Judy Kay-Wolff

Return of the Zombies

Never before (over a sixty year span) do I recall ever vacating a bridge locale before the planned checkout day. It is a gross understatement to note the world has changed drastically and in many aspects it has been reflected in the bridge atmosphere.

Most people (especially locals like ourselves with post time at 10:00 a.m.) opted for the convenience of staying at the on-site LV hotel as the rates appeared quite fair (and free parking to locals). To ‘old folks’ like ourselves, the thought of commuting for six days was far from ideal.

No specific major complaints about the administrative staff, room service, elevator convenience, etc… but I must recount my own experience.

In recent years, I’ve requested a handicapped room considering our tender ages for bathing facilities and safety access. However, this one was minus a bathtub, so I ventured into the shower which had a bench, curtain and totally level floor and drain. Somehow, unaccustomed as I am to mobile shower heads with attachments, the water came gushing out in torrents… and to quote Samuel Taylor Coleridge… “Water, Water everywhere…”. Luckily no damage or injury… just a scene reminiscent of Lake Tahoe. Fortunately a plethora of towels saved the day!

Excepting Monday, when we met an early demise, we played the next three days on six-man teams… and when sitting out routinely descended from the 18th floor followed by a tiring trek to the playing site rooting for good results. Our teammates were delightful gentlemen and we all got a kick out of beating two celebrated superstar teams in a row. However, in the third event we were in contention but finished 2nd overall in the W/Th KO Finals losing by two IMPS. I found it very frustrating as it involved an opponent’s cue bid purportedly non alertable by the the powers on high and we might have reached a better contract which may or may not have made. The opponents did nothing wrong and even if they had alerted, I would have made the identical bid. As they say… so close and yet so far! Enough belly-aching… coincidentally apropos to my next issue: Dining.

People were complaining vociferously about food price gouging. In fact, I thought someone was joshing when they stated the cost of a banana was four bucks. If so, it should be repeeled! Another negative aspect that was during crucial hours for bridge players, many of the hotel restaurants often had long lines and were enormously understaffed. This applied to both morning and evening.

At the start of the week, after unpacking, getting settled, playing and having an early dinner… we retired to our room, plopped onto the bed, activated our Sleep Apnea Machines and slept twelve straight hours. In a rush to not be late for the morning session, we hustled to the Food Court on the hotel concourse level to grab a quick breakfast. Surprise, surprise… thirty-four bucks for so-so omelettes, a piece of toast each and two cups of coffee! Akin to walking away with egg on one’s face!

We did dine at The Thai Experience three times for dinner as I adored one of their chicken dishes with peanut sauce. Bobby has always enjoyed wine with his evening meal and with so many excellent competitive restaurants in Summerlin, wine and other liquor are reasonably priced. Not so at the hotel. It was $17 the first night for a rather small portion and when we returned the following evening, they were sold out. Bobby agreed to the $21 upgrade which was good but tasted the same. It is not about money, believe me! Restaurants have to do these things to keep their heads above water.

After moving to Vegas, Bobby and I would on occasion visit the local casinos half hour before dinner and play Blackjack where we have held our own. However, quite by chance we learned of an intriguing version called Blackjack Switch and it immediately became our favorite; by coincidence it was offered at The Paris… approximately two blocks away from Bally’s and convenient to reach by an enclosed passageway between the hotels! But (and most shaggy dog stories start with ‘but’)… the area was adorned on both sides by countless stores and a variety of unusual eateries. The dining spots (whether buffets, fast foods or exclusive restaurants drew their clientele without solicitation). Unfortunately you could not walk five steps without being hustled by a specialty store ‘hawker’ who did not understand a negative nod or the words ‘No thank you!’ They did not give up until you outdistanced them.

In closing, let me add the bridge staff did all they could. However, I did have a personal gripe. Bobby was one of several asked to give a thirty-minute lecture between sessions and, as always, he was delighted to accommodate them. I was with him when approached and explained he needed a table and chair, a microphone and a chalkboard. A chalkboard is a no-brainer at a bridge lecture. The mike provided was a hand mike and much harder to use than a free standing one… but what was inexcusable was… no chalkboard or anything similar. Those in charge immediately hustled to remedy the problem but it was being used by another lecturer the floor above. The only alternative was to rent a second one from the hotel for one hundred bucks. Obviously, that was not an option and time was of the essence as well.

Since we have not attended a National in several years, it was marvelous seeing longtime friends and reminiscing about the countless fun times we shared, but I must confess I am still in the process of catching my breath and recovering from my zombie-like state — but well worth every moment of it!!!!


6 Comments

AlanJune 29th, 2017 at 4:34 am

Enjoy your sense of humor as you always tell it like it is .. without mincing words.

Out of curiosity, when is the next Sectional and where?

JudyJune 29th, 2017 at 5:20 am

Hi Alan.

Your opening comment sounds like a double entendre! It appears you are not a fan of ‘doubletalk.’ I know you’re aware. .. bridge IS certainly a many splendored game. It is a challenge to learn, to play and to administrate.
However, most casinos like to see their customers seated at gambling tables rather than bridge tables! Let’s hope things improve all around.

As far as the October Sectional, l don’t know for certain where it is being held. I believe the last (?) one was held at The Plaza and got rave reviews. Angie Clark oversaw it and did a great job of crossing every ‘t’ and dotting every ‘i’ and the locals were hoping for a repeat performance. If I learn anything, I will let you know!

LisaJune 29th, 2017 at 5:51 am

It is comforting to observe a recovering zombie sustaining her sense of humor!

JudyJune 29th, 2017 at 6:02 am

Lisa,

Being ‘Home, Sweet Home’ was a big factor!

CarolJune 29th, 2017 at 4:25 pm

I sympathize with the grueling toll six day tournaments can cause. Been there, done that .. and even maybe longer than you! Another consideration is that our aging population (over which we have no control) makes it harder to move around. Hopefully, our administrators will come up with a solution, as I heard a lot of griping too!

slarJuly 12th, 2017 at 2:37 am

I can’t recall a tournament where the food options at the host hotel were any good. There is never any middle ground – either a limp sandwich that I wouldn’t give to a homeless person or an overpriced dining room with sloth-like service. At least some venues have reasonable options within walking distance but I know that doesn’t work for everyone.

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