Friday, June 11, 2010

What Happens In Vegas...

The view of the strip from our hotel

This might be my last blog for a few days as I am headed on vacation this weekend and although I keep crossing items off my To Do list, the damn thing doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. How's that work?

Anyway, I'm headed out west to Sin City. We went out the same time last year and it was surprisingly a lot of fun. I didn't think I would end up having as much fun as I did. I thought it was going to be one of those places you just go once to say "Oh yeah, I've been there." But now I'm going back out a second time.

We really did have a great time that first trip. We did an appropriate amount of drinking and gambling. We even won a little. I don't think Heather won very much. She didn't have the best luck. We were wasting our time playing Video Blackjack and Video Poker (couldn't afford to play actual cards at an actual table with an actual dealer) until Kirby, a friend of Heather's who happened to be out there the same time we were showed us the majestic wonder of Video Roulette.

Me and the Video Roulette Machine

Oh, Video Roulette, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...there's the $100 Joe managed to win and the $60 I managed to win...you so nicely helped us recoup our video poker/blackjack losses (double down on eleven, my ass! Worst advice ever!). I appreciate everything you did for me, Video Roulette and hope to rekindle our love affair upon my return.

I also hope to return to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill and partake of the macaroni and cheese they have on the side dish menu as well as the ginormous Long Island Iced Teas they serve. Biggest. Long. Island. Iced. Tea. Ever.

Heather and I ordered them, completely unaware of their vastness and our eyes about popped out of our heads when our waitress set them down on the table. They came in mason jars. Really, really big (like 32oz. big) mason jars. We both took the Lord's name in vain and our waitress said, "Don't worry. We have To Go cups." And they did. They were the size of a large Starbucks iced coffee cup and they didn't come with lids so after Heather and I filled out To Go cups with our remaining tea (and there was a lot, no matter how much we drank at dinner), we stumbled walked out to the Starbucks counter in the hotel and stole politely asked for a couple of large lids.

The Bellagio Fountain show as seen from the Eiffel Tower across the street

I also had a beer at the ESPN bar in the New York, New York hotel where I rooted for the Red Sox. The funny part is about the beer though. We'd been walking around all day at the other end of the strip from our hotel and had to kill some time before our dinner show at the Excalibur so we decided to sit in the bar. I was reading the beer menu and saw they offered Chimay. Chimay is a Belgian beer that isn't very widely known in these parts. It even comes with its own specially designed glass to maximize the flavor of the beer. The only reason I know about it is because, way back when, a man who used to come to our Ring Sport group owned (well, he still owns it as far as I know) a bar/restaurant in Lovell, Maine and he brought all these Belgian beers for us to sample one evening. One of them was the Chimay and I remembered really liking it so I ordered one. That lead to the following conversation:

Me: Could I get the Chimay, please.
Waiter: The what?
Me: Chimay.
Waiter: Yeah. What?
Me: (holding up and pointing to it on the menu): Chimay. I would like the Chimay. The one listed right here.
Waiter: (squinting at menu) Yeah, okay.

So he went off to bring us our beverages. Joe and Heather had both ordered beers that the man had heard of and therefore, their beverages came out quickly. Mine took a little longer because apparently, I was the only person in that entire desert to ever order the Chimay. But finally, the waiter found it in whatever cave they had been storing it in and brought both it and my specially designed glass out to me.

Waiter: Did you know it came with this glass?
Me: Uh, yeah. Actually I did.

Not that I actually got to keep the glass (or had a bag with me big enough in which to store it), of course.




We went to the Wax Museum where Heather hugged Johnny Depp, I cozy-ed up to Daniel Craig and Joe got to grab Jennifer Lopez's ass (and Angelina Jolie and Jessica Simpson..And he will be mortified if he knows I put this in this blog so don't tell him). We took a walk through the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef and Aquarium and watched the Sirens of Treasure Island show. We went to the Sigfried and Roy Dolphin and Exotic Cat habitat where they have posted the sign reading something like "The lions like to mark and they can shoot far so watch for lifting legs." We did not get marked.

We went to the Bellagio Botanical gardens because it was free pretty and to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel. Heather opted out of that excursion because she's not wild about heights so Joe and I went up where we promptly met a woman who was so afraid of heights, she was standing there with her face pressed into the wall as she waited (for the rest of her group, I'm assuming) to leave.

We attended the Excalibur (a very noisy hotel just crawling with kids...so glad we decided against staying there) Tournament of Kings dinner show. We had very excellent seats. It made up for the horribly spotty drinking glasses (I ended up with a bottle of water). The Tournament of Kings show is a lot like the Medieval Times dinner shows. Jousting, sword play, acrobats and dancers while serfs hand out a feat you're meant to eat with your fingers. Our king was the King of Ireland and he was H-O-T. Heather and I whooped and hollered at him politely cheered him on while Joe crawled under the table to avoid being seen with us watched approvingly. Unfortunately for the King of Ireland, his looks got him knocked on his ass and he lost. Still, it was a good show.

A shot from the Botanical Gardens. Thought it would go nicely with the porn paragraph (below).

And we collected porn. That's right we did. Lots and lots of free porn. I was picking some up for my (sort of) father-in-law because I knew he'd get a kick out of it. Heather started a collection for her brother for the same reason. They had stripper catalogs in newspaper dispensers just there for the taking. And then there were the business cards where you could pick out your hooker and have her delivered to your hotel in thirty minutes or less...like a pizza. There are people in Vegas whose job it is to stand on the sidewalk with the giant stacks of hooker business cards to hand out to the passersby. You have to reach for them, they don't just shove them in your face...that is until you reach for one stack. Then you get a little bit of a mob. By the end of our visit, we had quite a collection of cards depicting barely dressed women with barely strategically placed stars covering their whatnots. Heather and I spent one evening at a bar going through our business cards like they were baseball cards and saying things like "Oh! I don't have an Amber. I'll trade you an Amber for a Tiffany!" Joe, meanwhile, was busy crawling under the table to avoid being seen with us. The funny thing is there was a woman at the table next to us doing the same thing to her boyfriend.

I presented my father in law with his box of porn for his birthday. Well, actually, I had Joe do it as I had to skip his party to be able to attend my godson's birthday party. Joe reported that the present had gone over well. Heather's brother also appreciated her thoughfulness. She is under strict instruction to start a new collection for him on our next trip. She is also supposed to start a collection for a few others too. She actually has a list.

Double Chocolate Box Cake

But if you want to hear about something more wholesome and yet delightfully sinful, there were the buffets. Huge buffets of all you can eat food. We went to the Treasure Island breakfast buffet, the MGM Grand lunch buffet and the Bellagio dinner buffet (not all in the same day, of course). Talk about a smorgesbord. I was particularly taken by the dessert selection, especially at the Bellagio. But nothing quite took my breath away like the Double Chocolate Box Cake (as seen above) offered in the Treasure Island coffee shop. Oh. My. God. What a fantastic cake. I'm really, REALLY hoping they have it still when I get back there next week because I really, REALLY want seconds.

What I'm hoping to avoid this trip is the spinter I managed to get in my foot while walking around the strip that forced me to go to Walgreen to purchase tweezers and neosporin and then balance my foot on a railing while Joe tried to tweezer out whatever I'd gotten stuck in my heel. Heather took pictures but I don't actually have a copy of that picture so I can't post it here. I'd also like to avoid the Very Angry Housekeeper who was always so irritated with Joe and I when we had the audacity to come back to our room. And I'd like to avoid losing my shirt while gambling. Or while doing anything else for that matter. Drinking on the Vegas strip is all right but I think they still frown upon stripping on the strip. And I'd also like to avoid the 4am phone calls (Yes, as in more than one) Joe received from his boss who thought the sky was falling when it really wasn't. This time Calvin, please be assured of the necessity of the call and please be aware of the THREE HOUR TIME DIFFERENCE.



So here's what's on tap for this trip (you know, besides drinking and gambling):

1. The Grand Canyon. It's a five hour trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon so we're renting a car and headed out. We won't be able to stay out there for long but at least we'll be able to say we've seen at least a corner of it. Plus, we'll get to drive over the Hoover Dam.

2. Fremont Street. Lots of lights. Other than that, I know nothing about it. Just that we're going there.

3. Wayne Brady. He has a improv show that he puts on at the Venetian hotel so we got tickets to go see him. From what I understand, it'll be like Whose Line Is It Anyway but with uncensored swearing.

Anyway, I really need to wrap this thing up. Like I said at the start, I've got a billion things to get done before we head out. I don't know what my blogging capabilities will be out in Sin City so I don't know if I'll be blogging again before I get back so, if that's the case, I'll see y'all later. Just don't expect me to blog about the trip because remember...what happens in Vegas lives on YouTube forever , clears up in 7-1o days, stays in Vegas.

That's the ticket.

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