Christy and I never really get to spend much time together, one-on-one. Kids, work, family, drama, life... entering "middle age" has come quickly and it's all to easy to forget what it's like to cut loose. Don't get me wrong, I do cut loose. Often. But with my wife? Not so often.
Christy and I decided to take a short vacation to Las Vegas. It lasted from September 13th through the 17th. Five short days to relive life reminiscent of the first few years at the beginning of our 13 year relationship.
This post is a documentation of the beginning of our 4th year of marriage. It really isn't for you so much as it's for us. However, I invite you to take a look at what we were up to during those short, hot days in the Nevada desert.
It was a long drive. If you've ever driven from south Idaho to Las Vegas, you know about the 9 hours that lay ahead. However, it's not that bad. Those 9 hours go by quick. We stopped a few times to refuel and use the restroom. Before we knew it, we were pulling into Sin City. The first stop? Pho Kim Long. We needed it. Pho is a beautifully concocted dish. There is this perfect harmony of salt, salt, and salt that pretty much draws you in for more. We love it. After we ate, we decided that it was time to check into our accommodations.
We choose to use airBNB for our trip. Hotels are expensive in Vegas. AirBNB is not. We rented an apartment about 5 minutes from the Strip an it wasn't too bad. Small? Yes. Cramped? No. We looked at each other a few times during this trip and said that we could totally live here if we didn't have kids. And we totally could. The apartment was modern, yet breaking down. This place will need a major upgrade in the next decade. Never mind the occasional baby cockroach sightings, this place had it going on. There were two nice TVs with on-demand cable, a washer and drier, plenty of blankets, and a ceiling low enough to induce a constant state of vertigo. However, the vertigo went away for me. I think Christy felt it throughout the trip, however.
After getting unpacked, we decided to go to Circus Circus because Christy had never been there before. We took a Lyft there and immediately started drinking. We walked through the shops for a bit, looking at things we absolutely did not need to be spending our money on. Then, I found my first Blackjack table. It had a $10 minimum. Before I get too far into this, I want to let you know that I am hardly a gambler. I didn't come to Vegas to gamble. I came to have fun and losing money isn't very fun. At this particular table I lost $50 and that was enough. We then decided to call the kids to see how they were doing.
After confirming that Tallia and Carter were perfectly content with our absence, we decided to turn up the volume a little bit. Christy needed more booze and more booze we got in the form of a "buy 2 cans of beer and get a free shot" offer. Nothing like chasing a shot of Fireball with a Blue Moon. It was then slot time.
Christy found a .25 cent slot machine and then got to playing. She stayed afloat while we were visited by a very friendly woman named Sharon. She informed us that she was going to sing karaoke in the lounge and that we should join her.
So, we did.
After making complete fools of ourselves with karaoke, we decided to make a quick trip to the Lion's Den, behind and across the road from Circus Circus. That was a fun little shopping experience for adults!
The last stop for the night was Carl's Jr. We wanted a burger but there were no burger joints open anywhere near us and we were too drunk to drive back to the Strip. I'll be honest, Carl's Jr. has never been my most loved burger place and this trip confirmed my bias. Everything about the food was awful. Both of our burgers were rubbery, french fries old and leathery, and fried zucchini was wet and falling apart. Yuck.
Tomorrow's menu choices were exactly what we needed to make up for such a terrible dinner. Do you like fried chicken? Our lunch for Friday was making our mouths water before we even made it out of Utah.
We were awake by 8:00am. I think. Anyways, it was time to get out and about for our first full day of adventures. We got ready and made sure that we had everything ready to go. But what to do? Drink. Start early. Don't get too messed up to enjoy things. Find something good to eat. Find more booze. Meet interesting people.
So many possibilities.
We headed to the Strip to go and eat our first real meal. Our destination was Yardbird - Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian. We've eaten here before and we knew exactly what we wanted. The signature dish is the Chicken 'n Watermelon 'n Waffles, $36 worth of the best soul food available. You get a half of a bird that has been brined and soaked in bacon grease for over 24 hours. It is then broasted to perfection. The spiced watermelon is seasoned with cayenne peppers, salt, cumin, and something else. And the waffles! Cheddar waffles with bourbon maple syrup is absolutely amazing. We started our meal with a Southern Peach mixed drink. It is made with Old Forester 86, Aperol, lemon and thyme, white peach puree, and sweet tea. It was fantastic.
After filling up on the best fried chicken and waffles on planet earth, we decided to get another drink in the form of a 32oz daiquiri. Don't do this. The amount of sugar in these frozen concoctions is enough to kick start your dormant Type 18 diabetes into over drive. I finished most of mine and Christy threw hers out after the first 3rd. These drinks are meant for tourists. Yes, we were tourists, but I like to think that I have graduated to "regular" status in Las Vegas. So, no more of those for me.
It was time to head towards Bally's Hotel and Casino to go and see Real Bodies at Bally's. Bodies is an exhibit that features real human corpses and cadavers that have been meticulously preserved and displayed in all of their graphic detail. And, luckily for us, they allowed us to take as many pictures as we wanted.
It is difficult for me to explain Bodies because you really have to see it for yourself. All I can say is that is is a really somber and humbling experience. These are all real people who lived real lives. Every one of them used to breathe. Every one of them had a heart beat. Every one of them had a mother and a father. And now, every one of them are on display for thousands of people to stare at and be studied. It is truly surreal.
After Bodies, we decided to do a little shopping at Ross' and Planet Hollywood. And we walked, and walked, and walked. Of course, we needed another drink and stopped at The Beer Park, just outside of The Paris. I ordered the best Bloody Mary money can buy. It was mixed with Belvedere Vodka, Budweiser, Bloody Mary Mix, and was garnished with a stick of beef jerky. It was the best $14 Bloody Mary I've ever had.
Finally, we headed back to the condo and passed out rather early. We wore ourselves out and were asleep by 9:30pm. We're getting too old to party hard in Vegas.
After a long slumber, we awoke and decided to give the pool a try (but not before a 9am beer!) The airBNB condo that we rented was on the 2nd floor of the building and after a long walk down a long hallway, the pool beckoned us. Most of the days during our trip hit triple digit temperatures and the cold water of the pool was exactly what we needed before we adventured out again. We grabbed a few beers, put on our swimming gear and headed out to enjoy ourselves.
There were a few people already out soaking up the hot Nevada desert sun. However, our white Idaho skin is too fragile to get as brown as those other people were. Just a quick stroll into the sunlight felt like small alarms were going off screaming "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!" Nevertheless, we sat under our umbrella and contemplated our next moves for the day.
I had an idea. But, in hindsight, it turned out to be a very bad idea indeed.
Nevada is a recreational marijuana state. I used to be a heavy marijuana user. I quit smoking it a few years ago because that lifestyle is not compatible with my current life. After all, marijuana is illegal in Idaho and getting busted with weed would be a truly awful thing for my family, career, and mental health. That being said, this was vacation. Away from kids. Where it is legal. So, I though "why not?"
I should have answered that question with "because you'll regret it."
While Christy was taking a shower, I walked down to Blüm, a recreational marijuana dispensary, to find an edible. I didn't want to smoke it this time because I've done plenty of smoking in my life. But I have never really gotten into edibles. Inside the shop was a huge display case with all sorts of sweets unfused with THC. After a quick look, I decided to try the Kiva Mint Irish Cream milk chocolate bar. There is a warning on the bottom of the package that says "Warning: This product contains a high level of THC."
I did not heed that warning.
The candy bar is divided up into 20 pieces and I'm assuming that you are supposed to break off a couple at a time to test your tolerance. Most normal people would probably assume this.
I ate the entire god damned thing at once.
It tasted pretty good. There was a strong hint of pot in it and I had a very brief moment when I thought to myself are you sure this is a good idea? I clearly wasn't listening to the reasoning my brain was trying to give me. I used to smoke a LOT of pot. I've been very high before and that this candy bar was probably going to get me very high. Maybe as high as smoking a half of a bag of weed (which I've done many times before). As the day progressed, I quickly realized I was wrong. Very wrong, indeed.
About 30 minutes after I swallowed my last bite, I began to feel that familiar high. I was enjoying myself as Christy got ready for us to go to Binion's on Freemont Street to do a little drinking and gambling. By the time Christy was all ready to go, I was very, VERY high. My mind began to become choppy. My motor skills were diminishing, fast. uuuummmm... I remember thinking to myself, I might have gone a little too hard with this one. This was the last complete and coherent thought I had during the next 8 hours.
I remember we got a Lyft. I cannot tell you if the driver was a man or a woman, or even human, for that matter. That ride resides in my memory as a 4 second adventure. The next memory I had was of me sitting in a chair at a slot machine with Christy and I was so dizzy that the lights all blended into one another in a flashing, blinking left to right smear from the ceiling to the floor. I had to throw up. I was beginning to throw up. HOLY SHIT! I am so high! I have never been this high before! Where the hell am I? Where the hell is Christy? Where the hell is the bathroom? Why do I have sunglasses on in a casino? CHRISTY! I'M GONNA THROW UP!
I do remember Christy leading me to the rear of the casino to a bathroom ay a very brisk pace. And I also remember that I was not having a great time. This is crazy. I could not form two meaningful words. In fact, I don't think I was doing much talking at all. I couldn't walk. I couldn't understand a single damn thing happening around me. But I do remember that I made it to the bathroom in time. I vomited at least twice.
I woke up at 10:30 pm, in the bed back at the condo. I was still in my clothes and Christy was asleep in her dress next to me. My head was still very cloudy, but, I had regained my consciousness and could think somewhat clearly. When Christy woke up, I asked her what happened because I only had about maybe 3 minutes of memories floating in my head of the last 8 hours. She told me that she knew I was in trouble as soon as she looked at me in the casino. She basically had to lead me around everywhere and that at one point, I had gotten lost. And, she took video of some of it.
The last day of our vacation came way too fast. Worn out from the adventures of the previous day, Christy and I decided to head down to Fremont Street once more to take in what we missed during our highly intoxicated state. We decided do a little bit of gambling. Actually, Christy did a little bit of gambling. I didn't. My gambling money was gone by this point. But I still had fun,
We had lunch at Taqueria El Buen Pastor on Fremont Street. This is a small Mexican restaurant tucked into the buildings on the corner of Fremont Street and North 4th Street. We got a couple of really good tacos and scarfed them down with a Miller Lite.
When we left Taqueria El Buen Pastor, we walked past the Tasti D Lite gourmet crepe shop and we couldn't resist getting a banana and Nutella crepe. They make this HUGE crepe right in front of you and dress it up with whatever sweet or savory topping you could want. Between the both of us, we couldn't eat the whole thing. However, it was extremely delicious and rich.
We left Fremont Street to go change for dinner at the Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill at the The Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian Hotel and Casino. If you have never been there, I say go the next time you're in Las Vegas. It's a little expensive, but it is TOTALLY worth it. It is a tapas bar and each item that is brought to the table is expertly prepared and wonderfully presented.