Vegas, Baby!

Stephanie had something up her sleeve last week for my birthday, and I had no idea what it was.  She told almost no one and kept me guessing until the last minute.  She kept dropping false leads, so I didn’t know whether we were flying or driving until we got to the airport, and I didn’t know where we were going until we got to the gate to board our flight.

When we arrived, we took a bus from the airport and then walked to our hotel – about which Stephanie also kept me guessing.  I really thought we were heading towards a nice cheap Travelodge, when she detoured us to Circus Circus.  There are many glitzier hotels in Sin City, but this one was perfect for a few reasons.: (a) Stephanie had stayed there B.E. (Before Elliott) and wanted to stay there with me, (b) the circus acts and midway could keep her entertained while I whiled away time (and money) at the blackjack table, and (c) most important to me, and unbeknownst to Stephanie, the only other time I had been to Vegas was with my father when I was 14, and we stayed at Circus Circus then.  It was a nice memory of my dad, and I was happy to be reminded of it.

Once we checked in, we were immediately distracted by the “Get-$100-for-listening-to-our-timeshare-presentation” people.  Never ones to pass up a good deal, we opted to donate three or four hours of our lives in exchange for some credit at our hotel as well as a free weekend stay at another hotel for the future.  After the presentation (don’t worry, we said “no”), we decided to walk back up the Strip some three miles to Circus Circus, rather than waste the extra $20 they gave us on a cab.  This was something we wanted to do anyway, so it fit in nicely with our plans, and allowed us to check out some of the big fancy hotels along Las Vegas Boulevard.  The fierce air conditioning roaring out of each open door tried to make up for the 105 degree heat as we made our way up the Strip.  Fortunately, there’s something to that old cliché about it being a dry heat, and we didn’t melt too much.

We caught a few circus acts before turning in for the night, and I was surprised that I lasted over ten hours without betting a single dime.  The next day, however, I hit the tables with some free credit courtesy of the Circus Circus players club.  They give new member a great deal: $45 worth of chips for $30, but I soon found out the deal with those *free*chips.  ALL the chips you get with the deal (not just the “free” ones) are “non-negotiable,” which means you cannot cash them back out, so you just have to play them until you lose them.  Since it’s generally easy to lose at casino games, this proved to be no problem.  In fact, it was more of a challenge to win back more chips (the good kind this time), but I vowed to soldier on.

We spent the next day alternating our time at the tables, the circus acts, and of course, the pool.  At the pool we found to our surprise that we were actually chilly once we stepped out.  I guess all that dry air evaporates off of us really quickly.

In the evening, we walked all the way back down the other side of the Strip to the very end.  On the way, we stopped to watch the volcano erupt at the Mirage, and of course, the legendary Bellagio fountains (made a little cheesy by the unfortunate choice of music while we were there).  We also got to see Caesar’s Palace, Treasure Island, New York New York, The Excalibur, the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, and the one I had been waiting for – the Luxor.  In true Vegas style, all of them were way over the top, and featured super brand-name shopping at places neither of us could care less about.  The décor was amazing though – especially the ancient Egyptian theme of the Luxor.

On our last full day, we took it easy.  We checked out the indoor theme park at Circus Circus, took a walk to Stratosphere, and caught some more circus acts.  I gambled some more while Stephanie stood around bringing luck to the table.  It must have worked, because we left Las Vegas ahead by $200.  Yay!  We had used most of our hotel credit on the ginormous buffet, and so all told, the net result was a free trip to Vegas.  I will definitely use this as an example when I try to convince Stephanie to return to Las Vegas in the future.  🙂

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