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may 7-9 trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by chef, May 11, 2003.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    My Trip Report

    We're halfway of the way on our flight back from Las Vegas to Chicago and my writing of this trip report is interrupted by something I did not want to hear.
    "I think I've got to go," said my wheelchair-bound friend that came on the trip with me.
    On the way to Vegas, he made it the entire way without needing to use the bathroom. No such luck this time. A bowel movement is close at hand he informs me.
    Everyone knows how small airplane lavatories are. Imagine two of us in there.
    First, I must get him there. We're talking about physically lifting a 240-pound man out of his seat and toting him there.
    That's the easy part. It's gets harder trying to load him onto the toilet seat. It's tight with both of us in there, but somehow he gets on the throne.
    While I wait for him to finish, I know the real test awaits us. Just how in the hell am I going to be able to left him up and at the same time, wipe his ass in such tight quarters.
    I won't go into details how this was accomplished, but let's just say it was a gymnastic-type challenge. It was also a bit embarassing as we had to leave the door open for both of us to fit.
    Thus, anybody sitting towards the front had some freak show-like entertainment to break of the monotony.
    My friend hardly ever gets to travel and always wanted to go to Vegas. At 38, he had never even been on a plane before.
    On my most recent Vegas trip, I did a solo job and enjoyed the freedom to go, see and do as you pleased.
    This trip was different. Traveling with someone with a physical disability opens your eyes up to a lot of things. It's more work, but well worth it.
    The city of Las Vegas, the airports, Southwest airlines, the hotels, restaurants, etc. really go out of their way to help the physically-disabled. For example, each CAT bus is equipped with a lift.
    Everyone along the way was accomodating.
    Perhaps the most only time he was discriminated against was by the sidewalk hawkers offering their porno literature.
    As him and I traveled side-by-side down the strip, I would be handed the stuff and he was ignored. Ironically, he was much more interested in getting it than me.
    Here you see grandparents, kids, practically everybody getting this stuff shoved in their faces and him, the most curious one being shut out.
    Someone might want to tell these people that they're misisng out on a key market segment by ignoring those in wheelchairs.
    While we're on the delicate subject of things of a sexual nature, my friend discovered some tips to pass along regarding the gentlemen's clubs; as I know there are a few of you out there that enjoy going to these places to contribute to the college funds of the young ladies.
    I directed him to the Sapphire since we were at the Stardust and he could drive his motortized wheelchair across the parking lot and be right at their doorstep in no time flat.
    While I went out on morning jogs, he would make a visit. It's a good time to go for the following reason: you do not have a cover charge and there is not a drink minimum.
    Additionally, you practically have the place to yourself. There are still a couple girls dancing and they give you all there attention and then some.
    According to him, and he knows these places, you get about the same thing you would in a private room without paying for one. I guess it's the supply and demand principle at work.
    The biggest drawback to our trip was the cloudy, cold and windy weather we encountered (May 7-9) the entire time we were there. I was really banking on 80 and sunny.
    When you live in northern Illinois, you just gone through a long crappy spring and you look forward to that good May weather Vegas is genearlly noted for. Not this time.
    The other negative was the crap tables were as cold as the weather.
    The first morning we woke up, it was somewhat of a bummer. I had lost at the tables the night before, the weather sucked and we were staying at the Ho.
    I originally thought my friend was on the budget plan, so I opted for the Ho in a cost-saving measure. After he told me about his willingness to drop some cash at the strip clubs, I determined an upgrade was in order.
    It wasn't like going to the Bellagio, but we bopped next door to the Stardust to stay.
    Onto a food report. A few months ago, there was a discussion on these boards as to whether the Boardwalk buffet is the absolute worth around. Someone asked me to try it and give a critque.
    I did make a visit, but could not bring myself to sample it. I did a visual instead.
    The first red flag was lack of customers. Number two was the preponderence of formulated, pre-packed stuff. Things just looked bad.
    I wonder if they know how mediocre it is, or perhaps it is used as a selling point.
    Every hotel has a trademark. Maybe their's is: "Come to the boardwalk and see the crappiest buffet on the Strip."
    It worked for me. Just wondering how bad it was got me in the door.
    Best meal of the trip was at the California. Las Vegas Advisor has been touting the 5.99 prime rib special in their coffee shop for quite some time as one of the best values in town.
    Those people know as much about food as anybody so I had to check it out. You got a 8 oz. prime, baked potatoes, green beans almondine, salad bar and cherries jubilie.
    The prime rib was cooked to perfection, as was the potato. Never under-estimate a good baked potato. Some places do not know how to do them.
    Items on the sald bar were quite cold and crisp and they even had that homemade broccoli raisin salad on it. Not a huge salad bar, but good quality. The dessert was nice touch to end meal.
    If downtown, give it a try.
    Our evening downtown ended sooner than we hoped, as he began to have stomach problems and we had to go back to the room. It may have been just as well - it was in the 40s that night on Fremont St.

    [ May 12, 2003, 06:41 AM: Message edited by: chef ]
     
  2. Little Bob

    Little Bob Low-Roller

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    Chef, I admire you for helping a disabled friend have the trip of a lifetime. I hope your friend has some good memories that put a smile on his face!
     
  3. Chef,

    I am glad your friend had a good time. Someone has to help the girls go to summer school.
     
  4. pattiinontario

    pattiinontario "PATTI-O-LANTERNS"

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    Glad u and your friend had a good trip.
    Thanks for the report.
     
  5. Booger

    Booger Tourist

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    I hope your friend realizes what a great friend
    he has,you're the MAN! If THAT won't get you
    through the pearly gates,I don't know what will.
    Thanks for the report!

    Booger
     
  6. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Actually, my friend is the one that deserves all the credit, not me. It's tough being in his situation.
    It helped my develop a sense of empathy and compassion for others.
    Could you imagine having to be dependent upon others to take care of so many of the day-to-day activities that the rest of us take for granted - like going to the bathroom.
    By having the opportunity to travel with him, I'm the lucky one. He wanted so hard to be as independent as he could on this trip. He would try to apologize the times his condition slowed things down for us. He did not want to be a burden.
    More often than not, we would just laugh about those times. Would else can you do.
    After the incident on the plane, we joked about whether or not anyone else would use the bathroom after he had been in it. People had to know it wasn't a pretty scene in there.
    After a couple minutes, someone did, to which we remarked to each other about the pioneer spirit this person must have.
    Here is something else I learned about air travel in traveling with someone with a disability - the pilot and flight crew can not leave until everyone is off the plane.
    Anyway, when his motorized chair was brought up to him, a the maintenance guys were having problems putting the batteries back in it (OHSA regs require them to be removed during flight). This went on for 15-20 after everyone was off the plane as he just sat there on the plane.At the time, I thought it was very nice of the pilot and his crew to patiently wait for my friend's wheelchair to be finished, especially for a flight that got back at midnight.
    Little did I know, they had no choice in the matter. They had to. However, once I got him about a foot off the plane, they made like track sprinters heading out.
    As a footnote, he had a great time and we plan to do this again next year. Vegas, you can't beat it.
     
  7. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    [ May 13, 2003, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: chef ]
     
  8. Lynne in the Falls

    Lynne in the Falls Tourist

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    Chef
    Glad you had a great time. I have to give you credit where credit is due. I do home care myself and deal with alot of disabled. It's not always easy, but worth the good feeling that you were able to make difference. I'm sure your friend must appreciate you.... alot.
    I told you I'd see you in Vegas, I just wouldn't know it was you. If you would have mentioned you'd be accompanied by a wheel chair. I might have spotted you. We could have been in the Cal at the same time.We went there two days, and ate at The Pasta Pirate one of those days. Like two ships passing in the night.
    Glad your friend was lucky, you didn't say anything about cash though.
    Lynne in the Falls
     
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