It was a serious crapshoot, whether or not we went to Vegas for my birthday this year. We talked about it a ton, and had several different sets of coupled up friends agree to go with us.
This is a long one, maybe you should grab a snack or a beverage. There are also a lot of links in this post. All of them will open to a new window, so you won’t lose my blog.
I didn’t want to give up our annual Halloween/My Birthday Bash until there were tickets in my hand. That fateful day finally arrived, October 12th, tickets in hand, party cancelled. SO EXCITED! I’m Sorry again by the way, to everyone who had already purchased their costume. It was going to be Fairies and Trolls this year. LOL, I bet there were a few extra fairies and trolls at the bar Halloween weekend.
The day finally rolled around, as they do, and last Saturday Vinnie and Dawn drove us up to Sea-Tac. (Blog shout out to Vinnie and Dawn! We love you, thanks for driving us!) No one else actually bucked up and purchased tickets to go with us, but that is fine with us generally. That way we aren’t on anybody else’s schedules. No waiting for anyone or arguing about where to go. My Rooster and I travel well together, just the two of us.
But Lo and Behold, what is this apparition that we find at the airport? We were having the first drink of our vacation when directly in front of us appears our friend Curtis, and we’re soon to make happy acquaintance with his cousin Mario as well. 🙂 Looks like we would have some company in Vegas after all.
Curtis’ birthday was last Sunday, a fellow Scorpio, one whose appetite for drama is as stunted as mine. Happy Birthday Curtis! They were staying at a time share, while we……… *Scary Music* stayed at the Mandalay Bay.
End scene, this is already dragging, let’s fast forward. We get on the flight, land safely in Vegas and take a cab to the hotel. This is important. That cab cost $24, for a three mile trip. Never taxi in Vegas, always take Uber. The Uber to the airport from our hotel was $10.66.
That Uber advice we got at the hotel when we checked in. They were so nice there, and there were plenty of people staying. I’m not sure if you know, but you probably do. There was a mass shooting up of a country concert about a month ago. The story has it that the shooter, the ahem, lone gunman, shot and killed 58, wounded over 500 all by himself from his corner suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
Well, my Rooster and I are creepy, and the hotel’s rates dropped dramatically after the shooting, so at the Mandalay Bay we were happy to stay. We were on the 7th floor though and the murder floor was altogether closed. We were unable to fulfill our fantasies of looking around the hallway on the 32nd floor 🙂
The staff at the hotel were almost eager to speak with us about that fateful night. They told us that the manager had checked him in, and which security people within view were on duty. We talked to everyone we met from Las Vegas about the shooting, and the one thing they all had in common is that they do not believe the story that was put out to the public. Not one single person, working at the hotel, one who attended the concert, several that were driving Ubers in the area, not one of them believe that story. Something fishy is still afoot I tell you.
Back to the fun times!
Our first night in Vegas, after having a seriously disappointing meal, served by a condescending waitress at Wolfgang Puck’s Lupo, we went to the Fremont Street Experience. We’ve been to Vegas once before, but we never made it to Fremont. That place is super fun, not only is there the laser video canopy overhead, but there are two different zip lines, casinos, shops, street performers and last weekend, there was an endless supply of Halloween costumes. It was so fun. We didn’t see our room again until 4 am.
On Sunday, we got up at the early hour of 11 am :). We took off walking up the strip, and man were we starving. It was advisable that we try a restaurant a little more to our tastes and just barely passing up the buffet, we found ourselves at Dick’s Last Resort at the Excaliber. That restaurant was super fun, condescension was expected. At Dick’s the schtick is that the waitstaff is very rude. Our waiter’s opener was throwing a paper tablecloth down, and some silverware as he announced over his shoulder. “Set the table, make yourself useful!” I definitely recommend this place.
Decent prices, awesome entertainment and every diner gets a hat with something crazy written on it. I was lucky enough to get two. One was a birthday hat. Check them out.
After lunch we Ubered into the real Las Vegas, the town where the people live. The goal was to get some Halloween costumes, we had each brought a few pieces with us, but no full costume, and if our time on Fremont was any indicator, we could dress up every night. Oh Man, I was really in Halloween Heaven!
Our friendly Uber driver that afternoon dropped us off at Target, who was woefully low on Halloween gear, two days before Halloween, but we were within walking distance of Spirit Halloween, Halloween City, a wig shop and a TJ Maxx. Within a few hours and $200 later, we each had two full costumes.
But that isn’t why I mention that trip, I want to tell you about the real Las Vegas, where the people live. It’s hot and it’s dirty. There is a real homeless problem. The people were sad, and generally scary (looking and acting). Everyone has something to beg for. Some were just trying to get through their day, it was obvious. Some of the scenes we saw included an electric wheelchair in the drive through at McDonald’s; a guy sitting on a curb in front of a Buffalo Wild Wings who was trying to talk to us, but was either so drunk or drugged up that he was incoherent and very stinky. We crossed a foot bridge over an LA style man made canal that was literally covered with full, torn open garbage bags of rotting food, and down that same canal a lone skinny teen with stringy hair wandering through even more garbage. In every single store we entered, we were required to check our shopping bags in at the counter.
Las Vegas is a horrible place. Many of our Uber drivers said that they moved there because the cost of living is low. After seeing the shopping area, I would say that the cost of living is devastating, perhaps just not monetarily.
Having arrived back at our room many hours later, we decided that the best course of action for the night would be to go see the Penn and Teller show at the Rio. We were both dead set on seeing them, we watch their “Fool Us” show on tv all the time. It’s one of the only shows we can agree to watch together.
It was awesome! An although two of the tricks they did we have seen on tv, it was totally worth it. They even did an audience wide magic trick, which worked for just about everybody. The best part was at the end of the show, when Penn and Teller came out to take pictures and sign autographs for anyone willing to wait around, I kid you not, something exciting and free happened for us in Vegas that night.
Check out our photos!
I would highly recommend seeing a show in Vegas, whichever one grabs you. The shows are definitely part of the magic.
Time really flies in Vegas. We got home to the murder hotel at 3 am again. It was high time for us to settle down. On Monday, when we finally got up, we decided to spend some time at our hotels pools. Mandalay Bay is famous for “the Beach”. It’s a 1,300 foot beach front, sand included that has a wave pool and lazy river. Above the Beach, is Club Morreau, a topless pool and hot tub, 21+ only kiddos.
After spending $55 on two cheeseburgers, a gatorade and a beer for my Rooster, we went for a tumble in the wave pool. We were sadly disappointed to learn that the lazy river was not running and that the topless pool was suddenly all ages. As luck would have it, we had chosen the first day of “Winter Pool Hours” to check it out. Why oh why did not we not feel like swimming the day before? It was awesome anyway, and very relaxing.
That night we set out trolling the casinos, we visited the Conservatory at the Bellagio (must see), the Forum Shops at Caesars and rode the roller coaster at the New York, New York.
One of my very favorite things happened that evening. We went to the Ice Bar. For openers, you must be warned that it was very expensive. My Rooster bought us a $100 package. We both got to wear fur coats, had a pre-photo shoot on a green screen, and were sent into the bar. I am not kidding when I tell you that EVERYTHING but the floor is made of ice in the bar. It is a bone chilling -5 degrees in there. The tables and benches, the art on the walls and even the glasses are made of ice. Each seating area was covered in deer hides, making the seat not quite so cold you can’t stay in there.
We finally hooked up with Curtis again, and we all rolled via Uber to the Circus Circus to visit the Fright Dome. 6 Haunted Houses, 4D Scary Rides and all the Roller Coasters! It was late when we got there, but we did manage 3 of the haunts and a roller coaster. $40 each, like everything else in Vegas. It was worth it.
You know what happened next……. It was three in the morning again. I think our bodies had already gotten used to our new “daytime” habits.
Up at 11 on Halloween ahem….. morning. Our last day. We Ubered out to Red Rock Harley Davidson, where we got our out of town biker souvenirs, and learned that Guns and Roses, Axl specifically had made a licensing deal with the Harley shop. You know my Rooster has all of those shirts now.
We Ubered back to the strip and were ready for lunch. This lunch was another of my super very favorites. We ate at Guy Fieri’s American Grill. Let me tell you this, the restaurant is comfortable, reasonably priced and DELICIOUS! The food was all fresh and consisted mostly of bar type food, but prepared by a chef who obviously was about quality. The drinks were just as good as the food and the service was friendly, attentive and not overbearing. I would go there again and again. I love me some Guy Fieri. I think he earned himself the title of Boyfriend #17 that day.
We moved on down the cute little alley way into tons of shops and more street entertainment, being drawn right into the jaws of the “High Roller”. It’s a huge Ferris Wheel that is relatively new on the strip. For $25 each you can take the trip around. The Wheel moves incredibly slow, one foot per second, and it takes half an hour to go all the way around one time. It was really cool to see everything from that high up. Another reccomend. Oh, and for you drunks out there, for $44 bucks each, you can go in a wheel car with an open bar. We chose instead to take our ever being refilled Vegas strip slurpy drinks with us.
It’s hard to not carry day right into night when you don’t get out of bed until 11 am. After the wheel and a tour of the Venetian (beautiful and we ate Gelato), we went back to the hotel to costume up. It was Halloween night after all.
A wise man in Vegas told me to pay attention to people’s Halloween costumes as we all tend to dress up as what we really want to be. It was true for us. We got all dolled up as Axl Rose and a scary witch (I will let you figure out who was who) and headed back downtown to Fremont.
It was truly the place to be. The street was packed. Every costume known to man was there. We spent the evening going back and forth between taking photos with people who had great costumes and dancing to the bands at the four stage set up down the blocks. The music was incredible, the costumes were even better.
We met a group of Australians all on vacation in Vegas. They don’t have Halloween there. They were all dressed as prisoners, how appropriate, LOL, and they were all ecstatic about the holiday.
I met a guy claiming to be a real vampire, I wasn’t scared of him in the least, and I told him I’m a real witch (when in Rome). We ate street tacos and danced some more, we drunkenly shopped for souveniers and made it back to our room by 2 am.
Hey it’s progress. Our flight took off at 11 am on Tuesday November 1st and we were unprepared to stay any longer. We definitely had enough.
We are happy to be home now, even though we left sunny and 80 degrees just in time to greet the first fall snowflakes today. It was an awesome trip.
Thank you to Maury, who graciously retrieved us from the airport on his way home from work.
Oh and before you think to ask, neither of us gambled a single cent.
I had better start planning for his birthday in March.