Monday, August 6, 2012

- Out and About in VEGAS!

My last VEGAS! installment is about all of the other random things I saw while in Sin City...because, man do you see some things there.  That city is meant to overwhelm the senses, and yeah - it delivers.

ATTRACTIONS

1. Caesar's Palace to The Mirage: The first day I really got out sightseeing was Sunday.  Kelsey and I did brunch at Serendipity 3 at Caesar's Palace, which is the home of the Guinness world record holder for most expensive desert: the Golden Opulence $1000 sundae.  It's such a deal it's probably hard for you to believe that we didn't order one.  We also didn't order a frozen hot chocolate, because I found out they were famous for them a few days too late.  Anyways, while we were waiting for a table we sat under a mist tent, which because of the whole desert thing...they have lots of out in Vegas.
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Then we stumbled upon a shrine.
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Which reminds me, we actually spent Saturday night at Caesar's Palace, since that's where Pure is.  While walking there we saw these guys, which was totally appropriate:
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If you haven't seen the Hangover you don't get it.  

Which really just proves how there is always something to see in Vegas.  Anyways, fast-forward back to Sunday when we ate brunch then took a picture in front of this craziness.
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That's what is going on behind us.

I'm a fan of the whole greek god thing that was going on around the Palace.
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What up Poseidon?
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One time I just looked up and saw this.

I was headed to the Mirage because I heard they had some dolphins and I like those.  Once I reached the walkway in and saw this I figured I was on the right track.
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Seems promising.

Oh yeah, they also have a rainforest.
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The dolphins cost $20 to see, but I thought it was worth it.  I don't know if I just got lucky but the trainers worked with all of them while I was there so I saw a lot of fun stuff. 
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He's saving that fish for later.

They also have an underwater viewing area, which is where I met this guy:
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It's kind of a weird exhibit, because after the dolphins there is a big cat exhibit.  But that's Siegfried & Roy for you.  What is a bit crazy is that there are signs everywhere warning you that the male cats can spray up to 20 feet through the fences.  So if you see a tail raising you best run quick.  Lucky for me, most were catnapping.  Ha. ha. ha.
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After that I had to head back and get ready for Chippendales, which let's face it, you're never really ready for.

The Mirage also has a volcano that erupts every night on the hour from 8-12.  On my last night we left Divas just in time to see it erupt.
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Great balls of fire.

2. The MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay: While in Vegas someone told me that they thought everything was so "walkable".  That person be cray cray.  These hotel/casinos are GIGANTIC compounds built like mazes and by the time you walk from one to another, you have LITERALLY walked a mile.  On this adventure, I'm sure Liz and I walked 4-5 miles exploring this end of the strip on the way to the Aquarium @ Mandalay Bay.  If you can't tell, I kind of have a thing for wildlife.

On the way we passed by the New York, New York Hotel.  It's pretty authentic.
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As a general rule, if you can see it, it's still a mile away.
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But, when we finally made it, this awkwardly cute komodo dragon was the first thing to greet us.  
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I think Emma gives me this same look.
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This fish is blurry, but pretty.
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This is an invasive species in Minnesota.
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Surrounded by fishies.
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This reminds me of Love, but when I took it I hadn't seen the show yet.
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I touched him!  And it totally freaked me out.

On the way back we had some extra time so we walked through the Luxor, which looks a lot cooler on the outside than it actually was on the inside.
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Sphinx.  She didn't ask me a riddle.

3. Fremont Street: This is old Vegas.  Where everything started.  But then the Strip happened and pretty much took all the business to that part of town, so in an effort to try to restore Fremont Street, they built a gigantic light canopy over several blocks of the street.  Kelsey and I scoped it during the day and found this:
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She was closed.  Otherwise I would have totally gotten a reading.

At night, every hour on the hour, there's a light and music show.  We caught the Bon Jovi edition which wouldn't have been my first choice, but I had to rush off to Divas so this is what I got: 
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It was definitely worth seeing, and it's also pretty cool because even the casinos turn off their lights for the show.  There's also a zipline that goes under the canopy and that would be pretty fun to try sometime.  Unfortunately Fremont Street is where my stomach started to draw the line.
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This is the first documented evidence of the beginning of the end for me.  

4. The Bellagio: This was (almost) the last thing I got to see before heading out of town.  Kelsey and I didn't get to explore much when we saw "O" because we were short on time, but we did get to catch the fountains after the show: 
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They were MUCH bigger than I thought they would be.  And the water shot up so high in the sky that it rains down on you, even though the observation area is pretty far away.  But, the Bellagio has a lot more going on, so I decided to walk Megan back after Divas since she was staying there, so I could check out her digs.

The lobby boasts one of the coolest sculptures in Vegas by world renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.  It is stunning to just walk around and see all of the different ways that light filters through it.
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2000 hand blown glass flower blossoms.

Then there's the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  It's pretty insane that all of these creatures are made out of flowers.
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And even looking up is pretty fantastical.
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As if that wasn't enough, then the Bellagio goes and has a ridiculous chocolate fountain.
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After all that I trekked back to my hotel room.  I had a 7AM flight out and we had been warned that we should get to the airport 2 hours in advance because it's always crazy so I knew I wasn't going to get a lot of sleep.  But, I was really happy to get home to Emma and I was glad that for once, I wouldn't be hungover on the flight back.  

And I wasn't.  I was something much much worse.

5. The Spring Valley ER - Listen, if I'm being honest I'm pretty sure that my stomach was showing signs of rebellion against Vegas as early as Wednesday.  Of course on Thursday, when we were on Fremont Street I decided I wanted to eat my first big meal, as my last in Vegas.  I immediately regretted it because my shorts were already tight enough.  All through Divas I knew things weren't going digestively well but with my stomach that's kind of par for the course.  After checking out the Bellagio I headed home where I drank a bunch of water and went to bed.  At 3AM I woke with a start and instantly knew that things were going to go real bad real fast.  I was nauseated to the max and despite having eaten nearly 8 hours ago, my stomach was HUGE.  It was just a waiting game from there on out, and luckily I only had to wait until about 3:30 before I threw up and was full on in the throes of food poisoning/stomach virus hell.  

Having thrown up 3 times I decided it was a great move to try to get myself to the airport.  I was praying that things would turn around and that I would just get on the plane and get the hell out of Vegas.  I have never put as much concentration into not throwing up as I did in the cab on the way to the airport.  And I made it!  Then I promptly grabbed my bags, ran into the nearest bathroom and lost what little bit of bile I had left.  Did I feel better?  No.  Did I decide to get in the security line anyways?

You betcha.

And it was the longest security line I've ever seen in my entire life in any airport at any time of day.  So I walked and walked and walked and by the time I got near the front of the line, I knew I couldn't do it.  It was taking every bit of mental acuity I have to not pass out, or throw up in the nearest trash can, or just on the floor.  The thought of a 3 hour flight where I could be stuck in a middle seat or 100's of rows from the bathroom, or both, was more than I could handle.  I flagged a TSA agent down and asked for medical assistance.  I gave up.

I left the security line behind to collapse into a wheel chair.  I barely got comfortable before feeling the need to run for the bathroom.  Except there was nothing left, and believe me if there was, that gross bathroom would have done me in.  If I was healthy it could have done me in.  When I came back out I noticed two firemen looking guys walking around.  I was so out of it that it took about 5 minutes to realize that they were my medical assistance.  I let them know that I was the sick one and they started asking questions and taking my vitals...which all looked pretty normal because I mean, I wasn't dying.  I just felt like I was.  It was pretty obvious that they thought I was just some hungover idiot.  They were explaining that they could wheel me to security but I would still have to walk myself through when I had to excuse myself because that nausea was no joke.  By the time I came back from the bathroom the decision had been made for me.

"You're not going to fly today.  You're going to the ER."

Before I really knew what was happening the paramedics were there and I was being strapped onto a stretcher.  Luckily an airport employee took my boarding pass and ID and made a note that I left the airport in an ambulance so I wouldn't have to pay any re-booking fees.  

And then I was in an ambulance.  

And then I was at the ER.
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Overall it was pretty dismal except for when I was getting anti-nausea meds through the IV.  Normally I'm not really into pharmaceuticals, but these were pretty magical and I was happy to have them.  I spent 6 hours there and was ready for release around noon.  I didn't want to take any chances so I went directly to the pharmacy to cash in the prescription for Zofran, washed a dose down with some orange soda (the only thing that sounded mildly appealing) and then ended up back at the airport.  

Due to some problems with the computer system it took forever (i.e. ~ 45 minutes) to get me rebooked so I ended up sitting on the scale and waiting.  I didn't feel sick anymore, but I was just so weak and out of it that thinking and standing were too much to handle.  Especially at the same time.  Once I got a flight, I asked for wheelchair assistance and it was the best damn decision I made all day.  Aside from making sure to take the meds, which kept me knocked out the entire plane ride home.  

And so ends my tale of VEGAS! - It wasn't graceful by any means, but I made it out alive.  I know it sounds farfetched, but I also attended a conference while there (I promise!)...and if you can believe it, I learned a lot in the midst of all of this other stuff.  But that subject matter is quite serious, and for another day.

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