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Flippespiel Wunderland, Korean bathhouse and the unwashed masses

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ClownHo, Apr 17, 2013.

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  1. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    God's country
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30

    My Trip Report

    Here's a trip report from Saturday, March 30, through Wednesday, April 3. My girlfriend and I spent four nights in Vegas. We visited places that I can find no reports about, and we took advantage of April Fools Day to mess with our friends back home.

    Rather than a chronological report, I broke my report into categories. If you aren't interested in a category, it shouldn't affect your ability to follow the details in another category. Although this is largely a trip report, I do go off on a few philosophical tangents. You may not agree with my viewpoints, and that's great. I'm honored that you took the time to read anything I wrote.

    It's long, but I like telling stories. If you like short, concise reports, this isn't for you.

    I did some copyediting along the way, but now that I have a draft done, and it's late, I'm not going to proofread it, but I may go back and fix grammatical problems a few days down the road. Otherwise my story in complete.

    Since I wrote this as a word document initially, the formatting when I copy and pasted my text is less than desirable. I tried to insert blank lines between all graphs, and it took several minutes, so it may not be perfect, but I hope it makes for a better reading experience.

    And here we go....

    <b><u>Car rental</u></b>:
    I use Costco for my car rentals in Vegas. They consistently come in as low as anything else I can find online. Normally my best rates come from Budget, but upon first check, about four weeks before departure, Alamo came in lower. (Costco has only four partnering rental agencies, but that’s enough.)
    I continued to check for a better rate most days, including the day of departure, but never beat the initial offer: four days for $87, full size car.

    Within a few days of my first reservation the rate for the same four-day rental jumped to the upper $100 range, and stayed there. It dipped to the low $100 range shortly before departure, but for some reason it rarely dipped below $100 again, if at all. (I don’t remember, but perhaps there was a comparable rate for a Budget compact car that showed up eventually. It seems like it.) Overall I found the results of the searches during the four weeks prior to departure to be atypical of what I’m use to.

    A few anomalies: Although the rate for basic cars was high, at one point Enterprise was offering me a convertible for $144, and it did so for several days. That’s about half of what I was typically offered. Not long after that, Enterprise wouldn’t even quote a price for a convertible. Weird. Convertibles are fun, but it wasn’t worth the extra money to me.

    At some point the price of a mid-size SUV from one of the rental agencies dipped noticeably lower, for what it’s worth.

    Moral of my story, check, check and check again when you’re renting a vehicle.

    I’ve read praise for Alamo’s kiosks at the car rental center, so I was happy to have an Alamo rental. I hate being badgered about bonus insurance and other add-ons at the counter, so not having to deal with a desk agent was fine with me. The kiosk was quick and easy, so I’m a fan. I’ll pay extra for Alamo in the future, (not a lot, but I will,) for three reasons.

    Besides the kiosk, Alamo let me pick the car of my choice from the full-size selection. Budget always assigns me a car, and half the time it ends up being a white car, which bugs me for reasons I can’t explain.

    Perhaps my third reason will come back to haunt me, but Alamo didn’t make me nitpick about a scratch or tiny dent on my rental car. Budget makes me paranoid to the point I take a video of my car in addition to filling out the tiny form with every scratch and minor scuff I see on the car. There’s none of that with Alamo. The car might have a couple of minor dings, but they don’t seem to nitpick over it before or after the rental. Thank you Alamo!

    Among the several cars that Alamo offered us, a few of them were brand new, or at least new enough not to have a license plate. Having a virgin automobile sounds appealing, but the idea that we were driving around with tags in our window rather than a plate on our car was unsettling enough to us that we opted for a Chevy Malibu with 10,000 miles on it.

    My reasons for renting a car: For years I never rented a car, and that was fine. I’m not adamant that I have to rent a car for all future trips, but it’s hard to resist the temptation at this point.

    Rental rates in Vegas are cheap, even though you get lousy gas mileage and gas is never cheap in Vegas. The flexibility to come and go where you want without relying upon a cab or bus has become increasingly invaluable to me.

    My girlfriend wanted a couple of days that included a nice pool, so we ended up splitting out four nights between downtown and Palms Place.

    I’m cheap, I’d rather save money and deal with a bus or shuttle to get to my hotel. My girlfriend offered to spring for the cab to downtown. That’s $30 right there.

    We needed to get from downtown to Palms Place, so that’s at least $15, right?

    Let’s assume that we can get to the airport from Palms Place for only $15, that makes our cab bill a minimum of $60 for our trip. Never mind the fact we had places to go that weren’t downtown or on the strip, suddenly the $60 in cab fares, plus extra transportation costs, didn’t offer much in savings versus the $105 we ended up spending on our rental car and gas. Our time was worth far more than the $25 (at most) we would have saved using public transportation. But that’s us. Your mileage may vary.

    Yes, it can be slow going via your rental car at times, especially when you don’t know every shortcut and side road, but you learn quickly.

    I’ve had the benefit of seeing Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon, things I/we have made a point to see, specifically because I/we had a rental car. Last fall we set aside several hours and drove more than 200 miles round trip to see Rhyolite, a “ghost town” far north of Vegas. This trip didn’t allow us time to see anything off the beaten path, but the perk is something I have come to appreciate, as I often try to spend at least five days in Vegas when I travel.

    <b><u>Food</u></b>:
    I am not a foodie, so I am happy with food some of you would turn your nose up at. Nothing wrong with that, I wish I had a bankroll for fine dining and fine dining only, but that day has yet to arrive.

    Saturday night’s arrival featured my first prime rib dinner at El Cortez. The woman at the gift shop where I bought a couple of beers suggested it was a slow Saturday night. It was the night before Easter, so perhaps so. All I know is that the ElCo’s café was painfully understaffed. Having only eaten there once before, I don’t really have a basis for comparison, but I’d hate to see it on a busy Saturday night if this was a slow Saturday night. It was obvious that tables could have been turned over faster than they were.

    As for the food: my girlfriend was pleased with her entrée (some form of chicken, although she wasn’t fond of her mashed potatoes.) I had the prime rib dinner, which was decent. I liked the prime rib, but it should have been warmer. It was served at the temperature you’d expect from a casino buffet.

    The horseradish served with my prime rib nearly knocked me on my butt. I can’t say that it is was more potent than the horseradish served at the Gold Spike 11 months earlier, but both were damn powerful.

    We ordered the shrimp appetizer and were pleased with what we received for the money.

    Overall it was a decent meal for $25, but the lackluster service was discouraging. I will eat at the café again, but I won’t go out of my way to dine there specifically for the prime rib dinner.

    Sunday was Easter and my girlfriend’s birthday. We had breakfast at The D Grill shortly before 10 a.m. They had a special buffet planned for Easter, but we weren’t interested in $18 breakfasts. Non-issue because it didn’t start until 11 a.m., and I think we would have been able to order off the menu anyway.

    We had breakfast omelets and were happy with them. Breakfast wasn’t as cheap at D Grill as at other places we could have went, but we stayed at The D, had a $5 discount for checking in and didn’t want to hike through downtown for breakfast.

    The restaurant must have been renovated along with everything else at The D, as it was shiny and clean. You won’t go wrong at this place, from what I could tell.

    Sunday afternoon featured a slice of pizza from that Fremont Street joint. The pizza smells fantastic, but isn’t anything special for the money. Thanks to my birthday present to my girlfriend we didn’t have time for a typical lunch, so a slice of pie late in the afternoon was in our best interest.

    Dinner Sunday night was back at the ElCo, this time at The Flame. Thanks to the $25 ACG coupon our bill for two entrees, shrimp and a glass of wine and diet cola was less than $50. Good service and good food, as usual. ($11 for the shrimp appetizer, but it’s the best shrimp appetizer I have found.)

    I had to bypass having a glass of wine with dinner because I had a headache. Too many afternoon beers, including two glasses of microbrew at Main Street Station. Hard to argue with $1.75 beers.

    Monday featured the move from downtown to Palms Place and a late breakfast/lunch at Magnolia’s inside Four Queens, thanks to the 2-for-1 coupon in the ACG. My steak sandwich wasn’t anything spectacular, neither was the shrimp appetizer we ordered. The ElCo shrimp was as good, if not better, and cheaper. We arrived at 11:30 a.m. on a Monday, and picked the worst possible time to show up, as it turns out. I won’t dismiss Magnolia’s, but I’m not in a hurry to go back.

    Monday night’s dinner was at the Ellis Island’s BBQ restaurant. Having eaten there once before, I was excited to go back. We both ordered the chicken and ribs combo, which is too much for me to eat, and certainly too much for my girlfriend. I think we might have to order one meat per person next time and share our entrees. I no longer enjoy gluttony, or feeling bloated after eating. Getting old sucks.

    Thanks to the ACG 2-for-1 deal we spent less than $20 for two huge plates of BBQ and two micro brews.

    Tuesday morning featured a driving tour east of downtown and a drive-thru breakfast from Carl’s Jr., which wasn’t anything special. I was looking for cheap breakfast sandwiches and think the commercial I remember seeing was for breakfast at Jack in the Box. Oh well.

    No lunch on Tuesday, it was too nice and we wanted to spend a few hours at the pool. So we had an early dinner at the Palms buffet. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular. I don’t eat many buffet meals these days, so the Tuesday night dinner was our one nod to Vegas’ buffet culture. Prime rib was pretty good, as was the pizza. It was worth our trouble to register for player’s cards and save $7 per dinner. As I recall it was $14 for dinner with a card, $21 without.

    You must get a glass of wine with dinner at Palms if you want. We didn’t know this, but surmised it must be true, as many people seemed to be drinking wine at the buffet.

    Our final meal was late Wednesday morning at Peppermill. I’ve been there before and know the portions are huge, in addition to the prices. We spent more than we needed to for a meal, but my girlfriend had never been there, so it was a treat for her to see it. She enjoyed the kitsch value of both the lounge, where we killed 15 minutes, and the dining room.

    Old age sucks. I’ve read stories here about people who no longer indulge on deep-fried junk food at Mermaids or feast on buffets and giant platters of cheap prime rib at low-roller joints. I’m becoming one of those guys.

    <b><u>Gambling</u></b>:
    I am not a high roller, and I didn’t gamble a ton, so I don’t have a lot of good gaming stories to share.

    We arrived on a Saturday evening and I didn’t start gambling until Sunday evening, unless you count the free play I used on Saturday night at El Cortez.

    I had no luck when I played craps. I lose more often than I win when I bet the pass line, which makes me wonder why I wouldn’t want to play the don’t pass line.

    I played those craps machines a couple of times, I had the same lousy luck there.

    I played a few hours of blackjack at Orleans on Monday and Tuesday night, with little luck.

    Funniest story: an older woman sitting next to me at a blackjack table at Orleans asked me about the ACG match play I had. We chatted a bit. She’s from Indiana, which is where I was born. She travels a bunch, and gets to Vegas periodically, so she allegedly knows people in Vegas because of her frequent trips. She was in Vegas with her son on this trip, evidently, and they had gone to the indoor go-kart track near Palms Place.

    She told me that a dude a couple of tables down, a dude she knew from a previous trip, was hanging around simply because she was there. She claimed a dealer must have tipped him off, and that’s why he was there. I noticed that the dude did keep looking back across the room from his third-base seat (where he was standing) every 15 seconds.

    When people at the table between us were standing up to leave, she decided to quickly leave our table. I said goodbye and she quickly scurried away. Sure enough, several second later the dude was able to see past the table between us, and my friend was not there. He kept scanning the casino floor while playing blackjack from his third-base seat after she disappeared.

    I guess she wasn’t full of hot air, and the whole thing was rather funny.

    Although we made a Monday night cameo at New York New York, I didn’t gamble there. And I hardly played at Palms.

    On Wednesday, during our final hour before heading out, we went to Riviera. I was going to play blackjack, but there wasn’t a $5 table to be had. The few tables (roulette, pai gow, blackjack) that were open were rather quiet. There just weren’t players to be found on an early April Wednesday afternoon at Riviera, yet they deemed it necessary to deal $10 minimum games on blackjack. People wouldn’t flood the Riv had they offered $5 games, but the logic of mandating $10 play on blackjack made no sense to me when the casino was empty, as it often is, I’m certain.

    <b><u>Hotels</u></b>:
    We were looking to stay at the Orleans for four nights, as we like the pool area, and I’ve always found Orleans to offer a good value. I also like downtown, and it’s nice not having to drive back to the Orleans after a night downtown. I’m not a heavy drinker, so that’s not my concern, I just like parking for the night and being done with my driving.

    I didn’t have much of an offer from Orleans, and because of the rockabilly hipster fest running through Sunday, Saturday night was sold out. That sent me in search of rooms elsewhere. I had a buy-1-get-1 free offer from the D, which included token match play, food and beverage credit. Saturday night, with tax, was all of $53. And Sunday was free, so I couldn’t argue with that.

    Our room was nice. They did a nice job with the remodeling. I was prepared to offer a $20 tip for an upgrade, but the clerk said I had already been upgraded based upon my reservation, or something like that. (I reserved a king room.) Bottom line, no last minute upgrade from the king room we had, which was their basic king room. No bid deal, and $20 saved.

    After spending our first night enjoying the downtown atmosphere we headed to the room shortly after midnight. I never get enough sleep the night before I travel, despite having an afternoon departure from Minneapolis. I had a family dinner on Friday night and had work to finish on Saturday morning, so I was quite busy right up to go time.

    We had fallen asleep sometime after 1 a.m., only to be awakened a short time later. It was just before 2 a.m. when we heard what sounded like loud knocking. Although we couldn’t hear the noise clearly, it was clear it was coming from another room in the hallway. We thought perhaps it was the unit next to us, but I was able to determine through the peephole that it was coming from across the hall. Some women and a dude were having a loud dispute, and didn’t seem to care that anyone else might hear it. At least she didn’t care.

    I called security and before I could finish telling them details the person on the phone hung up, as if he had to physically respond to the call. With a minute or two we could see/hear security personnel confronting the woman, who by this point I could tell was sitting on the floor, still mumbling occasionally.

    They walked off, only to come back a couple of minutes later, although it remained relatively quiet upon the return. I’m not sure if the women ended up staying in the room that night.

    I never quite figured out what was going on, but it wasn’t a stiffed prostitute demanding payment. The woman was pissed at the dude about something that had to do with her birthday. She kept insisting she was leaving, and going home, and that the dude had ruined her birthday.

    Yeah, it’s annoying listening to a drunken 20-something woman carrying on at 2 a.m. in the hallway of your hotel.

    In this case, however, the woman made a point to tell her male companion that he was ruining her 50th birthday.

    Three cheers for the young at heart.

    By the way, that $53 for two nights included two $5 match plays, a $5 food discount, a $5 drink credit and a few other miscellaneous coupons. Not bad for a low roller who hadn’t gambled at the D in 11 months, including last fall when I stayed downtown at El Cortez for three nights. The D treats you well.

    When I booked our hotel reservations I booked our final two nights at Orleans. A king room at Orleans, with tax and resort fee, was going to cost about $100, far more than I’m use to paying for rooms at the Orleans, especially since they use to give me a couple of free weeknights every six months. I stayed and gambled there last fall, so you’d think I’d qualify for some sort of an offer, but they offered me the slightest discount over the average bum off the street rate.

    A few days later Groupon offered discounted suites at Palms Place. The rate for a studio suite with tax, for the same two nights as Orleans, was $105 plus resort fee. Yes, the resort fee is high at Palms. Add another $45 for the resort fee and you have $150 for two nights.

    After a bit of research we decided to splurge on Palms Place for the extra $50.

    We didn’t ask for any particular room type when we checked in, so we ended up with a room facing the mountains, not the strip, but I didn’t care. I spend so little time looking out the window wherever I stay. Sure, I prefer a premium view, but not enough to ask for it, typically.

    The Palms Place rooms are nice, no doubt. I’m pretty sure it was the fanciest room I have ever stayed in, although I stayed at Paris once, and that was pretty nice, too.

    Having an in-room refrigerator is always nice. The rest of the kitchen seemed like a bit much. I didn’t sense the small stove gets used much.

    Being a short walk from the casino and restaurants is a bit of an inconvenience, but we didn’t spend much time over there, nor did we plan to, so it wasn’t a big deal. The pool area at Palms Place is a bit small, and they try to cram a few too many chairs around the pool, but it was early in the pool season, so it wasn’t overly crowded. I can imagine the pool area being overcrowded quickly at the right time of the year. We weren’t interested in competing with the beautiful people for space in the prestigious main pool, so the Palms Place pool suited us just fine. We spent about an hour on Monday afternoon at the pool and a few hours on Tuesday.

    Orleans is my kind of place, and I’m sure I’ll stay there again. Had they offered us cheap or free rooms, we would have stayed there, spending money on food and drinks while we were there, and I would have spent more time gambling there than I did. But given they insisted that the privilege of staying there on a couple of slow weekdays warranted $100, I’m glad we “splurged” for Palms Place.

    <b><u>Key Largo</u></b>:
    We drove by Key Largo a couple of times. Although it was several days since the fire, you could easily smell the charred remains of the building inside our car, even though we had the windows rolled up and the air conditioning on. You could see parts of it had burned from front to back, but much of it was still standing. But it’s only a matter of time before all traces of the casino are gone, I’m sure. It may be fenced in, but it’s an attractive nuisance. They’ll have to have it leveled now.

    <b><u>Korean bathhouse</u></b>:
    My girlfriend wanted to try a Korean bathhouse called Imperial Spa, so we went on Easter Sunday, her birthday.

    No, this ain’t the spa at The Quad. It’s a Korean bathhouse. It’s on Sahara, but it’s not easy to spot on Sahara, as it is set back more than most buildings on Sahara.

    Nice place. I read up on it thanks to Yelp. Yelp ain’t always reliable, but there were enough meaningful, legitimate reviews to help us figure out what we needed to know.

    For $20 you get access to the spa. Besides the sauna, steam rooms and tubs in the locker room area, you get access to the upstairs saunas, which are for both men and women. They give you shorts and a shirt to wear upstairs, where you’ll find a few saunas.

    One sauna features giant clay doghouses that you lay inside. I don’t know how else to describe these weird little cubicles, which are a bit awkward to climb in and out of. Another sauna has jade in it and you lay on the floor. I don’t remember this room well, but there must have been mats to lay on.

    The best sauna had beds of clay balls, and you lay on top of a bed. It’s a little awkward laying down and getting up, and the balls deep down are a bit hot, but laying on the clay balls was pleasant. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people had oozed sweat onto the clay balls I was laying on. I was working up a good lather while laying there.

    And then, just to cool off, there’s an ice room. It’s not that cold, but the coils on the walls are iced over. There were two women inside the room when we entered. I remarked to the girlfriend that it wasn’t that cold. (It wasn’t as cold as a food service freezer.) I referred to it as a typical Minnesota day. The two women in the room remarked that they, too, were from Minnesota. Four people from Minnesota come to Vegas in late March and end up sitting in a frozen sauna. Go figure.

    My girlfriend said there were three tubs in the women’s locker room: a hot tub, warm tub and cold tub. The men’s locker room had two tubs, a warm tub and a cold tub. The warm tub was nice, but it definitely wasn’t hot.

    If you go, plan to walk around naked in the locker room. That’s what you do there. And no clothing in the tubs! It is clearly noted you must be naked.
    I liked the steam room that had some sort of herbal infusion. My health club has a sauna, and I’ll sit in it, but I had never sat in a steam room. I like the moist air much better.

    They provide flip-flops and a complimentary toothbrush, as well as your clean, possibly ill-fitting pajamas, for $20. There are lounge chairs in the locker rooms where you can watch subtitled Korean TV, as well as lounge chairs upstairs. You can also spend money on a fancy massaging chair upstairs. They have a restaurant upstairs with food and drinks, and it ain’t cheap. You don’t need cash, you have an ID tag with your locker key, and they add the cost of your food/drink to your credit card bill.

    If you purchase $70 or more in services, the $20 spa admission is included. My girlfriend and I both had a combo body scrub/massage for $120 each. The body scrub is a bit rough. Although I wanted a scrub from a hot Korean babe, the scrub is done in a room off the locker room, and so I had a dude doing my scrub.

    They take a scouring pad, of sorts, and scrub most of your body. It hurts a bit, and stings a bit after he scours your skin, but the sting doesn’t last long. Before and after the scrub the dude poured buckets of warm water over my body, and the scrub included a body wash after the fact.

    Although the dude lays a towel across your crotch when he’s doing his work, you better not be paranoid about being naked, or being mildly touched as he works to scrub around your inner thigh. Wild, wacky stuff. But I’m happy to report it didn’t move.

    My dude gets so wet from the splashing of water during my scrub that he changes clothes before we proceed to the massage room for the massage portion of my service.

    A Korean massage is a bit different than the Swedish massage I know so well. He had his fingers deep into my neck for about three minutes, and it proved to be an endurance test. A couple of times the techniques were a bit painful, but I persevered. And as I said, there were techniques he performed that I had not experienced.

    At the end of the massage I was given a tip envelope that I could turn in on my way out. These people thought of everything.
    On Easter Sunday it was rather quiet when we arrived late that morning, but a few hours later as we were ready to leave there were several people in attendance.

    By the way, I forced myself to submerge up to my neck in the cold tub. Holy crap was that tough, especially since I was coming from the warm tub. The water was not freezing cold, but it was chilled. I spent about two seconds submerged before deciding I had proven to myself I could do it. Given I have jumped in a frozen lake here in Minnesota five times on New Year’s Day and toughed it out a few summers ago in the river outside the Harrah’s in Laughlin (damn cold river on a 115F day), I couldn’t wimp out at the spa. But it took me two tries to work my way into the cold tub. I balked the first time I tried.

    I liked having soft skin after the body scrub, but if I were to go again, I’d spend my money on a longer massage rather than the combo package.
    Imperial Spa is a hidden gem.

    For whatever the reason, it use to be 24 hours on the weekend, and the $20 spa admission was $30 after 11 p.m. on the weekends, but a sign on the door noted it’s no longer a 24-hour operation on the weekend. I know, Vegas is a 24-hour city, but seriously, who goes to a Korean bathhouse at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, and why is that worth $30. Weird.

    <b><u>Pinball</u></b>:
    I love pinball, so I’m a regular visitor to the Pinball Hall of Fame. I visit it every time I’m in Vegas.

    I like to spend multiple hours playing pinball while in Vegas, so I try to split my time amongst multiple days, rather than one marathon session. On Monday night we spent a little more than an hour at PHOF, as I intended to play again on Tuesday night.

    I considered making another stop at PHOF on Tuesday night, but I also wanted to check out a new place to play pinball, Flipperspiel Wunderland.

    Here are the basics: it’s a free game room that has several pinball machines and some classic video games. It has limited hours and it’s not an easy location to access for many tourists. It’s also a place that’s more likely to appeal to classic pin and video game players. And it kicks ass.

    Adam, the proprietor, is a games supplier to local businesses. It’s a niche business, so it’s not as if he has people begging him to supply pinball machines to their local business. But he has a business, and he has a surplus of machines, as well as office/warehouse space available to set up several of his machines.
    Add all that together and you have Flipperspiel Wunderland. It’s easy to get to via rental car. I took Tropicana past the PHOF to Eastern Avenue and went south to the 6000 block.

    It was dark as we made our way, so we nearly drove past the office/warehouse complex that houses the game room, but we made it.

    Adam’s pins are primarily classics, but they’re all in fantastic shape. There were a few new machines to choose from, too. The recent Iron Man machine was in the mix, as was the low-cost, home-use version of Transformers. I won’t bore you with the details about the latter, but the short version is that Stern, the primary manufacturer of pinball in 2013, is trying to market a less expensive version of its machines for the home pinball market. I had never see the “cheap” version of Transformers until I visited Flipperspiel Wunderland.

    There were several classic video games as well. And they change out the machines now and then, so if you ever make it there once, chance are you’ll find something different the next time, assuming you’re not a local.

    Since the games are free, there’s a donation box. It’s up to you to decide how much the experience is worth. I often spend less than $10 at PHOF over the course of a few hours since I play a few favorite games and get a lot of play out of a buck or two.

    My girlfriend and I spent a bit less than two hours playing games at FW, but I donated a bit more than $10, although I probably should have donated more. Pinball people give more than they receive, and are happy to do so, because for many of them pinball is a labor of love, and that’s clearly the case at FW. When next I visit I will definitely donate more.

    I had hoped to play a few PHOF machines at Riviera during my final hour on Wednesday, but my favorite machine wasn’t working, so I wasted money playing croupier-free craps instead.

    <b><u>Road trip</u></b>:
    Given the time constraints of this trip, there was no road trip, but on Tuesday morning we drove to downtown and then took Fremont Street east, past all the small, outdated motels and properties that have seen better days. I’ve seen a few pics of the old signs and properties on Flickr, but I wanted to see them for myself, so we did. We continued east and wound our way over to Sam’s Town, where we stopped for coffee and doughnuts.

    Some day I will have to find my way down Boulder Highway to Joker’s Wild. I want a matchbook and some other souvenir from a place called Joker’s Wild.

    Some day I’m going to do some low-stakes gambling at Longhorn, too.

    <b><u>Rockabilly hangover</u></b>:
    We arrived on the Saturday night of the big Viva Las Vegas weekend. I didn’t get to see the hype firsthand, and I’m not interested at this point.

    You can probably argue that every scene is contrived, and I’m convinced the rockabilly scene is no exception.

    On the surface I like the concept: people paying homage to the 1950s and ‘60s. But those who were a part of that scene are getting old, so unless you have a new generation to keep the spirit alive, your time is limited.

    Somehow today’s rockabilly scene seems to intermingle with the burlesque scene. And the alt-rock scene. Perhaps that makes sense, but to me it comes across as a bit fraudulent.

    Since we spent our Saturday night downtown, I didn’t expect to see anyone from the rockabilly cult, but there were a few such folk downtown, I am convinced. I assumed that in order to participate in the multi-day extravaganza you would have some sort of wristband, and I noticed a few rockabilly types were sporting what appeared to be an event wristband.

    It seems that the rockabilly cult likes its tattoos, although that seems incongruous with the classic rockabilly image. I could make the case, however, that tattoos weren’t as socially accepted back in the day, but if they were, the old timers would have a lot more aged, wrinkly tattoos to show off at such gatherings today, therefore today’s rockabilly generation is updating the rockabilly sensibility for the 21st century. But that’s just a theory.

    For me, when I see a heavily tattooed, wannabe burlesque model, all I can think is “poser.” If the rockabilly poodle skirt fits…

    I spent a little time gambling at Orleans on Monday and Tuesday night, and was surprised to see a couple of the rockabilly folk still roaming the casino. I figured they all packed up on Sunday and went back to their 9-5 lives.

    On Monday afternoon I ended up at the Palms Place pool near a few young Texas women who were all part of the rockabilly scene, evidently. I heard them talking about the politics of rockabilly fashion shows and such, and the whole thing convinced me it’s one contrived scene.

    Does that make it any different than any other scene, past or present? No, but my glimpse into their world reminded me that our world has a lot of people trying to fit into a scene, and that individuality is far less prevalent than we’d like to think.

    Perhaps I’m wrong. But contrived or not, if you enjoy yourself, more power to you. Finding joy in life is something so few people seem capable of these days, or find enough time for if they’re lucky enough to find it at all.

    <b><u>Unwashed masses</u></b>:
    Spending two nights on Fremont Street reminded me that the come-one-come-all vibe does attract all types. It’s not as if this was a secret, but between the tipsters, panhandlers and random people who find their way to Fremont, the scene does lack some appeal at times.

    On Saturday night I watched as some dude danced shirtless to “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.” I think it was the sweat pants that really sold the look.

    This guy had quite the moves, and pulled them off rather well considering he had to be 40+ and looked like those first 40 were hard years. He didn’t seem to have anybody hanging with him, it was a solo performance, and he was ready to rock out. Inexplicably he put his shirt back on several minutes later.

    On Sunday night we watched as a few upstanding folks passed around a bottle of cheap vodka while dancing to whatever music we were listening to outside of the D. It was awfully nice of the sketchy woman to offer me the bottle, but I declined. These folks looked like living advertisements for the dangers of meth, but perhaps they’re really some of the finest doctors and lawyers in Vegas.

    Add in people dragging kids around late at night and you have quite a melting pot. Come one, come all, but the overall vibe on Fremont has taken a turn for the worse in recent years.

    Checking out the tipsters was fun. The tall Mr. Spock guy was still hanging around, although he never seems to get much work. A group portraying KISS was around on one night. One of my favorites was an older woman who I can only guess was supposed to be Dolly Parton. Not a pretty sight.

    “Safe Sax” was doing his thing on Saturday night, but I didn’t see him on Sunday. And I thought he was out there every night for weeks on end. I don’t care if the guy can play, just looking at him creeps me out, yet I have to watch him for five minutes.

    The dude who folds himself into a small box was out there, as usual. That guy has been at it for more than a year. He’s flexible, no doubt, and the kind of guy I expect to see at Mallory Square in Key West, not on Fremont Street.

    There was no shortage of magicians, puppeteers and singers these days. It really is becoming Mallory Square.

    And it was hard to forget the goofy looking dude in the bikini and high heels from a previous trip, unfortunately. I was reminded of him because he was working Fremont again on this trip.

    Plenty of panhandlers were working the street, as usual, too.

    And for whatever reason, sections of Fremont Street were fenced off for some sort of water or sewer project beneath the road, so it was a tighter fit than usual on the street.

    <b><u>You can fool some of the people some of the time</u></b>:
    Thanks to speculation by my girlfriend’s cousins during our previous trip to Vegas, we decided that we should pretend to have gotten married while in Vegas. Given the fact we were going to be in Vegas on April 1, there was no way we could let the opportunity pass.

    She posted a pic on Facebook of her hand with an $8 ring we bought. She suggested it was an engagement ring, and you couldn’t tell it was cheap costume jewelry from her iPhone photo.

    She posted in on Sunday evening, March 31. We figured it would be more credible if we did it before April 1.

    Not only did she post it on March 31, she had hinted to friends and relatives that she was expecting a proposal during our vacation. And she sold it well.

    We each let one person in on our ruse, hoping they’d help sell the legitimacy of our ruse via their comments. My brother was my accomplice, and he loved the idea of stringing along his wife. My girlfriend told one of her best friends about the ruse, but not before pretending that this was going to be more than just a vacation. She nearly started crying when telling her friend, who fell for it hook, line and sinker.

    But pretending to get engaged wasn’t good enough. We took a picture of a wedding chapel on Sunday afternoon, and after posting the engagement photo my girlfriend posted a second photo of the wedding chapel sign, suggesting that since we were in Vegas, why not go all the way?

    We didn’t answer phone calls or text messages on Sunday night after posting our ruse, and a few people speculated that it could be an April Fools Day joke, but others helped build the case that it was legit.

    A few people were disappointed on Monday when we spilled the beans about our joke, but we fooled a bunch of people, and had a lot of people talking on Sunday night.

    Mission accomplished.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  2. Mayoman

    Mayoman Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Great TR.
     
  3. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the TR. The guy in the bikini and high heels freaks me out :confused2:

    BTW, the construction on Fremont is for the "new and improved" zip line, codename Slotzilla. It's a pain :grrr:
     
  4. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

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    that makes sense, but you'd swear it's an infrastructure upgrade.

    i'm not sure bikini guy is working for tips ... it might just be his regular saturday night routine.
     
  5. addicted

    addicted Low-Roller

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    That is F^CKIN& classic! Hilarious!

    Glad you enjoyed the stay at palms place...I love those rooms
     
  6. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

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    it's borrowed from a Seinfeld episode.

    give me another good room rate and i'd gladly stay at palms place again. i know my girlfriend appreciated it. although when next i'm on a solo trip, the orleans will be as expensive as i go.
     
  7. Hawaiianmark

    Hawaiianmark Low-Roller

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    Self pleasure

    Something self pleasing about a TR w/ Pin Ball Hi-Lites.

    Thanks!

    :faint:
     
  8. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    It didn't move:thumbsup: A really fun read!
     
  9. ClownHo

    ClownHo High-Roller

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    thanks... always happy to hear that.
     
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