Saturday, March 15, 2014

LAS VEGAS Random Notes

          This is a delayed follow up to my post about my first time in Las Vegas. The past week has been quite busy due to a couple of résumé writing workshops, researching dialysis companies about education and job opportunities, and the sad internment of a relative. The first part of this entry can be found here:
          Just about everybody and anybody I know has gone to Vegas but not me until a couple of weeks ago, so immense gratitude is in order for Uncle Oscar and Auntie Ditas De Las Penas, along with Eduardo Tay and Elizabeth Tay, who after all these years of inviting me, I finally relented.
          There were 8 of us sharing the accommodations and I'm not used to being in that situation anymore, having lived by myself for most of my life. The trick for me was to get things started early (like using the toilet), get out of the way and let them do their thing, then follow the leader afterwards, doing what they wanted to do and following where they wanted to go. It felt nice not having to make any decisions on what to do next.
          Regarding the accommodations? I'm not used to staying in such luxurious surroundings since I live a pretty Spartan lifestyle.

          The dry air of Las Vegas made my skin dry and made me itch for a few days. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. 

 One thing that Pechanga does better than the casinos of Las Vegas is that their air scrubbers seem to decrease the smell of cigarette smoke better.
I was finally able to make use of my 3 year old AREC bag. I first tried a suitcase(too big), then backpack (too small) and found the gym bag to be in the Goldilocks zone (just right). 

          I might be one of those rare people who goes to a casino, doesn't really win, and still goes back home with a net gain, because I only gamble a little bit, walk around to explore the place, play a little bit more, then it's time to go home. The net gain is usually a result of "balato" or cash gifts shared by relatives from their winnings (thank you all, for your generosity). Due to my meanderings, sometimes I fail to gamble the balato away.
          My relatives also found ways to save. Due to their experience travelling, they already knew ways to cut on expenses like bringing home cooked food (kulma, tinola, adobo, daing na bangus, etc.)and not ordering anything from the hotel room. And of course the free accommodations helped a lot.
          Canadian cousin Harold pretty much recouped all the money he spent shopping for pasalubongs (presents to take home) by winning a few hundred bucks at the baccarat table. What a lucky guy, eh? :-) 

Lest one thinks I'm gallivanting on the government's dime while collecting unemployment benefits, lets me assure you that this trip was courtesy of Uncle Oscar and Auntie Ditas who won the free hotel accommodations through a raffle. I have to admit that I'm not used to that kind of luxury because I live an almost Spartan lifestyle (like I mentioned earlier). Remember the American Express ad where the spokesperson said "membership has its privileges"? Well, unemployment has its advantages as well in the form of free time. I did have to reschedule my résumé writing workshops though. I haven't minimized my job searching, but I had to jump at what may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The irony of the situation is that I finally made it to Las Vegas at a time when my earnings have stopped due to being jobless.
          To travel light, I brought casual multi-purpose clothes that can be worn in public during the day and evening,  then worn again in the early morning for working out, before being considered dirty laundry. Another way of travelling lightly but in a different way, was to limit my fluid intake before the road trip so don't have to pee on the road. Otherwise, woe is me with the small bladder!
          About the way I gamble - I limited myself to pennies, ventured to quarters sometimes, and even tried a dollar once hoping for a "big" one time jackpot. Perhaps next time I get the opportunity, I'll head directly to the video poker machine where I can at least make some choices rather than making the slot machine make all the choices. 
On our last night in Las Vegas, I woke up at 2 a.m. Tuesday and couldn't go back to sleep, and remembering our GPS/Hooters misadventure from the day before,  I downloaded NavFree USA, a free GPS app to see if it worked on my tablet PC without an internet or data connection. Surprisingly, other than being a battery hog, the app worked very well when I tested it on the road while on the way home. 

After the Pechanga and Las Vegas trips, I still don't consider myself a gambler, although at LV at least I knew what to expect in the casino already because I've downloaded a few casino game apps and have been practicing at home without losing any money.
Although I can say that I may never go to Pechanga again, I may want to return to Las Vegas because there are more things to see and experience.

          Having said all that, it took me a few days to recover and get my balance again after our alleged or imagined debauchery in Las Vegas. 

Good memories :-)
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