Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friends, Fun, and Frozen Treats or Vegas Vacation Part 2

5:00 AM. That's when my body thought I needed to be awake on Thursday morning. Remember that little note at the end of the Part 1 post? Yeah. Two hour difference between Vegas and home. 5:00 AM in Vegas is 7:00 AM back home. On a typical Thursday, I'm at work at 7:00 AM. My body was confused. Why wasn't I at work? But I had to tell my body that I was in a super-comfy bed that wasn't my own. I could go back to sleep. I had nowhere to be that morning.

I really wanted eggs benedict for breakfast. It was after 9 when I finally made it to the cafe downstairs. Thankfully, eggs benedict was on the menu. It was decent, but the coffee was expensive. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. This day was actually a bit of sticker shock to me. After ordering the $18.99 entrĂ©e the night before, I was a bit disappointed by prices across the board on the Strip. (By the end of my trip, I was used to it). $3.75 seemed like a lot for a cup of ordinary coffee.

My friends weren’t due to get into town until a bit later in the day, so I decided to wander. I had the comfy shoes on.

First, I ended up at Caesars Palace. Not really feeling like losing a lot of money again, I just sat down at a bar and ordered a drink (I felt like I deserved one). Little did I know that one shot of Absolut in a glass of OJ would run me $11.50. Won’t be making that mistake again – I’ll be gambling the next time I have a drink at Caesars. But I did get in touch with my friends who were driving into town. They thought they’d be there in a couple hours.

I decided to wander some more. I really wanted to see CityCenter – it was under construction the last time I was in Vegas. I took my time and wandered through the Bellagio to the tram to Crystals (that's the newest high-end mall on the Strip). It's a good thing I had plenty of time, though. I literally had to walk through the entire hotel. They really tucked that tram away back there.

Crystals was interesting. I’m used to malls, but this mall was like an optical illusion studded with high-end stores. And it smelled new. A little weird. I didn’t stay too long.

I stopped for lunch at Todd English P.U.B. I at least knew these prices beforehand because they had a menu posted outside the door, so I knew what I was getting myself into. It wasn’t a shock. I had the beer called “Todd’s Urban Brew,” or the “T.U.B.” It was really tasty. And I had the buffalo burger for my lunch, and that was easily worth the money I paid for it. Very tasty, all around. I’d eat there again, no doubt. Great ambiance, too.

I played a bit at the casino at the Aria casino (also new), but just basic penny slots. Didn't lose too much in the end, which is good. But as I was sitting at the Monopoly-themed slot machine, I got the word from my friends that they were in town. They were parking down at Excalibur and were going to meet me on the walking bridge between Excalibur and the New York New York hotel. I actually knew where that was!

Of course, getting there was harder than I expected. I ended up on the bridge going across the other street, headed for the MGM Grand. And then I got a message from my friend saying they couldn't find the way out of Excalibur! Disaster! But eventually we both found our way and met up with each other.

All of my friends were staying in a timeshare a few miles south of the Strip. After meeting up with the first pair of friends, I went with them to check into the timeshare, then we picked up another friend at the airport and did some shopping. The timeshare had a full kitchen (it even had a dishwasher), so the plan was to cook some meals there to save a few bucks. And after the money I had spent on previous meals, it was a relief! They cooked that night, and it was good. Much easier on the wallet than another $20 plate of 6 shrimp. And it was probably better for me, too. The timeshare also had a grill out on the balcony! Pretty sweet.

After dinner, we piled onto the timeshare's shuttle that went to the Strip. It dropped us off at Caesars Palace, and I knew exactly what I wanted for dessert. Part of the Caesars facility was the Serendipity 3 cafe. Their specialty dish was something called "Frozen Hot Chocolate." I had seen it on TV and read about it online, but I really wanted to know what it would taste like. There were four of us, but neither of us were particularly hungry, so we decided to share one dessert between the four of us. And, man, that was a good idea. The thing was huge. But it was SO good. It tasted like hot chocolate! But it was slushy and frozen. With lots of whipped cream on the top. We did manage to finish it, but only barely.

That was really all we did that night. I was really tired because my body was still (STILL) on Central time. I went back to my room and they went back to the timeshare. I was asleep in no time.

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