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Entries tagged with "vegas"

Oh god it's hot. But at least it's not "Vegas mid-July" hot.

It was 6 months ago, in Tampa, where the first mention of "Vegas?" was uttered and, after 6 months of planning, it has come and went.

I was one of the "early arrivers," along with Vinny and Craig on Wednesday morning, when we set off to the hotel. This year it was a condo, off the strip, but extremely roomy (and full of the 1980's favorite father, Jason Seaver). In fact, roomy doesn't quite do it justice. It was a spacious 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 and a half-kitchened playground. Granted, the resort was full of families and - *ahem* - older persons, but we made the best of it.

We started slowly, Craig and Vinny sleeping off the night before while I did the much needed beer run (our resort was conveniently located near numerous restaurants and a liquor store) and getting caught up on my SportsCenter. Around 4 we headed down to get the first glimpse of our pool.

It was a smaller pool than expected, but luckily it wasn't nearly as full as last year's "Freeway of Death" fiasco. In fact, we were the only ones there, sitting around, drinking, joking and catching up with one another. We stayed out there as long as the sun allowed then head to In-n-Out for a little deliciousness.

If you know me, you know I LOVE In-n-Out. I can't make a trip out west without getting it. We order and get our food. We're still hungry. We go get another burger. Oh. My. Goodness. I was in heaven. Until we decided to walk back to the condo, which was about a mile and a half walk. As we hit the Orleans, we're reminded on why it's called In-n-Out. You know the saying "My stomach was doing back flips?" Well, mine had the entire US Trampoline team in there. Whew boy... I've never been more relieved in my life. After the quick pit stop, we get back to the room to get ready for the arrival of Scotty and Jeff.

We rolled up to the Flamingo, Scotty's hotel, around 10:30. Scotty was greeted with the "Zidane handshake", a full round of headbutts to the chest. We all met Tara for the first time but quickly were saddened when we learned of her sickness and "non-going out" ability. Luckily, between Jeff and Scotty, they had nearly polished off a fifth of Vodka by the time we arrived. Looks like a guys night out.

We left the Flamingo and headed north up the strip. Walking past the usual places, knowing already they won't have the tables we're looking for - the $5 blackjack tables. At this point of the trip there would've usually been no doubt where to we would've gone, theol ' Boardwalk, it's just that MGM has decided to throw a mega structure there and bulldozed the stomping grounds. We ended finding what we wanted at the "oldshithole" (as described by our cabbie) that is the Frontier.

Scotty went on a run. Hisey, Jeff, Vinny and I didn't. It was a sign of things to come.

The next day we woke to a free all-complex lunch of burgers, hot dogs and potato salad. Solid! Luckily, the BBQ was in the pool area so we just sat around drinking all day in the sun, jumping in the pool and let's not forget the 7-year-old goggle-toting lad (let's call him Greg Boygaynis) who kept trying to give uswethead in the pool, and Hisey's subsequent beating of said boy with his giant purple noodle.

We make it down to the MGM just in time for a little horse racing and Tiger baseball watching. We sit around The Book for an hour or so. Vinny and I place afebets on the ponies. We lost on the eighth race, I had Allan's Trasure, and on a dog race - Roger Cumming just couldn't pull through. But our shining moment happened when Fastnloose came through in the 9th race at Charles Town, putting Vinny and I both up for the hour. Winning money and free beer. Now THIS is Vegas.

Vinny eating ParisWe wait for Scotty and Tara to finish up their dinner. While we wait in front of the Belligo, Vinny and I take some fun pictures. We head out for another strip walking adventure where Vinny gets yelled at by some midget (I had a picture of this somewhere but lost it). Good times.

We end up at O'Shea's playing blackjack. Vinny and I bring a little karma to this table, and the good kind of karma. We sit down and the table loves us already. I'm making small talk with the guys next to me, wishing the luck on the aces, they're pulling for us, we're cheering for them. Maybe the best table I've ever sat at. I hit a little run and end up $200 for the trip which, after last night's beating, is a big win. I end up tipping the guy sitting next to me (hey, he knew DC so I reminisced with him all night), walk away hammered and with money in my wallet. It seems everyone was winning tonight. Vinny finished up $50 or so, Scotty came away up another few hundred, Hisey wins about $30, Jeff won like $5.Ohhh poor Jeff. A successful outing even still.

The next day was much the same. Get up. Get breakfast/lunch. Pool. Finally, Dave arrives fresh off his flight from Atlanta. We all get ready and head out to the strip. We ended up that night at our old favorite, the Piano Bar at New York, New York. We had some luck there last year so decided this would be an appropriate place this year as well. We danced, we sang Journey - "Born and raised in south Detroit!!" - and Vinny got maybe the most obnoxious line I've ever heard. It was all fun but we're in Vegas, we need to gamble.

So we head out to the floor to play a little Blackjack. Vinny and I make a quick pit stop and come back to Dave, Jeff and Scotty already at a table. So Hisey, Vinny and I stand back to check out the table when Vinny and I have this conversation:

Vinny: "Dude, I don't sit with with Asian dealers."
Me: "Yeah, I know. Good rule. Let's look over there... It's a non-Asian dude."
Vinny: "Sweet! And there's three seats open! Let's go."

It was about this moment that the pit boss called for the righty, an unassuming Asian woman. Literally, we walked over to the table, pulled out the chairs, see the switch and turn around. It was unreal. Something only you see in the movies. It was in this exact moment that the other three people at the other boys table got up. Awesome! Free seats for us to all play at the same table... except it was an Asian dealer. We dismissed the rule and sat down at the table anyways, thinking the table karma will turn and we'll start winning again. Well, we were...

WRONG. W-R-O-N-G. Effing wrong. This lady, in a matter of maybe 15 minutes, cleans the 6 of us out for nearly $1,000. No joke. We all lost. Majorly. It was a fun table... for the time it took for us to walk up to it. Night not ruined, we head back to the Piano Bar and drink away our sorrows.

Singing at Piano Bar in New York, New YorkNumerous characters present themselves to us. In fact, too many to list but the night was fun. We roll out of NYNY to head to Drai's - well, at least I think that was the plan - for some post-bar/club action, when we're stopped by Vinny who, apparently, has made best friends with some girls from Iowa. It was during this little interlude we meet the coldest girl I've ever seen. Which turned out well that we sat Dave and Hisey next to her, as they finished off her dinner. OK times were had and we left.

Some gambled later... others of us just drank. It became a rule that I will never gamble in NYNY again (just another reason for me to dislike that city). We head back to the condo and chill out. We had a big day of drinking and eating tomorrow.

We awoke on Saturday excited about the things to come. My dad arrived early that morning and so did the 4/5 of the Sladewski clan, which meant Eric has replaced Kangas as the honorary "High School Friend" on the trip. Sorry Kangas, this is what happens when you're on the other side of Earth. It also meant that Eric's dad had bought my a ticket to the Vargas-Mosley II fight Saturday night. A little problem arose as we already had a dinner reservation at Smith & Wollensky that night for 2.5 hours of eating, drinking and laughs. It was too late. I had to pass on the fight. Really a gut-wrenching decision. I passed on a great fight in Vegas. It still hurts me to say that.

Ahhh dinnerThe day was full of pooling and drink, per usual. The night, however, lead to a DELICIOUS dinner at the aforementioned Smith & Wollensky.Hisey set us up with the "drink all you can in 2.5 hours, eat five courses" meal. Amazing. Just amazing. We had our own little private corner of the restaurant. We drank. We drank. We ate. We drank. Did I mention we drank? I know what you're thinking and yes, we did shots at a steakhouse. I should mention here that Scotty was dressed properly. As we all know, there's usually that one guy in the group that dresses like a slob, and in this group, when it's not Scotty, it's me (902 Love!). We were all pretty nicely dressed and actually looked pretty good if I do say so myself.

Well, dinner ended and everyone heads to the club. I, however, go meet up with "broken foot Eric" and Brian (I'll get into the broken foot in a later post). Sure to be some good times with these two. We walk up to the Wynn and sit at the bar. We grab a table on the outside to check things out, Eric's foot by this time is throbbing. He's needs alcohol, STAT, yet there's no waitress in sight. I mean, there are waitresses in sight, just none of them are coming to our table. Eric's getting more upset by the second... I can see it. After about 20 minutes, a waitress comes over and tells us just a second.Ok cool, service finally. Well, 10 minutes after that, our waitress finally comes to take out order. Eric's visibly upset at this point. It's been a half hour and we still don't have drinks. So we order and she goes away. Alright. Drinks. Not even two minutes later, she returns, not with drinks, but with a question for Brian "What's in your drink?" she asks. Without missing a beat, Eric slams his hands on the table and announces "That's it. We're leaving" and proceeds to get up and leave the bar. It was comedic genius at it's finest. Although, Eric wasn't joking. Brian and spend the next few minutes trying to figure out what's happening and decide we should go after him. That's it for the Wynn...

We walk over to Pure in Caesear's to do a little clubbing but soon decide that on a Saturday night, at 1am, trying to get into one of Vegas' best clubs is not a smart idea, unless you want to stand in line for an hour. We end up in a sidebar in Caeser's, drinking my usual Tanqueray and tonics, joking and turning the overall feeling out the night around. Eric's foot "healed" we start venturing off in one of those drunken Vegas stupors when Eric eyes a cute girl walking by herself. So he leaves with her, letting us know he'll call in a few minutes. I sit down and start playing a little bit while Brian frets over his brother's previous actions. Eric calls as promised and we head to yet another sidebar in Caesar's.

Upon arrival, I meet this girl, shake her hand and immediately know she is a hooker. It's funny, two years ago, I would've never known. It's become sort of another sense in Vegas though. You can weed the hookers out from the normal girls almost instantaneously. Back to the situation at hand, I walk to the other end of the bar to order myself a drink and call Eric and Brian over, as if asking drink orders. It was at this point, I fill them both in and we take off. The rest of the night is a bit blurry. I think we were at the Imperial Palace playing Keno (?) for a long while but I'm not quite sure.

Sunday was the last day and didn't involve much. We went to the Orleans for a little more blackjack then took off for my redeye back.

All in all, a pretty tame trip. At least I thought. On Tuesday afternoon I get this email from Eric, "Addam, hope you made it home safe and sound. We ended up at Pure on Sunday night and afterwards me and this girl got bounced from the Flamingo's pool @ 430AM...naked...ahh Vegas!"

Ahh Vegas indeed...

"The night before I left Las Vegas I walked out in the desert to look at the moon. There was a jeweled city on the horizon, spires rising in the night, but the jewels were diadems of electric and the spires were the neon of signs ten stories high." - Norman Mailer, An American Dream

The night before I left Las Vegas I walked - 7.3 miles to be exact - into the Vegas night and early morning. It's become a tradition. Hit every hotel on the strip and return to our original place of rest afterwards. There is nothing like the Vegas strip at 4AM. Nothing. The call girls are headed home either with a smile one their face or propositioning every clearly marked non-local in sight. The janitorial staff is out windexing, polishing, vacuuming or sweeping up the previous nights remnants and clearing way for the same tomorrow. The slot machines are quiet for once. Every once and a while a bust of cheers will interrupt the sound of the vacuum as someone hits on blackjack. There's a calm. And it's our final act in Vegas.

Let me backtrack a minute. This weekend was the annual Vegas trip. More friends, more rooms, more drinking, more gambling, more sun. I think everyone's first trip to Vegas is a bit overwhelming. It takes a couple days to really get into the swing of things. That was us last year. It was the first time any of us had ever been there. We were googly-eyed, fresh out of college kids. The glitz of Vegas was something none of us had ever seen. It was shocking and, as hard as we tried to not admit, a bit intimidating. Things slowly changed as we settled in and by the end of our trip we were veterans. We understood what about Vegas made it "Vegas!"

Our second trip was a bit different. We understood and taught, although the students didn't need much instruction. It started Thursday night. I landed in Vegas and spent the next hour waiting for the good people at JetBlue to release the hostage that was Jeff's bag. Finally they obliged and off we went to the Monte Carlo to start the weekend.

Diver Downs officially mark the beginning of the Vegas Trip. After reading the Sports Guy's Vegas column last year - one in which he explained the dangers of this drink - it officially become the kickoff for us. The joking never ended as we dreamt of the nastiness that awaited. For those not familiar, a Diver Down is a shot of Bacardi chased with Corona. It's just as gross as you are thinking but it gets you wasted quickly. REALLY WASTED. REALLY QUICKLY. Thus, the fitting drink to kick off any Vegas trip. Last year, we waited until the very last night when, Scotty, fresh off his blackjack theft from the Palms, bought us a round (and another aside here, the Diver Downs last year actually lead to the first all-night bender as well. That to come...).

The kickoff was great except for one thing, afterwards Jeff decides it's a great idea to walk to Mandalay Bay, which is a great idea had it been a mile closer to where we were on the strip. It isn't... and our buzz from the Diver Downs left. So we gathered ourselves, made it to last year's place of victory, the Boardwalk, and went onto riches. Half the group broke off after that... Scotty, Cote and I went on to punishment at Imperial Palace.

Our dealer last night was a small, unassuming Asian woman. The kind nicknamed "Black Widow" in 70's movies. Sweet initially but then she goes in for the kill. Within 15 minutes, she'd taken the three of us for $300... and knocked Scotty and myself off the table. Cote battled valiantly and ended up not so bad in the end... up $50. At least one of us won.

I have to say the biggest disappointment was the pool at the Monte Carlo. Not only was the wave pool empty while we were there, but the "lazy river" was so crowded it was like a "freeway of death." It wasn't relaxing like it's meant to be, it was stressful. You were bumping and kicking, being splashed, getting kicking. A real travashamockery. But there was sun, and beer, and some eye candy so all was forgiven as there was just enough to get by.

In all honesty, Friday night was a bit of a blur for me. I know we ended up at the piano bar at New York, New York. And I know we met some ladies. And I probably lost some money gambling. And I know I only slept about 2 hours. And I know Eric, Titus and Kangas finally arrived. And I know I had fun.

Saturday is another Vegas day that lives in infamy as Dave set the "most you should spend at a single bar in a single night" at $920!! Good going Dave! The night started at Samba Brazilian Steakhouse where my stomach was flooded by more meat than it's had in two years combined. 9 different varieties. From there, things escalated. It was a fairly rough night that saw me at the Voodoo Lounge and Studio 54, neither of which was the bar Dave dropped the 920 at. Points were scored that night. The first Vegas points I should say. We all know who got them. I won't go into details.

Sunday was the last full day. Thus the All-Night Bender. This arose last year, as after the aforementioned Diver Downs, Scotty and I weren't tired and wanted something to do. So what happened? Everyone went back to the room. We went to New York, New York and walked. And walked. And drank. And walked. All the way up and down the strip and back to the Rio. We watched the sun rise over the strip. Then walked back to wake everyone up. It was spectacular. This year, seeing as we're not staying at the Rio, we needed to change up the walk. We also had a couple more people. Kangas, who left last year before the bender, joined up along with our first girl, the very tough Alayna, Kangas' friend from Reno whose flight back was delayed and thus, had the time to come along.

I tried to photolog the night with my camera phone but to no avail. All it taught me was that I need a new camera phone and a better memory. Here are the highlights: Putting $2 in a slot machine at the Venetian and winning $30. Getting to play 3-5-7 for the first time. Everyone trying the chicken fries at Burger King for the first time. Kelly Clarkson at the Aladdin. Carrying Alayna behind Luxor. Trying to climb the Luxor. Sharks at the Manadlay Bay.

Some things you can't shake. For me, it's knowing that every year I have this trip to look forward to. I got on the flight Monday exhausted, hung over, hungry and with a planner. Marked next June 22, the first official day of summer. Opening the door for our next visit.


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