Thursday, July 26, 2007

Smugglers and Comps

"Check out this fuckin' guy," I said to Nicky as she pulled into the parking space in front of our apartment.

A thin, shirtless, Asian man wearing pajama pants walked in front of us. He smoked a cigarette and I noticed that one of his pants legs was rolled up. The shirtless Asian man lived upstairs. I'm convinced that he's part of a human smuggling ring importing kids to make sneakers and young women to work the many massage parlors in Chinatown a few blocks away.

"We have to get out of here," said Nicky.

"Ah, this is nothing compared to the Redneck Riviera."

Two summers ago, I lived in Sketchytown where inbred pot-bellied redneck kids ran rampant outside my door during the day and where tweakers and hookers trolled around at night. At the Del Bocca Vista, we rarely saw our neighbors. There was a stripper living across the hall that I had not seen in weeks. I have not seen her Honda convertible in a while. Who knows if she's still living here?

In an adjacent building, a couple of long hairs blast music at odd hours. They have been known to play Colorado bluegrass bands that play random Grateful Dead cover songs. Aside from those guys, I have not seen too many people milling around. Then again, I barely spent time in the apartment complex and was at work during the majority of my waking hours. And when I was up, it was between 4 and 6am and aside from a random drunk stumbling home, the complex was tame.

I bought two lawn chairs for our porch and we sat in them a combined two or three times max. I was going to toss them out, but Nicky suggested that we take them back to LA and use them on the beach. Aside from a few magazines and random poker schwag like a PokerNews hoodie or t-shirt, I'm not leaving Las Vegas with too much shit. The last two years I accumulated too much and had to ship several boxes home. This year, I only accumulated two beach chairs and a small bag.

And the pool? Never went. The tennis courts? Didn't play once. I never had the chance to go to the gym. We had all these perks in our gated complex and did not take full advantage of all the frills.

On Wednesday, we drove out to Red Rock for lunch. Nicky had accumulated enough points on her players card to get us a free meal. After lunch, we headed over to the movie theatre inside the casino. These days, the locals casinos have restaurants, bowling alleys, shopping, and movie theatres to attract people into wandering around the casino. I wanted to see Knocked Up and I had enough points on my players card to get two free movie tickets. All that poker playing paid off. We accumulated enough points all summer to get a free meal and movie. About time we got a comp!

Knocked Up made me laugh out loud a lot. Plenty of hysterical moments and Jake Apatow hit another home run. The last two flicks I saw in Las Vegas were a documentary and an action flick. Sicko and the latest Die Hard installment were good but Knocked Up is one of those flicks I'd see several times and randomly quote from time to time.

For dinner last night, we met up with Flipchip and the Poker Prof at Ferraro's. It's a local joint away from the Strip that's been around for almost three decades. My favorite Italian place used to be Ferrara's which was tucked away on the top level of the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. Since it was somewhat off the beaten path, it was never crowded and we never needed a reservation. Their desserts were kick ass and the gelato was top notch. I guess the lack of customers was the reason it went out of business. Since then, I've been trying to find a decent Italian joint. Well, we found one in Ferraro's.

They make the gnocchi from scratch which is rare these days. I decided to try their gnocchi which melts in your mouth. Amazing. The mushroom raviolis were kick ass too, not to mention the canolis. Nicky ordered the lobster risotto and the Prof went for the lamb chops. I think Flipchip got the Chilean sea bass. All in all, it was a fantastic meal and it would end up being our last big supper in Las Vegas.

I went home and finished packing. Nicky has been dying to get back to California. I could stay for a few more days, but I understand her desire to get the hell out of Las Vegas. A tough town like this gets to you after a couple of weeks. Once you're here for two months, you start to slide into the depths of insanity.

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