Aug 212006

Because Nick, my dad and I were driving to Las Vegas from the Grand Canyon instead of from LA, we figured that we might as well use the opportunity to make a quick stop at the famous Hoover Dam along the way. It’s one of the Western US’s more well-known sights, and neither Nick nor myself had ever seen it in person.

After my brief visit, I just have to ask one thing: What’s the freakin’ deal?? The Hoover Dam is about the most unspectacular tourist attraction I’ve ever seen, and I have no idea why it would be famous at all. That’s not to say that a Dam can’t be cool – the Yangtze Dam in China was astonishing – but I mean, this thing was like…nothing! Good thing we were heading straight to Vegas…which would surely compensate for any boringness along the way 😉

Since Nick and I have already torn up the San Diego, Hollywood, Venice, Tokyo, and Tijuana nightlife scenes, the idea of adding Vegas to our list felt like just what the doctor ordered. We therefore didn’t waste any time (even though it was a Tuesday), and after dropping off our bags at my cousin James’ house were on our way to the nearest bus stop. No worrying about designated drivers tonight!

Unfortunately it turned out that the line running right near James’ house had already shut down for the evening, and the next closest route, nearly a mile away, only came once an hour…so I ended up with no choice but to drag my painfully sore legs all the way there and then sit waiting for our “chauffeur” to arrive. When he did, his vehicle was filled with some of the shiftiest characters one could imagine.

Yes, sir, we had bumbling alcoholics, drug dealers, and obvious prostitutes all around us. Quite a fine opportunity for Nick and I to enjoy some private and hilarious conversation amongst ourselves in Japanese. I just hope that the African-American woman in the fishnets and sparkling eye makeup to my left couldn’t speak Japanese too.

When we first arrived on the Strip we were a little disappointed at how empty it seemed, but as we worked our way towards our evening’s destination with beers in hands, things slowly but steadily improved. By the time we arrived at the doors of Pure (not to be confused with Club Pure in Tokyo, where Nick worked as a bartender a few summers ago) a significant line had formed; it looked like Tuesday night would be just as lively as any other. That is, until…

Bouncer: “Excuse me sir, but you can’t go in with those shoes.”
Nick: “What?”
Bouncer: “You need dress shoes to enter this club.”
Nick: “D’oh.”

We put up a bit more of a fight than that of course, but the end result was that we were sent home packin.’ We later found out that all Vegas nightclubs have a similar policy; because they get more customers than they can handle on any given night they use all sorts of criteria to weed out those who don’t look like big spenders. Go figure.

So night 1 was a bust. By the time we’d taken a taxi all the way back to James’ it was too late to return to the Strip, so we knocked out for our first night, buzzed and pissed.

Fortunately, night #2 went a whole lot better. After a nice day of relaxing by the pool of one of the mega-hotels and sipping $2 cocktails, we once again headed out. In nice shoes. We once again walked towards Pure. And on the way, we were approached by a promoter who offered us two free-admission passes. Sweet!

When we got to the door we discovered that the actual club closes on Wednesdays to make room for the smaller Pussycat Dolls Lounge, but since we had the free passes we decided to give it a shot. We were surprised to walk right in on a very classic “Vegas-style” burlesque show. Not bad for the $0 price tag 🙂

When the dancers exited Stage Left, Nick ran outside for a quick bathroom break, returning with a female companion who he’d somehow picked up along the way. A female companion who was a member of a bachelorette party that was being held at that very same establishment. He had soon worked his way into a group of 5 or 6 at a private table with nothing but top-shelf bottles. That’s Nick for ya.

Figuring that he would be occupied for the duration of the night, I walked around doing my own thing for a bit until it became time for my own bathroom break…and wouldn’t you know it? On the way back I overheard someone crying that the bouncer wouldn’t let her back into her bachelorette party. As I passed, she shot me a look of “Save me! Get me past this jerk,” but the instant I turned towards the bouncer he cut me off, threatening to throw me out if I said anything. Typical bouncer behavior. So I went inside and reported the problem to the party’s sober supervisor (it was pretty easy to tell who that was). She quickly ran to the door, resolved the issue, then came to the bar to find me, thank me, and invite me to join their party. Yay. My first crashed bachelorette party.

Several hours and countless shots later, the Pussycat Dolls Lounge closed its doors for the night. With a top-shelf buzz and a so-far enjoyable evening under our belts, Nick and I decided that it was far too early to throw in the towel…so we joined in the post-club frenzy of young partygoers trying to figure out what to do next. Nearby, I overheard one particular gentleman working hard to convince a group of girls to join him at a club “Tangerine” for which he had free VIP passes. I jumped on the opportunity, struck up a quick conversation, and asked him to flip me a pass so that I could cruise on over with them. He obliged. Nick and I turned and headed towards the club. Thanks, guy! Next stop: Treasure Island.

On our arrival we were shocked to find an enormous line still snaking through the casino’s slot machines, even though it was after 3am. But we waited, drank, and be’d merry until our turn came at last. We even made a few friends who I ended up spending the remainder of the night with while Nick went off to do his own thing. But alas, 6am soon rolled around, and when we stepped outside the club to see a rising sun we decided that we’d better once again hop in a cab back to James’ and grab a quick couple hours of sleep before the long drive back to LA.

Come to think of it, I’m not quite sure why I chose this particular night out to describe in such detail when Nick and I go out and get ourselves into interesting situation nearly every weekend (Nick: bouncer in Long Beach, racist Chinese guy, canceling go-go dancers, Jacuzzi, USC frat house, stirring the beef, Tokyo Night fighters, am I forgetting anything memorable from the last couple of months? :D).

Maybe because it happened on a vacation, and I always like writing about vacations.

  4 Responses to “Vegas, Baby, Vegas!”

  1. Sounds like a blast……heheh

  2. LOL all true, but it’s funny how none of those pics were from the trip.

  3. That’s not true! The first 3 and the 8th were 😛

  4. Hey again!

    No, I still don’t live in La Jolla, I moved to Mission Bay to be near the water (and maybe the bars as well) =0) I was actually about to move to Vegas, but decided that it wouldn’t be such a great idea if I want to transfer to a California school in the future. But yes, I will definitely let you know when I go back to visit Japan. It’s crazy… all of the places you get to visit. I was so excited just to be able to go to New York last year. Anyways, I hope you are enjoying your last days in the U.S.!

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