Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vegas...for work??? (days 1 & 2)

My fourth trip to Vegas came about in a most unlikely manner--at least for me. Because I know that there are thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, who travel to Vegas each year for conferences. But I have to admit that I don't get it. Vegas is for gambling and shows and fun and sun and pool days and partying...not work! Still, who am I to pass up a practically free four day trip to Vegas?

Obviously I didn't pass it up, and here I am...a little more wise to what it's like to travel to Vegas for a conference. Not that I didn't have fun--I did. Probably too much fun.

Self-portrait taken at Tao
Because of the time change, despite the fact that registration for the conference began on a Sunday I got to fly out to Vegas on a Saturday. My friend Maria, who lives in San Diego, even met me there--and this was definitely a big part of why I had so much fun, because I can't imagine it would have been such a blast had I been on my own. We spent our first evening eating at La Salsa (one of my favorite restaurants in Vegas--yes, I know it's a chain, but the food is good, the margaritas are excellent, and the prices are decent), hanging out at the pool, and then going out to Tao at the Venetian. Which was...well, sort of a mistake. I've now been to four on-Strip clubs (Tryst, Pure, Jet, Tao) and three off-Strip clubs (Body English, Ghostbar, Moon), and the off-strip clubs are, on average, far my opinion. Of course Maria and I had fun at Tao, but the high cover charge coupled with average music, it being far too crowded, and the fact that any time we stopped dancing or walking for more than 30 seconds an employee approached us and told us to "move along" just didn't make for one of my better nights out in Vegas.

At the Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood
Sunday we spent the morning at the pool and then made our way out to have a champagne brunch. At Maria's suggestion we decided on the one at the Paris--but when we arrived around 12:30 PM, there was a two hour wait! Even she said that wasn't worth it. We went next door to the Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood instead. The wait was still about 45 minutes and the food was average at best, but we definitely drank our money's worth of champagne :)

And then it was time for the work to begin. We grabbed a cab down to the Four Seasons and Maria waited in a sitting area while I went to register for the conference. I expected to give my name, get some information, and then have to sit in some sort of meeting for a while--but no! Instead, I gave my name, they handed me a packet of paperwork and said "see you tomorrow"! The whole process took about five minutes.
So much for needing to be there on Sunday--not that I was complaining, because this gave me the rest of the afternoon/evening free. I collected Maria and we followed through with our plan to walk back to the Mirage, which would allow us to visit quite a few casinos on the way.

But first--a stop in Mandalay Bay for drinks! Champagne, of course! And after pricing out a bottle at the first "lounge" I approached ($70???) I thought I'd have to give up on this idea...but then we walked by a regular old casino bar, and I decided to try one more time.

Yeah, that same bottle of champagne at this nameless, plain casino bar vs. at the lounge with the awful loud music playing and the stupid one-word name? Only $40. Sold!

So I had my bottle of champagne and we started walking. Our first stop was
Enjoying the Oxygen Bar at the Luxor
the Luxor, and we were accosted by an oxygen bar worker. We gave in and bought 20 minutes at the oxygen bar. To be completely honest...I'm not sure exactly how much good it did, but at the same time I'm glad I tried it :)

From the Luxor, it was on to Excalibur, then New York New York, Monte Carlo, the new City Center complex, and finally the Bellagio.

Now, I like the Bellagio...but what happened there on this day completely turned me off. At this point, we'd been walking for...over an hour, at least. My feet hurt, I was hot, and my champagne was warm and the bottle nearly empty. We approached a casino bar,
My bottle of champagne made it all the way to the Bellagio!
I set the bottle on the bar and sat down. There was one other person sitting at this bar. One. I waited for the bartender to approach, but as I opened my mouth to ask what kind of wine they had available he narrowed his eyes at me and told me that if we were to stay there, he needed to charge me a $35 corkage fee for my champagne!

Now, there are a dozen things I could or should have done--but again, I was hot and tired and yes, a little bit drunk. So instead of doing any of those things, I stood up, took my bottle, mouthed off about how I'd been planning on ordering something but never mind now, and walked away.

At this point we decided to high-tail it back to the hotel, where there was a chilled bottle of wine waiting in our room. We opened it up, poured ourselves cups of it, and headed down to the pool, where we stayed until it closed at 8 PM (which I do.not.get.--it was summer, it stayed light until after 9...just seems a bit ridiculous to force everyone to leave the pool so early).

Our final adventure for the day (because we were both exhausted, and I had to get up early the next morning for a long day at my conference) was dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in the Mirage...and my pear gorgonzola pizza was absolutely delicious!

I collapsed into bed by 10:30, full of yummy pizza, champagne and wine...and two awesome first days in Las Vegas.

To be continued...


  1. [...] 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 [...]