Monday, February 24, 2020

The Wild and the Furyous

Having left LA on the Friday after the Superbowl I wasn't expecting to be back in the US for at least a month. I managed 14 days!

I received a call from a client on Thursday evening asking me to get to LA for Monday morning - my initial reaction was to tell them to fuck off but my sensible side realised that they will probably take it badly so I said I'll see what the flights are like. Having looked at flight times and prices I can do better than Monday, I'll be there Friday. Well not LA but close enough - Vegas (flights between business hubs like LA or NY and London are very business traveller heavy so airlines know they can charge a premium if a traveller doesn't meet certain stay requirements (usually a Saturday night for instance) so flights on Monday and back the following Friday were more than double the cost of Friday to Friday). So I've got a last minute trip to Vegas out of nowhere. Which is nice.

Hotels on the Strip are ridiculously expensive given it's last minute and the fight that took place earlier in the week. I think there's also a boxing match as well but surely the true fight is the meeting of overgrown children slinging insults at each other as if they were in the school yard - or politicians as some might call them! (3 nights in Harrahs was coming in at over $1,000! but luckily I managed to book the Signature, which is my usual haunt, but through a travel site rather than directly).

Mrs AC already had plans or I would have invited her to join me so I'm told to be sensible - we all know that's not going to happen don't we though?

So after a last minute ironing and packing job on Friday morning I'm at the airport mid afternoon and tucking into lunch and a few drinks. More drinks on the plane over some work and I end up watching a movie before dozing for an hour or so before arriving just after 7pm. I get the second most unfriendly CBP officer I've ever encountered (the most unfriendly one a few years ago told me he could exert his authority by having me thrown out of the country because I'd put my briefcase in slightly the wrong place) who decides that I've used the incorrect terminology when entering the country and get held up for over 2 hours whilst I'm checked out and my travel records are scrutinised by someone who thinks everywhere abroad should be marked as "Here be Beasties" on his map of the world. So I'm in a great mood by the time I'm officially told to have a nice day and my alcohol level is dropping below the red line so I need to sort that out pretty soon. I'm a bit pissed off with the delay - some might say I'm getting wild.

As I'm in a cab to the Signature I turn my phone on and I've got a voicemail - it's (who I'd booked the hotel through as MGM were showing no availability) informing me that there definitely wouldn't be a problem with my booking. Oh fucking joy - when someone calls you out of the blue and tells you there won't be a negative it most definitely means that there will be one. I will deep fry my own balls if there's not a problem.

I've at least got some good news when I get to the Signature - I don't have to deep fry my balls. There's no record of my reservation and they have really limited availability - I'll need to wait a couple of hours to see if there are any no-shows before giving me a room. They will call me after midnight to let me know so having left my bags I'm in need of a drink. Probably more than one but I can't exactly go nuts given I may well be sleeping in the lobby tonight. I'm on the phone to to tell them I'm furyous and they tell me they will "definitely" look into it. Given their earlier use of the word I doubt I'll hear back any time shortly.

So off through to the MGM I headed, struggling to move against what seemed like about 8 bIllion people all standing around aimlessly. If someone had told me that everyone on the planet was simultaneously in my way that evening I would have believed them - so by the time I get to the poker room it's nearly 11 and I'm gasping for a beer. Having turbo necked 4 beers and played about 2 hands in an hour and a half (extremely card dead and couldn't fight against the 3 guys who were throwing chips around) I get a call from the front desk saying they've got me a room - but I need to come back to confirm it ASAP. Oh joy - at least I've got somewhere to sleep with a below average chance of getting arrested for vagrancy but I've got to force myself back through the MGM against the entire population. I grab another beer on my way back and it's nearly 2am when I finally get into my room. But once I'm all settled in I'm too wired to sleep yet so I head back over to the poker room to let off some steam.

Luckily the nutjobs who were throwing chips around earlier are still at the table and I rejoin just as the waitress is taking orders - things are definitely looking up now. Even more so as there are a few English guys at the table here for the boxing and they are determined to stack each other just to have bragging rights - which means a lot of preflop raising and they are playing any 2 cards. I managed a treble up when I flopped the nut flush and 2 of them went all in ahead of me - I don't think either of them were sober enough to realise I was still in the hand as the guy sitting on my right muttered a few expletives once I'd snap called his all in whilst he was still looking across the table at his friend!

But it was a fun table and I managed to unwind with more than a few beers and the party is still going strong at 6am although I'm now ready for some sleep - it's 2pm back home and I've had an hour's sleep in the last 32 hours! As I'm racking up to leave one of my table mates asks if I wanted a ticket to the fight - 1 of their party had not travelled so they had a spare ticket. Now I'm not really much of a boxing fan and I've never been to a live fight but I was going to find somewhere to watch it as it's a world title fight involving a Brit. Given they only wanted face value of $250 for it and it would have cost me over $100 to watch it in a bar I accepted their offer and we exchanged numbers so I could meet them tomorrow. Fuck - it's not tomorrow is it as it's now Saturday morning!

So after the drunken stumble back to the Signature I pass out at half 6 - I've really got to stop doing this as I'm far too old, at what age does this become unacceptable behaviour? Actually I don't need an answer to that as in my head I'm remaining forever young!

I think I had a dodgy beer as when I surfaced just after midday I was far from feeling 100% so I just take an hour or so to sober up and stop feeling sorry for myself. The day is still young and I've really got to eat something substantial. I'm not sure moving too far is a great idea so I just head over to TAP for a massive burger and a hair of the dog in the form of a couple of beers. I'm feeling slightly more human like by 4pm when my new friends join me and we have a few beers before heading over to the arena about 6pm, stopping off at what seemed like every bar along the way. It's good to see Vegas is still looking to gouge every visitor as I muttered a few expletives at a program seller when he told me it was $100!

We had a couple of beers and watched some of the undercard before the main event - I'm surprised Wilder lasted more than a couple of rounds. If you imagine a drunk girl walking through the casino in 4 inch heels at 5am you'll get the idea of how wobbly he looked! I've since read he claims it was because his walk on costume was too heavy - yes it was definitely that and not being repeatedly clobbered round the head by a massive boxer.

If I thought the crowds were bad the previous evening then the scenes after the fight were worse - I wanted to turn left and head back to the Signature but my new friends were eager to win back some of the cash they'd lost to me in our previous session together. So not wanting to be a party pooper we trudged slowly back through the MGM - I'm a quick walker and can usually do the walk from the Signature to the poker room in about 10 minutes but it must have taken us at least 25 just to walk from the arena to the poker room. Luckily there's beer to enjoy along the way and it's about midnight before we are all sat at a table together. The poker session is a bit of a blur but again a fun and alcohol fuelled time was had. I'm obviously getting a touch more sensible in my old age going by the fact I was in bed by 5am.

I was pretty sensible on Sunday and had some work to do before heading over to LA on an early flight on Monday morning - will be here all week before heading home on Friday. I still haven't made my mind up about taking more work on from the LA client - I'm not sure my liver is looking for a positive answer on that front.

But my next trip is already planned - I've got to pet sit for my mother whilst she's abroad visiting family so as soon as I'm back home I'm heading up to Scotland for a couple of weeks.


  1. Dang - you live quite the international life! My life is certainly very boring by comparison.

    I can't imagine paying high rates to stay in Las Vegas since the casinos seem to be doing everything they can to crap on tourists. And I know Las Vegas is wild when big events like a championship fight go on, but I prefer going at more sedate times when I can actually walk on the sidewalks, not wait to eat, and get rapidly seated for poker.

    1. Travelling so much soon gets tiring I can tell you - when I first started doing it I looked forward to flights but now I just see it as replacing a 2 hour daily commute in London and compressing it into 1 journey. Now I look forward to the night time flight home more than the outbound.

      Wilder fought when I was there last November but it didn’t seem as busy then - I think the Brits & Irish travel in such large numbers for boxing and UFC that it’s more obvious when people are there just for the fight. I’ve been in Vegas when McGregor has been fighting and the place was rammed. I can’t imagine how bad it will be if there’s NFL, hockey and a fight all over the same weekend.

  2. Heck of a weekend for you! Now I have to add boxing to the list of sporting events I need to see in person (still not adding cricket haha).

    1. Haha - I can’t see cricket ever taking hold in the US and I just get weird looks if I’m in a bar and ask them to put it on! The atmosphere was great although I was surprised how small the arena is at the MGM - a few of the big fights in the U.K. have been held at Wembley stadium which holds 90,000 but I suppose holding it in a smaller venue inflates the ticket prices.

      I read a couple of articles on MLS that might interest you - I didn’t realise how bad the situation was 20 years ago and

    2. Interesting reads on MLS, I just can't get myself to follow MLS. How about the Canaries vs the Spurs! I'm waiting for the play-offs of the Euro 2020 to see if Serbia can finally (after 20 years) qualify for the Euro again.

    3. Yes the cup win was very nice plus unexpected given we are struggling in the Premier League. Only 2 more wins and we get to the final which we’ve never actually managed - we’ve made the semi finals a few times but the last time was nearly 30 years ago.

      Looks like Serbia have a tough couple of games to qualify for the Euros - I just looked at the playoff qualification criteria and it seems to be the most confusing structure ever imagined!

    4. If we do manage to qualify, we join England, Croatia, and Czech Republic in Group D. Now that is a hard group!