|Catz, Pam, and Me|
When people find out you're going to Vegas, the first thing out of their mouths is 'Where are you staying?'. I am so over the Strip. I've stayed at Paris, MGM Grand, Mirage, Treasure Island (many times as I had comped room there for about a year and a half for some unknown reason), Ceasar's, Bally's and I don't even remember where else. The sheer size of these places annoys me. I still like to visit them, but I hate coming 'home' to them at night (okay, early in the morning) and having to walk five miles to get to my room. Or having to pack a snack and a bottled water just to make the trek to the pool. I once walked from one resort to the one next door and it took 45 minutes. I feel the same way about large resorts anywhere. Too big, too impersonal. Give me a small boutique hotel or a b and b anytime.
|Shrine in our room to Zula, my Voodoo Gambling Goddess (that's her with the pretty feather headdress in the middle) Offerings include stripper heel, WSOP laniard, chocolate Whipahol, beads, a cigarette, candles, tokens, an Altoid and ticket stubs.|
I love downtown. I know it's not for everyone. It's kinda seedy and little weird, but then again isn't that what Vegas is all about?? Everyone on the Strip looks the same. Middle aged women in khaki or jean shorts, a tshirt, athletic shoes and a baseball cap. And just so you know, I call that the 'I've completely given up-middle aged woman uniform'. Yuck, yuck, yuck. It's like being at the mall at home, but with slot machines and packs of Asians. And, yes, the Bellagio is really pretty, but nobody freakin' smiles there. No one is having fun!!
But downtown? You can see people half dressed, people in fun costumes (and not just the ones that want you to tip them for a picture!) scary people, people who probably just escaped from prison and the hookers are much easier to spot. There are also some great restaurants and bars downtown. So, yes, I stay at a little tiny hotel/casino a block off Fremont Street called the Gold Spike (we lovingly call it the Crackwhore Casino of the Damned).
The staff at the Spike (who we know by name) is so helpful and nice and actually seem happy to have you there. As my friend, Catz says 'They look you in the eye and smile'. A man named Reverend (is that his real name?) makes some delicious food at the little diner (clean and great prices) and Joe is our bartender. LisaMarie is rockin' the front desk. We arrived super early in the day this time and were sitting in the bar having bloody breakfast and waiting to check in when Marchelina, one of the housekeepers, came by vaccuuming. We automatically lifted our feet for her to vacuum under and laughed about how we used to do that for our Moms. From then on, she was our best friend and had beach towels delivered to our room and anything else we needed.
|Ms Catz chillin' in the pool|
Okay, so the neighborhood isn't fancy, the elevators are slow and the hallway of the 6th floor reeked like potato chips and smoke, but the rooms are clean, the pool is nice and uncrowded and the price is so right, it's almost free. Seriously...$30 a night. No frig (buy a cooler down the block at Walgreens, Joe will fill it up each morning with ice), and no safes (don't bring any jewelry you aren't going to wear every day). Plan accordingly. I like the Spike. No judging. It's my blog, anyway.
I deffered to my professional photographer friend, Catz, to take pics this trip. I've been slacking lately on the pics, but I did get some fun ones of the Neon Boneyard. It's an outdoor museum of all of the old signs in Vegas. The tour takes about an hour and even at 10 am it's hotter than hell. You have to wear closed toed shoes due to gravel and possible broken glass and I suggest minimal clothing, an umbrella and a bottle of water. If you've won big the night before, possibly a pool boy to spritz you with Evian and fan you. It was definitely worth it -- very, very interesting and great photo ops.
Here's their link. You should go there next time you're in Vegas for something different
|Old Gold Nugget sign. That is the nugget!|
|From Treasure Island|
|One of those Stardust stars would be fab in my living room!!!|
|Attack of the giant ducks!!!! Ugly Duckling Used Cars|
|Why, yes I am. Thanks for noticing.|
|Part of the Stardust sign|
|The Silver Slipper. Rotated on a big pole like this one next door to the Desert Inn, where Howard Hughes was a recluse. He thought there was a camera in the shoe watching him.|
|From a pool hall. Mullett Man|
Another highlight of the Vegas trip was seeing Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns at the Palms.
The best of the best Vegas musicians get together one night a week when they're off from their regular gigs with the big musical productions such as Jersey Boys and Phantom. They are incredible. Jaw dropping. As an added bonus, we got to sit in one of those lovely half circle banquette booths and sip cocktails. I could've listened to them for another two hours. Swankalicious.
And that's about all that I'm going to report on Vegas, because you know what they say. I did get to throw the dice in craps for the first time (and threw one clear off the f'ing table, much to the amusement of my friend, Jimmie), earned a nickname at Mermaid's casino - 'Berrynice'. See last year's Vegas blog for reference, partied and ziplined with Elvis down Fremont Street. And I have to say, if you don't have a friend who owns an Elvis suit and brings it to Vegas with her...well...you ain't livin'.
|Unapologetic Vegas Randomness: Glow in the dark KISS themed mini golf, party room, gift shop and 'Hotter than Hell' Wedding Chapel. Wow.|
|That's me behind Catz (Elviz?) Pam in on the bottom left in the crowd taking pics|
|You've been a very naughty girl|
|Karma: Walking into a casino with your friend dressed as Elvis and two other friends and finding four open Elvis slot machines in a row.|
From Vegas, I flew into Tulsa for my 30 year high school reunion. Let the surreality continue. I stayed with my parents and we feasted at some of my favorite places in town - Old School Bagels, Hideaway Pizza and The Wild Fork.
Yes, food is a very important part of vacation. If you don't agree, I just don't understand you.
|Wild Fork Omelette with cheese grits and fruit. My Mom and I split this and couldn't even finish it.|
|Hideaway Pizza. Oh, Baby.|
The reunion was lots of fun. Getting together with people I grew up with is both cool and surreal. It's a little like going back in time, especially since I don't live in Tulsa anymore and don't just randomly run into these people all the time. Everyone looked great and we had a blast. As far as I know, nobody got scandalously drunk or anything fun like that.( I would've totally videoed that for my blog, are you kidding? Wondering now why I didn't buy rounds of shots. Maybe I was just expecting a cocktail waitress to bring some by) I drove by the house I grew up in and had a Koolie from Quik Trip and my time travel trip was complete.
|Tour of the school!!! This was pretty fun.|
|This is where we used to park in our high school lot, known as Bong Row, because the stoners parked there, too. Too...I said too. That's my Dad's car and he lets me drive it when I'm in town because he's nice like that.|
|Me and Laurie|
|Laurie, Me and Toni|
|Scott, Toni and Lolly|
|Toni, Laurie and Me. Laurie didn't even go to high school with us, but she is our perpetual party bud, so she joined in the fun, good sport that she is|
Another fun adventure. Sometimes it's really great being me.