Monday, February 17, 2014

How To Do Vegas In Three And A Half Days, Day 1

I can hardly remember Vegas even though it was last month.  Such a blur.  Pre-Speedy Baddriverson,  Pre-Spring Semester, Pre-Blizzards.  But it would be so nice to be the sun....

Birthday weekend!  Eddie and I got to JFK pretty early and decided to have breakfast in the terminal.  For shame, Delta Terminal, for shame!  Only one food place served bagels.  In New York!  One place!  AND they had no butter.  They'd run out.  We walked for miles. Not joking.  Back and forth, up and down, in search of a bagel place, and this was the only one and they had no butter.  After passing it for the fourth time, we decided to get dry bagels.  I'd like to say that the work was worth it, but they weren't even good New York Bagels.  For shame.

However, it did waste a good amount of time because when we sat to eat, our plane was ready to board ten minutes later.  Still, not worth it.  Next time, I'm bringing my own bagels.  Or maybe just my own butter.

The in-flight movie was about a very old couple who wanted to build a cabin but the wood they wanted to use was not up to code.  At least that's what I got from seeing some scenes of it without listening through the headphones.  Oh, and there were several times when said couple was practically naked and cuddling, which is not my idea of an appropriate in-flight movie.  Or really, any kind of movie I want to see.  Instead, to gear up for gambling, we watched Runner Runner on Eddie's laptop.  No old naked people.  Good enough.

Welcome To Las Vegas
After we got our car at LAS, we punched in In N Out and had lunch.  This was pretty much the reason we rented a car--to go to In N Out.  Lucky for us we had a car....that comes a bit later.  For now, we ate In N Out, where they have a pretty basic menu: Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Fries.  I was there once before when I flew out with my brother, so I knew they offered just the toppings on the bun with the sauce, so that's what I asked for.  The cashier told me that next time, I could just ask for their veggie burger, which is what they call this dish.  There really isn't anything "burger" about it except for maybe the bun.  Everything was delicious.

Not too shabby after a long plane ride of discomfort (more on that later)

Before heading to the hotel, we drove up and down the strip.  The traffic on the strip is horrible.  Also horrible?  The clown outside of Circus Circus.
We did, however, find the CVS to stock up on water and snacks...and finding this CVS would be handy later'll see....

The Check-In, aka Welcome To My Nightmare
We chose to stay at the Tropicana for two reasons: Eddie plays at the Trop in AC and likes it, and Hilton took over and we get points for Hiltons.  It's very pretty, somewhat of a throwback to old-timey Vegas.  And that's where the thrill ends.

We got onto the line for Hilton Honors members. There were three people in front of us plus someone already at the check-in counter.  Next to us was a line practically to the front of the hotel.  Every check-in rep was busily checking people in.

Oh, did I mention that the LGBT Sin City Softball Tournament was in town and the Tropicana was the host hotel?  Hence the very long lines.  AND there was free water and lemonade for everyone, which is nice but kind of gyps us out of free stuff because HHMembers get free water with check-in, and it doesn't make me feel special when everyone gets free stuff.

So we waited.  Then we waited more.  The very long line out the door moved and moved and then the people who had been even with us checked in on the long line before we even got to the front of ours.  Someone came around offering free cookies.  I took one.  Again, it didn't make me special, but it did make me happy.
I've got a case of Madonna-Arm here

And the insanity of check-in continued.There were only two workers at the counter and several managers passed by before getting someone else to start serving the line. When we finally got to the counter, the employee did not offer even a courteous apology for the wait and even seemed annoyed when we mentioned it. She said we'd be staying for three days, and Eddie responded that he felt like he'd been standing in line for three days. Granted, he was a smartass, but he wouldn't have been if she'd been friendlier and at least acknowledged that we'd been waiting for so long.

In the middle of our transaction some electronic malfunctioned but I'm not sure exactly what the problem was because the employee that was checking us in and a second employee who came over to see what the issue was completely ignored us and again did not even offer a courteous apology for having to wait even longer.

When that was finally resolved, she gave us crazy instructions of how to find our room, which send us rolling our luggage all over the casino floor until some guy found us and directed us to where we needed to go, and that was one of the only good things that happened. We got help without having to ask for it. A brief five seconds of good service.

The tv was on when we entered our room and we could not shut it off. The remote buttons and buttons on the tv would beep loudly and nothing would change. We called the care line and the employee apologized for the inconvenience and said she would send an electrician right away. Eddie and I waited over an hour and no one came. We were starving so we had to leave. He wound up having to move the dresser to unplug it.

As we walked to the lobby, Eddie whispered to me, I'm starting to feel a little bit uncomfortable. It was getting loud and raucous on the first floor. I was like, Why? Then we turned a corner to find two young shaven muscle-y men hanging out in only their florescent speedo-like undies that were two sizes too tight. I followed up my own question with, Okay, now I'm a little bit uncomfortable for you.

We met up with C and J who had flown in much earlier to also celebrate J's birthday and were staying at the Monte Carlo. There, as we waited in the lobby for them to come down, Eddie and I heard a much different kind of ruckus. Omigod! It was a parade! Like two sheltered people who have never seen a friggin parade before, we literally ran through the casino to chase it down. Free entertainment! The Blue Man group performs at MC, so this parade happens daily. Lucky them!
We walked the strip at night. Everything was lit up. Everything was pretty. We found a cute Italian place and ate. I was practically in a coma because I don't do well with jet lag, but I was still somewhat alert to enjoy it.

C and J came back with us to see the Trop, and by that time, it was wall to wall partying. The almost naked men were gone, but the music was thumping and there was a lot of fun happening. I put my hair up and Eddie pointed at it: She's done for the night. And I was. They were going to gamble, but I was going to bed.

Eddie walked me upstairs and he got into comfy gambling clothes. I got into my jammies! He went out the door, and I climbed under the covers. We'd made the error of turning our tv back on, because when I went to shut it off, it wouldn't turn off. More beeping. More not working. Some weird code popped up onto a white screen.  Very not working.

Stupid TV
 I had to climb out of bed, crawl behind the dresser, and unplug it again. That's around the time my phone rang. It was Eddie telling me that the Tropicana does not have a poker room. Eddie's game is poker, and he couldn't play there because they didn't have it. He wound up going across the footbridge to MGM, which became the usual routine. Every casino/hotel was better than ours, but that was fine. We weren't staying in the room or the casino there. We were there to explore and gamble and laugh and have a good time, which would happen in the days to come...

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