Stopover in Xining, China and Getting Knocked Down a Stairway. Oh China.

I took my first overnight train from Xi’an to Xining.  It was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I was fortunate to have a bottom bed in a soft sleeper car.  My cabin-mates were nice, did not try to speak to me, but did try to give me cookies.  It appeared they were all together.  The (one I assumed was the) father had the bottom bunk opposite me.  He coughed nonstop all night which kept waking me up.  But other than that, not bad at all.

I make it out of the train station. I attempt to walk down the steps.  There is a ramp on the right side of the steps, intending for you to roll your luggage down it as  you walk down the steps.  I could not figure out how to use it.  Neither could the woman in front of me.  Unlike me though, she kept trying.  This was holding up everyone.  Except that this is China so by “holding up everyone” I mean “making everyone smash into me to get me to go, but I couldn’t because she wasn’t.”  Next thing I know, I am pushed really hard, I still don’t want to knock the woman in front of me down, so I try to steady myself and end up falling backwards.  No one stops, they all keep continuing down the steps.  Sigh.

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It is only 8:00 am and I have planned to store my luggage, pick up my train ticket for tomorrow and go to the Ta’er Monastery.  To get here, you need to take a local bus from the train station, to a shuttle bus to the monastery.  Well I am outside and I do not see an actual station. Before I could even get my bearings, I am immediately bum rushed by a bunch of taxi drivers offering me rides. I say “no” about fifty times, this does not stop them from being in my face.  It is very difficult to deal with this.   I had a full wall of men in front of me yelling “TAXI” in my face.  So many, I could not see past them.  I cannot look to the right because when I try to, they all follow my head and stand and block me this way.  I look to the left, same thing.  It is overwhelming and makes it impossible to actually SEE ANYTHING or to get  your bearings.

One of them tells me that I am at the West train station and that I cannot get to my hotel cheaply from here, no buses go near there, etc.  I consider what he is saying and once again, second guess myself and once again, fall victim to someone taking advantage of me because I am a foreigner.  I consider that maybe those “bus to the shuttle” directions are from the wrong train station and I am screwed.  FINE.  I take a car to my hostel.  It was $50 yuan = $8.10 USD.

As we are driving forever, I think maybe I was too harsh and maybe the guy was not ripping me off.  This was indeed a long drive and the ride was pretty cheap.

Then we get to my hostel and there are buses EVERYHWHERE so I now know he lied to me.  Bonus:  taking a cab back cost me $25 Yuan – half the price.  I keep trying to console myself with “it is not a big deal, it’s only $8.10” but I have been doing that way too much on this trip and I vow to be a victim no more.

I stayed at Qinghai Heng Yu International Youth Hostel.  Booked via Agoda, it cost me $31.79 for a private room.  I was able to check in even though it was only 9:00 am.   I don’ t know if they wanted to, but they did not speak English at all and I don’t speak (I am not even sure what language is spoken in Xining – Mandarin or Tibetan?) so after looking a bit perplexed by my arrival, they gave me a room key.

I was so excited when I saw the courtyard:

courtyard of Quinghai Heng Yu International Youth Hostel in Xining China

WOW!  What a beautiful hang out area.  This place rules!

Then I get to my room.   It was bi-polar.  Enormous television, my own private water cooler.  But the room was gross and very stained.  The bathroom had that awful smell as if seven elephants were allowed to poop under the drain in floor.   The bed was just a box spring with a mattress pad.  But who cares?  I am in China!

Quinghai-Heng-Yu-International-Youth-Hostel-in-Xining-China

My hotel offers tours to see golden rape flowers.  I originally thought this was horribly translated English but it turns out that Canola flowers are called “rape flowers’ in China.   I am not sure why I think this makes it not horribly translated English.  Hmm.

rape flowers
My plans were to shower, take a nap and go see Xining.  That did not quite work out. Showering I thought was going to be a real treat since there was an actual shower curtain and for once, I would not soak the entire bathroom when taking a shower.   But the bar for the curtain curved up many inches so the curtain would not stay closed, because it couldn’t, because gravity kept pulling it down into a wad in the center of the bar.

Nap time.  I set my alarm and it went off for an hour and a half before I actually woke up.

I went out to get some food and discovered that there is no place at all near my hotel with cold drinks.  Everything is sold on the counter, warm.  Even milk tea and milk coffee.  This is weird.

I spot an ATM and make what I hope is my last withdrawl and then ended up really hoping it was not my last one since I forgot to get a receipt.  You need the ATM receipt to show when you change your Yuan back into USD before leaving China.  So hopefully I end up spending it all organically and don’t find myeself shopping in an overpriced (for China, underpriced for United States) airport just to get rid of it.

I get back to my room with some bread and warm drinks.  Then I decide I don’t want to go out and see Xining. I really wanted to go to the Ta’er Monastery and it is now too late. The rest of the things to see here were just things I was going to see since I was already here.  So I spent the late afternoon sorting pictures as much as I could with my netbook constantly malfunctioning.  I tried to download some podcasts to listen to on my 24 hour train ride tomorrow, fail all over the place.  All three USB ports do not register anything inserted to them any longer, this is new.  They all worked yesterday.  I have never in my life owned any electronic item that did not malfunction.  I am clearly cursed.

It is also worth noting that every time I tried to leave my room, it took me about ten minutes to get the door unlocked.  Same with getting back into my room.  They key was an actual metal key and kept turning but the lock would stay locked.  It got to the point that when I would go between my room and the courtyard, I would just leave it unlocked.

Outside my room is a swing that people like to sit on.  It squeaks so bad and it is a few inches from my window.  Of course it is.  I finally went out to glare at the couple who had been swinging on it for a good half hour and that actually worked.  They got up and went inside.  I was again woken up by it at 6:30 am.

Check out is at 11:00, my train is at 3:00.  I wanted to hang out in the pretty courtyard and use the internet but the whole “You don’t speak English and I only speak English” thing got in the way of me asking if this was okay, so off to the train I go!

I got to the train station no problem, thanks to having my destination printed out in (again, I have no idea what language.  The nice lady who was my train ticket broker sent me the print out to hand to a cab driver.)

From there, my story continues here.  Read all about my mental meltdown while surrounded by stunning scenery, aboard the train to Lhasa.

Sometimes As a Solo Traveler, I Want to Travel Solo

Once upon a time, I was in Chengdu, China.   I was going to visit the Grand Leshan Buddha.   I get on the bus and it is hot and smells like a homeless person.  Shortly after, it begins.  I hear some girl talking loudly on a cell phone.  “There are no backpackers on here, only Chinese people and they all smell bad.”  I shrink down in my seat a bit.  It is one thing to not wish for human companionship ever, it is another to hide from someone who is rude enough to have said this aloud.  Don’t assume that no one on the bus can understand you.  I’m betting a bunch of them could.

We get to the town of Leshan and I make the mistake of not immediately running off the bus.  I get caught.  “Hi!  Do you want to share a cab?”  No thank you, I am taking the bus. “I will take it with you!”  Argh, fine.  We walk to the bus and she is joyously telling me how happy she is to have found me.  Me?  I don’t want to be found.

There is a thing about meeting people while traveling.  That thing is that I don’t want to.  Let me make this clear: I know I am the odd one here.  People who want to meet other people?  They are normal.   YOU are normal.  You should be glad I don’t want to spend time with people.  Who wants to spend time with a weirdo?  Go on, run off and be free!

Whenever I do meet someone, the internal dialogue starts.

Me: Ughhhhhhhhh

Me: Would it kill you to just be nice to this person?

Me: No, but I just don’t want to talk to anyone

Me: But would it kill you to just be nice to this person?

Me: But a huge part of this trip was to escape the real world and BE ALONE

Me: BUT WOULD IT KILL YOU TO BE NICE TO THIS PERSON?

Me: I DON’T WANNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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If this conversation took place with a participant other than myself, I would undoubtedly be told I am rude, conceited, think I am better than everyone, I am a bitch and so on.  I know this because I have been called all these things by people that I did not know, who somehow felt I was obligated to accept their offers of companionship.

Do I think I am better than anyone?  Of course not.  Why does it always have to be me thinking I am better than anyone?  Why is this always the label I receive for wanting to be alone?

Has it ever occurred to you, imaginary social person that I am having a conversation with, that maybe I prefer to be alone because I enjoy the evenness of solitude?   No ups, no downs, just simplicity.  I like being alone.  Maybe I don’t want to talk.  Maybe I don’t want to sit here and answer questions about “what do you do for a living?”, when I don’t like my job and the last thing I want to do is talk about it when I am 7000 miles away from it?

Maybe I don’t want to explain my entire life story to a stranger, in order for you to understand why I prefer solitude.

Q: Well if you weren’t so full of yourself, you might enjoy other people’s company.

A: Let me ask YOU imaginary person I am having a conversation with:  Do YOU think YOU are so much better than everyone that there must be something wrong with me if I don’t want to hang out with you?  Are YOU so full of  YOURSELF that it never occurred to you that maybe my thoughts at this exact moment are more important to me than answering questions about how many countries I have been to?  See?  It works both ways.

So anyway, back to my story.

Here I am in China.  With a person who is super excited to see another Westerner.   The internal dialogue is flowing like a mother fucker.  No it will not kill me to spend a few hours with this person.  Even though it is not going to be a few hours.  It is going to be however many hours we are at Leshan, then waiting for the bus back, then two and a half hours on the bus back ACK.  No, this will still not kill me.  But I came to China alone, to be alone.  This trip is a huge deal for me.  I daydreamed about it for months.  I counted down the days.  I am finally here.  Now my daydreams are being infiltrated by the “get to know  you” questions that I just don’t want to answer right now.

We get on the local bus.  I don’t know where exactly we are going, I assume we will see the Buddha – this thing is ginormous.  It seems like we are on there for a long time.   The entire time, she is asking me about where we are getting off.  I don’t know.  She is now mentioning that it was stupid to take the bus if I didn’t know where to get off, and we should have taken a cab.  No, YOU should have taken a cab.

We see something that looks like SOMETHING so we get off the bus.  However, once we are off the bus, we are clearly not where we are supposed to be. We ascertain from some people who can speak very little English (which is a billion times more Mandarin than I can speak) which way to walk.  We begin.  My buddy now starts talking about how Chinese men are really ugly. Aloud this is happening.  In China.  I am crawling inside my skin.

We have to cross over a bridge and this is when my buddy starts getting visibly annoyed with me.  I am in China.  I am very excited to be here, I want to take pictures of everything.  So I cross the bridge to the other side and take a picture.   My buddy has had enough of my picture taking and is encouraging me “come on, let’s go!”   I am not here with you.  I am not here with anyone.  I can do whatever I want.

So we get to the beginning of the Buddha site.  My buddy wants to hire a guide.  I do not want to hire a guide.  If I were going to ever hire a guide, it would be like a city guide, not an attraction guide. It is this ridiculously huge Buddha, what do you need a guide for?  But if YOU want a guide, you should totally get one.  You are in China!  Do whatever you want!  I try to sound enthusiastic and encouraging.

But me not wanting a guide = she does not get a guide.

We stop at the bathroom and this is the soap container:

flies in the ointment

Next we begin the super long walk to the Buddha. We would not be taking this long walk if we had stayed on the bus.  The bus does go straight to the Buddha entrance.  This is my fault because I didn’t know where to get off so we got off too early.  I don’t care all that much.  Part of being solo in China is getting lost.  My buddy however, she cares.  She is mad, we should have taken a cab.   No YOU should have taken a cab.  I don’t even know you.

She is growing more and more annoyed with me.  This walk is so long, should have stayed on the bus, should have taken a cab.  I stop for too many photos, “What are you going to do with all these photos anyway?!?”   Post them on my blog of course!  Which I do not tell her about because I already know I am going to be writing negatively about her on it.

And of course, if this woman has a blog, she would be writing just as negatively about me.  But the difference here is that I am aware we are not compatible and I want her to GO AWAY.  She is aware (?) we are not compatible and she feels we should compromise to get along.

I keep politely letting her know “You can go off ahead of me, I don’t mind.  I know I take a long time and I don’t want to hold you up.”  And she does not go.  Yet she keeps getting more annoyed with how slow I am going.   In the interest of honesty, I was moving even slower than I normally would have been, in hopes that she would go on without me.

Finally we get to the entrance.   Finally.   Instead of going to the entrance though, I walk to the side of the park outside to take pictures.  At this point my buddy has had it with me and goes in without me.  Finally she is free, finally I am free.  In reality we both should have always been free.  Even if only one of us wanted to be free.

If you  have read this entire thing, I will reward you with a pretty picture of the Grand Leshan Buddha.

Grand Leshan Buddha China

My Last Stay at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City

I made two trips to Atlantic City this past summer.   I never posted about either of them because I am the world’s worst blogger.  I am now going to post some pictures from this trip before I get to posting about a third trip last weekend.

For both summer trips, I stayed at Trump Plaza and both times were my last times staying here as this hotel and casino closed soon after.

Trump Plaza Atlantic City New Jersey

You know what else closed too?  These guys, Showboat and Revel:

Showboat casino Atlantic City Showboat House of Blues Atlantic City Continue reading

Revel Atlantic City

Taj Majal will likely be next.   This is my choice for prettiest Atlantic City casino.

Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City New Jersey Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City Trump Taj Mahal casino Atlantic City Trump Taj Mahal hotel and casino Atlantic City New JerseyHilton closed earlier this year.  Caesars Entertainment managed to close the casino at Claridge without much news about it.  It is now used as just a hotel for Ballys and Caesars guests.  I have stayed in this tower, it is horrible.  Mind you, I am not a cul de sac namby pamby who requires a fancy hotel.   But the lighting in my room was horrible.  I was trying to write in my diary and it was too dark with all the lights on to see what I was trying to write.  That kind of horrible.

Sands used to be next door to the Claridge.  It was demolished to make way for a new property that was never even started.  Somewhere along the way, it was made into a fenced in park with positive words scattered around it.  I personally think it is stupid.

weirdo park

When I checked into Trump on one of my trips, the line was not moving at all.  I stood there forever wondering what is it that people do when they are checking into hotels at casinos that they stand there for 238743 hours talking to the desk clerk.   I mean seriously, every freaking time I check into a hotel attached to a casino, it takes every person in front of me a ridiculously long time.  Yet it only takes me about three minutes.

Finally it is my turn to check in.  I say “I don’t care about anything except that it is a smoking room.”  He says back to me “you are the easiest person I have had in…” and completely drifts off to the point I think he is never going to finish the sentence.  Then he snaps back to reality and continues with “ever.”

He gives me my keys and off I go.  OH HEY.  I got a suite!  How exciting!

Trump Plaza SuiteTump Plaza suite living room Tump Plaza living room suiteRoom view:
Trump Plaza viewAnd a filthy telephone:
Trump Plaza dusty phoneI guess if I needed to call someone and did not want to use that phone, I could just use the house phone by the elevator.  Oh wait…

WP_20140811_001[1]Here is Bally’s Wild Wild West.  This will be the new prettiest place once Trump Taj Mahal closes.

Ballys Wild Wild West Atlantic City boardwalk Atlantic City Boardalk Caesars Wild Wild WestBallys Wild Wild West Atlantic CityBally’s casino:
Ballys casino Atlantic City New JerseyBallys Wild Wild West Casino Atlantic CityAnd back outside we go…

Caesars Ballys Claridge Atlantic City New Jersey

Atlantic City sand sculptingSteel Pier amusement park Atlantic CityAtlantic City beachAtlantic City beach at sunsetAtlantic City Beach New JerseyI would tell you more about the gambling portion of this trip except that it was so long ago I don’t remember any specifics.  I know I lost both times, which may be the real reason why I don’t remember.  Sorry guys.

Happy Second Birthday to My Blog!

My blog turned two last weekend!  I probably should have posted this on it’s birthday, but I was too busy being a delinquent mother and gambling away in Atlantic City.

Last year, I did a post about things I learned in my first year of blogging.  This year, I learned one huge thing and that is I am cursed.

Some things that have happened to me in the past year:

I lost all my non-published content.  I work on four computers.   One is my PC at home, my preferred computer to work on.   One is my work computer.   One is my netbook that goes everywhere with me because it is small, but it also sucks and is frozen all the time.  The fourth is my actual laptop, which works wonderfully but is too big to travel with.

Going back and forth between all these computers should not be a problem.  But for me, it is.  Why?  Because the internet will not work on my home PC.  That leads to this:

Everyone:  If your wifi works in your apartment, you should be able to connect a cable from the modem into your PC

Me: Yes, I know.  I used to do this.  But one night I defragmented my computer and for some reason, it lost a lot of abilities, including going online.  I also lost the ability to choose 256 colors, or change my theme, and everything now defaults to Times New Roman, which I hate.

Everyone: But if the wifi works, the internet should work

Me: It does, but the COMPUTER IS BROKEN.

Everyone: Maybe you just need a new cable

Me: (smashes head into keyboard)

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So I would do tons of work on my PC and save it onto a flash drive and bring it with me that way.  Then one day, my flash drive vanished out of my bag.  I don’t have any idea where it went.  I tore up my apartment, it is not there.  I had nothing saved on the actual computer (YES I KNOW) so tons of blog posts I never uploaded to the internet are gone.

Everyone: You should save stuff to a cloud

Me: I know, but my PC won’t connect to the internet

Everyone: If you can get wifi, your PC should connect

Me: GAH MAKE IT STOP

I managed to fix my computer about a month ago.  This took me five hours.  My internet provider was of no help.  They kept telling me to call Dell.  Dell told me that my warranty ended seven years ago and that I could pay for service…no.   So now I do have internet functioning on it, I do use the cloud.   I just cannot do other things on my PC like post on Twitter or use Hootsuite because the security patch was erased when I defragmented and the new one will not load.   I tried every single thing Google told me to do.  I can’t do it anymore.  I just can’t.

I lost every single backlink and Facebook like on my blog.  Sigh.  I wanted to make the URLs of my posts, post without the date automatically in them.  So I switched to this.  One day before leaving for Las Vegas.  Then I realized that this changed every URL on my blog (duh) and that any link to my blog, was now dead.  This includes not only every Twitter post, every Facebook post, every shared URL by someone else, every blog I have ever posted on that allows you to do “last post by…”, every link in my own blog, on the “Where I’ve Been” pages, the Las Vegas Trip Reports section (which I had just heavily promoted using my current Vegas trip as the bait) and finally, every single Facebook like on every post I have ever made.   Do you have any idea how depressing it is to click on a post and see the bottom, the little Facebook like button and “0″ next to it?   There used to be triple digits there!

fblike

Since I was leaving for Las Vegas, and since I travel with an always frozen netbook, this was not something I could deal with.  So I did not deal with it.  It was killing me to see people retweet old tweets, with links that were now dead.  I have since redone my Twitter account and have scheduled the bulk of my blog up so that people searching for certain hashtags will see the newer tweets, with links that actually work.

The last technological meltdown that I am not yet dealing with, is that I am missing some photos from China.  See this beautiful photo of Tibet?

Tibet ChinaI saved it from my Facebook page.  Which I had to do because I cannot find it on a computer.  Which means that at some point between uploading it to Facebook, and today, it has gone missing off a computer.  Is it possible that it was saved ONLY on a flashdrive?  Of course it is.  Does that mean that there may be tons more photos from this adventure missing?  OF COURSE it does.  I did not have internet during a large part of my trip to Mount Everest.  Thereby, I had no cloud.  It is entirely possible I saved the pictures on a disk.  That is now gone.

The final straw for me was my netbook.   It kept whining “wah, Microsoft update, wah install now, wah pay attention to me” so I finally installed it.  Do you know what happened next?  I can no longer open Word.  This obviously happened during a trip to Las Vegas where I had been saving daily trip reports in Word.  I can (and did) open them in notepad on another computer.  But while this one was a simple solve, it was the final straw and I found myself hating my blog.

All of these things are my fault and I have solved all my problems.   I fixed the internet on my PC, I upload to the cloud regularly, I am purchasing a brand new Mac Air so I no longer use that shitty netbook.  I am not looking for advice.  I am just venting my frustration.

What is up next for year three?   Well I am going to rewrite and post all the China posts I never got up on my blog.  I have already started working on it.

I am going to GET OVER IT and stop sitting on my couch completely defeated by technology.  I am going to get up and kick technology’s ass back.  I have had enough of you screwing with me, now I am here to knock you the fuck out of my way.  BRING ME MY BLOG JEEVES.

I am also going to go back to China so I will have tons of brand new content, full of gorgeous pictures (that will also be saved in my cloud.  I promise.)

Christmas Trip to Las Vegas: Last Day and the Final Wrap Up

December 28, 2014: Day Thirteen of Thirteen

I woke up very early to try and get the most out of my last day.   Here is a picture of my last view of the sunrise over Las Vegas:
sunriseSo pretty.

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I counted my money.  I put $1070 aside.  This is $1062 for my flight to China, $5 tip for housekeeping and $3 for a Diet Pepsi at the airport.

Then the rest was MINE ALL MINE.   To be fair, there was only about $250 left.  OH and to be honest, I spend $70-ish on a carton of cigarettes.  Even though I swear this time I am going to quit, why not purchase my last carton when they are $7/pack rather than $12 in New York?

I ate a last breakfast at California’s coffee shop.  Then it was time to gamble.  I went to visit all my favorite machines to say good bye to them.  First up, obviously, nickel SuperTimes Pay at Fremont.  There are four machines in this bank.  My preferred one is on the left end.   Some woman was sitting next to it.   I sat down at my machine and it was stealing all my money.  This machine has been so nice to me this entire trip and now it is going to steal my money?  Now?  As I am playing it for the last time maybe even ever?   I get mad.  I kick it.  Then I yell at it.   I even punched the buttons at some point.  I was being a weirdo maniac and I don’t even care.  Finally I was down $100 on NICKELS and I had no choice but to give it the finger while storming off.

Next up: Four card Cleopatra Keno at Downtown Grand, where I was winning just a few hours ago.  I never should have left because now I am losing.   This place is so empty in the morning.  Not that it was really packed the night before.  But it felt like it was closed there were so few people in there.

Next stop: The D for quarter Double Double Bonus video poker.   Not even one four of a kind.

Last stop: Dumping all my quarters into Sigma Derby.   Some man asked me for a cigarette, hate.  Then he hands me a quarter HATE.  Cigarettes cost more than a quarter.

sigma derby the d las vegasFrom here, it was off to the airport for me.  No last day win.  I hate when that happens

I took the bus and then left my pass (I had a monthly pass good for a few more days) in the bill acceptor for the bus ticket machine, and off to home I went.

My Diet Pepsi at the airport was paid for with two singles and change, so I had one extra dollar bill to try one more hand of Keno.  I was so excited to think about how cool it would be to tell you guys I won eleventy billion dollars at the airport on my way home.  But it did not happen.

Final numbers for thirteen days:

Total budget is $200/day = $2600 for the trip.  I left $480 in my bank account so I could do the El Cortez promotion where you get 5% of your ATM withdrawals back in free play.  My bank’s ATM limit is $500 and with the ATM fee, I can only take out $480.   I did not need to ever take this out of the ATM but I did take $100 out of the ATM at Walgreens so there is only $380 in my account.

I brought home $1065 + that $380 = $1155 lost.   So sad and so stupid, the majority of my damage was done on my first full day.  I went so degenerate at Palace Station and then continued at Aria.  If I had not done that, my trip would have been so much different as I would have had a full budget every day.   Then I may have very well lost as much, or even more.  Or I may not have been so frugal that I would put $2 into a Keno machine and then would not have won $900.  Or I may have been playing quarters and won $4700.   That is why it is called gambling.  You never know what you are going to end up with.

Normally here I would tell you how many days there are until my next trip.   However, I vowed to not return to Vegas in 2015.   I am so sick and tired of coming home and doing the math and thinking about how far $1100 could go in another country.  And that in that other country, my experiences would be so much more exciting.

I mean, look at the many days I had where I was post degenerate.  I could not go nutso and grind away on video poker like I wanted to.   I could not play quarter Keno.   I could not play my nickel SuperTimes Pay on my first night downtown because I was not gambling.  I was happy to have sat on a bench with two homeless alcoholics because without them, my blog would have no content because I am a literal loser.

There was a huge change in me this trip because normally I would just say screw it, and do whatever I want.  If I have to go to the ATM, who cares.  It is my money, I will do what I want.  But on this trip, I didn’t even want to do that.  This shows how over Las Vegas I am.

But flights for Thanksgiving were only $330 for some reason.  So I booked one and I leave in 295 days.  I truly am a fucking asshole.

Christmas Trip to Las Vegas: Last Full Day Featuring a Run in with the Worst RTC Employee Ever.

I woke up at Four Queens very early this morning.   I had originally planned to go to Sunset Station for breakfast since I have a free buffet from MyVegas.  But I kind of didn’t want to go.   But I kind of felt like I should go.  I have not left downtown since arriving here Thursday.  Today is Saturday.  I do need to go to the Strip and take photos.  I sit around trying to decide what to do and my final decision is to go outside and take pictures of Fremont Street before all of downtown wakes up.  Then I will figure out what I want to do after.
california hotel las vegas

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Las Vegas Club has their back entrance (across the street from California) sealed off:

las vegas club back entrance closed offThey have given up some casino floor space for a touristy souvenir shop:

Las Vegas Club merch storeThen there is this stupid stage thing that blocks you from taking photos of Las Vegas Club:
Las Vegas ClubI end up playing some nickel Keno in California and win $70.   I am now starving so this solves the “Do I leave and go to Sunset Station” dilemma.  I have breakfast at California’s coffee shop, paying with comps.

I play some more Keno afterwards.  Some guy starts yelling “YEAH BABY!”  Much like me at the Orleans the other day, he has hit 8/9 and has won $900.  I don’t know why, but I offer that I hit that the other day.  He tells me “I hit it two hours ago.”  He pulls out his wallet and shows me the $900 TITO he has in there.  So just in case you were wondering if it is actually possible to  hit $900 on a twenty cent bet, it happened three times on my trip.  Only one was mine WAH.

I go back to my room to situate myself.   I am now finally heading to the Strip to take photos.  I cannot believe I have not done this yet this entire trip.  Not even on the days I stayed on the Strip.

I go outside and wait for the bus. I am going to take the SDX to SLS and walk to the Riviera.  After 45 minutes of no buses, I decide this is ridiculous and I will just take the 108.  Big mistake.  I ask the RTC employee there where the nearest 108 stop is.  He tells me it is at the Stratosphere, which confuses me.  I tell him that no, there is one closer.  He insists there isn’t.  I think maybe he is misunderstanding me. So I say “I know it stops at Bonneville Transit Center, and it turns around a bit past there, I am wondering what street that turn is on?”

Next thing I know, this guy and I are in a screaming match.   He is such a fucking douchebag and he is so MAD that I dare to suggest he is wrong.  I still want to know where the hell the bus stops so I don’t yell back at first.   I explain that all I want to know is where it stops since there is no bus stopping here (where we are standing.)  He then FLIPS OUT on me insisting that the bus does stop here.   “Yes, but I have been waiting 45 minutes so I would rather take the 108.”  He is FLIPPING OUT on me, so defensive “it isn’t my fault that you didn’t see the bus when it came.”  Right now I am so confused.  This guy is insisting the bus has come when I was standing there?  It hasn’t.  There are a million people waiting for it.  They didn’t see it either?  So now I start to get mad and I tell him the bus most certainly did not come and I yell to all the people that are now staring at us since he is screaming at me, “Did any of YOU see the bus stop here?” and no one answers.

Now because I am screaming back at this asshole, he then changes his mind and decides that the bus has not come because it is delayed.  I am still mad and I am yelling at him “I DON’T FUCKING CARE.  I WANT TO TAKE THE 108.  YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT STOPS, WHICH IS FINE, BUT YOU ARE YELLING AT ME BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO ADMIT YOU DON’T KNOW AND THAT IS NOT OKAY.”

Then he tells me I can take the SDX to Bonneville Transit Center to catch the 108.  As I have already stated, I don’t want to wait any longer for the SDX.  Now I am flipping out on him.  I tell him I am walking to Bonneville, when I get there, I will ask them where the 108 stops and while I am inside asking, I am going to report his horrible attitude.

I storm off, he is yelling “Miss, Miss, MISS” and I do not turn around. I give him the finger behind my back and kept walking.

I am now so fucking livid.   The entire walk to Bonneville, I was so angry and fantasized about clocking him in his face.   I did not go inside and report him because I was never really going to.   Who the hell has time for that when you are on your last full day in Las Vegas?

ANYWAY.

I get to Bonneville and the 108 is pulling in behind me, coming from a street that is closer to where I started.  I don’t even ask the driver what street it stops on because I was already never coming back to Vegas after this, and now this asshole RTC employee made me change my mind to never EVER.  Seriously, fuck that guy.

I take the 108 to the Riviera.   I get myself a large Diet Pepsi at AM/PM and take some photos.

Westgate:
Westgate Las VegasFontainebleau, the only thing in all of Las Vegas that is a bigger piece of waste than that stupid RTC employee. It looks to me like it is missing a lot more windows than before:

fontainebleau las vegas back fontainebleau las vegas incomplete fontainebleau las vegas never finished fontainebleau las vegas sideEveryone’s favorite, Circus Circus:

Circus Circus Las VegasThen I go inside the Riviera.   I love this casino so much.  It is always dead, which bodes well for me because I hate people.  I sit down at a progressive quarter Double Double Bonus video poker machine.  I start talking to it, telling it about that asshole RTC guy.  I am still so mad.

My baby takes pity on me and starts giving me lots of money.   I got so many four of a kinds.  At one point I got dealt tens and the next hand was dealt sixes.  I kept hurrying the wins off my screen because for some reason, they scared me.   I was not right in the head I don’t think.

After turning $100 into $350, I play some Family Guy.  I won and won and won and won and won.  Once my $20 was $150, it was time to leave.  But wait!  Just one more $20 in video poker.   Okay one more $20 in Family Guy.  But wait!  One more $20 in video poker.  Okay how about Cleopatra Keno?   Okay that sucked, but one more $20 in video poker.  This my friends, is how you lose your winnings.

I went outside and it is already dark.   I hate that.  I was up at like 5:00 am with intentions of hitting the Strip and now that I have finally made it here, it is dark already?

My beloved Riviera:

riviera las vegas

I walk to Encore.   They have signage up across the street for Resorts World.  I hope this opens.  I would totally go back to Vegas to see a China themed casino.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Encore:

Encore Las VegasEncore ButterfliesEncore tile butterfliesInside there is the usual flower display, and a flower carousel and hot air balloon:

Encore entranceEncore Las Vegas merry go roundEncore Las Vegas hot air balloonWaterfall outside:

Encore las Vegas waterfallI play around Encore, mostly Cleopatra Keno.  I keep doubling $20 bills.  Finally I find a nickel Ultimate X and it steals all my money, so I decide to leave.

By now it is completely dark outside.  So much for taking photos of the Strip. I have failed as a blogger.

I go back downtown.  I get some more pictures:

Binions Las VegasFour Queens Las Vegas The D Las Vegas Fremont Street Experience las vegas 1Here are some zip liners going during the Fremont Street light show:
Slotzilla zip lineDinner is a Binions burger, this is always my favorite meal of any trip.

I went to my room to situate myself and decide what my budget is for tonight.   I then brought that budget with me to Downtown Grand to play four card Cleopatra Keno.   I played forfreakingever.  Despite there being a penny on tails on the floor behind me, I doubled so many 20′s.   I had to keep cashing out my TITO tickets because I would run out of cash.  I finally left only  because I could not keep my eyes open any longer.

I stopped at Walgreens for a Diet Pepsi.   I had to stop at Fitzgeralds and try to win a quarter Royal.  No dice.

Then finally bed at the wee hours of the morning.   Las Vegas is so weird.  I feel like I was only out for a couple of hours.  Yet I had left my room by 6:00 am and came back at 3:00 am.  I got nothing done today.  Yet I had such a great day.

Christmas Day in Las Vegas!

This morning I wake up at Orleans.  I have a little bit of time to go gambling between Starbucks and checking out.

Orleans now has one HUGE Ultimate X video poker machine.  It is enormous.  I have wanted to play it the entire time I have been here, but it was always taken.  Not today!  I played a bit and doubled $40.  Then I went off to play the nickel Keno game that gave me $942 yesterday.  Some girl was sitting at it, on her cell phone, talking to whoever about “I am already in the casino, hurry up and come meet me!”  Yes please.  Hurry up so youse guys can take off and do whatever and I can have my machine.   I eventually grew tired of losing money while waiting so back to my room I went.

I packed up and got ready to move.  Today’s hotel is my last one of my stay.  Four Queens.  I booked this through Priceline Express Deals.  It is easy to pick out the downtown hotels on here based on resort fees.  Or lack of, like the Four Queens.  So you can pretty much figure out what you are getting.   Three nights, which include Christmas and a weekend came to $180 with tax included.

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Not paying for this room means I do not have to gamble to earn my keep.  In theory, you just about never have to gamble to earn your keep.  Your current stay is based on your past play.  But in every gambler’s mind, there is the whole thing with future offers.  People will happily lose hundreds of dollars to get a comp in a room that is $40/night.  This sounds insane to non-gamblers.  I know.  But what if on that second $100 bill  you win eleventy billion dollars?  That is why gamblers are gamblers.

I decided to take a cab even though I do not like taking cabs.  Mine almost killed me veering across several lanes of traffic when he almost missed the turn to get onto the highway.  Then he told me this was his first week of being a cab driver.  He was really nice and seemed genuinely sorry he almost ended my life.

The cab came to $38 with tip.  I could have taken the bus for free.

I went to check in and for some reason, in my mind it was very early in the morning so I was super grateful to be given a room so early.  I had Strip view, which of course doesn’t change the distance of the Strip:

Four Queens Las Vegas room view

I am raring and ready to go.  I was downtown for one night last weekend and I was not gambling so all my favorite machines are still waiting to be played for the first time on this trip.

First stop: Fremont for Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and SuperTimes Pay video poker!   I love this game and my specific machine so much.   She kept doubling $20 bills.   Then she gave me this:

7s x 8

I normally do not play quarters but since I was doing so well, why not?
quarter 4sI played forEVER here.  Hours and hours and hours.  I made way more than enough to cash in the American Casino Guide coupon that gets you a free buffet for 250 points.  I had no intention of using it for dinner, I don’t particularly want to eat at a buffet on Christmas by myself.   The boothling offered that it was good for dinner tonight though, which was a surprise to me.   That is also good to know since most coupons are not good on holidays.  It was also good she mentioned that it is “good for dinner right now if you hurry” because I had no idea it was dinner time.  I thought it was around 2:00 and it was actually 9:30.

Since I am exhausted, I decide to take advantage of this and go to my room when I am up.  I grab dinner to go from The D’s coffee shop, to use up the last of my comps here and retreat to my room and was asleep by 10:30.

Here was my itinerary that I basically did almost nothing on:

Thursday, December 25, 2014: Merry Christmas!
Breakfast: Orleans coffee shop
Check into Four Queens: 
Lunch:
Dinner: Binions Burger

El Cortez $10 ACG
250 points free buffet Fremont ACG
Plaza 2x points
Gold Coast 15X pennies / 11-7 100 points $5-100
Orleans 15X pennies
Suncoast (swipe) 15X pennies / 11X slots / 6X VP

Christmas Trip to Las Vegas: The Big Surprise Win!

Today is not only Christmas Eve, it is also unfortunately day nine of thirteen, my trip is almost over.

I head downstairs at Orleans for breakfast with $25.   Breakfast is actually at Starbucks because I have a $100 gift card.  Starbucks is supposedly only two blocks away from Orleans but this is Las Vegas so that two block walk took about fifteen minutes.

Orleans Las Vegas

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As I am being rung up at Starbucks, I realize I grabbed the wrong sandwich.  I switch it out and I didn’t realize until I got back to my room and looked at the receipt that I was not charged for the one I did get.  If you think that is a win, read on.

I stopped for cigarettes and lost my remaining $15.  I only had $2 left on me and a true degenerate would totally put this in a machine, so I did.  And I won.  Nickle Keno, twenty cent bet.

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Can you believe it?  I could not.  My machine did not have sound so once I noticed it was hitting so many balls, I looked to the left of the screen, where it shows you the number of ball hit.  I could not believe seeing I had won 18,800 credits.  This is insane.

I did not have my phone on me because it was in the room charging.  I was in shock.  My flight to China is $1062.  This win means I am only $120 away from it being free.  Well not actually free, but creative accounting free!   Then I get to keep my Christmas bonus which was going to pay for my flight.  Woo!

I went up to my room to tell the internet I won big.  Then I went back down.  I played everything because I could.  I only lost $70 over four hours.  I had so much fun playing everything.  I was not even mad when I tried out some weirdo video poker machine and found out the hard way that max bet was 60 quarters.

I finally take a break because I need a nap.  I still have never showered because I had not planned to be out so long with only $15 to gamble with.

When I woke up, it was getting too dark to do today’s plans which were to walk the Strip and take pictures of everything.   So I thought I would go to Palms.  But then I thought about it and decided that was not the best idea.  Every time I go there, I either win big or lose big.  There is no middle.  So I had the super great idea that I would take the bus to Tropicana for SuperTimes Pay and then to Hooters for Family Guy.  From here I would make my way up the Strip to Flamingo and then hit Palms on my way back.  The logic behind this is that I would be out and about.  Then if I did have a horrible losing streak at Palms, there would be more to my night than just that.

I stopped to get a super huge Mello Yello fountain drink on my way to the bus and was off!

Orleans alligators for Christmas, I am bummed they did not have Santa hats on:

Orleans Las Vegas alligators

I did okay at Tropicana.  One of those times where you cannot lose, but you also do not win.  I got kind of bored after a bit and decided to go.

As I was walking through the Tropicana parking lot to Hooters, some guy was screaming into the phone “I am going to end your life.  I don’t want to live anymore because of you so now you don’t get to live anymore because of me.  I am going to kill you and then kill myself.”  Do doooo dooooooooo look at me walking faster woo hoo yay!  Happy holidays everyone!

I get to Hooters and someone is on Family Guy.  Ugh, I took the bus here for this!  So I play some new fishing themed slot machine and lose on that.  Then finally Family Guy is free.   It was not anywhere near as nice to me as it was the other night.  I guess it knows I am right now not as desperate as I was the other night.  Oh well.

I crossed over to MGM Grand to cash in the twenty cent TITO ticket I had been carrying since I checked out days ago.  They took enough of my money, they cannot have my twenty cents too.

I am tired and no longer feel like going to Palms.   I take the bus back to Orleans.  I go on a losing streak, but it does not bother me at all.   I break for dinner, using the $10 dining credit that came with my room offer.

I went degenerate after dinner, but I am still within budget and I still have my $940 sitting in an envelope, awaiting it’s destiny as my flight to China.  Pretty awesome if you ask me!

Christmas Trip to Las Vegas: Spa(ah!) and Leaving My Cosmopolitan Terrace Behind

Tuesday, December 23, 2014: Day Eight of Thirteen

I woke up insanely early today in my comfy Cosmopolitan bed and have what I recognize as an uncontrollable urge to go degenerate gambling.  I want to gamble.  I want to gamble NOW.  I want to put every dollar I own into the pretty machines downstairs.

I have been pretty good for days, but that was only because I messed up so badly on day one that I had a choice to either continue doing things that would send me to the ATM, or to slow down gambling.  I chose the latter but I am CRAVING a binge session on video poker.

The sun isn’t eve up yet and I am FIENDING.   What to do?  I don’t really understand how I came up with this plan, but I decided to: Leave all my money in the room safe, walk to Walgreens across the Strip, get a Diet Pepsi, get $40 cash back and use that and only that to gamble.  It seems like a pretty good idea.  If I win, great.  If I lose, the walk back to the room to get more money might cool me off.  Right?

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I go to Walgreens.  It is only around 4:30 am.  Some guy is shopping, I mean really shopping.  He has a full grocery cart with lots of food and tons of paper utensils and stuff.   He is obviously on line in front of me at the register.  There is one person working because it is 4:30 am and everyone in the world is asleep.   The cashier had the most pathetic attempt at a mohawk I have ever seen.  I had plenty of time standing there to critique it.  It was all floopy and had WAY too much hair product dragging the spikes down.  It looked like he was dipped upside down in a vat of bacon grease.  Hello guy, egg whites.  Try them, they work.  Amateur.

As I sat there growing more annoyed with this entire thing, one of the guy’s 98374234897238 items will not scan.  Price check!   Argh.

Finally, finally, FINALLY it is my turn and Walgreens only lets you get $20 cash back.  I need $40 because that is the plan.  So I instead, find myself at the Walgreens ATM taking out $100.  I could have just done this in the casino.  Or taken it out of my wallet for that matter.  Why am I doing this?   What happened to $40 or bust?  You asshole.

I head back to Cosmopolitan. I am going to only play $40 I swear.  Well it turns out I only played $20 because I hit this:

$200 bucks!  Yay!  Lucky hat go!

cosmopolitan quarter aces

I was so excited about this that I celebrated by spreading $100 of it throughout the casino.  WOO!

I went back to my room and took a shower, got dressed and packed my stuff.  At 7:15, I left my beautiful Cosmopolitan room and checked out.  Again with the long walk to the front desk.  Seriously Cosmo, get those carts the airport has to move people around.  I pick up my deposit, stash my bags and go.

Today I am headed to Red Rock for breakfast (free from MyVegas) and then to the Spa.  I could either take the monorail to the 206 bus to get to Red Rock, or take the SDX bus to the 206.  I opt for the SDX.  I am waiting forever and ever for it to come.  The Deuce comes a few times, but since I have a local bus pass, I cannot ride the Deuce without local ID.   I have never gotten asked for it, since I look like a local.  But I don’t want to get into an altercation should I happen to be asked so I wait for the SDX.  (I am also not allowed to ride the SDX but you do not have to swipe your pass on this bus so I am being an immoral person here.)

I wait.  The SDX never comes.  After about an hour, I get up and look at the bus schedule and see that the SDX does not even start running until 9:00.  I have been here since like 7:45, it is now 8:30.  I am the stupidest person alive and I deserve it as karma for trying to take a bus I am not allowed to take.

So I then go to the monorail, to the 206, to Red Rock and get there with not enough time to eat breakfast.   I stop at the player’s club and get the buffet loaded onto my card.  I grab Starbucks and get back on the 206 to my spa appointment.

Red Rock casinoRed Rock fire pit Las Vegas

Today’s spa treatment was also with a Groupon.  I have a two hour massage scheduled.  I will say this, I was so sure that I was shorted on time because it only felt like half an hour.  But when I looked at the time, I was shocked to see that yes, two hours had passed.   It was so relaxing and wonderful.

Afterwards, I headed back to Red Rock to eat lunch.  As I was waiting to be seated, there was an older couple behind me.  You know, the adorable grandparent type of couple.  Then the woman opens her mouth and tells informs me “If I were at a buffet by myself, I would have to wear a bag over my head because I would be so embarassed.” I did my usual thing when people say really stupid things, and just rolled my eyes and looked away. In retrospect, I should have told her that if I had ever in my entire life not done something because I was too much of a fraidy cat to do it alone, I would have to put a plastic bag over my head and cinch it shut.

Obviously, I travel everywhere alone and didn’t put much of anything into her comment.  But it really bothered me that she felt it was okay to say this.  What if it were not ME she said it to?  What if it were some woman who was venturing out solo for her first time and was not yet fully comfortable with it?  Why would you deliberately go out of your way to make someone feel like shit?   Seriously, asshole move.

It takes me forever and a day to get seated.  Finally I am told that there is a table for me, but I am warned I will be boxed in by kids.  I should have known she wasn’t just telling me that there were kids near me.  This was so much more than just having kids all around me.  This was me being placed inside a seating area where every kid in the vicinity had turned this area into a playground, while their parents just sat and did nothing to stop the climbing, running and screaming.   What was even more I HATE YOU, was that all the adults were clearly done eating and just sat there talking to each other for the entire time I was there.  So you are done eating, there is the world’s longest line outside waiting to be seated, and you are allowing your kids to annoy everyone around you.   You are even worse than that asshole from the line.  Or that asshole with the limp mohawk.  Don’t think I forgot about you, limpy mohawk poser.

After eating, I played a bit.  Since I have (half) my Cosmopolitan win, I can actually play fun things like SuperTimes Pay and Ultimate X.  It has been days.  I play and play and play.  I kept doing that thing where I would reach the end of what I was willing to lose and get one hand that brings you right back.  Fun times at Red Rock hotel and casino!

Once I was ready to fall asleep at my machine, I got up and headed back to Cosmopolitan to get my bags.  Today is moving day to Orleans.

At some point while walking through Cosmopolitan, ninety freaking miles from the Strip to the front desk, I decided to take a cab to Orleans.  I don’t like taking cabs, they are a huge waste to me.  I live in NYC, I am used to taking public transportation everywhere.

That usually results in conversations like this:

Typical Idiot Internet Person: If you can’t afford a cab, you shouldn’t be going to Las Vegas

Me: Who said I cannot AFFORD a cab?

Typical Idiot Internet Person:  You are on vacation, splurge.

Me: I travel at least seventy days a year.  If I splurged $20-$30 every day, that would be $1400-$2100 a year.  (Sometimes I try to be really nice and explain that “I know it is normal to have one vacation a year, and of course it would make sense that you would splurge on your big trip.  Maybe it hadn’t crossed your mind that people travel more than that.”)  If I am going to spend that much money traveling, then I am going to spend it on TRAVELING.  Not on cabs.

Typical Idiot Internet Person: Then maybe you should take shorter trips so you can afford a cab.

Me: (Slams head into keyboard)

So here I am taking a cab to Orleans.  Honestly, it wasn’t even about getting to Orleans.  It was about not wanting to walk through the casino ever again.   It seems even bigger than MGM Grand to me.

I check in.   I am here on two nights comped with $10 in dining credit.

Room and view:
Orleans las vegas bedOrleans Las Vegas room viewI dropped off my stuff and went next door to Terribles gas station to get me one of those ginormous fountain sodas and they had Peach Mello Yello!  OMG.  Biggest score of the trip!   It was delicious.  If I ever had to decide between the Orleans and another hotel, I would pick Orleans just so that I could get more ginormous Peach Mello Yello fountain drinks.

Back in the casino, I still had my (half) Cosmopolitan win, that is now my Red Rock win.  I played it all and unfortunately was  unable to exchange it for an Orleans win.

I don’t really understand how, but no matter how many times on this trip I swore I would go to bed early, I always ended up being awake way after midnight.  Tonight is another one of those nights.

Christmas Trip to Las Vegas: The Case of the Mysterious Package Is Solved!

Monday, December 22, 2014: Day Seven of Thirteen

Today I wake up insanely early.  I am at Cosmopolitan and I want to go next door to Bellagio to get some pictures of their conservatory done up for Christmas while the masses are still sleeping.  Bonus: I got to watch the sunrise from my terrace:

cosmopolitan terrace sunrise

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I guess 7:00 am is not early enough to visit the Bellagio conservatory because there were people there.  Sigh.

Bellagio Christmas conservatory ceiling snowflakes Bellagio conservatory Christmas penguins Bellagio conservatory Christmas snow globes Bellagio conservatory Christmas trees with actual snow on them Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas conservatory archway Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas conservatory penguins Bellagio Las Vegas conservatory Christmas polar bear on a block of ice Bellagio Las Vegas snow globe They had snow blowing in the archway:
Bellagio Las Vegas Christmas conservatory snow blowingReception:
bellagio las vegas reception desk christmasChihuly ceiling:
bellagio chihuly ceilingI also thought I would get some amazing pictures of Bellagio from outside but the light it just terrible at this time of day. It leaves too many shadows. Who knew?
Caesars Las Vegas Bellagio Las VegasAfter giving up, I went back to my room to drop off my camera and then across the street to Planet Hollywood for breakfast.  I have the Las Vegas Advisor coupon for $10 off a buffet so it was a bargain.   My favorite thing about this buffet is that they have smoothies!

After eating, I got Starbucks and played at Cosmopolitan.  Guess what I did not do?  That’s right, win!

I went back to my room and checked the internet.   Remember last night when I said I saw someone I recognized?   Well ladies and gentlemen, it turns out he left me a package!   So there really is a package for me somewhere!  I try and call the message center, since that is where this all started.  But since I no longer have a written message, I cannot get a human on the phone.  I call the Front Desk, who send me to the Business Center who sends me to the Bell Desk who sends me back to the Front Desk who tries to send me to the Business Center.  This is where I just lost it.  Someone in YOUR hotel called me to tell me I have a package.  Can you please call the message center and find out where the hell that message came from, so that I can maybe talk to the person who left it.  I am on hold forever.

Finally the woman comes back.  “It was at Concierge, it is a Mickey Mouse looking thing?”  Well I don’t know what it is, it was supposed to be a surprise and I obviously haven’t seen it since it has been lost.

FINALLY.  I get my package.  It is a lucky hat!  Here is my cute little stuffed dog modeling it.  He looks unhappy because who wouldn’t be unhappy if they had to travel to Las Vegas in a suitcase and then never even got to gamble?
lucky hatWOO!

After this big whirlwind insanity of “WHERE IS MY PACKAGE” I am ready to wind down and nap.

When I wake up later, I am honestly ready to go right back to bed.  I have been running around for days now and I am in a ridiculously comfortable bed.   I decide to go downstairs and walk next door to Aria (which is like literally next door, but at the same time, is probably not even in the same square mile) to cash in a TITO ticket for $.70 that I have been carrying around for days now.  Damned if I am going to let them keep my $.70!  They already have like a thousand times that of my money.  Oh how I wish I were exaggerating.

I go outside and stop at the Lucky Cat exhibit in the front of Cosmopolitan.  A friend of mine had gotten free slot play here.  I tried and got a horoscope.  Bah.

I continued to Aria, walking along the construction that is the Harmon building being torn down.  I can also see this from my terrace:
cosmopolitan las vegas terrace view of harmonIf you are unfamiliar, this building had construction defects and never opened and needs to be taken down.  This is what it looked like before:

harmon las vegas

As an extra bonus, while searching my computer for that, I also found a picture of it being built:

city center constructionAnd a picture of Cosmopolitan being built!

cosmopolitan las vegas being builtAs I am walking, I notice a whole lot of puke on the pedestrian bridge.  On my way back, I saw someone step in it and then slide in it.   Gross.

I stopped for Starbucks in Crystals mall.  I absofreakinglutely HATE this place.  I hate all malls in general but this one just seems horribly thought out.  There is too much space, which means too much irrelevant walking.   It isn’t enough that it takes twenty minutes to get “next door”, they have to make you walk past wasted space.  Here is a reindeer from the mall:
Crystals reindeer CrystalsI went inside Aria, and thought that maybe instead of cashing in my $.70 TITO, I should gamble it.  So I did one spin on a Buffalo slot and lost it.  I did cash out the remaining $.20.

I walked back to Cosmopolitan and lost some more money there, but that’s okay because I actually love Cosmopolitan and I wish I had been able to give them my Aria money.  But that Aria money is long gone because I am a degenerate.

I went back to my room and decided to stay there on my terrace.  I got to watch the sunset, which was absolutely beautiful.
cosmopolitan las vegas pink sunset over aria