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Friday, July 2, 2010


A poor-quality picture of Carlos Santana, not on this trip, and not at the Hard Rock. But it's really him.
We used the car to move to Main Street Station – a full 4 blocks away. What a great use of a rental car! I dropped the Luggage Queen at the front door with the bags and wheeled into the parkade, right to the spots near the walkway, hoping for El Primo Spotto.

Unh un. I parked the car all the way up on the top level of the car park. I would have parked lower down if there had been any lucky parking spots. Getting in the elevator, I donned a couple of haz-mat gloves and gingerly pressed ‘M’. The elevator made noises like a Transformer with bowel problems.

It squeaked and groaned and blatted and scraped its way down to the bottom.

We checked in and I asked about the Net10 SIM cards which I would need, supposedly, to stay in touch with North American Veeblefetzer. Never mind that we were a good 5 days into our trip.

No such luck – or was it lucky? – there was no mail for me at the desk.

The room was adequate as always with a stunning view of three buildings – the California, the Las Vegas Club, and the Plaza.

With my Marine issue surplus Double Hubble space binoculars (with night vision) I could also make out the erection that is the Stratosphere.

I hear people are paying to jump off it. When someone dies doing this, they will call it an accident. I will call it what the hell did you expect.

It seems incipiently stupid to risk one’s life on a couple of thin fraying cables and some winch equipment stolen from the bumper of a Ford Explorer which is most likely maintained by a guy with a German accent and a beer problem named ‘Big Hans’ and another guy probably named ‘Manny’ (according to the stitching on his breast pocket flap) who slipped through the background check and has warrants out on him in 4 states (plus Mexico).

I resolved I would never, ever go on the jump off the erection ride, unless I have a really, really good coupon for it.

Bags dumped, we moved to the Boar's Head bar for some draft micro-brews, and video poker of course.

There is hardly a finer place to play at the bar than MSS. I nailed the first quad, being dealt four 5s, and got the first scratch card for an exciting… $2.

Then, Mrs. Flusher got a quad and got the second scratch card for an exciting … $3!!! The value of these cards seems to have dropped over the last year – it is really rare now to get anything more than $2. To compensate, the QQ nailed 2 more quads including Aces for $100.

At some point we had a nap and on awakening I sprung the news – we were going to Santana that night. We grabbed dinner at the Cal coffee shop and played around here and there until it was time to shove off for the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

(Since my first mention of the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the management has contacted me by email, insisting that I refer to it as the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, so as to differentiate it from the other similarly named, but differently owned, Hard Rock Not In Las Vegas, Not Hotels & Not Casinos But Are Hard Rock Restaurants (Except the One in Florida) out there.)

We drove down Paradise and there was a ton of traffic. I saw a sign for Hard Rock parking but it seemed way too far from the big guitars. I turned in and saw that it was bumper to bumper and not moving so I did a u-turn.

“There’ll be another entrance up there for the lot.”

It had been a while since we’d been to the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – before the expansion. And the parking lot I intended to use… well, I’m pretty sure that’s where Carlos Santana was going to play. There seemed to be a big box there that must be the Joint.

“There’s no more entrances. We’re screwed.”

I turned right, and found myself in the main entrance, leading up to the porte cochon. And it was bumper to bumper.

“I am a complete fool.”

The Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino was never, ever this busy before. The expansion must have done wonders. We made it through the drive through fairly quickly and like magic, there was another parking entrance for the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. I pulled in and turned right, into a sweet parkade. We’d made it.

The Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has really grown and I miss the intimate feel it used to have with decent video poker, great music, and amazing cocktail waitresses. You felt like you were being dominated as much as being served back in the day. Meowwwwr!!!

We had time for a pre-show drink so we headed for the old part of the casino – the big round area. As we walked in, the sound system started to blast a familiar song – Sinatra’s Luck Be A Lady. The same song I use to kick off the trips. Nice! I looked around and my eyes lingered on a couple of young hotties wearing bikinis of all things.

We plunked down at some short pay, high volatility, big payback on quads Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Video Poker Machines and ordered a couple of highballs. I had no luck but wouldn’t you know it, the Quad Queen banged out another beauty for $62.50. Another girl in a bikini walked by. Time have changed, I thought – we are way overdressed for the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Casino.

We made our way to Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino's The Joint and decided on a bathroom break before heading in. I found myself in a sea of people, trying to get to the men’s room. Mrs. Flusher disappeared in the throng.

Or should I say thong?

Two and two finally came together to make 36-24-36 and the little light went on.

It was Sunday – Rehab at the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

And it had just ended.

I found myself flapping to and fro like a middle-aged salmon, fighting upstream through an endless mass of hot, squirming, hardbodies. The eye candy was unbelievable. But there was a pervasive scent of armpit sweat, booze, and sweat. And some suntan stuff too. And more sweat.

I tried to relax and enjoy the feast of womanflesh which made up half the crowd.

Then I landed facefirst into some guys sweaty, shaved 100-pack abs. My face slipped off his oiled skin and my nose ended up in his armpit.

(The guy was probably named Blake, or Chad, or Troy. He’s 6’ 5”, and taking a stock broker class and works out 98 times per week. He gets women to sleep with him by flaring his nostrils slightly as the breeze flows around his stiff, gelled hair. I think I dislike Brandon or Tohny or Roq or whatever his name is).

I made the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino's Men’s Room and took care of business. Fortunately, the return trip to the Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino's The Joint was uneventful – it's much easier going downstream.

I resolved to try to trip Tohny if I saw him walking by.

The Santana show was fabulous.

One of my favourite pieces of music is on Abraxas, the first four songs, which flow from one into the next. It is a tour-de-force of groundbreaking music. When you hear Black Magic Woman on the radio, you are missing 3/4 of the most amazing suite.

You have the mystical, ethereal Singing Winds, Crying Beasts, then it segues into the smoldering Black Magic Woman which seamlessly thrusts into the orgasmic rhythms of Gypsy Queen. And then we are brought back home again with Oye Como Va and its wonderful guttural shouts to end it all.

Now, I was hoping to hear some classic Santana, as well as the newer hits but Carlos kicked off the set with the full, perfect quadrecta – Singing Winds into Black Magic Woman into Gypsy Queen into Oye Como Va. I was in heaven and I’d gotten my money’s worth already at that point.

It actually sounded better than the album – which is pretty unusual for a live show.

I can’t praise the musicianship enough of the band Santana put around himself – to a person they are extremely talented and accomplished.

I play electric ukulele, so I know about these things.

Carlos played for a full 2 hours and we went back to MSS satisfied. Mrs Flushtana had even eked out a win for the day. I, on the other hand, had eked out yet another loss.

RF has: $0 Day: $-200 Trip: $-440

QQ has: $380 Day: $+40 Trip: $-270

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