A Quick Shuttle Bus From the Strip

“Where are you staying?”

Ten bucks on red says that is the first question anyone will ask you when you tell them you are going to Las Vegas. When your answer is “a quick shuttle bus from the Strip,” fifty bucks says they will lose interest in your trip altogether. Well, as it turned out, in regard to reservations, Valli and I were staying a quick shuttle bus from the Strip.

After breaking the bank on concert tickets, I was shocked to discover that each room on Las Vegas Boulevard was going for six-hundred American smackers per night. Even my go-to Holiday Inn Express was asking four Benjamins for a queen-size bed. Thanks to Nascar, some concrete exposition and basketball, it appeared the Backstreet Boys were not the only show in town. Panicked that I have might to cancel the trip altogether, I thanked Meryl when I managed to secure a room within a writer's budget.

“I think this place is going to be great!” beamed Valentina as we stepped inside a cab outside the airport. "What is it called again?"

Scrambling to unlock my phone to find out, I successfully brought up the name.

“Club de Soleil,” I annouced to the cab driver as all three doors were shut.

“Where is that?” he asked.

“A quick shuttle bus from the Strip,” I answered.

Once the GPS was set, I rolled down my window as we ripped out of the airport. Soaking up the blue sky, sunshine and warmth, I welcomed the momentary reprieve from the miserable Vancouver winter. Looking over, I watched as Valli eagerly took in the sights of the gambling oasis. Whipping past the exit for Las Vegas Boulevard, I managed to point out New York, New York, MGM Grand, Excalibur and Mandalay Bay in a record four seconds. 

When we arrived at our final destination, we sighed relief when we discovered our first gamble had paid off. Collecting our bags from the trunk and slipping the cab driver a few extra greens, we stopped to admire the fountain outside the front entrance. It may have been 1/50th the size of the Bellagio's but that didn’t matter, because to us, it was perfect.

Inserting the key card into our suite, we jumped up and down to discover a kitchenette, living room, balcony, queen-size bed and a washroom awaiting us. Dropping our bags to the ground, we got our priorities straight and cracked open two mini-bottles of bubbles we picked up at the airport. 

"Wait," Valli said, as I raised a little bottle to toast.

"What?" I paused concernedly. Gazing my eyes downward, I watched as she produced two straws magically from her coat pocket. 

“What are those for?” I inquired, less worried and more intrigued.

“Supermodels never drink from a bottle without a straw," she proclaimed.

“There is so much in this life I still need to learn."

"To Vegas!" we toasted. "To Vegas!"

Dressing in sequins, the two of us ran around like Cyndi Lauper in a 1980's music video. The clock beside the bed had not even struck noon and the two of us had already been up for nearly eight hours.

“What should we do first?” Valli asked.

“DELICIOUS QUESTION” I exclaimed, high on sugar and exhaustion. “Let’s go drink Martinis at the Cosmopolitan! No, better yet, lets get tickets to Thunder Down Under. No, lets go to old Vegas! Actually, let’s ride that Ferris Wheel thing first! There is just so much to do I don’t even know where to start! Are you hungry? I’m starving. Should we get something to eat? Is it hot in here?" 

Suddenly, I could feel my forehead break into a sweat and my stomach begin to churn. It was clear the cream cheese bagel I had back in Washington was not strong enough to compete against 32 ounces of black coffee and 200 milliliters of prosecco. Looking up at the ceiling fan, I felt myself began to spin with it and then before I knew it, I was down.

Two hours later, I woke up beside my gorgeous date on the living room floor. Sitting up, I looked around to see sparkling sequins and shoes strewn about.

“We are not twenty-five anymore,” I asserted, locking eyes with Valli.

“No," she said, sitting up next to me. "We are much better. Now let's go!"

One quick shuttle bus to the Strip and four martinis later, the two of us ended up at a mediocre Italian restaurant seated across the table from a Baptist man from Oklahoma.

Coming next, "Drew from Oklahoma."