Because I am a lovely person I got up early and got us a breakfast from starbucks -just pastries and tea really. I ordered a macchiato for Cocky but it turns out that Starbucks’ macchiatos are not like anyone else’s and are a sort of caramel coffee dessert rather than the usual espresso with a dab of frothed milk on top.
We then set out with bags of dirty pants to the famous Magic Wash laundrette, about 10 minutes’ drive from the Strip. It has change machines, which were ideal for state quarter collectors, massage chairs and flat screen TVs. We were able to wash all our stuff for $5. Whilst it was doing, we wandered through the fierce heat into the 99c store nearby. Just like UK pound shops, it is full of things that you never knew you needed, but it also had handy things like chilled drinks and fresh fruit and vegetables.
Once our laundry had dried, we got into the car to go home and realised instantly why the locals try hard to park under cover. The car was unbearably, unspeakably hot inside.
Somehow we survived the drive to Planet Hollywood for our show. We made sure we were parked under cover this time. We had a rushed snack lunch of nachos and guacamole.
The Gregori Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre found fame on America’s Got Talent. Popovich is a Russian emigre clown who can not only juggle, but has worked out how to train cats. The show was excellent and inspired us to try training Minnie and Finch when we got home.
We returned to the hotel to put away our laundry and headed straight for the pool. The TI pool was disparagingly called a party pool but it wasn’t too bad. We found a spot mostly out of the sun.
Hunger led us to walk back to Planet Hollywood for the Spice Island buffet. I managed to put away a substantial amount of prime rib, followed with frozen custard, crème brulee and candyfloss.
We followed this with a drink in the lounge overseeing what appeared to be a titty casino section, where the croupiers wore lingerie-style costumes and a pole dancer undulated a little with her pole. We noticed that the pole dancer was wearing two bras – perhaps to keep the cold out. On the way out of Planet Hollywood I was accosted by an aggressive leaflet woman demanding (in an almost incomprehensible accent) that I make Nicky visit Peepshow with Holly Madison. Outside we were bombarded with cards for prostitutes (in your room within 20 minutes was the promise) and further demands to visit strip clubs. I was a bit offended not to be offered these cards although other women were.
We paused on the way back to see the dancing Belaggio fountains and then the Whores of the Caribbean (AKA Sirens of TI), a confusing display of comedy pirates and slutty she-pirates.
Following some bitter complaints about the temperature and the concurrent lack of a possibility of a run, I organised a 6am wake up call so that Nicky could run while it was still relatively clement. There was a lot of complaining and moaning but I eventually managed to kick him out of bed, into his running kit and onto the Strip. We slept a bit late but were not woken up as we expected by Cocky, who had said he was going to meet us for cereal and milk in our room.
We tried to phone Cocky but got no answer from any of his usual channels of communication. Apparently he had been annoyed at the lack of gay pubs on the Strip and had gone somewhere last night, but where, nobody knew.
We went to Mirage to see the Posi redshirts doing badly at poker, and decided to do lunch at the TI buffet, which was nommy. More prime rib and candyfloss for me.
We returned to Mirage after lunch and tried to play casino war, which consists of getting a card dealt and, if it’s higher than the dealer’s card, you win. We lost.
We visited the Mirage pool – there is also a nude pool, billed as an adventure in European sunbathing, but we didn’t go to that.
Instead we decided to visit Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden, complete with dolphins and kittens – well, gigantic white tigers and lions actually, but cute nonetheless. Following this we had a nice cup of tea and a cool down before visiting the Mirage’s pool, where I had some blue slush. It appears the bartenders are not used to serving non-alcoholic cocktails and are confused about how much to charge. I was concerned to note that throughout the day we had not heard from Coxall and, on checking, found that he had not even tweeted all day. This was round about where we decided to start worrying.
Still, we visited the Venetian shoppes and stopped by Walgreens for cereal (Lucky Charms this time). It was while leaving the centre that we got a call from Cocky. He was apparently not dead, but hungover and had been sleeping all day. He had found a gay bar and had spent the evening chatting to a tranny and petting her cute white doggie. We returned to TI and our own pool. I realised I had been a bloody fool to have not swum before.
We visited the Mirage deli for dinner. Vv expensive and silly – who would pay $13 for 3 latkes? The waiter also kept rubbing Cocky’s belly and had a squint – he helpfully closed one eye so that we knew what to look at.
We met Songul, who had organised a date at Jet, the nightclub. We all decided to accompany her to find out what her date looked like. However, we hung around waiting for the place to open and eventually realised that we were in the wrong queue and inappropriately dressed.
So we decided to stand up Songul’s date and went to the Revolution lounge, a 60s style place but it did play quite good music, including the Violent Femmes and Korn, mixed in cunningly with current dance hits. I had a Virgin Mary, a dance attempt and then bed.
Anniversary, today, awww.
We began the day with lucky charms in room with Cocky, and then proceeded to drive out to Hoover Dam, which took about 40 minutes. The dam is done out in 1930s art nouveau style and after a brief propaganda video which did not mention the drop in water level in Lake Mead we were taken on a tour of the turbines. We walked through tunnels built below the dam, which was somewhat problematic for me because I’d left my glasses in the car and was in my prescription sunglasses.
Outside, it was super duper hot. At the top of the dam the temperature was close to 50 degrees c or 120 fahrenheit in old money. I decided to forego the walk across the dam in favour of sitting in the air conditioned cafe but was told I shouldn’t sit there if I wasn’t going to buy anything, so I ended up sitting in the covered multi storey car park instead.
Lunch was had in the cafe – a mediocre hot dog. The attached shop was disappointingly full of tat for such a national monument, but if I had needed to buy a fluorescent dream catcher, this would have been the place.
We returned to Vegas, and headed straight for the pool for a lovely cooling dip and some very welcome slush, before setting out for the Wynn buffet and our anniversary treat trip to see Mystere, which was the first Vegas show for Cirque de Soleil and is now over 10 years old. It was a proper old circus variety performance involving alarming balancing acts, a genuinely funny clown and a giant inflatable snail.
This morning, we were supposed to have a Cocky birthday buffet at the Bellagio but he failed to show up, having apparently been invited to see a drag queen’s pool the night before. Happily he turned out not to be floating face down in it.
However, we found Jake and others the in Bellagio buffet queue, and pointed out that this was the lunch queue not breakfast, as it was now 10.30am, there was a huge queue in front of them and lunch started at 11am. Instead we breakfasted at the Bellagio Cafe (at vast expense).
I still hadn’t had any tea so we went to the Caesar’s Palace Shoppes, apparently the most profitable retail real estate in America, for that. We all must do our bit. We battled through the fierce heat to our hotel in order to watch DVDs in our room.
Later on Nicky went to play some poker at last. I repacked and watched CNN before bravely venturing out, all the way to the Mirage pool, to hang around in regal splendour and wait for him to return. He eventually did, having broken even and then given up because he got bored.
We had dinner at the Strip House steak house in Planet Hollywood, decked out in the style of a 1920s bordello and complete with girlie flock wallpaper and girlie napkins. One of the girlie napkins somehow found its way into my bag but I don’t know how, officer.
After entertaining ourselves by trying to hand back prostitutes’ cards to the distributors, we watched the dancing Bellagio fountains do their thing to the Star Spangled Banner. Very patriotic.
We spotted a few hookers on our way back to TI – as suspected, they bore little resemblance to the photos on the cards that were being handed out.
We stopped by Rhumbar at the Mirage for a Virgin Mary and were bitten thoroughly by mosquitoes before going to bed.
Having cancelled the 6am alarm call we were alarmed to be woken at 6am again. It wasn’t that difficult to go back to sleep and we met Cocky for a TI buffet breakfast at 10. The buffets really do offer the best value on the Strip. For $14 you can have as much as you like, including tea and juice, whereas in most of the cafes, $14 will barely get you two eggs any style and a glass of iced water. The canny buffet user will load up on high value items like fruit, cheese and eggs, whereas the neophyte will be distracted by the cheap carbs and fill up on those: which is of course the intention. I saw a woman at the Wynn buffet with a plate full of bread, mashed potato and crab legs.
Following breakfast, Nicky attempted to pack while I attempted to check out, like a grown up. I was utterly gobsmacked to be presented with an additional $550 charge on my credit card for, apparently, my room upgrade. I expressed my unhappiness and was told that I had signed for this extra charge. Oh, no, I didn’t, I said, and summoned the manager.
Rather than have an argument with the manager, the receptionist disappeared to check my registration card. Five minutes later he came back and said that I was right, I hadn’t signed for any such thing, and took the charge off my poor little Smile Gold Card.
We set out for McCarran International Airport and dropped the car off. Nick was disappointed that he had not pranged the car, despite having paid extra for prang insurance.
The flight to New York on Virgin America was fine albeit very bumpy. The air hostess impressed us with her agility when she climbed into the dustbin to compact the rubbish and jumped up and down on it.
We took a cab to our hotel. Cocky had the misfortune to sit next to the driver, who kept up a constant banal conversation on his phone for the entire 40 minute journey. By the end, Cocky was ready to kill.
We checked in. It was now 11.30pm but as we were still on Pacific time, we ventured out for nachos before finally turning in.