9.28.2005



last week I went to Vegas for a bachelor party...
honestly… the "what happens in Vegas…. stays in Vegas" ad campaign had me a little worried
it all turned out to be some good clean fun... here is the tale


highlights from Vegas
it was my old friend rob's bachelor party
also another member of the party was getting married as well
(actually a handful of members of this fifteen man party were getting married and one that just eloped)
stayed at the Mirage with two grooms to be and one other
I am one of the best man at one of the groom's weddings
the other odd man out is the best man at both of the upcoming weddings

okay... Vegas highlights....
the strip makes little sense in the day
it all explains itself once the sun sets
while the lights dance against the black sky while it all becomes more clear
like shooting pool in a smoky dive bar at noon... just not as comfortable when the sun comes in the front door

since shopping is not high on my list of pleasures I traveled to Vegas with a Frisbee and some mountain bike gear
lots of mountain bike gear
more mountain bike gear than all other gear combined
although I have many frisbees I only brought one
asking all others to pack a frisbee

the afternoon of day one after arrival was set to be a Frisbee golf day
there are something like six Frisbee golf courses in the Vegas area….
golfing in Vegas seemed like a good plan
three members of our large bachelor party went down to the pool
as four others went golfing proper
others were checking in
others were yet to arrive
after some time at the pool three of us made our move to get a cab to go golfing… Frisbee golfing
just as we were about to step into a cab... our plans got high jacked by the would be golfers…
golf ball golfers not frisbee golfiers
apparently there was hectic traffic
bumper to bumper
they dissuaded us from attempting this mission
so we gathered for dinner

we went as a group for dinner at Frontier
two different parties recommended Frontier for the best Mexican in Vegas
well… don't go to Vegas for Mexican food if Frontier offers the best… then Mexican in Vegas sucks
(but… I am sure that there are great places to get Mexican… just not at Frontier... can not explain the dual wrong advice)

the first night in Vegas we discovered that a party of 10-15 people has about 100-150 different ideas of what should be done
eventually we all had to disband and move in separate directions
most went to gamble at different tables
one guy went back to his room to recover from a cold
we had a party of five that went down to Circus Circus for some fun at the Midway games
on my first morning in Vegas I walked the strip going into various casinos trying to get a feel for things beyond the slot machines
Circus Circus had a really "kitschy" feel to it
the boardwalk style games kept us entertained but we realized we had set to meet back at the Mirage at a designated time so we cut our games short
mistake….. we should have kept the multiple groups rather than one large amoeboid mass
we managed to win a few stuffed animals
as well catch some circus style performance in the middle ring with a spot light completeing the stage
it was impressive
some classic acrobats from the old school
then there were some muscular men doing some poses that were very Cirque du Soleil
only with a little less attitude
a little less mime (pandamonium)

we did not hear about the indoor amusement park till it was too late
saw it later from the Stratosphere
yet did not manage to fit it into our trip
bumper cars would have been fun
go carts may have been more fun

we marched the strip back to the Mirage
the night went on including drinks and confusion
we still were not clear what the agenda and desire of the whole group was
our final decisions tended to frustrate me as the group's goals were not always my goals
being a team player I went with the pack
only to abandon everyone once my fears were proven true

as a group we went to Tangerine
a swank night club at Treasure Island
personally I had not desire to go there
I am 38 and married while most of the people there were in their late 20's and single
everyone at Tangerine was dressed in fancy club gear and well… I was dressed like me
our party was also less "club".... more "casual"
there was no meeting of the minds in this place for me
my interests were of no interests to the folks at Tangerine and vice versa
so I evacuated
spending more time in line then I spent in the bar… and we were not in line for that long
luckily we had free passes that were given to me by one of the Vegas Kooks barking on one of the corners of the Vegas Strip
end up going back
doing some simple math realizing that late in Vegas is even later for someone functioning on Eastern Standard Time
on the way back my bad habit of the midnight snack seemed to have more pull than the calling of my bed
my college buddy Tim and I shared an eighteen dollar sandwich…. sharing added a three dollar "sharing fee"
ah…. VEGAS!
it is all about the dollar in Vegas… well in most cases it is about the twenty

after a late night on the town I thought that I would be sleeping late the next day
now way baby…. I was up and active before 9am….
was it the OXYGEN being pumped into the room?
no… as that is a myth
it was more a matter of my circadian rthyms being set on Eastern Standard Time as dictated by the wakings of my two young boys
with two members of our party still sleeping I dressed and went down to the casinos to scope things out
the buffet at Cravings looks quality
after a little stroll around the casino I found two members of our party trying to earn back the money they lost the night prior
made a call up to the room
we all met at Cravings for a spectacular breakfast into lunch feast
after food we moved around town killing time till our afternoon mountain bike ride at Red Rocks Canyons

the strip in the day was filled with tourists hustling and bustling about
taxi cabs trying to lure people into their cabs which would then drop people off at clubs
corners filled with men and women handing out flyers, brochures, and business cards… all with wonderfully underdressed women drawing men's attention
these same flyers littered the sidewalks and the streets
like the passing of a ticker tape parade
only this is everyday
the paper trail covers the strip
most certainly the wind blows and carries these glossy advertisements into the desert
somewhere a canyon is becoming an unintentional landfill
yes…. disgusting
especially after measuring the effectiveness of these flyers….. as everyone is done with them seconds after they touch their hands

snoopy and I were the only members of our party that were going mountain biking
rob and Trevor are also cyclists…. but… neither has been riding that much so they let us go at our pace
the van arrived on time and took us out to Red Rocks Canyon for an awesome ride through the desert
more to come on this later as I will try to create a full report on that ride and that ride alone

we returned from our ride refreshed and covered in dust
each of us had a number of pin holes from the cacti… but nothing that a rinse off and a dip in the pool would not repair
we cleaned up and went to the pool
from the pool we went to the hot tub and then gathered with our party…. our party that was expanding as people arrived and checked in

almost failed to mention of the greatest
highlights of the trip
that was the rides at the STRATOSPHERE
ontop of the Vegas version of the space needle are four rides
it was a rush
a total blast
good thing we did this before our Samba dinner
picture to follow!
this story of the stratosphere will be expanded upon along with the mountainbike ride
both were an awesome rush


there was enough time to ride all of the rides
even enough time to ride the best ride twice, THE BIG SHOT
making it back just in time for our reservations for a Brazilian feast at SAMBA

at samba
we had a table reserved for the full wedding party
Kurt made the reservation and he made the right choice
the restaurant is in the Mirage so we did not have far to travel
we gathered for feast of various meats and Mojitos and Campirninas
everyone got full…. so full that even with these stiff drinks no one was getting stumbling drunk
there were some corny party favors floating around the table… some novelty handcuffs… a midget blow up doll… and other similar contraptions to set the bachelor party mood

after dinner there was more confusion of what was to happen next
again there were a hundred and fifty different agendas
not everyone's needs could possibly be met
at first we tried to migrate together
but then we lost various individuals to different draws
some went to play craps… others sought out Texas hold'em… and some even sat down at the slot machines
I moved with a group that wanted to try going to a club
so I went and got the free passes for a Club across the street in the Venetian
upon meeting up with the group I informed everyone that the "free pass" is only good before midnight
we crossed over the Venetian just the same
once in line at the club I looked at the line and I looked at myself
midnight being three am eastern standard time did not help my mood
the option of a cover made no sense to me
so I again abandoned ship
one other member of the party joined me….
we went downstairs to the casino to get a feel for slots and tables in slightly different arena

in no time at all my phone rang…
the group in line also lost heart on club Vivid at the Venetian and came downstairs
some people gambled
some people drank
I drank more Jagermeister and did some people watching
occasionally I dropped a quarter in a slot machine… but not much more
actually very few machines accepted coins…. most did not pay out in coins
it saddened me to see the arm of the one arm bandit slowly become a vestigial structure
ah… if people do not use the arm…. they will not make the arm
so much for the one arm bandit

some time passed and I was able to sell the option of the Midway games to our larger party
like fools we bypassed the cab option and made that same long trek down the strip
people were growing tired as it was getting late
when we finally arrived at Circus Circus I was saddened to learn that the midway section of this casino closed at Midnight
luckily the drinks were cheaper than at the other casinos
so people got drinks and sought out the gambling options that met their desires

I too was growing tired…
before knowing that the Midway was closed at Circus Circus I had one of our friends start his march solo from the Mirage where he was glued to the craps table
I called him and told him to stop walking… that we would meet him half way
other members of our party were leaving as well…
two guys were grabbing a cab before us… I gave some advice… "be open to the options that the cabbie presents to you… who knows what fun you will find... we are in the desert... let the wind blow you like the tumble weed"
or something to that effect
maybe without the mention of the tumble weed
so the three of us marched out of the casino…. back to the strip… pointed back to the Mirage
a cab pulled up
a familiar nasally voice came out of a cab window as it pulled up along side of us
I had heard his sales pitch on several corners before
this same guy... this same voice
each time waving him away
snoopy told me to take my own advice
we got in
we called for our waiting friend
got his exact location and picked him up

the cabbie wanted to take us to a club
he had a deal
he would pay our cover and not charge us for the cab
this deal sounded too good to be true
this kinda deal sounded like it would have us face down in the desert with a bullet placed in the back of each of our heads
but
we got in and took the ride
there was also fear that we would be dropped off at some seedy cinderblock square where all the should be retired dancers worked
but I was wrong

the cabbies gets paid 50 bucks for each person they bring to the clubs…. bachelor parties being the biggest suckers
with a thirty dollar cover he would only make 20 bucks off each of us
but
that is 20 more than he would have made if he had picked up no riders at this time
along with paying our cover he also gave us some drink vouchers
the club was called Treasures… girls dancing… girls working the crowd
it looked like some sort of palace
while the women were doing a modern dance of the seven veils

we took some seats near the stage and took in the show
it is an interesting study
I of course took on the whole event not as a participant but as a sociologist
like Jane Goodall it was Gorilla in the Mist… or perhaps I was a Gorilla in the Mist of a Smoke Machine
it was fun even if we followed the rules

our energy tapered we got a cab home
we all climbed into our beds only to wake for another day

I woke refreshed again
again wondering about this Oxygen being pumped into the room myth
went downstairs and found our main bachelor at the slots again
again I petitioned for the buffet at Cravings… the price went up on weekends to 22.50
campagne brunch
after doing the math on an omelet, coffee, and orange juice it still seemed like the best deal in town
called up to the room
the late sleepers met us for breakfast
it was awesome

again not knowing what to do with the day I wished I had booked a second mountain bike trip
but
did not have the gumshion to make the call to try and setthings up this late
so I talked about the Frisbee golf option with the group
come cell phone calls were made
we had five more players interested
I volunteered to get Frisbees while they lounged poolside

after a fulfilling breakfast I hit the strip….
not one sport store in the mall
not one Marshall's
not one Ross Dress for Less
not one souveneir store had a frisbee

I had covered some serious ground
did the Circus Circus loop and then some
only to return to the group with no Frisbees
a party of three grabbed our two lone Frisbees and then a cab
only to make a two minute stop right at Target
to our pleasure they had a solid 175 Wamo Ultimate Disc
it was effortless
just as well we did not drag the full party along
three is better than 8 when playing Frisbee golf
although I did wish that he main bachelor would have been able to attend

we arrived at Sunset Park and took in the lay of the course
it was flat and green
not the desert setting I was expecting
yet it was beautiful just the same
we were right by the airport with the tall buildings of the strip not far within view and mountains in the distance surrounding us
the wind was blowing hard
planes were landing overhead
that was a variable that we all had to contend with... the wind... not the planes
although there were a few wild tosses

it surprised me how many people were out playing disc golf
we were the only players who were not using "golf specific" discs

I am a single speeder version of a Frisbee golfer
a rigid single speeder at that
all three of us played with Ultimage discs intentionally
as it is our way
we played all 18 holes
Trevor and snoopy taking a few holes to warm up
I shot pretty much par across the board
maybe a poor putt or two throwing me over
our scoring had the lowest score on each hole set par
as we initially had not intended upon writing down anything

we drove from the Am rather than the Pro distance due to the wind
I felt we all carried our own with the Ultimate Discs
even if we did get looks and laughs from the locals with their golf bags with discs for dog leg left, dog leg right, putting, and driving long and straight
just as I do not know how to use the tool of the full suspension bike
I do not know how to maximize the potential of any of the various golf discs

after eighteen holes
or should I say... after 18 chain baskets we decided to get dinner at the strip mall across the street
a mom and pop pizza joint served our needs well
it was no Cravings… but I still had the next morning for the all I cared to eat buffet
after our Strombolis we called a cab and moved to the parking lot for some more Frisbee
we got into our "70'style" with spins, jumps, and grabs
after some time I called a cab from another service
then continued to throw the disc in the remaining light
the late cab arrival gave us over an hour of fun chasing a Frisbee as the sun set over the mountains behind us
with planes landing over head
not a bad sight
the lights of the strip turning on as the day ended and the night started
it was a nice approach
revealing casinos we had not seen before.... Paris... New York New York... MGM Grand....
all sort of amusement park rides and excessive archetecture

we returned to the hotel with only a little time to shower and change before our bus ride for the bachelor grand finalle
we were going to another "gentleman's club"
we went to Treasures the night prior… this night we were going to Sapphire
ah….
not only do I get to play sociologist again
but I also get to play travel guide as I get to compare and contrast the merits of two very simialr yet different clubs

this night much like the night prior
only with a larger party
luckily the music was loud and the lights were dark so no one could tell how geeky and nervous we all were in this setting
we spent a few hours at the club taking in the sights then got a cab to take us back to the main strip
once on the strip we marched on to a variety of other casinos
we went in some of the smaller ones and then a few larger ones
getting a drink
the service was better but the waitresses were not as hot
and the gentlemen's clubs were no buffet at Cravings

then back to the strip
at the Bellagio we got to see the beautiful people
at the Flamingo we got to see the sleeping flamingos and the African penguins
there was gambling
finally enough was enough
it was late and we were all tired
more would have just meant more of the same

we went back to the Mirage
some did some more gambling
some went off to bed
I went off to bed

only to wake for the final morning for a quick dash down to the pool
the wedding party chatted
a multitude of pale bodies never intentending on getting tan
we exchanged tales from the night prior
some boasted about how much they won
others boasted about how much they lost
we compared flights home
we laughed about the clubs
then with a hearty handshake I was back to the room then to catch a ride to the airport
but…. only after hitting Cravings one last time
sure I risked missing my flight
but…. all I care to eat buffet! it would most definitely worth it

rather than a cab I caught the shuttle
the indirect route caused additional anxiety
check in lines kept my heart racing
I move through the airport speedily only to hear my name on the loud speaker

in the end I make my flight on time
not being the last person to board.... but pretty darn close

fly home
where I get to sleep in my own bed
wake to the routine of being a dad in Washington DC
ah
home again
myth or no myth.... I think I would like a shot of OXYGEN to help me wake up each morning

Vegas....
it was awesome
glad that I got to experience it
next time....
book a second mountainbike trip
and
play a desert frisbee golf course... if there is one

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