When my good dear friend SH first started dating her current fella, SW and I decided that they would some day get engaged, and when they got engaged then we would get the chance to go to Vegas. We spread this around our group and soon enough everyone was ready to go. Only thing was, the couple had only been together for a few weeks, and SH shrugged off the engagement topic as it was too soon. But, we were right. We were psychic. We only had to wait about a year or so and soon enough we were planning our sin city weekend of debauchery.
Having never been there I assigned each of the eight or nine girls a few hotels to research, and then I built a spreadsheet that soon included pasted pictures of each giant shrine to Vegas style fun and luxury. Working long hours in post-production afforded me computer time to make use of google images. After weeks of organizing and research, we let the bride pick and she found a deal at Excalibur, a castle themed casino/hotel which seemed perfect for our princess. Plus, I was adamant about us attending a male revue show called the Thunder From Down Under and for our bachelorette package we got 2 for 1 tickets.
I decided to use my miles to get there as I had many trips coming up and no work in sight, and traveling alone I can get away with the odd flights. Hence, Friday morning I had to get up at 4.30 to get to the airport for a 6.45 am flight. Flying that early in the morning tends to make me nauseous so what I really ought to do is go to bed early and get my beauty rest right? Ummm no. Roommate was having a drinking game to match our viewing of Celebrity Rehab (I know, pretty dark right?) so I went to bed a little tipsy at midnight. Hence, I had a rough ride over. I got sick on my first flight (in the bathroom, thank god) and was better once the sun was higher above me. Landing in Las Vegas you are immediately reminded of where you are - there are slot machines in the terminals as soon as you get off the plane, and people are ensconced there, drink in hand, pushing buttons and staring away.
I had a lovely white haired older cab driver who was very welcoming and gave me the best advice - even if you think you can walk there, you probably can't. Vegas has giant landmarks that look close from wherever you are - but the pathways to get anywhere are meandering and full of slow moving, often drunk tourists. Plus, you know heels. When I walked into the room, I was greeted by SW, CQ & KF who had already unpacked and arranged all of their heels and shoes along one wall. I couldn't get my coat off before they were yelling at me to do the same.
We headed downstairs to the "Sherwood Forest Cafe," which was basically a windowless diner, so we could get some food and the first Vegas cocktail. We all ordered something different off the frozen cocktail menu and I was giddy with anticipation and also a bit worried about how much more tired I could possibly get. After touring the nearest other hotel, New York New York, which boasted about 5,000 restaurants and a roller coaster, we met up with three other girls who had just gotten in, including our bride. She was excited to be there and we sent them off for food while we rested up for the evening's activities.
I was in charge of getting ready to go out party music so I packed a playlist of stuff I would never normally buy or listen to - Beyonce, Rhianna, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse and umm also someone called Lil' Whyte (NSFW). I tried out some heels on my way to the hotel's spirits store and realized I was not quite there yet. We managed to get some free jello shot coupons on the way back but this involved going into the Dick's Last Resort, where we first had to have a magic show demonstrated by the toothless bartender with SW's expired license, but our charms won the day. Biggest pain in the ass ever for a free jello shot. Upon returning to the room we realized a girlsplosion had occurred - there were clothes and jewelry, makeup and scarfs streaming everywhere. The bathroom was full of product and appliances humming and burning. We got to know the new girls we hadn't met before, and people were tarted up to an inch of their non-prostitution-worthy credibility. It was time to head out.
Eight girls walking through the casino dressed to impress was a fun group to be in. We cabbed it over to the Bellagio, which is beautiful, elegant and refined. Sure there are still lots of unattractive tourists tramping through who look like they might shop at Wal-Mart, but this place was classy. With a C. We ate at a cozy Asian place called Noodles that seated us immediately, had a small discussion about next plans which went nowhere, and eventually decided to find karaoke to please our bride. First we had one quick round of gambling in which some first time wins were made.
Consulting my handy iphone, I decided we could all walk to the Imperial Palace as it was only on the other side of the next intersection. Remember what my cab driver told me? I ignored it. It especially wasn't fair to the other girls as I had changed into a more sensible pair of heels (medium height Mary Jane's) and most everyone else were still rockin' f-me heels. Some grumbling occurred but we did get our second view of the Bellagio fountain display which is so good its almost emotional. Oh screw it, I'll admit it. It's that good you might well up a tear or two. What we didn't count on, on the end of this long walk, was the fact that Imperial Palace is a total shithole. The karaoke was up a narrow escalator from the strip, there were no tables to hold us, and it was a crummy bar. See, now we were spoiled from our fancy upper crusty ways. Just when we decided to go across the street to Caesar's Palace, our more club minded member stopped us at the taxi rank and again made her plea - "come on guys let's go to Tao. Let's just do this thing." We all shrugged our shoulders, and four of us climbed into a cab and asked him to take us there. It's in the Venetian. "The Venetian is next door," he says. Oh. But you know it still took us about 25 minutes to walk there, and we even had to duck into another casino to lose some mouthy guys on the street.
So the club. At first it seemed like your typical bottle service club. Very cool looking and I guess very expensive for people who think that spending money in this way is a smart thing to do. We found a tiny dance floor in the middle of the roped off areas and I started to enjoy the music a little. Then I found I was the only one dancing and our club minded friend was leading everyone away into another room. Gamely following along we entered a massive room that was very overcrowded. This club seemed to be a big hit with Vegas's Asian set and people were shoving and pushing and barreling their way through. Not very club-like etiquette if you ask me. I couldn't stand were I was, and you couldn't stand where you wanted to go, so I went back downstairs and found two other girls by the door. Well, that lasted long!
Trying to navigate the agendas and hopes and expectations of eight girls is certainly exhausting, so when we got back to the hotel I promised myself a moment of quiet. I told the girls I was with in the cab, who weren't my roommates, that I was going to have a quick cigarette and then be off to bed. I was so happy for the moment alone, and ordered a beer, and then noticed a text from the bride: "f u are u bailing. weare peeing and this shit is on." I guess someone had a few beers at the club? I met up with the two S's and we giggled along at the slots until 4am, when we knew we had safely made it over 24 hours awake.
Saturday morning I actually felt ok. Most of the girls were up early and went off to find breakfast, while CQ and I decided to take advantage of the quiet room and I got us coffee and breakfast things. It was nice to lay in bed and drink tea and watch bad MTV (whats with all the teen mom stuff anyway?). We then took taxis out to the largest outdoor outlet mall in the world - or at least that I thought ever existed. I wasn't interested in shopping but I was interested in being outside and getting fresh air, and after a while four of us make a breakway to go to the Peppermill, a famed 24-hour restaurant on the strip that had a lounge with a fire water pit feature, great cocktails, and waitresses in long black dresses and slits up to THERE. It was fabulous. We also ducked into the Wynn, which was stunning. By far the fanciest place I had ever been in, and as you approached a balcony overlooking the floor below, the air filled with varying colors of fabric parasols, outside all you saw, about 70 yards away, was a giant wall of light with water running down it. We went out a little balcony to take a closer look at it was a giant flat pool, with a few statues of people who appeared to be in the water, staring at the giant wall of changing light as if it were the second coming of god. Fucking A.
Saturday night was our big night out so we settled in for naps, got ready by 9pm and went back to the Bellagio for what we thought was our buffet night. After learning it would cost $45 pp we decided to try another option. I mean we're 8 girls, and 2 of us hardly eat anything at all (that would be me and KF). So
even though I was told it was overrated we had a perfectly lovely, 45 minute meal at Olives with a view of the fountain. Well, half of us had a view of Prada but that was ok as well. By 11pm we were in line for Thunder From Down Under and I was beginning to wonder if I was in the right mood for it. Some of these girls were really fired up and I was still digesting a pear and endive salad that went down quite quickly. Once the lights dimmed, however, and the boys came onstage doing a really badly choreographed dance, I knew it was going to be a good time. They seemed much more talented once the shirts came off. I think I spent the entire show either staring delightedly with my jaw dropped, or clapping hysterically and screaming "fuck yeah!" I will save the details as not to ruin it as I am now declaring it a must see. One word: firemen. Yeah it still works.
After that there was no way I would try a club again and most everyone decided we would have a night in our own casino. I wasn't gambling but trying to play lady luck, and I naturally ended up at the bar talking to SH and her friend from Jersey who I had met the day before (our club loving girl). Getting more and more comfortable (you can still smoke there, which is such a novelty I can't stop lighting up) people came by and joined us briefly, some eventually going to bed for the night. At about 5am it was me, SW, CQ and a small contingent of fans. I will have to leave some things in Vegas, but consider it fair to say we stayed up until dawn, realized it was so, had a photo shoot, went to another hotel for breakfast, and were back in the room by 11am. Our other roommate was up and showered and a little disappointed she missed the chance to walk around with us.
I had all day Sunday to kill and with 1.5 hours sleep (pictured), walking around and drinking a smoothie was not going to do it for me. I made it as long as possible, trying to have quality time with the bride, but eventually I had a mini breakdown and could not take any more casino noises. I went back to Excalibur, got a cheapo Sunday rate on a room, and laid down for the next 5 hours, intermittently sleeping and watching tv. When I got to the airport at 10.30pm I thought I actually might be able to do it. And I did. I made it home, bless you sweet sweet Jesus. And long live Vegas because it is amazing. And it just might kill you.