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    VEGAS DIARY: In-flight economics, Harry from Pampanga and Sin City stories

    Aug 27, 2017
    SPIN.ph is right where the action is. 

    LAS VEGAS -  For a plane ticket that was bought on three days notice, the price was generously reasonable, $612 from Chicago to Las Vegas, round-trip.

    But just like most carriers, Spirit Airlines slap fees that would give your credit card a case of cardiac arrest. 

    Additional luggage, even if it's tiny enough to fit a dwarf, carries a charge of at least $35 and it can even escalate to as high as $100 when paid for at the gate instead of the reservation counter. 

    Food and drinks, and adult beverages were available at the airbus flight 349. Enticing as it was, I chose not to buy the $7 can of Heineken. I also didn't want to choke on $4 chips. I do confess that I was tempted to purchase my favorite poison - Cuba Libre, a fancy name for Rum and Coke. 

    But at $10 a pop, I got drunk with apprehension. 

    Traveling light, four days of clothes shoved inside my son John's spacious backpack, I didn't have to worry about going to the baggage carousel and misidentify my luggage after landing. Instead I sprinted to the zero level of Terminal 1 where the hotel shuttles and limos awaited.

    A stretched yellow Hummer caught my attention but a Rolls Royce, sleek black and stunning, made me stare. As I stopped to admire the work of automotive art, a chauffeur opened the car doors and an Asian man along with a beautiful blonde quickly disappeared inside.

    These are the things you don't see every day. But this is Las Vegas, where wretched excess is a way of life.

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    Silver Sevens is a nice hotel roughly a mile away from the famous Strip. Unfortunately, my room's cable TV malfunctioned, an inconvenience that was quickly fixed by Harry Arfapo, a miracle worker who toils as an engineer in the maintenance department.

    Originally from Pampanga, where he owns a modest poultry business with his siblings, Harry is living the American dream. His wife, Jocelyn, is a nurse at Sunrise Hospital. They have two kids, Wendy, a nursing student at UNLV, and Pauline, who is in high school.

    Harry had a lot of work to do, but we managed to talk a little, laugh a lot. Always a nice feeling to connect with a kababayan in a land away from home.

    MEDIA CENTER. My phone's GPS indicated that the media center was a mere 1.3 miles from my hotel, so I attempted to cover the distance with my 49-year old knees. Some 300 meters into the walk, with my lungs screaming under the unceasing desert sun, I called for transportation.

    Reporters from around the globe assembled at an airconditioned tent across the Luxor. I went there with SPIN.ph contributor Balt Chavez, who was also credentialed for the fight. 

    We saw Ice Cube talk to reporters to promote his Big 3 tournament, which will hold a championship game on the same day of the fight. We briefly visited with my friend Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.

    After a nice lunch of Mexican fare and a beef sandwich, Balt and I went to the T-Mobile Arena for the weigh-in. What a show!!! [See MayMac cashes in]

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    It was around 5 p.m. when I vanished from the T-Mobile Arena and ducked into New York, New York hotel's parking garage before finding my way at Excalibur, where I downed four shots of Rum and Coke before heading back to Silver Sevens.

    Dinner was a plate of chicken wings which I doused with Tabasco sauce and lathered with lemon juice. I ditched the liquor and decided that beer was a better complement to the deep-fried treat.

    It was around 9 p.m. when I finally retired to my room. Two days in the desert, and the fun is just about to begin.

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