Shopping is the theme of our activities today, but halfway through the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops, we run smack into a stand selling half-yard mixed drinks. After strolling wistfully by stores devoted entirely to Christian Dior, Armani, Versace and Louis Vuitton, we shell out $40 for a foot and a half of mai tai. Because, hey, I can get Gucci anywhere, right?
And, honestly, the drink wasn’t that expensive if you take into account that they mixed a darn strong mai tai. When you’re good to Vegas, Vegas is good to you.
Thing 2 and I give Thing 1’s stand-in a sip of mai tai.
And so we wander around the Strip again, through MGM Grand and New York New York for a Nathan’s hot dog, and back to Casino Royale for more margaritas and slots.
CCB and I in front of that affront to all New Yorkers, the
Thing 2’s got a flight to catch, leaving CCB and me to clean up for our vacation’s one and only scheduled evening: dinner reservations at 7:30 to Bouchon, a fancy restaurant we saw on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show, followed by the 10:30 performance of Cirque’s O at the Bellagio.
But oh, the bounty of the sea was truly present in the form of the Gold Fish slot machines. I win $100 on a nickel machine at the Bellagio. As much fun as a video game, and (usually) more lucrative—like if the coins in Super Mario Bros. were real. The Gold Fish is our hands-down favorite for the rest of the week.
Breakfast poolside at the Mirage.
The next day we hit the pool first thing and eat Mirage-logoed waffles in a surprisingly chilly outdoor café, then lounge in the sunshine. (The frigid pool itself isn’t even an option.) Today is “Old Vegas” day, and we catch a cab into downtown, the city’s first hub, a giant covered sidewalk of kitschy old casinos where we can play cheap roulette, eat cheap hot dogs and pull the arm on nickel slots that require actual nickels. We head back to the Strip that evening, and—because it’s required, says CCB—gorge ourselves on a culinary mishmash at the Mirage buffet.
For the next two days, it’s more of the same. In Vegas, there are no schedules to keep, virtually no limits to when you can do whatever you want to do (especially if what you want to do is…wander around, drink and play slots). I found it soothing, abandoning my mother’s meticulous stage managing gene like that. Plus, Vegas is like television: There’s always something to look at, especially if you don’t feel like thinking.