57 men are in court today in Saudi Arabia, BBC News is reporting, arrested on charges of ‘public flirting’ in shopping centres around Mecca.
Reading that story anywhere would make the blood boil and the brain weep – but there’s something about reading it in the lobby of the Excalibur hotel in Las Vegas that makes it all the more weird. All the oil in Saudi Arabia couldn’t pay for enough flirting/drinking/gambling prisons for the people here; and this is just one hotel. A Mecca of decadence and depravity, where even the check-in desks have gambling terminals built in and drunken woman on bachelorette weekends line every corridor, clutching two foot tall plastic cups of alcoholic slush. Any one of these tiara-wearing, screeching, near-topless harpies would eat a Saudi flirter for breakfast, which is served 24 hours a day in any one of the hotel’s 40 food outlets.
I finally rolled in to town – flew into town – at a little after 1am local time (4am Eastern time – where my head still was) after an entire day snowbound at JFK. Michelle met me at the airport – she’d been here for six hours and they wouldn’t let her check in because everything was in my name. We were both exhausted and filthy – she was in from London, via Minneapolis – but couldn’t help checking out the hotel casino before sleep. 2:30am, after dinner and a failed attempt to beat the slots, and it was amazing to see how everyone – everyone – was acting like it was the middle of the evening. Children still roamed the corridors, row upon row of bored looking fat women pumped money into slots and the hen night girls – those loud, loud girls – looked like they were just getting started. Sure enough, we were awoken at 7am by them returning to their rooms – happy and singing.
Right! More later – must get some breakfast and some air. Michael arrives at four and it’s going to be a long, long weekend. There’s a sweepstake, apparently, whether I’ll return from the US arrested, married or dead. If you haven’t made a bet yet – this would probably be the weekend to do it.
Luck be a lady.