That is a very popular question in Las Vegas – to get out of bed, to get drunk, to get the boots that are on sale, not to get the large plate of nachos, not to get stuck talking to kids all night, and definitely not to get the bleeding heart tattoo.
This morning would start at 10:00 – seven hours of sleep with two hours of prep time to shower off last night’s splashed alcohol and smoke clouds, and feed and walk the dogs. I share with Deanna, “What if there had been four girls in this room? One would shower and the other use the tub. One would use a towel to dry her hair and the other the blow dryer. Otherwise we would spend a lot more time in the room.” She agreed, but we both still wished there had been 6-8 of us so we could’ve rented a limo and ridden down the Strip.
Breakfast consists of caffeine and chocolate – a turtle brownie and water for me and a cookie and coffee for Deanna at a quarter after noon. We love being adults. I’m still mid-walnut and caramel when we stop by the Ginalli hair booth – and while the guy on one side is with a customer I approach him – thinking he’s the same one from two days ago, but these guys do work shifts and some of them look-alike, so I could’ve been mistaken. Skyler, on the other side, invites me to sit down and straightens my hair. I buy a Ginalli Milano tourmaline straightener for twice the price of a similar model offered at Wal-Mart or CVS Pharmacy.
We got a good deal though because he’s able to straighten Deanna’s hair in the same amount of time – and her’s is four times thicker than mine – at least. We are happy with the demo and even happier with the results – smooth beautiful hair in a fraction of the time it was taking us with our cheaper versions at home – though we weren’t using the tourmaline either. Deanna buys one too and we know that the $100 was spent wisely – even if I have to curl my hair to have a reason to straighten it again.
We run the long bag up to the room, pass the goofy (in hysterics) couple getting their cartoon Vegas faces drawn, and make our way to The Cosmo to see if the P3Studio still has the LaChapelle art that I read about online – it’s closed when we get there after 1:00 pm for remodeling. While we’re here we find more interest in the amount of sewing machines that make up the wall for AllSaints Spitalfields than we do for the international fashion inside. Across from there is a chef shop – alcohol, chocolate, cups, candles, cookbooks, owl timers, aprons, dessert kits, and knife sets – perhaps a gift for an aspiring chef or a way to throw a party in your room.
Art, glass, and reflections are everywhere in The Cosmo – and we like it. Something else that’s neat is the u*tique shop – a vending machine where most everything is $20 – rollable flats, a vodka flask, a stuffed rainbow rabbit, a book by Mindy Kaling, shiny sunglasses, and lipstick/mascara emergency kits. Then, we are walking down this hallway when I see a large tank of jellyfish – Wow, would you look at that?! Oh wait, where did it go? We turned around to look for it, thinking we had peeked through an open door, but when we turned around the jellyfish had turned into bubbles.
The Cosmo has large columns in the West End Tower with LED screens on them that reflect off the shiny floor and the mirrored ceiling – it’s spectacular and whimsical. Outside the Bellagio we get stopped by three guys in their Miami Heat and Hawaiian shirts and ask us to take a picture of them with each of their cameras, then I take one of them and they want one of us – we pose. Inside there is great sound coming from the piano. This time the face looks more friendly and recognizable – like Eddie Izzard. He totally interrupts himself to smile for my blurry picture and then after learning that I’m from San Diego recommends that I eat at Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar.
The bar opened in 1985 by Ingrid Croce, widow of singer Jim famous for Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and Time in a Bottle (that influenced Ingrid’s cookbook Thyme in a Bottle), who died in 1973 at 30 years old. The restaurant, after 28 years of operation, has moved 1.4 miles to its new location, and name Croce’s Park West, due to a lease disagreement.
I thank the pianist as he tries to recall where he was in the song he was playing and make an audio note in my camera as we make our way to Caesar’s Palace – filled with a large collection of Roman inspired statues. I’m not usually one to suggest Starbucks, but an unlabeled Izze caught my eye, so I bought the blackberry flavor and Deanna an orange one. I appreciate the ability to reclose a water bottle and put it in my purse, keeping it cooler than holding it in my hand, but don’t want to chance it with this sticky liquid.
Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill has a decorative wall of silver kegs with colored stripes that stand out from the other squares and angles of the ceiling and columns that find themselves in the Palace – mostly white, marble, and gold. There are skylights – real and fake, elaborate fountains filled with old change, plants and lights to attract our eyes, and a Vespa with a chance to win if you send in a picture with someone on it. We pass the gelato court with the flavor in its non-gelato form – chocolate covered strawberries or Oreos for cookies and cream.
We walk by the tallest H&M I’ve ever seen with manikins that look like they are on a more-clothed spring break and one swinging from the rafters. We walk through Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man – a store that sells chocolates, emergency tins you can fill, and most everything else you can think of – music, liquor, crepes, coffee, milkshakes, artwork, and fondue. Why didn’t we load our stomachs with food and our arms with bags – we weren’t hungry yet at 2:20 pm, and we wouldn’t be for another two hours.
We walked by a large tank full of fish with stripes, spots, yellow tails, unicornfish, stingrays, and apparently ones that talk to three-year old girls. We managed to make it outside, past the friendly gold busker on his lunch break, and back into Caesar’s Palace at the Forum Shops where I’m impressed by the height of the statues and the spiral escalators. There’s plenty of shopping to be done here, but only a few stores will get us inside and even fewer will get us to actually purchase something – Deanna using the lack of luggage excuse and me the husband excuse and both of us using the ‘we don’t want to carry all this around for the next few hours’ excuse.
Inside Anthropologie we see a pop-out version of The Little Prince, and as awesome as it may be, it will never replace the signed one I was gifted in April 1998 by my other mother Caroline, so I see no need in getting it – unless in afterthought I could’ve gifted it to her. In Planet Hollywood, the restaurant, they have the Chucky Doll used in the 1988 movie, an autographed hockey mask by Kane Hodder from Friday the 13th Part V in 1985, the tiny handprints of Chuck Norris in lit-up glass, and a pair of duct-taped snakeskin cowboy boots worn by the Marlboro Man in a 1991 film – among many other things hanging on the wall and displayed in tables.
The next place to grab our attention was the Bettie Page store. It would be easier to shop in there if I only wanted one thing, but choosing between all the different floral colors or the detachable overall shorts or the silver roses dress amongst many others that would take me back to the 50s is overwhelming. Then there’s the process of trying each one on to find the perfect fit – what’s easier – the jewelry store with rings tied to large shiny balls hanging in a glass box where I was told I might only get one with the purchase of the other – obviously. And not that my husband didn’t buy enough finger bling for me, but they put all the skinny finger rings on display.
Back outside of Caesar’s Palace, our second attempt to make it to another casino/hotel, and we happen upon a spray paint artist bragging that his masterpieces only take six minutes – I’d seen them done in ten while in San Francisco, so I stuck around and turned the video camera on. It took him eight minutes and then he offered it up for $30-80 donation. I waited for anyone who was there first to buy, and when they didn’t I gave him $30 for a painting and a paper bag – I’d paid $20 in San Fran and gotten a frame.
Past the Mirage fountain, into Treasure Island, past the commemorative Sirens of TI motorcycle, and past the buffet offering chocolate covered strawberries – which would’ve been worth the $20 entrance if I’d had a large plastic bag in my purse, but I didn’t so we continued on past more desserts and other art displays. Back outside, we go to Margarita Bar with me looking for a coffee drink. It will end better than last night when I was willing to take shots, shooters, and jello shots to celebrate the holiday, but ended up keeping it tame. The guy behind the bar says the coffee is crap, so he will hook us up with more tequila in our margarita – that works for me.
We make it across the street to the Venetian with a nice view of the gondola rides below. It feels nice to walk on the decorative tile floor with the electric candle lamps above and the sun casting shadows on the wall beside us. Las Vegas is like a labyrinth for drunks, that sober people may have a better chance of solving, but it continually gives you the opportunity to find something new or different. Inside there is a lot of golden color on frames, in pictures, on walls, and the smell of a lunchly snack coming from Tintoretto’s where we sit in the back at the untableclothed section only to have a man sit near us to demand one because he doesn’t feel like sitting up front where they’re offered.