Friday, November 30, 2012

Tea Thirst in Vegas

My eighth and final work conference for 2012 came to a tea thirsty close today.  The conference provided hot water was baby bath water warm so I did not want to waste the roasted oolongs which had come such a long way from Malaysia sent with care by Su.  My hotel "suite" had three televisions but nary a way to produce hot water so even the special tea I had packed as an antidote to conference attendance went untouched.

I ended up at an Asian mish-mashed themed club/bistro called Tao with a friend and his co-workers for a late night drink.  The giant billboards on the Venitian proclaimed "Tao- Spiritual Dining" and "Tao - Religious Nightlife".  In Vegas, even the poor Buddha has to peddle (a completely different philosophy to boot).  Tao's interior was filled with massive gold painted Buddhas of all forms. Giant portraits of random Asians adorned the walls including a sumo wrestler and a Chinese communist grandma with a Mao jacket and cap.  There's no point in being offended.  I asked for green tea. Our hostess who was dressed in the most embarrassingly short dress which needed constant pull downs did not even let me know that the Tao even had a special tea menu- a rarest of rare things in Vegas. She just brought me some genmaicha which came in a tetsubin kettle. This ho-hum tea would sadly be the best tea I'll have in Vegas.

Rather than sustain conversation in the loud beat of the Tao, I ended up sorting a giant stack of porn cards for one of the guys who was collecting them as requested by his girlfriend for pranking.  For those of you not learned in these matters, porn cards are business cards for escort services with lurid shots involving one or two girls. Walking on the infamous Vegas strip- you're forced to go through a gauntlet of solicitors trying to pass out such cards out to prospects- namely men.

I sorted the cards to apply some analysis and price seemed the most obvious sorting attribute.   Starting price was at $35 with 10 dollar increments but there is an unexpected price jump  between $99 and $150. I almost wanted to do a histogram. And from the advertising alone, you cannot tell the difference between the $35 service or a $150 service. Obviously the actual escort who shows up when called probably bear no resemblance to the "beauties" on the cards.  Of course there is the high end of the market over 4 figures which doesn't advertise through such grimy means.

One does not venture into Vegas to seek the authentic or true. If such blatant vulgarity of money and sex bothers you, well - Vegas will assault your sensibilities irrevocably.  Incidentally, I saw conference attendees wear their badge deep into the night and even when the conference was over.  I think they wanted to say "See, I'm not the kind of shallow immoral person who would actually vacation here,  I'm just a conference attendee".  I felt constant metaphysical discomfort.  I tried hard not to be beaten down by the crass materialism of Vegas and take it all in for the sake of cultural anthropology.  I could not leave fast enough.

Even the Las Vegas Airport is replete with ever blinking slot machines.


  1. Those bottles of Ito-en can come handy sometimes...

  2. The annual tea fair with lots of overseas vendors is held at Vegas if I'm not mistaken.

    1. Su,

      There's the World Tea Expo in Vegas which is more for those who run tea businesses rather than hobbyists like myself. Certainly the Pu-erh activity if any will be minute compared to all the infused teas and their ilk. Since you have access to serious venues like the Malaysian Tea Expo, you may never need to subject yourself to Vegas.


  3. Hopefully, at least you got to give out some of your wares to your fellow pole-dancing associates! :P

    And yeah, Vegas is an insipid place..the only reason I can think of why so many conferences are there is because it's so cheap to host such events there (because it's such a terrible place).

    1. These pole-dancing associates probably couldn't do a proper spin to save their life. This conference had the worst male to female ratio I've seen, just a notch above a gay cruise. A man actually asked me how it feels.


    2. I wonder how that compares to the gender ratio of aged puer drinkers.