Waking Up In Vegas: A Travel Diary
Travel started promptly at 5:30 am when I woke up for the day after being unable to sleep any longer (regretfully) - the result of being too wired about being in Vegas in less than 12 hours, and in anticipation of being able to do it all with one of my favorite humans on the planet, my love, my friend, my partner in crime. It was his 26th birthday that week and Vegas felt appropriate. I had experienced it a year before and fell so in love, despite only be able to take in the city in such a limited lens.
This wasn't a wedding trip in the midst of an unexpected job loss. No, this was a birthday trip in the midst of abundance and clarity, where stresses of day-to-day life would be put on pause in liue of pressing reset, ahead of 2017 marching forward in full effect. Impeccable timing. Not only that, but in the 3 birthdays my beau and I have experienced together, we only recently started making more of a grandiose effort towards each other. This was for the birthdays I missed, the Christmas I ignored, and an official unofficial anniversary. Again, the location and timing was impeccable.
I feel the need to preface this diary with a disclaimer...
I thought I'd have hundreds of thousands of photos to sort through, edit, and share with you lovelies. But alas, this trip was different. Most of the photographic evidence we obtained was through temporary Snapchats and my iPhone. My camera was left in the room, unattended and unused, which is completely different for me because I love capturing as many visual memories as humanly possible. Especially as a blogger. But, in their absence, I'll do my best to use my words, where applicable and where appropriate (because after all, what happens in Vegas...).
Our first flight, although five hours long, to LA was a breeze. My beau has anxiety over flying, but it's something that he swallows so that we can go to new cities together. From the beginning, we were stoked about an LA layover, but after realizing from our boarding passes that we'd only be there for an hour and a half, we realized there wasn't much we could do in LA except look at the airport. Perhaps, that should have made the announcement of a delayed flight more exciting, but it wasn't. Spirit got quite the strike from us as we sat in the airport aimlessly for four extra hours, out of fear that a change in plans would happen and I wouldn't be notified about the update (hell, we had to check the screen to even know there was a delay). So we spent so much more money there than we anticipated on spending, and were so underwhelmed by the airport's layout and food options. LAX doesn't have shit on Hartsfield-Jackson, just sayin'.
One silver lining in the gray cloud, however, made in appearance in the form of Esperanza Spalding. I thought I saw her, but wasn't sure so my extroverted boyfriend went up to her for me and asked her if she was who I thought she was, she said yes. I fumbled over my words as I expressed gratitude for her creating and her art. It was dope. Other than that, the whole situation had me pissed.
When we did arrive in Vegas, our first stop was to Tuscany Suites & Casino, which was a whole lot more lavish than the Groupon suggested and I was pleasantly surprised. For that reason, and the sometimes overwhelming chill in the air, we'd spend a lot of time at the resort, playing the slots and tables there, drinking the drinks at their bar, ordering their room service, eating at their pub, etc. But, I digress.
After putting down our luggage, and being amazed at the size of our room, we stepped out to go to a gentlemen's club I spotted on the taxi ride to the casino. It was right across the street from the hotel so we stopped in, only to find out that we had to sign a waiver in order to be there because they were filming the reality show "Bar Rescue" there. It was pretty exciting to indulge in drinking beverages and semi-naked women while being filmed "candidly". And it was one of the first instances we'd have where we could look back fondly and say, "Only in Vegas."
The next morning was my beau's actual birthday and I had quite the surprise arranged for him (even though he guessed what it was the night before when I drunkenly did a hand movement that told him everything he needed to know about his birthday surprise). Yup, ATV riding. I remembered that Vegas had so much to offer, incredible nightlife, but also some great adventures because of the different terrains that come together in that city. You can snowboard and ski at a resort up in the mountains of Mount Charleston, but before you hit those mountains, there are miles and miles of beautiful desert. And that's what I wanted to gift him for his 26th.
It was absolutely beautiful. We're both thrill-seekers so it really fed into our senses of adventures and need for adrenaline, while also breathing into us just the wonderful experience of doing something new and exciting. I have a few bruises, but it was worth it and it felt awesome to be able to say that I kept up with the guys because they were all speed demons. Sunbuggy Rentals did a phenomenal job of making me feel like I could handle my own, and it was rewarding when our instructor Scuba Steve informed us that we got to ride across a part of the trail that a lot of bigger parties/groups don't get to go on. Again, impeccable ass timing.
Next time, we have to do the dune buggies. Seeing some of the instructors drift against the dunes effortlessly made me want to experience it for myself my next time there.
We went back to the room to change clothes and then went downstairs to partake in some casino activities, like playing slots and getting some free drinks and playing blackjack very poorly, while other players gave us tips and tricks on how to play the game. It was a running theme in Vegas by the way, everyone was so kind. Everyone wants to pull you into 30 minute long conversations to talk about where you're from and advise you on things to try while you're there. It's hospitality that would put the South to shame, that's for sure.
Another note that we found out was that Happy Hour comes early in Vegas and lasts from 3-6 and that there are two of them. A reverse Happy Hour happens after 11:30 in most places. We got 20 hot wings during Happy Hour for 5 dollars and some amazing beer at Pub 365 located in the hotel's casino area. The night before, we had their Hangover burger and pub chips. We ventured to the Strip eventually and visited the Cromwell and Drai's to play more slots and venture out of our comfort zone at our own casino and resort for a bit.
This was our last full day here and we had a late start. I had a breakfast sandwich from Cafe Bottega that was absolutely delicious and half-listened to my boyfriend's intensely crazy conversation with a random older woman who smoked with him outside on the patio near the pool. This lady was a bonafide psycho and I hate when people throw around racial slurs like it's nothing. I had to check out of that conversation. We got a couple of drinks from the bar, I got a Cape Cod and he got a Jameson and Ginger.
We played slots again and I finally won something more than 5 cents. I won $32 and decided to cash out to not push my luck about it. The plan for that day was to either go to Fremont Street and partake in a list of activities an instructor gave us the day before, or just venture around the Strip in search of yard sticks. Of course, we got distracted though. Several hours had passed and we were starving.
But Sin City Brewing Co. and a group of older married people roped us into the tiny establishment to join them in a round of drinks. One of them was even kind enough to pay for a couple of shots for us. My beau makes friends everywhere and, as an introvert, I just capitalize on the perks and smile endearingly. After they left us, we decided to go to Ramen-Ya, which was in the same plaza. It was the best thing we had put in our mouths the whole trip, we ate every bite, and absolutely had the itis right after.
So all those plans to party the night away and live it up our last night quickly subsided to make way for our sudden need to sleep. And we didn't wake up until the next morning.
Our last stop in Vegas was The Flamingo and Magaritaville. Before our flight, we decided to take advantage of our last chance to have a yard stick. I heard 45 ounces and remembered how much of a lightweight I am and said absolutely not lol, but I'm glad my beau enjoyed himself. I was perfectly content with my two daquiris that were a delicious strawberry and mango mix. Shoutout to Kevin because it was the best mixed drink I've ever had.
We almost missed our flight trying too hard to get wings and Great Steak and Potato Company before our flight, but we made it. All in all, it was a great time. I'm excited about our next vacation.
Until then, Las Vegas was a wonderful intermission, but now it's time to get back to work!