All we wanted was a nice, exciting yet relaxing get-a-way with a concert as an added cherry on the cake. What we got was a harrowing, panicked-filled, mad dash to mark the unofficial end of summer.
My DC (大姐), who was recently introduced to Show Luo, aka Alan Luo, aka Luo Zhi Xiang (羅志祥) aka xiao zhu 小豬 (little pig) via his infamous drama Hi! My Sweetheart (海派甜心) became quite obsessed with him. She went from watching his dramas, to his talk show to tracking down his concert. As luck would have had it, he was throwing his 舞法舞天之一萬零一夜 (Dance with Limits Encore World Live Tour) concert in the Borgata Hotel and Casino at Atlantic City on Labor Day. What’s more, she sold it to me as a two for the price of one concert! Show Luo AND Vanness Wu. Not really convinced, but had nothing better to do, I agreed to go with her, and convinced hubs that HE needed some vaca time.
From the start, there were many signs that pointed to a no go.
Getting tickets to his concert was nearly impossible to get and a pain. No, it’s not like he’s as well-received as Wang Lee Hom (:D) but the venue is relatively small. Omen one.
Second omen: Atlantic City really isn’t a dog-friendly place. As a gambling den, there are a ton of hotels, but only a handful are pet-friendly. So we were relegated to the ultra expensive, or the semi-expensive hotel. If you can’t get Burberry, there’s still Guess. Ramada it was then.
Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011 came. We packed the car, dogs and humans and drove two hours south. We stopped at Renault Winery and bought a few bottles of wine, had a not very good sandwich lunch – which we ended up feeding to the dogs, and was almost attacked by a giant spider. By the time we were done with the vineyard, we were sweating like pigs and needed a shower and rest so badly. Omen three.
We headed straight to the hotel. The pictures lied. The Ramada is closer to a love motel than a hotel of any reputable name. My non-smoking room was a smoking room. My two queen beds were two full beds. Wifi = dsl or worse, dial up (more like dial down). Pet-friendly = pet inane (as demonstrated later). Omen four.
Not wanting to leave the dogs (especially Dusty who is traveling with us for the first time on a family vacation) alone in the room, we decided to bring them to the Broadwalk and have a look at “downtown” Atlantic City. Parking was a bitch, unless you paid NYC prices. Omen five.
Our first stop was Borgata to pick up the show tickets before heading to the Boardwalk (biggest yawn-er in town and sorry – the scariest red-neck and black town ever!). However, when we got to the Box Office, we were informed that we could only pick up the tickets after 9 pm. Omen six.
Six miles later, we decided to just head to the Boardwalk with the dogs in tow. Jessie was her normal angel. Dusty, on the other hand, pulled, jumped, barked and tried to attack everyone he saw. It wasn’t the easiest 2 hours walking him. But we managed. We even managed to stop at the Tanger Outlets, more specifically Crocs, to get some shoes for my mom. We were ready to eat a horse after that – didn’t help that it was close to 8 pm.
After feeding the tired dogs, we decided to return to Borgata for dinner and to pick up the tickets. We called for reservation at a restaurant called NOW, but was told that no reservations were needed. We reached said hotel and found said restaurant with a line that frightened a ravenous stomach. We surveyed our choices:
Metropolitan? No. Too sandwich-y and so was Bread and Butter.
Izakaya? No. Too sushi-only and boy are the prices other worldly.
Bobby Flay. Damn the line was long. Next opening – in your other life.
Wolfgang Puck? 30 minutes wait.
Cafeteria? No. Didn’t drive 2 hours to have Panda Express.
Wolfgang Puck it is. But, blardy hell, the line not only doubled, but the menu is so unappetizing.
Izakaya it is then. Beggars aren’t choosers. (No really!)
What omen are we at? I’ve lost count. Seven, eight, nine, ten…
We were led to a table as tall as me. We sat down on bar stools and my legs dangled. Super uncomfortable. Omen eleven (who’s counting anymore?!) We asked to change seats and were moved to the sushi bar. The food began to roll out and it was scrumptious, or we were really famished (!?). We had the baby dragon roll and the duck buns, and were thoroughly patting ourselves on the back on our great find until the fire alarm started blaring. Long story short, this alarm went off for more than 3o minutes, but we weren’t evacuated. Twelve.
When the alarm was finally shut off, and we were deaf, we waited for another 30 minutes before the rest of our food rolled out. We were hungry again (most likely a ploy to get us to order more). Thirteen.
Not falling for that, we called for our check. The waitress must have been making papyrus, because she took a good 10 minutes to return with our bill. Pissed, my dc left her a $4.68 tip. If we were truly superstitious, we would have sat at the slots or the tables to try our (good) luck. But superstitious we are not. Greedy we are. So we strolled over to the next restaurant for gelato. (We should have turned back HOME by now, but silly us, we pushed on)
Ice cream in our hands, we walked over to the Box Office to pick up our tickets for the concert (it was 10:30 pm by this time). In a lined filled ONLY with Asians, a random white boy came up to us and asked if we were in line for Richard Lewis tickets. Wrong race, dude. As we closed in on our tickets, a hotel staff came up to us and announced that the waiting line is ONLY for comps for the concert and NOT for people who purchased the tickets online. The tickets can be picked up at 11 pm at the Event Center. Can you say ^*%@!! Fourteen.
Furious that we were once again duped, we stormed off. We will just have to come “earlier” for the 1 am show.
A quick shower, the hotel shuttle and we can definitely make it back to Borgata with time to spare. Not so fast.
We walked into the room, and the first thing that hit me wasn’t welcoming. A steely, yet sourish smell wafted around the room. The dogs were trying to get our attention. Then hubs saw a brown patch on the floor. He decided to clean up only to wipe down layers upon layers of brown gunk that finally thinned down to what looked like blood. I panicked. I picked up a wash cloth and began cleaning the dogs to find signs of blood.
Jessie was ok.
So was Dusty, until I cleaned his penis. The white cloth was soiled with bits of brown squirts. Investigating further, I pulled back his foreskin, squeezed his penis, and a steady stream of thick brown blood oozed out. This is not happening! I called front desk for a emergency VET clinic/hospital (seeing as how it’s not only a Sunday night, but a holiday weekend). The idiot on the phone, even after multiple reminders of the emergency being dog-related, gave me the number and address to a human hospital. If I had nothing better to do, I would have walked down, and slapped the blond fella into the next century.
I finally found an emergency Hospital, the Red Bank Vet in Linden and spoke to a technician. It was serious, but if he was still responsive we still have some time. We could go to the concert, come back around 4 am and drive home and see his vet in the am. A little assured, we were about to prep to leave when Dusty suddenly threw up the remainder of his dinner. We began to wipe down comforter, until, once again, I realized, I was wiping down blood.
I called the hospital again. The technician told me to bring him in asap. I followed hubs to the hospital with Dusty on my lap while DC took a shuttle to Borgata by herself. He vomited blood a second time, in the car, and I caught evidence of this for the docs. Little did I know too, but the little man was bleeding out on my white shorts. It looked like I was having my best friend over. After the long-winded paperwork, and formalities, Dusty was taken in for examination. Their preliminary overview of him was that he was still alert and “communicative.” (funny!) They wanted to do blood work on him. After I questioned their motive for the test (test=$$$$$) – because it still could be inconclusive, I caved and told them to run it because they wanted to rule out an infection.
As the test was going to take time, hubs drove me back to Borgata for the concert and then returned by his side (while the mummy went off to stop the drooling aunt in her stained white shorts). The concert was entertaining to say the least. But my mind was elsewhere, praying for his safe and immediate return to me. However, I did note that for a Dancing King, 小猪 有点胖呼呼的 (he was a little un-buff). Also, even though it was boorishly loud, he was a tad out of tune. What’s more, my promised “two-in-one” was not at all. Vanness never showed up. We did, however, get a crazed fan seated next to us, who claims of her “complicated relationship” with 小猪. All in all, it was fun watching my sister drool, while listening to his jokes and watching antics.
When we got back to the love motel at 4 am, hubs just got back with Dusty. After the time and not to mention money spent and wasted, he told me that the results were inconclusive. What was certain was his body breaking down his red blood cells. Why it was doing that – they were uncertain. There were no foreign objects in his body (so they performed more tests — without my consent), no stones, he wasn’t (surprisingly) anemic considering the amount of blood lost. He, however, could have ingested onions, or picked up “food” from the ground while we were out. (We could have poisoned him)
Hubs was sent home with some sample blood, tests results that prove nothing and told to bring him to a doc the next day for another round of blood tests. With a hole in the pocket and nothing to show for, we decided not to take the drive home that night/morning but allow everyone to rest instead. As the rest slept, I slept with one eye open and stirred every time Dusty or Jessie moved. After a sleepless night, I awoke three hours later to walk the dogs.
I ran down to the car to pick up their shoes and on the way up, got stuck in the ancient elevator.
This is NOT happening.
I have experienced more heart-stopping moments in the last 24 hours than in my years on earth. After pressing the alarm and waiting for help to arrive (which felt like I was dealing with dumb and dumber as “help” arrived on the other end) I was finally rescued after 20 minutes, only to be told that the ONLY way to get up to my floor was to take the same elevator up as the stairs were actually in a different building (huh?). Omen-number-I’ve-lost-count.
My string of bad luck in this dinky little town just went from bad to worse. Not wanting to stay any longer, I immediately took the children out to pee, and waited for said bedeviled elevator again. We had our crappy FOC bagels, packed our things and left as quickly as we could.
Home was a relief sight for everyone, even the pooches. Dusty, through it all, seems unfazed. He has been begging for food (since we are not permitted o feed him), playing soccer/ball but a little run-down. We didn’t bring him immediately to a vet – our choice, as his condition stabilized. The follow-up test with his regular vet will be scheduled tomorrow for everyone’s peace of mind.
I hope this weekend is not a sign of things to come in the following days/weeks. Or maybe it’s just getting all my year’s bad luck in in one night so that I can enjoy and partake in blessed days ahead.