* When I travel to Albany, every po-dunk hotel in and around the town has free wifi in every room. At Luxor, it's $13.99 a day to rent their goddamn CAT-5. Fuck that noise. I'm logging all the rest of this as it happens, and saving it up for a post I'll make when I get home.
[I HAD to get online earlier to squee about Penn & Teller, so Remy helped me by tethering my laptop to his cellphone. For the remainder of the trip, however, there were no internets.]
* I've been here before, but I still can't get over the size of the mountains surrounding Vegas: around 11,000 feet in height. The Appalachians are little mounds of dirt in comparison.
* One thing I must've blocked out of my memory from last time: how damn aggressive every salesperson is. Especially the timeshare-pushing casino trolls- they pretend they're hotel staff and try to lure you in with talk of free or discounted show tickets- and the hundreds of people on the Strip who hand out pornographic cards for nudie shows. It's really dangerous when you're a Pittsburgher who's used to trading hellos with strangers. Can't do that, because everyone- everyone- is trying to sell you something. Stare straight ahead and don't say a word.
* It's always hard to figure out how to leave a casino. Signs are few and far between, and that's entirely on purpose.
* Our room had a view of the sunset that was right out of a Bob Ross painting. Myriad colors in the sky. Toward the north, there was a patch of haze on the horizon, and as the sun set, the haze turned deep brown. It was only in one small part of the sky. It reminded me of the Black Thing in A Wrinkle In Time.
* The room also had a spa, and a purple velvet couch. George Costanza would've been jealous.
* Our hotel's main attractions were a Criss Angel/Cirque du Soleil show, a fancy nudie show, and Carrot Top. Inexplicably, wherever you saw an ad for the nudie show, there was a Carrot Top ad right next to it. I'm not a man or an advertising executive, but this seems like a horrible marketing strategy to me. Someone who's trying to enjoy pictures of pretty girls in lingerie probably doesn't appreciate being simultaneously assaulted by Carrot Top's ugly mug. This ad agency has hit upon the most devastating boner-killer ever.
* At Excalibur, there was a store that had Mardi Gras beads/medallions for different pro sports teams: baseball, hockey, basketball, and football. What's hilarious about this is that every peg was absolutely crammed full of each team's beads... except the Steelers peg. It was down to maybe three sets. Apparently, there's a lot of black-and-gold love in Vegas. I bought one of the remaining sets of beads. Retarded, perhaps- leaving Steelers Country to buy yet more Steelers crap- but I was just too amused. The beads will go well with my Hines Ward jersey.
* Excalibur had a nudie show for the ladies: Australia's Thunder from Down Under. If the title isn't giggle-worthy enough, Remy and I saw this ad for it: "At Excalibur, the armor comes off." Makes me laugh so hard.
* Where can you see lions?
* Mike's Hard Lemonade, in plastic bottles, right where you buy water and soda. You can buy as many as you want at one time, even just one. Yes, damn it, this is fascinating when you live in Pennsylvania, land of the Liquor
* Shiny new Star Trek TOS slot machines that play video clips from the show, OMG! Obviously, someone felt that we were owed for the loss of the Star Trek Experience. I had to try one. Put in $20, cashed out with $38.15 after winning nearly $30 on one play for lining up three "Jackpot" symbols (which, of course, were the TOS Enterprise insignia that later became the Starfleet insignia). Not bad!
* Five years ago, the slot machines dispensed quarters, and you needed coin buckets to cash out. Now, the machines spit out a ticket that you can redeem for cash, or stick right back into another machine. The machines don't even accept coins anymore, not even on nickel or penny slots! Just bills or tickets.
* Remy bought me a lovely wrap that can be worn as a skirt or dress, at least twelve different ways. Now that I have one, I can see how easy it would be to make more of them myself... ::schemes::
* My sister requested casino chips as a souvenir, so I got her a $1 chip from every casino we set foot in. Final chip count: 14. This does not include the Harley Davidson and M&Ms World chips that I got her in addition to those. The M&Ms chip is especially great. It depicts a nervous orange M&M with the caption, "I'M DOOMED!"
* One thing you can never be in Vegas is caffeine-deprived. Almost every single casino we went to has at least two Starbucks. At Luxor, you can stand at the Starbucks closest to the main entrance, and clearly see the second Starbucks down the hall, maybe thirty yards away.
* We spent almost all of Wednesday at the Venetian and Palazzo. So gorgeous, and with lots of neat stores. There was one store that had books and letters dating back to the 1700s (including numerous documents penned and/or signed by Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington). I was most intrigued by first-run publications of Mark Twain novels and Thomas Paine's Common Sense. Another store had ancient coins and artifacts. Plenty of stores had beautiful dresses that would only set you back about fifteen grand or so (!).
Throughout the shopping area were numerous people dressed up like statues, who'd come alive at various points to sing or perform. There were also a couple of women dressed up like ents, I shit you not. There's a full-fledged canal running through the Venetian, and we took a gondola ride through it. Our gondolier sang a few songs, and had a booming operatic voice.
We saw Blue Man Group that evening- my third BMG show! It was very similar to the show I caught in Vegas last time I went, but they took out a few of the "Audio" routines in favor of "How To Be a Rockstar" segments (during which they briefly covered Devo's "Whip It" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird." They really need to play those all the way through and sell an album of it, it'd be awesome).
We meant to troll around all the casinos near the Venetian and Palazzo, but there was so much to explore in just those two casinos, and we were having such a good time, that we never got around to checking out anything else. Next time we come here, we'll stay at the Venetian and explore that part of the Strip in more detail.
* At night, it was around 40 or 50 degrees (as mentioned). Remy and I barely needed jackets. The natives, on the other hand, were crowding near outdoor heating lamps, hugging themselves, and throwing on thick coats and gloves. It made us giggle.
More pictures soon to follow!