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My Vegas cherry has been popped! And what an experience that was…
After months of preparation and anticipation the time had come–we left Austin on Monday evening on a full Southwest airline flight and the party started right then and there.
Although, Matt and I had to sit apart–I was lucky to sit with some awesome people from Dallas–a cool son was treating his parents to a trip to Las Vegas for their 50th wedding anniversary (at their request and, for their first time.) We shared stories, drinks and laughs.
One of my favorite things about travel is meeting the different folks and learning a little about their lives. It has always been fascinating to me that we share this planet and space and yet we do not know each other. We have so much in common and yet humans led pretty sheltered lives–surrounded only by what we know–it’s cool to have the opportunity to peek into someone else’s life and make a connection.
Landing in Las Vegas at night was awesome! The desert was black and you have this brilliant light shining in the middle of it…crazy! Found the Luxor right away from the tarmac and I couldn’t help but feel the excitement. There was hooting and howling from the passengers–or could have just been my crowd–anyway it was a great feeling.
First night–we went straight to Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay–supposedly the best burger on the Strip. (We had made the decision to make this a foodie trip–since we are more interested in food than watching shows we can watch here in Austin–so we wanted to get straight to some food.) We were rushing through the maze that are the Vegas Casino–afraid we would not make it before closing and I was like a kid being rushed through a toy store–LOOK! Over there! Is that winged lion? Oh! Fountain. Yeah–it was an assault of visual stimulation.
We made it in time and it was delicious! Perfectly seasoned and cooked Kobe beef hamburger and the sweet potato fries were extra yummy. But NOT the best burger I have ever tasted–that honor is still held by the Walburg’s Dale Essenhaus Burger–nonetheless it was good. The most clever plate was the Dessert Burger–which had my brain confused–why is this sweet? It was very tasty and very sweet.
After it was gambling and drinking–which will become a recurring theme. I have been to a casino before, so the sounds and smells were not totally new to me. The amount and variety of slots and table were new to me–it is an attack on the senses. Chimes and dings. An odd sense of alertness (maybe the oxygen being pumped into the casino?) and energy. Could be electric–but I think it is all the mojo being swirled together.
I am a timid gambler. I hate letting my money go. So this was going to be difficult. In order to make this more enjoyable I had made a pact with all my loved ones that I was playing for all of us. IF I WIN–WE ALL WIN!! That was my motto coming in. Armed with the joint mojo of all my friends and family I will do it! I will win millions and share.
So, I put my first $20 bill in and my heart started racing. “This is entertainment. This is fun. This is for all my peeps! ” I repeated in my head over and over. A few pushes later the nerves led way to excitement as I doubled my money–woohoo! Visions of golden sugar plums were dancing in my mind…yes! this it going to work. Then I started losing my winnings. No! What was happening? My heart sank. I decided to walk away with $17 and exclaimed “Sweet! I only lost 3 dollars!” and Matt shook his head sadly and announced that I was not grasping the nuisances of gambling.
The next day we were off! Paris breakfast buffet was our first stop (freshly made crepes–YUM!). Walking on the streets I was overcome by the size of what I was witnessing. We were in the middle of the desert, surrounded by these man-made structures. Some of it impressive in scale and mimicry and others gaudy and tacky…very tacky. It is funny–funny peculiar–what we do for entertainment.
And entertaining it is! Although I practiced my Blackjack skills–I felt more comfortable among the slots (I did get to play some video Blackjack) and they are super fun. I loved Star Wars Droid Match. Lord of the Rings where I fought a Balrog…very cool. Sex and the City, which was very good to me. The Wizard of Oz–I love Lucy–Deal or No Deal and the famous Wheel of Fortune.
Add a constant flow of booze and you have the recipe for some good times, even when you have a mere $5 on the line–there were plenty of moans and groans as well as cheers and woots! It only became painful when I was desperately trying to win the large progressive amounts with max bets–the money disappeared to quickly and it was no longer entertaining–so I went back to fun gambling.
One thing we did not gamble on was the food. Delmonico’s for the best steak we had ever tasted. Emeril’s Fish House for a private, chef’s table experience that was amazing. Village Super Seafood Buffet with an impressive array of seafood deliciousness! Hash House a Go-Go for some incredible creations. And simple pleasures like an authentic Nathan’s hot dog.
My only hiccup was being poisoned–by who, what or when–it is unknown. All I know is that I was horribly sick on Wednesday evening and did not have my full appetite back until Friday. It was a bummer. We missed out on some activities that night. No Fremont experience or downtown. But there was no way I was spending my last day in a hotel room! We were out and about all day.on Thursday. I have no regrets.
On Friday we had to be at the airport by 6:30am and I jokingly mentioned that the slot machines were calling my name. We laughed. Then right in front of us a woman won about $700! NICE! I was tempted but said no. I decided to go home with some money in my pocket, which I have been told is going home a Big Winner.
Overall it was a wonderful adventure! I do not understand the people that visit more than once a year. It would not be my vacation of choice–I am a nature girl–and the beach will always have a lure. But I do feel that everyone should have their Vegas cherry popped! It is a singular experience in a singular place.