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Week One in Las Vegas

Today is my first week living in Las Vegas and back in the USA. Now is time to update my readers on my activities. On the last article, I mentioned about going to the M Resort and casino for the buffet dinner. Well as planned we went. It is not a huge seating area as I have seen in places like Circus Circus, but it is nicer and less crowded. Also the M Resort is in Henderson and was built to cater to the people living and their visitors from this area.

The Resort is nice and the casino is well lighted. We did not have to wait for a table since we arrived around 4pm on a Thursday evening. We were seated, ordered out beverages and then I was off to scout out the fare.  At one end was salads and I helped myself to mushroom salad, Greek salad, some Antipasto and some muscles. I figured to start light. I also learned in my past, a good way not to get stuffed too quickly is to put a little on your plate, eat, relax and the return for the next serving. If you fill up your plate and eat quickly, you will get full and not get to enjoy too much. I also got a glass of white Zinfandel wine since wine is free at the buffet.

Next I went for the good stuff, I had a slice of Prime Rib and Tri Tip. The prime rib was good, but the Tri Tip was excellent. I had forgotten over the two years in Davao what good beef tastes like. I also had some mashed sweet potatoes since they are not available in the Philippines.

My third trip I took some Bratwurst with cooked apples, Kielbasa with sauerkraut and also some Turkey.  I also found two types of Salmon, one baked on bamboo and some in a marinade, both were delicious.  I finally ordered a cup of decaffeinated coffee and tried a few desserts. Elena and my mother would be proud of me. In the past I would try to sample all the desserts and get more of the items I liked best, this night I had only three; a pistachio tart, chocolate cake and a fruit tart.

I was comfortably full but not where I felt sick. Later while trying to sleep, because of the richer foods then I am used to, I did get heartburn and needed my glass of water and baking soda.

After dinner we walked around, I watched Jane enjoy her favorite slot machine, and after she was done, we walked to Bill’s machine of choice. They did not play too long and soon we were on our way home.

Since I needed my Nevada drivers license, Friday morning Bill and Jane drove me to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to get my license. He gave me Jane’s cell phone so they could run errands while I was there and for me to call them once I was done. This process took about 3 hours and once complete I called them and a few minutes later they were there. I went with them to a mall for them to do some shopping and from there they took me to a Fry’s a large electronic store to get a wireless unit for my desktop and a few other items I needed. Once home Jane prepared dinner for us. After that I moved off to my room to continue to get organized and to relax.

Saturday I was just around the house setting up my computers, and trying to get organized some more. In the afternoon we took a drive around and on our return, since it was getting to be dinner time I ask to stop at Del Taco. This is a fast food Mexican restaurant similar to Taco Bell but mainly in the South West. I had not eaten this food since I lived in California and I missed their food.

Originally Sunday evening a Filipino couple of Jane is friends with was going to take us to a buffet for Mother’s Day, but the wife was not feeling well. Instead Bill and Jane took me to South Point Casino and Hotel for their Seafood Buffet but when we arrived the line was very long and  not moving. Instead we headed over to their “Oyster Bar.” They both ordered oysters and other items but I just had a bowl of New England clam chowder and a dish of shrimp, crab legs over wild rice in a spicy tomato sauce. It was delicious. When I tried to pay for dinner I was told “You need to watch your money and build a savings.” I replied I would take them to dinner with my first paycheck. They agreed with a smile.

Monday morning, we went online and printed my DMV driving record. It was nice, I had my license for a weekend and it was still clear of tickets. We then went to two taxi companies for me to apply. The first wanted my DOT heath certificate before I could apply. We then went to the company Bill drives for and after I filled in my application, I was interviewed and allowed to go to the next step. These were first to go to a lab for a drug screening. The next step was the next morning to go for a Physical exam to get my DOT health certificate. Once these were done I returned to the taxi company and I was given study guides and instructions for the Taxi Authority testing to get my “TA” card. The test is about the laws for taxi drivers and knowledge of the city, hotel locations and best routes to go from place to place. I am not studying maps and locations, attractions and need to know the Strip Clubs locations for the test.

Monday evening Jane and I went to Silverado Casino and hotel. The buffet line was too ling so we ended up at a 70’s style hamburger restaurant. I had a Philly Cheese steak and fries. At first, still because I have been away for over two years and think with peso mentality, I thought $9.99 for a sandwich was expensive, but not only am I in the States, and in Las Vegas, I am also in a hotel casino. The sandwich was good and I missed the taste.

Over the past few days, I have been visiting Motor Scooter dealers. In most of the US, if allowed, motor scooters with a 49 cc motor that cannot travel over 35 mile per hour do not need to be registered, do not need insurance and the driver does not need a motorcycle license or need to wear a helmet. I also learned there are scooters that have large engines and can travel at high speeds. The difference between a motorcycle and a scooter is wheel size and you can set through to be seated, you do not have to lift a leg over the seat.

Except for not being able to drive on the Freeways, I can get around the city on surface streets and can save a lot of money than getting a used car that will have repair expenses and need insurance.  After seeing sizes, styles and prices, I settled for one in the middle. I also had a storage unit installed on the rear and purchased a helmet.

Driving home was fun and had little trouble. The hard part is you need to stay in the right lane, which is fine except when you want to be in a left turning lane. Then you need to get across multiple lanes of bigger, heavier and faster vehicles.

On the way back I stopped at New York – New York Hotel and Casino.  Being raised in New York I really miss a good Hot Pastrami sandwich on rye bread. Walking into a casino is confusing; you really need to pay attention to where you entered to be able to get back to your parking. When I entered the parking structure I asked the attendant where I should park. He pointed around the corner on that level and mentioned they have a bicycle rack and I can lock it up there instead of going to the 4th floor area for motorcycles. I then entered the hotel and walked around. I finally found Greenberg’s Deli. I ordered hot pastrami on rye bread and it came with NY style potato salad and a good kosher dill pickle. Yum!

I started back to the parking and got to the elevator.  I pressed 1 and nothing happened. I finally took the stairs from 3 to 1 and found out it was an employee parking level and you need a pass card to open a gate. I then climbed up the stairs back to 3 and walked down the drive ramps to get down to 1. This taught me a lesson.

When I got home, I received a phone call from a cousin I had not heard from in many years. When I lived in New York I used to visit him and his family in Rochester New York and I was  even an usher at his older brother’s wedding. I was shocked to hear from him for a few reasons, first it has been a long time, second was how he knew I was in Las Vegas and last, how did he have my cell number, I only bought the phone yesterday. It turned out he reads my blog even if he never commented and he was in Las Vegas on business. He had called my mother and she gave him my number. So, I put my helmet back on and off I puttered to meet him at his hotel. Thankfully, he is staying at a hotel real close to where I live. We drove up to the Strip, walked around and then had a bite to eat. It was good seeing him and catching up on each other’s life.

Tomorrow I will go to the VA, veterans office to get my medical card and inquire about getting a physical and maybe look into some concerns. Greg, the friend I wrote about a few weeks ago helped me with my application and true to his words; I am now covered with medical insurance.

As for my loving Elena, we video chat every day, and depending on each other’s schedule, we try every morning and evening. She is fine but as you all can imagine, we both miss each other very much. She voted Monday and she told me of the long lines and the new voting machines. She has kept me up on the counting and who is in the lead.

I will continue to keep you updated on my life and how all is going. Thank you for continuing to read my site even if I am not longer in Davao.

36 Responses to “Week One in Las Vegas”

  1. m60man says:

    Glad to hear your getting settled. Everything here is same. Hot (init) and humid today. Made a trip to BOI (immigrations) today. That was actually pretty pleasent. I’ll save that for a article this week. Good luck on the Taxi job. Oh, that Pastrami on Rye has my mouth watering. Miss that. Rob

    • Bruce says:

      Rob,
      I had forgotten how a hotter temperature feels cooler without humidity and how cold it gets at night being in the desert. Today I was scooting around on my scooter. The high today was 79 F degrees and the humidity was 14%. I am glad I was wearing a light jacket because with the wind on the scooter, even though I can only go 35-40mph it was chilly. Last night when I met my cousin and was driving home on the scooter at midnight it was about 63 F degrees.
      Looking forward to your article since most readers want to know about life there, not Las Vegas.

  2. jeff says:

    Caesar’s Palace always had the best buffet. One of the more pricey buffets in Vegas but yummy. You keep hitting those buffets Elena won’t recognize you when you gain a bunch of weight. lol… That is my problem going there I always feel like I have to get more than my moneys worth and cheat the place by pigging out. Did not know you could not get sweet potatoes in the Philippines. I thought all veggies were available there. Good luck in you job finding efforts.

    • Bruce says:

      Jeff,
      I have never tried the Caesar’s buffet. There is now a flat fee for a group of hotels buffets. You buy a card and you can eat at any of the groups buffets all day for all meals. I pigged out but with more control than in my past. Maybe it is true the stomach shrinks and after 2 1/2 years in the Philippines, eating smaller meals and losing 50 pounds, I cannot eat as much.
      In the Philippines there is Comote, their sweet potato, but if you do not mash well using a blender, it has a gritty feel when you eat it.

      • jeff says:

        I’m sure you will try Caesar’s buffet since you are right there. I haven’t been to Vegas in a while but it use to be for an additional 3 dollars you could get a whole lobster along with the buffet. Good stuff.

        • Bruce says:

          Jeff,
          I guess over time I will get to try most of the buffets. I do not want to go often since I want to keep my low Philippine weight and not gain back all I lost.

  3. m60man says:

    You can get Sweet Potatoes here. One of my construction helpers is bringing me some starts for my garden this week. Already have harvested many egg plants and onions. Very lami (yummy).

    • jeff says:

      I agree m60man, there is nothing like growing your own and enjoying the fruits of your labor so to speak. We only have a few months of growing season here in Ohio, USA and I hope to get all my goodies planted this weekend.

      • m60man says:

        If I were back in Indiana thats what I would be doing, getting a few tomato plant in and some other goodies. Here I can grow year round.

        • jeff says:

          That would be the nice thing about the Philippines being able to grow year round. Is your yard fenced? Gene & Viol that post here told me that the poor people will steal your stuff right off of the vine when you are not looking.

          • m60man says:

            There’s always that posibility. I have barbed wire on 3 sides and just finishing a concrete and iron gated fence on the road side. I’m building outside of the city. Country (province) living, cooler and peace and quite. My closest neighbor is another American, about 100 yards from me. The other 3 sides are a mango orchard and open undeveloped land dotted with coconut tress and bananas. The other neighbors are a good 3 hundred yards away. I have never had a problem during the 8 months of construction. We are there only during the day working. We hope to move in this next week. I have a very good relationship with the locals there. That helps tremendously.

          • Bruce says:

            M60man,

            Good luck on the move-in. Wheres my articles? 🙂

  4. Marcel says:

    Hi Bruce, you article made me really hungry today. LOL You make it really difficult to watch my diet, I’ve got such a cravings for some of the delicatessens you mention.
    Any issues readjusting to US lifestyle? Just wondering, in my life I’ve moved twice between Canada and Europe and each time it was a culture shock that took a year to readjust.

    • Bruce says:

      Marcel,
      I am not having too much adjustment except I do not see as many pretty ladies. Also back in Davao you got more smiles and recognition being a “Gwapo Foreigner,” here I am just an old man with gray hair.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Hey enjoy the food trip, you deserve after being deprive of such treats in the Philippines. Just watch the calories after you get tired of the buffet, but for now, eat all you can lol.

    • Bruce says:

      Vanessa,
      I am even enjoying Burger King. Last night I met my cousin and he was hungry, he stopped at Denny’s. I am still not impressed with their food or service. I see even though Vegas has changed, Denny’s is still the same.

      • Vanessa says:

        Yah i’m not a big fan of Denny’s either since i don’t eat heavy breakfast, i’m quite satisfied with cereal. But when i crave for a good pancake and eggs i prefer IHOP or Mcdonalds. I’m staying at Luxor with my coworker don’t know how far it is from where you’re staying. Do you have a mobile phone where i can reach you???

  6. don m. says:

    All this talk of food is going to cause me to put weight back on–bad news! I do like rye bread and corned beef. It is still intresting reading you blog. I quess Im just hooked on you writing style. Ha ha. I’ve been out pulling weeds and roto tilling all day so your life sounds like a lot more fun. It was also 79 here today.

    • Bruce says:

      Don,
      Just chew it and spit it out, then you can enjoy the taste without gaining weight. It is hot this weekend here in Vegas but with the low humidity it is a pleasure compared to high humidity. Thanks for the continued visits.

  7. BrSpiritus says:

    Sounds like you are living it up over there. I will be heading off to Ak next week hopefully. I’ll keep in touch though. Sorry I lost contact but I stepped off the plane into a world of shite and life is only now getting back to normal.

  8. Marvin says:

    Bruce just be careful of all the no smoking areas now. When I went back to Oregon for a month I was shocked by all the rules I forgot about, can’t sit here, don’t walk there, must wear shoes, no sleeveless shirts…etc, etc., couldn’t wait to get back to all the trash burning, littering, peeing on the wall, gun toting, beautiful “slim” girls everywhere PI.

    • Bruce says:

      Marvin,
      Las Vegas has little no smoking areas. Some casinos have some no smoking zones, but most of the town is ok. The difference now is I am not smoking. I am on Chantex and have not had a cigarette for a few weeks. Now when I am out I smell it everywhere.

      I know what you mean, I understand missing all the bad things, what is worng with the US, everything is cleaner. I realized you cannot look at young girls here as in the Philippines and smile. Here you will be arrested, punched or labeled a pedophile.

  9. Caesar says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I am glad you are doing fine there in Vegas. I am sure in a couple of weeks, you will be working on a regular basis for a taxi company.

    Talking about food you ate at the places you mentioned, really made me hungry….I hope I can have a taste of em stuff….ever if I get to Vegas….

    Anyway, take care Bruce. I wish you the best in your employment there.

    Caesar Erel Macahilig
    Davao City, Philippines

    • Bruce says:

      Caesar,
      I am going through the process with 2 taxi companies. They have different pre training for the Taxi Authority test. This way I get double the training. Then I need to decide which company since the TA permit is company specific.

      I hope you do make it to the US to try the foods here. Hopefully it will be with a job an in or close to Vegas so we can continue our friendship in person again.

  10. ian says:

    Bruce- how did your meeting with Vanessa go ?
    It must be a big comfort to you to be able to meet with friends there in Las Vegas.

  11. ian says:

    Bruce- yes she did.

  12. Brad says:

    Hi Bruce,

    It’s a good thing you’re enjoying the hot days and cool nights there in Vegas now because July and August are like living on the friggin sun.

    • Bruce says:

      Brad,
      100 degress in Las Vegas with low humidity is still more tolerable than 90 degrees with high humidity.

  13. Caesar Ere Macahilig says:

    Hello Bruce! How are you doing my friend?

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