I woke up early Friday morning despite our late night, because I’m bad at adjusting to time zone changes. That’s always in my favor on the west coast, at least. Matt was still sleeping, so I texted Joe and Missy to see how they were feeling. Joe said that Missy still didn’t feel well and wanted to sleep, but he was going to go wander around. We agreed to meet after I went to pick up coffee for Matt and I at Starbucks.
We walked over to the Mirage, since I’m pretty sure I’d never actually been inside the casino, only at Rhumbar outside. We checked out their awesome sports book, then wandered around til we found a Pai Gow table. Joe hadn’t played before, but he was a quick learner.
Our first dealer didn’t really know much about dealing, either. She kept comparing hands incorrectly, so we’d have to correct her. I hit the bonus with a flush at one point, and she took my cards and called it a push. I told her I had a winner, so she had to call the pit boss over, deal the cards back out, and check. Then she told me I should have alerted her to it. Um, no. That’s not how it works, lady.
Our next dealer was hilarious, but made us really uncomfortable. By then there were two other people at the table, an old Chinese guy and an old lady sitting by Joe. The dealer started telling us (Joe and I… he pretty much ignored the other two) that he was a PhD candidate for some really technical-sounding medical degree, and informed us that everything we were doing there was going to kill us. I agreed, and ordered another cocktail when the server came by. The Chinese man started freaking out that the old lady was blowing smoke in his direction, and the dealer told her that it was going to kill her, and making jokes on that order. I’m not sure if she didn’t hear him or was ignoring him, but it was really incredibly awkward. I’ve had lots of funny dealers in Vegas, but that kind of crossed the line.
Matt showed up after an hour or so, and we decided to cash out. I’d lost $8.50 but gotten two free drinks, so I considered it a win. We went over to look at the sports book, so Matt could explain to Joe how to bet. He did so, and then Matt went to bet. He came back with a free drink coupon that we were both envious of, so I decided to go place my Stanley Cup bet. I did not get a drink coupon, so apparently Matt was special.
(He later theorized that it was because he was betting on a horse race that was about to run, so they assumed you were probably sitting there watching it.)
Missy texted that she was ready for lunch, so we went back to TI, and met up again in the buffet line. Our room came with free buffet coupons that were only usable Friday during the day, so we were set on taking advantage of that.
In addition to the buffet, Matt and I partook in the $4 all-you-can-drink champagne. Seriously. They bring you a coupe of champagne, plus another sizeable juice glass full of it for refills. I assume you could have more if you finished that, but it was only lunchtime and we didn’t want to nap.
The buffet was surprisingly good, and I was glad it wasn’t so extensive that I felt obligated to try everything. They had a sign up about sugar-free desserts, too, so I asked about that. The guy started pointing out options, and then pulled a slice of some chocolate cream pie from a cold drawer. I grabbed that and rushed back to the table, very excited. The two bites of it I had were great; I didn’t want to risk more than that, because I know what they use in those fake sweeteners. They make you an unpleasant person to be around later in the day.
Four more of our friends were arriving later in the afternoon, so one of us had to leave around 5 to go pick them up. Joe volunteered to drive, so we decided to take the car over to the Flamingo, since we were headed there anyway (and of course it was a billion degrees, so we didn’t want Missy to get sick). We drove over there and parked on the top floor of the ramp, thus guaranteeing the car would be as hot as possible when we returned. (We didn’t really have a choice about that part.)
First we went to go see the animals hanging out in their ponds. There were a ton of birds, including flamingoes and pelicans:
After 10 minutes it was hot enough that we couldn’t breathe, so we went to check out the gambling situation. The pai gow tables in the Flamingo were all full, so we wandered over to the side of the building that had been converted to the Margaritaville casino. We found pai gow there, and Matt and I sat down to play with a bunch of old bros who knew each other.
We weren’t doing as well there, so when Joe and Missy came back, Matt and Joe went to play blackjack. I didn’t want to gamble for a bit, and Missy wasn’t feeling great again, so I volunteered to take her back to the hotel. We went back up to the car, and I burned the back of my calf getting in. It was indeed a billion degrees, to the point where it was painful holding onto the steering wheel. The A/C was doing its best, but in the 20 minutes it took me to drop her at TI and drive back to the Flamingo, it was still barely cooling off. I just hiked my skirt all the way up, since I’m all class.
Matt called to say he and Joe were done gambling and had gone to sit outside near Sin City Brewing, by the Flamingo pool entrance. I found them easily at a table with big comfy chairs in the shade, and Matt had a beer waiting for me. Under those conditions, the 112-degree weather was downright pleasant. Joe had half an hour or so to kill before heading to the airport, so we just hung out people-watching on the patio.
The highlight of the people-watching was the security guard pushing a girl up the ramp in a wheelchair. She was so debilitated I thought she had some horrible disease, but when they got closer I realized she was just that drunk and passed out. She was curled up around a beer bucket on her lap to catch the vomit, and she was clearly either headed to the hospital or detox. Holy crap.
Joe left to go to the airport, so Matt and I grabbed some walking beers at Sin City and headed down the strip. The nice thing about walking on that side is that you can mostly stay inside, crossing through casinos. (You can do the same on the other side, but Caesar’s and the Bellagio are built in such a way that you have to walk an extra mile to cut through the building.) We went over to Bally’s to get his picture (as the owner), then played my favorite gigantic slot machine. From there we cut through Paris, then crossed over to Planet Hollywood. We stopped to get drinks at Yolo’s, as per tradition, and planned to take them with us, but then ended up sitting around there for a while. I really like that bar, and have no good reason why (beyond the reasonably-priced build-your-own margaritas).
We grabbed another set of margaritas in go glasses this time, and went over to the PH sports book to see what was going on there. We found a very comfortable couch, so I was happy to hang out there for a while and wait for our friends to be delivered to the hotel.
After a while I started getting “WHERE ARE YOU WHERE ARE WE HAVING DINNER WE’RE HUNGRY OH GOD!” text messages from people. We liked the idea of them coming down to have dinner on the patio at Planet Hollywood, then realized how complicated that might be to arrange: we had four people who didn’t know their way around Vegas, and two of them were staying at the Quad rather than TI. After some debate, Matt and I decided it would just be easier to go back up to meet them and have dinner at Senor Frogs, since we were planning on that already.
We headed out to the street for maximum speed. It was still 110 degrees. We made it in 15 minutes, and I think I dehydrated everything out of my system on that walk, even the margaritas and beer. Holy crap.
We found the six of them waiting outside the restaurant with a buzzer, looking perturbed. I was surprised the place was as crowded as it already was, but you know, Senor Frogs. Finally we went in and got our table for eight (a couple high-tops pushed together). We ordered drinks (with coupons!) and waters, and suddenly everything was fine again. Especially when they came around and made us all stupid balloon hats.
The food was fine, and the place was as entertaining as usual. Toward the end of dinner the staff was up on stage trying to get the crowd on their feet and dancing, so we did that for a while. Next there was the conga line, which we were not too interested in until they told us everyone would have shots poured in their mouths. Well, that’s just the kind of stupid shit I can get behind, so half of us lined up. We were all handed long balloons, and started marching around the restaurant. The shots were red, and the guy pouring them was holding a rag under people’s chins to wipe up the drips. It’s by no means the most sanitary thing we’ve ever done, but that didn’t stop us from getting back in line for a second one.
We got our check after that, and while we were figuring it they started playing the Cupid Shuffle. Wendy, Sarah, Amelia and I ran back to the dance floor to participate, because we can’t not do it. There was a guy trying to hit on Sarah, who’s six months pregnant, and he was so creepy that Wendy had to physically get between them to stop it. There was also a guy so drunk or zoned out that he was doing everything exactly backwards, so that he ended up facing us the entire time.
Oh, Senor Frogs.
When we left, it was nearing time for the show in the lagoon outside TI, so we went out there and lined up for SEXY SIRENS, as they’re called.
The show was something. The sirens were pretty sexy, I guess, but the terribleness of the music and “acting” kind of killed that whole aspect of it. I liked the fire, I guess! And I’m glad we saw it, so none of us have to waste our time with that again.
After the show, we went back inside and found Bill and Katie, who had just arrived on a later flight (and with another car). We decided to walk down to the Quad again to see if we could get a table with one of the awesome celebrity impersonators again, so we all headed off down the strip, cutting through casinos along the way.
When we got there, the tables were all really crowded. We couldn’t find a spot there, but we managed to get a blackjack table over in the main part of the casino instead. Five or six of us sat down to play, and the rest wandered off around the casino. Things started to go awry after a while; Katie was doing really well (and having a great time getting the dealer riled up), but Matt and I were losing way more than we were winning. Once I was down $60 or so, I decided to go win at the bar instead. We went over to the one near the celebrity impersonators and ordered Manhattans, and I hung out talking to Willis until everyone else showed up later. Even Katie ended up losing at that table, so that was not our best gambling experience at all.
We all hung out there at the bar for a while, and some of the group decided they were done for the night. Matt noticed that it was almost midnight, which meant it was about to be my birthday, and decided we should have shots. I didn’t want to get them at that bar, though, because their prices were ridiculous. I suggested we go to Casino Royale instead, because having walked through there before, I knew it was probably the last bastion of low-rent on the strip. Seriously, there’s a Best Western, a Subway, and a Denny’s in the building.
We walked over there, and Matt went to the very busy bar to order. He just asked for some kind of shot from the impatient bartender, so we watched as the guy poured a whole bunch of vodka, then blue on top. Wendy and I cringed. I don’t have a spectacular history with blue drinks. We took the seven of them over to the rest of the group (at the giant Wheel of Fortune), and toasted to my birthday. The shot tasted just like strippers smell!
We headed back toward TI, where we ended up gambling for a while before all heading to bed.