Macau, China – Loving Hotel Lisboa and Gambling in Wynn Casino

I originally did a quick recap of Macau here.  Now it is time for me to finally begin posting more details.

When I left Hong Kong for Macau, my wish was to be in my Macau hotel room by 7:00, and in bed by 9:00, to gear up for a huge full day tomorrow.

To get from Hong Kong to Macau, you can take a ferry or a turbo jet.  This was all very easy to figure out. You buy a ticket and then you get your seat assigned by a sticker at the gate.  That $172 price = $22.19 in USD.

Ticket for Macau Ferry China

I wish I had gotten a window, but I wasn’t lucky enough.

Macau Ferry

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Arrival in Macau was a breeze, except there was no breeze, just burn and hot.

When you exit the ferry terminal, you walk through what Macau calls a “subway station.” There are no subways in Macau, it is just an underground walkway to the other side of the road.

Over there are the free shuttles to every hotel.

My hotel was the Grand Lisboa. I picked it because it is so beautiful and neony. This place is a huge clusterfuck. You also have to carry your bag up some steps where you are then greeted by a bellman to help you. Where were you a few stairs ago?

I ask for a smoking room (do not even say it) and this gets me an upgrade. Score!

I get to my room and instantly love it. It takes me a while if loving it before I think to look outside. Oh man, what a view!  I was so excited!

Hotel Lisboa Macau room view of Wynn Fountains China

The fountains are a fraction of the size of Bellagio, but Wynn as a whole is also pint sized compared to its Las Vegas counterpart.

Hotel Lisboa really overdoes it with the toiletries.  Look at all this!
toiletries muchDon’t forget the slippers, robe or sewing kit!  Or the umbrella.

Hotel Lisboa Macau China slippers and robe

Hotel Lisboa Macau closet slippers sewing kit umbrella and shoe shine

The room was really cool.  It had a Jacuzzi and this awesome old school radio thing that actually contained the light switches for the entire room.

old school radio light controlsHotel Lisboa Macau shower and jacuzzi Macao china

Also, the minibar was free!  Not too much of a selection but it was replaced daily.

Hotel Lisboa Macau free minibar China

If you are concerned with germs in a public pool, no fear here.  You are required to shower first:
pool letter

In addition to Wynn being right outside, I also had a view of Taipa Bridge:

Hotel Lisboa Macau room view of Taipa bridge china

I tried to play a bit in Lisboa’s casino but it was really confusing. I felt like I was going to get in trouble the entire time I was in there. I never found anything I wanted to play and then I did end up getting escorted out by security for accidentally wandering into an employee room.  Oops?

I take a shower and go out with my camera.  It cannot fit all of Lisboa into a frame because it is a mammoth. I tried walking all around to get different angles, nothing.

Lisboa Macau China

I get frustrated and hot and gross so I give up and go over to Wynn, using the “subway” to cross underneath the street.

Macau subway ChinaMacau Subway underground

Wynn sign:Wynn sign Macao ChinaWynn sign reflecting on lake Macau China

Macau Tower lurking in the background:

macao tower

Wynn has a fountain show. It is weird because it is basically on ground level, like you could sit on the edge of the lake if you chose to.

Wynn Lisboa night fountains Macau ChinaWynn Macau China fountain show Wynn Macau China fountain show Wynn Macau China, fountain show

The Wynn Macau interior looks exactly like Wynn Las Vegas, just on a way smaller scale.

Wynn carpet Macao ChinaWynn hallway Macau China

I decide to play in Wynn.  Like Lisboa’s casino, I felt like I was going to get in trouble.  The casinos here are really quiet and the employees hawk you as you walk around.  I settled in on some machine and put in $200 HKD, which is about $25 USD.  For some reason, the machines take HKD instead of Macau’s own Patacas.

I sat there and watched my credits rise higher and higher as I played.  I was sure I was up high, but I was scared I was doing the math wrong because I have never been this lucky on a slot machine before.  Once one of the scarily serious employees came over to ask me if she could get me anything, I felt like maybe I was doing the math right and I was a winner.  So I cashed out and looked at my currency chart.  Whoa.  This is $900 USD!
Wynn winI have never hit that on a slot machine before.  I am in shock.  This also means that I don’t have to go to the ATM for a very long time into my trip.   HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

By now I am completely exhausted from my long day and I decide to use that as an excuse to get out NOW with my winnings and go to bed.

Hong Kong, China: Encountering a Feces Coated Woman on My Way to the Peak Tram

Today I am up very early.  My plans are to take the Peak Tram to see some really cool views of Hong Kong,  come back and shower (since I will need to, all I do here is sweat) and then go to the Chi Lin Nunnery.

Of course, the weather hates me.   It rained while I was on the subway (thank you for that) and then everything was so foggy.

I walked through a little park on my way to the Peak Tram. I took some pictures that did not come out because my camera was all fogged up.  Some woman comes racing after me.  She speaks to me in perfect English, asking me if I would please delete the photos because she thinks she may have been in them and does not want to be in them.  Sure, I do this.  She is double checking, asking me to show her they were deleted and I don’t even register anything at first.  Then she walks away and I realize that (a) this place REEKS of shit and (b) that stench is coming from this woman who is wearing a black and white skirt that is completely covered in smeared shit.

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I go back to take more photos, the woman is nowhere in sight.  She comes flying out of nowhere, asking me to delete them again.  I now notice her eyes are completely covered in dried eye goobers.  She is trying to rationalize with me, I keep showing her “LOOK – YOU ARE NOT IN THESE PICTURES”  She won’t let up. I tell her I will delete them again “because you are fucking annoying me now” and that she can stand behind me, opposite view of the camera, when I take them for the third time.  She tries to convince me to not take pictures at all.   She tells me “I have an anxiety problem.”  I tell her “Yes, I can see that”  and instantly regret saying that instead of “no SHIT.”

I explain to her that I have now gone above and beyond anything I should be doing for her, I am going to take these pictures, you can stand behind me, I am trying to work with you, you need to give a little here.

She agrees to let me count until ten while she runs out of the park so I can take my pictures.  The weather made them come out like this:

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Because of course.

What a completely aggravating morning.

I continue onto The Peak Tram.

Peak Tram Entrance Hong Kong ChinaHong Kong Peak TramPeak Tram station Hong Kong China

The Peak Hong Kong China

From here, the weather is really ruining my photo opportunities.

The Peak Hong Kong China

I pay extra for the Sky Terrace.  This was not worth it.  There are plenty of restaurants up there with similar views. And I mean chain restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp and Burger King, both of which have got to be cheaper than the ticket.

It is so foggy up here that my camera thinks I am trying to take pictures of nothing and it won’t even work.  I decide to stick it out for a little while to see if the fog goes away. It then starts raining, because why not?  Finally I got to see the view, even if just barely.

the peak fog hong kong chinaSigh.

Here are a couple more pictures that make me glad I purposely bought a fancy camera for this trip!

The Peak Hong Kong China

The Peak Hong Kong China

I Have Been Nominated for a Liebster Award Not Once, Not Twice, but THREE Times!

liebster

So what is a Liebster Award?  The basic rules are simple.

1.  Thank the blogger who has nominated you.  Easy peasy!  Thank you so much to: Ashley and Alex at http://inpursuitofadventure.org/, Simone and Jay at http://jslivingthedream.com/ and Emily at http://thecosytraveller.co.uk/  It means a lot to me that you thought of me.

2.  Answer the questions.

3.  Nominate five other bloggers (I have seen this number range anywhere from five to eleven)

4.  Ask them ten questions.

I am going to keep this simple and nominate five people.  In no particular order…

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Jen at The Trusted Traveler  Not only does she have a cool blog, she also has a cool name!

Megan over at meganstarr.com   Megan is currently living in Norway, which would make me love her blog enough just based on that.  But she has also traveled to Siberia and Central Asia, HUGE wish list items of mine.

Lucy from http://ontheluce.com/  Lucy describes her travel style as “grown up backpacking with a touch of luxury” which is something that I identify with strongly.

Will from Going Awesome Places  This is a blog with very useful information such as reviews, car rental codes and so much more.

Irene and Stefano from http://freelancersontheroad.com/  These two recreated their lives and grew a business that allows them to travel freely.  Very inspiring.

First I am going to do the part about me me me me meeeeeeeee where I answer questions.  Since I was nominated three times, I am going to narrow them down because I don’t think anyone wants to read thirty questions about me.

Afterwards, I will post questions for my nominees.

ME:

What is your best hidden secret? (For travel, accommodations, whatever….) Not exactly hidden, but if anyone is planning to go to Las Vegas ever in their life, they should start playing the MyVegas game on Facebook. You earn points (for free) and get rewards like free rooms and shows in Las Vegas. It sounds like spam or a scam, but it really isn’t.

What was your worst accommodations while traveling?  Oh hey…full review here: Most Disgusting Hotel Room I Have Slept In

blood bed  travelodge, Downtown Orlando, Floridablood bed travelodge, Downtown Orlando, Floridablood bed travelodge, Downtown Orlando, Florida

What is your biggest “Oh F***k” moment while traveling?  I have had a lot. From waking up on travel day and discovering I didn’t book the flight I was taking that day, to showing up to a hotel and being told “your reservation is for tomorrow” to the time I forgot my credit card at home, when I needed it to leave security holds at the seven hotels I was staying at on a trip in Las Vegas…or the time I reached into my bag to pull out my passport to show at the 348936734th security check in Tibet, only to find out it was sitting in a puddle of what was once a full bottle of hand sanitizer.  I am so upset that I lost stamps because the sanitizer removed them from the pages.

What has travel taught you?  It sounds so cheesy, but there is not anything that I cannot do. I was talking to someone this past weekend about how I want to go back to Tibet.  But this time I want to go to Kham, and how it is harder to do because it’s not set up for tourism.  So information isn’t readily available, etc.  It hit me as I was talking that this does not even intimidate me.  Like I want to go there and this is how you go about that so you just do it.

Are you a planner?  Very much so. I am still employed full time so in order to see as much as possible on vacation time, planning is key.  There are people who are very lax with plans and say things like “I don’t want to be chained to an itinerary”  Well…you aren’t.  You don’t have to go THERE if you want to stay HERE just because you typed it out on a piece of paper titled “My Itinerary”  I would just rather not waste my time making plans while on the road because my time on the road will end sooner because I have to go back to work.

Where will you visit next?  Unfortunately, this question comes timed as I am leaving for Atlantic City. OOOH LOOK AT ME! I AM GOING TO NEW JERSEY!   Then from there I go to Philadelphia.  A trip less than two hours away from my apartment!  But I am going away again in two weeks.  Once again, to New Jersey…sigh.  I am so sorry.

Do you collect anything on your travels?  Nope. I used to be a maniac who would come home with tons of souvenirs. But after time, I would just find them when I was cleaning out my closet. I am at a point where I prefer putting that money towards activities or future trips.

What’s your favorite picture from your last destination?  Mount Everest!

mount everest reflection

Where’s the best place you’ve ever visited?  TIBET.  I started writing about the thoughts and feelings this place gave me when I was there.  But trying to edit it makes me so sad that I am no longer there.  I felt so at peace there, and I feel that nowhere.

IMG_2523

What’s your best blogging tip?  Do not try too hard.  It shows.

Is there anything that you absolutely have  to take with you on your travels?  My cute little stuffed Westie.  One time, a Las Vegas hotel did this to him:

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What do you miss when you’re away from home?   Absolutely nothing.  This makes coming home so depressing because there is not one thing here that I am happy to get back to.

What’s one thing you would tell your 16-year-old self?  Oh god.  No.  Sixteen year old me was a train wreck.  Picture Long Island back in 1987, HUGE spiked metal hair and animal print spandex, spending after school hours sitting in my next door neighbor’s painted-black bedroom, lighting black candles, drinking stolen bottles of whiskey, listening to David Bowie (her choice) and Rainbow (my choice) while carving band names into our arms with thumb tacks.  I have absolutely no interest in telling that person anything.  Honestly, she scares me too much to even approach her.

Now for the questions for my nominees:

1.  From start to finish, how long does it take you to create a new post?

2.  Do you ever start crafting a story in your head about a place before you have even been there?

3.  Do you have any set idea in your head of where you would like to live permanently “someday” or are you still searching?

4.  Have you ever bought a plane ticket based on spinning a globe and pointing blindly?

5.  Do you actually enjoy long bus rides / train rides?  Or are they just a necessity to get from one place to another?

6.  When you return home, how long does it take you to unpack?

7.  Name one huge sacrifice you have made to travel?

8.  Bloggers know that blogging is a LOT of work.  Do you ever feel overwhelmed and want to quit?

9. (Stealing inspiration from my favorite question above) What is the most disgusting hotel you have slept in?

10.  Post a picture of the greatest place you have ever been.

Hong Kong: Kowloon Park and the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Harbor

My second stop in Hong Kong is Kowloon Park, where I plan to kill some time before the Symphony of Lights at 8:00.  It is no longer raining but it is still soaking wet and very hot.

The Hong Kong subway is very easy to navigate.  There are signs all over that tell you which exit to take for where you want to go.  Bonus, everything is in English.

super helpful subway station maps hong kong china

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Kowloon Park:

Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China Kowloon Park, Hong Kong China

They even have a little McDonalds stand inside, selling ice cream.

McDonalds stand Kowloon Park Hong Kong China

I have a tendency to be “accidental hiker” where I walk up and up and up and it’s always just because I am lost and going in the wrong direction.  Well today I was sure I was going in the right direction, following signs for a Lookout Point.  I went up there and the view was completely obstructed by trees.

Well played Hong Kong.

From here, I walked all around taking tons of pictures.  Given my maturity level, this one was my favorite:

sex toys classy

The Symphony of Lights show was not as extravagant as I thought it would be.  Still it is free and a must if you are in Hong Kong.

Victoria Harbor night Hong Kong ChinaMy level of patience was borderline running out at this point.  Hong Kong is similar to Las Vegas in that things that should be RIGHT HERE are accessed only by walking through insane lengths.  In Vegas, it’s pedestrian bridges over the Strip.  In Hong Kong, it’s having to cross the street by going through the subway tunnel underground.

After the light show, I went back to my hotel and went right to bed.

 

Why the City of Seattle Makes Me Feel More Emotions Than Every Dysfunctional Relationship Combined.

Seattle, Washington.  Sigh.  When people think of this city, they tend to think of rain or grunge.  For me, I think of my life’s biggest sliding door moment.

With all the advanced technology available to us now, I am hopeful that I live long enough to be around for the actual sliding door app that will take you back in time to allow you to see what your life would be like if you had made just one different decision.   With the way my life works though, the announcement of this new marvel will appear on the headlines of every news outlet the day after my death.

Back in 1992 I had an opportunity to move to Seattle.  Someone I knew was going and was willing to pay my expenses, to have companionship during his life changing move.  At the time, I was 20 years old and collecting unemployment during an off season from my job, while spending my time drunk and going to hardcore/punk shows in NYC.  There were a grand total of zero things in my life that tied me to where I was.

The only things I knew about Seattle were grunge, and that it was very far away.  I would not have been able to find it on a map. I am not even sure I would have known where to find a map.  I had never had any use for one.

So here is my big chance.  Seattle.  Someone funding my trip.  While collecting unemployment.  I could go and always come back when the off season ended and I had to go back to work.  I had a few months of freedom.  Why not go?

I did not go.

Have you ever had a fantasy that starts out small and grows and grows over the years to the point you never stop adding to it no matter how many years have passed?  It grows so big that years later you find yourself still adding to it?  That is what Seattle is to me.

It did not even start right away.  It wasn’t until a few years later that I began to dwell on it.   I don’t even remember how it was we were supposed to get to Seattle when he first brought it up.  Were we going to fly?  Take a bus?  I have no recollection at all.  But it doesn’t matter.  Because all that I know about that trip I did not take, is what I have turned it into in my mind after the fact.

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I was 20 years old.  I had never been on a plane.  I had never been on vacation. I had never traveled further than New Jersey.  I had never been in a different time zone. I lived in a basement apartment on Long Island with my mother.  I had never been independent.  I lived more life at that point than most people had, but I will still dependent on my mother.  Although I contributed to the rent on our apartment, my contribution was small.  I didn’t have a driver’s license.  I was always at my mother’s mercy for rides.  Sure, I could go very far from home and see bands play. Once I was very far, I could fend for myself.  But the simple act of getting to the train station ten minutes from my apartment in order to kick off that trip?  I relied on my mother to drive me to the train station.

If I had taken this trip, I would have gotten so much out of the way not only all at once, but so much sooner than I eventually did.  There are just so many things that would have been different in my entire history.

I would have traveled. I would have seen places I had never heard of.  Even if Seattle itself had not been all I wanted it to be, what if someplace along the way was?  What if we had stopped in some random city in some state and had any sort of life experience that drew my heart back to that place and inspired me to return?  Or what if this trip encouraged me to continue on seeing more and more of the world?  What if my first time on a plane had not been for my 29th birthday?  What if I had gotten my first passport before my 39th?

What if travelling while being dependent on someone at such an early age had taught me the lesson of never living a life where you are dependent on anyone, years earlier than I eventually learned it?  Or what if traveling while dependent on someone had gone the complete opposite direction of my life and it turned out I would find myself actually being able to depend on someone?

I pride myself on my independence.  But deep down, I will always wonder what shade of green the grass is on the side of the fence where being independent is what you choose and not what you are forced by necessity to be.

These wonders have spiraled out of control over the years.

What if I had not been living here any longer, when my seasonal job offered me a full time position in Brooklyn, allowing me to move to “the city”?  What would have become of me?  What would I be doing for a living right now?  Would I be working in an office?  Or would I be struggling to make ends meet working at a coffee shop in the day and as a bartender at night?  Or would Seattle have been a temporary stop that lit my wanderlust and encouraged me to try living in other places?  What if my life’s stories started with sentences like “When I was living in San Francisco back in 1995…”

Or what if instead of being in my late 30′s and trying to convince someone that we should totally chip in and buy that at-death’s-doorstep car that someone is selling for $500, so that we can drive until it dies, and where ever it dies, that is our fate.  We now live there.  Or what if instead of doing that, I had moved to Seattle and caused a huge chain of events where I had already lived in enough places that I would be settled in my twenties or thirties and not seriously considering making a huge life change so close to my forties, based on where a car dies?

What if that car died in SEATTLE?  A city who has forever loomed in my head, a place I have always wanted to go.  As if going there would somehow cork up the bottle that all my “what if’s” were pouring out of.

In 2008 I got my chance.

My favorite band is a band named Blacklisted.  My blog name is actually taken from a song of theirs named “Tourist.”  I love them and have traveled insane lengths to see them. One day I was looking at tour dates, picking out the shows I wanted to go to. And there it is.

Seattle.  (Okay it was Tacoma but let me have it, okay?)  With Sinking Ships.  A band I am so in love with.  A band with lyrics that are so powerful, they make my skin start to tingle with the imaginary razor blades that pop out to protect me from all the things that hurt me.  All the things brought to the surface by their lyrics. The ability to identify myself with a song title rather than a psychiatrist’s diagnosis.

I was sold.  Plane ticket = BOUGHT.

I spent the entire flight writing in my diary.  I was so desperate to find out how I felt walking around a city that had been the star of all my “what if” fantasies for 16 years.  I don’t even think I realized at the time the irony that was me traveling there solo when I may never have grown up to be such an independent woman had I gone there when I was still dependent.

We land, I am in Seattle.  I spent the day walking around in “deep thought” mode.  I felt so warm and calm and had a rare day of zero anxiety.  I walked all around the city by myself and saw the tourist spots I had seen so many pictures of in my life.  It felt so familiar to me.  I ate lunch at the top of the Space Needle and saw the entire city outside the windows as the restaurant revolved 360 degrees.  I had such a great day and fell in love with Seattle and knew I had to go back and spend more time there.

Once my day was done, it was time to get on a bus to Tacoma.  I felt happy. I had just crossed off one of my biggest bucket list items.  All the years I spent dreaming about this place, I had finally seen it.  I loved Seattle.  Loved it.  Loved it for what I saw. Not for all the things I had built it up to inside my head.  It hit me on the way home, the whole “independent woman” thing.  I loved flying to Seattle by myself.  I loved walking around without anyone being able to pinpoint my exact location.  It was so freeing.  For the first time since 1992 I began to look at Seattle in such a different light.  It no longer represented a life’s regret and instead was now added to a very long list of why I am pleased with the way my life turned out.  My life may not have turned out like this had I made different decisions.

When I returned back to New York, I went straight from the airport to a house show in Bushwick. I had my winter coat with me from Seattle and it was 90 degrees out in New York.  It is normal in my life to see friends from the East Coast play on the West Coast one night and then see a friend from the West Coast play the East Coast the next night.  I have this complete freedom to fly across the country for a hardcore show and to come back home and go straight to a house show.  I have a life that I love because I did not move to Seattle.

My return to Seattle took a lot longer than I initially planned.   I always have all these travel plans in my head that get bumped due to the fact that I am operating on “only” 40 paid days off a year.

But see, that show I went to back in  2008.  Sinking Ships cancelled the day of.   Three months later, they played their last show ever in California.  I was there.

At some point in early 2013, I stayed up late one night waiting for the lineup announcement for an annual fest in Seattle. I just had the creepiest feeling that Sinking Ships would be doing a reunion.  When the lineup came up and they were not on it, I was actually deflated.  Then I went back and looked again and after the main announcement was the pre-show line up and god damned if they were not on it.  I set my alarm clock to go to the library the next morning to use their internet to buy a ticket.  In my mind, I was going to relive my first trip there, only this time with the freedom to do an extended version as I had four full days in between fest nights to fit it all in.

And when May came, off to Seattle I went.

This time was not at all like I thought it would be.  It was nothing like the first time.  I was coming off 3+ weeks of Europe, a thirteen hour flight home followed by three hours of sleep before returning to work.  Coming home from day one back at work and leaving for day two with a bag packed to fly to Seattle after work.  I came home depressed because my trip was over.  I went to work depressed that my trip was over.  I brought this depression with me to Seattle.  Once again, that whole “what if” surfaced.  I am in Seattle.  I don’t want to go back home.  What if I had moved here in 1992 and this was my home?  What if I lived HERE and did not have to fly back to a place I hate?

I spent day one in my hotel room, convinced I was just exhausted from the whole Europe into work into West Coast thing.  That night I went to see Sinking Ships.  I knew zero people there, no care ever.  I stood there singing along to lyrics that I identify with so closely that I had flown here just to be able to sing along to them.  And my mental state just spirals out of control.  This song of pain reminds me of this, that song of pain reminds me of that thing.  Oh hey what if I had moved to Seattle and my life had been different and I never would have lived through any of these painful situations that are causing me to not only be at, but to break down at, a hardcore show at age 41?

By the time the last song came around and I sang along to “This place can become a part of you, whether or not you want it to”, I was done.  I did not want to go home.  I wanted to stay here.  Forever.  This place has become a part of me.

When I got home, I still had some more summer travels to get me through the day to day life that I am so desperate to escape from.  Then comes 2014 and I am spending a month in China.  I can deal with my day to day because it is a fair trade off to afford the luxury that is spending a full month in China, while simultaneously collecting a full time paycheck.

On my last day in China, my typical “last day before going home” depression kicks in harder than ever before.  Then it’s time for the flight. A two hour flight with a layover, into a thirteen hour flight.  There were no movies I wanted to watch so I settled on watching “Pearl Jam 20” on repeat for those combined fifteen hours.  I had never watched this before and seeing any scene taking place in Seattle in 1992, was all the motivation I needed to sit back and fall into sliding door mode.

When I got home, I booked two flights. I do this all the time.  Come home depressed, book a flight.  But for some reason, these booked flights are not working as the band aids I booked them to double as.

I have been in such a funk since I have gotten home.  It was showing no signs of stopping anytime soon.

I dug out an old diary this weekend for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with anything written above.  It just so happened that this was the Seattle diary. Odd timing, but of course, I think it’s a sign.

This morning on my way to work, I stopped for coffee at a coffee cart.  I stop here often.  They know me, I do not have to speak.  There are two regular guys who work inside.  One was absent and replaced with a stranger, who was wearing a Nirvana shirt.  Oh SEATTLE.

When I got to my desk, the first thing I did was price flights to Seattle.  The second thing I did was book a flight to Seattle.  I felt the most warming calm rush over me, a calm that I have not felt since I was in China.  A warming calm that I may not have been able to experience had I moved to Seattle back in 1992, and had not wound up where I am today.  In a life or at a job where I am able to do things like fly across the country just because I want to sing along to a band, or randomly book flights to places just because the new coffee cart guy was wearing a Nirvana shirt.  At a job where I can decide that I do not want to spend the first day I feel good in close to a month, at my desk, and can leave work hours early without any explanation.

What if I had moved to Seattle and was living a life that did not come with this freedom?

Maybe I did end up on the right side of those doors after all.

Riding the World’s Highest Railway to Lhasa, Tibet, China

I took a 24 hour train ride from Xining, China to Lhasa, Tibet (also in China, although it does not want to be.)  This is the highest railway in the world and I had been dying to ride it for a long time.  It reaches its highest peak at 5,072 meters above sea level, which is 16,640 feet.

There are several places you can board a train to Lhasa.  I made a mistake in thinking Xi’an was the best choice as it was only 24 hours on a train (compared to Beijing at 42 and Chengdu at 43) but I was wrong.  Trains from Xi’an only run on odd days in the month I am traveling and I need to leave on an even day.  So I had to do a route with a one night “layover” in Xining.

Leaving Xining, I was at the train station really early.  I was sitting at an outdoor table, typing on my laptop.  I got interrupted by some guy who told me he was learning to speak English and wanted to practice with me.  This was painful for me because during this trip, I have indeed experienced people who just wanted to talk to me just because I am Western.  But then I had people who feigned interest in simply talking to a Westerner just to try and sell me something.  I was not in Xining long enough to figure out which one he was.  So my guard instantly went up when he sat down. It turned out he was genuine and really just wanted to speak English with a Westerner.

Once he left, his seat was taken by a woman who wanted the same thing.  She asked me if I knew her foreign language teacher “Laura? from Minneapolis?”  Oh YEAH!  Laura from Minneapolis!  Of course I (don’t) know her.  This woman was quite interesting to talk to though.  She had a baby with her.  Her Chinese doctor had told her while she was pregnant, that she should have an abortion because her baby had no heart.   She was understandably freaked out.  Good ol’ Laura from Minneapolis hooked her up with an American doctor at the Red Cross.  It turns out her baby was absolutely fine and had a heart.  I saw evidence of this as he was alive in front of me.  That is very scary to think about, how health care is in other countries.  This woman was advised to abort her perfectly healthy baby on the mistake of a doctor.

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Picking up my train ticket was a slight ordeal.  There is no English so you have to kind of guess where you are supposed to go.  Then you have to pass through security to enter the building, China standard everywhere, including their subway stations.  Then it’s the thing where you have to show all your paperwork proving you are allowed in Lhasa before getting your ticket.  Then you show that same paperwork to get into the train station (separate entrance from the ticket booth) and then again before boarding the train.

You cannot use laptops on this train because the altitude will fry them. So I typed this all out real time on my phone during the trip.  If you know me, you know the amount of time this took since typing on my phone is not my area of expertise.

I took 316 pictures total and will space them out in here, not in any chronological order.  Since I was on this train for 24 hours, I will post 24 photos.

That said, here we go!  LOOK!  SHEEP!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

We are half an hour into our ride and I have cramps that I am sure is a sign of altitude sickness and I am going to die.

Sigh.

The train. Oh lord the train. The train itself is a maniac. People pushing and shoving in the tiny hallway. I am directed to the wrong bed and now have to go back against traffic.

I have a middle bed. Not happening. No one offers to help with my luggage. No one is obligated to.  But I cannot lift my bag that high up.  Not because it is too heavy, but because I am not tall enough. At this point, the luggage rack is full. It is also at the very top of the cabin so even if it was empty, I could not deal.  So I put my bag and my backpack and my messenger bag on my bed. Between that and the pillow and super thick, rolled up comforter, there is now no space on the bed for me.

I am not even sure why, but I attempt climbing in. Cannot do it. I don’t even know how to do this.  This sets off a huge chain of events.

The hallway is still a maniac. I am in the way of someone trying to enter my cabin. Someone, I am not even sure who, puts my luggage up top. Some woman starts barking through me. The next thing I know, there are now new people trying to barge into my cabin.  But they are all trying to convey something to me.  Holy crap, what do you want?!?

That barking woman, god bless her. She got someone to switch beds with me so I have a bottom bed in a different cabin. I love you.

I am now the star of train carriage number 15. Everyone jumps into action to move me and my stuff to my new bed. Lots of foreign language being yelled as everyone watches me intently.  I don’t even care what they were saying. I now have a bottom bed!

hard sleeper bottom bunk china train to lhasa

One younger guy escorts me in and explains something to the people in my new cabin (I never want to know what) and I shih shih the hell out of him. A few minutes later, barking woman stops by to check on me. Thank you, I love you!

This train so far is so much better than my last one. There is air conditioning. I think it may even get cold later!

There is also oxygen for the high altitude:

oxygen oxygen

We have to fill out forms certifying we are cleared by a doctor to visit the high altitude (I am not but of course I lie and say I am.)  There was a whole list of conditions you are not allowed to have. One was Schizophrenia. Good thing I don’t have that.

Me: Are you sure? You do seem to talk to yourself a lot

Me: That doesn’t count because I am talking to me

Me: But Schizophrenia = voices in your head and I am a voice in your head

Me: But you are me

Me: But I am a voice

Me: You won’t be much longer if you keep this up

Me: Are you threatening me? Isn’t that something a Schizophrenic would do? Act out violently because of voices in your head?

Me: Do you want to get off this train and go back to the hostel that smells like elephant poop?

Me: No

Me: WELL THEN SHUT UP ALREADY

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

I am now 65 minutes into this trip and there is one guy who has been right outside my cabin, watching me the entire time. Its fine though. I have a bottom bed!

We are now two hours in; it is going faster than I thought it would. I have already taken a hundred photos.  A guy in my cabin alerted me when the scenery was outside the window on the other side. Thanks Guy!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

The sun was burning through the window. When I got back to my bed, it was like a cool cave I love my bottom bed!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Three hours down! I killed the last one listening to my favorite song on repeat. It is three minutes long so I just counted to 20 and bam! Hour gone.

There are people in here eating awful smelling food and I am about to unleash an allergy attack on them. Side note: autocorrect tried to make me type “attack on Iran”. What a jerk.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Five hours down! My cabin is a revolving hang out. New people come in and sit down all the time. I caught one talking about me, she gestured towards me and I saw it. I shot her a death look and she looked humiliated. I don’t feel bad.

In one hour, I am going to pee and get ready for bed. This has been my plan since before I got on this train.

I hope any of my sheep and yak photos come out okay!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Six hours down! I got up to use the bathroom and came back to a cabin full of women; all of who I don’t think are sleeping here. There is just nowhere for anyone to go. I feel like every person on this train knows every other person except for me.

One more hour until lights out and my bed will be all mine again! Bottom bed! Yay!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Sixteen hours in. I got up at 3:00 am to use the bathroom and to try and figure out if I am dying from High Altitude Sickness or if I am just a hypochondriac.  That and the guy in the bed next to mine will never stop snoring

I got up a second time in the middle of the night just because it’s hot in a cabin with six people giving off body heat. Snorey McSnorenson started yelling in his sleep between snores. That sucked too.

I need to be in a private room with a western toilet and some milk tea.

I saw some woman who was really sick, being carried through the train. That was scary.

I am still trying to judge if I have any symptoms of altitude sickness. I think any minor thing bothering me can be explained by something else. Like this nausea could be from inhaling the bathroom. It is so gross.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Just a little over seven hours left!

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Five hours left. I am not going to make it. I haven’t breathed fresh air in what feels like days.

I saw the nearly passed out woman again. She has a personal oxygen mask now.

My hips and knees are in pain. The only place to stand is by the foul bathrooms. If I just sit on my bed, then it becomes party central in here and I can’t breathe. If I lay down, it hurts.  I need to get off this train. I made a mistake. Please let me off.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Just under three hours left!  It has occurred to me that I have no idea who is meeting me in Lhasa. I hope there is a sign with my name on it.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

Last half hour! The police came on at some point, not sure why. They checked random ID’s, but not mine. I thought that was weird since I had to show paperwork three times just to board the train.

Made one last bathroom trip. One of the toilets (squat, naturally) was overflowing with poop water, all over the floor and out into the walkway.

All I want is bed. Oh and water. Trying to purchase it got me a pack of tomatoes. No joke.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

And now I am in Lhasa!  I have never been more grateful to not be on a train any longer.  We arrived ten minutes early. I did not know where to go or who to meet.  I got pulled aside by the police so they could check my paperwork and verify I am allowed to enter Tibet.

I found my guide, who was with another chick who was also on my train and is part of my tour group.  She is from Canada but is living in Denmark.  This alone makes her more interesting than me.

World's highest train ride to Lhasa, TibetWorld's highest train ride to Lhasa, TibetWorld's highest train ride to Lhasa, Tibet

How (the Opposite of) a Classy Broad Handles Shanghai’s Pudong Airport Scammers

I flew to Shanghai from Chengdu.  When checking in, which was not the easiest thing to do since I somehow had no clue what airline I was flying on (I is smart), next to me was a group of Western kids that appeared to be on a class trip.  They had 49 pieces of luggage combined.  My thought was “that poor woman who has to help them”

Well wouldn’t ya know it, they are on my flight.  All eleventy billion of them.

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We board, two of them fill my row.  I close my eyes and soon after, smell something.  I open my eyes and the bimbo next to me is barefoot.   Sure she is like either pre-teen or early teen and maybe calling her a bimbo is harsh, but being barefoot on a plane is grounds for being tried as an adult, so bimbo it is.

She kept putting her bare feet everywhere.  At one point, the poor unsuspecting dude in front of her, had her gross toes maybe 1/10 of an inch from touching his elbow on HIS arm rest.  I don’t know why I didn’t say anything.  Someone needs to teach her manners.  I just sat there and glared at her every chance I got.  I am sure this did nothing because anyone who thinks it is okay to put their bare feet all over things would never have any idea that is why she is being glared at.

We land and get off the plane.  I have never landed further from the baggage claim than I did on this flight.  All I want to do is exit this airport and take a breath of fresh air.  Yes, in China I want to do this.  A country where the skies are grey during the day and glow pink at night due to the air pollution.

I get my bag and my next plan is to go to an ATM.  Whoa!  I am instantly bombarded by people bumrushing me, showing me their airport employee badges, trying to force me into an “airport taxi” while we are still inside the terminal.  I am trying to get OUT of the middle of these people but they are relentless.  I tell one to “leave me the fuck alone” and she will not stop.  Where am I going, do I need a taxi.  Get OFF me.

I tell her I am going to the ATM.  I don’t know why I tell her this, I certainly do not need to report to her.  She tells me I can pay for the taxi with a credit card.  I am not going to the ATM for taxi fare, I am going to withdraw the cost of my hotel.  I do not tell her this either.  But it just sucks to realize how someone arriving right off the plane could easily fall for this and follow her blindly and arrive at their hotel with zero cash on them.

I get rid of her and another one latches onto me.  He keeps showing me his official “airline employee” badge, which means shit to me.  He will not get off me.

If you ever find yourself in the Shanghai airport – or any airport – and this happens, take one second to consider what is going on.   It was so overwhelming to me and I live in NYC.  You may think you do not want to be rude just in case he is legitimate.  But think about it: if he is truly an employee and his job really is to get you in the best form of transport, then he will not refuse you if it turns out you were wrong and you do need him.  Not if he is this intensely stalking you to get you to go with him.

He follows me to the ATM, never letting up about where am I going.  Truth is, I am not sure where I am going.  I want to take the Maglev train to the Metro but I am not sure what time it stops running and it is now past midnight.  I try and ask him and he keeps shoving “AIRPORT TAXI” in my face. I could not have seen one inch of the airport without his face in my vision.

Once I am done with the ATM and I need to take ONE FREAKING SECOND to get my bearings, he is still aggressively in my face.  I do not know how much a taxi is to my hostel.  I never looked into it because I never planned to take one.  I don’t know what time the Maglev train stops running.  I need a freaking second to consider my own options without this man in my face.  He will not allow me this luxury.

For a split second, I cave and ask him how much the airport taxi is.  He takes my hotel confirmation tells me to follow him.  I snap back to my senses.  The entire time I have been in China, every time I get off a train or bus or plane, I am instantly bombarded with people yelling “TAXI” at me.  They are all rip offs.  All of them.  Every time I have taken one, on the way back, the fare was half of what I paid.  Sure it is only $5 or $10 but it is now the principle here.  Stop scamming me.   I start yelling at the air in front of me “I AM SO SICK OF CHINA TRYING TO SCAM ME WITH TAXIS, I HATE CHINA”

He brings me to a counter and the cost of a taxi is 450 yuan. Oh no way in hell.  I say “Get the fuck out of here” and he tells me that it is the only way to get to my hostel.  I keep saying “NO” and he keeps pushing.  This is China.  You find yourself yelling “NO” over and over and over to people to whom “no” translates to “please keep pushing your crap in my face until I pull out my wallet.”  He will not give up, “no” isn’t working.  I am trying to maneuver around him to find the signs for the Maglev train and he keeps jumping back into my face, going on and on about “this is the only way to get to your hotel”  No. But this is the only way to go. NO.  But this is the only way to go.  NO. I turn right, he jumps back into my face.  I veer left, he jumps right back into my face.  I cannot get around this guy.  “But Miss, this is the only way to get to your hotel.”  Finally I scream at him “No YOU suck my dick” and those are the magic combination of words to get him to leave me alone.

I go outside to the taxi stand he was trying to cock block me from.  I get in a metered cab.  Even with the driver getting lost (and having to pull over to pull out a magnifying glass to read the address) it cost me 200 Yuan.

Then I get to my hostel and check into my room.   It is a cute little duplex with a loft bed up top and my own private balcony.  Now I am happy.

Hong Kong, China: Lantau Island, Ngong Ping Village, Tian Tan Buddha

Today is my first full day in Hong Kong!  I am awake after only six hours of sleep.   Outside my window is this view of pouring rain:

Ibis North Point room view Hong Kong Victoria Harbor

I consider maybe not sticking to my original plan of going to Lantau Island.  I mean, it is raining!  I know it is supposed to rain my entire time here.  I ask myself what I am going to do instead.  It is a trick question.  If I can come up with an alternative, I am allowed to do it. But if my only alternative is to go back to bed, then I know I am just using the rain as a scapegoat for me being nervous about going out in a new country all by myself.  Guess what?  It turns out I did plan to go back to bed.  Nuh uh – nope.  You chose to come here, you are going out.  So I did.

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Lantau Island has several attractions.  On my list for today are: Ride the Tung Chung cable car to the Ngong Ping, visit the Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery.

I am an over planner, which has gotten me some negative remarks.  I found everything exactly how my research told me it would be.  The train is right here, the Oyster card costs this, take this train line to that train line, get out and walk here. I couldn’t have gotten lost even if I tried.

I was on my first Hong Kong subway for two stops before some woman asked me “does this train stop at Disneyland?”  and I was actually able  answer her.  No matter where I go, people always assume I am a local.  Even in Hong Kong.

I get off the train at my stop.  I attempt to take a picture with my new camera that I have yet to figure out.  Everything is black.  Uh?  Some guy yells “LENS CAP” at me.   THANK YOU!  I wonder if I ever would have figured that out myself?

Hong Kong signage is really helpful.  They do not want you to get lost here, there are signs everywhere:

how to get to tung chung cable car

As I am walking the the cable car, it started thundering like a beast.  OH COME ON.  I get near the entrance and an employee is putting out warning signs about lightning and thunder.   Of course she is.

I am still going to go.  I am here, I have to.

I end up sharing a cable car with people, I would really have preferred to do it alone but you do not get a choice. My pictures would have been way cooler had it not been raining.

cable car Ngong Ping to Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong Cable car rain Ngong Ping to Tian Tan Buddha hong kong cable cars ngong ping village

Finally off in the distance, there he is!  TIAN TAN BUDDHA!  Well hello guy!  I am here to see YOU!

Tian Tan Buddha from Cable Car exit

The Tian Tan Buddha is the “world’s largest outdoor bronze seated Buddha”  You will find that there are many large Buddhas in the world and they all find specific categories to be named the largest of.

To get to the Buddha, you have to walk through little Ngong Ping, a village catering to tourists.  I passed a Starbucks and was tempted but told myself it could be my reward on the way back for climbing the 268 steps to the Buddha.

ngong ping village hong kong

Bodhi Square Ngong Ping Hong Kong

Because I just must take pictures of every adorable animal I see, here are some cows and some stray dogs (aw)

cows ngong ping village

I wonder what they are talking about?stray dogs ngong ping

Po Lin Monastery gates with Buddha in the background, getting closer!

Po Lin Monastery Gates with Tian Tan Buddha in background Hong Kong
Finally I get to the iconic view that has been posted on every blog of every visit to the Tian Tan Buddha.  Due to the weather, the poor Buddha looks headless:

Tian Tan Buddha Hong Kong China

Even better, after climbing to the top in the rain, I was rewarded with the view!  I have read about this view.  Gorgeous mountain scenery with the South China Sea in the background.  Here of course, is the view I got:

view tian tan buddha

Sigh.

At least Buddha has his head back   Well kind of anyway.

Top Tian Tan Buddha in the fog Hong Kong

Two seconds after taking this picture, it started POURING and everyone ran for cover.

rain storm tian tan buddha

Tian Tan Buddha Devas in rainI was up there for so long, waiting for the rain to end.  I got so bored.  I decide to make my descent and just deal with being wet.  Mind you, I have an umbrella and two rain ponchos back at my hotel.  idiot.

I walked around the Po Lin monastery and took some photos.

po lin monastery grounds china hong kong Golden Buddhas Po Lin Monastery Ngong Ping Hong Kong po lin monastery hong kong chinaPo Lin Monastery Hong Kong China.

Then I just got tired of being out in the rain so I eventually left.  I took the cable car back, had the same crappy rain views.

Next stop is Kowloon Park, where I plan to kill some time before the Symphony of Lights.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007: Yay! Screaming Kid on My Flight from Las Vegas!

Note:  This is an older Las Vegas trip report that I am posting for the entertainment of Las Vegas addicts and anyone else who loves fun.  It was written back in 2007.  Most of this information is now outdated and some places mentioned no longer exist.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 – Day Four of Four – Last Day

I hate hate hate waking up on my last day in Las Vegas.   Even though this trip is special because I’ll be back in less than a week, I still have to go home today and I just don’t WANNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

I get up early at the El Cortez and go downstairs.  I manage to lose half of my day’s budget and it’s not even 9:00 am.  Way to go.

Of course, I head to McDonalds for my third morning in a row.  I will admit that on this day, I am a bit sick of Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits.  But I just have to do it.  Just to be a dick.

Come back to the room and hide out for a couple of hours.  Pack my stuff up, rearrange my bag, check out, leave my bag at the Bell Desk and go.

Of course, first stop Binions, second stop – Press Your Luck.  I cannot stop it with this game.  I lost my $60 immediately.   Oh so it’s going to be one of THOSE last days, eh?

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I now have $40 left from my daily budget.   It’s only like noon.   My flight leaves at 9:30.   Sure I have all my winnings but I hate hate hate hate hate digging into them.

I go find a Double Double Bonus video poker machine and play it.  It gives me a LOT of full houses, which is odd for me, and gives me some playing time.  I also ONE four of a kind which gives me some sort of budget back.

Time for a break and you guessed it – a Binions burger.

Back to Double Double Bonus video poker.  I’m begging it for Aces.  They don’t come.  I start demanding Aces, still don’t come.  I’m now threatening the life of this machine, telling it all the horrible things I will do to mutilate its every fiber if I do not get Aces.   I still don’t get Aces.  I am explaining that I need to get Aces to win my entire daily budget back and it just won’t budge.   Okay SCREW YOU I HATE YOU.  I’ll show you!  I’m going back to Press Your Luck.  Later, ASSHOLE.

I just can’t believe this machine.   The Big Event Bonus comes up pretty quickly and I get the “Trip of a Lifetime” bonus.   Normally it hits Paris (the lowest one, usually around $4, times your multiplier).  It hit Egypt a few times (usually around $11, times your multiplier).   Well this time it hits Hawaii – $90, times my multiplier (2) and there you go.  My budget is back.  Just like that.

The woman next to me had a four times multiplier so she got $360.   I am still doing my thing.  $20 in at a time.   Cash out when I double.   Once three $20′s are done, go to the cashier, cash my tickets and start all over again.   This requires me to get up a LOT.  And I do.   After the first round (where I got the $180 bonus), I went up to cash out with $320.   I come back and notice that the woman who had the four times multiplier (and won $360) now only has $50 left.  She is playing more than I am per hand.   And despite that big win, now had less than me.   I know from experience how easy it is to win and then lose it all.  This is why I’ve become so disciplined and I’m glad I stick to it.

I play until it’s time to leave for the airport and then I head back to the El Cortez to collect my bag and go.  It’s always a long wait for a cab here so this time I actually ask the bellman if I can get a cab and he calls one for me.  It shows up like five minutes later.   I don’t know why I’ve never done this before.   Hellooooooooo.

I get on the plane.  It’s pretty empty in the back and I have a whole row to myself.  This is great so I can sleep, because I am going straight to work from the airport.    This turns out to not be great because the last people to board included a screaming screaming screaming kid.   It gets in the row behind me and it’s all covered in tears and snot.  It’s standing with its mouth over my seat and begins to cough all over me.  I yell at the mother “Hey!  Tell your kid to cover its mouth!”   It keeps on screaming and screaming.  It finally stops once we take off.   I go to sleep.   I slept a few hours, and got woken up by the kid.   Of course.  I yell “Be quiet!” and it quiets down.   Then starts screaming again. I yell again.  It shuts up again.   I don’t understand why the mother isn’t trying this tactic, it’s her kid.   Tell it to shut up, clearly it works.  Just tryyyyyyyyy it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007: The Day I Ate McDonalds Twice in One Day. Subtitled: Suck It.

Note:  This is an older Las Vegas trip report that I am posting for the entertainment of Las Vegas addicts and anyone else who loves fun.  It was written back in 2007.  Most of this information is now outdated and some places mentioned no longer exist.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 – Day Three of Four

Merry Christmas!

My alarm goes off at 5:00 am because I have a massage appointment at Imperial palace and I need time to get there.   At about 5:15 I start getting “Merry Christmas!” text messages from East Coasters who never seem to figure out that I am in Vegas and probably asleep.  Or maybe they know I am a degenerate gambler who is up at 5:00 to start gambling.

Take the Deuce bus down the Strip and get off at Harrahs at around 6:15 am.   You know I stopped for McDonalds breakfast.   You also know I want you to CAN IT with your commentary on that.

I play around Imperial Palace and remember why I play Downtown.  I could not get a damn thing.   Not even from an All That Glitters slot that normally loves me.
At 7:00 I head to the spa, take a shower and get ready for my foot relaxation massage.   I am very excited about this.  Living in New York City = walking everywhere = every New York City chick needs a foot massage.    It was an hour long.   My feet didn’t really get massaged.  They did get exfoliated and wrapped in paraffin though, so that was wonderful.   The cost was $100, minus $10 from a coupon I got with the fun book I got when I signed up for a Bill’s player’s card.  Definitely worth it.

I take the Deuce back downtown without stopping to play anything on my way to the bus stop.   Hit Fitzgeralds and play and bit and I’m losing. What the hell.   I look at the time and its 10:00 am and I begin to think, do I dare?  Hell why not, I’m on vacation and I get my SECOND McDonalds breakfast of the day.  I mean it was four hours since my first one and I am on vacation ya know.

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Those Bacon Egg and Cheese Biscuits are crack I’m telling you.   Oh yeah and SHUT UP.

Back to the El Cortez to nap.  I’m not too sure why I ever bother with this because it rarely works.   But even if I lay there for half an hour trying, that’s half an hour I’m not losing so….

I go back downstairs and lose and lose.  I put a $20 into a quarter deuces  video poker machine and begin playing quarters.  Up until now, it’s been all nickels for me.   And HEY LOOKIT!!!!!!  I get my first time four deuces!  $250. Yay!

Head back to Fitzgeralds and play Monopoly Big Event.  The Big Event Bonus never comes UNTIL I get down to zero credits.  It does that thing where it beeps to let you know to stick around because if the big event bonus comes up in the next 41……40……39……seconds, you get it.  Well I got it and got $30.

Back to Binions.  Well hello Press Your Luck.

I go through my three $20′s and do my thing where I cash out and come back. The machine next to me is empty and someone sits on the other end.   Oh hey, pet peeve time.  One person at a machine and five people watching that one person.   I hate it.   That person gets a bonus and all six of them are cheering it on.  The bonus ends up being zero.  I get a bonus and one of them says “Hey she’s winning!” and they all gather around MY machine and watch ME play.   Ugh, go away.

Then the Big Event Bonus keeps hitting.  One of the watchers now begins touching me.  Hitting my shoulder “look at that one!”  “That was a good one!”  Okay STOP TOUCHING ME.   Stop it.  I don’t get why strangers would reach out and touch me.   I definitely do not ever give off the body language that says “PLEASE TOUCH ME.”  If anything, my jumping away from your touch and refusing to even look at you, screams the opposite.  Finally they alllllllllll leave.   All of them.  All six of them on ONE machine.  Whew.

I do my thing where I play $60, $20 at a time and cash out, put my winnings aside and then restart with the $60 – $20 at a time until I double it or lose it.

Then this time something odd happened.  After a couple of hours of doing this, I eventually put in $60 and lost all three $20′s.  I was dumbfounded, this had never happened to me before.  Noooooooooo Press Your Luck I love you why have you betrayed meeeeeee?

I break for a Binions burger to nurse my wounds.  And then back to Press Your Luck.   I can’t believe how many times this machine hits.   It wasn’t doing this at the El Cortez.   It just kept hitting and hitting and hitting and god help me, I kept lapping it up like a junkie.   I eventually took $400 out of the machine and decided to call it a night.

I walked back to the El Cortez and I allow myself $35 to play.   I put $10 in one of those Hot Shot slot machines.  I get the bonus.  I had a lit cigarette and I realize there is no ashtray.  I need to reach up to hit the tile thingies for the bonus.  I am halfway up and halfway looking for an ashtray and someone comes up to grub a cigarette.  Not now dude, I’m busy!  I lose my $10 and then lose the other $25 on video poker.    I know better than to keep playing but I put a final $20 in a White Orchid slot machine.  This machine sucks because its 100 lines.  But this machine rules because on the few times I’ve played it, I’ve hit high bonuses.  This time was no exception.  Hit the bonus for $70, leaving me up $30.

Head back to the room.  It’s my last night here so I plug in all my stuff to charge it.  The outlets at the El Cortez suck.  It’s not uncommon for you to plug something in, walk away and come back and see it has fallen out of the outlet.   I manage to get everything in there and more importantly to stay in there, and I’m in bed by 12:30.