Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Adios, Las Vegas!

We're checking out of our hotel on Wednesday and heading back to San Diego. I love my family dearly, but try spending 5 nights in a room with this many people in addition to a room with shitty air conditioning, and nerves are bound to unravel a bit. Still, it's been fun, and as I've been reminded a thousand times, we don't get to vacation as a family much anymore and "who knows how many we have left?"

I've updated a couple times, but here's how it went down. We stayed Fri, Sat, and Sunday at Main Street Station which is downtown, a block up from the Fremont Street Experience. I usually check out Fremont, and I intended to check out the Beauty Bar, but there was a hot machine at our casino bar and there was this really great bartender named Jaime from Hawaii who took care of my vodka tonics (n.f.l.) so before I knew it, it was 4 or 5 in the morning and I went back upstairs. This pattern repeated on Saturday, except the machines weren't so hot, so I discovered Jaime could make Washington Apples that would hold their own at the Ken Club, so it killed the pain of losing dinero. On Saturday, we did hit Planet Hollywood Casino (so lame) so here' s a couple of the girls at the shops.

I mentioned that Sunday I was completely chill and read all of The Gum Thief (I LOVE Douglas Coupland, by the way) while everyone else did their own thing. Did I mention the average temperature all week has been 108 degrees? Yeah, screw my carbon footprint, it is all about air conditioning and I tried to go outside as infrequently as possible.

On Monday, we came to this hotel, the Flamingo Hilton. Damn Miami Vice or whomever brought the flamingo into style in the 80s, but it is tacky city, let me tell you. I have mixed reviews about this room. The bed is incredibly comfortable and I definitely dig the 52" flat screen and the iPod docking surround stereo system. The bathroom is huge and has a separated bathtub from the shower, which is a huge upgrade from Main Street's bathroom that you can barely get around the door to close. We also had a killer view of Bellagio's dancing water fountains. Unfortunately, our A/C is retarded and though it's set at 65, won't allow the room to get below 75. Not cool. (literally.) Also, I would like to know the interior designer who "upgraded" these rooms and give him a swift kick to the head. Pink/Brown/White Patent Leather has to be the UGLIEST color scheme in the history of the world. Over each bed, the light fixture has 9, yes NINE 100w vanity lightbulbs. If I wanted my room to be as bright as a hospital room, I'd get alcohol poisoning and ACTUALLY GO TO A HOSPITAL. I unscrewed 7 of the 9 bulbs over both beds. Also, there are 4 LED chrome lights that resemble the old "I need the key on aisle 4" microphones at K-Mart. None of them work. Whwn I called guest services to inquire about the reading lights, the woman on the phone responded, "Oh, we're uninstalling them. They don't work." Genius.

We went to Caesar's for a little bit on Monday since it's across the street and Claudia wanted to eat at a deli there. I was taking nudie pics for Jake, so thought I'd post. And then there's the parrot- he's in the valet area of our casino. (more after the jump)

So then last night. I can't even believe I'm going to be this personal on this site. This was the stuff I saved for my other blog. Oh well. You jumped.

So let's just say, I made some friends. First, my dad is a "diamond club" member, meaning he has earned enough points in the many properties owned (including this hotel, Caesar's, Paris, Harrah's Rincon and a bunch more) that he gets comps. The rooms all week have been comped, thus the crowded quarters. But each of the associated properties also has a "Diamond Club" lounge that has complimentary cocktails (without having to gamble), a couple internet stations, and a free mini-buffet of hors d'ouevres. We hung out there for a little while. My dad dozed off after a restless night, I watched baseball and ended up talking to this dude from Queens who schooled me about sports betting and who basically made me want to pack my bags and move to Queens. Oh, and apparently he really, really likes bruschetta.

I only mention him, because later that night, after Caesar's, my mom and I went down to gamble. We started on one side of the casino, then moved to the bar area. I was doing ok, but she lost quickly, so she left the bar to a gaming island about 5 feet behind me. My dude from Queens was sitting a few seats away from me, so I caught myself staring. Stalker. Next to me, I had a conversation with an elderly gentle man. He had lost his friend, their wives were at their timeshare. It occurred to me that he is getting an onset of Alzheimer's as he had an entire conversation with me (Where are you from? Who are you here with? Where are you staying?, etc) and then after a few moments of silence, started the conversation from the beginning all over again. Four more times. This made me sad.

While we played, I listened to three dudes check out the very few chicks at the bar, trying to identify the "pros". Then security approached a girl who sat embarassed and in her defense, amongst themselves, the three protested her treatment. Then they proceeded to talk about finding some girls, maybe getting massages at an Asian massage parlour, blah blah. I pretty much know all of their conversation because they were literally 16 inches from me and talking loud as hell. Proof that sometimes I really am invisible. I was also listening because my mom was sitting right there, and I was ready to ask them to move. I didn't.

Eventually, my mom left back to the other side of the casino, but I was doing well, nursing my drinks while playing poker. When she finally left, I commented to one of the three, "man, you are three of the dirtiest em efs I've ever heard." "You drop an m.f. and we're the dirty ones?" He had a point. But anyway we start talking, they're here for their friend's 50th birthday, they're from Massachusetts, blah blah, and they bought me a drink when I said they had brought me bad juju. We all know I never turn down the offering of a free drink. They nicknamed me 'rabbit ears' and asked what else I'd heard. It became apparent to me that they were all talk and probably don't have the balls to get a Vegas hooker or a 'happy ending' massage, let alone a legit massage at one of the many spas. Like all bros- all talk. Their collective favorite band is Vertical Horizon and one of them filled us in on what's been happening on Days of Our Lives because he works from home. Guys who listen to VH and watch Days usually aren't the hooker-pickin-up type I would guess.

Anyway, we hung out and drank and eventually (as always) the machine sucked down my self imposed gambling allotment and we continued to drink. and drink. and drink. I was drinking Heinekens, then we started mixing in red-headed sluts. On my other side was Pat, a guy from Ireland who was really nice. Oh, and then Queens was still there, and some girls came up and there was some debate about their working status, though they were all, ahem, of the BBW variety and didn't know what a well drink was so I said definitely not working. But anyway, it was just one of those nights where everyone at the end of the bar kinda cross talks and drinks and it was a whole lot of fun. All bars should be round or oval. Like the Ken Club...everyone knows if you're with a group of people, you always want a corner so people can hear more than just the person next to them. One by one everyone left, and I was left with Rob. He told me to gamble; I said I ran out of money; he gave me $100 to play. "Play for me," he said. So I did, played a while, then hit a 4 of a kind. I gave him back his $100 and kept the $27.50 winnings. We were getting along, grabbed a beer, and went to his room. In my awesome blunt honesty, "I'll go to your room, but we're not having sex." Smooth. We went to the room and hung out until I ended up falling asleep. It was about 6 am.

Fast forward to noon, I check my phone to find 25 missed calls and 6 messages. I had my ringer off and my parents were FREAKING out. The apparently woke up at 6:30 because the room alarm went off and realized I wasn't there, then proceeded to call me. I guess they even called my house, where Daniel is staying, to see if he had heard from me. They called the casino to report me as missing. I was told it went something like this:

Dad: "Hi. My wife and my daughter were out gambling last night and my wife returned but my daughter didn't. She's missing."

Casino: "We're sorry sir, this sort of thing happens all the time. This is Vegas."

Yeah. I called them then returned to the room where they had ordered room service and gave me all those parental lectures about how worried they were and how dangerous this town can be. I suddenly felt 14. "I was fine. I made friends, fell asleep in their room. I didn't have sex, my clothes stayed on, you're not getting a grandchild in 9 months." My mom's response? "Then what was the point?" (They really want me to have a kid, even if it is the result of a one night stand in Vegas.) Anyway, all day was this weird parental boundary thing going on.

We all went to Circus Circus and went to the Mezzanine to play games and win stuffed animals for Claudia and Johanna. Pat, the Irish guy, was there, so he came and met up with me for a bit before taking off on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

By the way, for anyone inexperienced in Vegas. Don't ever stay at Circus Circus. Even if it's the cheapest room- nay, even if it's free, they offer to pay your gas, give you show tickets and dinner vouchers, etc...DON'T STAY THERE. The line for hotel check in, and mind you, this is on a Tuesday, was at least 200 people deep when we arrived and was no shorter when we left nearly two hours later.

After that, we went to Ellis Island, this casino with an old school restaurant (think Red Fox Room) that caters to locals and had some damn good angus burgers before returning to the room. At that point, I finally had some time alone and uploaded about 30 CDs that I've accrued over the last month or two, checked email, etc. Tonight was uneventful. When my me time abruptly ended when everyone came back to the room, I went downstairs only to lose money I don't have in the space of 15 minutes while I watched the end of the Celtics game. Instead of dropping more money, I went to the sports book and watched the end of the Italy v. France game then came back here. Now it's 3 and I'm a little stir crazy, kinda regretting that I didn't do something more interesting for my last night in Vegas.

We're checking out at noon, getting breakfast at Ellis Island (we love it there) then heading back to San Diego. My sister and I will probably stop at some outlets on the way back. Then we're meeting up with my parents at Harrah's Rincon casino, where we're staying two nights. My dad's rationale for staying there is because it's a good stopping point so we don't have to drive all the way home. Considering its 16 miles off the freeway, I'd rather come home, but we're going to Knott's Berry Farm on Thursday. Then our little family vacation will all be over, and I'll be in hibernation until we all get together on Sunday for Johanna's christening. Yup, me in a Catholic church. awesome.

I still need to post my pics of Troy, Augustana, and Crystal Castles, but for now, I'll post Wednesday's listings and hopefully get to the rest of the week when I'm at Harrah's.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

That sounds like so much fun! Makes me want to go to Vegas and fall asleep in strange mens' rooms . . . Don't tell Justin I said that.