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Lithuanian Wanna-be Rock Stars, Laser-eyed Coyotes, and Plant Monsters: 8/14-8/17

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by skinny malinky, Aug 29, 2013.

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  1. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    171

    My Trip Report

    Mrs. Malinky and I headed to Vegas last week for our friends' wedding last week. I used to go to Sin City a few times a year, but I haven't been for a while; we're saving for a house and pennies are getting pinched harder than a baby's cheeks in a lobster tank. But we decided to splurge a bit, or at least not sweat a few bucks here and there. Also, I usually travel by myself, like a desperado, answering to no man, a lone wolf in the night. Which in reality means sitting for hours on end at a poker table, and then maybe watching Sportscenter back in my room. This time I would not only have my wife with me, but I also had several friends in town and specific, hard and fast, can't-be-late plans for my stay.

    Day 1 (8/14):

    We hit the road in the early afternoon and dropped the pup at the kennel, hoping she'd want to come home when we picked her up again. After we finally got out of LA traffic, the drive was pretty smooth, although traveling with my wife does mean we have to make a pit stop. This also means we have to prowl the candy aisle of the gas station so she can find whatever random gum/candy/snack product she's obsessed with this month.

    She was very happy to see they had the particular flavor of Trident layers that she loves, so we had to buy every last pack they had. Which was fine, because it was cheaper than hitting the outlets in Barstow. I hate outlet malls, especially when it's 100+ degrees out.

    We got into Vegas around 7. We were staying at the El Cortez Cabana Suites. When I travel by myself I don't care too much about the room, but my wife has higher standards (at least in regards to hotel rooms) so the Cabana Suites were perfect; cheap but stylish. Of course, I'm not sure how stylish she thought the room would be as we checked in at the main El Co registration desk. But when we got into the Super Suite I'd booked, her mind was at ease.

    Cabana Suites Room.jpg

    I love these rooms and compared to pretty much everywhere else in the world, they're a huge bargain. For three nights, including a Friday, the pre-tax rate came to a little over $50/per. That includes a big spiffy room with two air conditioners, wi-fi, a serviceable gym (unused, but still. I could have exercised. Theoretically), a newspaper, fruit and candy in the lobby, and no resort fee. Plus the location is great if you're into the hipster neighborhood. Which, I must say, I am.

    We dozed for a bit in the room, then headed out. She was in the mood for Italian, so we went to The Grotto at Golden Nugget. It was perfectly decent food at reasonable enough prices. I had the chicken picatta, she had the manicotti, a drink each, and we were both full and happy by the end of the meal. Nothing too exciting, but I’d go there again.

    East Fremont has a bunch of places to get a good drink, and there seem to be more popping up all the time. I’d found a “secret” bar, The Laundry Room. (Secret is in quotes because I found the place on Yelp. Didn’t exactly need security clearance.) This is a little “speakeasy” within the Commonwealth, itself a cocktail bar/nightclub. (Speakeasy is in quotes because we’re not in ye olde Prohibition times.) I had to text to make a reservation, then text when we were walking in. Then we had to wait at the end of the Commonwealth bar for the Laundry Room hostess to come and get us.

    The bar itself was pretty fantastic. It’s small; if you managed to get 20 people in there it would be pretty crowded. The décor is very old-timey. There are beat-up wooden doors lining the ceiling and they pour you water from patent medicine bottles. A piano player was in one corner playing jazzed-up versions of Britney Spears and other current pop songs. There were only a few other customers, but because it’s so small, there was a decent energy in the room. Plus it’s non-smoking, which is necessary in a space that tiny. The only downside was that the AC couldn’t quite keep up with the temperatures outside.

    The bartender came to take our order. I don’t remember what I got because their drink list is long and detailed, but I got something that came with a Szechuan button. It looked like a little thistle. I was told to chew that up first and then start drinking.

    Man, that thing was weird. It made my whole mouth tingle like crazy. Like electric shock tingle, but with no pain. The drink was really good, and my wife loved hers. It was great to just unwind and tell each other stories about each other that we hadn’t heard, even though we’ve been together for 12 years now.

    After a while, a group of four came in, three guys and one woman. We ended up talking with them; my wife is a never-met-a-stranger type. A couple of them were from the UK and then there were two brothers, Rob and Oogie, from Lithuania, of all places. Then a friend of the piano player came too. We all ended up sitting together and having a blast. After another round of delicious drinks, we decided to head upstairs to the rooftop bar so the smokers could smoke and we all could dance. I guess the drinks had us all feeling graceful at that point.

    Despite Oogie’s flirtations with my wife (maybe it was a Lithuanian thing, but there were a couple of moments where I thought, “damn it, am I going to have to punch this guy and ruin everyone’s night?”) we all had a great time. Around 1am, we decided to be responsible and head back to the room, since the next day was going to be busy. We did have time to do a little research, though.

    We’d done the whole “we should totally become Facebook friends” thing and exchanged some info with this pack of foreigners, and Oogie had said to just Google Prince Beverly, which had had tattooed prominently on his arm. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Las Vegas’ own Lithuanian aspiring rock star, Oogie!

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDn2-Wx3qYI (I can't seem to make this embed and still have it look right. Sorry.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  2. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
    171
    Day 2 (8/15)

    As evidenced by my non-punching the night before, I’m not the jealous type. So I don’t care that my wife is more attractive, smarter, and more social than me. It’s no big deal that she’s better liked by most people, that she has a more satisfying career, and is just generally a better person than me. But the one thing I do envy, deeply, is her ability to sleep.

    Which is a long way of saying that I was up at 6am. Sonofabitch. After a little while I gave up fighting it and went for a stroll before it got blistering hot. Just me and the homeless at that hour. I drifted in and out of a few casinos and parked at a pai gow table at the Nugget for a while. I dropped about $20 and had a couple of cups of tea. Pai gow truly is a gambler’s breakfast.

    Then I got pancakes at Du-par’s. This place is another reason why I like downtown so much. Quality food, never a wait, 24 hours. And damn, those pancakes hit the spot. After getting Starbucks and a packet of Walgreens powdered donuts for my wife’s breakfast (definitely not of champions. How her teeth haven’t rotted out is beyond me.) I went back to the room and sacked out for a bit.

    Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. The wedding was in a few hours, at the Wynn. Plenty of time to clean and anoint myself with fragrant oils. Except that I forgot a dress shirt for my suite. Shit. Well, whatever, I’ll just go buy one. I still should have no problem getting us to the chapel on time.

    I go out to the car and type “outlet mall” into good ol’ Google Maps. We’re staying downtown, I know there’s an outlet mall nearby. Google Maps, however, thinks I want to go to the outlet mall on the other side of town. I ended up getting totally confused, and what should have been a 10 minute drive ended up taking about 45 minutes. So now I’m under the gun.

    And of course, parking is a nightmare. I manage to crawl up to the very top level and park my car directly on the surface of the sun. At least it felt like that. I hit a few stores, either coming up empty or running into long lines of people from abroad taking advantage of favorable exchange rates. Finally I get the shirt and dash back to the car, forgoing the slow elevator for a jog up the stairs. Needless to say, by this time I’m a sweaty, stressed out mess, cursing at innocent drivers and making turns pretty much at random. I’m sure I looked completely insane.

    I make it back to the hotel, clean myself up, Google “how to tie a tie” and against all odds, we make it to the wedding more or less on time.

    The ceremony was very nice. Of course, no wedding would be complete without some drama, especially when it’s a same-sex couple with a 30 year age gap, but I’ll skip that other than to say that none of the drama came from the grooms. After the wedding (which I really should be putting in quotes, since same-sex weddings aren’t legal in Nevada. They’d gotten officially hitched back in LA) we went to the reception at…wait, Sam’s Town?

    Yup, everyone piled on a bus and headed for Sam’s Town, of all places. Well, not everyone. I didn’t want to feel stuck at the reception, so I drove, along with my wife and a couple of friends. And I’m glad I did, because apparently there was no air conditioning on the bus. So 40 or so people were packed on a bus in August in Vegas with no cold air. I don’t know how they made it without dying, or tearing each other apart in a heat-induced frenzy.

    I don’t know how they found it, but the reception was on the observation deck overlooking Sam’s Town’s Mystic Falls Park. It was pretty nice, actually. Not that Sam’s Town is a dump, but it was a bit of a change walking through there after being in the Wynn wedding chapel area. We had dinner and wine and cake and watched an animatronic coyote shoot laser beams out of its eyes. Just like any other traditional wedding reception.

    As the reception wound down, I became a very popular person. No one wanted back on the rolling oven. I only had room for one more, though, and I should have sold it to the highest bidder. I might have paid for the whole trip right there. I drove our friends back to the strip and went back to the El Co. Despite it only being 11pm, we were beat and called it a night.
     
  3. skinny malinky

    skinny malinky Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2005
    Messages:
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    Days 3 & 4

    Day 3 (8/16)

    Me and the hobos, prowling the streets once again. I met a friend at Du-Pars. Oatmeal brulee, yum. Mrs. Malinky decided on more Walgreens donuts, because she eats like an 8 year old. After relaxing in the room, we got lunch and met up with some people at the Venetian. A couple of friends just had a baby, so we walked with them around The Venetian and The Palazzo, seeing all the terrifying street performers. There are some vine covered stilt walkers that were pretty terrifying, and I think they wanted to eat the baby.

    Plant Monsters1.jpg Plant Monsters2.jpg

    Then to the Wynn buffet for dinner. This was my first high-end buffet experience, and I’m still on the fence about it. I just don’t know if any buffet could be worth $45. And I don’t mind spending money for good food; I've had several $100+ meals. But those were in a nice space, with carefully prepared food, and maybe some wine, and not in a cavernous, loud place where I have to get up and find someone to ask for water refills for my table.

    That said, I’ve had some high priced meals where I was still hungry afterwards. Not so here. I shoveled an embarrassing amount of food down my throat. I figured back home, I usually spend about $10 a day on food. So obviously, I had to eat 4 days worth of food at the buffet to break even. I think I came close, and I made sure to focus on the most expensive foods.

    After dinner, I ran Mrs. Malinky back to our hotel and headed back to the Wynn for some poker while my digestive tract tried to figure out what it had done to deserve such abuse.

    The Wynn poker room graciously allowed us to have a 4/8 HORSE game, which is a monthly home game for us. While the table couldn’t be private, we were able to sit together and bring part of home to Vegas. A couple of random passersby played too, but they didn’t get any of the inside jokes. I was really impressed with the Wynn poker room for being so accommodating for our rinky-dink game. The floor people were very nice and the dealers were great too.

    The game broke around 2am. Bedtime for me.

    Day 4 (8/17)

    We actually both woke up early, around 7:30, to pack and check out. Then we went to Bouchon for a farewell breakfast with the grooms and other wedding folk. It was delicious. Pastries, a fruit platter, and I had the quiche and the donuts. The drive back was surprisingly slow due to two (2!) vehicle fires that we passed along the way. But we made it back safe and sound, and yes, the dog was glad to see us.

    Thoughts:

    I sure do love the Cabana Suites super-sized room. It’s just about perfect for my tastes and budget. We took a look at our friends’ room at the Venetian; even for the same money, I think I’d still prefer the room we had when you factor in location and user friendliness.

    Man, the strip holds less and less appeal for me. Everything is a mile from everything else, and everything has a line. Plus it just feels like there’s no value to be had; they’re only concern is wringing out every last dollar possible. Maybe I’m just a cheapskate. Actually, I am a cheapskate but that’s not the only reason. After the wedding, some of us got a drink at a bar at the Wynn. Parasol Up, I think it was. Most of their cocktails cost as much, if not more than those at the Laundry Room. But at Parasol Up, we’re in the middle of a casino, people were smoking cigars, and the service was slow. I had no problem paying $15 per cocktail at the Laundry Room; that felt like a reasonable price, all things considered. At Parasol Up, it felt like they were just charging as much as they thought they could get away with.

    I really enjoyed having a lot of friends around, and would like to do it again, but, in the middle of the 4th conversation about where we should have dinner on Friday night and who would be able to come and should we invite them and they said they couldn’t make it and what time should it be are you sure that’s not too early or late, I remembered why I usually do Vegas by myself.

    This was my most sober and least gambling-est trip that I can remember. I’ll have to make up for that next time.
     
  4. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
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    Location:
    Ottawa Canada
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    Thanks for the trip report. Had a few good chuckles (sorry) at your shirt predicament :evillaugh

    We tried the Laundry Room a few weeks ago and really loved the ambiance and the drinks. Will definitely return.
     
  5. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

    Joined:
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    "pennies are getting pinched harder than a baby's cheeks in a lobster tank."

    Are you on the show "Lizard Lick Towing" ?

    Best line ever...
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  6. Racer X

    Racer X Newbie

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    Great trip report. I'm a cheapskate also, I almost never pay for drinks, I just play bartop video poker one quarter (slowly) :evillaugh at a time and rarely have to pay for drinks.
     
  7. CVG2LAS

    CVG2LAS Tourist

    Joined:
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    I actually watched some of the Oogie video. I made it about 5 seconds before being fully annoyed. Maybe it was the background, or the hair, the voice synthesized into some sort of Stadium Mode. Or maybe it was knowing that he's the type to hit on a wife right in front of a husband, pretty much the definition of Obnoxious.

    But great report. I certainly appreciated all the humor!
     
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