I’ve been griping and moaning and considering how to both properly enjoy my vacation while also finding time for blogging. This trip has been far more go-go-go than I expected. So here is my new aim: daily mini-blogs. Comedy, tragedy, romance – all genres for television and movies that are unrelated to my blog.
We’ll start from today…
DAY 8: Las Vegas
We crawled into bed at 1 am last night. For us that is way, way too late. I’m getting older (refrain from comments) and can’t handle late nights any more, especially as my body clock is pretty consistent at getting me up at 7. Today was no exception. I left Jen sleeping and blearily wandered down to the local Starbucks for a coffee and some devotions. When I say ‘local’, I mean the one closest to my hotel room. I have to specify because there are two Starbucks at my hotel alone. I should get capitalist outraged…but instead I order a venti cappuccino. Hold the half-and-half. An hour or so later Jen and I were ready to hit the strip.
We’d agreed to try the all-day buffet at Luxor & Excalibur today. Luxor and Excalibur, though very fun themed casinos (Egyptian and Medieval), are at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of quality. The food reflected this. I’m pretty sure the potato gems double as artillery in one of Vegas’ many shooting galleries (why not come shoot a machine gun in Vegas, while you’re drinking and gambling? Safety first, kids!). Following this Jen, unsurprisingly, felt ill and headed back to our hotel (humbly called THEhotel) while I continued further up the strip to find a place to buy Jen’s CSI ticket and tickets for a show tonight. That trip led me to the MGM Grand.
The MGM Grand is probably the most impressive casino I’ve seen on the strip. While it doesn’t have the fun themes of the Luxor or Excalibur, it has the magnificent golden lions that people associate with the company…and when I say that, I don’t only mean statues. It also has two lionesses in an enclosure. Such is the opulence of Vegas. It’s also physically an enormous casino, stretching across a couple of buildings and with heaps of shops, two large theatres and it’s own convention centre. It’s huge. While I continued to read Bonhoeffer’s biography (excellent) and wait in line to buy tickets, I tried to take in the enormity, the craziness of Vegas. It’s a city with a very shiny veneer and absolutely nothing of substance underneath, full of people desperate for a better life or the lure of the stage who are willing to do anything to get there. There are literally hundreds of poor Mexican immigrants selling ads for ‘escorts’ on the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard). It’s a city that aspires towards greater opulence purely for opulence’s sake and leaves thousands of people poor, homeless, broken, addicted, chewed-up and spat out. I’m in no hurry to return.
After half an hour of waiting I managed to pick up a couple of (relatively) cheap tickets to David Copperfield, then wandered down to pick up Jenny’s ‘CSI: Experience’ ticket. While buying it (no line) I discovered I could have bought my Copperfield tickets here…saving myself a half-hour wait. Vegas Fail.
On my way back, I got lost – no surprise – and ended up coming up a secluded escalator put the official front of the MGM. And to my surprise, I wandered straight into a small group of people who were there to see the Vegas arrival of the greatest boxer alive, the world welterweight champion Manny Pacquaio.
After waiting a couple minutes, Pacquaio was rushed out by his handlers to be interviewed by the local Filipino community and HBO, before waving to the crowd and allowing me time to get one sneaky photo. His bus is…pimp. That’s the best way I can describe it. Sweet ride, Manny.
Back to Excalibur to choke down some buffet, pick up the wifey, more choked buffet and then we traveled down the strip towards Treasure Island. The north end of the strip has some very cool ‘front-of-hotel’ displays. Treasure Island has a pirate fight. Bellagio has the famous water jets (as seen at the end of Ocean’s 11) while the Mirage has a volcano display – very cool. We, however, went to Madame Tussaud’s at the Venetian to take jackanape photos with waxen celebrities. It’s about how it sounds, ok but not great. We walked down the strip – a very long way – from the Venetian down to the MGM Grand, being harassed by approximately 500 hawkers in this time. All hawking the same thing: the degradation of women. Their mothers must be terribly proud.
Eventually we got to MGM and I saw Jen to her CSI experience. Not being as much of a massive CSI nerd as my wife, I chose not to go myself. I sat at a local Starbucks and had a grande low-fat peppermint mocha. What? Shut up.
Getting peckish and terrified at the thought of more buffet, I headed to Maccas for a cheeseburger meal. In the States, their regular is the same size as our large. Their large is a bucket of coke and a traffic cone of fries. “Sorry,” says the McAttendant, “We don’t sell cheeseburger meals. Only 2 cheeseburger meals. You want an apple pie with that?” Wow. No. No I don’t. #thisiswhyAmericansgetfat
Jenny was pretty nerded out after CSI and ready to go see David Copperfield. Copperfield is getting on in years, pushing 50 I dare say. But he still pulls in big crowds. And he could…not…care…less. Lackluster performing, super-dry wit and loud music seemed to overshadow a few really neat tricks that were probably child’s play for him. He made a car appear, a duck disappear and a bunch of people reappear. Then wandered off, disinterested. Genuinely funny guy, though I wasn’t thrilled that he put a 10 minute video on during e paid 90 minute performance. At least he made fun of his mullet.
All that done, we headed home to finish packing for our flight back to San Diego and then on to
the OC Orange County tomorrow.