Day One.
Written By: Lesley Millar of Scotland


It all started with a bee sting...

I arrived @ The LVBP carrying my traveling bag on one shoulder, while the other arm having swollen twice its size in a bizarre reaction to a bee sting in Los Angeles, two days prior. Ashleigh, my traveling chum, had become more and more concerned at the appearance of my arm, which was now bright red in comparison to my pale Scottish skin.

The plan was simple. Find our dorm, drop off our bags & find the nearest drugstore as quickly as possible. No sooner had we found our dorm when a very quirky, lively chap appeared at the door, waving the flyer for the hostel that Ashleigh had picked up in LA.

"Where'd you guys get this?" He cried, already displaying that very typical American habit of dropping any word not directly involved in the meaning of a sentence.

Geo, as he introduced himself, was ecstatic to tell us that he'd designed the latest flyer for the hostel, which apparently made Ashleigh's flyer some sort of antique. Within minutes, he had us up in his office to show us the new hostel flyer and some sort of photography project that he was doing with the hostel itself. It turns out, Geo builds photo galleries for youth hostels, in addition to running a web site based upon his photographs. All of which was genuinely impressive.  We listened politely as he explained the whole concept of PHOTOhype in great detail and with great enthusiasm.  Eventually, he stopped to breath and I managed to show him my arm and asked if he knew where we could find a drugstore.

“You don’t need a drugstore, you need a hospital!  I got a dying girl here!  He cried.

He offered to drive us to the hospital, as it was right next to the mall where he was going to the camera shop. Of course, we gratefully accepted, even though the emergency room seemed a bit extreme for a bee sting.

And so, started our big adventure...

Ashleigh, a guy called Jeff and I all piled into Geo’s car and set off to what I thought was going to be a 10 minute ride to the hospital. We made an odd mix in the car. Ashleigh and I, two Scottish girls, alternated between British politeness of amusement at the situation and pure excitement of simply being in trashy, glam, fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.  Jeff, an American, was a quiet, stereotypical arty slacker type, who didn't seem particularly impressed at being stuck in a car with a couple of tourists. And Geo, an Alaskan, talked and talked and talked and seemed to be having the time of his life.

Much to my disappointment, Geo pulled up at the mall and not the hospital. I guess, he missed the hospital exit and calculated that going to the mall, first, seemed easier and less time consuming than turning around.

"What ever..."  I thought.

When we got out of the car, Geo grabbed me from behind and decided to carry me, seeing that I was dying and all. Inside, I thought we would go straight to the camera shop, but, we didn't. It turned out that this mall had FREE Internet access. We stopped at a terminal, so that Geo could give Ashleigh and I a 15 minute demonstration of

Jeff disappeared several times & was immediately christened "The Straggler". Geo, remained on the Internet, while Ashleigh went off to buy a drink. I, with my swollen arm, waited for everyone, wondering if we'd ever get treatment for my arm and get back to the hostel in time for tea (dinner).

When they all came back, I thought that we were off to the hospital, but Jeff needed to go to another shop, which stood adjacent to the mall. Geo, calculating the time, again, said we could go to the drugstore after we'd been to Best Buy and a bookstore called Barnes & Noble. I thought he was maybe just joking about the bookstore. Ashleigh and I didn't have any choice but to follow. I was still in a lot of discomfort, however, it was fun and did feel like an adventure of some kind.

Geo carried me into Best Buy on his back. Immediately, we lost Jeff. Somehow Jeff had the habit of disappearing whenever Geo decided it was time to move on. We tried to argue with Geo, but somehow we always ended up doing what he thought we should enjoy doing. I wasn't quite sure on what to make of him, although I found his confidence refreshing and his over familiarity entertaining.

We spent the next 20 minutes looking for Jeff, then losing him again. However, Geo kept us entertained. He wanted us to dance to the music coming out of the display stereos in the theatre TV section. We didn't, but we laughed a lot and joined in the banter and he danced on his own anyway.

Somehow, we managed to corner Jeff and moved on towards Barnes & Noble bookstore. My arm was becoming more swollen all the time. Ashleigh and I began to start wishing we'd just walked to a drugstore in the first place, not really realizing that you can't walk anywhere in Vegas with the heat.  Meanwhile, Geo finally began to appreciate the surreality of the situation with my arm.  He passed the time by joking about what a great sequence to a movie this would make. He even said that he'd title it: Day One.

I don't know if he orchestrated the whole thing, making life mimic the art that was still in his head, or if the plain absurdity of the situation just appealed to him. In any case, it turned out that no-one wanted anything from the bookstore. We found "The Straggler" in Starbucks with a coffee & book in hand.

Finally, we went to Walgreens.  Two & a half hours had passed since the time Geo said that he'd drop us off at the hospital, which was only a short 10 minute drive from the hostel.  I practically ran to the pharmacy counter. The pharmacist looked very alarmed when I showed her my arm.  She suggested I use some maximum strength cream and within minutes, my arm started to feel better.

We all got back into the car and drove back to the hostel. My arm fixed and Jeff's camera stuff bought. I didn't die, I didn't have to go to the emergency room, and we even made it back to the hostel in time for tea (dinner).

A couple of hours later, a group of comedians visited the hostel to try out some new material on an international crowd. My arm was visibly smaller by then and I laughed a bit, but not nearly as much as I had done in the afternoon when we were at the mall.

Ashleigh and I were both getting tired. We were keen to get to bed, being of a tourist mentality and wanting to get up early the next morning to 'do' Vegas.  Just as the last comedian was winding down, our new best friend, Geo, appeared at the back, wanting us to go swimming or at least sit in The Jacuzzi.

Ashleigh declined and went to bed.  I was hesitant at first, but ended up in The Jacuzzi anyway.  It was a little past midnight when I realized that soaking in a heated pool at a hostel in Fabulous Las Vegas was pretty cool after all.  Needless to say, Day One had a happy ending.


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Lesley Millar    Team Scotland  |  E-mail:

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