Joe and I left work around 1pm, and headed home to meet Matt and Missy at our house. The plan was to carpool to the parking at Terminal 2, since that was cheaper than getting cabs. As we pulled up, I saw a man out front of the house standing outside his Jaguar, and said something to Joe about why the hell he’d be parking in front of our house.
It never occurred to me that he was our ride, because Wendy had bought me a fancy-ass ride to the airport for my birthday. SURPRISE!
I changed into a dress before we left, because the plan was to not wear pants all weekend. It was supposed to be 110 degrees in Vegas the whole time we were there. We grabbed our bags, Kyle (our driver) put them in the trunk, and we rode in style to the airport. I rode in the most style, because I got the front seat and the three of them had to take the back.
The line at security needled me because we were flying Sun Country and therefore couldn’t use our Pre-Check privileges. We finally got through the scanners and into the terminal with enough time to have a pre-flight drink, so we went to Barrio. It’s fairly new to terminal 2, and a very welcome addition to the previous selection of one bar, called something like Grandaddy’s.
After our round of drinks (containing both tequila and absinthe), we headed to the gate. Sun Country’s convoluted boarding process meant that we got on last, which usually doesn’t bother me, but Missy had a roller bag. That turned out to not be a huge issue, though, because the flight wasn’t totally full. We left the gate ahead of schedule, and had a fairly uneventful journey until we hit turbulence coming into Vegas. Joe and Missy, who are infrequent fliers, didn’t take that especially well, and looked a little pale when we finally landed. Early!
We got on the shuttle to the rental car center, which usually only takes about five minutes. Since we were at Terminal 3, though, it took much longer and managed to hit traffic on the way. We finally got there, and I waited in line at Budget for way too long. Our agent was awesome, though, and we ended up with a very comfortable Nissan Maxima. We found it in the lot, cranked the A/C to SUPERULTRAMAX, and got on the freeway.
Our first stop was critically important: In-and-Out Burger. Sadly, Joe wasn’t feeling well enough to eat his (he thought maybe the tequila and absinthe had something to do with it), but the rest of us enjoyed it. We hopped back in the car, drove to the parking garage at Treasure Island, and ditched the vehicle for the night.
By the time we were in line at check-in, it was pretty clear that we’d have to hurry to be on time for our plans. We had tickets to Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace at 8pm, and it was going to take a bit to walk down there. We hurried to our rooms to change (while I was already in a dress, I was wearing a fancier dress for our first night), and then met back downstairs in the lobby. We headed out onto the strip, where it was approximately four billion degrees.
It’s only a couple of Vegas blocks to Caesar’s, but that’s really far in the heat. When we got to the driveway we turned in toward the casino, and that ended up being the long way; Absinthe is in a tent on the plaza, and we had to make a loop around the fountains to get there. We FINALLY arrived just a few minutes before the show. Matt and I got beers at the bar, as well as waters for our suffering friends, and were led to our TINY TINY wooden seats. We were more crammed together there than on any airplane, and we hadn’t come close to cooling off yet.
The show was great, however. It’s a mixture of burlesque, acrobatics, and dirty jokes, set inside a side-show-like tent decorated to look like the steampunk apocalypse. The acrobatics were incredible, and since there are fewer than 10 rows of seats, you’re really close to everything. The burlesque was awesome, too, though the manic announcer lady telling dirty jokes started to get really old after a while. It’s not really shocking after hearing the same thing 40 times.
Missy was having trouble recovering from the shock of the heat, so they left the show midway through and took a cab back to the hotel. I was worried that she hated it, but later she said that she was having a good time, she just felt terrible. That sucked.
The show was just shy of 90 minutes long. Matt and I exited the tent into the heat, stopped at the bar for a beer, and headed back in the direction of our hotel. We had dinner reservations at 10 at the Encore, and it seemed unlikely we’d be able to make it in that amount of time.
We made it inside the Wynn with ten minutes to spare, and were shocked to realize that it’s nearly impossible to walk across an entire casino (let alone two!) in 10 minutes. I felt bad that we were arriving a little late and with only half our party, but they didn’t seem to care much; the place was nearly empty by 10pm.
Sinatra was great. It’s very fancy, so I’m glad we were well-dressed. At one of the tables nearby, they were having a wine tasting: the entire table was covered in bottles and glasses, and the sommelier seemed to have a permanent post there. One of the reasons we’d picked the place is that because Steve Wynn is vegan, he insists that the restaurants there all offer vegetarian and vegan menus. That’s still pretty rare for Vegas.
We ordered cocktails and a caprese salad to start, and then I got agnoletti with butternut squash and sage. Matt had Frank’s spaghetti and clams. There was a giant bread basket, too, with breadstick spirals that I want to eat all the time. Our server tried to push dessert on us, but there was no way that was happening. She brought little candies with the check, and that was plenty.
We worked our way back down the strip, with gambling in mind. I wanted to play Pai Gow, but we couldn’t find any open tables along the way. We finally ended up at the Quad, which is the former Imperial Palace in its half-renovated state. We were thrilled to see that they kept the celebrity impersonator dealers, because they rule. We found a totally empty blackjack table hosted by Donna Summer, and sat down to play. We did very well, and she gave us a pound with her very dangerous-looking rings every time we won.
Somewhere after 2am, we headed back to TI. We stopped at the bar to get Manhattans, and took them up to our room. We weren’t really sleepy yet, so we hung out in bed drinking. That’s just how you do in Vegas.