Monday, November 2, 2009

Vegas, baby part I

When I first heard about the blog conference that SITS was hosting in Las Vegas. I knew that I had to be a part of it. After our year of medical maladies. Topped with a cherry flood. A vacation for the grown ups was just the ticket. I have never been to Vegas. And I could not wait to soak up it's lights. Glamour. Nudie cards. And Kitsch.

Being the strange bird that I am. My first order of business was research. To figure out how early we might be able to fly out. To see what shows could possibly be in our budget. To find an inexpensive hotel on the strip for the first part of our week. To arrange a little off site travel. And to investigate the possibility of renewing my vows with Elvis. Well. Not literally with Elvis. Since I am not married to him in the first place. Nevermind.

My first exciting find was that I had enough credit card points for us to fly for free. Of course. We probably got all those points from certain medical maladies. Which begs the question of if there weren't medical maladies, would we have been able to go to Vegas? Which begs other questions. That I won't torment you with since it's enough that they keep me up at night.

Finally a few weeks before we were to leave. I finally decided where we would stay. And for the rest of our week. I decided not to plan at all. But to just see what each day would bring. And see if we could win big on the slots and supplement our plans accordingly. Because one should always plan vacations on a wing and a prayer. And the thought of hitting it big. Right? That is what everyone is doing these days. You heard it here first. Cause I just made it up.

We flew out of Atlanta on a Tuesday afternoon. Giving many thanks to Lizzy who graciously agreed to drive Michael and I to the airport. She had no idea that her graciousness would extend to a 3+ hour drive home due to an accident on the interstate. I am sure that she is still wondering where her tshirt is. We arrived in Las Vegas with much less pomp and circumstance.

We decided to stay at the Monte Carlo resort at the south end of the strip. I got us all checked in. When I noticed the strangest of things. We were assigned to a room on the 13th floor. The 13th floor! I thought that hotels skipped this floor. Evidently not. We had a no smoking room. Perhaps this was the floor the powers that be decided was best for us. Our room and floor did not smell of smoke. But it smelled like someone had spilled a whole bottle of cologne. Cheap cologne.

Don't get me wrong. The room was fine. The hotel was fine. Especially considering I only paid $59 a night. But do you know what is going on all around the Monte Carlo? They are building what is called "The City Center." It is a huge hotel. Casino. With restaurants. Shopping. Church. Synagogue. And even a school. And this complex is scheduled to be finished soon. But to finish it. The construction goes on 24/7. The city truly never sleeps. And neither does anyone staying at the Monte Carlo.

It was almost bedtime. But really, it was early in Vegas. My body says it is 11pm. My clock says it's only 8pm. And those peanuts on the airplane are a distant memory. So we went off in search of food. There is a food court by the casino and I found this place that made yummy guacamole. Where only the casino bosses behind those cameras might be able to tell you if the plate was licked clean.

With a little nourishment. We got a little energy. And decided to go and check out the strip. If we could figure out how to get there. We walked through the casino. And walked. And walked a little more. We passed the steakhouse. The cafe. The buffet. The magician's theatre. A bar. And more slots. And we walked a little further. Binoculars might have been helpful. And then we were out. I knew that the Bellagio was the next casino up the street. And that the Paris was directly across the street from the Bellagio. And look. The Paris is so close. So we decided to walk over to see those famous fountains.

Did you know that Las Vegas is in the desert? One of the effects of being in the desert is a mirage. Part of a mirage is the feeling that things are much closer than they appear. When they aren't. Kinda the reverse of your side view mirrors. (But the same sort of feeling you might get if you see in your sideview mirror a T-rex chasing you.)

So we walked to the Bellagio.

Have I mentioned that I don't walk? Besides being lazy and having zero stamina. I have horrid heel spurs. Which makes walking rather difficult.

And we walked some more. The Paris never looked any closer. It remained what seemed the same distance away. Even though we kept walking. And walking. And walking.

And finally. We were there. Without a sofa to crash into. Nary a stone bench in sight. So I leaned on the wall. And waited for the next show to begin.

And I must say that we were rewarded. Handsomely. I knew the fountains were a must see. But I don't think I got the extent of how cool they really are. The fountains are choreographed to music. So every show is different. And the water really does move with the music. And the song we heard. It was fabulous. And oh so fitting: "Hey, Big Spender." (It's times like this that I wish I still had my playlist.)

And if the pictures aren't enough, I found a video of it on youtube:

And when it was over. I must have still been enraptured. Because we walked back to the hotel. Walked. And walked. And a little further. I even contemplated the bus stop. But I had no idea where it might let us off. So we kept walking. Back through the casino. Past the bufet. And cafe. And food court. To the cologne soaked hall. And into our thirteenth floor room. And right into bed. With the sounds of saws. Hammers. And construction detris lulling me to a peaceful night's sleep.

So...what about you? Have you ever been to Vegas? Favorite hotel there - or one you would want to stay in? Are you shocked that I have blogged two days in a row?

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27 comments:

Blarney said...

... and during your long contemplating walks just how many 'cards' did you collect? *snicker*

Elena said...

Glad you put the video up. I never made it to the fountains this trip. Bummer. It trully is my favorite thing there.

Swirl Girl said...

I LOVE VEGAS!!

and I am so glad to have spent time with you!!

Gina said...

Vegas virgin, here.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Two days in a row ! Yes, I haven't even gotten to yesterdays yet. I saw Vegas and clicked. What can I say? I like cheap thrills ;)

I've never been to Vegas but hubby and I keep saying we are Going! Dang nab it! We probably never will. So I'll just have to live for your report.

Jen said...

Vegas was so much fun. It really is a cool place to visit.

Michelle said...

Oh I love Vegas... though only in short spurts. I'm loving Wynn lately (I get some great deals -- I am the QUEEN of cheap great Vegas vacations). I want to try out the Venetian. That's one of the few majors that I haven't been to. And yeah... the walking. It's how I justify partaking of so many calories :) Then again, I actually like walking. Can't wait to hear more about it!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Um... I have been to visit... I agree with Essie that it's WAY too smoky in some places. I would like to go sometime and take Essie to an Elvis show... and Mr. B to a Cirque show. And Gert to see the fountains....

Susie said...

I love Vegas!! It sounds like you guys had a BLAST:-)

Just say Julie said...

ahhh, vegas. My hub and I went for spring break one year and stayed at the Hilton, which is not anywhere near anything. we were at the complete mercy of the monorail which only worked for about 2 hours every other day. We were smarter the 2nd time and stayed at the Bellagio (it was our honeymoon so the folks chipped in on our room)where we had a fantastic view of the fountains. That's all the hib cared about. he sat up a video camera, turned the in room TV on to the music station and watched the fountain shows for 5 solid hours.

texcindy said...

apparently Vegas gave you some motivation for writing again! It's great to have you back!

Cairo Typ0 said...

Glad to hear you guys had fun in Vegas! Cologne soaked fun - but fun. :p I've stayed at the Belagio (dead center of the strip but all pricey tables. boo!) and the Venetian (not as nice as advertised but great in-house restaurants and gambling). I love vegas for the foodie aspect. Although i'm a sucker for a roulette wheel, we're not big gamblers but we LOVE visiting the celebrity chef places. :)

Heather said...

I AM shocked that you blogged two days in a row! Kat is back! Woot-woot!

I have never been to Vegas. And even after reading all of the posts about SITScation, I still have no desire to go. Give me the mountains or the beach any day, but forget the smoke, the garish lights, and the slots (I'm the unluckiest person ever; I would never win).

My SIL lived in Vegas for years as a teacher, then a librarian. I can't even imagine it.

Glad YOU had fun, though. So, did you win anything?

Trish said...

I was in vegas on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing......we sat in our hotel room watching the news all day. Dumb.

Then we wpent the next three days walking and walking and walking....oh and gambling and gambling and gambling....and eating and eating and eating.

And crazy thing is, that was before all the fancy hotel/casinos were there. The MGM grand had just opened and they were doing massive renovations on Caesars.....no Paris, no Bellagio.

I think I'm due another trip. Maybe I should go with the Vegas Virgin up above, she'd be fun!

Tam said...

nope never been to Vegas.

I can not wait for part two! I will have to enjoy Vegas from your posts.

Becky said...

Never been to Vegas...it's on my list. Although if it's smoky, I probably wouldn't do well. Thanks for the heads up of the mirage stuff. YIKES! I guess that's something they don't tell you in the travel brochures.

CaraBee said...

I went to Vegas about 10 years ago. I stayed in the Flamingo, which was *right next door* to where everyone else was staying. Except right next door is like a half a mile. But I walked it. In heels. Didn't love that. Otherwise, it's a super cool place.

Did you win??

Jill said...

I've only been to Vegas once... about 7 years ago. I don't remember much about it - it was hot and I was newly pregnant and couldn't partake in any of the real fun.

Sounds like you had a blast!! More pictures?

Mom Taxi Julie said...

We've been to Vegas 2x, here's my blog post from the last time :O)

http://justmejuliejulie.blogspot.com/2008/06/vegas.html

Shannon said...

I didn't even think of that... the whole desert-mirage aspect of why everything looks closer than it actually is...

Shannon said...

Oh, and that video of the fountains is better than the one we saw in person!

And I think you spoke too soon... it's almost THURSDAY! Where is part 2?! ;)

Firefly mom said...

Boy, Lizzy's going to have quite the collection of t-shirts, isn't she? ;)

I've been to Vegas twice. Once every 10 years is plenty for me. Mike and I went about 4 years ago over a long 4th of July weekend. Don't ever go on a long holiday weekend. Trust me on this. And the sight of people dragging their screaming toddlers from casino to casino at 1:00 in the morning is a real test of one's ability to bite their tongue.

Tam said...

Is it True that what happens if vegas stays in vegas...is that where part two is??? LOL LOL Have a great day!

Teri said...

Vegas, Baby! We took the kids as part of our 24 day trip a few years ago. The Bellagio was spectacular, for sure. And yeah, we knew it was a desert, especially when the temp rose to 105. Yikes.

Oh, and Doug was indeed able to supplement our trip funds with huge winnings from Black Jack. Let's just say it had a few zero's behind it. :-)

Brandy said...

That video is cool! I really wanted to go. Really, really wanted to go & now I know everything would have turned out fine. At the time though it was the right decision.

Sometimes being a responsible adult sucks.

Angela said...

Love, love, love Vegas. My favorite hotel (that I have never stayed in) is the Venetian. I love Italy, what can I say! Love everything about it except that, as you discovered, nothing is ever quite as close as it looks. And I, too have bad feet, so that's a little bit of an issue for me. But I survived our last trip by taking breaks every so often. Slowed hubby down considerably, but he put up with me.

angie said...

I really liked the Venetian's rooms, but I prefer to stay in smaller hotels.......We went last summer and stayed at MGM which didn't impress me at all. The Golden Nugget is on the old strip and great for the price. The strip is SOOOOOOOO congested these days.