Woke up late. Sleep was needed. Too much camping on rocks does not a body do good.
At the same time as I wanted sleep, I also didn't want to let the day get away from me. I mean, how often will I be in Vegas? So up I got, showered, and then woke Katherine. She was not as eager as I, but as it was almost noon it was a justifiable waking, I felt.
We headed out, grabbed some McGrub, and then caught the shuttle from Harrah's down to the Rio. There is nothing like a free shuttle bus. Vegas would be a perfect place to vacation – you fly in (just make sure you fly into Las Vegas, Nevada – not Las Vegas, New Mexico... I wonder how many people have done that?) then grab your shuttle from the airport to your hotel. Once you're there everything is in walking distance. Well, everything you're liable to want to see.
In the Rio we picked up the tickets for Penn and Teller that we ordered way back in Florida. Katherine was over stimulated looking at all the pretty colours – me, I was hyperactive knowing that soon I'd see Penn and Teller's live show. And afterwards, maybe ever get to meet them!
Giddy giddy, we headed through the floor. So many slot machines, all looking the same. I had no desire to play any, and joked about how they were all the same, except the faceplate. Then I saw an Aliens slot machine. Yes, yes, they're all the same – but Aliens. With the annoying cat, and the chest bursters, and the monsters from nightmares.
I proceeded to lose my dollar. In went another. It was lost – but I cashed out with one cent left. The awarded me a slip labeled Rio, with my one cent winnings. Scrap book material? I think so.
On our way out, I saw a Deal or No Deal machine – I tossed in a dollar, pressed the spin button and chose some cases. A few seconds later my one dollar had transformed into sixteen and change. I can see the appeal of this whole gambling thing.
Katherine wanted to win too, and so she slipped in some money, pressed spin – and nothing. No cases. Apparently I got a lucky spin first off, while she got nothing. It was sad, and tragic – but I had some money, and was feeling pretty good. I know, I know, fifteen dollars – still it would cover all my gambling losses for the next few days, and that was something.
It should be noted that I'm not a big gambler.
Is it obvious?
We played a few more slots – I won another dollar on video black jack, and then we caught the shuttle back to The Strip and explored some more. This day would take us into Bally's to see their giant fake insects – a garden full of small things made of large flowers that you can walk through and ohh and awe over. Then we'd pass the Bellagio – shooting its fountains into the air. And then would come Caesars Palace.
This is a monster of a Casino. It's more of a small town. It takes up a full city block, and has a hotel, restaurants, an arcade for children, an art museum, and a huge mall with all the designer labels.
When I thought of Vegas this is what I thought of – though just in small casino form. Back in the days of the green and black screened Game Boy I had the Caesars palace game. Even back then I wasn't much on gambling – I would just head to roulette, place the bet on black, and hope to double up. I kept leaving in a taxi cab, rather than the limo.
I wish I'd paid more attention to the rules of the games. Craps looked fun, but I didn't know how to play. Roulette, I'll stay away from until I know the odds. Black Jack was too much at the tables, with a five dollar minimum (remember, I'm still a poor traveller here.) Video Black Jack once more.
After watching for a bit and seeing me win a whole seventy five cents, Katherine decided to get in on the action. She played for a good ten to fifteen minutes on her dollars – at times more than doubling her play price, but each time wanting more – more – more. Ultimately she lost everything, claiming, “I could play this all day.”
There's a terrible monster – I call him GAMBLOR!
Betting with only dollar bills, a loss was never all that bad. It was worth the moments of fun – far more enjoyment than out of a quick arcade game... except skee ball. Nothing beats that sport of kings. Unfortunately there was none to be found.
Near the art gallery there was a pin ball machine, which got me three games for a quarter (one and a half credits already existing in the machine, and winning a third game with the game over Match.) The game? Pirates of the Caribbean. By far my favourite pin ball game. I wonder if there's a way to make it mine? E-Bay perhaps? [note: it exists – for six thousand dollars. No thanks.]
The mall offered another extreme. It was designed just like one I'd seen in Tokyo years back – to look like you're outside in Europe. I wonder what the connection, if any, is. In the mall there are two fountains that come to life for a show – one is about Atlantis where fire and water are used as weapons. The other is supposed to depend on projected images on the ceiling, but the projectors were down. When the statues talked about how amazing something looked we were all left wondering what it might have been. Kath and I bailed on this to check out the Apple Store. She has a new love of iPads and was introduced to PvZ (so much time I wasted in Sydney playing that.)
Wandering back to our hotel at six, we figured on a quick dip in the pool before Penn and Teller. This was not to be, however – as (complaint number two) the Imperial Palace closes their pool at six p.m. In Vegas? Really? Apparently so.
No swimming. Just a moment or so crashing in the room before heading back to The Rio.
We had bought VIP seats – nine dollars more than regular seats, but it got you in the first few rows, and came with a free 30 page book. The book was the program – and it sold for ten bucks. Really we made money, had we wanted the program, which we would have, as it is awesome.
Inside Penn tells the tale of Tellers life, and Teller of Penn. Who knew Teller used to teach Latin? And who knew of the hardships they worked through to reach their fame. Both are straight edge. There's also a comic where they show some tricks. And, they bash Chris Angel. What more could you ask for? This was quality work.
Before the show started I also picked up a deck of cards for sale at the gift shop, in hopes of getting them to sign it after the show.
The show was as fantastic as I hoped. Their comedy with a purpose educates as it entertains. In one moment they explain tricks, while adding their own elements so that what you have revealed is not the same as the trick they're running. They also hid a phone in a fish – using the phone to video the whole thing. Youtube will show you this if you search for penn and teller fish phone.
One of their final bits, the burning of the Flag is a powerful moment, and followed by their double bullet catching trick. There's a desire to want to know the answers, while at the same time I just wanted to enjoy – and that's the stance I took this night. Who cares how it's done – just be amazed.
By the time the show ended, I wanted nothing more but for it to continue. I wanted to see it another night. Each night they add and take away different bits, so seeing it again could be a very different experience.
But it had come to an end. We were all shuffling out of the theatre, only to meet with throngs of people in circles. The two were signing autographs. Teller signed my program and my cards. His voice was not at all what I was expecting. He sounded much more gruff than I would have thought – a real Jersey boy. Apparently it's not all terrible that comes from there.
Then there was Penn, calling everyone Boss. He too signed my book and my cards.
On the shuttle back home, I thought about how super ultra cool it all was. Giddy like a child I told myself I'd learn a card trick or two. Now that I have cards signed by them, I almost feel like I have to. On a trip with few souvenirs this was an excellent one.
Still filled with excitement and glee I passed off into sleep. Tomorrow would be our final full day in this city of potential Sin.
Financial Travel Tip #131: “Rentable” Onward Tickets
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