It was a crisp early Thursday morning, the 29th of September 2011, when I left YYZ (Pearson Toronto Intl Airport) to fly to Las Vegas not only to watch Charice sing at the David Foster and Friends Concert; but to meet with other chasters. I arrived at the McCarran Airport (LAS) at 11AM to hot dry weather towering the 90’s. I almost fainted while waiting for a shuttle to take me to the ORLEANS Hotel – where a good chaster-benefactor awaited me at the lobby. I was the earliest chaster to arrive in town, per Aloha-Sailor’s roster of Chasters-coming-to-Vegas-to-watch-DFF. Evening of Thursday: while trying my luck at the nickel-slots, a miracle did happen. No I didn’t win, LOL! It was my kumare [close female friend] whom I haven’t seen for 23 years and she won a jackpot! She offered me to join her to the Grand Canyons on her own expense, so we could bond more. Isn’t that wonderful? Friday the 30th, off I toured the Grand Canyons; at the same time that Aloha Sailor flew in from Seattle. He said he was hoping to barge into my hotel room; but I was not answering my hotel phone, well because I was like 250 miles away. Chasters were one by one arriving in the Entertainment Capital of the World. Early morning Saturday, first day of October, I was down at the Orleans coffee shop for breakfast and free WIFI connections. A lady came up to me and asked, ARE YOU LOLA ELREM? She was a New York chaster! Then a group of L.A. chasters approached me, ARE YOU LOLA ELREM? And much later two ladies who claimed to be from Ohio looked at my face and asked – ARE YOU LOLA ELREM? and my reply was, how did you know it was me? And their usual answer was “BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZED YOUR FACE”. OMC .. I am famous here in Las Vegas :zap: (And mind you, each group that came up to me fed me. That was nice! J ) Thanks to the postings of Deadly Sweet on dates and venues of the Chaster meetings in Las Vegas, chasters were well informed. First CHASTER meeting, the Raffles coffee shop at the Mandalay Bay hotel, from 3:00 to 6:00 P.M. I warily walked into that eating crowd of seemingly chaster-looking-people; slowly I did just to make sure I am coming to the right group and not into total strangers. And even before I had figured out who was whom, these chaster-looking-people cheered – LOLA ELREM! LOLA ELREM! And a young man who looked like UCLA-JAY welcomed me with open arms and an ear to ear smile. OMC I didn’t even have the chance to introduce myself and they know me already?? :zap: A gracious host that he was, UCLA-JAY named the chasters : TE33 of Hawaii, Sideburner Sol of LA, gussy, the L.A. girls who adopted me at the Orleans; FOGH of Denmark, ALOHA-SAILOR, EDDIE formerly of LA, EBJ of Minnesota, ATE-FE of Nevada; JAZZY of LA; this pretty Thai chaster whose name I couldn’t recall; Christine-Di of LA; Ruby of NY who saw me at the Orleans Coffee Shop; Penny of Ohio; the ever-present Angelia of RI opkors who else; NYChaster, Sweete, Doc Ed, Arz Bayani; and the big surprise of all — the pretty ABBonita who flew in from PI!!!! From that gathering, we trooped into the Concert Arena. Sir David Foster as usual started narrating his musical life; first introducing Kenny Loggins. Then he broke protocol by calling in whom else but our dear princess Charice. My heart leaped when Cha walked in and began singing the Power of Love by Celine. She treated the song differently and I admired the way she
wove into the song; then my tears started welling.. oh my Lord my Charice is serenading me again. Cha followed it with Toni Braxton’s UN-BREAK MY HEART. David Foster explained that it was the first time Charice sang the song and called her once again a laser beam. Then Bruno Mars’ BEFORE IT EXPLODES; and ended it up with Michael Jackson’s EARTH SONG. Her finale was so powerfully sang; I was welling in tears again! Charice had to sing earlier in the show because she had to fly to Japan, yes to the other side of the globe where she came from a day ago. Wow! I am almost tempted to think that Charice is not human LOL! What ordinary human being, much more a little girl (yeah, DF and Oprah call her THE LITTLE GIRL), that petite girl to render a flawless performance with such power and emotion – live; after flying 20 hours from the other side of the globe. Who else? No one else but our special girl, that GIFT FROM GOD, our dear Charmaine Clarice Relucio Pempengco. The programme ended quickly, as I thought it did, because all that mattered to me was Charice. I am so biased, but indeed because no other singer has that kind of magnetic charm enough to uproot me from the comforts of Toronto and fly me into hot Las Vegas just to watch her perform. No one, and nobody else except Charice. After the concert, the happy chasters transferred to the California hotel where we had the oxtail soup a.k.a. bulalo. Yes Virginia, we had the graveyard menu so called BULALO at midnightime. It was fun teaching the non-pinoys how to pronounce BULALO the Filipino way. More chasters joined us, Anthony and his group from Utah, Starbucks and his wife; and our beloved DJ-DRAKE!! We were one bunch of noisy ever-hungry chasters exchanging opinions of how the concert went. We broke ranks at past 2A.M..
Eddie of now Bay Area, was very gentlemanly driving some of us back to our respective hotels, especially lola. Sunday the 2nd, the chasters once again met at the Asian Buffet for lunch. Yes again Virginia, another eating-meeting for chasters and lotsa picture taking! LDMovies and his wife finally made it to the gathering. Some members were flying back to their respective nests hours from there but we just couldn’t bear separating ways. Our love for Charice had forged our friendship, and nothing can take us away from loving her the way we do. For all chasters out there who were not able to join us — you were with us in spirits. I hope this little narrative of mine would give you an idea what a happy meeting we had in that little town that literally never sleeps, that desert city called LAS VEGAS. By LolaElrem, Charicemania.com