terrencechan (terrencechan) wrote,
terrencechan
terrencechan

Normalcy in Las Vegas

I think a lot of people who live part but not all of the year here in Las Vegas -- like the hundreds of players who are here for the WSOP and will return to their homes after it -- spend a lot of time searching for normalcy. As WSOP players our world is especially weird. We spend thousands of dollars playing tournaments a few times a week. We lend hundreds or thousands of dollars to friends who need it, or back them for similar amounts, or get lent or get backed.[*] Those who enjoy such things, go to nightclubs and buy $1000 bottles of champagne, or blow off similar money to get dances from naked girls. And then there is just being in and around the casinos. Where the WSOP is held, cocktail waitresses will occasionally jump on top of slot machines and start dancing. Down the street, volcanoes are erupting and mermaids are boarding a pirate ship. Traffic along that street averages about 8 mph, but no one seems to mind; in fact, they're enjoying every minute of it.

It's almost a cliché to hear the Vegas locals say that they never go to the Strip. But I can certainly believe it. Don't get me wrong; I love the Strip. I love Las Vegas. I love the gaudiness, the lights, the energy, the fun, the gambling, the amazing architecture, the luxurious amenities, all of it. But since Jacqueline left, all I've done in my life other than play poker was to strive for some normalcy in this crazy city. Even though the Extended Stay America where we stayed was mostly acceptable, I moved into an actual apartment, partly just so that life could seem a little more normal. I'm only here for another month, but it's nice just to have a real place to live in. I'm trying to go to BJJ whenever I can. Today I went to the grocery store, bought a bunch of stuff, and enjoyed it. I think Las Vegas is the only place that I actually enjoy going grocery shopping, just because of the feeling of normalcy it provides.

This was all brought on just now after going out for late-night Chinese food with Rich Korbin and thomaskoo. We went to some standard Chinese restaurant that's open until 4am, located on Sahara and about Valley View, for those who know the area. It's pretty standard food, acceptable but nothing special. Thomas brought up the Palms, which got me to thinking that the Chinese food in the coffee shop at the Palms is actually much better than this place. And yet, even though I like hanging out with Rich and Thomas, had they said they were just going to the Palms for food, I'm not sure if I'd have gone. But going to a somewhat average, late-night Chinese food place 5 minutes away from the Strip with two friends gives me a lot of normalcy. It's something that I could do in any city, at any time. There's no reminder of the craziness that is going on all around me.

So it's weird. I like Las Vegas. I like casinos. But I'm probably reaching a saturation point, at least with the latter. I don't think I have any beef with Las Vegas (other than this ridiculous heat). I could probably live here; it seems like a good city with some nice areas and all the big-city things that I like. And I love being in town during the WSOP and seeing all my friends. But I am kinda glad the WSOP is only 7 weeks long.



* As hgfalling said to me when I handed him two $5000 chips for a 10% share in his WSOP, "you're giving me these two pieces of plastic. I could take these two pieces of plastic and turn them into like, a car. And all you're getting for it is like, my word that I will pay you some unknown amount of money in seven weeks." To which I responded, "yeah, and you could take those two pieces of plastic, worth a car, and conceivably return some more pieces of plastic to me with which I could buy like, a house."
Tags: food, las vegas
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