Of Hidden Motels, Hidden Spices, and Hidden Coke

Two new elements of weirdness have been introduced to the Dream Drama, but I feel really silly and really wowed right now. I think I'll wait until I'm a little less GEE WHIZ about it all before pondering aloud more.

On Friday we ran over to Imperial Palace for the coin/stamp/postcard show that is on all this weekend and comes to a different casino every few months. I don't want to say anything unkind because the people there are all so nice. But, it's a dying thing. It's a bunch of old-friend dealers pulling up chairs to each others' booths and only moving back to their spots when you walk by. "Can I show you anything? How are you folks doing today?" It's awkward.

We were the only customers in there, and - alas - we weren't in the market for a $19,000 stamp or a junky Roman coin you can get on eBay for 1/10th the price. I went to the one dealer with postcards, kept in long boxes to the side, and soon became frustrated because there was no organization to them. Used, unused, USA, international, slick and 90s-like, old and linen... and they were all cramped in so it was hard to flick through. I looked at the $3/each pricetags (for the cheap ones) and thought, you know, I can buy a 100 postcards off eBay for only $10 more, and that includes having them shipped all the way from Britain. (eBay.uk always has better postcard organization... perhaps postcard shows are better in the United Kingdom? Perhaps they have more than a few boxes of postcards?)

I wasn't disappointed because the show was much the same when I went a few years ago, but it was bigger then and at Circus Circus, where parking isn't half the fun.

This was my third trip to Imperial Palace. The last two times we just bopped in off the street, but this was our first time to park there. Goodness.

Here's the interesting thing about Imperial Palace - for its first twenty years of life (1959-1979), it was the Flamingo Capri Motel. Located next to the Flamingo. Oh, to travel back to such shameless days of open copycattery!

Actually, a little time travel is possible, which we discovered when we got lost on our way to the parking garage. (That is, our spot in the parking garage. We were standing in the parking garage, on our level, but not in the correct section, with no idea how to get to our area. We were running up and down staircases and around loading zones and really lacking only Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones to complete the look.)

So, the Flamingo Capri (see notes in link) was converted to the Imperial Palace, blah blah, life rolls on in Las Vegas, all way before my time, very interesting in the abstract, now let's go home and revel in it being the weekend.

What I didn't realize was that the motel is still there.

Oh, coolness.

You know how classic motels have L-shapes or U-shapes? Around the Flamingo Capri came O'Shea's Casino, Harrah's (formerly the Holiday Inn/Holiday Casino), and parking structures. Inside the motel's courtyard? More casino, more parking, and the tower.

But all around, the motel and its rooms remain! If you book a room at the Imperial Palace (because you'll do anything on a dare? Seriously, it's a sad place and talk of demolition has been directly mentioned by the owner.), and if you are assigned to the "Capri Building," then you're not staying in the tower, my friend. You're walking outside to the old Flamingo Capri Motel. (Which may just be the best thing about staying at the IP.)

This Way to the Capri Motel, er, Building

For all I know, those are the motel's original "pull right up to your room door" parking bays. You can't get that at the Luxor!

These shots aren't very good, but the one below shows the motel, er, "Capri Building" on the left and the parking garage on the right.

Our Hotel Offers Lovely Paved Corridors

Consider this post half-"neat-o find!" and half-"misrepresentation alert!"

Speaking of misrepresentation (and disheveled-looking environments), we went to India Palace on Twain today for lunch buffet. We did this because of all of its Zagat's awards.

What I should have remembered is that I really hate the Zagat guides. Let me rephrase. I "really hate" the "Zagat's" guides. Their "selected quotation method" of describing "restaurants" becomes "quickly annoying" and I "know" their approach is "original" and "appealing to some," but "not" "to" "me."

Or maybe I should have realized that this not the weekend for things named "I* Palace."

The inside is very pretty, and the lovely chairs by the window made me want to sit up straighter and crook a pinky. You can see them, the Zagat awards, and a scruffy Mike here:

Mike at India Palace

Alas, although the service was good, the food was not very flavourful. I don't mind mildly spiced Indian, but one should be able to discern some spices, yes? It was probably a bad sign when we looked around and saw only westerners. Tamba, our favourite Indian restaurant, usually has a majority of Indian customers despite being in the heart of the tourist-happy Strip.

Still, it was a notch - no harm done. It wasn't terrible, just not tasty. At all. I didn't get a second plate, not even when they put out new aloo.

We went back toward home and to our new Wal-Mart (I know) for pillows where I discovered, with mixed reaction, that my great invention last week of zippered pillowcases has already been done. I swear that Mike deliberately yanks all of our pillowcases off in the middle of the night, and this explains why he's so inexplicably sane otherwise. We put the pillowcases on; we go to sleep; we wake up - his pillows are naked.

And let's go ahead and talk about the fitted sheet. My favourite one (a creamy flannel that I, in my singleness, spent forever picking out) developed a killer rip right about at Mike's footline. "Yes, I don't know why that happens to all of my sheets." What? You knew this would happen? Isn't withholding this information grounds for annulment? My, sniff, creamy flannel!

Strangely, the one thing I remember really well from Mike's first trip to the US, the way no fitted sheet could survive the night with him, has yet to manifest since he came back. I suppose the gods aren't fussy about how he destroys the linen placements, as long as it is done.

So, we had to get cheap fitted sheets as well. I can't let his rough foot magic near the blue flannels - those were a gift!

After, fortified with new sheets and new pillow protectors and new pillows but, strangely, no cheesecloth (the main reason for going - it's time to learn to make cheese!), we decided to be like Thelma and Louise and keep going.

That's how we ended up in Summerlin, looking for Passover Coca-Cola. If you don't know why non-Jewish people go crazy looking for KFP (Kosher for Passover) Coke this time of the year, then either you didn't follow that link, or you work for Coca-Cola and really believe your own rhetoric that Coke made with high fructose corn syrup tastes identical to Coke made with sugar.

Following some internet reports from last year, we headed to the northwest part of the valley and started at the Albertson's at Fort Apache and Sahara. Alas, they only had KFP Diet Coke.

Mike Trying to Look Askance at KFP Diet Coke

Ew. How very wrong. (And what is replaced? And what is that look on Mike's face?)

Further into the groomed streets of Summerlin we dared, now to our only other lead, the Smith's at Lake Mead and Rampart.

We were optimistic when we saw the "Kosher Experience" sign outside. (Smith's is just a large supermarket chain like so many others. So, the hard sell on the Kosher section is unique to this store.) We were very optimistic when we got inside and saw aisle after aisle of Kosher-friendly foods. We were shouting and running when we got to the soft drink section and saw the special yellow caps everywhere!

No photos of the inside because, hello? Mystical experience. Can't be captured with a camera.

But, here is Mike in the parking lot afterward, with his loot:

Mike with His Coca-Cola... made with SUGAR

(The dark bottle cap is for some Kedem's grape juice, available year round but deliciously affordable this time of the year.)

The amazing thing is that KFP Coca-Cola, with its beautiful sugar, costs the same as the regular 2-litres. (In fact, the two types are mixed together.) That's $1.33/each around here. Meanwhile, people go out of their way to buy those little glass bottles of Coke imported from Mexico for about the same price. (And that stuff isn't always made with sugar.) No wonder soft drink fans go nuts with "yellow cap sightings" this time of the year.

Mike pronounced the caramel nectar to be "identical to the Coke in Australia." Me, I loved the way I could have a small glass of it and feel completely sated, unlike the number of cans I can sling down of HFCS drink and not feel satisfied. (And yes, it was totally yummy, but a little caffeine goes a long way with me.)

My theory is that, despite what seems to be a clear and vocal market for sugar-based Coke, Coca Cola simply can't make it available without inviting unflattering comparisons to and questions about the Coke normally sold in stores. (Just having to admit that the two taste different and open that can of worms is probably enough to keep this off the shelves as soon as Passover ends.)

In our next episode, we shall discuss the manufacture of homemade cheese. Or, we will talk about the Pike in Long Beach. Or, we will eat breakfast on the Queen Mary. Or, we will eat dinner at the "reservations almost mandatory" Blue Bayou in Disneyland. Or, we will look at a postcard. Or, we will complain about the imperfections of the world. Or, we shall find out if Mike can unzip his pillowcase in his sleep. Or, we will simply listen to the soothing white noise of babble - count on it!

30 March 2008 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)