Friday, July 22, 2011

Vegas pt. 2: the Jugs 'n' Jousting Tour 2011

(Continued from the previous entry)

On Sunday morning, C wasn't feeling very well, so G and I went downstairs and had a late breakfast at the Pyramid Cafe. I should have listened to the waiter when he told me I should only order two blueberry pancakes, because they turned out to be the size of hubcaps, but I didn't much like his "Told ya so!" when he took my plate away.

Later in the afternoon, we met up with C and did some shopping, gambling, and casino hopping. Here are some assorted pictures for your viewing pleasure (all taken by C): one unfortunate name.

Don't you feel like you just snorted a line of uncut cute?

My two favorite primates.


Our evening's entertainment was the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur. It's basically the same thing as Medieval Times, i.e. eating dinner with your hands while watching knights joust on OMG LIVE PONIEZ. I've always wanted to go to Medieval Times, and I have a very high tolerance/fondness for kitsch, so I really wanted to check this out. The food was actually surprisingly good for the most part: excellent tomato soup (yes, I loved a vegetable-based item; alert the media accordingly), Cornish game hen, and roasted potatoes. There was also a biscuity thing which was kind of bland, all the Pepsi you could drink (feh!), and a mediocre apple tart that probably originally came in a food service sized box of Entenmann's. They provided us with a wet wipe, but I'm glad I brought extras because one wasn't enough to thoroughly cleanse our hands of chicken grease. The show involved jousting and a Dragon Knight and lots of shouting for "our" king (we sat in the section for Russia) and was good cheesy fun.

After the show, we went to City Center, a new upscale mall with gorgeous architecture and cool/strange fountains.

Waiting for the tram.

Next up, Bellagio! We watched two of the fountain shows. The first one was set to "Proud to Be an American", which was just kind of eh, but they played "Time to Say Goodbye" during the second one, which was gorgeous. C got this terrific shot with the Paris casino in the background:

Then we went inside and walked around the conservatory...

...and went to the Jean Philippe Patisserie to admire the world's largest chocolate fountain/Willy Wonka's wet dream:

Of course, I was unable to leave without getting an early birthday treat.

Believe it or not, this tasted even better than it looked. It was a key lime tart with almond crust, topped off with a disc of white chocolate and white chocolate blades of "grass", one of which I accidentally dropped on the ground, much to my despair.

Back at the Luxor, we did some more gambling, and a particular slot machine called the Spin 'N' Win was REALLY kind to me. It had a roulette wheel on top, and it would just randomly begin a bonus round from time to time, even if you didn't have a winning payline. Whatever number the ball landed on, you got that number of credits. Most of the time, it would give you TWO bonus spins, and I wound up doing very well indeed. How well? Let's just say that my car payment for the month is taken care of. I've probably been to Vegas at least a dozen times in my life, and this is only the second time I've left ahead. It certainly didn't hurt that G was the angel on my shoulder saying "Are you sure you don't want to cash out?" if my finger started straying towards the "Repeat Bet" button after a big payout. Thanks to his gentle guidance, I got to the point where---no exaggeration---my wallet wouldn't close. Now THAT is a glorious feeling!

Monday was my birthday, and I started the morning off right with a sweet birthday card from G that made me mist up fiercely. We met up with C and went to the Mandalay Bay buffet for breakfast/lunch. For the most part, it was pretty unexciting, aside from excellent coconut shrimp and an unexpected suitor. There was a guy sitting at the table next to us, and he was an...interesting fellow. He was probably mid-40's, long greasy hair, aviator glasses, a Raiders of the Lost Ark shirt, and bermuda shorts. He kept looking over at us, but I didn't think much of it until I got up to get dessert and he followed me. As I stood there pondering the selection, he sidled up next to me and said, "Soooooo...what brings you to Vegas?"

"Oh, my boyfriend was nice enough to treat me to a birthday weekend," I replied, taking a piece of cheesecake.

He sniffed. "You could just say you weren't interested."


Okay, first of all, do I emit some sort of pheromone that makes people react negatively to the benign comments I make? (cf. the Barnes & Noble "You don't have to be a bitch about it!" incident) Second, this guy SAW me sitting at a table with two men! Is it really so weird to think that one of them was my boyfriend, especially since I am physically incapable of keeping my hands off G? I mean, I try to rein it in in public so he doesn't get uncomfortable, but he is the magnet and I am the steel.


After lunch, we decided to walk down the Strip. It was about 800 degrees out, so we tried to walk through the casinos as much as possible to avoid heatstroke. We wound up at Bill's Saloon, where we watched Big Elvis perform. True to his name, he was certainly...robust. (Though, according to the emcee, he used to be over 1000 pounds and is now literally half that.) He also sounded so much like the King that it was uncanny. I got a picture with him afterwards:

Well worth seeing if you love Elvis and happen to be in Las Vegas on a weekday. Word of advice, though: get there early if you want a decent seat. I guess it doesn't matter all that much, since he sits down for the vast majority of his performance, but you don't want to be so far away that the sound of slot machines is louder than his voice!

We started heading back "home", but first we stopped in MGM Grand for drinks and appetizers at Fiamma. This is the restaurant where my friend S and I once had a dessert called Caramello di Noce, which holds a place in my Top Ten Desserts of All Mothereffin' Time list. Unfortunately, they no longer had that dessert on the menu, so after mercilessly beating the head chef with a sock full of quarters, I went the savory route and settled for kobe meatballs in marinara sauce instead.

Back at the Luxor, we collected our luggage from the bell desk and then took a cab to the airport. The flight was, once again, uneventful, but something rather funny happened at the Burbank airport when we arrived. C and I were waiting for our luggage, and all of the sudden we heard people squealing "Oh my god!" and laughing hysterically. Eventually the cause of their amusement came tumbling past us:


It's not immediately apparent what this is from the picture, so I'll just tell you: somebody's vibrator. It's partially sticking out of a protective bag, but trust me, it was a vibrator. (I, um...saw one on TV once, which is how I know. Yeah.)

Apparently, as C said, what happens in Vegas winds up on the conveyor belt.