March 26, 2017

I 100% stand by my previous assessment of this city, especially after the happenings of tonight. I have also decided that the comparison to Vegas is more complimentary than I could have imagined. The key differences being that places actually close here and that people here aren’t just shitty excuses for life forms. So basically, Venice is a livable paradise. With canals.

My friend David got here yesterday armed with two bags full of groceries. Since I was letting him stay at the apartment, he was going to do something called “cooking at home”. Blew my fucking mind. So last night we just chilled and ate this dope ass pasta while downing a few bottles of wine. I figured that the alcohol would help kill the remaining flu germs, making me something of a revolutionary doctor.

I did wake up this morning a little better, so I tagged along to San Marco Square. I was pleasantly surprised at the relative lack of tourist overflow in the Square, and was thrilled at the complete lack of selfie stick hawkers. We ascended the bell tower, which mercifully had an elevator instead of the Duomo’s try-not-to-trip-and-kill-everyone-behind-you steps. Flu-ridden me could not have asked for a better morning. The views were spectacular, although seeing Venice from above really gives you a sense of just how fucked the grid (there is no grid. It’s like Helen Keller had a seizure while trying to design a city) of this place really is. Fascinated, and also fading quickly, we went back down and I absconded back to the apartment for some rest. We had big plans for the night.

I took a nap of indeterminate, but more than adequate, length. Feeling relatively revitalized and less diseased than any point in the past few days, I was finally going to brave the city for more than a few hours at a time. David had informed me that the oldest casino in the world is located all of 5 minutes from the Airbnb. Both of us being helpless degenerates, this was the destination of our Venetian dreams. The online reviews did temper our expectations a bit, but once I saw that a jacket must be worn, I was all in. I donned my suit, which I thankfully didn’t pack in vain and walked out of the apartment like a short, pale, and sniffling George Clooney. Shit was about to go down.

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And down did it go. We showed up via water taxi and stepped into a casino resembling nothing I had ever imagined. Marble floors gave way to a modest number of low-limit tables occupied by a diverse set of well-dressed individuals who occasionally glared up at crystal chandeliers in frustration. We plopped down at a blackjack table and unspooled the 100 euros to which we had decided to limit ourselves. I’ll let you guess how well that turned out.

But while our financial goals may not have been met, we did make a bunch of friends as people cycled through our table for the two hours we managed to remain there. There was a man from Southern Italy who was playing three hands at a time and betting 100 euros on each hand. He was hilarious and also made me feel significantly better about what I lost. There was a guy from Pennsylvania who was betting 10’s with the rest of us and had literally the worst luck I’ve ever seen at a blackjack table. A father and son from Ohio came to the table as we were on our last gasps and breathed life back into our chip-addicted souls. We nicknamed the dad Lebron (the kid didn’t talk much) and we made far too much noise as he kept asking us how much Italian strange we had gotten this far into our respective trips and we had to keep chuckling and answering evasively because neither of us have been as successful as he seemed to think we should have been (that was probably a super run-on sentence and it definitely was not ended correctly, but also it’s late and I’m sick and broke so fuck off and get some real problems). But we had a blast until we all inevitably lost our money and exited the casino bowed but unbroken.

Despite the very predictable hit to my bank account, the night was an unwavering success. Now I just need to resist the urge to return to that money vacuum alone. I am still very much not healthy and most likely shouldn’t have stayed out until 1 AM. However, good decisions have literally never led to good stories. And what is an extended vacation if not a wide net for good stories? Here’s to hoping I can make it out of bed tomorrow… Until then motherfuckers.

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