We left Barstow this morning after checking out of the Rodeway Inn and doing laundry at Launderland — the first laundromat I’ve been to that accepts credit cards at the washers and dryers. Our destination: a quaint little resort town called Las Vegas, about 300 miles away, where we planned to bask in the sun, sip drinks with little umbrellas, and get our nails done. Actually, Vegas wasn’t on our initial itinerary, but Ethelyn will be meeting us here tomorrow! She flew in to San Francisco today for a business meeting in the Bay Area tomorrow morning, and since she hasn’t seen Aytan or me for more than a month, thought she could meet up with us for a day or two, and Vegas seemed like the easiest place to meet. So she will be adding a two-day layover in Vegas to her itinerary. Now back to MY day.
A few hours outside Bakersfield we stopped for a late lunch in Barstow, a nothing town in the desert about halfway between Bakersfield (as well as LA) and Vegas. After leaving the restaurant and heading back to the highway, we stopped at a red light, and I noticed a man and a woman walking on the sidewalk toward the corner, dressed in nice work clothes, and I commented how uncomfortable they must be, given that it was nearly 100 degrees. No sooner had I said that that the woman crouched over the curb and began vomiting. A lot. It was bright red, but clearly not blood. Perhaps too many daiquiris at lunch? Actually, it was like a cherry slurpee from 7-Eleven, except rather than coming out of a spigot, it was coming out of the woman’s mouth. How awesome is that?!? Her companion just watched us gawking at her puke up the contents of her stomach, and when she finished hurling, the two just continued on their way as if nothing had happened. Poetry in motion.
A short while before crossing the border into Nevada we stopped for a pee break in the town of Baker, CA, home to the world’s tallest thermometer (or rather, the world’s tallest non-functioning thermometer). And where did we make this piss stop? At a Dairy Queen, of course — our first in about a week. We noticed that two men waiting for their ice cream were being approached by several other customers, who said they watch their show. So we followed suit; we approached the two men and asked them what show they’re on. They told us they host “Barter Kings” on A&E (which neither Toby, Aytan nor I had ever heard of); the limousine they had bartered for on a previous episode had broken down on the side of the road a mile or so before Baker, and they left their crew with the vehicle while they decided to cool off with some DQ. It’s good to be the king!
After finishing our ice cream and bidding Steve and Antonio (the Barter Kings) goodbye, we continued on to Vegas, arriving a bit after 7pm (having booked a hotel room thru Vegas.com about 10 minutes earlier). After waiting on line (or is it “in line”?) one-and-a-half hours to check in — you read that correctly: the line to check in at the Quad Resort and Casino was 90 minutes long — we got to our shithole of a room just in time to throw our bags down and head out to Treasure Island for the 9:30 performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystère,” with tickets (second row, left center) courtesy of Kathy Merachnik, a friend from my hometown of Berkeley Heights, NJ, who works for Cirque du Soleil (thanks again, Kathy!). The show, as expected, was amazing. After the show we caught the free pirates-themed show in front of Treasure Island, which truly sucked; the fact that we had just seen an amazing Cirque du Soleil show prior just rubbed the suckiness in our faces that much more.
We walked around after the show for an hour or more — checking out a few other hotel/casinos and enjoying all the freaky tourists — and then headed back to our hotel room, where it is now 2:35am…. and time for me to hit the sack.