Tuesday, October 20, 2009

City of Blinding Lights

Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights

These lyrics by U2 are referring to New York, but remind me of Las Vegas because everyone in Vegas tends to be happy and beautiful. In day to day life many of us slouch, frown and putter through our days. In Vegas, people stand up straight, try to look their best and are generally happy (ok...and drunk). Happy smiling people are beautiful! I am an example of this. On a usual work day I really don't care about my appearance. I wear the same clothes a lot and don't bother with wearing contacts (they do dry out my eyes though when looking at a computer screen all day). I am usually just trying to get through my day with the least amount of stress possible. But in Vegas I take the time to try to look good for some reason...not really sure why, but I want to look my best and have fun. I walk with more confidence and am more outgoing. In my regular life I seem to fade into the background and get ignored a lot. Some days I feel almost invisible. This all changes once I hit the ground in the desert and Vegas becomes my happy place.

The trip on Friday morning was uneventful and I was in my hotel room at the MGM Grand at about noon. The plane ride out was actually nice because I felt like it was for the first time in a while a time to myself where nobody could ask or expect anything of me. There was nothing for me to do but just sit and listen to my iPod. J was still driving from California and would arrive in a couple hours. This was the perfect time for me to get some gambling in since she doesn't gamble as much as I do. I love blackjack and craps, but she is more of a video poker girl so we rarely gamble together. Craps on the strip has become too expensive for me in the big hotels and I'm over hanging out in the little places (and please, don't even mention going downtown...not my thing) so I stick with blackjack. I love it because I get to sit down, have waitresses bring me my drinks and my seat is saved while I use the restroom. I usually do pretty well either breaking even or winning some money. My chip stack may go up and down, but I love to play for hours and hours and if I lose some I am ok with it because it's fun and the cost of entertainment. I headed straight for my lucky row at MGM and sat down. I bought in for $200 and lost about $100 in an hour....not fun at all. No ups and down...just down and the people were quiet and no fun so I decided to take a break and wandered around the casino and looked at the lions. I love how the big cats act just like house cats, but way bigger. The two lions were all curled up together sleeping just like my cats do. J called and she had arrived! Let the fun begin...we hadn't seen each other in about a year and a half and had a lot to catch up on. J and I have been friends for 18 years and it's the type of friendship that time apart won't hurt. It doesn't matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, we can always pick up like we just saw each other. She even goes along with my silliness like wearing the matching shirts I got us that say Winner Winner Chicken Dinner on them. Then it was time to meet a fellow blogger and her friend for a drink in the bar which was fun. My tummy was ready for food though since my feedings had been on east coast time so J and I went to find some food. We ended up Wolfgang Puck, which was good, and then we headed for the piano bar at NYNY! I love piano bars and have never been able to get anyone to go with me to one in Vegas, but J, a karaoke lover, was all into it. We arrived just before it started and got seated up front. It was free to stand (on one side of the pianos) or a cover charge to sit at a table (on the other side of the pianos) so we chose to sit. I'm way too old to stand all night in uncomfortable shoes. It was only 8pm but this place was already packed with people ready to sing. The weird thing was that one of the piano players looked just like an ex boyfriend of mine from college. J even agreed and thought it was weird that he kept looking at us, but once he started singing we knew it wasn't him. My ex's name was Chad so we referred to the piano player as Chad for the rest of the night. This place was so much fun! People of all ages singing, dancing, drinking and having a great time...a way better time than any club in Vegas in my opinion. After a few hours I decided to request a song (U2's With or Without You). I filled out the form and brought it and the required money up to Chad and then returned to my seat. After a few minutes I really needed to use the restroom which was out in the casino. J told me to go because they had lots of songs to get to before mine, so I go. (I'm sure you can see where this is going...) On my way back from the restroom, I HEAR MY SONG!!!! Not only are they playing my song, but the entire place is going crazy singing along, louder than any song of the night so far. I started running and got back to hear the end of it, but that really burst my bubble. As soon as I sat down I looked and Chad and gave him a look like WTF???? He knew I requested that song and that I wasn't there...he just shrugged his shoulders at me like saying "too bad". I never really got back into it after that and we soon left. I think we spent about 4 hours there total. Props to the guy in the pink shirt and the woman doing the MC Hammer moves...you are both awesome! Oh and for the rock songs they brought out a guitar which was great...the place went crazy for Smells Like Teen Spirit and Back in Black. After the piano bar it was back to MGM for J to go to bed and for me to gamble some more. My bad luck continued, but I was at a table of nice people so at least that part was fun. I gave up after about 2 hours since I lost another $200. I got to bed at the reasonable hour of about 2:30am, but I did pretty well given I got up at 5:30am east cost time so I was up for 24 hours. I tried to know when to say when with the drinking, but given how I felt the next day, I think I had just one too many. The next morning J's mom came to visit (she lives about 1.5 hours away) so they went to have breakfast while I slept a little more. Since J wasn't hungry for lunch we just stopped at the food court to get me something to bring to the pool. Bad decision on McDonald's because it made my stomach hurt. I was a little hung over, but that wasn't bad compared to how the grease made my tummy feel. We just layed by the pool and relaxed. I wasn't in the mood for more alcohol yet. After the pool we headed up to the room to get ready to see Cher at Caesar's Palace. We had dinner at Trevi in the forum shops and the waiter was great at keeping things moving so we would make the show in time. I'm not a huge Cher fan, but the show was pretty good. I did nod off a little, but that happens when I'm bored. I liked the songs that I knew, but I wasn't familiar with the older stuff. The momentum of the show was a little odd because Cher changed here outfit and hair in between EVERY song! This made room for filler like videos of her and Sonny and dancers. The dancers were good, but I could do without the Sonny and Cher videos. After the show we were a little lost about what to do. I was really ready for a cocktail but all the bars at Caesar's were packed and, as noted previously, I like to sit. Plus, J has back problems so she likes to sit too, but not for too long. We wandered Caesar's then headed back to NYNY to try to find some fun. Lots of somber tones around the casinos, even at NYNY. We decided to just hang at their center bar for a while and get liquored up a bit to get things going. I tried to get J to go back to the piano bar, but she didn't want to so we went back to MGM to gamble. People were quite somber in this casino too so I was determined to find a fun table...or make it fun. It ended up being a blast! One of the those perfect gambling nights where everyone at the table was bonding, winning, cheering, and having a great time. We were that loud fun table everyone else gets jealous of. I stayed there until 4am and won back my $300 so I ended even gambling for the trip, but I felt like a winner since I went out on a high note. It was probably the most fun I've ever had at a blackjack table and there was very little alcohol involved because it wasn't needed to have fun. Brandon, Jim, Jim, Andy, and mystery man in the middle...you guys are the best blackjack buddies ever! Andy was our good luck charm. He stumbled up to the table with just $20 and turned it into hundreds using what we named "the Andy method". No matter what he did, he won. The only downside was the rude dealer Rafael who wouldn't talk much and when he did it was like he was spitting fire at us and he became very aggressive. He almost broke up our "band" but we hung in there for the most part and only lost one Jim because that's who Rafael focused his aggression on after Jim asked him if he had a Facebook page (ok, when Rafael didn't respond, Jim said he should be called Rafael Buzzkill and that set him off...). The rest of us left when the table just started to turn so we all left with winnings. Then it was off to bed and the next day I got up, packed, bought C a souvenir (as I always do if I travel without him) and J drove me to the airport. It was nice not being hung over (or worse...still drunk) for the trip home. We had a great tail wind and landed 45 minutes early. The highlights of this trip were definitely the piano bar and the last night with the "band" playing blackjack. J and I always have a great time together. I can't wait to go back...

Neon heart day glow eyes
A city lit by fireflies
They're advertising in the skies
For people like us

And I miss you when you're not around
I'm getting ready to leave the ground

Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights


lnnajman said...

I can't wait to play black jack with you ALL night.

Patrice said...

You should have seen me freak out when the pit manager said our table would be closing in 90 minutes...it was 3am at the time, but I wanted to stay there as long as I wanted...who knew they would close a table full of people. She kept telling me I had "plenty of time".