Thursday, January 10, 2008

Return to the City of Dreams Pt. I

For the fifth time in 2007, I traveled Eastward towards the Strip. This time around we gathered nine of my closest friends, packed into two cars (and one airplane as it was), and took to Sin City to drink, gamble, eat, drink, and drink. The occasion? The holidays. My birthday. Our friendship.

For the holidays I hadn't gotten anything for anyone. For the past year I've been living in a financial funk, never really digging myself into a hole, yet never really building a monument above monetary ground either. I didn't even start excavating land for that matter.

For the coming new year I had cleaned the slate. My credit cards were paid off, my bills were straight, I had a budget all ready and set up, and everything looked good leaving December. The only problem was that up to the holiday season I still had a revolving balance of zero dollars in my bank account.

I had been living a breakeven life on ground zero for the past year, and because of that I had no funds for the holiday season. I had my sister's present and that was it. So before we left, me and the two roommates decided that Christmas in our apartment would consist of spending time with each other in Vegas.

I had also made a commitment to hang out with John Cruz, my buddy who now deals at Planet Hollywood. I had been out there numerous times during the year, and I had seen him on a few of the trips, yet I hadn't really spent as much time as I had wanted to. One of my goals on this trip was to make sure I saw him at least twice, as I always promise to hang out with him when I'm out there, yet I've barely spent any time with him when I'm in Las Vegas.

Across the ocean, Casey and Sommer had moved to Hawaii to attend school and I hadn't seen either of them for months. When we gathered in Vegas in July for Casey's 21st, we made a vow to meet up with them there when they returned from Hawaii in December. They took off to the islands, I went back to my boring desk job, and we texted, talked, and e-mailed our way through the months. We'd finally have a chance to hang out again when December rolled around.

Along with my roommates and Casey and Sommer, Mitchell and Darsky, who seem to be my Vegas staples were going with us. And Steph and I finally got to spend some real time together, devoid of our work schedules and 30-mile spread. Despite the fact that it was going to take me down to my last available dollar for the trip, I was ready to head out to my favorite city with my favorite people for America's favorite time of year.

We made reservations for a couple rooms at the Venetian to accommodate us all. This trip would be the first time I spent any money on a hotel room. All of my previous trips had been purely poker trips, and although I hadn't stayed at any hole in the walls, I certainly had yet to stay at any reputable casino. We were able to get a decent rate since we were going during a slow weekend, and since we were splitting rooms it wasn't even very expensive.

Because I was treating Steph this time around we had made dinner plans for six of us at the Bellagio on one of the nights. Although I do enjoy the general higher quality of food in Vegas, I had yet to have a nice dinner anywhere on any of my trips. We made plans to eat at Sensei, and afterwards (for another first) I got Steph and I tickets to KA at the MGM.

Regardless of the fact that I had been to Vegas multiple times already in '07, this trip was different and I really felt like I was going out for a vacation. My previous trips I felt pressured to do well in poker and not lose any money at all, and obviously when you try too hard at anything you'll end up failing, which I inevitably had all year. However, this time around I was ready.

I had saved enough to pay for the room for Steph and I, pay for food, and to gamble at a level that was comfortable enough to satisfy my mind and not make me feel like death if I lost it. Finally I was really excited to relax, have a good time, and focus more on having fun and being with friends than trying to take the casino or run over the poker table. It was the way most people see Vegas anyways.

At noon on Thursday it was time to gather the troops and head out. We hopped in our cars and after an hour in the right direction and a couple stops to pick people up, our two-vehicle caravan was on the way to what we knew would be four days of drinking, gambling fun.


Darsky said...

What do you mean it was a "slow weekend?" I thought the rodeo was in town.

Anonymous said...

Paris is the City of Lights. Vegas is the City of Dreams.

Sitting the Apple said...

It's MY City of Lights...alright fine I'll change it

Brando said...

eff the rodeo