How the trip went down

11 06 2007

Here’s a basic overview of the trip. Note that I might have the itinerary off by a day or so or have things a little mixed up. It’s all a blur:

For the real “New York” experience…
An uneventful flight and a pleasant journey. Checked into the hotel. Not enough bed space. My dad took the floor. I didn’t feel like shelling out hundreds of dollars for my own room. Visited Hooters and Planet Hollywood casinos for the first time. They were duds. Spent a lot of time walking up and down the strip. Briefly stopped by the Paris. It was a very painful trip around. I had several minor encounters with Elvis or Elvis-related things throughout the trip, but they always turned out to be duds. Like on this day, we saw an Elvis out by the Grand Canyon West (i.e. Skywalk) tours booth, but he wanted tips for a pose. He hid behind a rail to keep his face away when I tried to snap a candid shot. The fact is, my photos are natural for the most part. I don’t like to pay for my shots. Not to mention I don’t want to shell out more money than I have to.

Cirque’s midgets
I bought Elvis glasses so I can look like the King. We got some weird-arse lunch at the Italian place in NYNY. The choice came down to octopus-and-potato salad or the antipasti sampler, and I decided the latter sounded safer. Come on, it said it was an “antipasti sampler.” I didn’t realize that “antipasti” apparently translates to “sushi.” I was basically eating several items consisting of partially cooked fish or other seafood. Even the simplest-looking item, appearing to be merely a diced-tomato sauce on a piece of toast, was soaked in fish oil. That said, it was pretty good and I didn’t get sick afterward, but it didn’t go down too easy. I did enjoy the eggplant salad and the pickled onion. In retrospect, I should’ve gone with the octopus. That night we went to see Zumanity, a Cirque du Soleil show at NYNY that is aimed at an “adult audience.” It was kind of a good show. Really. Not the kind of thing that I would seek out voluntarily, but hey, if I’m going, it’s all good. The fishnet ladies and the codpiece-wearing midget made me laugh. Strange dreams that night, though… sorry, I said no weirdness, but I would be remiss if I didn’t write about this. Dad and I walked around the hotels later that night, touring Luxor and Mandalay Bay. This led to more fun…

Eel life
Toured the lion habitat at the MGM Grand and promptly exited. Toured “Shark Reef” and then saw Louie Anderson at the Excalibur. First — I enjoyed the reef. Sure it was crowded, but there was some nice shiznit there. I enjoyed it as much as the Georgia Aquarium and methinks it had a better gift shop… the eels were a big hit. To me, they looked like Muppets with their funny facial expressions. Anyways… about Louie. This show was the cheapest and the best. Louie is a really funny guy and his commentary was spot on. We got professional pictures with him afterward but I forgot to snap an amateur. One snafu: I mistakenly raised my hand when Louie asked if anyone was there with there parents. No one else raised their hands. So he banters a little and asks where we’re from. We hesitate and say, uh, “Phoenix and Atlanta.” He responds: “You hesitated there. You’re not sure which one? That’s a long drive to make every day, Phoenix to Atlanta.” Something like that. I have a hard time quoting from memory. He had an Elvis impersonator hanging around there, but he wasn’t in costume. Come to think of it I’m not really sure what he was doing there — I think he’s a friend of the show(s) there. For you see… the theater is the same place where “Thunder Down Under” performs (Australian man-meat show). We got crazy hats (now on my desk at work) and I got a tiara. I’ve always wanted a tiara. I dunno.

Mountain drive
Drove up to Mount Charleston and saw the pretty land. Saw a nuclear blasting site from a distance. It was nice. We toured a lodge up there and had delicious food for lunch that was better and cheaper than on the strip. As the day went on it became windier and windier. The news was reporting winds of 25 mph with gusts of up to 50 to 60 mph. At some points, I wondered if the wind would blow me off cliffs and whatnot. As we got back into town, visibility was very very poor on the streets of Vegas. We stopped at the Wynn and visited for a while. Dad and I walked further up and down the strip.

I heart your general direction
What the heck did we do on this day? I know we went back to the Wynn and saw Spamalot. It was a decent show, I guess. To be honest, the set and the pre-show area were more entertaining. However, it is an enjoyable thing to see Monty Python’s holy grail stuff adapted for the stage. My main gripe is the cost of the show. It wasn’t better than the other shows we saw, and yet it cost significantly more (for the cast and ornate stage decor, I suppose). Also, the show and plotline are very surreal. It’s just very weird and hard to follow at some points. On the other hand, if you’re zoned into the Vegas Blur State of Mind, it probably doesn’t matter much anyway.

Vertigo, anyone?
A morning trip to Circus Circus to see a Circus show and then return the rental car, but then we had to keep the car until the next morning. We went to an Irish pub and then I know I got a jumbo daiquiri and fell asleep… it seemed like a weak drink in that it had no effect on me, but I totally crashed, so who knows. I think it was this day… and at some point I got up and did something, but I’m then again really not totally sure what happened this day. Anyway for sure I can say that we drove down to the Stratosphere Observation Tower and Hotel and Resort and Casino and went up there, and saw the crazy rides. (There’s a Starbucks up on top, lest you should go five minutes without access to one.) There used to be a roller coaster but that’s no more. Instead there is Insanity, a spinning ride over the abyss, and a ride that slides you forward on a “tongue” over the strip, slamming abruptly before the fall so you get scared into thinking you’re going to die a bloody death. And then we tried to get dinner at the Monte Carlo. But that place kind of sucks. The brewery was playing Marilyn Manson and I had a headache… yeah.

Flights of fancy
Packing and leaving. Long waits in the heat for the shuttle and then flying out of Vegas.

Flights not so fancy
Chicken sightings. There are chickens that cross the road several times every day in the morning when it’s cool. Another flight. Serious delays in PHX — just as we were ’bout to take off, the pilot announced we had to go back to the gate. The repairs took two hours. Thankfully they let us off (and warned us to get food because the supply of on-plane food is very limited). It’s almost like PHX didn’t want me to leave.

Back to reality
Finally touching down and basically heading straight to work. Working. Cursing the heat and humidity and then shutting myself in my apartment to avoid it. ATL is pretty nasty right now, weatherwise. Nasty — since I have to walk around a lot in it.