Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vegas Wins: I get it now (Full Version)

I travelled to Las Vegas for the first time this past weekend.  I went with a bunch of high school and college buddies to celebrate a bachelor party.  It was my first trip to Vegas, and I gotta admit I wasn't thinking I'd like the city itself.  I knew I'd have fun, as I was with a great group of friends that I always have a good time with no matter where the locale.  I am not a "Vegas Guy" though if there is such a thing.  I'd lived 27 years and never had thought that Vegas was a place I should travel.  Thinking about what draws people to Vegas and then compare them to my interests and I didn't see a match in most cases.

This bachelor party though in a way forced (not that I ever resisted that much) me to travel to Vegas and finally learn what all the fuss is about.  I learned and in the end the positives outweighed the negatives.

Here is my experience with a score for or against Vegas on every notable moment:

- Noon-ish arrival in Vegas after a connection in Denver flying in from Minneapolis.  I am already tired.  The 4 am wake up call to make the flight and being crammed in a coach seat at 6'7" took away from my optimism for what Vegas had for me.  My Jim Beam and Coke on the Denver to Vegas flight was tasty but probably also added to some grogginess.  I needed another drink.  Vegas -1.

- After an overheated drive in which I got that drink (a glass of champagne) in the limo we arrived at our hotel, The Imperial Palace.  The Palace doesn't wine and dine ya, you walk in the main entrance and you get blasted with casino.  With all of it's blinking lights, slots noise, celebrity musical impersonations cranking out hits from the likes of Lady Gaga, Shakira, Michael Buble and more.  Then the smell of the stank of cigarettes mixed with cigars, booze, people stank, and something that is tough to put your finger on but would learn by departure is called "Vegas" as I smelled it everywhere sprinkled about. Vegas -1.

- Check in line was a mess, but I didn't have to put up with it thankfully as I was assigned to the group of guys to run to the local liquor store and get a some beer and Grey Goose.  At check out of the liquor store I notice a cup on the counter that had a bunch of beer caps in it.  It hits me that not only is drinking EVERYWHERE in Vegas accepted it is actually encouraged to the point that after buying your bottle of beer at the liquor store the check out person is more than happy to pop the top for you and does it enough that a cap cup is necessary.  Vegas +2.

- We get up to our room sippin on beers, meet up in one room to down some Goose and hit the strip with beers in hand. Vegas +1.

- MGM is the first destination for most of us.  The tales of a goofy horse game in which you gamble only 25 cents a pop on two of five horses that you think will finish 1-2.  Each pairing is given odds and you get paid out those odds once the race is finished.  It is a good game to take your time with, and take our time we did as three of us combined 10 bucks each and started betting plastic horses like we were at the Kentucky Derby.  It's a fun game, one of the greatest benefits was getting the free (outside of having to be gambling and a tip to keep the waitress coming back) drinks.  It's a bachelor party, lets get tequila shots going!  So the Patron shots came hard and they came fast, add to that some dude next to me handing me a cigar and I was having a blast losing my ten bucks on fake horses.  Vegas +2.

- After wrangling up all of our group still at the MGM we started to head to the Bellagio for the buffet after a few hours of horse gambling/drinking.  We stumble down the strip, some of us ignoring the annoying stripper, dance club, escort, etc. card flipping guys, others in our group yelling back at the flippers.  Around this time the Patron in my stomach is no longer happy about being there.  It starts rumbling with all the other varieties of booze I had in me and my head is a bit swimmy as the cigar is starting its work on my very tired neurons.  I am done and it's only 6 pm.  We go into a convenience store and buy more beer...that's just what I need at this point.  I think I drank 2 sips of that thing and handed the rest to another dude in our group.  I've been on the ground in Vegas for a little over 5 hours and it's already kicked me in the nuts.  Vegas -1.

- Our group, sans two members arrive at the Bellagio buffet ready to eat ourselves sick since most of us have already drank ourselves to that point.  But, instead of just heading in we had to wait for what seemed like 9 hours for the other 2 in our group to arrive.  It was enough time for all of us to realize we weren't feeling that great.  It is an issue in Vegas though when travelling with a big group, there is so much to do actually prying all the members of your group away from those things to then focus on one thing is difficult.  Vegas -1.

- Finally in the buffet I am amazed by the options and try bits of everything I can stuff in my upset Patron filled stomach.  The display across from me of three members of our group though took more of my diminishing appetite way.  These three fellas ate so many crab legs that we all joked about how the boys on "Deadliest Catch" would be working overtime for the next month to make up for the hit on the supply.  It was impressive, yet disgusting at the same time.  I'd had enough, it was 9:30 pm and I was headed for bed after being up near 20 hours with the time change.  The plan was a strip club at 1 am, an unsuccessful alarm was set but never responded to and most of us slept until about 5:30 am.  Vegas - 1.

- Sunday morning I awoke feeling great!  I wasn't expecting this looking ahead to this trip, I fully expected being hungover every morning I awoke there but the wise decision to hit the hay early and stop drinking after the Patron run paid off.  Three of our group took off to explore including myself.  It was great getting out early, laughing at passed out drunks and the shape 100% of the people were in at the nearby Denny's. It is easy to make it around the Strip at 6 am and we covered a lot of ground and had a lot of fun gambling here and there in between seeing the amazing opulence that is Vegas.  Vegas +1.

- At the Wynn we saw the locked out Andrei Kirilenko shooting craps at 6:45 in the morning.  One of the few cities you can see a NBA player playing craps at 6:45 in the morning I am thinking. Vegas +1.

- Most of the day was filled with just seeing Vegas and gambling here and there sprinkled in was two great meals.  One at BLT Burger, great.  Then some fancier restaurant in the MGM that was great as well but I can't remember the name and couldn't pronounce it either.  Controlled drinking made this all very enjoyable.  Vegas +1.

- The night plans was to head to Gilleys for a Bikini Bull Riding competition.  Bachelor party perfection here with Jag two for ones.  Nough said.  Vegas +1.

- 3:30 - 4 am sleepy time up again in the morning with no serious hangover and we did a bit more gambling, looking around and eating.  Outside of being amazingly tired by the time we arrived back in Minneapolis around midnight, it was great.  Vegas +1.

End Score - Vegas + 5

So in the end that is a long recap of a great weekend.  I learned a lot about Vegas, and how it is what you make it.  You can ruin your own time quickly if you lack restraint as I did the first night.  Or you can have a great time with all of it's amenities if you just control yourself.  I'll go back, not sure it'll be anytime soon but I will go back, and from where I started going into this trip that is a surprising change for a city I had no interest in prior to going.

1 comment :

  1. [...] fall I was in Vegas (read about that trip here) and after a night in which we actually turned in very early, especially considering the fact we [...]