It all started innocently enough. About 6 weeks ago, I said to Mike that I wanted to go away over Memorial Day weekend, one last trip somewhere by ourselves before the arrival of Baby L. I proposed New York City , and Mike’s immediate comeback was “Why don’t we go to Vegas?”
Why not, indeed?
So we used our frequent flier miles to get free flights (well, relatively free—there was a $30 service charge for each). Mike called around to a few different hotels and came across one that would comp us the 3 nights— New York New York . Free flight, free hotel. Who could resist?
Certainly not us! (And in a twisted sort of way, I got my trip to New York!)
If I was a complainer (which I’m trying hard not to be), we kind of got what we paid for. On the flight out, we had the pleasure of sitting directly behind 2 drunk jerks, one of whom was the Ultimate Loud Talker. I could hear every word he said despite my ears being clogged from the change in altitude AND wearing earplugs. Because our flight was delayed, US Airways was stupid considerate enough to offer a complimentary alcoholic beverage to everyone on the plane to make up for the inconvenience. Brilliant idea . . .half our flight went to the bar as soon as the delay was posted. Now that we’re finally on the plane, let’s get everyone even drunker! And then, despite having to be asked to be quiet by the flight attendant because of his drunken Loud Talking, the dude bought 3 more during the flight. Is it not possible for him to be cut off? I guess every $7 is so important to US Airways that it doesn’t matter that the rest of the passengers are irritated. Our flight back was quiet, but very very bumpy. The seatbelt sign was on almost the entire flight and at some points the turbulence was so severe that your butt actually lifted off the seat and then slammed back down despite the seatbelt. The Bishop of the Pittsburgh Diocese was on our flight, so I think that made us all feel a little safer.
And the room? Ehh. The hotels we stayed at before had much nicer rooms—bigger and with extravagant bathrooms. This one wasn’t much more than your ordinary Holiday Inn in Anytown , USA . But it was clean, and we were barely there anyhow, so it wasn’t a big deal. Plus, we were on the 22nd floor with a view of one of the higher spots on the roller coaster, so it was entertaining to be able to just sit there and watch.
But despite the little quirks, we had an incredible time. We went into this trip knowing that it’s going to be our last one, at least for quite some time, so we had a game plan of the things we wanted to do while we were there. Some highlights of the trip:
Staying up until after 2AM (Vegas time) our first night there and then only getting 3 ½ hours of sleep before being wide awake and ready to start the day. For once, pregnancy insomnia did me a favor.
The bed was really firm (but not uncomfortable) and sleeping on it totally got rid of my ligament pain, which was key to me being able to walk around the whole time we were there. I’m cured!
Going to bed the first night after hours of gambling and only being down $5. Mike was up $50. Good feeling.
Heading downtown on Saturday morning before Fremont Street was really busy . . .wandering in and out of casinos, people-watching, and playing 3 card poker and roulette.
Checking out casinos on the strip that I haven’t been in before—Stratosphere and Circus Circus. I’ve now officially set foot in every single casino that’s on the strip.
Going back to the Riviera . . .
Mike stayed there for work 3 years ago and I went out for a long weekend. I woke up at 4AM the first morning really thirsty and we wandered downstairs to find somewhere to buy bottles of water. We went into this ABC store.
Bottles of water were $2.50, 24oz cans of beer were $2. Our rationale was that beer is mostly water, so we each grabbed one (and then another and then another) and sat at these Wheel of Fortune machines
until 10AM or so (winning money!), when Mike had to go over to the convention center for work and I went to the spa (which wasn’t very spa-ish, but I got the best neck and back massage EVER there). We both reeked of beer and were very very tired by the time we met up again at the pool that afternoon. That morning with Mike is one of my favorite Vegas memories.
Dinner at Chin Chin. Possibly better than PF Chang’s. We left there stuffed—I went upstairs and took a nap while Mike played Pai Gow Poker. I met up with him downstairs an hour later and we walked around for awhile (to MGM Grand and the Tropicana), but it ended up being a fairly early night, relatively speaking.
Going to the Hard Rock on Sunday and watching all of the “young kids” line up for Rehab.
Playing roulette at the Hard Rock with a famous (well, at least “reality show famous”) person–Evil Dick, the winner from Big Brother 8. We didn’t give him the time of day as he threw around his $100 chips and he left the table disgruntled that we didn’t fawn all over him. He’s as skeevy in person as he was on the show.
Going back to Planet Hollywood, which was our “home base” for a lot of our Vegas trips. We loved it as the Aladdin, and love it even more as Planet Hollywood.
Mike seeing Chuck Liddell (in real life, but we only got a picture of a cardboard cutout of him).
Lunch at Earl of Sandwich (although they really need to bring back the Ultimate Grilled Cheese).
Wandering up and down the strip to Bill’s, O’Shea’s, Casino Royale, Imperial Palace , Harrah’s, the Venetian, and the Flamingo, and ending up back at Planet Hollywood for the Spice Market Buffet. Mike had been looking forward to the crab legs for weeks. We got our money’s worth there.
Seeing a random Elvis.
Playing some kind of Noah’s Ark slot machine at O’Shea’s that just wouldn’t stop giving me money. And then playing a game with wolves on it that gave me even more. And all the while, being entertained by the people playing beer pong in the back of the casino.
Walking back to New York New York and stopping along the way to make our first clothing purchase for the baby.
Buying a couple more outfits before we left on Monday.
And Mike couldn’t resist a musical Vegas snow globe for the baby’s room. It plays “Luck Be a Lady”. It never occurred to either of us that you can’t take a snow globe in a carryon bag (duh), so that made for quite an adventure in the security line.
Taking my weekly belly picture in front of Nine Fine Irishmen before lunch.
Traditional Guinness at Nine Fine Irishmen. Mike had two to make up for me not being able to have one.
All of a sudden, it was time for us to go home. We got in a cab and headed to the airport, looking back at the strip.
Our gate at the airport faced the strip, and we had a view of the hotel where our baby was conceived (I know . . .TMI for some of you), thinking about how our lives are going to change (for the better!) in just a few short months.
It was a bittersweet trip . . .knowing that it was our last vacation anywhere before the little one arrives. But every time we got sad about having to head back home to reality, we thought of the baby and knew that our biggest adventure is yet to come. And we couldn’t be happier.