10 May 2012

The Baker's Nuts: Vegas Vacation

I'm baaaaacckkkk.

To Vegas!
Okay so I've been back for two days now, but let's not split hairs. It has taken some effort to reintegrate myself. I'm not going to go into any of the food I ate in this post, there was so much that it deserves a post all to itself :).

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory NEXT TO THE ROCKIES!
(Denver Airport)
I thought it was cool.
Instead, here is a "quick" rundown of some of my thoughts about Vegas and the things we did. First, let me say that despite all the potential for the opposite (and my own apprehensions) I had a great time and it was a lot of fun. It was made especially great because I was able to spend so much time with my friends. Though most importantly it was wonderful and an absolute honour to witness some of those friends be married.

Which is where I will start.

Saturday May 5th:

The groom was a nervous wreck for most of the morning. We arrived early to keep him company, and I could feel his anxiety. Constantly pacing back and forth, fidgeting with his tie, complaining about suspenders. I'd never seen him in such a state. I tried my best to calm him down, but I'm not sure how effective I was.

The area within Caesars Palace where the ceremony was to be held was quite beautiful and serene. Hidden away from the typical hustle and bustle of the rest of the city. A string quartet could be heard from where the groom and I waited (an option that I would recommend everyone take, despite the cost) and the groom's pacing continued.

The groom left with the coordinator and I stood with the maid of honour preparing for our walk and the appearance of the bride.

As the music changed to Pachelbel's Canon, her father at her side, the bride began her walk down the aisle. We stood and turned to see her in her dress for the first time. For a moment the surrounding air was completely consumed as all present collectively inhaled and shared a muted gasp. The bride was absolutely stunning.

The ceremony was quite nice and simple. And you will be happy to note that I hit my queue for the rings like a pro :). A highlight for me was when the bride was attempting to place the ring on the groom's finger and it wouldn't slide down easily, getting stuck at the joint. Almost as if it were a last ditch effort to hold on to bachelorhood. The bride looked at me as she forced it down his finger and we shared a knowing chuckle:).

Oh, and my speech, I am told, went well. I had a bit of a breakthrough on the plane ride to Denver, and finalized what I wanted to say the morning of the wedding. I work well under pressure :).

As for Vegas itself...

From the spectacle, casinos, ridiculous scale of the buildings, even down to the unreasonable prices of nearly every product; Vegas is nothing more than an adult oriented theme park. It seems like everyone, no matter their age, treat it like some long form Spring Break. As a Canadian from Ontario, there are certain things that are shocking to see. Some are differences between the U.S and Canada, and other seem specific to Vegas. For example in Ontario, alcohol can only be purchased at bars, restaurants and government controlled retailers (i.e. The Beer Store or The Liquor Store). As a result, seeing booze in nearly every other aisle of a drug store is a bit of a shock. However, even more alarming was to see people at all hours of the day freely carrying and drinking alcohol in the middle of the street. Some drinks larger than the person holding them.

Another thing to get used to is that there is smoking indoors and everywhere. Smoking in enclosed spaces (bars, restaurants, casinos, etc) has been banned in Ontario for six years, with no exceptions. The smell of smoke as I walked through the comical number of casinos was met with instant headaches and a desire to leave as soon as possible.

And finally, I can only assume that this last thing is completely unique to Las Vegas. And is more annoying and offensive then probably everything else combined. In Vegas, as you walk down the main strip, there are people attempting to hand you cards for escorts nearly every where you turn. They try to capture your attention by snapping the cards, in hope that you will reach out for it. They're very good at not touching you (lest they be man handled) but it couldn't be any more aggravating. The constant sound of the snapping and flicking cards grates on your nerves, compounded by the number of them located in certain areas. And we're not only talking about skeevy middle aged dudes trying to hand these things to you. It ranges from, young men to old men, young women to old women (like Grandma age) all trying to get you to take card for a "good time." I honestly think that if this activity were outlawed, nearly half the population of Las Vegas would be unemployed. A combination of these card flickers and the people that have to clean up after them suddenly out of work. Honestly, if I never hear the sound of a snapping card again, it'll be too soon.

And everything is huge. Buildings that look like they're next to each other have about a mile between them. Destroying any measure of distance and time.

Oh yeah, and the heat. It's pretty hot. And we got lucky with a mild weekend. Yes the dry heat is nice because you don't sweat as much and you can actually breathe. But what you're not ready for is the complete absence of moisture in your skin and lips. I never use chap stick, but have never longed for it more.

I didn't end up seeing any shows but that didn't stop me from having a fantastic time. First and foremost I was their for my friends and their wedding. But there were a few things that I wanted to see outside of just eating some unique food.

We went to the Pinball Hall of Fame (YAY!) and it was amazing. Spending two hours and only 10 bucks (not including cab/bus fare and lots of walking) on a tonne of pinball machines; most I had never even heard of. It was so cool.

So much pinball

We also visited the Secret Garden at the Mirage hotel. It's a nice little big cat and dolphin sanctuary but not a place for animals to perform (which I was happy about). I love dolphins so it was nice to see some again, despite it being a tad disturbing to find them in the middle of the desert. As well, it was probably the closest I've ever been to a tiger. It was pretty amazing, even if all they wanted to do was sleep :) (stupid cats :)).

We took a trip to the Zombie Apocalypse Store because how could you not? Which made apparent another glaring difference between home and the U.S/Vegas. Namely the guns and live ammunition. (Fun side note: an employee explaining that if they get you on video waiving all responsibility, you can tase your friend :) Good times! :)).

The Atomic Testing Museum was interesting, but I had forgotten how much reading is required for museums of that type. Oy.

I loooove M&M's

And M&M's World Store Vegas! Though it wasn't raining M&M's like in my dreams, it was pretty fantastic. I love M&M's and I took the opportunity to buy only blue M&M's peanut.

All blue M&M's Peanut? Yes please!

Circus Circus, the hotel we (my brother, his girlfriend, and myself) stayed at had a Chuck Jones exhibit that I was excited about visiting. Looking at sketches for the Looney Tunes characters was awesome. These were the cartoons that I, and many others, had grown up with, and it was awesome to see them in their pre finalized forms. Also cool was to read letters of congratulations from Walt Disney, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Crazy!


I picked up a sweet Taz Salt and Pepper shaker while there. I really wanted a Taz cookie jar but didn't feel like spending fifty bucks, nor worrying about transporting it home.


On the subject of my hotel, it wasn't great but I suppose it could have been worse. Perhaps it was because it was a busy weekend, but they seemed completely disorganized with managing our rooms. Not to mention that the entire place needed an upgrade. Granted, it was a cheap bed and I used it as such. Most of my time would be spent elsewhere.

Gaudy right?


This thing stared at me as I slept

And then there was the food. And what you are likely most interested in, but this has gone on long enough..

Back home
"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads."

To be continued...


1 comment:

  1. As a non-smoking, non-drinking American: congrats to your friend--and to you, for being a great best man!

    Pinball is pretty cool :) I've never worked as an escort, but I did like playing pinball at the 'Arcade Parties' popular in the early 80s, when I was growing up. Pizza and Miss Pac-Man...