Day 7 of our 21 day adventure

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Did I ever tell you that we own a timeshare? Have I ever told you how big of a mistake it really is to buy a timeshare? Well, if I haven’t, I’m telling you now… stay far Far Far FAR away from anyone explaining timeshares! I’m serious! And if you sell timeshares, SHAME ON YOU!!! Oh you know what I’m talking about!!! Don’t try to tell me that you’re innocent! Timeshares are the biggest scam out there and everybody knows it! At least everyone does except for Brian and I! We have owned a timeshare for the last 20 years, and apparently we are still falling for their lies. I won’t go into the gory details of our most recent encounter, but let me tell you, we were foolishly swindled once again! Anyway, this was how we started our day; the first seven hours of it to be precise! The promised one hour spiel, turned into a seven hour interrogation of sorts. Thank God that is over!

Now back to the grand adventure…

IMG_0717We are now perusing the “Strip,” going from one casino to the next; looking for something interesting to do today. I have always wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about, in regards to the M&M museum. In actuality, the M&M museum is nothing more than a four story shopping mall, of floor to ceiling M&M paraphernalia. The only cool thing was the free 3D show that they offered, which took all of about 15 minutes to watch. Hey, at least I can say I’ve been there and done that!

IMG_0666After mostly window shopping and exploring the hidden treasures of Vegas, we remembered that we needed to keep track of the time so that we wouldn’t forget about our evening plans. The only consolation to our early morning debauchery, was that we were given free tickets for a fancy dinner and also two tickets for “Vegas the Show.” Making out way over to Planet Hollywood was nothing short of a miracle, because the crowds of people on the Strip were covering the pathways like ants on a sugary treat.

IMG_0814We finally made it over to Pampas Churrascaria Brazilian Grille. I’ll have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find the atmosphere quite appealing despite how busy the place was. We started off with the salad bar, which in itself was enough to satisfy a king or a queen. Of course that was just the beginning, the main course was just as heavenly and I don’t think that I have ever tasted anything so satisfying in my entire life! I guess I’m secretly Brazilian! Who knew? The food was to die for and seriously, if I ever end up on death row and get to request one final meal, I’m ordering food from this place!

IMG_0865Once our stomachs were full and our cheeks a little rosier from the piña coladas, we found our way through the maze of people over to the Saxe theatre where Vegas the Show was playing. For some reason there was a mix up with our seats and they ended up seating us front center stage. We kept expecting someone to come tell us to move to the back of the theatre, but fortunately for us, we got to watch the show from the best seats possible! Vegas the Show tells the musical story about Las Vegas and features celebrity impersonators who sing their greatest hits in order to preserve the memory of how Vegas used to be. There were showgirls, dancers, variety acts, and sets that represented the city as it once was. We saw Elvis, the Rat Pack, Tina Turner, Elton John, and many others who gave wonderful impersonations of the original artists. The way the actors portrayed Vegas, was reminiscent of what I remembered from our first time there and it made me feel a bit sad that so much has since changed. Day seven was surely an adventure that I won’t soon forget, the good and the bad…

Day 6 of our 21 day adventure

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Just taking one last look around the room to make sure that I haven’t forgotten anything. It’s with a heavy heart that I leave this glorious place. Being a princess for a day was so much fun. A last long look out of the tower window will have to tide me over until the next thrilling moment occurs. With a sigh, I am determined to have another grand adventure, even though this one here at the Luxor is now ending.

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Brian and I pile into the elevator with our mounds of luggage. Watchful eyes scrutinize our every move and I am thankful when we finally make it to the check-out desk. With a quick exchange of information and the final bill paid, we head out to the find the car. A wall of thick steamy air suffocates us within seconds of leaving the air-conditioned sanctuary.

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We finally spot our car and hurriedly throw everything into the trunk. We scurry back to the casino to escape the inferno that engulfs us. I immediately feel a cold chill as if ice water is pouring over me from head to toe. I look down to grab my sweatshirt, which I had slung over my purse earlier in the day. Now it seems, to my dismay, that it is nowhere to be found. After taking a few minutes to retrace my steps, and still not finding my sweatshirt, I wonder if it’s worth going back out into the stifling heat to look for it. I explore all of my options, quickly rifling through them in the work center of my brain. Ding! The answer comes to me, and I race to find the nearest security kiosk.

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I feel stupid as I explain my pitiful situation and know that I am secretly the biggest cheapskate alive. I mean a sweatshirt… of all things to report as missing… The poor lady in front of me is missing her laptop, and here I am practically crying over a plain black sweatshirt that I purchased from Goodwill.

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After explaining the discouraging downfall to my otherwise perfectly wonderful day, and filling out about a gazillion forms after pleading my case, we are finally on our way to that grand adventure that I was so hopeful to find today. I can’t shake feeling disappointed in myself and wish that I could just start my morning over. Why I get so irritated over the little things in life, I will never understand. Is this just me or does everybody get like this from time to time?

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After a while, I finally start to forget about the disappointing events of the morning as we happily gamble away our hard-earned money and shop at the same stores where celebrities often frequent. After looking at the price tags in the shops at Crystals, I am really depressed now. How can people afford such lavish things? The frivolity of such extravagant items seems to me to be almost embarrassing. I think to myself, how can people spend gobs of money on such unimportant things when people are starving in China? Seems to me like being a princess isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I’m kind of glad that I will most likely never find out.

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It’s now 3:00 p.m. and time to find our car, so that we can brave the Vegas traffic and find our timeshare which is off the beaten path. I know what you’re thinking… Yes, we were wrangled into buying one of those. I loathe the day we signed the contract for our timeshare and now we are forced to take a vacation every year, or by default, forfeit our timeshare “points” i.e., hard-earned money.

We finally find the resort and decide that it’s better than we expected. The resort is surrounded by small shops and is within walking distance to the strip, if you don’t mind walking in 116° weather. After exploring our room and situating the luggage, we head downstairs to the concierge desk to buy show tickets. Tonight we are seeing the show “Diva’s” and I am really looking forward to our first opportunity for real adventure.

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The day is progressing better than at first and we decide to head out for dinner. We opt for driving back to the strip, rather than trying to walk through the thick humid air. It doesn’t take us long to find parking near the LINQ; however, finding a restaurant that doesn’t cost a fortune is nearly impossible. We finally settle on the “Nook”, which is reminiscent of a delicatessen and seems like a good choice for low budget families like us.

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We order gyros and fruit tarts for dessert. The food is exquisite and tastes like heaven. After filling our bellies, we sit back and relax and watch the chefs preparing food from behind the counter. Some of the chefs are flinging pizza dough into the air, while others are carefully arranging garnishes on platters. This place may not be Trumps Palace, but the chefs sure could work there!

After being entertained at the Nook, we head out to Caesars Palace to see the show Diva’s. The theatre is decked out in red velvet and screams sexy. Frank Marino is the star of the show and has us laughing so hard, that I am about to pee my pants. The alcoholic beverage I just drank isn’t helping matters either. I never imagined that a female impersonator could deliver such a thrilling performance and I linger after the final curtain call hoping for more.

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At last though, the show is over. We file out through the crowds of drunk, excited people, each hoping for a chance to see Frank Marino in person. Sure enough, there he is, greeting everyone as they make their way out of the theatre. I am tempted to stop, but find myself hesitating because my shyness overtakes me, and once again I lose an opportunity to be someone I’m not.

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It’s 2 a.m. when we finally crawl into bed. The LINQ, which is a huge observation wheel, is all lit up and can be seen from our window next to the bed. As I lay back, I think back over the past six days and feel happy and content that we are finally getting away from it all. A part of me feels guilty for enjoying this time away from the kids, but most of me is jumping for joy. Fifteen more days left to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. Ahhh… I hope the time lingers and that the fun continues.

Day 5 of our 21 day adventure

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I am so excited right now! Today is the day we head for Las Vegas; one of my favorite vacation destinations! We have been to Vegas twice now. The first time we went was in 2004, when we were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. We stayed at Treasure Island, which has the comfiest beds I have ever slept in. The first game I played at the casino was a poker game. I put 25¢ in the slot and out came $75. Fortunately my luck continued that way for the remainder of the week and we won enough money to pay for our entire trip. I loved our time there; we saw shows like “O” and “Jubilee” and stayed up all day and night going from one casino to the next. Everything was cheap, comps were amazing, and nothing ever closed. Out of the 4 days that we spent there, we only slept about 4 hours in all. We were completely exhausted on the plane ride home and slept the entire way back.

(My husband Brian is in the video above, wearing a red shirt. He was playing one of the beater positions)

The next time we visited Vegas, was in 2006. We attended a Harry Potter Conference called “Lumos.” I know… many of you don’t know this about me, but I am a huge Harry Potter fan. That was probably one of the most fun weeks that I have ever had. We dressed up in full Harry Potter attire, drank butter beer in an Irish pub, participated in potion classes, tested our wizardry knowledge in a scavenger hunt, played quidditch in the pool, got invited to secret parties, and totally geeked out for an entire week. So you can see why today is such an exciting day for me.
IMG_0581 copy for WPWe have a 6 hour drive to Vegas today. The hours are passing by fast and we are almost there. I can see the casinos rising up out of the desert in the far distance. The temperature is hovering around 115 degrees and it’s hard to get a clear view of anything off in the distance because of the hazy mirage that is covering the landscape. We finally arrive on the Las Vegas Strip and it’s bumper to bumper traffic the whole way. We are staying at the Luxor, which is shaped like a pyramid and has an Egyptian theme. I can see the Luxor up ahead and we are trying to determine where the parking area is. After a few wrong turns, we have finally reached our destination and are ready to get out of the suffocating heat.

Photo Credit:  blonde4ever.yuku.com
Photo Credit: blonde4ever.yuku.com

We are pleasantly surprised by what awaits us as we enter the hotel. The lobby reminds me of Gringotts from the Harry Potter books. Each clerk is sitting individually on a pedestal behind a desk, and each one is carefully checking people in and out in an orderly fashion. The lights are low and create an atmosphere that feels mysterious. Huge statues and pillars mark the entrance to the casino and the entire place is decorated in an abundance of rich eye-catching colors. It seems a little bit like I have stepped into another dimension; almost like I have stepped back in time and have entered into ancient Egypt. If it weren’t for the noise of the slot machines, I may actually believe that we had somehow been transported into another time and place!
IMG_0561 copy for WPAfter checking in with the goblins from Gringotts, we make it up to our room on the 11th floor. As we enter the room, we suddenly realize that the bedroom has a Jacuzzi tub that overlooks Las Vegas Boulevard and we also have a separate sitting room which overlooks Mandalay Bay. I am thinking to myself that this is probably the best $75 that I have ever spent on a hotel room. The view is absolutely stunning and I proceed to plop myself onto the couch and try to capture the memory of the sights outside the window. I am hoping that I will never forget the thrill of this moment. I feel like a princess way up high in a tower, overlooking the expanse of the kingdom below me. As amazing as all of this is though, we are only here for one night and then we will be heading out to a different hotel in the morning.IMG_0576 copy for WP

Eventually I pry myself off of the couch and we head down to the casino to look for a place to eat dinner. We finally settle on a place called the “Public House”. It’s pricey, but the food is wonderful and we picked a great time to eat, because the Women’s World Cup is playing on the large screen television. I am not much into sports, but even I can’t deny that this is fun. Everyone is so excited and having a great time and it gets even better when the U.S. eventually wins. We have had a great day, and I can’t wait to see more of Vegas tomorrow!