Penthouse and burlesque and buffets, oh my!
Any self-respecting Vegas tale should start with gambling, right? Well, I bet a grand total of $3 on the slot machines, and I lost everything. [Sob.] I wanted to play craps or blackjack or at least roulette, but the Bellagio's table minimums are too high for me, and I wasn't around the night Nate went to the cheap casino with his coworkers (some may say I had a better evening, though--you can decide in a few paragraphs).
(I've had one real gambling experience in my life. I once won $80 playing craps on what had to be the weirdest first date experience ever. If you haven't heard this story before, ask me, because it is awesome.)
Onto the food! I wholeheartedly recommend the all-you-can-drink wine restaurant--I was expecting the food to be terrible, but it was actually not bad. I also had a great experience at the Aladdin brunch buffet (recommended in a NYT article), despite photographic evidence to the contrary. And THEN on the way to the airport, I had my first In-N-Out experience. Oh MAN was that good. (Next time, I'm ordering from the [corporate-endorsed, not-so] secret menu and getting well done fries and my cheeseburger animal style!)
So, what with staying at such a swanky hotel, you'd think that I'd see Nicky Hilton or something. Well, alas, I didn't. We DID see Charles Oakley playing craps (he was at a $100 minimum table, and he was playing for at least 2 hours), although another observer had to tell us who he was (the signing autographs thing kind of gave it away that he was at least someone famous). More exciting was Alex from West Coast Customs (and Pimp My Ride)--I recognized HIM. (I actually first noticed him because he was with this beautiful blonde woman and she didn't seem to really "match" him that well. And also...he was wearing a West Coast Customs t-shirt.)
And now for the best part. Women and alcohol! On the night Nate went to a fancy dinner and gambling with his coworkers, I hung out with Fred and Ashley (Fred was producing some kind of Windows dance team performance). We got free passes to the Light club at the Bellagio, and we decided to check it out. Now, I am not one to use my, um...female assets to get stuff. But I have to say, it was pretty awesome to be behind 25 men and have the bouncer push aside the velvet rope to let us inside. What made it even better: it turned out that the Penthouse pet lingerie party was that night. Oh man. We saw middle-aged men with beautiful 20-year old women, lingerie, and pole dancing.
The next night, we went to Red Square at the Mandalay Bay (complete with ice bar!) and then to Forty Deuce, a burlesque show. (Again, I got in free and the guys had to pay $20! Score!) The actual burlesque dancers were very talented (and it was fairly tame--no nakedness), but the "amateur" dancers who took the stage between the paid dancers were...interesting. See for yourself. There was nothing "amateur" about these women.
In summary: Vegas was fun, particularly when a large corporation is footing the hotel bill, but a little over-stimulating for my tastes. (Not that I'd turn down another trip for next year's conference...)