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Spiny's First Solo Trip (4/22-4/28)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by SpinyNorma, May 28, 2009.

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  1. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    My Trip Report

    I'll warn you up front that this first segment is all about airport adventures in just getting to Vegas so those of you who hate that sort of thing can skip this. Ironically, I'm actually one of those who hate that but these misadventures are part of the story so I'm doing it this way anyhow. So there. Oh, and it's stunningly long-winded as well.


    A little background: I'm 50 and live in a mid-sized town in Texas that counts as the Big City in my neck of north Texas. This was my fifth trip to Vegas but my first solo venture. My previous trips have all been with my friend Jan but she had to sit out this year, choosing instead to spend her money on more mundane things like real life. Piker. Anyway, my choices were to either go alone or not go at all. I wanted to go.

    Jan is a more adventurous driver than I am so we usually leave from either DFW or OKC. Since she wasn't coming this year and I am a wuss who would rather gnaw her own head off than fight the rabid Dallas traffic, this year I was leaving from our tiny little toy airport, AKA Rinky Dink Airport, to connect with my Vegas flight out of DFW.

    It started off well enough. It's pretty much the Hooterville version of an airport with one gate so the possiblilities of confusion, bedlam, and other fun associated with airports are minimal. Or so you'd think.

    About the time we should be lining up to take off our shoes and do our preboarding screening and inspection, they announce that the plane we're supposed to be boarding has just now left DFW to head our way. It'll be at least another hour before we're on our way. Bring on the joy.

    I celebrated by going outside for a smoke. One of the guys out there said he flies for business several times a month and the flights out of Rinky Dink are late at least half the time anymore. American Eagle is apparently now more of an American Turkey. Did I mention the joy?

    They finally call us in for our security inspection. I'm second in line so at least I'm not stuck behind all those people who can't seem to catch on to what a bad idea it is to wear complicated, hard to remove shoes to airports. On another happy note, they've expanded the "lounge" area so that there's actually enough seating for everyone--and a good thing too because we're still waiting for our plane to land.

    I originally had an hour and 40 minutes between landing and takeoff at DFW. This margin was rapidly getting shorter and my original plan to kill the time by getting a little lunch was looking like less and less of a possibility. I was now transferring my hopes to just making it in time to catch my other plane.

    The plane finally arrives just before noon and we board at 12:05. I had picked a seat in the second row for quick deplaning but the Gods of Irony make their first strike. This plane loads and unloads from the back. Instead of being one of the first ones off, I'm going to be one of the last.

    We land right around 1. My flight leaves at 1:40 so I've still got a good shot at making it, even with having to change gates. The Gods of Irony, however, are not done with me yet. Since we're arriving about an hour after originally scheduled, we have to just sit there on the tarmac and wait for all the planes who showed up on time to finish up so we can get a gate assignment. The flight attendant is in a seat in front facing the passengers. He is rather desperately avoiding eye contact with us. I can't really blame him. In the meantime, I am the living embodiment of So Close And Yet So Far.

    By the time we get a gate and they release the hostages, it's remotely possible I might make my plane. If I suddenly sprout a jet pack. Or find a time machine or maybe a transporter. It's good to have options.

    I make it to my Sky Train to take me to the other terminal gate. I look at my watch to see how much time I have. My flight is set to leave in roughly...NOW. Gee, I wonder if I'll make it.

    I am also regretting having that giant cup of coke earlier but hope still springs infernal that maybe this flight was also delayed so I don't stop to pee. Then I add to the fun by getting off at the wrong stop which I brilliantly don't realize until I get downstairs. I go back to the elevator but it just stays there with the door open taunting me. Now I'm late, semi-lost, in danger of bladder damage, AND I have to take the dreaded escalator (I have a lifelong fear of heights and escalators deeply creep me out) which is roughly 47 miles high with clear see-through sides and moving at roughly .3 inches per hour. I hate the Gods of Irony.

    I get back on the Sky Train and get off at the right station. I find what would have been my gate and explain my sad situation to them. They put me on the next flight which is full but they think they can squeeze me in. It's leaving in 25 minutes so it's time to hustle again. Back up to the Sky Train of the Damned. The Gods of Irony must be in pain from all the laughter I've provided them. The gate for the new flight is back at the station where I accidentally got off earlier. Rat bastards.

    I slosh my way to the new gate, show them the ticket the other gate had given me, and explain my sorry saga. At first they strike fear and despair into my heart by mentioning the dreaded words "Stand by" but then say I've got the very last seat. My carefully chosen window seat is now a random middle seat. Stupid Gods of Irony.

    On the bright side, the women's bathroom is right across from my new gate and at long last I can finally rid myself of that massive coke. Roughly 10 lbs lighter, I saunter back to wait. They've started boarding but they're doing it by section number. I am in section number 2912 and am literally one of the very last people to board.

    It is, of course, the dreaded middle seat but it could have been worse. None of us tried to edge into anyone else's limited space and no one leaked noxious bodily fumes. Yay.

    Once we're in the air, I briefly wonder what exciting journey my luggage had taken and how, when. and if we'll be reunited. I then decide there's not much point in fretting about that. I go into Scarlet O'Hara mode (though hoping that I won't still be worrying about that tomorrow) and start my second book of the trip.

    Finally we land. WooHOOOOOOO! We're in the furthest terminal and have to take another tram to get to baggage claim. This, of course, entails a Long March along with changing floors and narrow walkways with clear walls. Airports hate the acrophobic.

    When we get on the tram, the automated voice announces that it is the tram to terminal one, baggage claim, and terminals A, B, and C. It stops and announces that this is the stop for terminal one. Thinking that this was the first of several stops, several of us stay on the tram, only to find out that no, it's just the one stop and now it's going back to terminal D (as in D'OH)where we started. Heavy sigh.

    Back we go again and this time get off at the right place. Now it was time to resume yet another Long March involving several changes of levels and another Tour of Terror for the acrophobic. I survive all this and plod toward the baggage carousel for our flight's luggage.

    I make my weary way there in the desperate hope that the Gods of Irony took a lunch break and my suitcase had been diverted to the same flight I was. Hey, it could happen.

    Oddly enough, I wasn't holding out a lot of hope. Mainly I was looking to see where I would go to try to track it down and concentrating on not screaming "YOU BASTARDS!" and going all Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes when everyone's luggage but mine appeared.

    As I approached, I could see luggage was already circling. I almost didn't dare to look but--wait--that one--is it?--could it be? No. YES! It was! My suitcase! Being classy (not to mention being too tired), I resisted the urge to grab it, spike it, and do a Victory Touchdown Dance.

    And on that happy note, we end Part 1 of our saga.
     
  2. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Wow, I'm really long-winded. Sorry, it's not going to get better on that front. If you haven't given up already, make yourself comfortable.

    Having finally triumphed over the Gods of Irony, I take my luggage out to a shuttle and wait to be taken to my hotel. There's one seat left open and apparently it would make the Baby Jesus cry if they left before it was filled. I was about to see if anyone else was willing to chip in to pay for it so we could go already when someone finally got on and took the seat. WooHOOOOO!

    I had figured the Excalibur would be one of the first stops the shuttle would make but apparently this was the Every Hotel But Mine Tour. Eventually we did get there and I began yet another in a series of Long Marches, this time in search of the registration desk.

    After my adventures with planes, trams, etc, this was a relative piece of cake. Registration was pretty quick and soon I had the keys to room 1216 in hand. Now it was time for (Did you guess?) another Long March. This is a two-parter.

    First I have to find Tower II. I eventually do, only to find it's in two parts. There's one side, a fairly wide corridor of the casino, and the other side of Tower II is on the other side of that. I pick the side closest to me and, amazingly, the signs show that it was the right one for my room number. Just like a dignified person, I get on the elevator, press 12, and try not to look too smug.

    Once off the elevator, I go in search of my room. The smugness vanishes as I realize that all of these rooms have 5 numbers and mine only has 4. Hmmm.

    Back on the elevator and down again. I'm about to head over to the other side of Tower II when I see a security guy and ask him if I'm even remotely in the right area.

    Amazingly, I am. Instead of Room 16 on the twelfth floor, it's the first floor (1), second tower (2), room 16. Oh. Okay then. Off I go once again and there it is--the legendary room 1216. My trek is over. I put the key in the slot and...nothing. Not wanting to journey back to the registration desk again, I go the desperation route and try the key again. And again. And again. To my surprise, this eventually actually works.

    Once I finally get in, the room (a Widescreen Room) is actually pretty nice. For once, I remember to take pictures before I mess the room up. There's an entryway with the bathroom to the left. There's two queen beds, a big dresser, a large widescreen TV (hence the name), a small table with 2 reasonably comfortable chairs, and a good closet for a hotel room. Inside the closet is an iron and ironing board and WooHOOOO! extra pillows. Now to check out the window which has a stunning view of...the outside air conditioning units.

    Once that was done, it was time to tend to business. It was around 6, Texas time, and I was starving. I headed over to New York New York, found the deli and got myself a much-needed pastrami sandwich.

    Feeling much better now, I was once again energized and decided to go wandering. The Monte Carlo was next door and I'd never been there so I set out. I went out the wrong door, however, and found myself walking the long way around NYNY which is, incidentally, a really big place. Since we'd always gotten to NYNY via the overhead walkways, this was my first time walking around the outside on ground level.

    By the time I get to the front of the hotel, I realize that Monte Carlo is a lot further than I'd figured and I'm too damn tired for another Long March. Instead, I decide to cross over to MGM instead.

    I go check out the lions. One is gnawing away on a big ol' rawhide bone. He notices the handlers are in the pen and abandons it to go over for some Big Cat-Petting. I miss Bubba, my idiotic and occasionally dangerous cat.

    I'm feeling like doing a bit of gambling (Okay, I'm feeling like doing a bit of sitting down) so I stop at a Monopoly slot. There's a guy on a cell phone sitting nearby at another machine who appears to be quite surprised and annoyed that he can't hear anything for all the casino noises. Bless his little heart. I feed my machine $20 which it promptly eats. Rat [email protected] I decide to teach it a valuable lesson by going to Walgreens. The Monopoly machine calls to me to give it another chance but I coldly ignore it. I can be that way.

    Continuing the Theme of the Day, Walgreens turns out to be further away than I remembered but I persevered on. No sacrifice is too great for a woman in need of the proper caffeine. Now armed with several bottles of Dr Pepper, I made my way back to my room.

    Once there, I go in search of an ice machine. I hadn't seen one in my previous wanderings but these big hotels have one on every floor, right? Nope. I go up and down my hallway and, unless it's concealed behind a secret panel, there's no ice machine. I see the security guy and ask him. It turns out it's hidden in little room on the ground floor of the other Tower II. I suspect that whoever designed this place was a huge fan of scavenger hunts.

    I'd followed advice I saw on a message board (quite possibly this one) and gotten a small insulated carrier and brought some gallon Zip Lock baggies. I fill the baggies with ice, put them in the carrier with the cokes and voila! cold cokes. I got this set up and, flush with my latest triumph, decide to mosey over to our old stomping grounds, the Tropicana.

    I'm getting better at finding my way back to my tower once I notice it's just past Dick's Last Resort. That's Vegas for you--if you get lost, just follow some Dick.

    At the Trop, I find a Wizard of Oz slot. My friend Cindy, who is a big fan of the movie and has a screen name referencing the Wicked Witch of the West, had promised to put in a good word with Dorothy for me but apparently Dorothy is still mad about that whole Toto-stealing/Death Hourglass thing because Cindy's intervention wasn't getting me any love. I did get a free drink out of it though.

    After getting my butt kicked by a little Kansas girl, I realized I was hungry and tired again after all that walking so I head back to NYNY for a Nathan's hot dog to take back to the room. I still wish Jan was there but after the sauerkraut on the dog kicked in, I knew she'd be glad not to be stuck in a room with me.

    Back in the room, I flip through channels and find America's Next Top Model so I veg out with Tyra and my hot dog for a while. One of the girls I don't like was booted off so I was perked up. It had been a long day and I had figured on hitting the shower and then bed after that but I had gotten a second wind and headed out again.

    I don't feel like wandering far so I just mosey through the casino. The Monopoly slots are occupied but I see a Texas Tea machine. I've played it before and it has some fun bonus rounds. Maybe Dorothy was giving me the cold shoulder but surely my home state wouldn't shun me.

    I wasn't shunned but I can't say I got a big Texas welcome either. Still, I did get to play on $20 for a fairly long time so I couldn't complain too much. The Monopoly slots had an opening so I tried that but once again it only taunted me.

    I considered wandering further afield but soon realized that my second wind was more of a soft breeze and headed back to the room for a shower. There was no tub in the room, just a big shower. This was fine with me. I figured out the science of getting hot water and indulged in a nice long shower. The water pressure wasn't great but I commend the towels there--big and fluffy. Freshly clean, I stretch out on the bed and that's the last I knew of Wednesday.
     
  3. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Thursday, 4/23

    I wake up just before 8 and head upstairs where I get a fresh-made Krispy Kreme donut for breakfast. Sugared up, I head over to NYNY and browse through some shops, then mosey back to the Excalibur. I see a Goldfish slot machine which I'd heard mentioned on the message boards as being fun so I gave it a try. It did turn out to be a fun game and I even came out slightly ahead which was a nice change of pace.

    Now it was getting time to head back to the room and pack. After a few rounds of Room Key Roulette, I get in and do that. I check the insulated thing and it's worked pretty well. There's still some ice in the baggies and my drinks are nice and cold. I do the Express Checkout via the TV screen, do a last minute check to make sure I have everything, and I'm off.

    I'd originally planned to go over to the MGM and take the monorail over to my next hotel, the Imperial Palace, but my taste for extra walking and mass public transportation is still dimmed so I decide to splurge on a cab.

    Check in goes pretty quickly. I'm in room 1809--no tricks this time, it's really on the 18th floor which is the top floor. I find the elevators, get off my floor, and begin walking. And walking. And walking. I start to wonder if there's a tram service available. I finally reach my room, on the way passing a set of elevators that are MUCH closer.

    The key works on my first try which perks me up. My room isn't fancy but it's fine. The other one was nicer but this one had the advantage of the key working AND the ice machine is proudly out there in the open for God and everyone to see, right in front of the elevators. There's also a coke machine, something I never did see at the Excalibur, although it lost points for just having crappy Pepsi products. Now I'm definitely glad I made my trek to Walgreens to stock up.

    Back to the room, this one has a king bed. No closet, just the rack with hangers, although there is the iron and board. The TV is smaller and not a flat screen but it works. There's a dresser, a couple of night stands, and a table with two chairs. The backs of the chairs are kind of hard and not overly comfortable but when you prop one of the pillows against it, it's fine.

    There's a big patio door which opens out onto a very small balcony. No breath-taking views of air conditioning units this time. I have to make do with a view of a couple of pools and the mountains. Oh well. The bathroom is pretty much a bathroom. There's no shower gel like the Excalibur had but there's two small bars of moisturizing soap and a small bottle of lotion and shampoo/conditioner. Once again, I actually remember to get pictures before I mess things up.

    Now it's time to do a little exploring of the hotel. I take the much closer elevator down, making note of what's nearby it when I get to the lobby so I'll get the right elevator next time. I look in a couple of shops, then wander around the casino. I play a little video poker, no winning there but I did get a lot of play out of my $20. I found a Wizard of Oz machine but Dorothy still had no love for me.

    I decide to see if I do any better with lunch and head up to the third floor to the Burger Palace for a burger and fries. The burger is quite good, the fries are kind of eh. Freshly nourished, I decide to head back to my room to get my camera. The elevators for the rooms are separate from the ones to restaurants and such so I had to go back to the casino level and then hike over to my elevator.

    I found the right ones but one of the big complaints you hear about the Imperial Palace is the slowness of its elevators. Unfortunately, this turned out to be true. While I was waiting, I remembered reading that there was a second set right behind the main elevators so I looked and, sure enough, there they were.

    I get off on my floor, glance at the signs and head toward my room. Uh oh--the key isn't working. I try it several times but nothing so I head back down to the registration desk. It turns out there's room number confusion after all. If you turn right after leaving the elevators, you go to 1809. If you turn left, however, you end up at 18109. D'OH! On the bright side, I didn't make that mistake again and never again played Room Key Roulette during my stay.

    During all this trekking and confusion, my knee had remembered that I'm a geezer and started whining pretty badly so, once I was in the right room, I took some ibuprofen and applied some geezer cream to it. While I'm waiting for them to kick in, I virtuously catch up on my notes for the eventual accounting I would write for my email friends.

    Feeling a bit less geezerly now, I replenish my ice supply, grab the camera, and head out. I go through O'Shea's which is a small casino which is somehow connected to the Harrah's family in a sort of [email protected] child sort of way. Attached to it is Vince Neil's Tattoo Parlor for those who want to commemorate a night of drunken gambling with a permanent reminder of a guy from an 80's hair band.

    From there I moseyed on to the Flamingo where the giant faces of Donny and Marie grinned maniacally down at me. I played a little Goldfish again before making my way through Bill's, which is where we stayed last year, but all the machines I liked were taken so I just looked around and went out a door I thought led back to the Strip.

    After a bit of walking, I realized I was on a side street instead. (Yes, I have no sense of direction AND I'm a little slow on the uptake sometimes.) I decided to go with it and head to Ellis Island. This, too, turned out to be a lot longer walk than I remembered, probably because I'd already done a fair amount of walking and, sadly, had no Jan to distract me from my aching feet. Her spirit is still with me, however, since I'm beginning to be reminded of the year before last's Bellagio Death March.

    (That year we stayed at the Trop and had headed to Walgreens to stock up for our Dr Pepper addictions. I made the near-fatal mistake of suggesting we go see the Bellagio fountain show since we were so close. I was, of course, horribly painfully wrong about that. My shame was almost as deep as the pain in our feet.)

    Eventually I arrive and rest my feet at a little video poker. A little money at a penny video machine lasts a really long time. I put in $10 and cashed out at $7. In Vegas, at least for me, this counts as a win.

    By now I'm getting hungry but not enough for the steak special. I'd heard about a BBQ place inside the casino that was supposed to be good so I decided to try that. It was definitely popular. It hadn't even been open a half hour and I had to go on a waiting list. I kill some time on a Monopoly Grand Hotel slot, hit a couple of good bonuses and cash out at $41.95 for my original $20. WooHOO! They don't have ticket redemption machines there so I had to get in line at the cashier cage to get my big bucks.

    I go back to the BBQ place to check on how the wait list is going and they call my number almost immediately. Win again! I got a half rack of ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, and garlic bread for $9. Not bad at all.

    I was ready to head on home after eating so I started that way although I was not looking forward to doing another Long March. I stopped in at the 7 Eleven next door to Ellis Island to get another couple of Dr Peppers. As I was paying, I saw a cab parked right in front of the store. Surely this was a sign! When he came out, I asked if he could take me to the Imperial Palace and $7 later, I'm there. My feet and I considered it a great investment.

    I head back upstairs to drop off the cokes. While I'm there, the room suggests to me that I ought to just hang out a while, catch up my notes, and maybe have a nice nap. This was a suggestion that was hard to argue with, especially since I didn't really try.
     
  4. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    After my nap, I decide to go wandering again. This time I turn right instead of left when I leave the IP. I consider checking out the Mirage but decide to save that for when Seigfried and Roy's Secret Garden will be open.

    I pass a small open bar with scantily-clad girls dancing halfheartedly on the bar top. Enthusiasm is apparently not a prerequisite for the guys gathered on the sidewalk watching and cheering.

    I turn and wander through Harrah's Carnival Court. The band tonight is playing Aerosmith and doing it pretty well.

    I go in Harrah's and wander around. I see my friend the Goldfish and settle in for a little play. It's going fairly well but a group of loud drunk chicks settle in a few seats down, the kind of girls who believe the world is a better place when they squeal and shriek in tones that could shatter concrete at every single freaking spin. My spinal cord is going into spasm so I cash out and wander off.

    I find another bank of Goldfish slots out of earshot of the Goldfish sluts and settle in to play. A fortuitous slew of generous bonus rounds turns my investment into $101. Thank you, annoying drunk girls! I cash out and strut on my way. I'm feeling lot hot stuff until I pass a Wizard of Oz machine and see someone won over $1000 on it, totally topping my tiny win. If you ask me, that sort of thing is just showy and tacky. Being a classy type, I give Dorothy a big HARUMPH and walk on by.

    I had meant to catch the volcano eruption show in front of the Mirage but got distracted by my Goldfish bonus spree. It was after midnight now and too late for that now. I consider continuing my moseying tour but I'm tired now so I head back homeward.

    I'm also getting pretty hungry again but every place I pass is either closed or has a line. I know the Burger Palace is open is 24 hours but I'm not in a burger mood. I end up deciding to splurge on room service pizza while vegging out to a Law & Order marathon.

    After the pizza, I now had the energy for a nice hot shower. The water took a while to really get hot but once it did, it was great and stayed hot. I thought about shampooing my hair but remembered that I'd forgotten to bring a comb which is a necessity for my hair when it's wet or it really breaks. The towels here aren't as soft as the ones at the Excalibur but they're nice and big and absorbent so I'm good with them. My standards are low.

    After the shower, I vegged out some more. I was tired but not really sleepy. I considered getting out again but didn't really have the energy for trekking. The L&O marathon ended so what did that leave? Gambling!

    So down I go on the elevators (which might well be more accurately described as stationarys) to the casino. Feeling cocky from my big win earlier, I put $100 in the Wizard of Oz machine. I can't say Dorothy was feeling the love but she had thawed to the point of feeling warm regards. I got several small bonus rounds but no big ones. I decide I'll quit when I get down to $50.

    This decision is reinforced by the group at a bank of machines across the aisle from me. They start loudly screaming and WOOing with the kind of frenzy that would lead you to think they'd just really struck a major payoff. Then I overheard one of them tell someone they'd just won $32. Please, people. My standards are notoriously low and I don't scream for a $32 win. They continue the screaming and WOOing for apparently every damn spin. The WOO Tang Gang are seriously getting on my nerves so I cash out and mosey on.

    I check out the dealertainers on my way. Some of them are pretty good and some I'm not sure who the hell they were supposed to be. Periodically, one of them gets on a small stage and lips syncs to a song by their character.

    I check out my buddies the Goldfish but they're all taken. There's a Mermaid game, which is essentially a variation, on the other side so I figure I'll give it a try. I like the Goldfish better but I do hit a nice bonus round that brings my total back up to $80. Just then someone vacates a Goldfish game so I cash out and move there.

    The fishies are apparently pissed that I allowed my head to be turned by that uppity wench Dorothy and they shun me for a while. I go up and down for a while but end up being down to about $50. Since that was my self-imposed limit for Oz, I consider cashing out but decide to go for one more spin. The fishies have warmed up to me again and I start hitting bonus rounds until I'm at $101.02. I decide to quit while I'm ahead. Considering that I started with $100, I'm actually only up $1 (and two cents!) but that ticket sure looked purty all the same.

    On the way back to the room, I pause to watch one of the dealertainers perform. It's a young guy and I'm not entirely sure who he's supposed to be but I think he's K Fed. It turns out he's Justin Timberlake. Apparently Britney Spears and I are the only ones who find the two interchangeable.

    Once back in the room, I channel surf again. It's the very wee hours of the morning so the pickings are slim. I light on one that's a new low in syndicated programming called Jury Duty.

    The premise is like The People's Court and that ilk but the focus is on the theoretically celebrity jury of three instead of the judge. Tonight's episode's big celebrity juror was one of the Gold sisters, not the one who got anorectic. I think this one might have been on Benson a long time ago.

    Then there was some black guy who was apparently some kind of athlete. I know this because his cell phone kept going off during deliberations. Apparently it never occurred to him to just turn it off but each time it rang, he'd look at it and say it was his coach. As he eventually explained, it seemed he'd blown off going to practice for this star gig. Sad really. The third one was some older Hispanic woman who might as well have wandered in off the street for all I knew. Given this show's apparent standards, she might well have.

    Once Jury Duty ended, it was time for Cops. White Trash on parade! This episode was particularly classy and featured some kids who TP'd someone's house and peed on their car. It was now almost 4 AM so on that highbrow note, I passed out.
     
  5. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Friday, 4/24/09

    It was probably around 4:30 by the time I fell asleep. I woke up at 8:30, looked at the clock, mumbled something suspiciously like "Oh, HELL no", and went back to sleep.

    The next time I swam back up to murky consciousness it was 10:00. That was just about right since I'd been planning to make this my Bellagio day, hitting the art museum, the lunch buffet, the Conservatory, and just general looking around. I was still feeling a bit groggy so I thought I'd go for just a tad more snooze time.

    The next time I woke up it was 3:30. Crap. That pretty much screwed the Bellagio plan since the lunch buffet would be ending about now and the supper one was way more than I wanted to pay. The Mirage? I'd have to really get my butt in gear to catch the Secret Garden without having to hurry through it and the idea of both things was not appealing to me. I decided this must be my Downtown Day!

    I got dressed and headed to the monorail station. The plan was to take the monorail over to its last stop, the Sahara, and catch the bus to downtown from there. There's a machine where you can get your monorail ticket just before you get to the elevator that takes you to the monorail level so I stop there and get my ticket.

    As I head to the monorail, I realize once again that Vegas really hates us acrophobes. To get to the elevator which takes you to the monorail, there's a narrow walkway with the inevitable horrifying clear half-walls. It seriously creeps me out. And, of course, the elevator has clear walls too. Rat [email protected] This is obviously a conspiracy.

    I make it to the entryway and put my ticket in the turnstile. Nothing. What the hell? Did the Excalibur put them up to this? I look over and notice that the tickets I see people using in the turnstile next to me look totally different than mine. Slowly it dawns on me. Well, hell! It's my receipt! Those rat [email protected] at the machine put out the receipt first and THEN the ticket. I had apparently missed part 2 of this transaction. This is what happens when a night person like myself goes out among the English in the daytime.

    Now I have to go back down the See-Through Elevator of the Damned, back across the creepy walkway, down one of the slowest elevators on the planet back to the casino level, back to the machine to see if by some miracle my ticket is still there or if someone else had heard it laughing at me and helped themselves to a free ticket. As you might have guessed, I have been happier.

    Still, I have to try so I do the Acrophobia Torment Tour. Amazingly, the ticket is still there. I ignore the way it's laughing at me and make my creepy way back up. Once I get through the turnstile, I now turn my attention to cussing out the twisted masochist who designed this system.

    The acrophobic delight aside, what kind of rat [email protected] designs a system where you have to take an elevator/escalator up a floor to go through the turnstiles only to then have to take another elevator/escalator back down to THE SAME FREAKING LEVEL YOU STARTED ON to board the damn train? Seriously.

    I spend the ride thinking of creative and painful things I would do to this rat [email protected] if he were ever stupid enough to reveal himself to me. I get off at the Sahara stop where I go through the same convoluted design, only with an even worse acrophobe-unfriendly Walkway O' Terror.

    I make it to the nice safe ground level casino floor and begin yet another Long March. I ask an employee where to go to catch the bus downtown and she points the way to me. After another good bit of walking (outdoor version), I see a bus across a very busy street but the number on the bus is not the same one I was told goes downtown.

    Is this an elaborate hoax? Does the right bus come along later or is this all part of an elaborate plot to kidnap me and dump me off at or even in the Grand Canyon? I decide I've had enough adventure for one day and plod back to the hotel and get in the taxi line.

    Conspiracy averted, soon I'm dropped off at the Four Queens hotel downtown and begin another walkathon. I visit the downtown Walgreens and assorted other places, gathering souvenirs, high class postcards, a set of roughly a billion combs (No, I wasn't overcompensating. I only wanted one but the megaset was cheaper.), and a bottle of water. I stop and gamble at various places, basically winning a bit and then losing more.

    Somewhere in the midst of doing my part for the Vegas economy, I remember the water bottle. A big drink of water sounds pretty damn good to me right now so I dig it out, only to be taunted. I can't get the damn thing open. From all the way back in Texas, I can hear Jan's mocking laughter pointed my way. It's amazing what a rude wench she can be sometimes.

    I try again several times as I wander through assorted places. The water was lukewarm at best by now and the smart thing to do would have been to just give up and get another drink. Well, I'm no sissy quitter who does the smart thing so I just kept on trying because I was going to By God open that [email protected] I'm that way.

    An embarrassingly long time later, it finally occurs to me that there's a plastic wrap over the lid. Gee, you think that might be why I couldn't get it open? Once I got that off, even I found it be relatively simple to lift the spout and get a drink. Shut up. Just shut up.

    The first Fremont Street light show came on. The group doing the music for the first show sounded familiar but I had no idea who they were. The show was good though.

    The second show was to American Pie. That show was way cool with images of various people from the song and assorted moments in American history from the 50's and 60's displayed on the canopy.

    I'd been doing a lot of walking for a long time by that point and I was getting pretty bushed. I was planning to head back after the American Pie show but then they announced that the next show would be the Queen tribute. Well hell. Even though we'd seen it last year, it was really good and I felt compelled to stay for it.

    I wasn't up to wandering around for another hour. The only way to sit downtown was to gamble or eat. I'd already eaten earlier and another hour of gambling didn't seem financially prudent but sitting down for a while sounded like the best idea since taking the damn plastic off my water bottle cap. I ended up getting a donut and some tea from Dunkin Donuts in one of the casinos to earn the right to sit down in the food court for a while. I caught up my notes while I was there and my virtue was rewarded when I noticed, just as I finished, that it was just a few minutes away from time for the Queen show.

    Some odd and/or interesting people of note that I saw while wandering downtown: 70's Guy complete with impossible tan, way-too-unbuttoned shirt, and enough chains to induce gold poisoning/the Spray Paint Artist/a guy who seemed to be inexplicably trying really hard to look like Bret Michaels (from 80's band Poison)--not the 80's version, the way he looks today/ and a guy with the anti-gravity really tall hair like Christopher Walken had in some movie I was too brain dead to remember the name of. I also noticed a disproportionate amount of short people. We're not talking Munchkins or anything but I'm right about average height and I was feeling like Brigitte Freakin' Nielson there.

    While you ponder those mental images, I'll close this section of my report.
     
  6. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    When last we left off, the Queen Tribute had just ended and I was ready to go. Before I could go, however, I REALLY had to go so I made my way into the Four Queens and painfully wandered in search of a bathroom. I finally found where they hid them. Feeling much lighter, it was now time to leave downtown.

    Somehow I wasn't in the mood to hunt down the bus stop for downtown to the Strip. I was even less in the mood to brave the Terror Train monorail station at the Sahara so I decided to splurge on a cab back to the strip. In a small nod to economy, I had him drop me off at the Mirage which was a tolerable walking distance to the IP.

    It was about 10:30 when I got there so I figured I might as well catch the volcano show while I was in the area. I made my way to the street and found the volcano but there was nowhere to sit and more time than I wanted to spend just standing while I waited.

    Then I had an idea. I could take the walkway over to the Venetian which would accomplish several things. It would kill a little time and, being right across the street, ought to provide a good place to watch the show. As an added bonus, it was on the same side of the street as the Imperial Palace so I could head straight home afterwards.

    I mosey over the walkway, pausing to admire the neon glory of the Strip, and then went inside the Venetian. I took some pictures of the ceiling murals and considered looking through the canal area while I was there but my feet vetoed that idea so instead I went down to the second floor and then outside. There's a sort of veranda that goes across the front there and I figured I could find a good vantage point there.

    When I stepped outside, I saw a huge throng of people spilling out on the veranda, apparently in desperate hope of gaining admittance to some fancy nightclub there. As a fat geezer sporting a fanny pack, I was naturally a shoo-in but I walked away before they could start begging me to grace them with my presence.

    I moved down toward the end of the veranda where you go to get to the wax museum and some upscale make up store. There was a moving sidewalk that took you upwards to reach those things but, even though I figured I could get a better view from there, I'd had about enough of things involving heights for one night.

    Instead, I killed a little time having a smoke and watching drunk chicks in ill-advised high heels trying not to fall on their faces when the moving sidewalk ended. Good times.

    By now it was about time for the volcano to go off so I found a spot and waited. It was pretty cool but I'd rate it as more something to see if you're in the area than something to make a big effort to catch. Still, I was glad I had seen it finally.

    That done, it was now time to head homeward. First, however, my bladder was once again reminding me that iced tea is something you rent, not buy, so I made my way back inside the Venetian, down to the casino floor, and began a quest for the bathroom.

    I had thought the Four Queens hid their bathrooms but they were mere pikers compared to the Venetian. Apparently their clientele aren't in need of such base facilities. Maybe they have the help do such menial jobs for them. Or maybe it's true that the rich really are different, at least in very fundamental, plumbing-related ways.

    My philosophical ponderings on such things were interrupted by actually finding the facilities which, by this time, I really REALLY needed. Being a high class type my own self, I managed not to upset the other occupants and resisted the probably disturbing urge to moan in ecstatic relief. Righteously pleased with myself, I wander around again until I find my way outside again.

    While I'm waiting on the light to change, I notice a fountain on the edge of the Venetian property that has a butt-sized rim so I take advantage of the chance to sit again. It felt so good that I sat through several light changes, just people-watching and appreciating being off my feet for a while. Eventually, however, I decided I'd best get moving again before I gave in to the urge to just pretend I was part of the fountain and spend the rest of my life sitting there.

    Once I got moving, the walk wasn't too bad. Soon I found myself at Harrah's which is next door to my destination. It's actually even connected to the IP via a small hallway near the monorail station but that's way toward the back and I figured it was closer to just plow on through. I came out again in the Carnival Court area. Tonight's band is still going strong and playing Guns N Roses now.

    From there, it's just a short walk over to the IP. In my absence, however, some [email protected] had apparently doubled the walking distance across the casino to the room elevators. I don't know how they do that but it happened many times during the trip.

    I finally make it to the IP and share the ride with a couple who apparently read some of the same Vegas message boards as me. We agreed that they were absolutely right about the spectacularly slow elevators. They told me some friends of theirs had actually gotten stuck in one for a couple of hours not too long ago.

    They got a couple of free buffets as compensation. This was scant compensation considering that word on the street (or at least the street where the message boards are) was that the buffet here was one of the worst in town. They confirmed that the rumors were true. For the record, during my stay, the elevators only seemed like they weren't moving so I was never badly compensated for getting stuck.

    At long last, the ride was over and I gimped to my room where I put up my throbbing cartoon feet, updated my notes, and earned Mega Good One points by filling out and stamping my postcards.

    I somehow summon the energy to go replenish my ice supply. As I'm approaching the machine, I hear a door open and look over. To my surprise, it's Michael Jackson. No, not the creepy one--one of the Dealertainers. It's a pretty good impression though. We both say Hi and go on our ways.

    Being even better than a mere Good One, after I finish the cards, I actually get dressed, go downstairs and mail the cards. I got a second breeze and spent a little time on the machines.

    For the only time during the whole trip, Dorothy took pity on me and gave me a big bonus round. I topped this by losing at Monopoly then went to my friends the Goldfish. I was actually ahead at one point but lacked the good sense to quit then and lost most of the extra. All in all, I came out about even. On that happy note, I dragged my butt (nearly literally) back upstairs and crashed around 5 AM.
     
  7. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Saturday, 4/26


    I woke up, looked at my watch and saw it was 10:30. I considered getting up but then remembered my watch was still on Texas time (So I never got around to resetting it to Vegas time. Don't you judge me.) so it was really 8:30. That killed my inner debate on getting up.

    I woke up again at noon (Yes, Vegas time. Don't be all uppity on me.) but couldn't quite talk myself into getting up. Learning nothing from yesterday, I drift off again as I debate it. I do make myself get up the next time I wake up which is at the crack of 2 PM.

    By the time I get moving well enough to head out, it's going on 3. Today is Secret Garden day so I head on over to the Mirage. When the elevator door opens on the lobby floor, a group of people driven mad by waiting for one to show up rush the elevator. There's nothing like starting out your day with a Dawn of the Dead flashback.

    While I'm waiting on the light to change so I can cross over to the Mirage side, I see a really odd little vehicle. It's a teeny tiny little two-seater bright yellow thing that looks like a toy car, only with 3 wheels--two in front and one in back. On the back, in large letters, it read RENT ME.

    Which reminds of another odd thing I saw on the road the night before. On the way back from downtown, I saw a motorcycle drive past the cab, ridden by a guy who seemed the very embodiment of the biker cliche. In front of him, hopefully secured somehow, was a tiny wiry-haired dog wearing a doggie version of the Kaiser Wilhelm helmet with the little spike on top. But back to Saturday....

    It was nice outside and fairly cool, somewhere in the 70's with a nice wind. I take this as confirmation that this was a good day to do something largely outside and, a fairly short trek later, I'm getting my ticket for the Secret Garden.

    The baby dolphin we saw last year is close to grown now but still with mama. They have three dolphin pools. One has two adult males, one has the pair I just mentioned, and the third has another mother with her 8 month old baby.

    It being a fairly cool day, the big cats are more active than you usually see them in the afternoon. They have lions, leopards, and tigers. Truly beautiful animals.

    They have a 4 month old leopard cub in the pen where the tiger cubs were last year. He's deep asleep when I get there and I was about to move on when the handler brought out a bowl of meat. That big kitten went from being 100% asleep to 100% awake in the blink of an eye. Like his smaller cousins, the B Boys (Bubba, Boo Radley, and Bogey, my own kitties back home), he did a fine impression of this being the first food he's seen in weeks.

    After eating, he was ready to play. The handler got some of his toys but he was having none of that--he wanted to play with HER! I found myself missing both the B Boys and Jan. (No, she hardly ever insists on killing me for play but she does love leopard print and this baby had a really gorgeous coat of it.)

    As I was heading out, I saw that the handlers were now in the area with the mom and (former) baby from last year so I stopped to watch. They played with a Frisbee and a big beach ball that they tossed in for them. One of the dolphins was a big ham and started leaping out of the water and spinning around for the crowd's amusement and admiration. It worked.

    I was getting hungry by now so I stopped at one of the Mirage restaurants for an overpriced burger (Surely you've figured out by now that I'm an extremely low roller) and fries. I do have to say that they were really good, as was the shake I got with it. Sated nearly to the point of bursting, I waddle out of the Mirage.

    Since I'm this close, I figure I might as well head over to the Venetian and look through the canal area that I missed last night. It was, of course, gorgeous.

    I then wandered over to the Palazzo side. I admired their waterfall with the colorful hanging umbrellas around it, then decided to mosey on back before they recognized my low roller status and decided to sic their butlers on me, armed with torches and pitchforks.

    I stopped in at Casino Royale on my way back. There wasn't much to see really, just a small casino without even the slightly seedy charm of O'Shea's. I have to admit they had really nice bathrooms though. That excitement was so great that I just went back to my room and took a nap.

    When I woke up that evening, I just wandered around places in the area--Flamingo, Bally's, the Paris, O'Shea's, Harrah's. Toward the end, I was looking for something cheap to eat but by then most things were either closed or not appealing. I ended up having the late night special at Harrah's Cafe, Rib Eye and Eggs for $6. The Ellis Island special is better for only about a dollar more but I didn't want to walk that far and off strip alone that late.

    I did a little playing and a lot of losing and eventually decided to go with the one thing that was always a winning proposition--I headed back to my room and had a good long sleep.
     
  8. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    One thing I forgot to mention in Saturday's report was the impressive number of police on the Strip that night. It seemed like I saw them nearly everywhere in my wanderings, both in patrol cars and on foot. (That would refer to the cops. I spent no time in patrol cars. No, really. I didn't.) I saw three people, all young guys, being detained in separate incidents, two of them in cuffs. One of the cuffed guys was on the floor, belly down, like they'd had to take him down. Good times.

    Sunday, 4/26/09

    I'm up at the crack of noon and decide this is Bellagio day. They have a weekend brunch buffet that's only a couple of bucks more than their lunch one if you pass on having champagne. I can pass so I head over to the bus stop in front of the Mirage and I'm on my way.

    I watch one Einsteinian woman repeatedly hitting the Stop button on the bus, even though the bus is already stopped and has the doors open for passengers to exit. Eventually it's stopped to her satisfaction and she gets off.

    Traffic is really bad on the Strip but finally we get to the Bellagio stop. I start hiking uphill to the hotel, only to soon realize that it's another Bellagio Death March just getting up the driveway.

    I'm finally in and I find the Conservatory pretty easily. This was not a theme that would continue. Once I leave that, I begin wandering in search of either the buffet or the art gallery, whichever I manage to find first. For a while there, it didn't seem that I was going to find either.

    Eventually I do find that buffet and--what luck!--there's not much of a line. A moment later that lie is revealed. There was indeed a line, and a long one, but the machines and the crowds had obscured it. I debated for a moment but I was hungry and didn't figure there was much else here I could afford so I joined the teeming millions.

    As I get close to what I thought was the end of the line, I realize that was seemed like a long line was actually a longer line. What I thought was the end was actually the point where it turned and went down a hallway. Crapulence!

    By now I've put a good bit of time into this thing and, frankly, I've hit the point of being just damn stubborn about it. I do consider just giving up and going to a restaurant somewhere else but there were things I still wanted to see here. Besides, I was getting seriously hungry by now and feared I'd either pass out on the long walk to the Strip or, worse yet, go Zombie on the other tourists. Okay, so that probably wouldn't happen but you just don't want to take a chance with that sort of thing. I have societal obligations, you know.

    Once I finally got in, the buffet was damn good. I don't know that I'd want to spend about 40 minutes in line for it again but it was really good. The roast salmon with some kind of sauce (My gourmet background really shines through, doesn't it?) and the prime rib were particularly tasty.

    Now that I was pleasantly stuffed, I went out in search of the art gallery. I pass a display of sculptures inspired by the Cirque de Soleil by some guy whose name I don't remember (Okay, I looked it up--Richard MacDonald) but kept going because the art gallery had a closing time and they didn't.

    During my wanderings, I noticed again that an amazing amount of people this year seemed to think that Vegas was a great place to bring babies. They were everywhere. I was starting to think of every outing as taking part in the Stroller Derby.

    Eventually I did find the gallery, paid my $15, and went in. I have to say, it was something of a disappointment. The exhibit was really small, maybe 10-15 paintings in all and several of those were of the I Can't Believe You Paid That For This school. I like some abstracts but a blue square on a red background selling for the price of a house sends me into Terminal Eye Roll.

    I went back to the sculptures afterwards and enjoyed looking at them a lot more. And for free. After that, I was ready to head out but couldn't find an exit. I began to picture myself as a modern day Moses, wandering the very fancy desert for 40 years.

    Then I had an idea--I could release my Poor Person pheromones until the clientele rose into an uppity mob and had their valets throw me out. Just the thought of it must have done something because suddenly the crowds parted and there was the exit.

    I got on the walkway over to Bally's and consider waiting around for the next fountain show but it's not for another 20 minutes and my feet, now swollen to the size of sturgeons, put in a loud HELL NO vote to that.

    So instead I make my way over to another walkway, this one between Bally's and Bill's, and from Bill's make my way to the Flamingo. There I pause long enough to redeem a ticket I'd missed cashing in the other night. Now a whomping 55 cents richer, I strut my way back home.

    There were still plenty of people out and about but the crowds have thinned quite a bit from the weekend numbers. There were also considerably fewer women who looked like hookers auditioning for a very special Springer episode.

    What does remain constant are the number of people who just stop in the middle of where others are walking, apparently going into some sort of waking coma and blocking the way. I began to suspect that all the people that inconvenience me that way at Walmart have chartered a bus and followed me here to torment me. Hey, just because I'm a little paranoid doesn't mean I can't be right.

    Finally I get to the IP but as I'm heading to the elevators, I see that the Goldfish slots are actually empty. It calls to me piteously with the promise of fishy love. I put in a $20 and it soon becomes apparent that the fish are a bunch of carp-teasers. I'm on the wrong side of $10 and considering giving up when I hit a bonus and then hit another bonus round inside that one. Suddenly I'm back up to $33 and, for a change, I quit while I'm ahead.

    The machine didn't care for that decision and pouted by jamming while printing out my ticket. The attendant shows up, fixes it, and soon I've got my ticket and head on to the room.

    Once there, I veg out with some TV and note-catching-up before turning permanently vegetative at the grand ol' hour of 8 PM.
     
  9. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Monday, 4/27/09

    I woke up at midnight and considered getting up but decided I was more tired than I was interested in seeing anything so I slid back into my coma. When next I woke up, it was a little after 5. I piddled around until about 6 and headed out.

    Not having eaten anything since pigging out at yesterday's buffet, I was pretty damn hungry. I'm generally not a fan of actual breakfast food but today I'm feeling a hankering for it. I considered Ellis Island but A) I didn't really want to walk that far, especially considering that B) The restaurant closes every other Monday for cleaning and I'd already lost several rounds with the Gods of Irony. I decide instead to head to a restaurant called America in NYNY.

    I crossed the street to the Mirage bus stop and before long, one pulled up. They aren't too crowded that time of morning so I settled in. To my surprise, however, instead of just going straight down the Strip, it turned onto the road that runs beside Bally's.

    Was I on the wrong bus? No, there are the stairs to the upper deck so this must be the Deuce. Were we about to be kidnapped by a rogue bus driver and sold into White Slavery? Looking around, I see my fellow passengers included a couple of construction workers (Well, they had the hard hat on. I suppose they could be refugee Village People.), a cranky-looking tiny Mexican man, and a woman who looked a lot like Rosario from Will & Grace on a bad day. I didn't think this motley crew was likely to be eligible to be sold into White Slavery or even into White Indentured Servitude.

    I break from my philosophical musings to notice that we're actually quite close to Ellis Island. Just as I was considering getting off and taking my chances that it was a restaurant-open Monday, the bus got moving again and the moment was gone.

    We did get back on the Strip shortly after that and the bus stopped in front of Monte Carlo. This was the stop closest to NYNY so I go off, as did Rosario. Both of us headed into the Monte Carlo (I figured what the hell--since I was right there, I might as well take a look.). I guess not a lot of people do that because she seemed a tad nervous to see me following her. Yeah, I'm a [email protected]

    A quick peek around was sufficient and off I head to NYNY. As I mentioned earlier, I'm rarely at street level with this hotel so once inside, I was a little thrown off trying to find my way around, coming in from an unfamiliar door and direction.

    I wandered around until I found America (That sounded profound, didn't it?), got a table, and ordered the ham and eggs. It was a good thing I was really hungry because that was one huge slab of ham. Even near starvation, I had to work at finishing it all but I did that work. I did it for America.

    I waddled back out and over to the MGM side to catch the bus back home. I had to wait a while this time. An Australian guy and his wife, both of who could have benefited from having subtitles, approached and asked largely indecipherable questions about the bus. I answered the best I could until the bus arrived.

    I was so full that I wasn't paying close attention and got off sooner than I meant to. I was in front of the Paris so I went in and looked around till I came out on the Bally's side. From there, I headed to the overhead walkway to Bill's and then on to the Flamingo. By then, sitting down again felt like a good idea so when I saw the Poppit (based on a game I sometimes play at Pogo.com) slots were open, I decided to give them a try again. Soon I'd managed to turn $20 into $8 but then I hit a big bonus round that raised me back up to $33. I cashed out and continued on my journey.

    When I got back to the IP, my friends the Goldfish called to me. It would have been rude to ignore them so I stopped for a visit. Once again, I was down but then hit a big bonus and came out ahead. This would have been good but then that wench Dorothy lured me in and took it back. I wish I could quit you, Dorothy!

    Chastened, I went back to my room where I showered away my shame and just hung out for a while.
     
  10. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    I stay in my semi-vegetative state until a little after 10:30 when I feel I can get moving once again. Today's target: Planet Hollywood. Once again, I begin my trek--out the IP, past O'Shea's, across the street, and back over to the bus stop in front of the Mirage. Ironically, this bus stop is directly across the street from my hotel but you have to go the roundabout way because jaywalking on the Strip is a $200 fine, not to mention a death wish. I didn't care to indulge in either.

    As I'm waiting for the light to change so I can cross the street, I am taunted by seeing the bus pull up to the stop. The light changes but I don't hurry because I don't figure there's much point. Amazingly, despite my moseying, I do actually make it to the bus before it pulls away due to the number of people boarding, many of whom seem to be completely unfamiliar with how to pay and are trying to make it much more complicated.

    I get off across the street from Planet Hollywood, cross easily, and soon find myself in the Miracle Mile shops area. Today's lunch is going to be their Spice Market Buffet, partly because I hear it's really good and also because I have a coupon for $5 off. Win-win.

    I'm not in a big rush, just kind of moseying along and looking around. After a while, however, I start thinking that there's a lot more miles than miracle here and that the miracle part will be if I can ever find my way out of the shops.

    Most of the hotels/casinos have signs overhead directing you to various places within but not Planet Hollywood. They opted instead to go with sparsely placed You Are Here maps. No, let me correct myself. They opted for the Worst Ever You Are Here maps in the free world.

    You have the usual blue dot representing where you are in the maze. There are, however, no shop names on the maps, just numbers and random ones at that. Sure, there's a list below of what shop is which number but there's no real system to it. You'd think shops in one area would have numbers in the same range but no. 253 is right next to 168 which is by 389, making it hard to find what shops are in the vicinity of your blue dot and which ones you need to head toward in your quest to find someplace.

    At any rate, I wander and hope. Eventually the wandering far outweighs the hope but I persevere. I've been wandering for a really long time so surely I must be getting close. A smell captures my attention and I turn my head to see a cookie store that looks very much like one I saw not long after I began my wanderings. Well hell. I've gone in a circle and am back where I started!

    Somehow I managed not to start screaming about Rat [email protected], mainly because screaming rants in public places, especially when you're alone, are the sort of thing that tends to end in ugly phrases like "psychiatric evaluation". Instead, I content myself with sighing heavily and beginning my journey again.

    Eventually I come to a juncture that I remember from my previous circumnavigation. Last time I'd chosen the path along the shops. This time I turned instead into the casino. Sure enough, almost immediately I see a sign pointing the way to the buffet. I am taunted once again by those vicious Gods of Irony.

    There's still a good bit of walking to be done but eventually I see a big sign saying Spice Market Buffet. I've been walking a long time by now and worked up a hunger so my heart is filled with joy--until I see that the sign is right over a freaking escalator. I swear, Vegas really hates the acrophobic.

    The Gods of Irony might have been having themselves a good giggle but I wasn't to be undone so easily by demon escalators. I wandered around until I found where they'd hidden the elevator. BWAHAHA! Take THAT, Gods of Irony!

    Luckily, after all that, it was a pretty damn good buffet. It was divided into sections with areas marked Seafood, Italian, Middle Eastern, American, Mexican, Salads, and Desserts. I traveled the tasting world with samplings from most of the stations.

    Now that I'm no longer hungry or obsessed with my quest, I waddle into the elevator and head back through the shops. No longer distracted, I stop and look into a few.

    Another place I stop is an ABC store which sells two Vegas staples--liquor and souvenirs but buy neither. In another store, I see a very Jan purse that I consider getting her as a consolation prize for missing this year's trip. Upon closer examination, it may have been a very Jan purse but it doesn't have a very me price so I repress a scream of shock and move along.

    Speaking of suppressing a scream, as I'm moseying along, I look over and see an ABC store. NOOOOOOOO! Not circles again! This one, much to my relief, is a duplicate and not the same store I saw previously. I end up getting myself a souvenir there. What says Vegas more than a set that contains a pair of pot holders, an oven mitt, and a kitchen towel, all adorned with the words Las Vegas and...monkeys? Now THAT'S class!

    Eventually I find myself outside again. Now for the big question--turn left or right? I am about to make a fateful (and feetful) decision.
     
  11. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    So there I stand outside Planet Hollywood, pondering which direction to turn. Right is Paris, Bally's, etc, all of which I've already been through but in the direction of my home hotel. To the left is the Hawaiian Marketplace which I haven't been to yet this trip and there should be a bus stop nearby. Left it is.

    I'm not sure why I'm surprised to discover that the Hawaiian Marketplace is a lot further than I'd remembered it being. So very much further. And so, for that matter, is that bus stop. My only defense is that my feet were aching so much that apparently I couldn't feel the fangs of that hateful wench Optimism gnawing at my butt or hear its mad manic giggling when it whispered wicked things like "Oh, it's not far" or "Go for it. Really. It'll be fine."

    Speaking of my feet, oddly enough, it seemed that they were simultaneously worn to nubs while at the same time managing to swell to the size of footballs. And not the good Vegas kind of footballs filled with liquor, just the regular dull kind. Even so, I eventually do arrive at the marketplace and even manage to find a very Jan purse at a me price. A good thing too because I might well have gone Postal (Well, if you can go Postal while sitting down) if I'd walked all that way for nothing.

    And look! There's the bus stop just past the marketplace! I skipped and danced my way over to it. Okay, outwardly it may have looked more like a weary hobble but in my heart, there was skipping and dancing.

    Or at least there was until I got there and saw a sign saying that this stop was no longer a bus stop. Luckily for my policy of avoiding Official Attention, I manage to fight off the urge to begin laughing in a maniacal manner and stoically plod on to the next stop which turns out to be in Algeria. Okay, it was down by the MGM Grand but I'm pretty sure that was only a couple of blocks closer than Algeria.

    Yet again I am taunted by the sight of the bus pulling up to the stop as I approach, the very embodiment of so close and yet....I could possibly make it if I ran but I didn't even have the energy to produce the hysterical laughter that the very thought of running inspired in me.

    The Gods of Irony, however, took a rare moment of pity on me and there was a big enough crowd of tired tourists to keep the bus there long enough for me to hobble aboard. They must have really been feeling guilty (as well they should have) because they even let me have a seat.

    When the bus gets to the Flamingo stop, I gimp my way off and make my pitiful way home. When at long last I get to my room, I just propped up my freak show feet and vegged out with a rerun festival on TV. Once my feet shrank back down enough to fit in the tub, I took a nice shower and then vegged out some more--but much cleaner this time.

    Eventually I got hungry again and figured this might be the thing to inspire me to get moving again. In the time it took me to get dressed, however, my feet pulled rank to insist that I just get something and bring it back to the room for more vegging. Feeling like something of a wuss (After all, it was my last night in Vegas and it seemed like I ought to do something more than this), I tried to argue with them but I didn't get far before having to concede that the feet did make an excellent point.

    I made my way next door to O'Shea's for a hot dog and nachos. While I waited, I watched some kids play a disturbing game of Beer Pong. Partially filled plastic cups of beer are placed on a long table at both ends and each team tries to throw a ping pong ball into one of the cups at the other end. When this is successful, someone drinks the beer in that cup. This game would be less disturbing if the ball hadn't overshot and landed on the floor a gazillion times just during the time I was there. My standards might be notoriously low but they do get uppity at the idea of drinking around a ball draped in floor cooties.

    Seemingly eons later, I made it back to the room and vegged out some more but now I did it newly nourished--or at least as close to it as a $2 hot dog of dubious origin would allow. One thing I vegged out on was The Big Bang Theory. I felt a bonding with this episode since it involved some of them going to Vegas. The bonding ended there, though, since no part of my trip involved hiring hookers.

    After a couple hours of the vegetative life, I felt somewhat revived. I packed up most of my stuff, leaving out the stuff I would need tomorrow. I gathered up the mountain (Well, at least a molehill) of change I'd accumulated and put it in a baggie to take down to the cashier, assuming I ever became mobile again. Naturally, this sort of fast-living hipster lifestyle catches up with you and I conked out around 9.

    I did wake up once at 1:30 AM. I considered getting out a bit but decided against it. From a practical consideration, I didn't really want to get a second wind and end up being up for a long time when I had a long day of flights ahead of me. Well, that and I just didn't feel like getting up and getting dressed so instead of going out, I went for passing out.
     
  12. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    I woke up again around 8:30. I got dressed, grabbed my change, and headed down. I headed over to the cashier where my bag o' change was transformed into $13 folding money. WooHOOOO! It was like winning already.

    My fishy friends were open so I sat down to play. They wickedly teased me, bringing me down to about $8 before finally putting out with the bonus rounds which brought me to about $10 up from where I started.

    I should have quit there but that bad girl Dorothy lured me over with a promise to be good. What she didn't tell me was that what she was going to be good at was taking my money. "You are beech to me, Doroty," I growled in a Natasha Fatale voice. Realizing I had done this out loud was my cue to mosey onward.

    My moseying took me to the Flamingo. I considered getting some breakfast and followed the signs to the restaurant area but wasn't too impressed with what they had. I started to get in line for the buffet but the line was long and moving slowly and I decided I wasn't that interested.

    I moseyed again, this time to the casino. The Goldfish were all occupied but the Poppit game was open. I wouldn't even look at that wench Dorothy, no matter how she cried and begged. I showed her alright.

    After a bit of argument over whether or not it would take my player's card, it finally bowed to my will and we began a roller coaster of up and down playing. Sadly, down was coming out ahead in this game but then I hit a few bonus rounds that brought me about $3 up from where I started. By now a Goldfish game had opened up so I moved over there to repeat the pattern, up and down till I hit some bonus rounds and came out about $4 ahead. And here I thought I was just a low roller!

    It's now about 10 so I cash out and head back to the IP. My luck continued--the elevator actually arrived in a timely fashion and, even more miraculously, actually took me straight to my floor without stopping. My heart is full.

    I finished the last of my packing and then finished it again as I found more stuff I'd inevitably forgotten to pack during the first few rounds. I gathered up the change I'd accumulated during my morning run, plus some I'd missed putting in the original pile, and put it in a baggie to turn into lightweight money. I also counted up my wad of ones which came to $25 with a few left over for those last minute tips.

    I did one last going over of the room, found yet another thing I'd missed packing (Surprise!), did one last one last going over, checked my purse to make sure I had everything I was going to need, grabbed my stuff and left.

    I stopped at the cashier again to turn my change and ones into less bulky money, then headed to check out. This was relatively painless. As I head out, I notice it's exactly 11:00 which is check out time. I preen at my extreme promptness.

    The Vegas airport requires checking in 2 hours ahead of time. I get a cab and by the time I get there and get checked in, I was a half hour ahead of time. I spend part of that time choking down my last chance at Vitamin N till I get back home.

    I begin the next in the continuing series of Long Marches. I'm once again leaving from Terminal D (which apparently stands for Distant) but I'm in no hurry since I'm still way ahead of when my flight leaves. I look in a few astronomically priced shops and then stop to get a pastrami sandwich. It seemed a fitting symmetry that my first and last meals in Vegas were the same thing.

    Unfortunately, what I thought was part of a food court sitting area turned out to be part of some other restaurant and there was nowhere to sit. I ended up having to squeeze into the regular airport waiting seats, precariously balancing purse, drink, and food, along with several other people who apparently made the same mistake. Amazingly, I manage not to drop or spill anything other than some crumbs on myself. Okay, I did get a lot of crumbs on myself but it still counts.

    Now it was time to continue the Long March. Eventually I get to the tram which takes us to Terminal D and (Did you guess? Did you guess?) yet another leg of the Long March--now including Security Search! That was relatively painless and I then proceed on to, yes, another Long March.

    Eons later, I get to my gate area and still have nearly an hour and a half to kill. I find my gate, wander around some,look at stuff, sit and read a bit, get bored, and wander some more. I look at the slots area. No Goldfish but they do have a Texas Tea game so I figure I might as well see how welcoming the home state is going to be toward me.

    Apparently it had mixed feelings. I'd get down pretty low then bounce back up, not back up to where I started but enough to keep playing. It had gotten down to $4 when I finally hit the Oil Well Bonus.

    For this, a map of Texas appears, divided into about 6 sections, each with an oil derrick on it. You touch the screen to pick three sections for your bonus. Naturally, I pick the one where my town would be (in honor of it being where I live) and the one with Midland/Odessa (in honor of my friend Lisa) and the one with the Alamo (in honor of PeeWee Herman's bike).

    Texas must have approved of my choices because when those derricks stopped spewing my bonus, I had $45.75--more than twice what I'd put in. Texas may have raised its share of fools but that day I wasn't one of them. I cashed that puppy out, bought a cookie to celebrate, and went back to my gate to wait. I simultaneously earned more Good One points by catching up on my notes.

    During my long time waiting, I notice that there are a disproportionate number of people in the airport being pushed around in wheelchairs. My feet wickedly wonder how many of them were able-bodied before the Strip got hold of them.
     
  13. SpinyNorma

    SpinyNorma Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Deep in the hot of Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    This last part is all airport travails again but, on the bright side, there are plenty of them. Read on or ignore, whatever makes your skirt fly up.

    At long last, they begin boarding the plane. First, of course, they call for the first class passengers. After they get done taking their sweet first class time, they call for the not-quite-as-good-but-still-better-than-the-masses Platinum people. Finally it's time for the peons. Group One, come on down! I look at my ticket. Once again, I'm in Group 2937.

    Group 2937 is apparently the redheaded stepchild of the flight because it takes an amazingly long time to get around to calling us. Eventually, however, they can deny us no longer and reluctantly let us make our tainted way on board. I find my seat pretty easily (not too hard since there weren't that many left untaken) but there seems to be some confusion among several people across the aisle about who is supposed to be in what seat but eventually they realize none of them really care and they all just sit.

    We start to back up and the captain draws our attention to the screen which will be showing the standard safety directions which most of us will be ignoring. We finish backing up, start to go forward, and...nothing. Complete silence. The little seat belts/no smoking signs go out and the air stops. This can't be good.

    The captain comes back on over the speaker, sounding what I hope isn't actually desperately cheery. He babbles something about "auxiliary" and "try again in a minute". That's one long minute. It gets stuffy pretty damn fast in those planes without the air going. I'm afraid to look out the window for fear that the "fix" will be him putting the plane into neutral and have the mechanics push the plane till it reaches enough speed for the engine to catch again.

    To my relief, suddenly we have engine noise, we have lights, we have air, we have liftoff! They announce that there's actually an in-flight movie. I perk up slightly until I hear the words Adam Sandler. You [email protected] From the few glances I can't stop myself from taking, it looks like a movie I'd hate even if it didn't have Adam Sandler.

    The flight is largely without interest. I catch up my notes again and read. The guy in front of me reclines his seat back (Seriously, are guys at all capable of taking a flight without reclining their seat back? I'm really starting to wonder.) but, amazingly, I actually still have knee room. We're grading on a curve but at least I don't spend the flight feeling like my knees are in a trash compactor.

    We land a little early and now it's time for the Long March, DFW Version. We're once again at Terminal D and my flight out is at Terminal B so it's yet another horrifying journey via the Sky Train. And if that weren't enough, this one is even higher, three floors up rather than just the one. Rat [email protected] This made the trip through the narrow walkway with clear walls even more of an Acrophobic Delight. The train itself lifts and swoops its way along, trying to trick me into looking out the window but I'm not falling for that.

    It must have admired my brave stubbornness because, while I still have to cross the Narrow Acrophobic-Hating Aisle of Death, it's only one story high, the elevator works, and my gate is only three down from the elevator. This would be my last good news.

    I head over to my gate to wait. I see what I think is my plane arrive and pretty close to on time. Then I realize that the walkway thingy attaching to it so the passengers can disembark has the number 37 on it. My gate is 36. Uh oh. They don't bother to make any announcement but the board now says our 8:00 flight is leaving at 8:32. They lied. Oh, how they lied.

    In between being tired, pissed, and nicotine-deprived, I notice an interesting woman in the waiting area. She's probably well into her 60's and wearing a red straw cowboy hat with a purple lace band, a red satin blouse, and a long denim skirt with red lace and shiny things applied liberally over the bottom third, with red cowboy boots to finish off the outfit. I keep up with developments (Developments/Stalling Tactics/Bull$hit...why quibble over semantics) as she's not shy about going up to the desk to ask what the hell is going on and then gets on her cell phone to relay it to someone else.

    After just under a year (Year/hour...they start feeling the same after a while), our flight finally arrives and eventually we're allowed to board. Once again, my seat near the front means I'll be one of the last off but it turns out my seatmate is the Woman In Red.

    We companionably make pithy remarks about the late flight, the stunningly poor way American Turkey runs its airline here, and then break out our respective books. Once we finally land, they continue to annoy us by being amazingly slow to open the doors and release the hostages. The Woman in Red takes them to task for this. Once we finally escape, they make up for it by being even slower at putting out our luggage.

    I go out, wipe the cobwebs off my cigarettes and get my Vitamin N fix, find my car in the parking lot and move it closer to the door. Surprise! Still no luggage. I call my nephew (who's been house-sitting and taking care of the B Boys for me) to check on things. The place is still standing and the B Boys have all been good, even Bubba. I go back in to join the angry mob awaiting our luggage. They finally release the baggage just before we start passing out torches and pitchforks.

    It's a fairly short drive home and I get there a little after 10:30. Not bad for a flight that was supposed to land a little before 9, eh? My nephew graciously fetched my suitcase out of the car for me. The B Boys are glad to see me again and cat-petting is dealt out all around. With no pity for the terminally exhausted, as soon as my tired butt hits the chair, Bogey trots over with a stuffed mouse, eager to resume the Fetch marathon so rudely interrupted by my trip. I have survived.
     
  14. loser #2

    loser #2 Tourist

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Messages:
    259
    Location:
    Ontario,CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    99
    WOW
    now that's a report
    unlike some said it going to be a long TR but i can count words with my fingers.
    thank you for taking time to write.that's really good for your 1st TR (i assume)
     
  15. mardaho

    mardaho Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    349
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    AWESOME REPORT
    great morning read with a cup of coffee (okay maybe 2 or 3)
    but it was good time :peace:
     
  16. 7beasley

    7beasley Guest

    Spectacular trip report!!

    Thank you! I really enjoyed reading it and I love your sense of humor.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.

    Thanks again for posting. I find that my countdown clock is moving slower than a snail right now so I really need these fixes of trip reports to keep me going till my trip finally arrives!

    ~Nicole
     
  17. Jade88

    Jade88 High-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Messages:
    595
    Location:
    Fargo ND
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    6
    Great Trip report! I even enjoyed the airplane commentary.
     
  18. lvchic80

    lvchic80 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    454
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Thank you for this report! Makes me look even more forward to trying my hand at doing it solo :)
     
  19. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,824
    Location:
    South Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    22
    WOW! Really enjoyed reading your Trip Report. You were not kidding about it being long. I write fairly long TR's, but you got me beat. Loved your sense of humor. You may be the most *directionally* challenged person in the world! Have your feet recovered? Again, really enjoyed your TR. Thanks for taking the considrable time to write it for us.

    later, GVJ
     
  20. teambeam

    teambeam Tourist

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Messages:
    240
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    33
    I have no chance of writing a TR worth reading.....I don't think...lol
     
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