Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How I spent my Vegas weekend

Our flight on Friday night to Vegas was uneventful but extremely uncomfortable. My long-legged husband suffered in the cramped economy seat on Air Canada Rouge. My butt was numb from the five hour-plus flight and we both limped off the plane excited but stiff.

Chad and I realized rather quickly after checking into our resort that Planet Hollywood was way too young for us. This was quite evident at 3 am Vegas time when we were aroused by the sounds of young college men and their recent cougar hookups racing the halls, with one couple having a fight about blowjobs right outside our door. We had checked in at 11:30 pm and as much as we wanted to stay awake, we were struggling against Toronto time and our brains told us we should be in bed.

Neither of us slept well because of the noise from the cougars and their cubs, and the excited drunken screams generated by several bachelorettes, so at 7am, we filled up on Starbucks at $11 for two coffees -- courtesy of Las Vegas premium pricing, and hit the shops. We soon discovered there was a Food Mall inside the Miracle Mile. Chad was beside himself with en"food"siasm. I think his heart actually stopped beating.

At the casino, I played a few rounds of poker (complete with sunglasses and hat just like on those tournaments on television) and used my winnings ($200) to hit the slots. I slid in a $10 bill and won $40.

By 11 am, Chad are I were fighting some serious exhaustion so we had an early lunch and decided we'd try a nap.

We both collapsed on the bed and I had just drifted off when I was startled awake by loud thumping.  I opened an eye, looked at my husband, who was already up, and I asked him what the hell? He told me to come to the window. It turned out our room faced the Pleasure Pool where the DJ spins ALL AFTERNOON from 12 til 6. SERIOUSLY.

I looked longingly at Aria - a hotel that looked like it allowed for afternoon naps, and lamented the mistake we made with our accommodation.

I had brought earplugs. Nothing.  The bass vibrated through the pillow.  After an hour, we both realized there would be no siesta so we decided to put on some swimsuits and check out this Pleasure Pool.

Needless to say, the antics of many of the swimmers were hysterically amusing and Chad and I spent most of the time in the old people part of the pool watching the younger crowd party, flirt and drink.

I will admit, that was the first time in my life where I was incredibly aware of my age. It was like a sharp slap in the ass.

Later on we showered, dressed and decided to search for some good steak for my birthday dinner. I was convinced I looked exhausted but my husband assured me I looked fine. I posed for this photo at his request. I love how you can see him taking it in the mirror.

The first choice, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris (loved the fake Arc de Triomphe by the way) proved we'd be in need of a second mortgage to even eat dinner so we continued along the strip until we saw the sign for Ruth's Chris.

It was an exceptionally lovely dinner that was topped off by an unexpected slice of birthday cake courtesy of our waiter, Dominick, and the manager who overheard us talking with the maitre'd about our lack of reservations and birthday plans.

We spent the rest of the night exploring the other resorts and then headed to bed. I took this HDR night photo of the strip from one of the pedestrian bridges.

On Sunday, we made good on our earlier commitment to walk to downtown Las Vegas and visit the shop made famous by the television show, "Pawn Stars".

Sadly, no Rick, Old Man or Chumlee. They no longer work the counters.

I had to snag a photo of us in front of the Little White Chapel. There was a wedding going on with a lot of people at the time.

It took me a while to figure out what the little round things were on my neck. That, my friends, is congealed sunscreen. Nice, huh? So gross.

After walking almost 12 km in 93F heat, we took the Deuce bus back to the hotel, a double-decker bus not unlike GO's fleet. Same crap -- different smell. And even in Vegas, I can't escape my life's work. Check out this superstar.

He wasn't moving that foot for anyone, including people who brushed against the sole of his shoe while they swayed down the aisle. I told Chad I was ready for a judo chop but he reminded me that bail works differently in the States, so I had to quell my commuter rage -- which I am now convinced is a mental illness that hasn't been officially recognized by the World Health Organization. Give it time.

In the evening, Chad took me on the High Roller - the largest moving observation deck in the world. It's disguised as a ferris wheel. We only paid half price because dads were riding for free even if you left your kids at home like we did. This was a nice surprise as my American Express card was feeling very financially exhausted.

The pods lift you up and over the Las Vegas strip to a total height of 550 feet.

It was a whirlwind two days and for the plane ride home on Monday, I had called Air Canada Sunday morning and was able to move Chad and I into priority seating. This gave Chad more leg room and a deeper seat. He was incredibly grateful. It also helped with the circulatory issues in his legs because of his diabetes. It was important to me he be comfortable and the Air Canada agent was amazing, we didn't have to sacrifice any Aeroplan points for the upgrade. She was incredibly sympathetic to his plight. At least we know for next time.

Our seat mate one aisle over had been in Vegas for a bachelorette party. Whenever it was possible, she sat like this for the entire flight.

Yes, she is face down in that pillow.

Other highlights/lowlights of the weekend include:
  • Spending three minutes on Sunday morning in the elevator of our hotel with Dennis Rodman who hopped on from the 10th floor with a small entourage. He told those of us already on board that he was having a Bloody Mary for breakfast. He was whisked away by a security detail before I could ask for a photo in the lobby.
  • Answering in French every time some guy or girl on the street tried to sell us event tickets only to have one person answer me back in perfect French. The hell? What are the odds?
  • We didn't eat. I mean, we ate, but we didn't EAT. I found that I just don't have that desire any more. The Cindy from five years ago would have been all over that. 
  • We didn't drink. I mean, we drank, but no where near as much as I had originally planned to. I think the lack of motivation stemmed from how stressed out I had been feeling and knowing I was going home to more stress. I drink better when I am relaxed.
  • We slept way too little and learned we are too old for keeping bar hours.
Chad and I doubt we'll ever go back. We think it was a missed opportunity for something we should have done when we were both still in our twenties. At times, we lamented the fact that our 9-year-old daughter wasn't with us. We know we would have enjoyed some parts of our Vegas experience better if she had been there.

At the same time, Chad and I did need some time alone. Because of our work schedules, volunteer activities, my commuting hours and our daughter's commitments, we don't "couple" much.

It was very nice to just be a couple again but I know my heart is really more at peace when we are a family.


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to digest that you're actually 40. You DO NOT look your age!!!

C.J. Smith said...

Thanks! I can thank my parents for the good genes. I got carded every time I bought alcohol.

Nora1968 said...

Beautiful skin, CJ - you do not look 40.

Loved this - I've never been to Vegas (though I hope to someday perhaps) but I LOL'd my way through your story so much my staff thought I'd lost my mind. Would love to have heard some stories from the comatose blonde (but no doubt she doesn't remember any...). :-)

elise said...

looks like you had a wonderful b-day, and you look like a MILLION DOLLARS. now that's a wad of cash even in vegas.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday from a fellow 40 year old commuter who also still gets carded...

C.J. Smith said...

Baby face commuter rage!

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure I went to high school with your husband. Thornlea. Early 90. I had a huge crush on his friend Brad.

C.J. Smith said...

Wow! Small world. He's still good friends with everyone.

Bicky said...

Sounds like you packed a lot in in those three days. Glad you had fun. Should have warned you about the pool during the day. It's like that at just about every hotel on the strip.

jenny p said...

What kind of camera were you using when up on the High Roller?

George said...

I too went looking for the Pawn Stars and didn't see them at all in the store. I was actually quite surprised at how run down the place looks compared to the TV show.
If you ever go back for any reason, try Fremont Street. It's a lot quieter and you don't have to walk miles and miles to go from casino to casino, and the strip is a quick bus ride away. We stayed at the Golden Nugget (Carson Tower) and loved it.
BTW West Jet screwups made a five hour flight into 12 for us. We had to make an unscheduled stop in Denver due to "mechanical problems" at 30,000 feet no less!Then when we landed, it was in a howling windstorm with 50 to 80 mph winds. A very exciting landing. Then to top it off, our room was taken when e got to the hotel but they upgraded us for free. One good thing about the flight.
The wind was taking deck chairs from the pool and piling them all up at one end. Walking outside felt like someone pushing you hard from behind.
The rest of our trip was like yours, all frenetic activity and sightseeing (we didn't win any money though).
Glad you enjoyed it.

Jules said...

Thanks for sharing your trip, I often think about going back with my 14 year old daughter just to do all the things I wished I had of done when I went in my 20's! (non partying things of course)
The view of the mountains is just breath taking.

Anonymous said...

Stay at Vdara next time.