June 16, 2011

Vegas, Baby!

Three days and four nights in Vegas should not be summarized in a blog post. First, it’s too long, and second, you must maintain the mystery of Vegas. I’ve been told that what happens there stays there. Be that as it may, there are some things you should know.

 The Bellagio fountain show.
  1. Keep your money handy. Las Vegas always has its hand out asking for more money, whether you’re going to a casino, a pool, or a show. You need money to play, to eat, to see, and to be seen. Gambling, of course, will take your money so fast you won’t even know that it’s left your hand. The casino floor is the only place in Vegas where you can get “free” booze. The more you play, the better they like it.
    Thankfully, we came out about even at the casino for this trip. We stuck to Blackjack and Craps. Or rather, I stuck to Blackjack, and I watched Craps. Josh learned craps from a fellow student, and I can see how it can become addictive, which is why I made sure only one of us was betting. You can win a lot of money, but when you lose, you watch a minimum of $50 be swept off the table (per player). Either way, it’s quite an adrenaline rush. Just make sure you keep some money in reserve to limp home.
  2. Keep your ID handy. It’s been a good while now since I turned 21. It’s also been a while since I got carded on a regular basis. Apparently I look very young in the state of Nevada, and I’m kind of OK with that. We got carded going to the Hard Rock pool, almost every time we ordered drinks, at dinner, and at the casino every single time we sat down to play. In fact, Kaitie got carded twice at the MGM Grand in one trip.
  3. There are no clocks. My husband actually pointed this out to me. Really, I should say that there are almost no clocks, because we did find one in a bar somewhere, but I don’t think it was working, so it really doesn’t count. Time literally stands still in Las Vegas. If you didn’t look outside, there would be no way to tell the time of day. At any given time there are people eating, smoking, and gambling. They are also dressed in any array of clothing from workout clothes to couture dresses. If you’re not careful, the city will just suck you up, and you’ll arrive back in your room only to discover that it’s 5:30, but you’re not sure if that’s a.m. or p.m. Now that you think about it you’re also not sure if it’s Friday or Saturday.
  4. Celine Dion is back. These posters were everywhere. They showed Celine from behind in a backless gown. Get it. It’s her back, but she’s also back singing in Vegas. Sigh. I bring this up only to toot my own horn on a moment of wit. When we first saw these posters a big group of us were in a taxi going somewhere. We all “lamented” at not getting tickets to see Celine. Leia pointed out that she does have a good voice. I agreed, “She does have a good voice. I just don’t like the way she sings with it.” I honestly thought that Leia was going to pee her pants.
  5. Don’t stand too close to the Bellagio fountains. Like all good tourists who have seen Oceans 11, I desperately wanted to see the Bellagio fountain do its thing. We went over on Friday night after the Beatles Love show (Which incidentally, you should go see. Right now. It’s that good. You need to stop what you’re doing and get on a plane. I digress.). There we were all decked out, squeezed into a nice spot in the middle on a gorgeous, not-too-hot night in the desert. The fountain show started with opera music in the background. It was balletic and graceful. When they fired the big bursts of water, it sounded like might cannons going off as water shot well over 50 feet in the air. And, when the wind picked up, we all received a nice misting of the very cleanest fountain water Las Vegas had to offer. As if the cigarette smoke wasn’t gift enough. Regardless, the show was the second coolest thing I saw in Las Vegas and definitely a must.
  6. Always wear your seatbelt in a taxi. I am a seatbelt Nazi anyway. I get really itchy and twitchy if I don’t have a seatbelt on in a car. This applies double for taxis. Most of the drivers we had were pretty good for taxi drivers. But we had one guy who had selective blindness. He didn’t see stop signs. He drove straight through every stop sign we came across. It was like we were on the bus in Speed, and if he slowed down we’d blow up. He didn’t even pause at the stop signs. He drove through as though he had total right of way. And the other cars waited for him! People who did in fact have the right of way stayed placidly at their stop signs and waited for us to glide through as though we were a presidential motorcade. I can only assume these people were tourists who were too intimidated to boldly assert their rights as motorists. I was never so happy when we pulled up to the hotel.
  7. Fake weddings to real husbands can be expensive. No trip to Vegas is complete with someone getting married. Leia decided that someone should be us. Of course, I mean Leia and Scott and Josh and I. Not Leia and I. That’s silly because we’re both already married.
    We wanted to surprise our men. They knew we were going somewhere but not where or what we were doing. As we were getting changed, Josh pumped me for information by asking if what he was wearing was appropriate for our secret mission. I didn’t break. Downstairs at the taxi stand, we sidled up to the valet and whispered confidentially our destination. Now, we hadn’t actually done any research. It’s Vegas. Aren’t there wedding chapels everywhere? You can practically get married in Starbucks, right? I mean, we saw at least one if not two brides every day. So we just told the valet to ask the taxi to take us to the closest one. No problem. We all hop in and the taxi driver asks very loudly, “You going to wedding chapel, yes?” Leia and I looked at each other and burst out laughing for a good two minutes. So, surprise over. But the boys were pleased with us and relieved that it wasn’t something else (not exactly sure what they were so scared of).

    Driver with no sense of discretion and very little grasp of English did indeed drop us at the very first chapel he came to. The overly helpful man in the parking lot told us the place closed at 11p.m., and it was currently 11:04. We went in anyway and a very annoyed employee told us he could maybe help us but there was a wedding going on right now and we had to step outside to wait. As we got ready to wait the overly helpful man helpfully told us that it would be $188 to get married there, and we weren’t allowed to take pictures. If you wanted pictures, that would be an extra $80. He knew because he was researching it for his brother. Brother…right. Clearly, we did the next best thing. We took pictures of us pretending to get fake married to our real husbands at their outdoor ceremony venue immediately outside the door and directly adjacent to the parking lot. You never forget your wedding…

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