Unemployed Girl, Broke, Goes to Vegas
August 29-September 1, 2000

So, just about 24 hours after I drove out of the Kansas City International Airport's satellite parking lot, I drove back in. Off to Vegas, the family's first real vacation together in probably ten years.

I arrived in the Vegas airport about 45 minutes before the rest of my family, who were all on the same flight from Atlanta. Of course, what else could I do except play every quarter I had in the change section of my wallet at the slot machines they have conveniently stationed in the terminal.

I lost. A precursor to the rest of my trip.

The airport is only a few blocks away from the Las Vegas strip, so we were in our rental car and at Harrah's, our hotel, in no time. Check-in took forever for some reason or another, but we didn't care after the check-in lady told us that all the regular rooms were full that night and they were going to upgrade us into suites for no charge.

"Sweet," say my brother and I, in our best South Park voices.

And damn, they were sweet. The one my brother and I got was about half again as big as my apartment, with a bar, two couches, a big screen TV plus two others, a half-bath off the entryway, a king size bed, and a full bathroom as big as my living room with a jacuzzi tub and a shower stall with two showers in it.

Since I was ready to sack out and my brother was on his way to the casino, I called dibs on the bed, woo-hoo. But I couldn't help myself, knowing that we would only be there one night... I indulged in the bath.

I felt like Julia Roberts, swimming in the tub in Pretty Woman. I dumped in two of the little bottles of bubble bath, but soon realized that one would have been plenty. I ended up having to turn off the jets because the bubbles were overflowing. I got out all wrinkled and pruny, slipped into my nighshirt, and crawled into the huge bed, out like a light.

Breakfast was at the fabulous Harrah's breakfast buffet, $10 a person but completely worth it, since they had everything you could possibly want to eat. (To be honest, though, by the third day, we were all a little sick of it, and were basically paying $10 for cereal.)

We first decided to take a little drive around town, just to see what we could see, and figure out what we wanted to see more of later. We would park places, and walk places. I decided that, for my souvenirs, I would buy a used pack of cards from every hotel we went to. (For those of you non-Vegas people, the hotels sell their used cards after either rounding off two corners or poking a hole through the deck, so you can't pull an ace out of your sleeve at the blackjack table.)

On Thursday, we headed to Hoover Dam, and I have to tell you, we were the most nerdy family in the world. All four of us laughed ourselves silly on the way there with the "dam" jokes. "How long is the dam tour, anyway? Where's the dam parking? Why can't we drink the dam water? Aren't you finished taking your dam pictures?"

I know there's a movie out there somewhere where the dam tour guide does the same thing, but we couldn't figure out which one. Maybe Vegas Vacation? If you know, feel free to clue us in.

Frankly, the whole trip is kind of a blur now. I probably should have been making notes, but I never actually thought I would forget it so quickly. But, I have. So these highglights are in no particular order.

I do know that on Wednesday, our first full day there, I wore my new black leather clogs and basically tore my feet to shreds. I get so upset about it, and I can't figure out why everyone else can wear whatever shoes they want when they're walking, so I go ahead and wear stupid shoes myself, knowing that they're going to give me blisters and ruin the day.

Bah. I gave them a good soak when we got back to the hotel, and resigned myself to wearing my tennis shoes the rest of the trip, no matter how stupid they looked with whatever I was wearing.

Except for Thursday night, when we went to see Cirque du Soleil's Mystere. Ain't no way I was wearing sneakers with my skirt, so I shuffled back into the black shoes, just for the evening.

Honestly, if you ever have the opportunity to see Cirque du Soleil, DO NOT pass it up. My mother and I had seen this very show when we were in Las Vegas four years ago, and it was still just as amazing.

Other than that, we basically walked through all the hotels, stopping to gamble as the urge struck us. My brother cleaned up. I lost everything, but it was okay, because I really have a good time playing, even when I lose. I like the nickel video poker, which is not where you're going to get your big payoffs, but it lasts long enough for me, and hey, the watered-down drinks are free.

When you go on to read the L.A. recap, you will note that there is no mention of any celebrity sightings, which was a little odd. Usually, in a weekend, you'll spot someone, somewhere, but no luck. I think I saw Tami from the L.A. Real World walking through the keno lounge at Harrah's, but that's about it. Kind of disappointing.

Friday, we did nothing but walk through hotels. By the time my parents dropped me off at the airport, I was ready to leave. Three days of constant ka-chinging is about all I can take.

Finally, it was on to the City of Angels...


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