Our trip to Los Angeles and Las Vegas
This is the official document that describes the trip taken in November, 2000.
Cast of Characters:
David Flapan (narrator)
Grandma Flora Flapan (narrator's paternal Gma)
In Los Angeles-
Cheryl (df's cousin)
David Lewis (cheryl's husband)
Danny, Mikey, Benji (Cheryl & David's kids, aged 9, 6, 5)
The above all live in Calabas, CA.
Julie (df's cousin, Cheryl's sister)
Andy Feig (Julie's husband) These two live in West Hollywood.
Uncle Marshall and Aunt Judy
Valerie, Suzanne, Wendy (df's cousins, all sisters, all single)
In Las Vegas-
We don't know anyone else there anymore. All other characters are there
through cameo appearances.
Gma and I arrived in LA around 5:30 post meridian. We took a shuttle
to our hotel, the Calabasas Country Inn, and arrived around 7. Grandma was beat, so she
ordered a club sandwich and stayed in.
I was picked up by Uncle Marshall and David Lewis. We got Chinese takeout at a local
restaurant. I held it in my lap for the ride home. It sure was hot!
When we got back to their house, we all exchanged greetings. It was
then that it was pointed out that I had puddles on my khakis. That
wacky Chinese food leaked! Cheryl attempted to wash it out. She gave
me some of David's pants in the meantime, and a few other articles that
he didn't use.
The Chinese food was inexplicably good, and we had fun playing with the
kids. I then helped put them to bed, and read them a story.
Got back to the hotel around 10. Read, watched telly, then slept.
After a standard breakfast at the hotel, we went over to the Lewis
Casa. We hung and schmoozed, then went to a movie. They saw the
Grinch, I just walked across the hall to Charlie's Angels (was decent).
Went back to change/prepare.
Arrived at Casa Lewis at 4:30ish.
19 people were present. After a marvelous toast from the host, we
feasted on a delicious meal of corn, salad, green beans, stuffing,
potatoes, gravy, and turkey! Desert consisted of
brownies & cookies. 2 pumpkin pies were made, but were not served, as
they were not done (I didn't care, i indulged anyway, and still called
them yummy). Then we hung and caught up for a few hours.
We got back to the hotel around 10. Just in time for ER!
Spent the day hanging with the kids, reading, eating, playing running
bases. Went over to the Julie/Andy Casa around 4:30. Schmoozed for an
hour, left for the airport, arrived in Vega$ at 8.
For the first time (this is Vega$ trip number 8), we rented a car. From
> Enterprise, we got a silver Suzuki.
We stayed at the Aladdin.
Once one of the legendary hotels, the Aladdin
had gotten quite old, and was imploded in 1998. Reborn in September
2000, we lodged there shortly after its grand opening. As with all of
the new hotels in this city, no expense was spared, the opulence was
apparent in all of the details. The theme is Arabic. The door handles
and faucets were shaped like little bottles that hold genies. The tv
included four Arabic channels. The decor was very colorful, and the
hallways were carpeted with a design that resembled magic carpets,
complete with fringe.
Connected with the hotel was an area called Desert Passage. It features
over 120 shops, 15 restaurants, and an area where a desert storm,
complete with thunder and rain, occurs every half hour. We ate dinner
in the food court (she had Chinese, I had pizza).
That evening, she played the slots at the hotel, while I walked around
the hotel, and then around the MGM, which was next door. I thought
about checking out their club, Studio 54, but didn't, mostly because - I
had already been there, and - it was a $20 cover.
After a normal, relatively subdued breakfast at the Aladdin's coffee
shop (where they were selling bottled Frappucino for $2.50, I said i
couldn't believe that, the waiter said 'I know,' I said 'I may as well
go the Starbucks next door and get the real thing,' he said 'I know,' so
I did!), we drove to Mandalay Bay.
After Gma and I selected a spot to meet, I walked over to the Events
Center, where they were staging the final day of the Federation Cup!
The Fed Cup is an international team tennis event (similar to Davis Cup,
but for women). I saw 3 matches. Lindsay Davenport beat Conchita
Martinez, Jennifer Capriati beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, and then
Jennifer teamed up with Lisa Raymond to beat Virginia Ruano-Pascual with
Magui Serna in doubles. So the USA beat Spain 5 matches to love
(including the previous day's). Despite the fact that i had a ticket
for a $35 seat, I was able to scam a seat in the $75 area, by
sweet-talking some of the security, who didn't care much anyway, as the
venue was only 60% full. Enjoyed watching the tennis, took some
pictures (to be posted on the celebs page later), and schmoozed with
some fellow tennis fans.
After a few hours to refresh, Gma and I went to the Aladdin's buffet.
After bypassing the 45 minute wait (by Gma scamming the hosts by saying
that she was old and couldn't stand), we paid $19 each. It was worth
it, as there were 10 food stations (Mexican, American, Middle Eastern,
Italian, Salad, Desert, etc.), all with several delicious items.
Then we drove to downtown Vega$. We arrived at the Golden Nugget
Casino, where we saw legendary comedian
David Brennerin concert. He played to a house of 200 souls (of the venue's
500 seat capacity). Gma loved his brand of comedy, I thought it was decent. We got pix after
(more fodder for celebs page!).
Then we drove to the Venetian hotel. We marveled at the opulent
paintings everywhere, even the ceilings! Gma played for another 3
hours, while I checked out C2K (Club 2000), the Venetian's nightclub.
Somewhat crowded, I people watched, walked around, and got some dancing
in too. We arrived back around 3.
Today Gma wanted to go to a casino where she had some luck in the past,
and where she had good memories of the past. So, at her request, I took
her to the first casino ever in Vegas, as honored in "Bugsy" (1992), to
After selecting a meeting point, I drove around and enjoyed my first
experience with my own (rented) wheels in Vegas. I paid a visit to the
Guiness Book of World Records Museum, where I saw exhibits based on the
incredible feats chronicled in the book. After spending an hour, I
drove around some more, and stopped at the University of Nevada at Las
Vegas. After walking around a bit, I checked out the library, and sure
enough, I found a computer lab. Despite the fact that one needed a
login and password of a student to access the system, naturally I got
around that, and proceeded to enjoy the simple pleasures of perusing my
We then enjoyed dinner at Tony Roma's. Yes i know it
a chain, but we love barbecue, and the chain is not in Chicago, so there.
Then we saw that there was a show going on at the Plaza hotel,
consisting of magic, comedy, and dancing, all performed by women.
Even though Gma always raved about the Folies Bergere, she decided to
feed her slots habit. So we arranged to meet later. I enjoyed the
show. Turned out that I liked it more than i thought i would. And that
Gma prolly would have liked it less that we thought she would.
And that is all i better say about that here.
We came home. A sold out flight. We saw "The Kid" on the plane. Good
enough to pass the time.
My dad met us at the airport, where Gma always takes a wheelchair. We
were supposed to meet at the baggage claim. But Gma didnt show up!
Even after all the suitcases were claimed and in Dad's car, no Gma!
Turned out she and the wheelchair handler were stuck in an elevator! It
was for almost a 1/2 hour. Then they came out, and all was well. So
that was our little excitement.
Overall, we both had a terrific time, we immensely enjoyed and
appreciated the hospitality of all of our hosts, and it was cathartic to
relax like that.
See you again next year!