Friday, December 05, 2008

lax > puerto vallarta

By Pauly
Neuvo Vallarta, Mexico

I'm having one of those weeks where I'm constantly in motion. Tuesday in New York. Wednesday in Los Angeles. Thursday in Mexico. Heck, next week it's going to be a bit of the same. Monday in Mexico. Tuesday in Los Angeles. Wednesday in Las Vegas.

I got hired to cover the Latin America Poker Tour. I'm writing an article for Bluff and I'm also providing live updates for PokerNews. Nicky was hired by PokerStars to work with Otis on the event. That was good news for her since she dreaded her last assignment in dreary Poland. And considering she grew up in LA, she said she had never been to Mexico, which I found out to be a shocker.

Anyway, we had to get up super early to head over to the airport. LAX can be an insane place, especially the international terminal. Lucky for us, we missed the big rush. I'd really hate to get stuck at LAX during the holidays.

At the airport, we bumped into Shirley. She's a friend and also a pro who was headed down to Mexico to play in the tournament. She was on our Air Mexicana flight with her boyfriend and Nicky was randomly seated next to them. I sat in the back and read a bit of The Swing Voter of Staten Island. I also took a twenty minute nap and ate a piece of rubber chicken.

As soon as we exited the baggage claim, we were swarmed with dozens and dozens of people trying to get us to use their car service. I ignored them and headed straight for the taxi stand. I negotiated a price for all four of us and one of them grabbed a couple of our bags to take to the taxi outside. I darted after him to make sure he wasn't doing anything shady. He loaded the bags into a mini-van and it was apparent that he wasn't the driver. He kept holding his hand out and shaking my hand. A lame attempt at securing a tip. I blew him off and reserved the tip for the driver.

Otis arrived around the same time as us and he was celebrating his 35th birthday. As he mentioned, having your birthday at an all-inclusive resort where the drinks are free can be pure evil.

Nicky and I grabbed a couple of drinks at the bar in the main lobby while we waited for Otis. We headed up to one of the nicer restaurants on the property and had a nice feast. Afterwards, we got smashed at the PokerStars welcome party for all of their players and media. They had some local entertainment and we continued to drink heavily.

Ah, then it got a little ugly. The chicks with the whistles and bottles of tequila found us. One of them poured more on my shirt than in my mouth. After that party ended, the drinking continued at the bar in the lobby. After an hour or so, they cut me off... from beer. They simply ran out of cerveza. They continued to serve us, but only... whiskey or tequila. When in Rome, right?

That bar closed up and they chased us out. We found another bar, which was outdoors near the pool. We drank there until we closed that down and they chased us out. Otis stumbled back to his room but did not fall down. Nicky had crashed a couple of hours earlier and she was aghast when I rumbled into the room reeking of cheap tequila.

I eventually woke up, caught in that murky area in between still being drunk and not quite hungover yet. These are the times when you're supposed to continue drinking. Alas, I have to be at work in three hours. I'm hoping that the hangover is a category 1 or 2 at the most. Pray for me. And for Otis.

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