Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tarnished Sequins on the Ballroom Floor

*Our cab driver from McCarran to the hotel told us, "The Chamber of Commerce doesn't like this to be known, but there are 1,600 hit and run incidents per year in Las Vegas."

*We went to Battista's Hole in the Wall for dinner. This rabbit-warren-like series of brick-walled rooms houses several lifetimes of Italian trivia - photographs, signs, empty wine bottles. It serves soup or salad, an entree and an after dinner coffee and whipped cream drink plus all the wine you can drink from the carafes on your table. All of it is terrible. Richie loves this restaurant. Sometimes I truly don't understand him.

In addition to the insults to the palate, diners are subjected to the wailing accordion and phony charm of a dwarf. He stops at every table and says, "Where you folks from?" Whatever state you reply, he knows the first eight bars of a song about that state. Feigning dexterity, he sings the first words and then stops playing and singing and looks expectantly at your wallet. If you tip less than $5, he snorts in disgust and walks away. Nasty little bugger.

Richie said, "Let's stump him!" We thought. And thought. "Managua, Nicaragua!" I shouted. Sure enough, he approached and asked and in unioson, we screamed "Managua, Nicaragua!" and he launched into a lively ditty while singing, "Managua Nicaragua is the place to be..." stopped playing, sneered, "I bet you didn't expect that!" and stalked off.

* Mon Ami Gaby, Paris casino, a "French sidewalk bistro" has 90 employees. Only one is actually French and he wasn't working that day. "Everybody is Mexican" said our bus boy helpfully.

After the meal, our server asked me what I'd thought of the food? Big mistake. I told him, "I ate the only authentic item on your menu! The escargots. Your croque monsieur totally sucks and matchstick French fries like yours don't exist in France! They look like they came out of a can!" and he cracked up.

*Coming into the room dead tired and more than a little drunk, I couldn't figure out the coffee pot or how to turn down the damned air conditioning. So I went to bed. At 4:15 a.m. the alarm that the previous guest had set went off. Richie's side so ohe dealt with it.

Comes the morning, I got the coffee going, saw the a/c control and went to take a shower. I had a pulsating feature that was welcome on my neck; less so inside my right ear.

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