To be honest, I haven’t flown a whole lot in the last ten years, so I figured the post 9/11 measures that still exist would also be an extra pain in the rear with Pandemic-related stuff.
I was pleasantly surprised that, aside from having to keep these infernal masks on, that everything else was procedurally normal; no clandestine rooms with secondary temperature checks, and certainly no one claiming I have a shadow ambassadorship and demanding I submit to “alternate and invasive Covid testing.”
So on to Spirit Airlines we headed. For the most part, a trip like this is part entertainment and part reconnaissance, as I have a latent hop of actually getting on the televised off-shoot Penn & Teller have created, Fool Us.
I needed to get the vibe of Vegas—at least a daytime version of it. Of all people to have never seen that place in their five decades, you’d think a Magician that lives in a border state would have at least seen it a few times.
Of course, it would have been better to have seen it during its RatPack/Elvis Presley/Art Deco period, but I’ll take what I can get.
The most “Vegas” thing that happened actually happened in the cab ride over to the Rio. First and foremost— the TV screen and credit-card payment portal on the back of the passenger seat was not lost on me as the first “slot machine” I’d witness after the airport. And believe me, I lost big.
Our driver was from Thailand, or at least that’s what I think he said. He kept reassuring me that the ride would not exceed “27 dolla,” which is simply an acknowledgment to his dialect, but was also one of the clearest things I could make out.
“Not more then 27 dollars?” I’d ask.
“No, only if we stall,” he said. “Then, goes down.”
“Oh,” I said. “So 27 dollars is the most I’ll pay, and possibly less, right?”
“27 dolla is flat rate,” he said. “I cannot charge more.”
He pulls up to the front of the Rio, as I pull out my card.
“30 dolla with card,” he said. “Only if pay cash, you pay 27.”
If I had been drinking something, I would have spit it all over the car. Every last cent of that ride was worth it.