Friday, October 29, 2010

Vegas "On The Clock" (days 3,4,5)

The second morning of my conference trip to Vegas was, as I mentioned in my last post, an early one--6:30 AM to be exact, for an 8 AM conference start time at the Four Seasons (which is, of course, at the complete opposite end of the Strip from the Mirage). Thankfully, I had a great cab driver on the way to the conference--I mentioned that I was running a bit late, and he did his best to get me there on time. There was traffic on the Strip, but he even stopped the meter while we were stuck in it! This rendered a low cab fare for me...and a big tip for my driver ;o)

The view from a balcony outside our conference rooms
I don't think there's any point in me describing the conference I attended. I would say that about 60% of it was helpful to my job; the other 40% of my time would have been better spent lounging by a pool somewhere (at least in my opinion). The Four Seasons is a beautiful hotel, of course, and the conference rooms were comfortable and stocked with plenty of ice water, mints, pads of paper and pens. The food that we had for lunch was delicious both days.

But let me tell you, it absolutely sucked knowing that I was in Vegas, just a few hundred feet from hot sun and cool pools and stocked bars and thousands of slot machines...but I was stuck in a conference. For over nine hours on Monday and for seven hours on Tuesday.

Although it was, admittedly, worth the "free" trip to Vegas ;o)

Dessert samplings from the Bellagio buffet
As for the rest of my free time--by the time I returned from the conference and got changed and freshened up on Monday, both Maria and I were ready for dinner. We had met some friendly gentleman (I'm completely serious) at the pool the day before who had suggested the Bellagio buffet. We arrived around quarter after seven and waited about a half hour to pay and be seated. Sucking up the $30 price tag was hard...but worth it in the end! The only other time I've eaten at a dinner buffet in Vegas and felt that I got my money's worth was at the Rio, but Maria and I were both impressed with the Bellagio buffet. Amazing macaroni and

cheese cups, pretzel rolls, Kobe beef and a huge dessert buffet added up to one hell of a meal.

The usual awesome Bellagio fountains shot
Unfortunately, my stomach does not take buffets very well. After catching a couple fountain shows in front of the Bellagio, I was forced to retire when we got back to the hotel (it was maybe 9:30 PM--I was not a Vegas champ that night).

The one good thing that came out of such an early night Monday night was that on Tuesday, I finally wasn't tired! After a slightly shorter conference day, Maria and I grabbed some drinks, did some shopping, and had an okay-at-best dinner at BLT Burger in the

Mirage. Personally, although the food was decent it was so overpriced for the quality that I don't see myself eating there again. Post dinner we had a couple hours of pre-gaming and getting ready time before our final big night out.
The amazing view from Ghostbar at the Palms
Our names were on the lists at Ghostbar and Moon at the Palms, and I was highly impressed with both places. Ghostbar is more of a lounge, but the view was so spectacular that it simply isn't to be missed. Moon was a big crowded but did have a great DJ that night. The only disappointment was that they closed a bit

early, which caused us to catch a cab back to the Strip and hit up Rockhouse at Imperial Palace. This place reminded me of a regular old club here in Greenville, but hey--it was after 3 AM and we were still partying, so I'm not gonna hate ;o)

Maria and I at Ghostbar on our last night
Thing is, between my four Vegas trips I've realized the following: I don't know if I will EVER go back to a club on the Strip. The best times I've had in Vegas have been at off-Strip places--Ghostbar and Moon, of course, and Body English back in September '08. The clubs on the Strip are too crowded, half the time you have to pay a cover (even as a girl), and the people are mainly hoochied-up 21-year-old girls and douchey men that are on the border of being too old to be drooling over said 21-year-old girls. Moon, on the other hand, had great music, and even though it got crowded the people all seemed in general less slutty and douchey than those that frequent the clubs on the Strip. Lesson seriously learned.

Watching the sunrise through the dome over the Mirage lobby bar
Unfortunately, as the hour got later Rockhouse got...well...a bit too ghetto. We left sometime close to 5 AM and made our way back to the Mirage for a wind-down drink at the bar--only to realize, not much later, that the sun had risen and we had to be at the airport in less than four hours.


Still, how awesome to say that we stayed up 'til sunrise in Vegas?

Needless to say, I was tired and hungover when I arrived at the airport later that morning...and my luck, I have never seen the US Air desk at the Vegas airport such a mess! There was a huge line, half of the machines weren't working, the girl I was in line for disappeared and I was left waiting for thirty minutes while people who had been 20 customers back in the line checked their bags and made their way to the did not make for a good final morning of my trip. In the end, I had to put my foot down and get a bit nasty with one of the agents in order to get my bag checked, and despite arriving at the airport nearly two hours before my flight they were starting to board when I arrived at the gate! What a nightmare.

Still, I wouldn't let that ruin my trip! Just goes to show that when you're flying out of a major airport like Vegas, there's not really such a thing as being "too early" for your flight. And despite those issues, despite spending a third of my trip in a conference, even despite my stomach ache Monday night...I as usual had an amazing time in Sin City. Although I will say that four nights was a bit of overkill...I'll continue to keep my Vegas trips to three nights from now on.

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