutrals but said they'd cheer the 49ers on given that the rest of the table were all fans.

The beer flowed, we made some new friends and we enjoyed the food and atmosphere whilst watching the game. One grievance I do have with American sports is just the amount of dicking about they can do - there's a big debate around the use of video replays in soccer at the moment as it seems to be killing the game, with fans essentially not celebrating a goal until replays have been studied in minute detail for any possible infringement. But American sports do this in spades, meaning a game can take longer than the known age of the universe to complete. But nothing comes close to the level of dicking about at the superbowl - cutting to commercials every 2 minutes and spending 5 minutes to determine the exact blade of grass to spot the ball. But the elongated game just gave me an excuse to drink more beer and by the time the game had finished I think we got good value from our tickets - I later found out these were only $125 or so each which was great value given the quality of food plus the decent drinks selection. If this had been on the Strip it would have cost 3 or more times as much so Mrs AC did a very good job indeed.

After the game we said goodbye to our table mates and headed back over to the strip in a cab - we had a couple of commiseratory drinks along the way through the MGM and crashed out just before midnight.

We didn't get up to much on Monday - we checked out before heading out to lunch and just killed time before heading to the airport at 4pm for the short hop to LA. We had dinner and a couple of drinks in the airport before Mrs AC caught the overnight flight back to NY and I headed off to my hotel, where I'll be for the rest of the week before heading home on Friday.

After this week I've got 3 weeks in the U.K. which is the longest I'll have spent there for about 6 months. Mrs AC is coming for a long weekend at the end of February and then I'll be back in the US at the start of March - but where will depend on whether I've made my mind up about working more for the LA based client. I don't really like being over in the west coast compared to NY (PITA to get home over a weekend, Mrs AC being NY based and my liver can only handle so much abuse) but one client wants me to do a more permanent role, which might be hard to turn down.


  1. If a waiter set up a separate table just for you and your wife right in front of the entertainment at Mayfair, I am certainly impressed. Are you a union representative?

    1. Haha. I’m afraid we didn’t get that sort of treatment - can you imagine how much you’d have to palm off along the way though? If they were handing out $20s to everyone in NY in the 1960s you’d need to carry round a briefcase full of $100s to cover inflation plus the Vegas mark-up

      Have a good trip to Vegas!

  2. Sounds like a good time minus the game outcome or did you at least make $50 (if I remember correctly) by betting on the Chiefs.

    In general, going to a pricey sporting event to watch one's favorite team is always a double-edged sword. If one's team loses how can we say that it was a great experience.

    1. Yeah I bet £50 so won £40 which is about $50 just to cover my disappointment. We had a good weekend in Vegas though but I think it’s the least I’ve ever played poker on a visit.

      I’ve only ever been to a couple of big games - both soccer. In 2002 Norwich made the playoff final (for promotion to the Premier League) but we lost. The only thing that went through my mind at the end was “don’t get caught by the TV camera being emotional”. At the end of every big game there’s always a TV shot of someone with their head in their hands or even crying in the stands and I just couldn’t imagine the shame of that being me! The other big game was again the playoff final in 2015 but that time we won so I didn’t have that problem!