Everyone comes to Hollywood got a dream...
Trip Start Jan 22, 2008
101Trip End Sep 30, 2008
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My indecently cruel travel script writer continued to weave his evil on Saturday. The morning shenanigans in Mexico had forced me to withdraw up to the maximum limit on both debit cards meaning that I had a finite, limited amout of money with which to survive in Vegas until the arrival of my friends. This is actually quite a good safety mechanism in Sin City. I invested my funds wisely - bleaching my hair on the basis that blondes have more fun, and also acquiring a small tasteful tattoo, which I now regret.
I had assumed that life would get easier after our 6.30 meet up, but you know that they say assumption is the mother of all f**k ups, and so it proved to be. Our water tight plans of an 8pm Caesar's Palace meet up had been adjusted by a couple of emails sent by me to Sam's blackberry (surely the worst ever technological development for the white collar worker - the equivalent of an ankle tag) confirming that I had booked a room at Treasure Island and would meet the boys there. So it was that I sat and waited from 6.30 through to 8, expecting the boys to arrive at any point. No sign. No worries though - maybe the message didn't get through; at least there is a back up plan. Caesar's Palace is huge and there was no sign of them there either. What to do in egas with literally no money, no means of getting any money and no way of contacting the people one is meeting? Not much choice really and I ended up having a couple hours sleeping on a small piece of development land just off the strip, having to wait until midnight until my cards were back in the game before I could afford to sleep under the luxury of a roof. The climate is excellent for the homeless however and I could thoroughly recommended that any such unfortunates move to similar climes. Once I was again able to withdraw money, I found a cheap hostel down in the old town, and checked my emails to find that Sam's blackberry had run out of battery, but that James had sent a scathing email asking where the hell I was. I was too angry to dignify it with anything but an acerbic response, even though I had already realised that it was something I would be laughing about soon enough (like most of the misshaps on my travels).
Jame's email did at least contain information about their whereabouts in Vegas and by Sunday morning at 10, the reunion had been effected and we were ready to attack LV (the boys had done a pretty good job of that already). My Morgan Stanley credit card was activated from the dangerous surrounds of Lonely Planet casino and it had soon been tapped for 200 dollars as we headed to the old twon and Binion's Casino to make some green back. Sadly, things did not turn out quite as hoped and between us we invested nearly 500 dollars in the struggling local economy as the cards did not fall in our favour on the Black Jack table. To say we were 21 novices would be a huge understatement and our amusing dealer, Narong, actually got angry with some of our plays and asked that if we ever return to the city, we look him up as it was easy parting such fools with their cash. You just lost your one dollar tip buddy. It did take us more than four hours to lose all our money, which was a positive, as was the very attentive free beer service on offer whilst we sat at the table.
In the evening we headed out for a huge steak before hitting bars in Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio. The city was absolutely swarming with 8 out of 10, and better, girls who I would have married at one of the many small chapels even if they were only capable of making beeps and whistles like the many slots on the Strip. Our English accents worked like a charm and we talked loudly enough that people would over hear and come and approach us, normally with the line, "Oh my God, are you guys English? That is like so cool." If I go to heaven, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, it will be a neon bathed strip in the middle of a desert and full of girls who like me for where I'm from, not who I am. Anyway, in summary a good night was had by all (well, except James who had to retire early having hit it too hard the previous night/ morning - no great loss in truth).
There was fragility in the group on Monday morning and it turned out that Dumb and Dumber had made absolutely no advanced planning for their one week visit to the States. Nice to see that the 'Devil may care' approach to my travels would not be changing after all. So it was that we picked up our hire car - a Ford Explorer - asking only for the lady behind the desk to basically point the direction to Los Angeles - you turn left out of the garage and then left again. Brilliant. Remarkably we found the route easily enough, but so did thousands of Americans, heading back west from Vegas after Labour Day, and our journey of under 300 miles took nearly seven hours.
Naturally, we had no map whatsoever of the sprawling, dangerous city of Los Angeles and so drove aimlessly, ending up in Bloods and Cripps gang areas of Compton and Inglewood on our way to a dodgy hotel in Long Beach, which we reached at about 10.30 pm.
Monday was spent cruising through the city, breakfasting in Beverly Hills (despite a free brek on offer in the hotel Pete Retentious and Austin Tacious insisted on this) before spending an awesome few hours at Universal Studios. Los Angeles itself is not a particularly attractive city - Beverly Hills and Bel-Air aside - and it was no great sorrow to be leaving the smoggy sprawl. Sadly, the Chuckle Brothers had not finished with their incompetent road trip skills act and I slept for two hours, waking only to find us barely further towards our target of San Diego. What a pair! Once I was conscious, I managed to sort things and we then got here without any further issue - I even located an outstanding hotel and sorting out parking and dinner. It feels nice to be the most competent person in the group for the first time since January...