Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Welcome to the South!

It started off like any of our little trips. We get up early and finish packing the daily use items. Jump in the car and drive to the airport. You get the idea. It was definitely a weekend that could be imagined, but the anticipation would be nowhere near what the reality would be.

When the plane pulled up to the jetway, we were pleasantly surprised to find a small jet instead of a turbo-prop plane. For those who have taken the turbo-props, you know how small, noisy, and turbulent those little planes are. Instead, we had a comfortable little jet. I'm in 1A - the exit row. I'm not just in the exit row, I AM the exit row. Luckily, it was an uneventful flight and we get into the Greenville/Spartanburg Airport shortly after 11 AM. From the terminal we get a shuttle to the rental car office.

Here's where we get our first taste of South Carolina rednecks. There's a couple trying to rent a car with cash in front of us while their four kids are running around the office. I'm sure the young mother would've corrected her kids, but the fifth one growing in her belly was slowing her down. The considerably older (15 years?) husband was trying to work through renting the car. Since they were using cash, they had all kinds of paperwork all over the desk. My curiosity got the better of me and I had to look at his name. I don't remember his last name, but he had three names before that - Robert Lee Wayne. A quick reminder that we were south of the Mason-Dixon line. It seems that they were having problems using his documentation to rent the car. They needed recent paystubs - he said he'd just gotten paid but didn't have it with him. They needed proof of residency - he provided an electric bill with an overdue balance on it. There was no way they were getting a rental car that day. Another agent came out and finally got working on our paperwork. I handed her my rental card (I have all my info entered into their website) and my license. She gets the paperwork printed and says that she has a very nice Hyundai Elantra waiting out in the parking lot for us. A Hyundai Elantra? BigMike would be arriving that evening, so we'd rented a full-size (Intrepid or Taurus) vehicle for his comfort. Yeah, Hyundai Elantra my ass. When I asked about the full-size, she told me that they don't have them at that location. Great. She did say that she had a minivan that she could give me for the same price. Minivans are not my idea of cool, but I figured that it would be useful for the weekend. After a quick snag where we had the wrong key and accidentally locked our luggage in the wrong vehicle, we were off.

We call G-Rob to see what's up so far. He offers to meet us at the hotel so we could meet up with Otis, Mrs. Otis and some of the Missouri Crew for lunch and a few beers. Luckily the restaurant is a few doors down from the hotel, and G-Rob hops into the minivan. (His car would stay in the same spot where he'd just parked it for the next couple of days.) We get to Chiefs, a little dive bar that had you blinking as you walked inside from the blinding sun into a deep gloom. Once you adjusted to the light, you could see they had a little bar and a bunch of tables huddled in the "dining room". We sat down with everyone, ordered a couple pitchers of beer and some food, and caught up with people. Of course the shots flowed... Al's first double was a good-size plastic cup of SoCo. He'd forgotten the bottle rule and ended up with quite a shot. This started the rounds of shots (it was after noon, so it was ok) and we walked out an hour later in a more relaxed state of mind.

Since there was time to kill before BadBlood's tourney, we headed over to Otis' house to help out and play a little cash game. I know I said that I wasn't going to stress out about my poker play this weekend. Thank God, because I got my ass kicked in the game. BadBlood and MrsBlood arrived shortly after us, and I ended up getting wedged with BadBlood on my right and (a drunk and reckless) G-Rob on my left. I should've just skipped the game, but I was having too much fun. Pauly and Derek showed up and cheered us on, then Pauly took over Al's stack and built it up quite a bit. After BadBlood sucked out on MrsBlood (HUGE suckout) and the rest of the table was decimated by BadBlood, G-Rob and Dr. Jeff, we headed over to CasaDeBlood for some pizza and prep for the tourney.

Pizza was good, but I have to say that MrsBlood made some of the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever had! While the guys were doing shots, MrsBlood and I got a chance to sit and talk for a little bit, which was very cool. There was always so much going on in Vegas that I hadn't gotten a chance to talk to her much then. I really enjoyed the quiet interlude before all hell broke loose.

Other people started showing up. First Maigrey and Austin April (who brought me an awesome poker bracelet!), then Iggy and Daddy. We were all sitting on the front porch and people started to trickle in. Too many for my little brain to remember. We were just about to sit down for the tourney when G-Rob announces that a stripper is coming to the game. Of course the guys perk up. Everyone is surprised when Maudie walked through the door! We all gave her hugs and welcomed her in. The game was to begin!

I was seated in the dining room with Maudie to my right, Dr. Jeff on my left (I think), and Derek two down on my left. I'm horrible with the small details like that. The only details I needed to remember were that I was so cold-decked that I needed a parka and that Maudie ran over my pocket Qs to knock me out. I'd taken a couple of small pots with bluffs or partial catches, but I knew I wasn't going anywhere. When I had the pocket Qs, I figured it was as good as any to take a stand on. Wrong. I was way outclassed. I used my spare time to hang out and catch up with people. We had to pick up BigMike and BG at the airport at 10 PM. Then, we were going out!

So, now we have Al, April, BigMike, BG and I in the minivan - and we pick up G-Rob for navigation. We head down to the Bait Shack, a little dive bar in the basement of some building. Just my kind of place! It was dimly lit with loud music and an eclectic mix of patrons. The blogger crew had taken over the back room of the place, and I grabbed and beer and sat down. We had all kinds of conversations sitting there... Maudie and I planned our skydiving trip (which I can't wait for!), dial-a-shots with a bunch of people, and Dr. Jeff and I counted how many times we found the phrase "Anal is kool!" on the walls in the booth. After a few dares and bets (look for the awesome picture of BG chugging bucket water on Maudie's site), we were heading to the strip club! I'd even gotten Maigrey and April to agree to go with us when someone became all responsible and thought a little sleep was in order instead. We headed back to the hotel.

We get back and decide a little food is in order. I haven't eaten anything since 5 PM or so when we had pizza, and I need to put a little food in my stomach when I'm drinking. There's an all night diner right in front of the hotel - Al decides to crash while BigMike, Maigrey, April, DoubleAs and I head for food. They actually serve beer in the diners! I was floored... since I was no longer driving, I ordered another beer. We were joined shortly after by TeamScottSmith. By this time it's 10 minutes to 2, and they have this rule about no bottles on the table at 2 or you get fined and arrested, or something silly like that. We had to call the manager over to get TeamScottSmith a beer, and the manager did give him one but warned him that he would have to pay the fine when the cop came in at 2. When he couldn't finish it in time, he drank his soda and poured the stout into his soda glass. He continued sipping on his "Dr. Pepper" for the next half hour. When he tried to order another one, the waitress just laughed - she knew what he'd done and was really cool about it. It seems that the cops really do come in, because he paid us a little visit over in the corner.

I hadn't realized it at first, but TeamScottSmith was smoking clove cigarettes. I have a few friends here that do, so it didn't seem odd to me. I'm guessing that someone else complained about what he was smoking since the cop came over to let us know that we couldn't smoke "tobacco products" in the restaurant. We'd been seated in the smoking section and were a little confused. BigMike held up his cigarettes and gave the cop a questioning look. The cop said those are ok but no more tobacco. I finally caught on and let everyone else know what he was talking about. As he's standing there, we ask the cop if he'd mind taking a picture with the girls. He starts laughing and turns us down, saying that the last person he knew who did that found his picture on the internet. How did he guess? I then asked, "Can I borrow your handcuffs?" and gave a silly grin. The cop just looks at me, and in a deadpan voice says, "You'll have to see me later for that." We all died laughing! I guess I just propositioned the cop, and got a proposition in return. At least he had a sense of humor. The rest of the meal was uneventful, and we returned to the hotel shortly after.

All this, and it's just day one! It will take me a while to write up day two. Until then...


Anonymous shep said...

It was a pleasure meeting you Eva.
I heard about your long island tea but I never had you make me one, tring to concentrate on the game.
next time.
That may have been my other brother shep at the airport!!!

4:34 PM  

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