The gathering place
Las Vegas is only a four hour drive from Los Angeles. It’s a plane ride from Hawaii, with a pit stop in San Franciso. So, for Hawaiian friends and family, it’s a perfect location for renewing friendships and family ties. It’s ideal also for its gambling casinos and hotels and its nightlife and dinner shows. The card casinos in Gardena and the Southbay don’t compare.
Golf courses of Las Vegas are also an attraction for the Hawaiian golf clubs that make it an annual pilgrimage. The desert courses provide for ample competitive rounds of golf, while the lounges in the hotels provide for rounds of cold beers and cocktails shared in air conditioned comfort after eighteen holes played in dry heat. There’s no tradewinds there.
It’s not the strip. Locals tend to gravitate toward each other, no matter where. In Vegas, it’s downtown at the Cal. The California Hotel, The Fremont Hotel, and The Main Street Station Hotel will house the majority of islanders on any given week. In fact, the Cal has a connecting walkway right on over to The Main Street Station. Convenient change of scenery or slot machines and gaming tables if a local boy needs to change his luck.
When walking over to Main Street Station from the Cal overpass, there is a Wall of Fame with plaques and names with dates inscribed on them to identify the locals who have “held” the dice for a record number of hours at a crap table in the California Hotel. Next time you’re there, check it out. There may be someone’s name there that you recognize. You never know. Remember Buggsy?
You gotta eat
If you’re a local from Hawaii or living here in Los Angeles, you had to have heard about the Oxtail Soup at the Main Street Cafe in the California Hotel. Locals seem to relish that dish which is only served after 11:00 p.m. But the menu contains a lot more of the comfort food that Hawaiians consume regularly back home: beef stew, lau lau, butter fish, saimin and hamburger steak.
All you can eat buffets aren’t foreign to Hawaiian visitors, and the Main Street Station’s dinner buffet is the one that gets the most attention. There are entrees from all over the globe, and of course, that includes Hawaiian specialties as well. ‘All you can eat’ falls not on deaf ears at the Main Street Station. Just check out the line waiting to enter for dinner. And don’t forget to save room for dessert, without having to purge yourself first.
Do it in Vegas
Next time you’re planning a family get together, a reunion of classmates, or just getting away for the weekend, do it in Vegas. But check in at the Cal downtown next time. It’s like you never left Hawaii, and it’s air conditioned! No need tradewinds.
Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering what ‘stays’ in Vegas?
It’s the kala, braddah. Only your money stays there.