Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Room With A View

So I arrived yesterday with the minimum of fuss. It is a cast iron law that you will forget something you meant to bring, and in this case it was the Tarantino DVD Box Set that I was looking forward to catching up on in my downtime. Oh well. If I had forgotten the Silk Cut for a beleagured WSOP-er on a three week tour of duty already, I myself would probably have been doused in petrol and had my ear cut off, so it could have been worse.

Speaking of films (smooth), I almost thought there was going to be a hold-up with the flight. If I may digress for a moment, I've often found that my favourite comic writers, for example Douglas Adams and Robert Rankin, also have the power to chill you to the bone at times if they so wish. One scene from Hitch-hikers that has always stuck with me is where Arthur Dent comes across a spaceship, covered in dust in an abandoned hangar, but still apparently active. It transpires that the passengers are being held pending the delivery of lemon-soaked paper napkins. And have been for 900 years. Every 6 months the robot flight attendants re-animate everyone to inform them that there will still be a short delay until civilisation is rebuilt and LSPNs are once again available, but until then thank you for your patience.

So I feared a similar scenario when the pilot suddenly, and quite angrily, announced that the entertainment system was broken and that it was COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE to expect people to have to put up with all the peace and quiet and so on. I mean in years gone by, people did manage to struggle through a transatlantic flight without being able to watch Piers Morgan interview Sharon Osbourne, and that was when planes were powered by rubber bands and steam so the flights took 3 weeks, IIRC.

Soon enough this COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE situation was partially resolved in that, praise be to the new world of technology, we were able to watch some films in sequence, rather than being able to choose our own like you could with, say, a £40 portable DVD player. And so the program was first of all Confessions Of A Shopaholic, then a film starring Jennifer Aniston, and then a film starring Julia Roberts. Something for everyone there. Despite this ALMOST COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE lack of entertainment, I think that my natural aptitude for doing nothing for hours on end has been further honed by on-and-off meditation in the last 6 months and so I breezed it anyway. Ship it.

On to the Venetian and my balla suite. However, I'm beginning to realise that The Way Of The Balla may not be for me. My Dad will be pleased to hear this - I think that some parsimonious Yorkshire blood yet runs through my veins and so even in my best attempts to achieve balla excess, there's always a part of me asking "How much ?". The suite is beautiful. And absolutely huge. It's bigger than my flat, with the further comparison point that it is not half full of junk. So I'm bouncing around in here like an electron in sub-atomic space (one for the crowd there). More importantly though, a serious Fawlty Towers situation arose in that my "Strip View" appeared to have a serious, key some would say, failing - I couldn't see the Strip.

I went back down to the lobby to make sort of gently probing English style complaints, as we do. A little later on during a very pleasant meal with Keith, Katherine, Jake and Vicky, it transpired that Vicky and I think very similarly on this issue. There are few problems in Vegas that a carefully folded $20 can't smooth over. However, we both have this reserved (or hung-up depending on where you are from) English fear that someone will rise up to their full height and say "Are you trying to bribe me" in a voice that can be heard half way to Sam's Town, even though this could only happen in Vegas about once every five years when a delirious service employee has been out in the sun too long. And so when reception told me that it was a Strip view sir, look let me draw it for you on the back of this cigarette packet, I meekly accepted in my jet-lagged state and assumed that probably if you squint from an acute angle you can see 10 feet of the strip over in that corner or something.

Fortunately for me, after some small amount of sleep, I regained my faculties and reasoned that if a room is advertised as a Strip view, the over/under on Strip hotels that you can see from it would be something like 3.5-4.0, and that buyers would be calling in the stewards if the make up was actually, as it was from my room, zero. And so, on consulting a more competent receptionist this morning, she immediately said "oh no, it wouldn't do, seeing as it's facing in completely the opposite direction". So she has organised me a transfer to another room that is more stripviewtastic and, while I was there, a fair bit smaller. So much smaller that I am no longer paying an extra $150/night for basically a room-and-a-half-ful of air.

So much for my balla credentials, and so much for the tipping culture as well. Because when I checked in yesterday I, assuming everything was in order, tipped the (less competent) receptionist $5 (mostly because I had made her endorse 11 travellers cheques to be fair). This morning I had to think I'm damned if I'm tipping you for fixing something that should have never happened in the first place, irrespective of the fact that you're actually doing a much better job than the person I did tip. Beat !