I feel too hot and I fight with the covers. It seems that I managed to crawl in them last night, properly pajama’d, with them still tightly tucked into the side. All the restless movement wakes me enough to roll over and see the clock read 8:30 am. I know I should let the dogs out, but there’s no backdoor here to easily stumble to. My eyes are still half-shut as I look at what appears to me a night-light in the corner of the room. When I wake, at 10:30 am, I will realize that it’s the sun coming in the side of the thick curtain over the large window.
My head hurts and I know I’m dehydrated. I grab the glass I let the dogs use yesterday before bringing up their dish of water and fill it from the sink in the bathroom – because that’s not weird in a hotel. I imagine we will have more sightseeing than drinking on today’s menu. I let the dogs make good use of the bed while I got in the shower. I wasn’t about to pass hundreds of people looking and smelling like I did last night – though I’m sure I felt oh so pretty then – that’s not the feeling I had trying to comb booze out of my windblown hair.
Everything was still in a haze while I went downstairs with the dogs, but I felt renewed and fresh with my frizzy hair and clean dress on. I put a Band-Aid on the ball of my foot to keep a blister from developing. We wondered how far I would have to walk in boots a half-size too big before something would happen – and I don’t have exact mileage, but it consists of lots of elevators, escalators, casinos, and a dance floor. I feed the dogs and they are ready to pass back out on the bed while Deanna applies some lipstick. We make sure we have all the major supplies needed – sunscreen and camera for me, room key and phone for Deanna.
Last night we got bombarded by drink offers. This morning it’s offers to buy and try the latest skin care products, wrap around shirts, roll-on nail polish, and a straightener/curler in one – this I want to stop at, but not before we find something to eat. It’s 12:30 pm and we are looking for a place (Planet Dailies) that I forgot the name of because I saw French toast advertised there. Then we check a mall map and find a place called Fresh and an employee on a Segway tells us it will be on our left – when the map clearly says right.
Either way it doesn’t matter. We pass it the first time and when we reach the informational booth at the end another employee tells us the place is no longer open. We find it, on the right, on our return trip, but they only sell lunch. We decided on Jamba Juice and I got the apple ‘n greens smoothie. With breakfast in hand we can return to the booth with men doing hair. One of them will give me some curls to show the quality and efficiency of the product, but I’m not yet in the mood to spend a chunk of cash or carry a bag around and Deanna is not yet convinced that it will work on her thick hair.
We watched, only momentarily, while a girl got a tattoo on the top of her right thigh. Then saw the fountain show outside of Stripper Bar before walking through an art gallery and focusing on pieces by Nano Lopez. The employee had something to say to me for taking a picture of the information card (facing the door and no art) so I would remember later, but nothing to the girl in the back taking pictures with her phone – I suppose Apple, Nokia, or Samsung are more discreet than my Canon.
Then at 1:30 in the afternoon we made it outside and I got the same feeling one gets from drinking lunch in a bar and walking into the sunlight again – like a vampire or an ant under a magnifying glass. There was a man painting and another playing the piano accordion nearby. There was an increase in the color green – clothes, accessories, lights, and signs, and Irish music in the distance. Our bodies absorbed the smoothies and by 2:00 pm we determined it was time for a snack.
We admired the outdoor seating before going into Bobby’s Burger Palace where they serve spiked (where doesn’t in Vegas) milkshakes – that we didn’t get, and French fries and sweet potato fries that we did. We got our order to go and I didn’t feel like standing to wait, so when the fries came with dipping sauce (making it harder to walk and eat – my favorite is their Habanero ketchup) we stayed in our seats and chowed down. They have bottles of sauce at the table, they brought us ketchup and honey mustard in little plastic dishes, and offered us new ketchup pack that I hadn’t seen before – with the option to peel-and-dip or tear-and-squeeze.
This reminded me of the peanut butter packet I saved from Canada because it was written in French. The amount of green and noise increased as we made our way to the Celtic Feis happening on and around the Brooklyn Bridge in front of New York New York – until we went inside where the theme is mostly orange and the walls are covered in screens and sports statistics for the ESPN gambler. It seemed overwhelming to sit in a theater chair and stare at so much action. I found it more relaxing looking at all the watches hanging from the Swatch store ceiling.
As we walked by a drink station in the casino I tried to nonchalantly take a picture of a bunch of guys in capes – Cape Gang 2014… I Stay Fly, but they noticed me and then couldn’t stand still for a non-blurry photo – oh well. We got lost coming out of the casino – there is an exit for the roller coaster, an exit to stare at the back of another casino, and the exit that would take us back through the party of green. We make it across the street to the Rainforest Café (a place we both haven’t been to since we were twelve, and another number on our list of places to come back to) inside the MGM.
We pass the Hakkasan Nightclub at 3:00 pm where Everlast will be performing after 10:00 pm. We’ve been given a spot on the guest list and that there tells me we would have to wait in line unless our boobs are the biggest and our dresses the shortest – or we came with men who have fat wallets – which is very common in Vegas, but we have no idea where this night will take us, so we aren’t making any guarantees. We pass by a buffet and the employee ladies usher me forward and welcome me to take pictures – silly photographing tourist – while one of them (from looking at my boots guesses that we’re from Texas) inquires about something she saw on TV.
Deanna goes on to explain that the Hook ‘Em Horns symbol is friendly and sports related. Then of course she has to tell her about the Gig ‘Em Aggies – the proud symbol of Texas A&M where she graduated with her Bachelor’s in Awesome in 2008 – which seems forever ago now. We continue our trip south and walk into Excalibur after walking past the wet and breezy home of the bridge gnome while I hold my dress down from blowing too high in the wind. Upon one of our exits of this place – there will be many – we pass two girls, one in a wheelchair, and they are having too much fun, but of course there is no such thing. And then we wonder if she got hurt in Vegas or decided to come and get drunk anyways.
This casino’s theme is all castles, kings, dungeons, and knights – I like it, especially the half-dressed people offering to take pictures with us. We take the tram from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay – totally bypassing the Luxor, but finding our way to shopping all the faster – and learning that there are multiple trams around the strip to get you where you want to spend money – if you can find them. Even the monorail cars are decorated in detailed graphics. Vegas pays attention to the details to make sure that you feel you are somewhere special with people who care – and they might not, but they have some of the most patience in the world that I know of.
There are more big lobbies, large casinos, bright lights, and long walks. There’s a guy getting a tattoo on his right arm and I get a better picture in the mirror’s reflection of what looks like a smoking clam. Also in Mandalay Bay is the most decorated exterior of a House of Blues I’ve ever seen – covered in bottle tops, beads, glass, faces, and chairs with plants and lights surrounding the walls. The metal arbor to the Boiler Room, a steampunk themed bar, is more attractive to me than the design inside. There’s shirt and cup stores, a man playing the bagpipes, a sock market, and a Popped stand selling artisanal kernels. If that wasn’t enough to get me in a shopping mood than the LICK shop – full of tongues, colors, and candies – sure did the trick.
I thought I would bring home the Pink’ adelic – white chocolate raspberry with pop rocks and nerds – to share with Caleb, but then I had to look at the other flavors and Deanna got curious. She picked up a Dirty Vegas – a mix of all the flavors, and then I might as well buy three and save a dollar… or spend three more and get the Marilyn – white chocolate coconut. Then it’s through the rainbow Twizzlers entrance into LICK where I buy non-chocolate pop rocks (so they won’t melt into a clump again), mints because the tin has my name on it, a Vegas magnet, a dark chocolate Ritter Sport bar, and two new chocolates – a red velvet cake to try with Caleb and a pumpkin & sweet potato bar.
Deanna would’ve bought the $30 chocolate heels but was concerned about them breaking or melting in her bag on the plane; though the clerk told us she could ship it, Deanna is more of a fancy shoe wearer than melt-able shoe eater. We made our way into the Luxor where the design and layout of their rooms intrigued me just looking up at the floors that resemble the Guggenheim Museum and imagining the theme and art behind each set of doors. And we could’ve taken a ride down the Nile, but Vegas has remodeled away from family rides and pirate kid shows to titties and Jabbawockeez – the eight-member hip-hop crew that now stars at the Luxor for their show PRiSM.
I saw a sign to Slurp Noodles and we would walk around for fifteen more minutes before Rice & Company opened at 5:00 pm. The hostess wanted all my hotel information and then for me to wait to be seated, but told another lady to please be seated at the bar, so we followed. I got a glass of water with a bowl of lemons while we looked over the menu. At the other end, a customer would use a phone app to get the TV working and all agreed he deserved a discount when the manager walked by surprised that after two weeks it was finally fixed only to realize that it wasn’t.
I wanted the mango avocado roll in a cone shape, but forgot to ask for it so it came out in a regular cut roll, but stacked on a rectangular plate. I didn’t know if that would be enough so I ordered some vegetable spring rolls too with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard – which I do not like. I put a piece of gari (pickled ginger) on top of the sushi roll before dipping it in Sriracha – a first for me, but also a tasty choice of sweet and spicy. We got leftovers and added that to the jumble of things we were already carrying – besides the four-foot long bottle necklace of booze that we opted out of.