This Is How My Love For Vegas Was Tested
It took a long time to write this one. I wasn’t really sure why but as I wrote about my experience, it came down to not really liking seeing a bad side of Vegas. I love Vegas. Hell, I thought Vegas loved me. I even had Vegas as my third beneficiary on my life insurance until well, s/he already took his/her part. Wait, Vegas is a dude. Clearly. What am I thinking? Vegas DOES love me…we’re bros… it’s just, we had a thing…
Back in November 2015, I stayed at SLS and Cosmopolitan for a trip in honor of my 40th birthday. I had my best friend, who we’ll call Emily, with me. We gambled. We had good drinks and good food. We had an amazing terrace one bedroom suite at Cosmo-Vegas with a great view of the Bellagio fountains that I enjoyed with nice cool weather. But, the people…the “man” got in my way…damn.
My trip started on a Wednesday and I HAD to be at work. I almost missed my flight but I didn’t. Our plane had to get exchanged for another in Phoenix. Delays… VEGAS, I’m coming!!! Original flight was supposed to get in around 2 pm. With the flight change, the plane change and delays, I got in around 10 pm but I made it. Damn it. I made it. My limo driver was great. We talked about earthquakes.
And so I met Emily, who was there with her family for SEMA (not me. No SEMA for me. NOPE), at the Cosmo front desk. My fountain-view Terrace Studio was upgraded at no cost to a Terrace One Bedroom because no studios were available at this hour. This is a neat room. It does have some weird features, like unnecessary shades to the oddly deep but yet small tub. BUILD A WALL COSMO. EVERYTHING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SEX. IT’S VEGAS. GIVE US SOME F’N INTRIGUE. AND A WALL FOR MY TUB.
We sat on the balcony for a bit and enjoyed the view. And oh what a view…best view in Vegas.
Then, we took a cab to SLS. It was $21 + tip. The next day when we took Uber (and he did not know where he was going) it was $14. I choose you, Uber.
There was a minor issue with check-in because I stupidly emptied my wallet to reorganise and left my AMEX back at Cosmo. (For what it’s worth, I put my MLife Gold card in my wallet…yeah, they don’t take that for credit.) Emily put her card down but what I didn’t like was the attitude of the front desk clerk who, when I realised I didn’t have my card, looked over my shoulder at the NO PEOPLE AT ALL in line behind me as if to say “next!” and had the most sour face and attitude ever. Listen, I’m trying to give your hotel a shot. Don’t think we don’t all know you need us. I want you to want me. So pick me. Choose me. Love me. (anyone? …also available in Russian here)
So we went and checked out the room. I like these rooms. Some people don’t like these rooms but when we stayed here during Rock in Rio, I slept well and appreciated that I didn’t have to walk a mile to my room. But we found stuff… a paperclip and a penny on the floor in between our beds. A wet ring around the ice bucket which still had ice in it. And then the poop glass…
I love their kitschy mismatched glassware…but this one came with a pre-rinse and a glob of what we just assumed was poop. UGH. We weren’t staying here tonight anyhow…so I called down and reported the issues. Sure, we’ll send housekeeping up right away. Fast forward to tomorrow when all of this was still here…and two days later, when all of this is STILL here…and I call again and get “Oh, really? Eeewww.” — thanks. We thought so too. When we finally actually moved down here to sleep on day three, NOTHING HAD BEEN CLEANED. GAG.
But let’s jump back to Cosmo on night one because there was some fun to be had. I didn’t take any pictures at Cosmo because half of the casino was walled off and well there was nothing to look at. I didn’t win ever at this casino. But, we did play VP and we had great drink service. So, thank you Cosmo. The drink service on the slot floor has never disappointed me.
Day two began with me slowly rolling out of bed (or couch…I slept on the couch because I love the couches in the Cosmo rooms). Went down to Va Bene Caffé on the 2nd floor. I believe I was still in sleepy pants and house shoes. Some German tourists tried to talk to me. I just stared at them. Sorry folks, coffee. LONG lines each morning but the service here was always quick and phenomenal. Took coffee and snacks back up to Emily and we enjoyed the balcony and its best-in-Vegas view. She was meeting her family today to do the SEMA thing. I was going to gamble.
So, we parted ways and I took a few hundies downstairs. OH! But first, I discovered this card in my backpack. The dog barked when you pulled his chin. Classic. Love it. An early birthday present from my wife. $60 in dollar bills for tips. She knows I hate to stop gambling to break a twenty for tips. Now I head downstairs with my wad of dolla dolla bills, y’all.
I was going to play a couple hours and then head upstairs and take a nap. I was actually dreaming of napping on my terrace. WELL FOLKS, THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN.
Today would be all about waiting…that and vomit. After drinking and losing for two hours, it was nap time. As I head to the Eastside elevator tower bank ready for my balcony nap, I am met with a horde of about 60 people with suitcases and a bit of crowd anger. The word soon gets passed back that the entire bank of elevators isn’t working. People can come down but cannot go up. I see that there are a couple of employees with walkie-talkies working on the issue and soon hear that it’ll be an hour or so but there is another elevator in the casino people can use. Well the horde moves that way and I decide I’ll sit nearby and play slots until the crowd calms down. I played for another hour and a half and the crowd finally subsided. I head back to the original elevators and see a cleaning crew and some caution tape. Evidently someone had an “accident” that required them to clean the elevator bank floor before they could open them for use. It looked like smeared blood, but I’m guessing it was puke…lots of it. So I head back to the casino. I’m down $600 at this point. Totally my fault. I could have used the secret casino elevator. I could have stopped gambling. I could have gambled elsewhere. BUT DAMN IT I JUST WANTED TO NAP ON MY BALCONY. So I persisted at hanging around here and gambling. I lost $200 more. The elevators were finally open more than two hours later.
So of course I went to Secret Pizza. Really, it’s not a secret anymore. Let’s slap a sign on it and make it a thing. These guys make good pizza and give good service. I got my slice of pizza (and one for later) and head to my terrace and eat my pizza and watch the Bellagio fountains. I’m exhausted and down $1k from last night to this moment. AND Emily texts me. She’s returning to the room and ready to party.
I manage a brief nap…in the bed…not on the terrace. And then we are off. Emily has only had family contact today not like real adult contact. She is CHAT-TY. I’m an introvert. All that talking will get no response from me. She knows this…well, she knows it will come out as snark. But’s it’s love. Snarky love. Anywho, we make it to SLS (Uber…cheaper) where I thought we might play a bit and have dinner. Well, I wanted Ku Noodle. I wanted to take Emily to Ku Noodle. She works in food…high level fancy food…she designs food. She will enjoy this food. Well, nope. She won’t. They are closed. So to Northside Café it is. Ku Noodle closed at 8 pm. That’s stupid. The café here is not good but I have eaten here more than any other outlet because it seems to be the only place that is ever OPEN.
Lost here, too. But this is what sucked the most. There is NO ONE in this casino gambling. And yet, it is near impossible to get a drink. And when you do, it is near impossible to get ANOTHER drink within the hour. So, we left and went back to Cosmo by way of monorail (which was fairly busy but not as busy as one would think during a show as large as SEMA). Emily gambled a bit but her family would be leaving the next day so she wanted to get up early to meet them for brunch. SO, what the heck. I have like 10 bucks left. TO THE CASINO! I actually lasted awhile and didn’t completely lose. But, at 4 am when I try to head back to the room, I call the elevator and one arrives and I start to walk in and I see it. VOMIT. EVERYWHERE. On the floor, on the walls, on the buttons. EVERY. WHERE.
So I hold back my gag reflex, step out, and shake it off. Wait a bit and call the elevator again. And the same one opens up. Okay, moron, what did you expect? So I take a receipt I have in my pocket, enter the elevator, and with the receipt as my protection, hit five or six buttons and send it off.
Okay…back out in the lobby on the first floor, I call the elevator and another one opens up…VOMIT. EVERYWHERE. UGH. ICK. BLEHHHHHH… I get in and hold my breath. I will just try my best to get to my room. SO, I get in and hit 32 (of course, I’m on 32…not on 10 or 12…might as well be floor BILLION). Gag. Reflex. Coming. On. HARD. Ughhhh. And the elevator stops at 16 and I am like W. T. F???? I jump out as I see that there are about five Cosmo staffers looking at me and I immediately say “it’s not me!” — oh no…it’s not. It’s the lady they are trying to pick up from the ground. She is awake but not coherent. Blonde. Maybe 5’ 11” with 8” heels. Looks like a two-bit hooker but I think she’s actually just someone that tried too hard at Vegas and failed. You see, she’s talking. (with a deep slur) “No bithhhhhch, this IS Veneshinnnn…call Rob. Call Rob. Call Rob. Just call Rob.
“Ma’am if you would give us a number we would be happy to…”
Yep, she vomited on this poor security guard. Actually, on his pants leg.
I see him hold back his gag reflex and one of the other employees apologizes to me.
“What floor are you on?”
(face of “oh no, sorry”)
I am then told she has vomited in BOTH the active elevators serving these floors and they have called their maintenance guy to override their system to turn on the two that aren’t currently on. I can take a vomit elevator or wait a bit. Fortunately, this happens fairly quickly and I also get the joy of watching them try to get her into a vomit elevator. They do, but not before she slips and falls…in her own vomit. This was the most disgusting moment I have ever had in Vegas. EVER. I have never seen that much vomit. And it was everywhere. And you could smell it. BLECHHHHH
So I finally get to my room and pass out.
Day three: check out of Cosmo and at some point that morning move over to SLS for our last night. We head over to Bally’s and I play a bit. I am almost out of my budgeted amount for gambling so I plan to play it down (or win…) and then just not gamble until I can use the free play I have here at Bally’s tomorrow. I lose fairly quickly and so I decide to test my will power and walk outside and call my wife. Avoid that ATM. And I do. Emily finishes with her family and I meet her to go walking up the Strip to play our way up to Harrah’s, where we’ll catch the monorail back up to SLS. Emily is okay with me watching her and occasionally playing as she hits the restroom or grabs a drink. I refuse to lose any more of my money. And I don’t. And in turn, karma lets Emily win and win and win. It was fun. We drank and gambled and talked and enjoyed Vegas with our respective best friend. And then, feeling high on life, we did this…
Yeah, I bought us souvenir cups. Yeah, I’m proud of it. Yeah, I actually like these little sliders. No, I wasn’t drunk. Shut up.
We then head back to SLS because Emily has to work on a project for work. I needed that nap I never had and while I helped her with her project, I also got some much needed rest.
We then decide to head down to gamble. I had some free play here and it kept me active most of the night. I was really bothered by the bad service for drinks here. But I am almost used to it. What was worse was the group of FOUR club promoters standing next to and around us as we played video poker. Any (and I do mean ANY) hoochie or bro that came NEAR the club they would give a wristband and try to woo them with “two free drinks, bro?” or “drink all night on me, lady” – but the two of us, in jeans and t-shirts, spending (LOSING) actual money in your hotel…NOPE. You’re too old. You’re too fat. You’re not slutty enough (well, Emily might be…but not me…I’m a Puritan).
I was tempted to ask for a wristband. But I didn’t. I didn’t want to go to a stupid club. But, wow, how far would the exchange of one little piece of plastic go in saying “hey, we acknowledge you”. This is why you will continue to fail, SLS. You can’t even keep your captive audience happy.
We went to bed soon thereafter as the music in that place is both too loud and too redundant… I can only hear the same 12 oontz tunes so many times on loop before I go crazy.
We woke up the last day and decide not to gamble here. Check out. Check bags. Head to Ku Noodle. Halleluiah! It’s open. At noon. For lunch. Go FIGURE.
Ku is worth it. Have the Hakka Fried Rice Pot (enough for two). Thank me later.
We head to Bally’s after lunch because I have $120 in free play. Emily has been doing well on a Multistrike VP machine there. She tells me I should play it. So I insert 20 bucks of my free play and within about 5 minutes, I hit this:
WOOOOOOOOO!!!! And in an instant, my patience and my will power paid off. Our limo would be at SLS in a couple hours. I was, for the first time in YEARS, leaving Vegas a winner.
We played a bit more but I wasn’t going to go big…I was going to go home.
The broken elevators…the bad attitudes…the poop glass…and, OMG, the VOMIT… this trip had been a bit messy. And I expect that from Vegas, but not to the extent it came at me this time. I was, needless to say, happy to head home. I needed Vegas to take a breather and work on raising its game. I needed a breather from Vegas. And so we caught our limo and headed home. I was happy for my win but also a little disappointed. What kinda privilege is that? I dunno…I feel like we had something, Vegas…our bro code has weakened. I returned in December and it was okay. But that was also my 7th trip in one year and it is quite possible I had too much Vegas.
Don’t worry folks…I’m still in this game but I need to setup some new rules. I’ll practice in my homeland…I enjoy visiting the casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi. In fact, I’m heading to Mississippi this week and will give a report. We’ll see where we end up in the next few months.