Did I mention today was our anniversary?

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The Excaliber Hotel

Thursday, April 17, 2008

 

Today was our 21st wedding anniversary and I had planned for us to see two shows today. We would be touring the strip, and I wanted to find Luv-It Frozen Yogurt, an ice cream shop on the north end of the strip. Plus, we thought we might gamble a little today. We went through about $32 between us yesterday. That’s our motto; Making Laughlin rich, 25 cents at a time.

Ronn Lucas was cool!

 

Big plans, but first we had to get out of bed. That happened sometime between 10 and 11 AM. I also discovered that in addition to our TV remote not working, we had no “Do Not Disturb” sign. But, I found one down the hall, (I reasoned that anyone still in bed this late in the AM was both younger (eye candy for the maid) and much more able to recover that from a sleep interruption than we were) and thus prevented the maid from getting an unwanted surprise as we got dressed. It worked out as the maid still hadn’t appeared close to our room (or the room I found the sign) by the time we left.

 

Our first show was at 1 PM, across the way at the Excalibur.

Me, Margo, Ronn Lucas, and Scorch!
As we had to pick up the tickets at will call, we thought we should do that first. That went simply enough and we still had plenty of time before the doors even opened, at 12:30 AM. As we were already here, we decided to eat at the Excalibur, rather than look for something else. I had checked into a few lists of best buffets in Vegas. Excalibur’s didn’t make the list on any. But, we weren’t looking for high cuisine, just something to stop the tummy from growling. The food did take care of that, but not much more. The food was below the standard of your average Golden Corral. I even remarked to Margo that they should just franchise the space to Golden Corral. The quality of the food would go up and they would make more money.

 

No longer hungry and seeing the time was nearly 11:30 we wandered towards the theater.

The MGM Lion guarding entrance into the hotel He wasn't doing a very good job. I saw a lot of strange people going in.
We knew we were early and would have to wait, but we didn’t care. We were in no hurry. Not a minute after we got there, Ronn Lucas himself appears. He greets us and tells that we be opening up in just a few seconds. Now for those who have never heard of him, Ronn Lucas is an extraordinarily gifted ventriloquist. He had performed before Presidents Reagan, Clinton, and Bush 42. Plus he had a command performance for the Queen of England. He has two main puppets; Buffalo Billy, a very precocious and smart alecky cowboy. Then there is Scorch; a teenage dragon.

 

True to his word the doors opened and there was Ronn Lucas and Scorch. They took a picture of us, and he told us that there was no obligation and he sounded like he meant it. Sincerity was not something I was expecting in Vegas. Into the theater we went. I had gotten great seats when I bought the tickers.

Our Gondola picture at the Venetian
. We were right in the front, just off to the right of center. As this was an afternoon show, it’s pretty lo tech, and he had to introduce himself, which he did from silhouette in the persona of Scorch. We laughed from beginning to end. He told stories, worked in current events (blaming the fire at the Monte Carlo on Scorch), and kept the smallish afternoon crowd going.

 

It was over way too quick, but lasted about 90 minutes or so. At the end he told us that after the show he would be outside to sign autographs. If you wanted to have you picture sign he would do that, or he would sign anything else. He really seemed to enjoy the idea of meeting his audience. We couldn’t resist and bought the pic and had it signed.

 

Our evening show, Menopause: The Musical was at 7 PM at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Guys will like it. Girls will love it
 The Las Vegas Hilton was on the other side of the strip. I had to pick up the tickets there, too. But not this instant. We decided that we would walk across the street to New York New York and see what they had for t-shirts at Coyote Ugly. The street we needed to cross is Tropicana Ave. The city of Las Vegas, not wanting to kill any of the people leaving money in its coffers, had built a walkway above the street. There was another one, crossing the Strip on the east side of NYNY leading to the MGM Grand. They even have escalators and elevators to take you from ground level to sky level and back again. This was undoubtedly done to discourage loitering anywhere except inside a casino. We did loiter long enough to take a few pics of the casinos.

 

Coyote Ugly is right inside the entrance from the skywalk.

I really like this hotel at night!
So finding it was pretty easy. I was surprised at how fast we were able to pick out 5 shirts, and take care of five people on our shopping list. Yeah for us! With no specific destination in mind, Margo mentioning how cool the new monorail was, and that both the MGM Grand (across the street) and the Las Vegas Hilton (where are ticket are) had their own stop, we decided to ride on over to the Hilton.

 

Do you know why there is food court in MGM Grand? No, it’s not to feed the hungry masses that frequent the place. It is to provide a place to grab food and water for those who attempt to reach the monorail. We seemed to walk forever. That place is just huge! But we eventually made it. Buy the tickets were easy, with vending machines right there. We opted for an unlimited day pass for $9 each. We figured we might get some use out of them today.

Statue of Liberty at NYNY.

 

The sign said something about a train every 5 minutes, and I know we didn’t wait much over, if that. The monorail was very pleasant. The overhead announcer would tell joke while explaining the virtues of the monorail. It made the short ride even shorter. We arrived at the Hilton and immediately searched for the box office to pick up our tickets. It didn’t take too long.

 

While not really hungry or hot at the moment, we still decided that this might be a good time to go looking for Luv-It Frozen Yogurt. I had read about them in a travel book and I am always on the look out fro good ice cream. But, alas, I was foiled by poor planning.

Still on sentinel duty
I had only a vague idea of where it was. It was one detail I forgot to take care of before we left. We walked east on Paradise Road for a couple of blocks and found nothing. Well we did discover that this was probably not the garden spot of Las Vegas. It was probably even reasonably safe after dark. But, we wouldn’t be testing the theory.

 

We walked into a 7-11 and asked the clerk if he knew about it. I figured a Yes or No later and we would be on our way. Nope, we found the last helpful 7-11 clerk in America. He did not know, but immediately retrieved the yellow pages and looked it up for me. He then grabbed the store phone and called the store. He did stop short of getting the directions, I took care of that, but, Wow! Who does that anymore? The sad part was we were too far south and it was a bit to far to walk.

The MGM Grand at night.
Darn it, our plans were foiled. If only we were in a city with lots of things to do. There might be something nearby to help us kill time until dinner.

 

Maybe that was touch dramatic. We did retrace our footsteps and went back to the Hilton. We had gambled very little and these people looked really nice. We figured we could give them our gambling money as easy as the next house. So we did. We spent the next hour or so feeding video poker machines and the slots. Margo hit one spin of decent size and doubled her money. But before our time was up we had given up about $100. Yes, Yes, I know. How could we possibly lose so much money? We’re just the last of the whales. I was surprised we were not compted.

 

You maybe surprised to find out that the highlight of Las Vegas Hilton, to this point, for me, was the restrooms. The Las Vegas Hilton is home to the Star Trek Experience. That is not far from the monorail entrance, so it was one of the first things we saw. We didn’t go in the attraction. Margo has more use for yeast infections than Star Trek. I’m OK with Star Trek, but I wasn’t starting an intergalactic incident. But the whole area, including the restrooms was in a Trekie theme. I went in and approached a metal, boxy urinal that seemed out of place. But directly at eye level was a computer screen. Immediately, in a futuristic font, I was told that my salt level was normal, my fluid level was low, and that for the next few hours I would posses a higher than usual ability to predict winning combinations.

 

The other restroom was in the main casino area. Above each urinal was a very real looking woman as part of the wallpaper. Each woman was different, but they were all peering down into the urinals, obviously violating basic male pee doctrine of never looking at a foreign Johnson. One woman was snickering. Another had a digital camera was taking a picture. A third was laughing holding her index and thumb about two inches apart. I think there were about half a dozen different poses. I came out and told Margo. She asked why I didn’t take a picture. Women. I told her there were other guys there, and there was no way I was whipping out a camera in the men’s room.

 

Bladders and wallets empty, we decided we would get something to eat. I had seen the buffet here at the Hilton listed pretty high, so we figured why not? It turned out to be a good decision. We had a great waitress and the food was excellent. The only complaint I had was there was no cookies for dessert. I love chocolate chip cookies. We lingered a bit, and then decided to head over to the theater for the show.

 

Like I mentioned earlier, our show this evening was called Menopause: The Musical. Seating was a first come first serve kind of thing, so we showed up way early. But, it paid off, in that we were in the second row of tables, with good visibility. We did have a bit of wait with little to do. But about 15 minutes before the show was to start a lady got up, told us a bit about the play, told us that some of the proceeds from the show went to a charity to benefit women in some manner. She didn’t have my attention, after she went into “begging” mode. Towards the end it became apparent she was selling fans (to combat the hot flashes of menopause, in a symbolic way. I felt my stomach squirm a bit), and I bought two plus a rose for Margo. It was our anniversary after all.

 

The show started on time (always a big plus with me), and we were quickly introduced to the cast. It was a four woman show. All were 45ish and going through “The Change”. There was Soap Sue, an actress on a daytime show, Businesswoman (dressed in a business suit and equipped with a take charge attitude), Earth Mother, (a sixties type aged to perfection), and Iowa Housewife. The whole show was about 25% dialogue and 75% song. The songs were all take offs of top 10 material from the 50s, 60s, & 70s. They were well done, but there were a bunch of ‘em. Songs parodied included “Heat Wave” and “I Heard it Through the Grape Vine”. The actress who played Iowa Housewife stole the show. She was hilarious. The rest were well done. I particularly enjoyed Soap Sue, as she did a solo. She came out into the audience and serenaded a man directly in front of us. He was very happy and willing. A bit too willing. Sue was working to make sure our escapee from the retirement center kept his hands from engulfing her and singing her song. But in the end, she tells him to call her, much to audience’s pleasure.

 

It went quick, so I obviously liked it. But, not as much as Margo. She nearly brought up a lung a couple of times. Afterwards we bought about one of everything from the souvenir stand. We had seen our show and donated money to the Hilton. Our job here was done. It was time to do our part to strengthen other areas of the Las Vegas economy. So it was back to the monorail. The last time Margo was here, here and the girls found a place that sold frozen margaritas right on the strip, by the Flamingo. So off we got at the Flamingo, and began our quest for icy tequila. Finding a place to buy frozen margaritas turned out to be as hard as finding a man to give me a picture of a naked lady. Finding the same one as last time was a bit more difficult. Now I could care less. It was of little consequence which place traded alcohol for money, but it was important for Margo. Half an hour later she ended up giving up the search and we got our drinks. I got a beer, I hate tequila. Five minutes later we found the right one. So we accomplished this task as well.

 

With drinks in hand we headed north for no other reason than our hotel was the other way, and we were not ready to concede the night. We thought we might cross the street and maybe see the ships at TI and or the volcano at the Mirage. Crossing Las Vegas Blvd is done at one of the sky bridges, with a car, or at great personal risk. We thought there was a sky bridge this way, but if not, so what? We got as far as the Venetian when the outdoor gondolas called to me. Did I mention it was our anniversary? I paid $30 for the two us, and we stepped into our boat. The first thing they did was to take our picture. Then our gondolier paddled us out into the lagoon. We were serenaded with a couple of songs. Carlito, I believe his name was, had a very good voice. The trip is very short, about 8 minutes. I suppose if people weren’t willing to pay it, they couldn’t charge $90 per hour. But they, and I, did. I wasn’t complaining though. We even bought the picture.

 

Our night was close to done. Fatigue was starting to find us. Margo was the monorail expert and she directed us towards the Harrah’s/Imperial Palace station. We got on the southbound train and headed back to the MGM Grand. The walk back through the MBM Grand actually seemed shorter. I suppose that says something about me, but then as now, it escapes me. By the time we got back to the hotel it was after 10:30 PM. We weren’t completely spent so we gambled for awhile. Margo quit before I did, but neither of won anything. As I was heading back to the inclinator I got a text from Margo, she need a bottle of water, as the vending machine was out. So I had to find a store. That turned out to be a chore. My last chore. I made it back to the room, gave Margo her water, and I went to bed.

 

Tomorrow was our last day. The only thing we had our agenda was to try Luv-It Frozen Yogurt. Our flight was not until 7:30 PM, so we would not be pressed for time.

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The Excaliber Hotel
The Excaliber Hotel
Ronn Lucas was cool!
Ronn Lucas was cool!
Me, Margo, Ronn Lucas, and Scorch!
Me, Margo, Ronn Lucas, and Scorch!
The MGM Lion guarding entrance int…
The MGM Lion guarding entrance in…
Our Gondola picture at the Venetian
Our Gondola picture at the Venetian
Guys will like it. Girls will love…
Guys will like it. Girls will lov…
I really like this hotel at night!
I really like this hotel at night!
Statue of Liberty at NYNY.
Statue of Liberty at NYNY.
Still on sentinel duty
Still on sentinel duty
The MGM Grand at night.
The MGM Grand at night.
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photo by: maka77