Steve’s stag weekend

Last Friday I flew to Las Vegas for Steve’s stag weekend/bachelor party/delete as appropriate, returning yesterday.

It was hot in Cambridge the week before – mid-90s F, or low 30s C – so I was partly acclimatised to the heat, though stepping out of an air conditioned airport terminal into a temperature of 100+ is something else. “Wall of heat” is a good phrase. I found myself making Shuttleworthesque “oof” noises.

I stayed at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino on the strip: opposite the MGM Grand, and between the Excalibur and the Monte Carlo. Almost all stag-goers were staying there too. It’s the collection of pointy bits in the middle of the panorama above.

Friday night we ate at a Thai restaurant; eventually. The concierge at the hotel sent us to what he claimed was Thai, but was in fact a golf club restaurant not serving riff-raff like us. I think when we said “thai” the concierge heard “tie” and thought we wanted to dress up.

I bailed out at around midnight, 27 hours awake being quite sufficient thanks. The others partied on; Rob Ross got no sleep at all that night.

Saturday lunchtime took us to The Gun Shop, where boys played with noisy toys for half an hour or so. In the afternoon we wandered along the strip, stopping at Paris for drinks.

The main event was Saturday night. First a curry at the Gandhi, then into our stretch Hummer for the evening. Sadly its aircon was bust, words you don’t want to hear in this town at any time of the day or night (it never dropped below 95F).

The deal Curtis organised included VIP entry to Studio 54 at the MGM Grand, with a table and three bottles of booze. We got through that relatively quickly, choosing not to buy more at the slightly inflated prices they were charging ($15 bottles of Absolut vodka marked up to $250).

On Sunday, from the it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time department came the idea of a round of golf. In a desert. In July. In a heatwave. At noon. (I don’t play but went along too.)

Not everyone lasted the course; it was just too exhausting. The only shade was from the hats we wore and our golf carts, and the odd tree. We could have done with a day’s survival training beforehand. Luckily there were water stops every three holes, and someone gave us cold towels after the ninth, soon repurposed as Lawrence of Arabia headgear, dunked regularly in our golf cart iceboxes. I’ve never drunk so much water in my life; it was absorbed as fast as it went down the gullet.

Mad dogs, Englishmen and Scots.

By Monday at breakfast only Steve, his brother Craig and I were still at the hotel. We wandered along the strip again, stopped for refreshments at Planet Hollywood in Caesar’s Palace (I refuse to omit the apostrophe, whatever the hotel does), then returned to the hotel to grab a cab to the airport.

A few hours later I was settling in on the plane when a dark-suited American man came up to me. “May I see your ticket stub, sir?” he asked, but not in a “you’re in my seat” way: he was an official of some kind. I assumed he meant my boarding ticket and reached to my back pocket; he stiffened slightly as I did so, or was it my imagination? Anyway, I retrieved it and handed it over. “Oh, sorry sir, you’re seat 35C. I was looking for 34C. Sorry to bother you.” He went back a row, to find the seat was empty. Some problem with the processing of boarding cards, I think. I had visions of being hauled off the plane for possession of subversive thoughts.

Bonus: two empty spaces next to me, so I could lie flat, albeit slightly foetal, and sleep/doze a bit on the flight.

Back at Gatwick, it was about 85F. I felt cool.



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