Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time

Where to begin? I’m facing a pad full of notes and I’m finding the prospect of getting them all written down rather daunting. And there is the huge number of posts from other people to catch up on, and I think that the flood has barely begun there. I just broke things out myself and it looks like I have material for about ten posts. At least I have the latest episode of Card Club to listen to while I write this up.

I guess the key is to start from the beginning. Getting to Vegas went pretty smoothly. In fact, it was probably the quickest I’ve ever been able to get on a plane at Pearson. The flight was not so smooth, as we encountered a lot of turbulence about an hour out of Vegas, but I discovered that turbulence doesn’t bother me too much. I could also see a raging thunderstorm outside the right hand windows, but fortunately it never got too close. In fact, it was probably one of the most beautiful natural sights that I’ve ever seen.

We landed in Vegas at about 11:30 local time and got shovelled into one of the airport shuttles. Not a good idea. Sure it was cheap, but if you are going downtown, you’ll be on the shuttle for a good long time as he drops everyone and their dog off before you. And it hurt to see us go right by the MGM Grand immediately upon leaving the airport, knowing that I would have to make my way back as soon as I checked in. It was after midnight by the time we got to the Plaza and I was getting a bit frustrated. But we got checked in quickly, dropped off the bags and hopped a cab for the return trip to the strip. Actually, we got in the taxi line and waited for five minutes without a single cab arriving. Then we were accosted by another shuttle driver who was promising another cheap ($5) ride back to the strip. This time there only four people though, and we convinced the two LA natives who got in with us that they wanted to go to the MGM.

Now, when we were driving up the strip on the way to the hotel, my friend and I were marvelling at the size and number of hotels. But I don’t think it was until I stepped into the MGM Grand that I really got an idea for a scope of Vegas. Banks of slot machines stretched out as far as the eye could see. And then when we started walking down towards the poker room, we realized it was even bigger than first expected. There were multiple sections with table games, a handful of bars and a different restaurant every thirty feet. Then you consider that this is duplicated in the dozens of big casinos along the strip and you finally get an idea of just how many people come to Vegas every day.

After ten minutes of walking, we finally get to the poker room and sportsbook. My friend takes off to continue his tour of the strip. And here is where the nerves start to kick in. I do pretty well in a group of people, but I have a bit more difficulty when walking into a room full of strangers. And while I’ve chatted with a few of the bloggers who were going to be there, I hadn’t met a single one of them in person. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I walked into the MGM poker room. Actually, I had a hard time recognizing anyone when I first walked in, but then I spotted the unmistakeable locks of Al Can’t Hang. I take a deep breath and then march over the table to say “Hi, I’m a complete stranger and it’s nice to meet you” or some variation thereof. Then I spot Dr. Pauly standing over nearer to the bar and decide he’ll be an easier target. Funnily enough, as I write this, Pauly is giving his update from the Aladdin on Card Club Radio.

I’m going to have to take a break here. I’ve been blogging and chatting for three hours, ever since I woke up. But I’m starving now and need to get some grub. I will continue this post later this evening.

Next up: Meeting Pauly and the game upstairs

O, Canada
With each Vegas post I’ll include a little fact about Canada, to help educate everyone who was giving me a hard time because of my nation of birth. First fact, when I got back to Toronto, I saw on the news that there was a heat warning for Monday, and while I didn’t see the exact temperature, it certainly felt hotter when I got off the plane than when I got on it. So Iggy, that is why I wear short sleeves. I realize that many of the comments were made in jest, but I still thought I would put together this short educational series.

The Las Vegas series:
Day 1 – A Grand Ol’ Time (part 2)
Day 1 – Sunrise at The Plaza
Day 2 – I … See … Famous People
Day 2 – Storming the Castle
Day 3 – The Main Event
Day 3 – A Bucket of Nickels and the Shrimp Sundae
Day 3 – Nugget Poker
Day 4 – Finally, A Win!
Day 4 – Komol O
Day 4 – A Night in ‘The Suite’
Day 5 – Goodbye Las Vegas

Ambitious, eh?

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