Monday, February 24, 2014

How To Do Vegas In Three And A Half Days, Day 4

On the last day of our trip, Eddie and I checked out as quickly as possible.  I called to check out because the card with the instructions to check out said if we had any problems during our stay, I could tell them when I checked out.  So I did.  I told them about the tv and how I called the Care Line and no one cared.  The woman said that someone should have come, especially if I used the Care Line.  I told her about the shower, too.  She took off the resort fee, which is a scam fee anyway, so I was almost happy with that.  We'll never stay there again, so we moved on. 

First, we got breakfast at MGM.  We decided we might stay there if we go to Vegas again because Eddie liked the poker room, and when I saw the poker room, I liked it, too, because it was less of a room and more of a section of the casino that was easy to get to and I could hop around the slots while he played and I could find him easily without having to go into an intimidating room. Next time.

Instead of playing poker, he decided to play blackjack.  We met two of the nicest dealers there.  One of them told Eddie he had an Australian accent.  Then she asked me, Don't you hear an accent?  I said, Yes, a Brooklyn one.  The pit boss came over and carded me.  When he asked for my ID, I laughed as I dug through my bag.  He said that maybe I was in my 20s and he needed to check.  Hahahahhahahaaaa.  Since we were talking about ages, we mentioned that it was Eddie's birthday.

It was Eddie's birthday!  When we'd gotten back to the room the night before, I gave him his real present.  Two tickets to see the Rangers take on the Oilers at the Garden in the coming weeks.  He was surprised because the trip itself was supposed to be his gift, but it's not much of a gift if we're using shared vacation funds, is it?  So hockey tickets seemed like a nice fit.

At the blackjack tables at MGM, he received another gift.  The pit boss meandered somewhere but them came back with a button for Eddie to wear that showed it was his birthday.  He and the dealer both asked us how long we were staying--they were clearly going to offer us something for free.  We told them we were leaving in a few hours.  Dang.  Almost more free stuff.  Eddie cashed out soon after that.  Then it was time to head to the airport.

"It's My Birthday" - yes, you have to wear it
On the way, we stopped to see the Vegas sign.  We couldn't get out of the car because there was a tour bus taking up all the parking spaces, and because there was a scary chicken thing standing around.

And that's the last thing we saw on the strip--a scary chicken thing.  It was definitely time to go home. Our flight was delayed just a bit, but we didn't care.  We ate lunch at the airport (I got a sandwich for 9 dollars--two pieces of bread and two slices of turkey for 9 dollars.  That's about right).  Then Eddie found us a snack.
We were told that the in-flight video system was not working, so there would be no movie, not that we were going to watch it.  We were all asked to check our carry-ons since the flight was full.  We brought ours to the counter and the guy was happy we offered to check it, but slightly dismayed that it was one of the smaller bags.  I was elated because when you check your bag at the gate, it's free! The flight was uneventful as we both were either totally asleep or almost asleep.  He hadn't slept more than six hours the whole trip and I was still catching up on the sleep I'd lost from being sick and unable to adjust to the time difference, so we were out of it.  When we landed in New York, I said, I hope we have a driver who doesn't talk to us.  Our driver not only talked to us, but he wanted to, like, hang out with us. He was a writer, philosopher, boxer, former teacher, artist, former college attendee, and of course car service driver.  He asked for our full names and phone number so he could reach us.  I asked him instead for his email.  We may be in touch.  All this happened, again, while we were semi-awake, so when we stumbled into the house, that card got lost in the shuffle. Hey!  Look at that! Shuffle.  Get it? Shuffle. Cards. Vegas.  I guess it's stuck with me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

How To Do Vegas In Three And A Half Days, Day 3

Sunday morning on the Vegas Strip rises empty and quiet.  Runners take advantage of no crowds and footbridges, running up and across and down steps and through streets.  Eddie and I took off to do as much of what was left of the scavenger hunt.  I'd slept.  Sleep was good.  I felt like a person, and looked like one, too.  The clues took us back towards the other end of the strip, so we hiked it quick and then took advantage of the empty streets, too.

Behind this lion-sheep thing in a box is Eddie.

I wouldn't have thought about it until I read the sign.
We got to the Flamingo where we did not find the answer to the question, but we did find out that there are actual flamingos inside of The Flamingo.  Along the same strip live lions in MGM, white tigers in Mirage, and sharks in Mandalay Bay.  And idiots in The Tropicana.  Quite the scene.  We then took off to Caesar's (Italy!), and that's where I found the Sex and the City game that has now ruined any chance of my playing it anywhere else because it was a HUGE game with a HUGE screen and in addition to the regular slot chances, you can get bonus chances on the big screen by hopping in a taxi and speeding around the city.  I was up and down and up and down and then Eddie was like, Do you want to leave soon?, because usually, I simply lose all my money right away and that's when I know to leave the machine.  Instead, this game had no end in sight.  AND I cashed out a WHOPPING 14 dollars ahead.  Yeah, that's right.  14 big ones.

There ended the scavenger hunt, not because we finished it, but because I wanted to end on a high and we had plans creeping up on us.  My winnings got us a cab ride down to Luxor (Egypt!) because today was the day we would do sports.  Being a professional athlete, I was very excited to be doing all the sports.  We met up with C and J at Score!, an interactive sports exhibit that's half memorabilia, half sports challenges.  We walked in and signed contracts.  We looked at memorabilia.  We did sports.

First was football.  The first drill made me feel like I was at the eye doctor because it tests your peripheral vision as well as your reaction time.  The girl showed us how to use the machine and left us to our own devices.  Halfway through my turn I just got very angry at the machine and started smacking every button possible.   Then Eddie became his own hero for a moment.

The second drill was the broad jump.  I think you're supposed to jump at least your height.  I jumped about 4 feet after a very long prep period of deciding how to position my feet to jump, and I wound up kind of cheating anyway because I had one foot in front of the other to push off rather than jumping with my feet parallel, but again, at 4 feet, even the partial cheating was much help.  Everyone jumped about their own height except for my husband the show off who jumped around 11 feet.

Next up was hockey.  Growing up in a family of hockey fans, I was totally going to rock this because watching so much hockey somehow seeps into one's own body so that one might compete at the same level.  Again, I know this because I'm a professional athlete and I'm so good at doing sports.


This is the kid's hockey stick.

This is the adult stick, which is too big.  That's why I don't play hockey on the regular.  Too big sticks.
We went into the boxing room next, but there was nothing to interact with.  I'm guessing they don't want you to punch anything.  I mean, give someone a pair of boxing gloves, and they're going to punch something.  No one wants to be liable for that.  Instead, we read famous quotes and saw boxers' robes.  Here's a good one.

We then played the baseball.  I am an expert at the baseball because I learned all about it when Eddie and I first started dating and watched every single game on television.  Watching so much has made me the go-to professional athlete for the baseball.  The skill was pitching.  Basically, you throw a ball and see how fast it goes.  My first throw did not even register because it hit the top of the cage.  J gave me a second ball and said, You want to throw it lower.  Hahahhahahhahahaaaaaaa.  The ball was going to go wherever it was going to go.  There was no lower, higher option here.  The second one did register.  I throw a ball to go fast enough to be faster than the first one I threw.  Everyone threw pretty hard.  We stayed for quite a while as they kept throwing and throwing.  I didn't go again because I didn't want to put anyone to shame.

Add 15 to the number that registers.  That's what we were told.
Unfortunately, I could not show off my skillz in changing a tire because their tire changer thingie wasn't set up, so we looked at the racecar instead in the NASCAR room.
And then came the basketball room.  Here's a chance to measure your vertical jump.  You measure your reach against the wall and then you jump straight up to spin a roller on a bar.  My vertical jump?  Five inches. Everyone else's? Double digits.  Don't. Be. Jealous.

Because I'm a professional athlete in all the sports, I got offered a huge salary.  Welcome to my locker for the sports.
I'd chosen 00 as my number.  Apparently, the computer didn't like that.
After schooling everyone, we headed next door to Mandalay Bay's Burger Bar (Burma!) and built our own burgers.  Their veggie burger has a lot of stuff in it, including pumpkin.  I got it.  It was delicious.  Who knew that you could put pumpkin in a veggie burger?  When the burgers came out, for some reason E and C did not get theirs on a bun.  They came out with just the burger.  When the server came over and asked if we needed anything, I was like, Can they have buns?  Her eyes popped out as she looked at their plates and she was like, Sure I'll get those right now....and when she came back she was like, I don't know why they didn't give you guys buns.Clearly someone in the kitchen didn't read the ticket right, but the burgers were good and we finished in time to watch the games.

We sat at the SportsBook back in Luxor for the rest of the day, occasionally leaving to get snacks or water.  There were two football games to watch plus lots of horses to bet on.  Every horse I chose lost.  I am giving up horse racing.  I think the horses hate me.  The games were exciting and Eddie's teams won, so that's always a good thing.

After an entire day of playing the sports and watching the sports, we headed out to gamble and do dinner and see some more casinos we hadn't seen.  On our way back to change, we went through Excalibur which was wall to wall screaming children.  And that's why we stay away from anything labeled Family Friendly.

At first, Eddie and I were going to get all dressy.  Then we heard the temperature was falling to 40 and we were planning to walk up the strip.   Umm, no.  So I put on a dress for five minutes in the hotel room since I'd brought it.

Then I put on jeans and a shirt and we headed out.  We took the car.  We really don't like weather under 70 degrees.  We ate in a tiny Italian place in the Venetian and then took pictures as if we were in Venice (Italy!).

After a bathroom break, C and I came out to find the guys standing here, not realizing...

We also tried to see the pirate show at Treasure Island, but found only a sign that said there are no longer any shows at Treasure Island.  No pirate.  And it smelled funny, so we left right away.  We went back to the Monte Carlo and played roulette into the wee hours.  Then Eddie headed to MGM to play some more poker into the wee-er hours.  Doing the sports and continent hopping--quite a day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How To Do Vegas In Three And A Half Days, Day 2, Part II

With cranberry juice and water packed up in my shoulder bag, Eddie and I met up with C and J to partake in my FREE Las Vegas Stray Boots Scavenger Hunt.  Why was it free?  Because I'm awesome at getting free stuff.  We were in store for some casino hopping and trivia answering in the central part of the strip.  We saw pretty glass art, pretty indoor gardens, large replicas of New York and Paris, and went all around the world without ever leaving one street.  We stopped to gamble, of course.  The roulette lady in one of the casinos was hard core hitting on J.  Like seriously, she would not stop asking him questions and staring at him.  It was Hil.Air.Eee.Us. mostly because she was old enough to be his mother but also because he really had no clue that she was flirting.

While moving between casinos, we made some new friends:

After making the boys do the can-can (the scavenger hunt told them to), we stopped in Paris for food.  For some reason, they chose to get pizza in the Parisian-themed casino, and they were shocked that the dough tasted weird.  I tried a bite of Eddie's (I was full from the Parking Lot IHOP indulgence), and told them, The crust tastes like French bread...because we're in France.

While they ate, I walked up and down the same hallway about ten times looking for a statue.  We couldn't find it anywhere when we first walked in, so since I wasn't eating, I took off, determined.  And lookit:

We then went in search of a large slot machine.  Around and around the casino we walked until I decided, This is a large screen so let's just call it this one:
But then we found this one afterwards:

So really everything in Vegas is a giant slot machine.

We cut the hunt short because it was nearing the time to get ready to see The Mentalist.  We met up once more later on a very long and confusing line where the theatre was for the show.  There were hordes of people everywhere, and I had vouchers and reservations, but not physical tickets, and there was no sign that said that.  There was one sign that said Tickets.  Not. Helpful.  Really, the entire process of getting the stupid tickets had been very confusing, but I'd rather go onto Travelzoo and get tickets for 10 bucks than pay almost 70 for each one.  Yeah, that's right--when I can't get things for free, I find a discount. 

The show? Was pretty entertaining.  The theatre was small and cold and again the waiting on the line was confusing and the finding seats was odd, but overall the show was fantastic.  Basically, The Mentalist shows off his ability to use intuition and other subtle techniques to figure out stuff about strangers while blindfolded.  He also shoots himself with a nail gun.  Eddie got to throw a ball into a hoop from his seat.  The show was also really short (another reason I'm happy we paid 10 each instead of the full price), so we were out of there and ready to eat in no time.

We ate at some place where the servers were dressed like cheerleaders.  One of them seemed to not be wearing underwear, and I know this not because I was trying to see up her skirt but because her skirt was a little too small for her and her butt was pushing it up, making it too short in the back.  So we got a second show at dinner. And Eddie made yet another friend:
At this point, I had not slept in three days and I was on lots of medication making it so I couldn't drink anything harder than juice, so while Las Vegas is Sin City, I was more into not sinning and sleeping instead.  They all went gambling, and yet again, I went back to our broke-down hotel room to finally sleep.  And I did.  And then I felt better, which is a good thing because the next day was sports day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How To Do Vegas In Three And A Half Days, Day 2, Part I

To get the most out of any vacation, I like to see the parts of a place a tourist usually doesn't see.  Unfortunately for me on this Vegas extravaganza, I saw the urgent care.  I did not sleep at all after our exhausting day of travel.  I also had not slept the night before that, and only a few hours the night before that.  Why?  Because my bladder decided to get an infection the Sunday before we left.  Then my infected body decided to not respond to Cipro, what most people respond to.  I then went on some sort of sulfa drug.  I was on day four and everything was getting worse instead of better.  Flying with a bladder infection was horrible.  Spending our first night on vacation wide awake and achy was terrible. So when we got up, I said to Eddie, I have to go to a doctor.  He was like, Yeah, no joke.  Apparently, I looked the way I felt. 

I took a shower.  The tub started filling up with water.  I pulled up on the drain plug.  It came apart.  I'm not joking.  Since I can't see a thing without my glasses, I thought maybe I'd done something wrong, so Eddie came in to help and saw that I didn't do anything wrong, and the drain was simply broken.  So I took the piece that came off and wedged it under the drain plug to make sure it stayed open so I didn't drown in a tub of bathwater and sorrow.

While Eddie showered, I looked over my "Be Prepared For Anything" list of stuff and found two urgent cares.  They were closed on the weekends.  We hopped in the car and drove to one we found on the GPS.  Closed.  Then we found another one.  It was open.  During all the driving, we did see a good amount of Vegas landscape, which is very pretty.

The people at the urgent care were really nice and seemed genuinely sympathetic because, once again, I looked the way I felt.  The woman at the counter said that I should fill out some forms and the entire process would take two hours.  I told Eddie to go sleep in the car.  At some point, he did wander out because he was tired from having gambled late. Eventually, I was called back and did the usual thing.  Here's a cup.  Pee in it.  Is there anything more degrading than someone asking, Do you think you can give us a urine sample? while holding out a plastic cup?  Oh, yes, actually there is.  The woman in the sample lab had run out of cups, so she had to hop onto her headset and ask for someone to bring back the "small urine sample cups" and then she handed me a cup the size of a small cereal bowl instead because the cups were taking too long to arrive.  She also hadn't heard of a second medication I was taking that is supposed to ease the pain and discomfort of the infection...and the side effect is that it turns anything that comes out of your body orange.  So, what's even more degrading?  Coming out of the bathroom with a cereal bowl sized cup of orange liquid.  Head held high, I placed it on the tissue on the counter and headed into the exam room.
Someone came in and took my temperature and blood pressure.  Then the doctor came in and we spoke at length about what my symptoms were, how they were being treated, and for how long because my pee test didn't show much indication of an infection.  When I mentioned I'd gone to urgent care first, he asked which one, and I said, One in New York; this is my vacation. Again, pity.  He asked for a glucose blood test because it seemed high in the pee sample.  I told him I'd eaten a cookie that morning and asked if that could have anything to do with it.  Not really, he said.  Then he double checked the meds I said I'd been on and asked why I'd been taking the one the other woman hadn't heard of.  I was like, I don't even know because they don't seem to be working--all they do is turn everything orange.  He stopped himself from opening the door, looked up from his folder, and then said, You know, that's probably another reason your sample came back so indecisive.  That figures.

The woman who had taken my temperature came in and pulled out a finger-prick kit.  She asked, Have you had this done before?  I answered, not since I was a kid.  She pulled out a finger-pricker-thingie and pressed it against my finger.  Nothing.  She did it again.  Nothing.  She said, That's odd, while holding it up. It apparently did not contain the pointy thing.  She grabbed another one.  She pressed it against my finger.  Nothing.  She did it again.  Nothing.  She held it up and scrutinized it closely.  Hmm.  She pressed it against my finger, putting her body weight behind it.  Finally.  Blood. 

She laughed and said, At first I thought it was me, but I've been doing this for twenty years, so...

I responded, I figured it was me.

She said, Tough skin.  I suppose that's a good thing.  Then she smiled big. 

The doctor came back and said that the glucose was fine.  Then punched me in the back a few times, making sure I had no signs of kidney infection.  He said that my "puzzling" infection would hopefully go away with macrobid.  I've had a bladder infection four times in my life.  The first time I had one, that's the medication I was on--I remembered as soon as he said it. I suddenly felt relief.  I mean, I still felt like I had to pee even though I'd just peed, but I felt relief in that I was going to finally feel better.

Then he gave me a plan, like an actual plan as if he were my actual usual doctor.  Going forward--do this, this, and this.  If this happens again, then do that.  Insist on this.  Plan for that.  Here's a prescription. And then he said, Feel better--I don't like to see people having to come here while they're on vacation. 

Awesome doctor.  Eddie and I were on our way, and we'd spent about two hours there as we were told.

We went to IHOP because Eddie was starving.  We got take-out.  While we waited, we took in the scenery.  It was still lovely.

We drove to a minimart nearby and ate pancakes and eggs from plastic containers in the parking lot.  We ate it all in about five minutes.  We were fat pigs, but it was worth it.  Driving back to the strip, we saw that we were missing this event:
We went to the CVS we'd been to the day before to fill my prescription and to stock up on more cranberry juice and water.  I must have had at least a gallon of water during the day with maybe a quart of cranberry juice mixed in.  Sure I was stopping every five minutes to pee, but I'd been doing that anyway because that's what a bladder infection is all about. 

And so that's how we spent the first three hours of our first full day in Vegas.  Thankfully, it got better from there.