March 13th, 2005

Lake Tahoe Ski Vacation, Day 5...

I had a wake-up call scheduled for 9:30 this morning, but woke up at 7, couldn't fall back asleep, so got up at 7:30. I put on a pot of coffee, made a bagel, and enjoyed it along with the last hard-boiled egg. I wrote yesterday's blog entry, and then posted it. The dial-up connection so sucks here. I don't know why it keeps connecting at 21KB instead of 44KB, and it is excruciatingly slow. I've set my browser preference to not show any pictures in an effort to speed things along. Helps, but still frustratingly slow.

I shaved and showered, and then packed to be out of the room by 11:00. After checking out, and storing my luggage in a locked closet near the front lobby, I walked next door to the souvenir shop, and scouted out pens for one Amelia Vogler. I spent more time than I normally would in one of those places, contemplating a Lake Tahoe t-shirt, which I finally decided against, and looking at the plethora of frames there to see if there was one that said Lake Tahoe on it that might display one of my new photos. There were lots and lots of frames there, but most were gaudy, and almost all were for pictures of sizes other than 5x7. Of the four different styles they had for 5x7, only one would accommodate a portrait orientation as opposed to landscaped. Both of my pictures are portrait orientation. I didn't like the one choice.

Back at the lodge, I went out by the pool, and basked in the sun in a lounge chair, waiting for Rebecca's planned arrival of about noon. I had on shorts and a t-shirt. It was a little cool when the wind blew, but most of the time it didn't, and it was quite nice. After about a half hour, I checked my phone to make sure I didn't have a message from her, and I noticed a "No Service" message in the display. I walked up out of the pool area, with no change. I powered my phone off, then back on, and I got a signal.

I called Rebecca for a progress report, and to let her know that I'd be by the pool in case she tried to call me again and I didn't answer due to a lack of signal -- so she'd know where to find me when she got there. While on the line, I gave my phone to the receptionist, who gave her directions. The receptionist said, "Yeah, you're about 40 minutes away."

When she gave me the phone back, Rebecca said, "I should be there in about an hour." It was then that I remembered that she drives like an old lady. :-)

She arrived about an hour and 15 minutes later, actually, and we had good hugs by the pool. She was hungry for lunch, as was I, and she mentioned passing a place called "The Blue Water Bistro," which was just up the road, within walking distance, in fact. We walked there, and it turned out to be the most fabulous place! It over- looked that beautiful lake, and the food was just phenomenal there. Rebecca had Mahi Mahi in this unbelievable pineapple sauce, with this incredible rice and I believe the waitress said "lotus root."

I had Halibut Fish & Chips, which were so flaky in spite of being deep-fried. It came with slaw and French Fries, too. Rebecca had a few fries. I tried her food, and it was just delicious. We split a creme brulee for dessert, which had bing cherries in it, and was presented in a dish with a swirl of chocolate across it, along with two dollops of whip cream up against the little cup holding the creme brulee. The whip cream was topped with three little flowers, of which the waiter said when he put it on our table, "The flowers are organic and totally edible. Eat them we did. Everything was exceptional. We felt like we had stumbled onto one of those best kept secrets kind of place.

We had great conversation the hour or hour-and-a-half or so we were there. She caught me up on her latest business ventures, which are always fascinating. She is always getting offers from people who want to set her up in business, or to run their businesses, something. This time, there is a Vietnamese (or was it Korean) man, who is filthy, filthy rich, who want her to lease a ranch on his property, and build her own business through it. He's married, and they live very close to her -- one of his two (or was it three) homes, for which they paid just over a million dollars.

"I know how to make money," he told her, "and you know horses." He wants to teach her about the business side of things, too. They have a meeting set up tomorrow to further discuss details. She's concerned that he's ready to make this deal even though he doesn't know her. "He's never even seen me ride a horse," she said. "He's heard about my abilities from several other people, but he's never seen me in action."

I look forward to hearing of the next installment of her life. It's always an adventure.

At about 3:30, we parted; she to start her four-hour ride home, and me, to check out the casinos. I can't in good conscious, be this close to the casinos without being able to say I at least saw what they looked like inside, which actually would be easy for me as I have absolutely no interest in gambling whatsoever. I took the shuttle bus to Harvey's Casino, and checked it out first. As expected, rows upon rows, corners upon corners, and sections upon sections of slot machines.

There were several games of which I had no idea what they were. One had that little ball that goes around, and then eventually falls into the middle area with the sections, as it flips and bounces, and eventually, again, lands in one slot. I think it's Russian Roulette, but I'm not sure.

I watched several tables of Blackjack, gravitating toward the $50 minimum ($10,000 maximum), and one table of $100 minimum. Two people sat at that table, which sat four, the man all the way to the left, and the woman all the way to the right. The man was an older man, I'd guess late 60's early 70s, very well-groomed, white haired and mustached, and wealthy looking. The woman was a tiny Asian woman, unassumingly moving $100 tokens to and fro.

There were a couple of other really long tables that were sort of like pits, people put tokens down, threw the dice, screamed some shit, and then watched the tokens being scraped away. There were a couple of games like that: similar, but different. I found it frustrating that they didn't have the names of the games on them. The "boards" had shit written all over them, such as "Banker" and "Player," but no where the name of the game.

I crossed the street, and checked out Bill's Casino, which the shuttle bus driver told me she liked because it was a small, "home town" kind of casino. It was. I decided to skip Caesar's as I was sure there'd be nothing new to see there.

I then went to Harrah's, and saw more of the same, way more of the same, and the area that surrounded the men's room had a smell to it that I couldn't discern. It was either French Fries or stale cigar smoke. Interesting how each of those smells seemed very clear to me, but they alternated, and I could never decide which it really was -- if at all those.

I heard no winning slot machines go off during the hour or so I walked through these casinos, and only heard one table of Blackjack players, who interestingly, had four black people playing, who were obviously winning. At least three different times within about 20 minutes, these loud screams came from the table, with high-fives all around each time.

I took the shuttle back to Lakeland Village, got my bags, and decided to head to the airport then, on the 5:50 bus, instead of waiting until the 8:50 one. I took the Lakeland shuttle back to Harvey's and waited about 15 minutes for the South Tahoe Express. At the final stop before heading out of town to the airport, which was at Caesar's, two guys I'd met earlier in the week, though I couldn't remember their names, got on. We sat next to each other, and actually talked the whole way back to the airport, which was a little less than two hours.

They're from Lawng Eyeland, NY, and have a flight out in the morning. They're spending the night at a hotel at the airport, as their flight is early, and they're flying standby. One of the guys works for American Airlines, so they are flying standby for employees. The other guy works for JP Morgan-Chase. (Is that correct? I believe they merged.) They've been together 21 years. Nice guys.

I got to the airport just before 8:00PM, and all the lights at the American Airlines check-in gate were off. I asked an airport worker walking by about it, and she said, "They'll open up at about 9:00." I found a plug, but it was in the middle of a wall where there were no chairs, and I sat on the floor devising this blog entry.

Observations and overhearings....

What a tangled web we weave...

I reached into my laptop bag to pull out the special electric cord that plugs in under the seat of the plane, so as not to use my laptop battery while traveling. Out comes a long spaghetti mess of cords, which include:
  • cord to headphones (over the head one-piece set)

  • cord to headphones (two separate earpiece clip ons)

  • adapter cord for camera

  • palm pilot sync cord

  • regular laptop power cord

  • USB Flash Drive adapter cord

  • cell phone charger cord

Is there any question that we are a technological society?

Overheard conversations on lift chairs during my three days of skiing...
  • "Yeah, dude, working at a bar is good for that. You can pick up girls easy that way. You get to know them, what they drink, and then it makes it easy to go in for the kill."

  • A long conversation in what I eventually decided was German. A lot of "eign" sounding words. I spent a good deal of time listening to the flow of the intonation of the words and sentences, and tried to imagine what an English conversation with that flow would be about.

  • Middle couple to right couple: "Where are you from?" "Long Island. And you?" "Miami." All turning to me, and middle couple to me: "And you?" "I'll complete the East Coast representation, from right in the middle: Raleigh, NC."

  • Two guys snowboarding together to me and the other "single" riding in our four-seat chair: "We just want to let you both know that we haven't gotten off a lift yet without making at least one of the other two people fall."

  • One man to another: "Do you know that your boots are unbuckled?" Response: "Yes, just to ride up the lift."

  • About my boots (from a couple of people): "Wow. Rear entry boots."

  • Two guys about my skis: "Are those straight skis?" Me back: "I'm not sure, but if they are, I'm sure it wasn't a choice." I had no idea skis had an orientation.
  • "Can we put the bar down, please? I get a little vertigo up here sometimes."

  • Teenage girl to girlfriend: "My mom's an awesome skier; you'd like her. See that guy there? (pointing to a man who was tearing up a mogul run) That's my mother. She skis mogul runs like that."

Overheard comments about an airport wall ad...

There's a long lighted ad along a wall. It's for the Silver Legacy (Resort * Casino * Reno). It's three-paneled. The middle panel has the name of the place and three picture insets: one of a hotel room ("Luxurious accommodations!"), one of food ("Award-winning dining!"), and one of a lady holding two cards that are as big as half her body, one Ace and one Jack, with some slot machines behind her ("24-Hour casino action!"). The left panel has a huge picture of Michael Bolton, under which is his name, and "March 19." The right panel has a huge picture of Motely Crue, under which is their name, and "Reno Events Center March 25."

I'm sitting opposite this wall ad, and people coming off arriving flights are coming from the left where they see it right before walking in front of me. Not one person has mentioned Michael Bolton. About the Motley Crue part of the ad:
  • "Oh! Motley Crue."

  • "That's certainly not a recent picture of Motely Crue."

  • "Motley Crue."

  • "Motley Crue. I saw them at... " (faded from my hearing range)

  • "Motley Crue. I sort of want to go see Motley Crue."

  • "Motley Crue."
I was just amazed at how many people just said the name as they walked by. I'm wondering if the "provocativeness" of the picture was the impetus for the ejaculations. I don't know this group at all, so can't name names, but the first guy (all the way to the left) is facing to the right, shirtless, and his right arm is over the next guy (who is also shirtless), down across his chest and back over his shoulder, so sort of like in a relaxed headlock, if that makes any sense. His bent arm is covered from the shoulder bone to the wrist in tattoos.

The second guy's arm has one tattoo on it, one of those ones like a chain in a circle around the bicep. His hands are down on the feet of the fourth guy, farthest to the right, who has shorts on bearing tattoos up and down both legs. His left arm is resting across his right knee, and it is covered with tattoos from the shoulder to the wrist as well. The third guy is standing behind the rest, and all you can see is his huge bushy black hair. In fact, the first, third, and fourth guys have "big hair," and black. The second guy has blond hair with a brown bandanna running underneath it.

Personally, I think, with a quick catch of the picture in your peripheral vision, you would think that that second shirtless guy is a topless girl. I think that's why people are looking at it. It has been all men who have commented about it.

Catchy T-shirts on the slopes...
  • This one on a real hot guy that I was hoping was gay: "I got thrown out of the Boy Scouts for eating a Brownie." Nope, not on our team.

  • A guy speaking French with his group had on a black t-shirt with a diamond or maybe triangular shaped yellow design that made you at first think of the road sign for "Men Working." Only this sign had the stick figure man on it, I think maybe shoveling, but his head was cut off. The words under the sign said, "Need head."