Tag Archives: Las Vegas

Leaving Vegas

The morning after our wonderful Thai meal from Lotus of Siam, I was up at 5 am sharp. My brother John helped me down to the lobby with my luggage and we sat and chatted while I waited for the shuttle. John’s been my little brother for almost fifty years now (come August!) and I couldn’t adore him more; saying goodbye is never easy.

The ride to airport was interesting, as the young shuttle driver explained why he had traded life in Hawaii for Las Vegas. He dropped me at the Southwest terminal and after checking my bag I made my way through security. It always takes a few extra minutes, as I request a pat down rather than strolling through the all body scanner. I’ve heard various arguments as to the amount of radiation one is actually subjected to, but as I get spiral CT scans every six weeks, any additional exposure is not welcome.

As we queued up according to the complex algorithm Southwest has devised for boarding (status, an additional ten dollar fee, or how quickly you can reserve a spot twenty four hours prior to departure), I noticed Peter’s orthodontist and his son John (who is the receptionist) in the other B group. “Dr. Beinoras! Hello! Peter lost his retainer!” Funny that; I knew they were on vacation as I’d called the office a week earlier when the retainer first went missing. However, I didn’t expect to run into them in Vegas.

The first leg of the flight was totally uneventful:  I slept. I wasn’t looking forward to a four hour layover in Baltimore, but figured I’d get a crab cake as consolation. However, our flight got in a few minutes early and when I consulted the console, I noticed an earlier flight to my destination in Manchester, NH. I quickly made my way to that gate (they were just about to board) and inquired as to whether or not they might have room for me. A moment later, Dr. Beinoras and and his son John (and wife Sandy) were by my side making the same inquiry.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

As we stood and chatted I got a text message from my brother John, along with a photo. John and Amanda had a later flight than mine, and when John had gone out to the rental car to load their luggage, he noticed something odd. A police report was attached to the rear view mirror, the front end of the car was up on cinder blocks, and somebody had taken two of the wheels. OH Vegas.

I got on the earlier flight without a hitch, but the Beinoras family would have faced a hefty surcharge so they lingered in Baltimore. As I was the second to last person on the plane I took (the dreaded!) middle seat between a young man and an older woman. They were both holding books, and as I glanced at the young man’s I saw that it was titled Inferno. “A little lite reading?” I asked—assuming it was the Inferno, the one by Dante. Ha, the joke was on me. The author was Dan Brown, of The Davinci Code.

Well, it’s good to see a young person reading; just about any form of literature will do. And with that introduction, we were soon talking about everything under the sun. One thing led to another (as it always does in a good conversation). As he described some of his ‘adventures’ I countered with a few tales about my eldest son (no name mentioned). The young man asked me if I knew where Ipswich, Massachusetts was. Oh sure, we’d lived there for eleven years. He said his Grandpa was the police chief. I said I’d probably spoken to him (related to one of my eldest son’s indiscretions).  And then I asked if he knew the harbor master, and the young man said sure, he’s my uncle.

“Your uncle is a hard ass!” I said (he heartily agreed), and I told him how my son and some friends had been seen throwing a traffic barrel into the harbor (by the harbor master), and he’d hauled them off to jail. Well, the young man asked me what my son’s name was, and when I told him he laughed and said, “I know August (my son)”. In fact, they’d likely been coconspirators a time or too. I turned to the older woman and said, “The next time I start gossiping about one of my children on an airplane, I better make certain the person I’m speaking to doesn’t know them!”. It’s a crazy small world sometimes.

Vegas! Lotus of Siam!

I have been dawdling, aka, procrastinating. If I don’t hurry up and write about my brief time in Las Vegas, I shall forget all the salient details.

A night in Vegas was borne of necessity. David thoughtfully made my reservations for this trip but had booked a flight on Sunday morning that left Vegas at 7:30 a.m. If you  subtract the two hours it takes to drive from St. George, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada—add back an hour (different time zones), and then allow for a six thirty a.m. arrival at the airport, I would have been catching a shuttle at 5 in the morning. If there was one.

Well, my very thoughtful brother John decided this was unacceptable. John and his wife Amanda would be spending Saturday night in Vegas anyway, and he changed their room to a suite with a pullout bed. He even offered to ferry me to the airport in the morning, but the 6 am shuttle was going to be just fine.

That night the three of us went out for a meal that has earned a spot in my top ten ever. And having lived in the Bay Area of California for quite a few years (where fine dining is a given), that’s saying something.

The name of the restaurant was Lotus of Siam. Located in a strip mall, it didn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, I would have expressed a wee bit of concern. All part of the charm. The unimposing facade opened into two large and noisy dining rooms, and the smells wafting through the air were inviting.

Lemon grass, beer and chardonnay

Lemon grass, beer and chardonnay

After a bit of a wait at the bar (where I nursed a sickly sweet lemon grass drink–sans alcohol), we were ushered to a table. Amanda is of Thai and French descent, and well versed in Thai cooking. She is also very picky (girl knows what she likes), so we were eager to see if the food met her high standards.

John and Amanda started with Snowmaiden Sake, which is served cold and unfiltered. As this was Vegas, I had a tiny, tiny bit. Delicious. And then the food: Chicken satay (mind-blowingly good) spicy chicken wings, som thum–a salad made from green papaya, chilis, tomato, and crushed peanuts mixed with lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Sticky rice, larb (the only dish that was underwhelming), chicken pad thai (sublime), a spicy mango salad with fresh coconut, thom yum koong–a hot sour soup with shrimp, lime juice, lemon grass and straw mushrooms (superb) and chicken panang, with coconut milk, Thai basil and chili–savory sweet and omg delicious. We finished with the freshest coconut ice cream ever.

If my taste buds hadn’t been in such a state of sensual bliss, I might have had the presence of mind to take a photo. As it is, you will just have to close your eyes and imagine. And by the way, Lotus of Siam got Amanda’s seal of approval.

Well, that was our Vegas experience. Next up: leaving Vegas.