Sunday, April 03, 2005

Playing Tourista in My Own Backyard

One of my favorite pieces of bar trivia that I like to toss out every now and again is the question "What are the only two days of the year where no games of the Big Four professional sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball, and ... Hockey) are being played?" It never fails to stump people, even a roomful of complete ESPN junkies. Anyhow, today felt like one of those days. No hockey of course, I don't watch the NBA, football sadly, is on hiatus until August, and no baseball games until tonight's opener. I've got a little redneck in me, so Nascar is of some interest, but I'm more of a Talladega kind of guy. Watching cars drive around bumping into each other at a top speed of 50 mph in Bristol doesn't really turn my crank. I was feeling a little bored today.

School is closed on the weekends, too, so that left me in a quandry. I could've spent a few hours cleaning the garage and finally getting the rest of my stuff unpacked, but where's the fun in that? Then it occurred to me that I live in the biggest tourist attraction in the world, so I should get out and take advantage of it.

My friend Kelly aka 'Hoyaheel' was out here in February for a working trip (and I missed her by a week). But she left town with a $5 slot machine cashout ticket still in her pocket, so she mailed it to me. So here I was--bored in Vegas with five bucks of free money in my pocket!

Since I had to go to the Luxor to cash it anyways, I decided to go check out the IMAX theatre and see a flick or two. As luck would have it, they had four different shows going on each day, and two of the ones that looked the most interesting to me were playing back-to-back.

So I loaded up the Ghetto Sled and made my way down to the Strip. I absolutely love parking it with the valet, even more so now that I snapped the antenna completely off in the carwash yesterday, so it just hangs there flopping around. Pure class.

I left my fine ride in the capable hands of the Luxor valet attendant and ambled my way thru the pyramid, realizing that I hadn't been in there since a drunken St Paddy's night at Nefertiti's Lounge last year. I found my way to the 'Attractions Level' which was just a quick escalator ride up from the casino. I've been to the Luxor a dozen times in the past, but never made it anywhere besides the casino, buffet, or my room. This was a new experience for me.

I found the ticket booth right away, and they offered a great deal on the IMAX. Normally, tickets are $9.95 per show, but they had twin-packs and triple-play tickets available. So I bought a twin-pack for $13.95. I had about a half hour to kill before they started seating, so I wandered a bit looking at all of the Attractions. There was a huge arcade, crawling with kids, that I never knew about. Or perhaps I did, but I just blocked the knowledge from my mind. But there was the King Tut's tomb tour (A condo made of stona!), another theatre, a motion-simulator ride, and booths where you could get a video made of yourself riding a magic carpet down the Strip, or get your picture on the cover of a magazine or on a movie poster. Instead of that, I found my way to the bar at La Salsa and had a Pina Colada made with a splash of the Captain.

Yes, one could also get a yard-long margarita there, but I only had a half-hour to kill--the margarita would've been about a foot too much. Then I found out that it would be about $18 for the tall green slushy made with no-name tequila, so I felt much better about my choosing the normal sized Pina Colada for the bargain price of only $7.95. And it came with free chips, salsa, and people watching.

Before I knew it, my drink was empty and it was time to get in line. The first feature was Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was filmed here in Vegas at Nellis Air Force base and featured some great views of the city off in the distance. But it was the flight sequences that were most amazing. More than once I felt like I was in the cockpit--total sensory overload, and worth every penny.

Much too soon it was over, and we had to shuffle out. I had just enough time to make a quick pit stop, then back in again for the next show. This one was called Sharks 3D which really interested me, being an Ocean Lover and all. The 3D aspect was very cool. One couldn't help but reach up and try to touch the schools of jellyfish and sardines that jumped off the screen and into your personal space. But the show was less about sharks and more about sea turtles, sea lions, and getting a dose of environmental claptrap. Yes, I am fully aware that Man, not the shark, is the most dangerous predator in the sea. But I'm cool with that. If it ever comes down to him or me, I hope the shark loses every time. I didn't spend the last 400 million years evolving to the top of the food chain just to lose my spot to some toothy fish that is only doing their job of 'maintaining the delicate balance...'

Again, the scenery and the effects were fantastic. The narrator just needed to shut the fark up.

Otherwise, it was very enjoyable.

After the second show, I was hungry and decided to wander a bit looking for something to eat (Seafood, maybe?). I made my way south on the Mandalay Mile, and wanted to go to the Burger Bar, but the line was much too long for someone as impatient as I. Instead I went to the Davidoff store and picked up an overpriced Partagas black label, then made my way back to the Luxor. Mexican food at La Salsa it was! I had a pretty tasty steak burrito with rice, black beans, and a Dr Pepper for sixteen bucks. Not too bad, but I think the place is a lot like a pricier version of Baja Fresh. They just don't use paper plates, thats all. Not bad, but no real reason to go back with all of the other options in this city. A restaurant really has to stand out here in Vegas for me to make a return trip (Peppermill, Ellis Island, Grand Luxe, etc), and although I enjoyed the meal, it didn't blow me away--so it'll be awhile before I make it back to La Salsa.

I didn't want to go home right away, so I figured I'd check out the casino situation on a Sunday afternoon. I found a decent-for-the-Strip craps game--$5 limit with 3x4x5x odds, so I bought in for a hundy and played very conservatively. The table was choppy, no big swings in either direction. I managed to get in right before a decent shooter and she made me a couple of bucks. When I finally got the dice I had a great roll-- I made three points and hit a bunch of numbers while shooting, so I immediately cashed out with a $140 profit and a brief round of high-fives and applause for nailing the 10 five times in about five minutes before the dreaded Cinco-Dos-Adios.

After a trip to the cage and a brief stop at the valet, I was on my way back home for the evening. It was not a bad day at all. Tomorrow it's Back To School, where I attempt to do a Triple Lindy while calling stick.


PS. The answer to the trivia question will be posted tomorrow, for those who are interested. Unless some wise-ass posts it in the comments firs

1 comment:

Wiseass said...

The days before/after the midsummer classic?