AI ME, being the worrier of earth decay and opulence versus poverty, capitalism and global warming, had to get over myself as my partner has often pointed out.
"How about we drench ourselves in some good life and let the problems of the world take care of themselves for one weekend?" he quizzed with a raised left eyebrow.
Any suggestions? "How about Emperors Palace?"
Yeah, how about it? was my response. And this on a Thursday afternoon.
"Could you get us some kind of itinerary at this short notice?" I coyly asked the booking agent as I read their accommodation pamphlet: "Emperors Palace is a sensational hotel, casino and convention resort that combines timeless classical elegance and sheer excitement."
Silently, I knew there's never too tall a task for the Palace of Dreams, as they affectionately call it. By Friday morning my weekend was filled with activities starting from Friday right through to Sunday.
Maybe word got out that we were from a newspaper because the red carpet seemed not enough for the royalty we were made to feel.
On Friday evening, they laid out the most memorable dining experience. The food at Aurelia's is as scrumptious at 9pm as it is at 1.30pm. Of course it is expected that some customers, like the millionaire look-alike next to our table, would be impossible to please.
With a beauty alongside them, the two friends commanded so much attention it was a wonder our waiter Abram managed to dedicate so much quality time and service to us.
While most food is so well cooked it tastes dead at that time of the night, my duck tasted like it had soaked itself in lemon juice to preserve its taste.
"Aurelia's is a beautiful, conservatory-style restaurant extending along the northern façade of the D'oreale Grande - the perfect setting for everything from sumptuous al fresco breakfasts to romantic candle-lit dinners ..." claimed the website, and boy did it live up to that promise.
The Fortuna Poker Room provides eye-opening moments. Some people seem to be born with a winning hand while some of us may be creating our own gambling demise by being negative. My partner won a cool R200.
"Time to go," I said.
"What, with these peanuts?"
Now I know how easy it is to become addicted. When he rocked up at the room in the small hours, he had made R50 more since I left.
The dangling carrot in the morning was a spa treatment at the famous Octavia's Sensorium. For only R500, would you really expect body exfoliation, back massage, mini facial and stone foot treatment? If Cleopatra knew this secret, she would have lived forever.
After sleeping off the massage mellowness we drove around the Palace for things to do.
It turns out that Kempton Park, which is about a five-minute drive from the Palace, has an ice skating rink at the Festival Mall. For a whole two hours, with my knees seriously threatening a catastrophe, the world and the instability of the Rand were on their own indeed.
Lunch at Spur tasted like dung and leaves after Aurelia and Primavera spoilt our taste buds.
That evening was preceded by dinner at the Queen of the Nile and followed by the SOLOuette Show at the Odeon Show Bar overlooking the main casino. What an extravaganza! The costumes, the sound, the stage design... my goodness some shows are worth the money and the time.
I was told that David Kau will also be doing a comedy show on June 27 at the same place.
The nice thing about the Odeon Show Bar is that you can order drinks while watching the show. You can even order food. Cosmopolitan ma'am? You've got it, pronto.
As I watched my full-house omelette prancing before me the following morning, my heart sank as I remembered the famine in Sudan. After breakfast, my only worry was, how soon would we be able to make it back there. So carefree was I feeling in fact that I don't even know how many rands we spent dancing in the opulence of Emperors.
Life is too short and some memories are worth every cent.