zondag 2 juni 2013

May 26th, Las Vegas: the Bikini Skank Army, plastic Eiffeltowers, and how to kill your laptop.



(warning: I dont like Las Vegas :-)

I don’t know if you’ve ever been in Las Vegas, and if so, how you got there. This was the third time I was entering Las Vegas from the I-15 by daylight, and only a few things must be more depressing. It’s a very ugly town during daytime. You see all those big buildings in the middle of the desert, it just doesn’t look right to me.



 I’m pretty sure it must be the other way round at night, when all the lights are on. One time on my way to LA, I saw LV from the plane, when it was dark already. There was this big solid black empty darkness outside, and in the middle of that, like a fairytale, the lights of Las Vegas. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen from the sky. Ah well, not during the day. It looks a bit surreal.

As we needed a supermarket, I asked the others if it would be ok to go to Trader Joes first, because I wanted to buy some bulk there and needed the car. It was ok, so on Sahara Blvd (more or less the begin or end of the Strip) we turned left instead of right. (we’re such rebels) away from the Strip. The first time we were in LV, we already made quite a walk through the “normal” part of town (looking for a mall we didn’t find) so we knew LV isn’t only casinos and hotels, still it’s a bit funny. We found TJ’s straight away and parked the car. When we got out... we realized it was AT LEAST 35°c, but probably more, maybe even towards 40°. Like Texas, it felt like walking in a giant oven.

 we ran in, as it was getting pretty late. I was in such a hurry and stress that I didn’t even have time to realize I was in my beloved TJ’s (serious one of the reasons I made this trip) Just didn’t want to keep the others waiting. I needed fruit, lunch, (oh Californian rolls with brown rice, I love you!) breakfast cereals without sugar (ha, ha!) crackers... because of the stress I couldn’t take it easy and ran around like a headless chicken. Reading all the info on all those cereal boxes just doesn’t work when you don’t have time. And... the famous bags with dried fruits. I grabbed them with heaps and threw them in my cart (surprising Anne) ran a few more laps and went to the checkout.
There we go again. In America for the 10th time, in Trader Joe’s for the gazillionth time. How does it work? Where to put your stuff? I noticed someone else put her cart next to the cashier, so I did the same. My turn! I wanted to be quick and throw all the stuff in bags, but when I touched my cereals, the bag-boy showed up (they probably have a real name) Now what? Do I help him? I felt so stupid I started a talk with the cashier explaining I’m from Belgium, he was superfriendly and directly asked “near Antwerp?” yes, I’m from near Antwerp. I’m from near everything else in Belgium too :-) He noticed I took a chocolate bar with “speculoos cookie spread” and told how popular it was over there. I said I felt like a fool for bringing three big jars of “speculoos cookie spread” from home because I thought that was something they wouldn’t know for sure (and at the same moment I realized I saw it last time in TJ’s too) The bag boy politely took my cereals and put them in the bag, I paid and said goodbye, and ran to the others who were already waiting in the burning sun.

In a hurry to get my stuff right and god know what I was doing or thinking, removing stuff from the car, sweaty hands, brainless moments, jetlag, whatever the reason was I made the decision to do what I did, with my hands full of other stuff, I wanted to remove my laptop and it slipped and it dropped on the concrete. There was this sound when it hit the ground. I thought I was going to be sick. I dropped my stuff in the car, threw the laptop back in, could comfort myself with the thought “its not broken, it CAN not be broken, so it isn’t broken” Everyone got back in the car and we went to the Strip. In the meantime I had my salad, mmm, and the spring rolls, yuck, no taste at all! (look! I found something from Trader Joes I don’t like!) some of the Californian rolls, mmm, I was so hungry (didn’t have breakfast and it was 1 pm already)

As we were late, we had to readjust our plans. Robert and I had been there before (and I have the idea we will be there again :-/ so we just let the others decide what to see. First stop was the Sign, on the north part of the Strip, where all the cool wedding chapels and small motels etc are. As we were stressed, we of course missed the parking spot next to the Sign, and totally stressed out we entered the private parking lot of a wedding chapel a bit down the road.


Anne and her parents and me went out, and the others stayed there to move the car if needed (and I think also because at that moment they couldn’t give a single damn about any sign :-D A wedding just was going on, lots of people on the sidewalk, and someone from the chapel itself. He walked up to us and asked how he could help us, and the first thing that slipped from my mouth was “we’re going to the left!” (which we were!) he smiled and said “excellent choice!” okay...





 it wasn’t that far to the sign, and we went back asap, to prevent he would chase the others out. When we came back we thanked him for not kicking them out, he asked “should I ?” It’s just funny how you keep meeting nice people like him when you’re on the road. Without asking permission we parked on their lot and he was ok with it. Thanks :-)

We turned back towards the Strip, looking for the Hard Rock Hotel where there was supposed to be some Elvis suits. We didn’t have the address but Marja Liisa had looked it up at home to get an idea, and I also remembered it was “somewhere left” of where we were now. Traffic was slow, and i took my laptop to be sure it would still work, because it had to. Guess what! Things don’t always go like you feel they *have* to go. I was able to put it on, but the screen didn’t work anymore. Tried twice, nope, that was the end of updating my blog at the spot, right there. As I still had a little money left on my savings account, as I only need a basic, mini laptop, and as we were in the States, where things are much cheaper, I decided I had to but a new one, and take it very easy on buying souvenirs. It totally pissed me off that I had to spend my last dollars/euros on that, but I felt like I had to. But when? Where? I realized we didn’t have time for that.

I think Las Vegas always is crowded with cars and traffic, and the fact that it was Memorial Day Weekend, didn’t make it better. I had to help navigate, but “I THINK you have to go THERE” is the perfect ingredient for a big fight, esp when you’re tired and stressed. We saw the Hilton, also Elvis, so we tried to go there, by the time we were there, the Finns learned some very interesting Dutch words :-D

No time to park the car, Robert just pulled over in the front, luckily it wasn’t crowded, and the Finns jumped out to take a picture of the Elvis statue. Like most or all hotels, there are several lanes in front of the entrance: Valet Parking, Dropping off, Taxi, Through Traffic (that’s us) and To self Park, so getting out was easy. Next: trying to find the Hard Rock!

We were on Paradise (Lane, Blvd, street, something) and that absolutely rang a bell, but we were sure we didn’t see that monorail thing near the HRH. For now the only thing we could do was continue, as I also slightly seemed to remember it was near the airport, and we were driving in that direction. Yes, we found it. Across the street the (in)famous Terrible’s Hotel, where we also stayed one night and had Mega breakfast Buffet for a few bucks. Unfortunately, the parking lot of the HRH was closed, and we had to find a spot somewhere else. It was a total mess, so crowded, so many cars coming from everywhere, cabs, limo’s. We decided to dump the Finns, (as we already saw it) and we would try to find a parking spot somewhere. We said “if we don’t find you guys; see you underneath the big guitar in one hour” Good plan, esp when you check the time if you say something like this, and we didnt...

Way before we were even near the hotel entrance, we saw the first people coming out of taxies.
“ohno, look at what SHE is wearing!” everyone yelled when a girl dressed in a bikini with a see-through dress and stiletto’s got out. And another one there! And there some more! That first girl wasn’t even dressed that bad, she had everything covered up, her clothes weren’t too small for her, and her bikini bottoms covered her butt decent. But then groups of girls appeared dressed in smaller bikinis, tiny bottoms and tops, higher heels, boobs hanging out, butts hanging out, bikini’s that are sizes to small, lumps of meat bulging out of hotpants, cellulite buttcheeks... they all had see through “dresses” over it. I think that’s their way to get around “you cant walk around in a bikini” “I’m wearing a dress!!”
Ok, I thought I saw it all. I’m so wrong. I always say to everyone “you can’t shock me, I’m from Amsterdam” Ha! I’m such a country girl. As I seemed to remember that I read/heard that the HRH is famous for its pool parties, we assumed there was going to be some super pool party.
Maybe its also typical of the Memorial Day Weekend, what seems to be the “start of the summer” If I’m correct. I’m totally not familiar with how people act on MDW, but maybe it’s like spring break to some people (that seems a bit wrong if you think what Memorial Day stands for) Anyway, the Finns were in, we had to get out. There was a big line of Bikini Girls waiting outside. What for? We will never find out. Maybe there was a Miss Skank competition?? Don’t get me wrong, of all people, I am always the one saying “a woman should dress like she feels” If you wanna dress up or dress sexy, go for it! I had my sexy summer dresses with me too! (though at that point, they felt totally perfect to go to church in) but, geez, maybe I’m just getting old. There’s bikinis and bikinis. I would have been totally cool with girls on flipflops, hotpants or bikini bottoms and cute tops, like you go to the beach. (or you see at festivals) These outfits just looked like an excuse to dress up as skanky as possible. (and even now I think “who am I to call them skanks?”) I know Las Vegas is Sin City, but what’s next, sex on the streets, because everything is ok in LV?


Finally we were able to escape the place and we decided to park the car at Terrible’s, who had a nice half empty parking lot. We thought we’d just had to drive around the block, but apparently we didn’t. We were passed by two girls on Vespa’s, in bikini of course. They were wearing some dress or something, but the dresses were flying in the wind and everything was shown. Robert thought it was pretty cool. Or hot :-D
This was the second day of or trip, and it still felt weird to turn right at a red streetlight. Our idea that the people behind us would honk when we would stand and not turn didn’t make any sense. We’re not in Holland or Belgium. (or New York :-P ) I’m glad we have at least a BIT of an idea how the streets in LV are situated and we ended up on the right place without much trouble. Parked our car and walked towards HRH. A Bikini Skank in miniature hotpants passed us, got the full attention of some young guys. I cant imagine what it must be like for (esp young) men to walk around there with all those oversexually dressed woman. Must be frustrating (as we would find out later...)

We reached the hotel just in time to see the Finns walk towards the Hard Rock Cafe underneath the big guitar. They had been looking everywhere for the Elvis suit but didn’t find it, and now they were sent here. Also, it was overcrowded with more Bikini Skanks inside, some were even wearing THONGS. No Elvis suit here either, and after I assured everyone it was “only a 15 minute walk from here” to the Strip, we decided to leave the car and walk.
 
Maybe it was a 15 minute walk when we were here last time, when it wasn’t 40°c, when we weren’t so mega tired and unrested. Before we did one block, I already wanted to go back and sit. Luckily Marja Liisa had sunblock with her, as I forgot mine (but later it turned out it was hiding in a corner of my purse) The water everyone had with them turned into tea water before we reached our goal. In the end we even had to throw it away because it was too hot to drink! (we didn’t throw it away before we had other, of course) I felt bad about everything, about the stress, about destroying my laptop and most of all not to be able to update my blog, about yelling, about the heat, about walking, about the fact there was 40$ worth of Trader Joes stuff melting away in the car, including one chocolate bar with speculoos cookie spread. With the luck I head today, I was sure it was spreading melted chocolate stains all over my seat. Everything was too much for me. I felt like I could hit someone.

When the Strip finally came closer (I actually don’t know how long the walk did take, none of us had watches) maybe one block away, something on the street caught our (and everyone else who was walking) attention. Waiting for the red light, was a red car with a woman inside, no convertible. Next to it was a cab with two (at least drunk) ASSWIPES hanging out, screaming to the woman like crazy and spitting to her non stop! Of course everyone was looking at it. After a while they started screaming to US, while my blood pressure and anger already had hit dangerous levels. Even if the woman in the car was one of the Bikini Skanks, if you try to hit on her and she is not interesting, leave her the F alone! Anne and I simultaneously gave them the finger, at the same time the lights turned green and our men grabbed us and we crossed the street. They were not happy with what we did, and they’re probably right, but I was so angry I felt like taking of my shoes and smash some asswipe, drunk coke heads with it. (also very bad idea, I know) I must say I kinda hoped the woman in the red car would take out a gun and shoot them :-/ who you spitting to now, motherfuckers!!

Ok, we survived that. I have to thank them in a way, because now the adrenaline was rushing through my head like crazy, and I was full of energy again. We entered the Strip, first thing we saw was the Harley Davidson shop/café, we went “Hey Osmo, don’t look” “Osmo, don’t look to your left” “hey Osmo, don’t look at that giant, supercool Harley Davidson shop on your left!” poor guy! 

just because you can, doesnt mean you should!

As soon as I set my feet on the Strip, I had enough of it. I was still in a bad mood, and the plastic, tacky, fake stuff everywhere disgusted me, as well as more of the Bikini Skank Army. (armed with big cocktail glasses. Oh, you’re so cool, you’re drinking cocktails on the street!) Groups of girls were stalked by groups of boys going “hey baby! Hey, baby! HEY, BABY!!”  Please, can you just leave that for Spring Break?! Boobs and butts everywhere. Again, some girls who seemed to think “if I get it on, it fits” :-D There I was with my A-line top on my jeans, because I have a bit of a blob on my hips when I wear those pants. I could have easily taken my top of, and I would have been among the better dressed!

We went in some shop called “sugar factory” with ice scoops for 5 $ each. No thanks. The best thing on the Strip was the guy selling bottles of cold water! Actually they were not selling it. I think it’s not allowed to sell stuff without a permit (and they were selling out of the cooling box, not real merchants) and they had a sign saying “water for donation” or something. So you “donate” a dollar or whatever you wanna give, and they *give* you the water. Robert donated a dollar for each bottle and the guy was happy with it and polite.µ

Osmo saw a police officer on a Harley and saw his chance to have his picture taken.

 I was just about to get a giant headache, when I saw two Elvisses waiting for you to have your picture taken with them (for a dollar) and they were accompanied by... the Welcome to Las Vegas sign! It was so silly I just had to laugh, and I had to have my picture with him. But they only came in package with the two Elvisses, so I had to politely tell I only wanted the sign. “Excuse me Mr Elvis I don’t want to insult you, but is it ok if I have my picture taken with Mr Sign?” 

“where do I put my dollar?” I asked Sign and wanted to stick it somewhere, then give it to Elvis, but all of a sudden his arms appeared. If a Las Vegas sign on legs wasn’t funny enough, the fact that he also had arms was just too funny :-D I gave it and he thanked me polite with making a bow.
As we were across the street from the Bellagio where the fountains were on, the others wanted to take a look, so we went there. By the time we got there, they were out again, and they were only operated every half hour, bummer, so we went back to the car. I needed coffee, but not that bad that I wanted to pay 4 dollar with the risk of it being horrible. (one of the things I DONT like about America: their coffee)

The Eiffeltower is NOT the Eiffeltower. Haha you poor souls who don’t live around the corner from the REAL Paris, like I do, and get excited when they see a plastic EIffeltower. Puh!

I was so totally done with it. The first time I visited LV (for a Seatsniffers concert) was kinda impressed, but I had the feeling “well, it was fun to see it once, but I don’t need to come back” then the second time I was in Las Vegas (for a John Fogerty concert) I already had enough of it. (very glad and cool to stay in the Hard Rock Hotel though) now this time in LV i KNOW for sure I DONT LIKE IT!! It’s just like one big ... pool of horror... I mean amusement park... How long does it take before Disney buys the Strip? I have to add that I don’t really like to gamble either. (Robert does) I don’t mind to come with Robert to a casino, I could keep myself buisy with some one cent games for a few hours I guess, but I really don’t have to. Robert still wants to come back for a week and I’m like “ok I’ll join you, but I’ll make a trip to Bryce Canyon” :-D Also I wouldn’t mind to see Fremont Street.

So, if it hadn’t been time to leave, I would have left myself and just jump in a supermarket somewhere :-)   Something got my attention. Before I knew, I was taking pictures like this. 




There you go, Vegas! When we were almost at Terrible’s, another girl in a thong passed us. Howdy!

We thought it would be nice to eat at the Terrible’s dinner buffet.
doorknobs at Terrible's

 The breakfast we had there years ago was good and cheap, so we’d thought give it a try. It was not expensive (I believe 12,50 incl tax and drinks!) and we were hungry. Unfortunately for me, not much veggies, even the salads were pre made with mayonnaise etc, and the cooked veggies were over done. All the other things were fried, apart from the ice cream :-D I realized I had to eat something anyway and better choose some things I might like, so I had some fried chicken (mmm) and fried shrimps (mmm) some ribs (mmm) strangely enough I didn’t see any bacon! The others were not on a health-trip like me and I think they all enjoyed their meals. Don't get me wrong, I liked my meal too! I just needed some vegetables! (health trip or not, I had a small piece of chococake, pretty good, with some frozen choco yoghurt, and topped with some fruitloops. Now those fruitloops would make great candy for me, I liked them, but I cannot imagine people give this to  their children for breakfast :-( 

The waitress brought us our drinks and we didn’t have a clue if they were included, so we asked, and she explained drinks are always included at buffets. Well, not in Europe, but cool! Robert was shocked to find out “Ice tea” still means “ice tea” over here: fresh brewed tea with ice cubes. He didn’t like it so I drank most of it, because I didn’t like my tapwater (I asked for bottled water but she said she didn’t have any) Then, how much do we need to tip her? She only brought us drinks and some extra napkins. We didn’t wanna be rude and looked what other people were doing, but it looked like they didn’t leave anything. Could that be possible?? After a quick consideration we decided to give her 10 bucks, better safe than sorry. She was clearly surprised and thanked us, and when she walked away she told her co worker, so I guess it was way too much, but that’s ok. (still not as much as I once mistakenly tipped someone in Lodi, but that was ok too. Consider it our contribution to charity)
 
Back in the car I first checked the chocolate bar, first of all it was in a safe place, and though it felt totally liquid, it didn’t come out. We left town, and headed for Primm.

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