Sunday, April 3, 2011

Las Vegas 2011!

As many of you know, Adam was recently laid off from his job of eight years. Though some may think this was a bad thing, it actually wasn't. Adam had been having a lot of health problems related to his line of work, so when his last day came, he decided that it was time to do something for himself, and lucky for me, I was included! He decided to go where he had never been before. A place where grown ups can play no matter how old or...err...old. A city that never sleeps. Thats right...we went to LAS VEGAS! I had been there before as a kid and thought that much probably hadn't changed. Boy was I wrong!!

We left rainy, wet Oregon on Friday night at around 9:30pm. To ease my fears of flying, we had to get a drink in me first to calm me down.

( favorite, MUDSLIDE)

The flight was great, the landing was the scariest I had ever been through but overall it was a great flight. The girl sitting next to me actually went to The Art Institute of Portland so we chatted for a bit about our majors and what not. We arrived in cold Las Vegas around 11:00pm.

(sorry for the blurry was a bumpy landing!)

On the ride over in the taxi (which by the way, was my FIRST time EVER in a taxi!), our taxi driver mentioned that MGM was the largest hotel in the US and that the walk to our room was probably going to be a mile long walk. We laughed and though nothing of it. Remember how I said that I had been here before and thought nothing would have changed....right...

We checked into the MGM Grand around 11:30pm and started heading to our room. The directions to our room went something like this, "Go down this hall, take a right at Nob Hill, take a left down the hallway and when you come to the elevators, go to the fifth floor." Simple enough right? Oh wait, did I forget to mention that we got to our hotel RIGHT as Lady Gaga's concert was getting out? Little monsters everywhere! Alright alright...back to my story...So after wading through the mass of scantly clad dressed ladies, twenty something year olds dressed like Miss Gaga herself and men decked out in Gucci and all that other expensive clothing, we made it to Nob Hill. Thats right, Nob Hill. The first landmark in our treck to our room. So we take a right at Nob Hill, and wade through some more people and find this hallway we are suppose to walk down. This the longest hallway that I have ever seen in my life. 

(That was where the old Lion from above was!!)

(its WAY longer than it me...the yellow part at the end is just the second half of the floor.)

I thought back to when I was a kid and didnt remember everything being so far! Anywho, we made it to the West wing of the MGM, took our elevator up (which was decked out in this awesome red retro attire) and made our way to our room, 5-529.

Our room was AWESOME!! It was small but the layout and decor was enough to make us forget about the size (and not that we were going to hang out in it alot anyways)! The bathroom and shower door was this frosted glass (we almost didnt realize that it was the bathroom/shower)...
 had super cute modern lights, a tv built into the wall... 

It was great! It almost felt like we were staying in the super-small-high-roller-cheap room! And the was so comfortable!!!

(Pardon our

So after we dropped off all of our luggage (which, a big thank you to me for deciding that we would check a bag this time instead of carrying....) we went out to walk the strip. Did I mention that it was spring break weekend? Well if I didnt, it was. Talk about SENSORY OVERLOAD! The huge flashing lights, jumbo trons displaying everything from corky musicals to strip shows, hotels higher than I have ever seen before, the constant honking of taxi cabs, the bell boys blowing their whistles, the constant chatter of other tourists, the roller coaster making its nightly rounds, the LOUDEST music billowing from the doors of clubs, helicopters, the sound of the moving air. And the smell was almost as amazing. Warm, polluted, cigarette smoke, chlorinated water and alcohol. Feeling people brush up along us and being able to smell where they just came from. It was so magical. It all sounds so negative but coming from one of the freshest and most beautiful places on earth (Oregon), Las Vegas was something else! It was like night and day and we loved it!

(This truly is more amazing in real life...)

Everyone had these massively large margarita/daiquiri cups and I HAD to get one! So that was our mission for the night. To get my cup! We primarily stayed on one side of the strip that first night, just walking to see what it was like. It was a bit overwhelming. We walked into a couple of hotels to check things out. After we found my cup ($20.00 for a cup! Can you believe that!? Don't buy the life size are you going to get it back home?), we made our way back to the hotel where we finally checked in for the night to get some much needed sleep. A bed never felt to good!!

The next day (Saturday), we decided to walk the strip. We made our way through our hotel and as we walked through, we found some pretty awesome stuff! One of those being the MGM lion habitat. It's this HUGE enclosed area that has two big lions and a baby cub in it. It's about a 180 degree view. They have this tunnel you could walk in and look up to see the lions walking on it. It was something else! There was always a crowd around it so we couldn't get super close, but it was great to see the lions lounging all day! 

(that Mr. right there is laying on the top of the tunnel. So people inside the tunnel could look up and see his underside)

Another thing we found was the Wolfgang Puck and Emril restaurants! Adam and I LOVE the Food Network (we are addicts) so we knew we had to put these on our list of "to-do's".

Now, if you have never been to Vegas, then keep this in mind: that hotel that looks super close, really isn't.  We started on the far side of the street (away from MGM) and walked up the strip. We will call this side of the strip the "good/family side".

We stopped at as many hotels as we could. New York New York (where Adam played his first slot machine and I whooped him at Guitar Hero), the Bellagio, Caesars Palace ("You probably get this alot but this isnt the real Caesars Palace is it?" heh heh heh). We were going to watch the fountain show at the Bellagio but "due to high winds" they cancelled the show...awww shucks. But thats ok because stopping gave our feet a little break!

(You can just imagine how mad Adam was...)

(He was trying to prove to himself that he WAS better than me...epic fail...again...)

(New York New York hotel and coaster)

(OH ME GEE! Holly Madison lives here!!)

(You can actually go to the top of the tower! Only $10.00!)

(Bellagio fountain)

Check out how crazy these buildings are!

(When you stand on the backside of this building, it takes on a whole different look. And it lights up during the night!)

There are so many good places to eat down there too! High quality foods...

(The New York New York indoor street cafes)

(15 days aged)

There were a couple of places and activities that we knew we wanted to check out. One of those being the white lions and tigers at Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden at The Mirage.
I had never, in my whole entire life, seen a dolphin in real life. But thanks to Adam, I got to see not one, but MANY dolphins! The way the pool is set up at the Secret Gardens allows you to get EXTREMELY close to the dolphins. So close that you could almost touch them. There are no fences or walls blocking anything from you getting close to the dolphins. It was so amazing to see how graceful and kind they were! And there was plenty of room for everyone to see them. No pushing or shoving necessary here. Just peace and harmony!

We made our way down to the back of the gardens where the baby white tigers, grown tigers and white lions were. I had seen them before but forgot how majestic they were. And I think Adam was pretty impressed as well. They had taken a couple of the cubs out to play and feed. Oh. My. Gosh. Can we say cute!? I think we may need to add another kitty to our collection (if you know what I mean...hehe).

(Thank goodness for the zoom lens!)

Back on the strip, we were in awe by the buildings. They are so bright, unique, different and HUGE. They are like works of art!! And the insides were just as amazing! Each one was so different from the others. I think it was the Cosmopolitan that had these MASSIVE crystal shandeliers all over the place...

Planet Hollywood had them too. They almost hurt your eyes at times because there was so much bling!! I wanted to steal all of them and hang them in my house! 
And each hotel had their own show and each show had its own little corner that was customized. The Mirage had the Beatles Cirque du Soleil "Love". Check out the super rad lighting!

We walked all the way down to the Trump tower which we were told was a total of about four miles. With all of the bridges that you had to take to cross the roads, it made sense. Though it didnt feel like we walked four miles until we started to walk back.

So we hopped over to the other side of the road to make our way back to the hotel. Lets just say that the other side of the road (the first half of our walk) was way better. Its like there is a family side and a party side! The other side (second half/MGM side) is the party side for sure!

We still hadnt bought our Blue Man Group tickets (we did however, make it a priority to buy Jabbawockeez tickets before we left...) so we stopped by the Venetian on our way back to pick them up. We didn't understand the online seating so we asked the lady at the counter to suggest some good seats. We picked seats right up front in the "poncho" area. I made the desicion for us since Adam was focused on other things...this turned out to be humerous when we went (keep reading to see what I mean)...We noticed there was a Blue Man Group store there so we paid it a visit (naturally). It was awesome! They sell the equipment used (drums sticks, drum heads, ect) during the performances! And they even had a set up of the pipes that they use to play music. Adam had to get in on the action!

While we were at the Venetian, we walked around a bit and stumbled upon their "indoor city" (I guess you would call it) called The Grand Canal Shoppes. It was so beautiful! You really felt as if you were outside! And at night time, the lighting changed to reflect the lighting outside! They had this guy stand as a statue! People would sit and just watch him, as if they were sitting in a park enjoying a summer day.

The Sugar Factory was on the Las Vegas strip too and did you think I was going to pass that up? NO! Absolutely not! What girl could turn down a candy store full of blinged out lollipops!? Not this one! I had to get a lollipop covered in rhinestones and you know what, I did (Britney Spears edition). It cost $25.00 and I think it was money well spent if you ask me. I also got pink pajamas covered in the word "candy factory" and a couple of shirts covered in glitter. A girls paradise I tell you!

And look who else was in Vegas!!!

Adam got side tracked (just as bad as I did when I saw the Peepshow signs at Plant Hollywood) when he saw a Ferrari rental place. It was about $800.00 to rent this car for about 2 hours. He was really tempted...I told him no. I said "think of all the video games you could buy with $800.00!" He frowned and walked away...Good job Adam :)

We hadn't really eaten anything that day and it was already getting late. So we stopped by Hard Rock Cafe (Adam's choice) to get some grub. Now, I told Adam that as payment for him taking me along on this trip, that I would eat a steak. If you know me well enough, then you know that I don't eat booboo cows. They are too cute. And I haven't eaten cow for three years. I have no desire too. But Adam always says that he wishes I did. So I caved in and got one. Normally if I get tempted to order beef, I can back out at the last minute. This time, I had to keep my word. So we both got a 9oz steak with white cheddar mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables (I got BBQ beans instead...cooked vegies are YUCK!). I can honestly say that I won't be eating steak ever again. Well, at least right now. And the best part is, is that I finsihed my steak and Adam didn't (I WIN!)!!

There was a ton of cool memorabilia there. Lots of autographed gear and cool clothing worn by celebrities. Definitely a neat place to go and check out. We both got Hard Rock Cafe glasses to bring back and add to our collection.

We made it back to the hotel in time to take a shower and get ready for the Blue Man Group show. So we quickly put ourselves together (I wore one of my new shirts) and took a cab (thank you Adam!!!) to the Venetian. We had some time to kill so we wanted to walk back up to the Grand Canal Shoppes area and have a drink. On our way up, the first Blue Man Group show was just getting out and two of the three Blue Men were doing the meet and greet! It was nuts to see them just out in the open and there werent a massive amount of people around them! I am a HUGE Blue Man Group fan ever since Adam bought the blu ray of their show. Seriously. If you tell me you haven't seen them, then I will force you to watch this DVD. And I even have the soundtrack and know the words! Its pathetic...I dont care. So I HAD to get my picture with them! I even got to tell the one that I liked the most (cause I can tell the diffrence between them all) that he was my favorite.

(MY FAVORITE! Chris Winks!)

Back to getting a drink...we went upstairs and the Grand Canal Shoppes area had turned to night. We went to the Wolfgang Puck bar and ordered a beer. I dont normally drink beer but thought "hey, what the heck!". So we sat and chilled and then went to the show.

(Mine, and I finished first AGAIN! I win!)

So remember when I said the seats that I chose ended up being humerous? So when we walked in and gave the guy our tickets he said something to the effect of "Oh, poncho section, good luck!" and Adam looked at me funny. I knew where we were sitting, he on the other hand wasn't as we get up there and we were the SECOND ROW FROM THE STAGE! Front AND center! Their stage was amazing. AH-MAZE-ING. There is something so magical about a good stage set up. they had these floor to ceiling water turbine deals with all these creep figurines around them in a circle. The band was up in the air in these circular little rooms.
During the opening of the show, we found out there was an olympic gold medalist and the guy who mapped out the genome in the crowd. Pretty cool.
When the show started, the band members were just glowing figures. OH it was so awesome! I could go on and on about this but I just want you to know about the best parts. The stage quickly transformed as time went on, geting bigger and bigger. OH! One thing I forgot to mention. Don't EVER be late or get up during a Blue Man performance. You WILL BE humiliated. Trust me. It is funny stuff!! And they definetly make you want to wear that poncho. I got smashed banana on me and some lady behind us got a glub of gelatin yuck thrown at her (it was funny). The best part of the show was when they FILLED the room with toliet paper to make it look like a foam party. And it totally looked like it! If you ever go to Vegas, go to this show. SOOOOO worth the money!

(Here is the show we saw!!)

And at the end of the show, we met the guys again and the band. This time I tried to plant a kiss on Mr. Blue. He just stared at me. They dont ever get out of character. E.V.E.R.


We were pooped by this time. I think we took a taxi back to the hotel (we learned our lesson from earlier in the day...). And I think we may have walked around the hotels a bit and then went to bed. Day two, ROASTED!

Day three, we were awoken to the fire alarms going off at 6:30am. It was really scary because they arent the normal fire alarms. They are the ones that are like a blaring blown horn and then some recording saying something was wrong. Adam was none to pleased about it and as he was trying to figure out a way to cover the alarm so he could go back to bed, I went into the hallway to see half the floor in the hallway looking around. Something was defintely wrong. The whole floor REAKED of something electrical burning. Eventually the alarms went off. We werent ever told what it was. But it scared least me.

To elaborate on this...when I was a kid, we went to Vegas and stayed at the MGM Grand. A couple of days before, a man had gotten stuck in one of the elevators there for a couple of hours. Fast forward a couple of mom said that I could go down to the gift shop while she napped. I went to the elevators, pushed the button and low and behold, that same elevator opened its doors. I walked in, pushed floor one and it started moving. Halfway down, the elevator dropped two floors. Once it stopped, it began bouncing up and down. I freaked out and tried to push a button so I could get out. That didn't work. So I tried to use the phone to call for help and that didn't work either. I was finally able to get out but this whole traumatic experience led to my fear of heights and flying. While we were on this trip, I found that same elevator...

I am pretty sure that was my final don't think I will be staying here again. Between the elevator and electrical fire, I don't think I am welcomed here anymore!!

Starting off the morning on the right foot, we checked out the Grand MGM buffet. $60.00 for two!! Can you believe that!? Whatever happened to like $12.00 a person?? Anywho...well worth the money cause the food was pretty good. It gave us both a chance to try some new foods and not feel guilty if we didnt like it. 

After breakfast/lunch, we headed to The Pawn Shop (Gold & Silver Pawn). I looked up the address ( 713 S. Las Vegas Blvd by the way) and when the bell guy asked us where we were headed, I gave him the exact address. He turned around and told our taxi driver "Gold and Silver Pawn". I guess a lot of people go there? 

On the way over, the taxi driver told us that the cabs actually wait there because there is normally a line around the building. And he wasn't kidding. There was already a line when we got there. Not to bad of one though. We finally got to go inside and it was exactly like on the show! Everything. None of the guys were there but alot of the items that you have seen on the show were still there. I didn't find anything under 1000.00 dollars. Well, not true. They sell A LOT of stuff with there faces on it. Bobble heads, golf balls, sweatshirts, cups, ect. We picked up the Chumlee goldballs, Chumlee sweatshirt that says "Chumlee is my homeboy" and a Chumlee shirt that looks like the red and blue Obama shirts. We like Chum the best...can you tell?

After our visit to the pawn shop, we walked to the Stratosphere. The neighborhood we walked through was pretty scary. Like, Lloyd center at midnight scary. I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was scared of getting mugged...or killed...maybe I am exgareting....anywho. It was about a 1.5 mile walk down there from the pawn shop (too bad my spare tire wasn't at my ankles...I would have lost all the weight just in walking!). We got to see the famous Little White Chapel, a sign that says OG (my nickname) and many other "interesting" things...or people...

Made it to the Stratosphere and went to see how we get to the top where the rides are. It was $30.00 A PERSON to get up there and ride! Can you believe that non-sense!? Needless to say, we didn't go. Which really bummed me out because I was all ready to live life on the edge (haha, literally) and ride one of those ridiculous rides!! We saw a couple of people "bungee jump" (its really just a controlled fall) off the top!

Instead we chose to go to Circus Circus. I thought this might be the place to go since Adam likes games and what not. And hey, I found a Starbucks gift card that ended up having $8.00 on it as we were leaving. That was nice!

Circus Circus was just a little bit more of a walk. That place was CHAOS. Little children were running all over the place while their drunk parents were knocking into us. Ugh, we are such peaceful little Oregonians! We found the indoor theme park and just decided to walk around. The rides weren't comparable to Disneyland so we though "ehhh, no thanks" but they were cool to see! We also had another Guitar Hero match in which I won. Adam will tell you it was because his controller was broken but come on...we all know I am the best :)

After we were done hanging out at Circus Circus, we took a taxi to Fremont Street, where the old Vegas strip is. It is better to see this at night. Take my word for it. Its about a 2 block piece of the strip that is covered by this spectacular canopy that plays light shows at night. Because we went during the day, we didn't get to see any shows but we did get to see all the old casinos. It was pretty cool to witness what helped build Vegas to what it is today: a massively large piece of road that lights up so beautifully at night and takes your money. They have this cool zip line that runs from one end to the other. Adam wanted to do it but then he saw someone get stuck in the middle. That changed his mind real quick!!

Afterwards, we made our way back to our hotel. We were pretty tired. All the walking that we had done the day before mixed with the walking we had done that day wore us out. So we headed back and took a nap. A rather long one I might say....oops...When we woke up, we were hungry again. We knew that we wanted to eat one super high class fansy shmansy meal. So we chose Wolfgang Puck. And his restaurant was in out hotel so it worked out perfect. 

I had seen the bread being served at the other Wolfgang Puck before the Blue Man Group show and I was DYING to try it. I am such a bread snob and so is Adam. It was SOOOOOOO good. Seriously, I could fill this whole blog up with "o"'s and I still couldnt get the point across. It was like this rosemary bread with a slightly crunchy crust and a super chewy, soft middle. And the butter made it taste way different. But we both agreed that it tasted much better without the butter. Thats how you know bread is good. If it taste better without the butter, then you know its the best!

Adam stuck with his Vegas theme of steak for dinner and I got chicken. They were pretty good meals. I think Adam enjoyed his better. I think I am more of a frozen and fast food kinda gal and so getting something fancy like that for dinner throws me off. But it was good nonetheless, it was a good experience and good food!!

After dinner, it was time. Time to gamble!! We hadnt ever gambled big before. The only time we had ever gambled, we won $60.00 off of a slot machine and stopped. That was in Oregon. We had to win big here! Adam bought $20.00 in roulette chips and went to a table. The guy running the table was AWESOME! He had such a great sense of humor, wasn't too serious, and was very very helpful! Adam ended up winning $60.00!! We have this thing where if we win, we don't try to stick around and lose it. We walk away. And that's exactly what we did. Until we saw the roulette machines. Then we won another chunk of change there! All in all we won about $120.00! Pretty darn good for first timers!

We walked over to New York New York afterwards, played some slot machines there (lost money....boooo). Then we hit up a bar that was in the middle of the hotel. Vic was our server and he was on a mission! Adam bought us two different beer samplers to share, but Vic wanted to make sure we tried as many beers as possible. And that we did. By the time we were done, we were tired just from drinking! So we went back to the hotel to sleep until the next day.

Day Four: What to do??? It was our last day!! It was my FAVORITE DAY! It was the day that we got to see my JABBAWOCKEEZ! 7:30pm couldn't come fast enough! So we had to keep ourselves busy so that it did come faster!!

There was a place at the MGM called 'Wichcraft and it was a place dedicated to the fine art of a sandwich. I knew I had to get in on it. I had a panini with chicken, roasted red peppers, provolone, and a delicious sauce! SOOOO delicious!

We walked down to the Miracle Mile mall. Adam wanted to get a watch at Fossil so we went down there to see what they had. In the middle of the mall is this pond deal. Kinda like what you would expect to see in the middle of a mall. But this pond had a storm on the horizon. It was so cool! Water started to trickle from the ceiling and thunder rolled in. A few seconds later that trickle turned into a downpour and the pond turned dark and evil looking. It was the coolest thing ever! Though we see this alot in Oregon...

Adam found his Fossil store and his watch. I found some super cute jewelry. One of which was a leather bracelet with a heart covered in rhinestones. I had picked it up a few times and Adam must have seen this. He asked if I would go get him a drink so I went to find him something. During that time, Adam had bought that super cute bracelet and later gave it to me! It was the sweetest thing! The box that he gave it to me in had birds and a camera on the outside. And the box turns into a bird feeder! Can't wait to get it hung!

After the mall, we walked down to Mandalay Bay. On the way there, we stopped by a couple more hotels...but I cant remember which ones these pictures were from...

Like I said before, everything looks closer than it really is. Half way through our walk to Mandalay Bay, I asked Adam if we could just get a cab! I was exhausted! But we finally made it to the hotel (without the cab) and stated looking for the Shark Reef. We had bought the tickets as an add on from Travelocity so I just took the Travelocity paperwork without reading through it. When we got to Vegas, I noticed that we were suppose to have printed out the tickets. So as we were walking to the Shark Reef entrance, we were talking about what we were going to do if they didnt give us the tickets because we didnt print them. Once we got up to the entrance, a nice couple came up to us, handed us two tickets and told us their friend didnt show up. Talk about karma people! PERFECT timing!!! 

The shark reef was pretty cool. They have this awesome tunnel that you walk through and you are literally under water. I saw a couple of cool sharks that I had never seen before. It was a pretty short expereince but a good one at best.

We FINALLY learned how to take the tram and took it back to the MGM to get ready for the Jabbawockeez show. I wore the Jabbawockeez shirt that Adam had bought for me last Chirstmas. Had to represent! We walked down to the Monte Carlo and had dinner before the show. Another buffet. After this buffet, I think Adam understood why I told him that he would hate buffets. There is just something so yucky about them. If you ever go to Vegas, try one buffet and eat McDonalds for the rest of the time. Or anything besides a buffet. Seriously. Thank me later.

We still had some time to kill so we walked around the hotel a bit before finally getting in line for the show. I had gotten a couple of compliments on my shirt from the people working the Jabbawockeez show. My head grew each time someone told me they liked my shirt. Well of course you like my shirt! One, Im wearing it and two it has the best dance crew ever on it! Sheesh...

The stage was really cool. We sat six rows from the stage on the right side. Perfect place to sit! As the show went on, it got better and better and better. I wish I could have taken pictures but they are super strict about pictures at these shows (including Blue Man Group). Before the show started, a Jabbawockee dressed as a janitor came out and put on this really funny show. He would pull people from the crowd and mess with them. But this Jabbawockee was all apart of the whole show. Long story short, one of the members of the show had passed away before ABDC started. So every time they perform, they pay some sort of tribute to him. Turns out, the whole show was about him and the crew's journey to fame. At the end of the show, all of the Jabbawockeez take off their masks to show who they are, except the janitor. It was such a super bittersweet show. If you are a hardcore Jabba fan like we are, it was hard not to tear up. The best part of the show was seeing SUPERCREW! They apparently joined up with the Jabbawockeez and are now dancing with them too! Sweet heaven and cute boy overload for me!

(Insert squealing, jumping up and down and huge grin!!)

The next morning, we had to get up early to catch a 7:30am plane. So we went back to the hotel, packed and went to sleep. We took the taxi over to the airport at 4:30am, boarded our plane and came home to our lovely home and precious kitties. 

The trip was great, memorable, magical, just perfect! Though we didn't get to ride the roller coaster and I do not ever want a margarita, daiquiri or any other blended drink ever again, I can honestly say this was one of the best times of my life! As we flew out of Vegas, it was sad because we knew we loved everything we had expereicend and knew that it would probably be our last visit there. But we were glad to be home. Three full days of fun, sun and adventures. Thank you, Adam, for taking me on this epic trip. Love you.

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