Wheel of Fortune

Efren Danao

Efren Danao

LAS VEGAS: PH is very popular at The Strip of this Sin City. My first impulse upon seeing the huge “PH” sign was to shout hallelujah in exultation. Unfortunately, PH stands not for the Philippines but for Planet Hollywood, a casino-hotel.

I’ve also been reading “BS” a lot in commentaries here. My initial thought was that President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino 3rd had become popular even in the United States.

Fortunately or unfortunately, they’re not referring to our President. I guess I was wrong in believing that there’s only one BS in the world. But what the heck, our President will always be THE “BS” anyway.

My daughter Irene booked me and my wife Lynn to a three-night stay at the Paris Casino Hotel at The Strip. I played “Casino War,” which had the lowest minimum bet among all card games there. Luck was with me because the lady dealer showed a lot of skin. When she dealt me a card, I didn’t know whether I should look at the card or at her cleavage. My fortune went a notch higher when in came a Filipina with an even bigger “bumper” and a skimpier get-up offering drinks to players. Well, a lot of skin in casinos and other entertainment centers is to be expected in this Sin City. Unfortunately, these distractions cost me most of my bets. Fortunately, the money was not mine but Irene’s.

Irene, a pharmacist at Walgreens, also bought for me and Lynn tickets for what’s called the Buffet of Buffets. This entitled us to enjoy buffets for 24 hours at any of the participating dining establishments at Paris, Planet Hollywood, Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo and The Quad. My acquaintances would be surprised to see me with more girth when I return. My neurologist, however, will definitely be dismayed for she had always advised me to lose weight.

Oh yes, Lynn and I are on vacation here courtesy of our children Irene and Ryan who wanted to give us advance “blow-out” for our wedding anniversary in January. Ryan, who’s in the Navy, would be on board a destroyer during our wedding anniversary and it would not make sense to celebrate it with an incomplete family. Well, Irene, her boyfriend Jerry Lopez, their five-year-old son Joshua, Ryan, his wife Shayne and their daughter Yen-Yen, 8, Lynn and I really whooped it up as we made the most of a rare time when all of us were together. My niece Nora Bocalbos and her daughter Nikki who just came from Chicago, joined us.

Eat your heart out, for we went to Disneyland in Anaheim where we stayed for three days, Universal Studios, Soak City, Redondo Beach and SeaWorld in San Diego. That week-long bonding provided us welcome relief from the stifling heat of Las Vegas that even reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit once. I was told that 75 degrees during daytime is normal in summer in San Diego. When it reaches early evening, the temperature would go down to high or mid-60s. But more than escaping from the heat in Las Vegas, those days made me enjoy more the company of my two grandchildren while feeling young at heart in Disney and Universal. The shouts and laughter of Yen-Yen and Joshua will always echo in my mind.

At Disney, during the regular 6 p.m. parade, a special child jumping up and down caught my attention. She was evidently very excited at seeing popular Disney characters on parade. Then I saw something that made me realize that Disney was more than pageantry.

Many of the characters in the parade went to where the girl was and either exchanged high fives with her or gave her a hug. Those gestures to a special child were most heart-warming. Thank you, Disney characters for giving me, and I believe a lot of others too, that “feel good” moment.

A sign on the street leading towards the SeaWorld entrance reads: “Pedestrians, please use sidewalk. Vehicle use only.” How different this is from the unwritten directive on Metro Manila streets: “Pedestrians, please use street. Sidewalk for vendors only.”

On our way back to Las Vegas, we took our dinner at the Jollibee Restaurant in San Diego. All of us are agreed that the service of Jollibee in San Diego was a lot faster and better than that of Jollibee in Las Vegas.

Incidentally, Philippine Airlines has stopped plying the Manila-Las Vegas route. Perhaps, PAL no longer finds the route profitable, what with Manny Pacquiao seemingly averse at fighting here. Filipinos in this Sin City who want to fly PAL must go first to either San Francisco or Los Angeles to do so.



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