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|Vegas 2005||Sunday, 2005 November 13 - 10:08 am|
|So here's the long-awaited Vegas trip recap.|
It was our third annual trip to Las Vegas. There were nine of us, all friends from high school, and all but one of us from the same graduating year. Of course a certain Emmy-winning friend of ours was among the group, as were ohbejuan, quasipseudo, and sassyass. None of had seen sassyass in a really long time, so that was wild. He was exactly the same as we remembered him, and he fit right in with the rest of us.
The Flight to Las Vegas
I left Raleigh on Thursday, November 3rd. Amy drove me to the airport. I can't remember the last time anyone's driven me to the airport. Geez, I've been single a long time. Anyway, leaving Amy was tough, perhaps one of the toughest parts of the whole trip. Yeah, we are THAT stuck on each other.
On the plane, I was in seat 45F. On a Delta 757, that is the last row of the airplane, in the very back corner. Hint #1 for Vegas travelers: if you want to project the image of a high rolling gambler, do not sit in the back corner of coach class. Ah well. In seat 45C, a woman started drinking early, and she drank for most of the four-hour flight. She was flirting heavily with the six guys traveling together in rows 40 and 41. She also flirted with any guy who happened to come by to use the lavatories. It was a pretty pathetic scene.
Arrival in Las Vegas
At the airport, I met up with five of the other guys, and there were man-hugs all 'round. We noticed with interest that the Adult Entertainment Expo was just ending in Vegas; next year, we might have to coordinate our schedule a little better.
We used the hotel check-in counter at the airport. Oddly, we were told that quasipseudo and I had been moved from the Paris hotel to Bally's, next door. I started to consider explaining the concept of a "reservation" to the clerk, but I didn't think it'd do any good. More on this in a moment.
We took a shuttle bus to the hotel in an attempt to avoid the taxi stand lines. Hint #2 for Vegas travelers: DO NOT TAKE THE SHUTTLE. It took at least fifteen minutes before we could even get on the shuttle, and then we just sat there for another twenty minutes before we actually started moving. It was a total buzz-kill.
But once we got to the hotel, we went to eat at a restaurant in Bally's called the Sidewalk Cafe. There we met up with two other guys who had arrived at different times. Once we got some food and drink in our bellies, and once we started into the clever banter (oh yes, we're FULL of clever banter), we all felt a little bit better.
We dove into the Vegas experience by going to Forty Deuce, where they have an old-time burlesque show. They give you liquor by the bottle, and that's where I had the twelve ounces of Maker's Mark. Before the trip I'd been worried that I was catching a cold, but no doubt all that alcohol killed off any viruses that were running around in my bloodstream.
After that, it was a few hours of blackjack, where I broke even; then I played craps for a few minutes and went up $100. It was about 3:00 am PST at this point, so we decided to call it quits for the evening.
The Hotel Screw-Up
When quasipseudo and I got to our hotel room, our keys didn't work. We went down to the front desk to see what was up. Now, the room at the Paris had originally been booked by Javi, and then had gotten switched by the guy at the airport... so there were two names associated with the room, and neither of them were for me or quasipseudo. After trying to explain this for several minutes, the clerk went to get the manager, who finally figured out: "Actually, you're at the wrong hotel. You're supposed to be at the Paris." And I almost said, "NO DUH", but I was too tired to actually form the words. See, quasipseudo's real name is one of the most common names in the universe, and they had gotten him mixed up with someone else. So hint #3 for Vegas travelers: DO NOT USE THE MOST COMMON NAME IN THE UNIVERSE WHEN CHECKING INTO YOUR HOTEL.
They had three security guards meet us at our room to get our stuff so we could go over to the Paris. The guards probably had no idea we were simply moving to a different hotel: no doubt they were under the impression that we'd done something wrong and were being kicked out. When they met us, one guy told us sternly, "We've been instructed to let you go in and retrieve your personal items ONLY." In other words, DO NOT TAKE THE TELEVISION, 'CAUSE WE'RE WATCHING YOU.
The clerk at Bally's said that she called the Paris and transferred us back over there. But when we got to the Paris check-in counter, the clerk there had no idea what we were talking about. We had to explain the whole dang thing with the names and everything, all over again. It was 4:00 am before we finally got into our room and were able to go to sleep.
Needless to say, we all slept late Friday morning. We got up at around 10:00 and met for breakfast at the Sidewalk Cafe again. We did a little more gambling after that, then split up for a while. I took some time to write a blog entry. We hadn't made plans for dinner, so we went down to the MGM Grand complex to try to find a place to eat. But oops, the U2 concert was that night, and every restaurant had a 90 minute wait. We ended up eating at the abysmal food court. Hint #4 for Vegas travelers: always make dinner plans in advance.
After a little more gambling (I went up another $80 at blackjack), we went over to the lounge bar at the MGM Grand, a place that's become sort of a traditional hangout for us. We took our now-traditional group photo there. Those who haven't given me permission to publish their photos have their faces blurred out, like mob witnesses or something. Strangely, Javi was almost insistent that his picture NOT be blurred out.
I want to point out Boobs McNippleson over in the upper left, who sneaked into the picture. THAT WAS TOTALLY NOT MY DOING. Look, I'm not even the one taking the picture, all right?
An interesting thing about the MGM Grand bar, by the way: they have a martini that includes Kobe beef broth in it. Now, we're all a bunch of carnivorous fools, but none of us had the stomach to try the Kobe beef broth martini.
I went to bed fairly early, about 12:30 PST.
Quasipseudo, I, and another guy (whose nickname for the trip was "Spoon") went over to Caesar's Palace in the morning. I made a new friend:
We ate breakfast at the buffet, and we did a little shopping.
After that, I did some more gambling, and I quickly lost $200 at blackjack. Then I lost another $140 at craps. Actually, I was down about $350 at craps for a while before I clawed my way back up. Hint #5 for Vegas travelers: be careful how much money you bring to the craps table.
In the afternoon, five of us went to an indoor skydiving place. That's where you go into a big vertical wind tunnel, and you float in a column of 120MPH wind. It's not quite like actual skydiving, but it was pretty fun. (I'll have some pictures from that posted later; I have to transfer video from a VHS tape.) I did break the nosepiece of my glasses during this experience, but a nice guy at a sunglasses store fixed it for free. He wouldn't even take a tip... in Las Vegas, finding someone who doesn't have his hand out for a tip is like finding the Loch Ness Monster. I was amazed.
For dinner that night, we ate at Del Frisco's, a steakhouse. Mmmm. We ate our faces off. The highlight of that evening, and perhaps of the whole trip, was when they showed us the table that was used in the movie "Goldfinger". It pops open while playing James Bond theme songs, and inside is an engraved wine bottle for each of the Bond movies. As movie geeks, we could hardly believe what we were seeing.
After dinner, we went to see "Jubilee" at Bally's, an traditional Vegas showgirls production. The 10:30 showing is the R-rated version, and to say that it was a topless show would be the understatement of the century. It was a breast-acular production, a veritable mammary cavalcade. There were like 359 breasts there, and we were right there in the front row, within milking distance. Hint #6 for Vegas travelers: Go to the later show, and get good seats.
The show was wonderfully cheesy. I mean, after all, they're re-enacting historic scenes while singing. Topless. I laughed loudly during their "Titanic" scene, where they all sang "It's a great day to go sailing!" And then suddenly they were having a lingerie show!
One weird thing was that at the table next to us, three older Filipina women sat through the entire show without moving or cracking a smile. Were they offended by the boobathon? Or did they just not get it? Why would you spend $80 bucks for a show like this if you're not even going to enjoy it?
After the show, we gambled until about 3:30 am, and I lost another $100. That was it for me; I was done.
Those of us who were leaving early went to the airport in the morning, and ate breakfast there. After some more man-hugs, it was time to go. I sat in 45A on the way back. Funny how people don't drink and party so much on the flight back from Vegas. The in-flight movie was "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" with Johnny Depp; it wasn't bad.
When I got to Cincinnati, I learned that my connecting flight back to Raleigh was delayed. Apparently, there had been bad weather in New York and all of Delta's airplanes were stuck there. Amy had planned to be at the Raleigh airport waiting to pick me up. But after learning about the delays, we decided I'd just call her when I arrived, so she wouldn't have to sit there waiting indefinitely. That was too bad, because she had intended to greet me with, among other things, this:
Do you see why I love this girl?
I got in at 1:45 am and went right to bed.
All told, I was down a few hundred bucks from gambling... or more properly put, I spent a few hundred bucks for three days of gambling entertainment. Not too bad.
It was great seeing all the guys again. The breakdown of our conversations:
- 50% talking about movies
- 15% talking about music
- 10% talking about people and events from high school
- 5% talking about Javi's Emmy
- 20% meaningless clever banter
The meaningless clever banter was probably the most enjoyable part. Javi, as you might guess, is an unstoppable fount of banter. One stony-faced blackjack dealer didn't say a word to us until Javi loosened her up with fifteen minutes of chatting, and finally broke her by singing "La Mere". So hint #7 for Vegas travelers: Bring Javi with you if at all possible.
Las Vegas is an interesting place, a modern-day Casablanca, with every country and culture and stratum of society represented. It's an adult amusement park, a non-stop nightclub, a place of fantasy and escapism. What is it with people who don't have fun in Las Vegas? I saw so many old men who sat grimly at the gambling tables, losing money and acting like it was the last place on earth they wanted to be. It was like those Filipina women: don't they get it? Don't they understand what Vegas is all about?
Can't wait for next year.
(The full set of photos is linked from my Friends page. The photo page is password-protected; if you know me the other guys, you can e-mail me for the access password.)
|Permalink 6 Comment
Posted by Ken in: life, travel
|Comment #1 from John C (Guest)|
2005 Nov 13 - 3:36 pm : #
|I think we are going to be hanging on to "Spoon's" nickname. However, I move that Sassyass' nickname be forgotten. You can't be walkin' around with people calling you "oriental beef".|
|Comment #2 from Javi (Guest)|
2005 Nov 13 - 4:19 pm : #
|awesome recap, ken - and i can't tell you how grateful i am to see you immortalizing the name of "jubilee" associate producer "fluff lecoque" in your blog... how can people not enjoy a show associatedly produced by someone with that name?|
i am not about to begin living for next year's trip!
|Comment #3 from Javi (Guest)|
2005 Nov 13 - 4:27 pm : #
|sorry, that was a typo - what i meant to say was -|
"'I AM NOW ABOUT TO BEGIN LIVING FOR NEXT YEAR'S TRIP!"
|Comment #4 from Phil (Guest)|
2005 Nov 14 - 2:21 am : #
|The Filipina women were mostly wondering why you aren't married yet, and when you can meet their daughters.|
|Comment #5 from e (Guest)|
2005 Nov 14 - 3:09 am : #
|i am glad to see that i look much better pixellated. this also prevents people from seeing that i was about to pass out both times. also, now my face knows how genitals feel on television.|
wait, that didn't come out right.
|Comment #6 from Melinda (Guest)|
2005 Nov 14 - 9:03 am : #
ummm...interesting pics :0