Halloween in Vegas is standing in line for hours only to pay a day's wages for entry into a club whose only draw is the costumed attendees...and the price of a good drink makes one consider selling a kidney in tijuana.
Perhaps as I get older, reveling in the vegas club scene does not have the appeal it once had. Nonetheless, this Halloween i enjoyed my time more with sprinting around the strip and taking a journey up to the top of the stratosphere, and being scared to death by "the big shot." I did miss the ghoulish costumes, the nighmarish creatures...people dressed to frighten the bad spirits away. i think next year it is time for salem, massachussetts, eh?
Arriving Saturday morning early, Jason and i were still rubbing the sleep out of our eyes as we sauntered into MGM Grand.
outside of Paris Hotel and Casino
Our morning was off to a good start, waiting in line at the Grand Buffet for our Champagne Breakfast. I ate everything from Eggs Benedict, to Salmon Sashimi, to Apple Crepes. Following our sumptuous breakfast, accompanied by good conversation and merrymaking, we were headed for our room for a nap. What a gorgeous view the room afforded us, looking across to NEw York and Excalibur.
Upon awakening from our little nap, we went straight to the Manhattan Express, the rollercoaster at New York. With heights of 203 feet, drops of 144 feet and speeds up to 67 MPH, simulating a barrel-roll in a jet fighter, the coaster rolled 180 degrees, 86 feet in the air, and then dove back under itself- but, that just wasn't enough thrill.
Barbary Coast and Bally's Beyond
On to "speed," the coaster at "Sahara." Suppose one takes it for granted that a coaster is 'speedy,' but this one topped 70miles/hour. I screamed myself hoarse, needless to say. There is no time for anticipation on this ride. One is launched off at 0-45mph in secods so fast there is no time to react. As it drops down 25 feet below ground only to rise quickly up into a loop, it gains speed from 35mph to 70mph until you are shot straight up into oblivion, 224 feet that is, wondering how you will get back to point A. This is when the coaster goes into reverse and the whole nerve wracking experience is repeated, except this time you can't see what's coming and you think...'this is it, my life is flashing before my eyes.
.." and suddenly you are back at point A, 45 seconds that seemed like an eternity of hell.
Already most of the day had gone by, and we were eager to prepare for the night's adventures. Jason and i were back at MGM looking to have a nice dinner before going out for the night. but, no such luck without prior reservations. Jimmy Buffet happened to be performing there that night, and we were surrounded by Hawaiian shirt clad, margarita swillin' hippies. There were no tables to be had, anyhwere in the MGM, for hours. We got lucky with a spot at the bar of the "craftsteak" restaurant, where we ordered filets that cost more than a full tank of gas on an escalade. despite sitting at the bar, the ambience was perfect with low lighting, fresh baked breads, and a very curteous staff.
the food? your average american fare of steaks, sea foods, salads, prepared with simple ingredients, served a la carte, at not so simple prices. one filet and one steak, asparagus and garlic potatoes au gratin on the side, chased down by two jack daniels and coke: $175.00 good food, but not worth the price. which takes me to the reason i boycotted the "hottest club in america," 'PURE.'
that night, we were assured passage and entry into the hottest and latest club in vegas, "pure," situated in Caesar's Palace casino. we were told to arrive early, about 9:30 pm, but even at that hour people were lined up around the casino. we did get in right away, only to pay $20 at the door. jason and mike's total came to $50 each - that is, paying the door man to get in at the VIP VIP line, and the door cover at $30.
completely ludicrous! so, i anticipated the titillating aero entertainment and go gos and various other forms of visual entertainment, for the price i paid to gain entry. nothing. a main dance floor with raised VIP platform, two or three bars off to the side, where the price of a cocktail was $12, a coke $6, and a red bull and vodka a whopping $16. the second space in the club is the "pussycat doll lounge," which featured a small stage in the center. entertainment by the pussycat dancers was to follow at some point in the night, but thus far nothing was going on in there except the swilling of alcohol, and they wanted $5 just for permission to pass over the threshold. up we went to the patio, a large 14,000 sq foot terrace overlooking the strip and giving the patron a gorgeous view of "Paris" and "Bellagio.
" The music was very san francisco, groovy house, yet our feet already ached with walking and standing around so much. but, where to sit? around us were inviting white leather chairs, all sectioned off from where revellers stood. the price to sit down in one of these and the pleasure of a table to set your drink on? four bottle minimum, at $175 a bottle. mike and jason and i decided to leave at this point. right after i ordered the $6 coke...
our initial plan was "studio 54, " my personal favorite, but we wanted to make a stop at "stratosphere" first, to get our comps for the tower and ride passes. michael's sister works there so we had free entry to the top of the stratosphere, as well as passes to three of the rides.
i have never seen or done anything more crazy. these rides are more craziness than i could ever muster. crazier than sky diving and eating madagascar cock roaches or riding drunk without a helmet. that's why i only went on one, jason on none. i had been on the roller coaster years ago, and i still can't believe i did thAAT! anyhow...at night, a thousand feet up in the air, looking down upon that city of neon obsession, is a marvel to one's eyes. it sparkles like a treasure chest of dazzling jewels, and someone had the harebrained idea that the view would be even better enjoyed by either being shot further up into the sky, or suspended over the edge of the stratosphere, spinning and twirling and emptying your guts onto people 1,000 feet below.
we were making to head back down, when i decided i just better go on the "big shot," just to say that i did and get over the fear of free fall. rip out my toenails, pour salt on my eyeballs, put me on the rack, put my hand on a hot grill...nothing was worse than that sensation of falling. just being strapped in, waiting for lift off, was making me tremble with parkinsonian trepidation. 160 feet in a mere 2.5 seconds at 45 mph, was a taste of weightlessness i never want to feel again. going up was not as bad as coming down, though when i got to the top, having reached the 1,081 feet max., i saw nothing below and around me but the city. so, my worst nightmare: flying but knowing i was going to come crashing down.
and sure enough, three or four more intolerable times i went up and down and up and down, dropping 160 feet the first time. 1 minute of pure hell. i never stopped screaming. jason could clearly hear my screams below, while michael amused himself by laughing at me the entire time. once safely off the ride, i was hyperventilating and shaking terribly. so, for those of you who are sadists, enjoy!
it was now nearly 2am, and all of us were fairly exhausted from the trecking and standing around, and we were off to our respective beds, preparing ourselves for the next day's adventures.
sunday morning, jason and i were starving for sustenance and hopped on the tram to mandalay bay, for a fine champagne brunch.
crabs, coconut shrimp, steak, potatoes, steamed cauliflower and cheese, lentil soup, chocolate cake and cherries, bread pudding, and fresh berries with vanilla cream, topped off with about three glasses of champagne. hour and a half later we were in the hotel making plans for the night. a visit to Cirque du Soleil's "Zumanity," and dinner reservations at Diego's. Prior to the night's adventures, we ventured down to Fremont Street for 99c daquiries at "Mermaids," and an attempt at ordering the 9 lb. burger...though our reservations for dinner at six did not permit us the wait for a burger that would take nearly an hour to cook. well, mike would have eaten it, anyhow.
what a romantic night it would turn out to be. at diego's, a maroon colored restaurant with mood lighting and bubbly aquatic windows, we were delighting in margaritas, sweet corn tamales, queso and chorizo, and tortilla soup.
View of Ceasar's Palace at night
with happy bellies we were off to our 7:30 showing of Circuqe's "Zumanity," where we had a love seat right infront of the stage. being so close to this erotic display of humanity at its finest, we were right there in the action. Especially when we were singled out for a kiss in the spotlight. Behemoth ladies passing out chocolate covered strawberries, a gigolo in a gold lame suit, aerial trapeze artists, clowns, twins diving and swimming around in a fish bowl...it was truly a unique experience accompanied by beautifully sensual music. hard to describe something that can only be appreciated by the eyes and ears alone. at the end of the performance, i had my first experience with a las vegas strip club, "the rhino," which left much to be desired, and where i had a pair of prosthetic, sagging tits forced into my face.
..a lot of laughs but not much entertainment, at the price of $30 cover, i do not recommend this second rate club to the avid strip club attendee. once again, we were too tired, and perhaps a little anxious to get back to our spa suite and play - rather than being in a noisy and crowded night club. so, there the wonderful weekend ended with a "bang," and we were up the next morning to head back to phoenix.
i have experienced vegas in so many ways, and always it has been a true pleasure. but what has made it the most enjoyable was being there with someone that loves everything that a new experience brings.