Zombies vs the Apocalypse: A Trip Report

Poker Zombie

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Times are a-changin. In this new COVID world, we can either stay safe at home, or take appropriate precautions and live life while we still have it. When the Zombies planned to return to Las Vegas for our 10-12th time (I'm writing this in Vegas, so don't have the exact number with me) COVID popped up and shut everything down. As things reopened, this was a chance to venture out and see what the new world was like. So here we are, in Vegas letting you all know what the world outside is like, and more importantly, if it is even worth it.

We flew Southwest. They bounced our flight times around like a keno ball. I don't even need to play keno to know that it misses more than it hits, and our nonstop mid-day flight becomes an early morning trip changing planes in Denver. The only good thing about a 2 hour layover in Denver at 8 am, is the bartender makes a good breakfast martini.

Everyone on the flight was required to wear a mask. I'm good with this. @Mrs Poker Zombie made us some extremely comfortable masks that you can wear all day. Even better, Southwest is socially distancing their flights, so the middle seat is always left open. I know Delta and some other flights are not doing that, so Southwest for the win.
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Unfortunately, Southwest has temporarily moved away from serving on the flights. You can get ice water or nothing, so the cupholders on the inflight table wound up holding water. Now that breakfast martini doesn't sound so crazy, right?

Landing in Las Vegas, it quickly becomes apparent that they take mask wearing more seriously. The governor has mandated wearing them. Back home, I've heard someone say "They cant make me wear a mask, this isn't communist China". I told him they "Then they can't make me wear pants either!" and I unbuttoned my fly. He was uncomfortable with that, the same way I'm uncomfortable around a non-mask wearing public. In Vegas, it looks like I will be quite comfortable, as the airport has close to 99.5% mask wearing compliance.

The shuttle to the car rental facility is also socially distanced. An employee counts off the people in line making sure each bus is only about 50% full. They appear to be running twice an many busses as usual to make up the difference. The wait time is about the same as usual, but I have to admit that the number of people in the airport, while still busy, was not nearly as busy as I've seen it on other 4th of July weeks.

This trip was originally planned to see some parts of Vegas we have not often experienced, including some far off strip properties and restaurants. Our first stop, Chicago Joe's. Unfortunately, this old school italian eatery has been hit hard by COIVD and is closed. There is a sign saying they will be back, so we will only hope it's here on our next trip, but the grounds look largely uncared for.

I have a fall-back plan. A gastropub that helped inspire the Martini Lounge chip set, The Martini. Deep leather chairs, warm wood tones, well spaced tables, and perfect drinks.
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A sign on the door said masks were required for entry. It felt weird as I'm taking it off to eat, but I get it. Tennessee doesn't mandate it, and mask wearing compliance is closer to 15% there. I'm actually safer in Las Vegas than I am in a Tennessee grocery store.

For our foodies like @detroitdad , @FordPickup92 ,@toothpic , and @RocAFella1 (among others) I'll post these here and tag you, rather than reposting (which is bad) in the dinner thread.
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After lunch, we checked into out hotel. We originally planned to stay at the Red Rock, but since they haven't reopened their poker room, we changed our plans to go to the South Point. South Point also made a drastic slash to their resort fee ($14/night), so that made the decision easier.

The South Point has bowling. I'm a bad bowler, but I'll lose less money here than on poker. (Pics may be added later). Even though the closest people to us were 6 lanes away, masks were still required. They also sanitize their balls after each use. If @WedgeRock doesn't figure out another use for that line, call 9-1-1.

We also get in a little video poker. Very little, but enough that we both finished up. $2.50, combined. Look we're not high rollers, we're scientists doing a sociological study and trip report.

Dinner takes us into Vegas' little known Chinatown. I love this place. So many options, and unlike "regular" Asian restaurants. We went to Kung-Fu Thai Restaurant. Very few non-asian people here. I almost expect to see people heading into the backroom to a secret gambling parlor. Unfortunately, I am too interested in my food to notice the secret nod/handshake.
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We did walk by the Craps tables. I was tempted to play, because the chips appeared very, very clean (but worn). I will try to save my craps money until I get to the Paris. I hope to see some racks of Paris $1s in my future.

Day 1 analysis: Nearly everyone here takes the mask wearing seriously. The governor's order is only a week or so old, so it's too soon to determine if it will lower the number of COVID cases, and I won't be here in a month to determine if lazy human behavior makes masks less common. But for now, measures are being taken, and followed, even in the friggin' Walgreens, where we stopped for some bottled waters.
 

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toothpic

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Love the write up and glad to hear they are taking mask wearing seriously there. I can always appreciate pictures and descriptions of food. Have a fun and safe time, I can't wait to hear more about the trip!
 

Kain8

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Breakfast Martini sounds like a great name for a jazz band.

I look forward to more reports of the landscape there in the next few days!
 

FordPickup92

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Always love these trip threads, let's me live vicariously through others lol
Sounds like safety is on the positive side I'd things which is great news. The food looks fantastic, I'm pretty jealous haha
The airplane table top is an excellent idea, and looks great!
Hope you enjoy the trip, looking forward to the rwat if the updates! Maybe a few bowling shots thrown too :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

jr8719

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Looking forward to further updates — thanks for taking the time to write them! We have out first ever Vegas trip planned for next May... I'm really hoping things will be much more 'back to normal' by then.
 

Irish

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Very much appreciate this thread @Poker Zombie , we have a flight / trip booked in a few weeks and I was curious how things were out there. Off to a good start, looking forward to your updates, have a great trip!!!
 

JustDave

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would love some pics of the craps tables when you get there. I've seen the poker rooms, but as an avid craps player I worry about what it'll be like without a mass of people crowded around a table.
 

Mrs Poker Zombie

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would love some pics of the craps tables when you get there. I've seen the poker rooms, but as an avid craps player I worry about what it'll be like without a mass of people crowded around a table.
I plan to not play, as I'm a believer in positive energy of a crowd. There are dots where to stand. I think six max.
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Phyffe

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Thanks for posting. Was really interested in seeing how one of my fave towns is now.

Keep safe and keep wearing masks! Stay away from people who don't if you can.

BTW, the silk looks cool but I'd really feel better for you if you switch to at least a surgical mask or a KN95 =)

Looking forward to more pics!
 

BiGGyT

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Always the best trip reports, run good you 2, and look for the beluga gold martini (blue cheese olives, dry) at Bellagio in the cafe off the lobby.
 

Mrs Poker Zombie

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Thanks for posting. Was really interested in seeing how one of my fave towns is now.

Keep safe and keep wearing masks! Stay away from people who don't if you can.

BTW, the silk looks cool but I'd really feel better for you if you switch to at least a surgical mask or a KN95 =)

Looking forward to more pics!

They are quite protective. Silk is the strongest natural fiber. It is a good insulator. You can sneeze and nothing gets through, thus keeping others safe. The electrostatic properties are a reason I used silk. Plus the color compliments my eyes.:)
 

Poker Zombie

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Day 2: Some fun info, Food and Poker

Thursday starts off with a side trip to a Michaels craft store, to pick up some art supplies that Mrs Zombie left at home that she would like for days 3-4. This particular Michaels happens to be in the same parking lot at a Walmart. As I was driving, I wanted to stop and take a photo, as I saw something I simply could not believe:

People at Walmart were in compliance with mask rules.

I was stunned. It wasn't 100%, but as far as I know the one guy I saw that wasn't wearing one, may have taken it off already. The other 20 or so people were still masked up deep into the parking lot. Now, right or wrong, I feel if anyone would ignore mask rules it would be the people of Walmart. And these were real masks too. Not a maxi-pad taped across the face or a pair of underwear, but real masks.

This town seems to understand the importance of keeping their economy open.

Our next stop is way up in North Las Vegas. Although the greater Las Vegas area has 2.2 million people, it is a dot with a diameter of roughly only 20 miles. If you stay out of rush hour, you can get anywhere in the city in under a 1/2 hour. So driving 16 miles for lunch on the other side of the city isn't crazy.

Going to a place that looks like this may be...
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Yep, I can find the real dives. I question if many Vegas residents, like @Jackstraw have ever seen this place. Judging from the bars over the windows, I'm not in the tourist part of town.

By the way, the piece of paper on every red post, the sign on the door, the sign covering the open sign, and 3 (yes 3) signs to the right of the door all read the same. No more than 3 people allowed in the store at the same time.

When we got there at a little before 11 am (our tummies are still very much on Nashville time). There was only one other customer. By the time we left, there were about 20 in the store. I blame the post to the far right for not having a sign. At least every one of them was wearing a mask. Not one of those "chin masks" either. These people can't read, but they're not stupid.

Despite the name, we didn't come for burgers. They built their reputation on their wings. The restaurant has been cleared of all tables, so we had to drive to a nearby park before we could photograph the food.
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The wings were good. Not great, just good. Cooked perfectly, but the sauce was little more than Louisiana hot sauce and butter - basically the baseline for wings. The jalapeno poppers were also very good. Again a perfect cook, but jalapeno, cheese, and a basic breading makes a basic popper. It was just cooked as well as they could be cooked.

The park was named City View Park. I guess that's what you call a park while you are waiting for someone from North Las Vegas to do something famous. They're still waiting.
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We head back to the South Point, and it's time for poker. We were going to jump into a cash game, but based off the popularity of the Venetian's sit-n-gos, the South Point decided to run them as well. Since we prefer tournaments, we jumped in. They run fairly constantly, and the wait was maybe 15 minutes.
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No food permitted at the table, but drinks are OK. 5 player max. Cash games are capped at $3 ($1 at $10, $1 at $30 and $1 at $50). The SnG was raked at $10 for a $60 buy-in, and $15 for the $115 buy-in.

It was a fun couple of tournaments though. I really forgot that I was even wearing a mask after a while, which was obvious when I went to take a sip of my martini and bumped it into my mask. I did not bink, so I had time to strike up conversations with staff, including the guy handling sanitation protocol.
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Cards are cleaned on every dealer push. Spray sanitizer onto a towel, and wipe the cards front and back. Like oiling chips, but with a lot of sanitizer instead of a little oil. The chips are cleaned once a month by soaking them, spread out in a solution. No agitation, just a contact soak. My new friend "Joe" said "They say that the solution is good for 90 days" (emphasis his, not mine). "We soak them every 30, but still..."

He did not sound convinced. I would not pop a chip in my mouth. After seeing the T1000, Mrs Zombie made it a routine to sanitize her hands frequently between pots. She's smarter than I.

That's why I was talking about sanitization while she was still playing poker.

5 max, while short handed, gave a lot of elbow room at the tables. The South Point has bigger than normal tables too, according to a dealer who couldn't reach one players mucked cards. I could not confirm that, but I could believe that they were 9' tables. It was luxurious.

I'd love to show some Zombie winning stacks, but we forgot. Not the pic... to win.

For dinner, we headed back out. This time Fuku Burger. This place started off as a food truck, and now has 2 brick and mortar locations. This place would kill in any hotel-casino. It is fun, energetic, and they have Sailor Moon.
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Apparently it is also a tv show, and not just cosplay for @Anthony Martino.

The food was terrific. A real foodie's delight. There was no "normal" burger, unless Wasabi mayo is your normal. It will be mine now.
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The fries may be the best fries I've ever had. Togarashi garlic salt, serviced with ketchup and crack sauce. The crack sauce was little more than mayo, which wasn't as good as the Wasabi Mayo. I didn't have wasabi mayo on my burger, so I had to keep dipping my fries in Mrs Zombie's burger. I'm a bad dinner companion like that.

If I had a complaint, it would be the sloppiness of the burger. It dripped a lot. Do not wear your prom dress here, it could get messy. I literally used an entire napkin after every bite. They should offer to hose you down when you finish. Now admittedly, mine came with a fried egg, so take that into account. I just want to be hosed down by a cute girl in a Sailor Moon outfit.

A couple more quick stops heading back to the hotel to get provisions for tomorrow - namely wine and hard cheese from Total Wine and Whole Foods. Yep, it's going to get interesting tomorrow.

A couple free drinks at the bar, courtesy of the coupon book at check-in. Another COVID casualty - at least at South Point - all drinks are served in disposable cups. Drinking out of an improper vessel at the card table is one thing, but when you are "paying" for a drink, I expect my martini to be in a martini glass. But this one is free ($5 with the tip) and it helps keep dishwashers safe (or on furlough), so I won't bitch. A $50 win at video poker is a salve to help the pain of a plastic cup, and then we are back to the room. Oh look, I accidently bought 2 bottles of wine. I guess a nightcap in the room is in order. I don't think I'll post these photos though... :sneaky:
 

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Poker Zombie

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The trip report for days 3 and 4 will be delayed. After Mrs Zombie commented on my poker saying, "your play is like throwing money down a big hole", we drove to the Grand Canyon to test this theory.
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It would be easier at this point to just shout "Rebuy!", but I guess were going to walk down to try to get it back.

We will see you all in a couple of days!
 
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