Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Little Vacation Side Story- Part 1

So how was everybody's Thanksgiving break? 
(I know it's been a week and most of you have already COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN about it and are on to the next holiday up to bat, but I'm overwhelmed lately and it took me something close to 2 eons to write this so forgive me and indulge me for a smidge of time, k? K.)

Did you all have a "staycation" or did you get to go somewhere, like me?

After what feels like hundreds of years of turning out fabulous turkey dinners (my husband makes the BEST turkeys, which are decidely from his Epic Brining Skills...) we decided to ditch the traditional crap and hit the road and head for Vegas of all places. Bring on the buffets! No cooking or entertaining for us! We were going to be fed AND entertained!

Backstory: My little family unit NEVER goes on vacation. 

And at the risk of sounding like Taylor Swift, I mean, like EVER.

We've been SAYING we're gonna do it for YEARS now, but have never executed anything other than mini trips to stupid Northern Nevada or Northern California where we visit family. That's it. 
Mainly because we are both workaholics AND we are rarely granted any time off of work, we have had to use the small amount of time we get off to visit with family before they blow a proverbial gasket and/or think we hate them. Or both.

But the kid's getting older now, and she bitches all the time about how she has "no life" and doesn't get to go out and experience everything her friends supposedly do, so trying not to be horrible failures as parents, we succumbed and booked a trip to Vegas. (Although I think taking your kid to Vegas in an effort to try and not be a bad parent is kind of an oxymoron, no? Irony- noted.)

Excitement level of the kid was pretty high, and so was the husband's from what I could tell. Me on the other hand?
Not so much.

See, I don't like Vegas. I've only been a handful of times in my life, but each time has been either awful or just kind of, meh. 

The other real reason I don't like going there is I flat out HATE Nevada. And I lived there for 12 years, in various cities, so I have a RIGHT to state my opinion. I don't like dirt OR dirtbags, and Nevada is overflowing with both. Sure there's great skiing and gambling, and fabulous scuzzy Harley riders every 10'. But I'm not into ANY of that. It's just not my cup of tea. 

I knew I needed to put my game face on though and at least PRETEND I was excited about going for the sake of my kid, so I did. I was Happy McJolly Pants until we got in the car that Wednesday-before-the-big-day morning and had to endure the horrible 5+ hour drive in bad traffic, with lunatic drivers, on the busiest travel day of the year. 

Ever ridden on a long trip with an engineer? If not, you're truly missing out. There's a LOT more entailed with driving than one might ever imagine. For example- did you know that you can save on gas mileage if you plan your route to include only right hand turns? No? Well now you know. If you can magically pull off this feat, I imagine you can save upwards of 2 cents, PER GALLON, depending of course if you can manage to NOT waste gallons of fuel going miles and miles in clockwise circles just trying to GET to your particular destination.

While this handy dandy tip was not unleashed upon me during this trip (thank GAWD he saves it for only when we are in our hometown, because THAT'S bad enough) he did decide to try to save gas mileage by engaging in several "engineer-esque" ways... such as just putting the ol' Mazda 3 in neutral (it's a stick) and coasting on the freeway whenever possible. This is fine and I'm all for fuel economy and saving the environment etc, but when you're in the fast lane, in bad traffic and 20' tall overblown trucks driven by men with uber small penises are bearing down on us? Not okay.

I timidly watched from the passenger side mirror as we were continually being tailgated until I finally turned into that bitchy, awful wife every man hates--- I started complaining about his driving habits. Not to Hyacinth "Bouquet's" level of complaining or nagging mind you, but admittedly, pretty bad. (Unfamiliar with Hyacinth's antics because you've never seen "Keeping Up Appearances on BBCA? You're totally missing out. Here's a link so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about: Hyacinth being a pill in the car.)

Anyhoo, between those kinds of issues and the way I seem to always screw up my land-based navigational duties for us (I kick ASS in nautical, sea-based navigation tasks just for the record, but my skills unfortunately do not translate to land), suffice it to say we will never try out for the Amazing Race because we would FAIL. 

Upon arrival after said ridiculous drive, we pulled into the Palms Resort off Flamingo Rd. This fabulous establishment, co-owned by the lovely Adrienne Maloof of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and pictured here: 

was a rare treat for us as it seemed to embody the complete stylings of Max Headroom and a trashy 80's hooker. I was shocked at the decor. Here are a couple of shots I took so you can get an idea:

This is a picture taken just outside our room:

What exactly is this? I see flying spoonfuls of honey.

And here are shots of the oddest blinking light boxes ever stationed next to the elevators, complete with burned out bulbs:

Ahhh, the thrill of a hotel with such glitz and glamour... I can hardly take it.

Oh wait! It changes patterns! 

This experience is SO worth the price we paid. I could stay here and watch this dribble forever! Swoon!

Okay, not really.
So the bulk of the hotel was designed *oddly* (ahem) but the room itself was really nice. Here are some pics of that to give you an idea: 

Our room, complete with cool, orange suede headboards

Our massive bathroom

So not bad, right?
Imagine my surprise when I went to turn on the tub and the WATER CAME OUT OF THE CEILING. 
Don't believe me? Here's a pic of it first...

Sorry for crookedness, just tilt your head to the left and focus on the invisible stripper pole and you've got it!

Or, you can just watch this video of me starting it up and then running away like a scared child:

Silly no?
What fun it was... to a certain extent. I wonder if this is the latest thing in Beverly Hills too? Does Ms. Maloof have these installed in all of her bathrooms in her French Chateau that's currently for sale because of her divorce to Mr. Paul Nassif? Possibly.

I can tell you though that the housekeeper brain in me went mental over this situation... water was splashing EVERYWHERE. It was hitting the wallpaper, the window shades, the TV mounted on the counter above the tub, all over the floor and completely coating the glass shower door just to the right of the tub. All I could do is watch in absolute horror as half the water intended for the tub went all over the surrounding surfaces instead. Those poor housekeepers would be squeegee-ing the walls for HOURS. 
(Yes, I realize I have issues if I worry about things like that. Don't be judgedy. I hardly EVER relax.)

Anyway, once the tub was filled, I shooed the family members out so that I could TRY to unclench while they went to play on roller coasters I am forbidden from riding on due to my neck and spine issues. With everyone in their appropriate places, I settled in with a nice glass of wine and an endearing TV flick some of you might have heard of... "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". Not exactly a wild night out on the town that most people would have in Vegas eh?

Fast forward 5.5 hours.

Bang bang bang!!
Right by our heads.

WTF is that?
OMG I think the poor housekeepers are squeegee-ing something in the room next door. I bet water went EVERYWHERE in that suite too. 

Hubs and I were tossing and turning, trying to go back to sleep. It is, after all, 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
Kid snoring through it all (she could sleep through an atomic blast) we immediately start putting the pieces together. 

"Either they're doing construction on the room next door, or somebody's chopping up a body and trying to hide it in various locations in the room."
Clang of a bucket handle.
"Yup. One or the other."

Hubs calls the front desk to complain. 
They send a security guy up to find out what's going on.
Turns out that the engineering department was busy fixing the wall in the room next door where a picture had damaged it. (Read: a party got terribly out of hand in here, and now we have to spackle the hell out of it.) That wall happened to be right by our heads. How lovely. 

I wonder how Ms. Maloof would feel about them doing that to HER? On Thanksgiving no less? 
The one time we don't have to cook and entertain people?
I highly DOUBT that would go over well, what do you all think?

We asked to be comped something. They offered up one measily overnight room fee amounting to $20. Hubs protested, really? Then they said they'd put our names down for a free buffet breakfast the following day, we just had to be downstairs by 10am. Alright, whatever. You guys clearly suck and Stephanie will just have to unleash her venomous fury with her WORDS on REVIEW SITES later. 

So what the hell, we're up, let's start the day.
And a full day it was. 
We saw the Bellagio... which had, drum roll please... 

The world's largest mother-effing cornucopia!!


The coolest glass art EVER.

Just outside the Bellagio, you can see skeevy street characters, such as: 



The Grinch! Otherwise known as Creepster McMolester in a costume.

These "kinds" of "characters" were placed all over the city so as you walked by them, you'd feel either sorry for them and put money in their pathetic handmade tip jar, or be scared out of your wits and would run for your life. We saw the saddest looking Hello Kitty EVER and I tried to take a pic but it didn't come out. Mainly because I was half running trying to get AWAY from sad (and also possibly murderous) Hello Kitty. 

The rest of our day was also filled with lots of wonderful, joyful things. We went to see the Siegfried & Roy animal "reserve" where they conveniently held dolphins AND various exotic cats (because as we all know, the two species go together...)

I swear it took everything in me not to climb in and play too!

How can anyone not love these creatures? They're SMILING at us... practically BEGGING us to get in and play!

Check out this stately character. Wowza!

Up next... the Shark Exhibit at Mandalay Bay...

I also love sharks. Yes, I know, I'm weird. But I fanatically luv them.  Would even voluntarily swim with them.
And have before.

This guy was in a tide pool where they let us touch him. Just as long as we promised not to poke out his 2 slimy eyeballs. So I behaved myself as I had no need to de-eyeball a ray that day. (That sounds like a new Dr. Suess book.)

Next up... we passed by a store I'll never go into:

Yes, I know... weird again right? I'll swim with dolphins and sharks and play with rays, but I won't go in a Kardashian store. What kind of GIRL am I? Ooo! I know! A COOL one. ;0)

Next up- the Luxor!
Here's a pic of the outside of the place so you have some reference, in case you've never been there of course...

And here's a shot of the inside "ceiling" of the place... believe me, it's certainly more breath-taking in person. 

But more to the point, currently inside the Luxor... the coolest effing thing ever... may I present to you...

The Titanic, 100 year anniversary exhibit. 
Was epic. 

Only available in various spots around the world, they were IN VEGAS, and we were IN VEGAS and bam! It was a MUST GO for Becky and I as we are HUGE Titanic fans. HUGE.

(Side bar: Hubs had decided to forego the tour because it was uber pricey, and instead went to go play on the slot machines he'd literally helped build at his previous job with International Gaming Technology. Sometimes all it takes is $7 and the allure of nostalgia to entertain my husband for an entire hour.)

They did not allow cameras inside and actually made us TURN OFF our cell phones. 
That was the most painful part for me. 
(That and of course reading about the incredible stories. That was also painful.)

They started off the tour by giving us these neat cards... everyone got a different one:

Here's the other side of the card:

I know you can't read it so here's what this particular one says (please keep in mind each one is different than the other, with over 2000 variations):

"Sailing from: Southampton 
Date: 10, April 1912
Passenger name: Mrs. Benjamin Peacock (a.k.a. Edith Nile)
Age: 26
From: Illogan, Cornwall, England
Accompanied by: Treasteall (daughter, 3 years) and Alfred E. (son, 9 months)
Class: 3rd
Traveling to: Elizabeth, New Jersey
Reason: Edith was traveling to America to join her husband, who worked as a mechanical engineer.
Passenger Fact: The family decided to immigrate, however, at the time they were due to sail Edith fell ill and her husband traveled alone. When Edith recovered, she and the children booked passage aboard Titanic."

So did y'all get that?
One of the founding members of the WOE club I've previously mentioned (which stands for "Wives of Engineers" that are driven crazy by their engineer husbands) left some cool town in England to try and meet her lovely (and alive) engineer husband in some schmucky town in New Joiy-zee. She got sick on her first attempt, but once she got better, she booked the trip with her little kids, sans hubs. Said engineer hubby was already there, k? K.

Now, the point of these cards was to walk through the exhibit, taking each room in and then at the very end, you look on a great memorial wall and search for the name of the passenger, listed on your card. 

You start by searching for their class. This particular card, (which was Becky's), was 3rd class. Then you look under both the "Saved" and "Lost" sections. Did Edith and her children live? I'll get to that in a minute.

First... the exhibit itself. 
In a word, breathtaking. 
It literally knocked the breathe out of us with each turn. 

They fashioned the first few rooms and areas to resemble rooms on the ship, and so, of course, we felt as if we were on the movie set, just waiting for Jack or Rose to come around the corner. The hallway down in the bowels of the great ship that resembled this shot were first:

They even had the sound of the engines running piping through this portion of the exhibit.

Then, more corners to turn, more artifacts under protective Plexi-glass to see and read about... and then bam! 
We turn the corner and come upon the grand staircase seen here:

We both gasped and had to retreat to the previous exhibit area to catch our breath and steady ourselves to go back in and take it all in. Think I'm being dramatic? Hardly.
If the exhibit comes anywhere even CLOSE to where you live or are vacationing, this is a MUST DO people. 

There is a piece of the hull of the great ship also freestanding towards the end, and of course the great memorial wall really got us. Did Edith and her small children make it? Sadly, they did not.

Possibly the coolest part of the tour was at the very end where there is a guest book where you can write your thoughts. I had finished jotting mine down and had just walked away while Becky was still crouched over hers... there was no one around her (as I looked before I sauntered off) and suddenly she felt something touch the back of her head. Now either I've been letting her watch too many ghost shows (which is highly possible) or the tales of the exhibit being haunted are true... as she came running up to me, freaked beyond belief, but also thrilled it happened to her as she digs stuff like that, just like her lunatic mother does. 

Moving on...

It's Thanksgiving dinner buffet time! 
And what a great story that and the rest of the trip is... but you'll have to wait until tomorrow when I will put up Part 2 of our interesting adventure. 

Until then, thanks for reading. 
And if you're still eating leftovers? 
It's time to throw them out.

Peace out my peeps!

1 comment:

  1. I'm warning you . . . this comment is gonna be tremendously long. Just so you know.

    I have been to Vegas a ton! My hubs is a degenerate gambler (not really) and loves that place, so we have travelled there a bit. Never with the kids, though. In fact, he just won this handicapping tournament (horse racing), and they are flying him out for TWO trips in the beginning of the year. I will probably go with him for one, if we can find childcare.

    I have been to all of those places you talked about as well. Except for the Titanic exhibit. That would be pretty awesome, though. And how horribly sad for Edith and her kids. :(

    I could totally live in that bathroom! How beautiful and spacious. But yeah, that whole water from the ceiling thing is bizarre. We have stayed at the Hard Rock in Ft. Lauderdale, and their bathrooms are so incredible I have considered moving in. Just to the bathroom, mind you. A huge tub and ginormous rain shower with FIVE shower heads. Amazing and gorgous. I have a thing for awesome bathrooms.

    My husband once pet a stingray in Monterey on our honeymoon. It was the highlight of his life, I believe.

    Hello Kitty impersonators are a sad lot. I saw a couple in Times Square and they were creepy and so very sad. I do not like that new trend in Vegas. They never used to have all those people all over the streets. It's creepy.

    I think I'm done. Wait . . . yeah, that's all I have for now. :) (And you thought I'd forgotten about you!).