I figured out five . . .

Imperial Palace

Imperial Palace

My fifth trip to Las Vegas was another one with my sister Karen and my friend Darci.  By this time, Darci had moved to the West Coast and we arranged to meet up in Vegas.  In my previous post, I mentioned that I thought that I had stayed at the Maxim twice, but now I believe that I was wrong.  For some reason, I was convinced that I had gone alone with Darci, but the more I think about it, I’m just remembering an afternoon that we spent without my sister.

For this trip, we booked a room at the Imperial Palace.  Back then it was frequented by Canadian gamblers because it was the most-economical choice when booking a package vacation.  We didn’t book a package, but rather decided to stay two nights on the strip before spending the final night downtown.  More about that in a moment.

The Imperial Palace was a dump.  It had cinder block walls and holes in the sheets.  I couldn’t believe that it was such a step down in quality from the places I had stayed at before, but it was horrible.  Twenty years ago it was horrible!  What I remember the most was a woman who checked us in swiping my credit card three times because it wasn’t connecting with their own system.  A few days later I realized that she had pre-authorized three transactions on my card in error.  Only one was actually processed, but still!

I don’t believe that we spent a lot of time inside the hotel.  I remember going to the Excalibur where Darci got dealt a royal flush straight-up on a nickel poker machine.  That was exciting!  The other highlight of the trip was visiting the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.  They had recently opened and there was really nothing in the world on par with the mall.  Although this was a few years before “Showgirls” made Caesars’ Versace store famous, I remember being there and being told by a clerk that the dress I was looking at was “very expensive.”  No kidding?  What a bitch!

Now this is the part that gets me confused.  I remember playing cards in Caesars and having the pit boss comp me and Darci a buffet.  Back then, the seafood buffet at Caesars was sort of legendary.  We got to walk past a huge line-up and through the VIP entrance (something I never grow tired of doing).  Darci ate an entire plate of nothing but jumbo prawns.  Karen wasn’t there, but I think maybe she just stayed behind.  She probably wanted to play one-dollar blackjack at O’Shea’s next to the Flamingo.  She was really into that place.

Of course, that’s not the only buffet I remember.  We also went to Bally’s where I was playing a poker machine right outside the buffet door while the other two waited in line.  I got four aces for $200.  Yay!  I also remember playing a nickel slot game and winning one-thousand nickels.  That was probably the first time I ever had to fish that many coins out of the trough on a slot machine.  The machine was tucked away at the top of an escalator near the showroom.  The funny thing was that I revisited that exact spot twenty years later to see Frank Marino’s “Divas” at The Quad and it had not been renovated.  I had a strange sense of deja vu there, but it was more like deja ewww.

After two nights at the grossest hotel on the Strip, we proceeded to our final destination: The Golden Nugget downtown.  The difference between the rooms was like night and day.  I do, however, remember being embarrassed when my credit card didn’t work at the front desk because of the fiasco a couple of days earlier at the Imperial Palace.  I think we ate the Carson Street Cafe so I could have that thing with the date nut bread, cream cheese and fruit again.  I still dream of it to this day.

So that’s it.  The rest of my trips should come to me a little more clearly now.  I’m starting to put it all together.


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