I Went to Vegas (part 2)

Turning day into night time
Turning night into day time
If you’ve seen it once you’ll never be the same again. *

sunrise-before.jpg

View from our room of sun rising over mountains . . .

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sunrise-after.jpg

. . . aaaand again after I remembered to shut off the flash.

(

With all the excitement over the contest, I almost forgot about Vegas Part 2.

To save us all a lot of time and trouble, I decided to just copy some excerpts from my travel diary. Bear in mind, I take a sedative when I fly and also, sometimes . . . just ‘cuz, so the whole thing might be a bit disjointed. I did, however, try to clarify some of the comments with parenthetical information.

Some background: I went with my mom, this was our fourth trip to Vegas; each time we’ve stayed at the Flamingo, there are, surprisingly, flamingoes on the grounds as well as other cool birds. I have a bad back. Dave is my husband. Gus is my cat. I like to eat.

(NOTE: I wanted to insert photos to help break up the monotony of the text, but WordPress kept rebelling, so I just slammed all my pix onto Flickr; view the entire set here.)

MONDAY

Up at 3:30, happy and excited. About 4 hours of sleep. Gus doesn’t want me to go.

At airport, bought a delicious greasy, buttery cheese bagel, which dripped all over my awesome new white pants. It’s Hawaii all over again! (When I was in high school, we took our senior trip to Hawaii [I know!] and my mom cautioned me against wearing white pants on the plane. But my 3 friends and I had some weird pact that we were all going to wear white pants. Something about unity and friendship and white pants. Anyway, just minutes into the flight, my white pants were covered in sticky pop. Moms are never wrong.)

Woo! So much leg room! I lucked out—s’posed to have a middle seat but got an aisle seat in an exit row. Mom is stuck in a middle seat in the row ahead of me. SORRY MOM!

Our shuttle driver from the airport is v. colorful. Told us that Mary J. Blige tipped him $100 and Don King tipped him a nickel. (He was also a liar—he warned us it was going to be 102, but it was only about 90.)

Got a free room upgrade! Niiiiice. A TV in the bathroom mirror—not a separate screen but IN the mirror! You can see it from the shower. And the toilet!

Couldn’t figure out how to open the drapes. The bellguy who brought up our luggage showed us how to use the BUTTONS next to the bed to open and close them automatically. But not before Mom broke them trying to do it manually.

Great buffet lunch at Flamingo: pasta salad, salad, pasta with meat sauce, ribs, mashed potatoes, fried rice, tilapia, chocolate mousse balls.

To pool, which was packed to a ridiculous degree.

Observations at the pool:

Accidentally flashed an unimpressed crowd when I pulled my cover-up over my head, dragging with it my tankini top. Saw an old woman with elephant legs. Four cute girls ordered a pizza to eat poolside—one of them is bald! Here comes the inevitable screaming baby. They’re STILL blaring that 80s music. Heard a guy say he was from Skokie. A woman nearby piped up, “I’m from Skokie too!” So I had to chime in, “Me, too.” Weird.

After some quality pool time, we headed to Planet Hollywood, which sucks. Much better when it was Aladdin’s. Spent most of our time at the ABC store and Hilo Hattie—why not just go to Hawaii next time? Got some Hello Kitty mango marshmallows.

So tired, back/hips hurt. Dying to get back to room to SIT or SLEEP.

Stood in line for 5 years for a delicious slice of pizza, which we ate outside by the flamingos and other birds. Someone picked up that big white bird! Got a picture of 2 birds trying to get into the casino. Apparently they’ve succeeded in the past. Now that I would love to see.

Lost $2 on video poker. Tomorrow I will get it back—with interest! (sadly, this brave optimism would prove fruitless.)

TUESDAY

Big fight with coffeeshop girl when I tried to bill my order to my room. I insisted my room number was 200079, and she kept telling me it wasn’t in the system. Finally she billed it to 20079, which I snootily told her was the WRONG room and FINE with me, since I wouldn’t be charged. Considered getting some kind of proof from the front desk just to prove her wrong, then decided to go back to the room and make Mom take a picture of me standing in front of our room number, go back to the coffeeshop, and show her the tiny image on my camera of me standing next to the room number 200079. Except when I got to our room, somehow it had changed to 20079. Will have to wear a disguise to coffeeshop tomorrow.

To MGM, Luxor, Mandalay Bay. So much walking, but fun. Beautiful weather. Love MGM.

Buffet at Mandalay Bay: salad, pot stickers, pork carnitas with salsa and sour cream, mashed potatoes, beef short ribs, lo-mein noodles, egg rolls, white chocolate cake, tiramisu. Had to run to the bathroom, which was inconveniently located on the other side of a 10-mile casino. Don’t these buffet people know we’re going to stuff our faces and need a bathroom RIGHT THERE?

Took the monorail, which was fun and cut down on walking. Sat next to a guy who, out of the blue, said, “In case you’re wondering (we weren’t), I got these scratches (holds up mangled arm and hand) from falling into a cactus.”

Great massage at Flamingo spa. Lost my sparkly earrings. Will buy MORE!

Talked to Dave. He misses me, and so does Gus, who threw up his supper and had a raspy voice from meowing—at home, alone—all day.

Discovered trashy little grocery store behind hotel and loaded up on cheap water. A huge bottle is 79 cents! We’re paying 3-4 bucks at the hotel for a small bottle. MAN!

Lost $5 to video poker, $2 to slots. When will I remember that slots are dumb?

WEDNESDAY

So funny to get up early to a hallway and elevator like any hotel anywhere: bright, quiet, no one around, then the elevator doors open onto the lobby and: “WHEEL . . . OF . . . FORTUNE!” People, noise, jangling machines, smoke, drunks, winners, losers, LIFE all at 5 AM.

Tired and stiff. Pretended to watch ESPN so I could sit in the comfy chairs by the sports book. When the security guy walks by, I squint with interest at the screen. Like he cares!

They keep playing that damn Sugar Ray song.

Gorgeous day!

Watched the birds early AM. Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping duck with its head tucked under its wing?

Fucking smokers! Empty your damn ashtrays at least!

Seems to be some sort of convention of old ladies with laptops.

Met Mom on veranda and then to Starbucks. (Tho our hotel had a nice coffeeshop—albeit with argumentative clerks—my Mom is a serious Starbucks devotee, and each morning we walked 2 blocks for her fix.)

Took the bus downtown to Fremont Street. Long ride but so nice to SIT. Fun people-watching. Saw a sign in front of one of the non-strip casinos:

IF YOU CAN’T WIN

HERE DON’T PLAY

Nice to be away from the crowds. Lots of great, cheap souvenir shops. Bought a new pair of sparkly earrings (which I now hate) and got a stripper pen for Dave. Also picked up cheap gifts for my blog contest. Bag of Fritos for lunch.

Met my cousin and her husband and went to Battista’s for dinner. After all the rave reviews, not that great. Salad was terrible, pasta was good, meatballs were GREAT, and “dessert” a watery cappucino, was awful. Accosted by unwanted accordian player. Nice time, tho. Always good to see them.

Found my iPod battery cord wrapped up in my hair dryer cord!

Lost $7 on video poker. Tomorrow is my day!

THURSDAY

Flamingo breakfast buffet. Dave called in the middle of our meal. “Are you at a buffet?” YES! Mom had “backed-up pill” syndrome and couldn’t swallow for a while. Scary.

To Caesar’s, Bellagio, and Paris. Awesome pastry shop at Bellagio, and a nice, reasonable gift shop called Essentials.

TIRED! SORE FEET! BACK KILLING ME!

Sat on veranda after passing a woman at a slot machine who, according to a member of the gathering crowd, was up to $10,000. I’ve only lost $16, so I’m a winner too.

To Harley Davidson Cafe for great barbecue.

SUDDEN HORRIFYING BACK PAIN!

Picked up cheesecake from coffeeshop and ate it in bed while watching “Survivor.” We’re lucky if we can stay up until 9:00. My back is better after slathering it in Tiger Balm.

Lost $5 on video poker. And . . . I am done. Boo.

FRIDAY

Set alarm for 6, shuttle to pick us up at 7:30. Watched “Coach” as we packed. I’d forgotten what a good show that is!

Took my “flying pill” and felt great. Love walking around airports in a sedated haze. Got a window seat so was able to rest my head and sleep. Mom was stuck in a middle seat 4 rows behind. SORRY MOM!

If you want to go to Vegas:
  • Don’t wear white pants on the plane.
  • Watch out for cacti.
  • Find out where the bathrooms are before loading up at a buffet.
  • Go with your Mom; you’ll have fun.
  • Bring Tiger Balm.

Viva Las Vegas!

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

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