[This is a continuation of October 2022 Las Vegas Trip Day 1.]

To everyone’s total shock (and for once I’m not being sarcastic), I woke up Sunday morning feeling amazing. 

Actually, a similar thing happened the first “morning after the night before” on my last trip. Then I ruined it by trying to get a preventative IV. Not making that mistake this time. I didn’t even have one scheduled (bold, risky move, I know. But I was also on more of a budget this time!)

10:00am Go Pool (Flamingo Las Vegas)

 I didn’t waste any time. I made my way down to the Flamingo pool where I had to arrive by 11am to make good on my prepaid VIP reservation for a daybed. Or lounge bed. I’m not sure what they call it, but it wasn’t a cabana. It was like two of the foldable lounge chairs tied together with an extremely comfortable cushion on top. Plus, an umbrella and a great side table (the perfect place for my Las Vegas pool bag). 

Even though there were only a few people in line, it seemed to take forever to get me checked in. But it was a pleasant enough experience. I’d heard horror stories about the security guards being jerks, but these folks seemed fine. The group in front just all had bulky book bags with lots of pockets to check. You can bet security here seems as thorough as TSA. 

With my wristband on and reservation confirmed, I followed the hostess to my chair which was facing the beautiful waterfall. 

I was introduced to two amazing servers that were so friendly and so Vegas. The young woman seemed like she must be a showgirl at night or at least have a previous life as a famous dancer. The male, skinny and stylish, was fairly flamboyant. 

I loved this crew. They took amazing care of me. 

But they did firmly remind me that, in addition to my booking fee of $75 (plus taxes and fees that took it up over $100), I had to ring up a pre-tip, pre-tax tab of at least another $75. Yeah, that wouldn’t be a problem.

They also took my credit card and my driver’s license! What the heck?!?! 

Anyways, once I was checked in, I got to really enjoy just how peaceful the place was. Waterfall sounds, lovely temperature, and not yet any thumping music or wild partiers. 

I ordered a blood mary and a breakfast sandwich, and alternated between reading my book and just enjoying the scenery and peacefulness.

A breakfast sandwich at the Go Pool at Flamingo Las Vegas

 

While I felt great, I was going to get food in my body and a mary in my blood before that had a chance to change. 

I wasn’t expecting much, but this breakfast sandwich was stunning. The croissant was crispy, flaky, sweet, buttery, and just amazing. 

The sausage patty was just like the Brown and Serve ones I cook at home — charred on the outside and juicy on the inside. The egg was clearly fresh and cheese was melty and delicious. 

The fries had flaky finishing salty and a perfect cook. 

This was a great meal. I want it again right now. 

I went for a quick dip in the pool and the water was ice cold. It should be illegal. But I swam around, managed to get fully submerged and even briefly go under the waterfall. 

Then I ordered some extra ice to keep the bloody mary cold while I continued to slowly sip it down. 

After a while, I was ready to explore outside of the pool area and then just return later. This was always my plan. 

But with my credit card and license in the crew’s possession, what was a man to do? 

So I simply told them I wanted to gamble in their fine establishment. That drivers license came back so quick. 

I went back to the room and changed and headed out towards the Bellagio to complete my art crawl from the day before.

12:30pm Exploring, Ballagio, Art Crawl

In the Bellagio, a Buffalo Gold Revolution machine caught my eye and I took it for a quick spin. I got a small bonus (I think I was up like $20 at that point) and immediately cashed out a winner. 

I then went over to the conservatory. It was gorgeous. A mid-century modern-style setup including references to specific Frank Lloyd Wright properties and designs. 

There was a super-cool “glory hole,” too. You know? A water attraction that was just like the drain glory holes you’ll see near certain dams of man-made lakes. Why? What were you thinking I was talking about? 

Bellagio Las Vegas Bellagio conservatory fall display in 2022

It was actually pretty dang amazing because I have no idea how they made such intricate, temporary structures. 

I got a call from one of my buddies from the night before and continued to chat with him for a while. 

At this point, I started crashing a bit and headed back towards my room. It seemed like quite a long walk. It’s Vegas, so… it was. 

1:30pm: Room time and NASCAR

In the room, I actually got to watch a substantial portion of the NASCAR race I had bet on the day before. On the phone with the same friend, we watched live as my pick crashed out. But, with the great time difference Vegas gives you, I was able to finish the race and still have half the afternoon on my side. 

I did feel a bit anxious about spending any portion of my precious Vegas time in the room, but I was having fun and it was great to watch a race while looking out over my city and on the phone with a friend. No regrets.

I changed back into my pool attire and, unknowingly, was about to experience an epic Vegas pool story…

3:00pm: Pool Party! 

On my way down to the elevator, I was in with a group of guys — about my age in their mid 30’s — and they were having a great time. One turned to another (kind of over my head) and told him in a non-sarcastic kind of way, “Hey man that’s a nice shirt!” Then took a pause and looked at me, as if not wanting to leave me out, “You, too, dude! That’s a nice shirt!”

We all kind of shared a chuckle and moved on. 

When I got back down to the Flamingo. It was great to swoosh right in with my VIP wristband. 

I approached my chair and was a bit disappointed that another group had pulled my side table over into their area. No big deal, but it was nice to have the storage space for my stuff and table top for my drink. 

Well, I had barely pulled up when the guy from the awesome duo crew saw me and yanked that table away from the other group with a scold, “This table is not. *snap* for. *snap* you.” It was awesome. 

And I was genuinely glad to have my table back without any confrontation on my part. That’s worth a nice tip right there. 

The pool was in full party mode with the DJ blasting and people in the pool waving their hands and having a great time. It wasn’t as epic as the pool club scenes you see from the Encore Beach Club, but I knew it wouldn’t be quite that spectacular. But to me… this was a true Vegas party and I was excited to soak it up. 

And I got back to work trying to hit my minimum order volume. 

A fruity cocktail at the Go Pool Las Vegas

 

I’d try three new drinks over the next couple of hours. I had, of course, spent plenty of time reviewing and fantasizing about the menu in advance, so I was prepared. 

First, I had a cucumber mojito-ish drink. This was my least favorite. I should have just gotten a traditional mojito, but I love cucumber so thought it would be great. 

Then, I got something called a “Vegas Vacation,” which was just a traditional fruity drink with pineapple, rum, coconut, etc. Plus, when in Vegas… 

And, near the end of the afternoon, a drink that had Watermelon RedBull in it. I needed a pick me up and the watermelon sounded fruity and fun. It was syrupy and okay. I didn’t finish it. 

But back to the story… 

Nice shirt guy. 

While I was enjoying my first drink, I noticed a familiar face. “Hey! It’s nice shirt guy!” exclaimed the friendly face. It was my pals from the elevators and their wives! 

They actually had the chairs right next to and behind me. 

For the next couple of hours, I had an impromptu party crew. My book wouldn’t be coming back out. And, with the thumping music and the thought of a great story to tell, I had no need for it. 

This group was having fun

We must have told so many stories. 

Throughout the afternoon, I had one-on-one conversations with a bunch of the group, but especially with Mike and his wife. 

Mike, at one point, asked to touch my chest. 

Wow. I didn’t know it was that kind of party. But, he quickly followed up with telling me that this was a group of dermatologists and then went on and on about a subtle birth mark I have that shows when I tan. Basically a patch of skin that’s immune to tanning so it shows up lighter. 

A few pokes later and I had a group of dermatologists telling me all about some technical birthmark nonsense I will probably never remember. Ha. 

It was just a stellar time. 

A group of revelers partying at the Go Pool Flamingo Las Vegas

I also had a memorable trip to the bathroom near the end of the afternoon. The DJ had stopped playing and they only had one bathroom open — the one in the building behind the DJ booth. This was my first adventure over to that side of the building. 

When I arrived, there was a looong line for the women’s bathroom. And, as often happens, not so much of a line for the men’s. 

As I was waiting behind like one or maybe two other guys in the men’s line, a group of pretty inebriated girls just couldn’t take it any longer. They jumped over and basically hijacked our line. 

In reality, it wasn’t a big deal to us. 

But… it was a big deal to security who, I’m sure, has to put up with a lot of drunken madness and draw a hard line. 

They showed up and cleared the room. There was a woman who really still wanted to go in.

“I need to go to the bathroom!” she wailed. 

“Do you have a penis?!” he shouted back over the house music (even without the DJ, it was still pretty loud). 

Boy howdy this was one hilarious incident. 

This really had been such a great afternoon at the pool. Looking back at it, I do kind of wish I had spent even more time there. But it was a great story and had my timing been different, I wouldn’t have had my party crew. 

I felt like I was a true VIP while I was there. My waiter and waitress were amazing. And even though it was close to $200 for the day, by Vegas standards I really felt like it was a bargain. 

I rushed up to my room to shower and get dressed for another great night out in Las Vegas!

6:15pm: A brief massage  

So, I left this time a bit flexible in the schedule for the sake of my trip and trying to give into the whole, “Go with the flow,” nonsense some fans of Vegas are always preaching. 

I felt like my downtown Las Vegas time was too short, so I headed back for another round! 

But on my way to the Uber pickup area at the Flamingo, I decided I’d cash in on my desire for a quick massage. They had one of those places where they’ll give you 10, 15, 20, 30, etc. minute massages. 

I took them up on a 20 minute massage because that was the lowest tier with back massage privileges. I ended up adding another 10 minutes. It was $40 plus tip. 

Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed, but what could I expect? 

6:45pm Fremont Street Experience – Downtown Las Vegas

I took the Uber to Fremont and wanted to hit up a bunch of the casinos along the Fremont Street Experience. 

I stopped in the California, first. It was pretty much as I remembered. Honestly, it was nice that it wasn’t as packed as the Golden Nugget. There were dancers in the black jack area (like you might find at Cromwell or Circa). And the hipsters manning the high limit area were too cool for school (or any patrons, apparently). 

I spent some time at “The D” hotel and casino — taking the escalator up to the vintage slots area. 

People love the D. But… boy did it not impress me. I hung out in an area that might be their “sports book,” but it was just a sad few small rows of chairs and like three small flat screen televisions. 

Now that I think about it, that’s probably why Derek Stevens overcompensated with the worlds’ (IDK if this is an actual fact) largest sports book in the Circa. It really is amazing, though and definitely the largest in Vegas.

This is also where, I believe, I tried to go to the bathroom and found myself walking outside through some curtained area and into temporary bathroom trailers. I don’t know if this is just because of some construction, but it all just felt very cheap. 

I’m sorry, D. I’ve wanted to love you. Tried the D several times. But after this trip, you know what? It’s not for me. Not going to waste any more of my precious Vegas time on it. No big deal though. 

I immensely respect Derek Stevens, though, and he’ll still get my money via Circa. 

From here, I continued to wander around Fremont Street and make my way down to the Plaza. Again, the Plaza Las Vegas podcast has seriously convinced me to always make a stop here. 

8:00pm: Top Dollar and Pop-up Pizza

I found the Top Dollar machine directly across from the Brian Christopher slots area that I did well on last trip. Would you believe it? Another bonus came pretty quick. I took the offer at 45 credits and moved along with an extra $10 or so in my pocket. 

Thankfully, I got some Pop-up Pizza so that I’d have something in my stomach. I camped out in a kind of back corner around the side of the joint (not nearly as good of a view as last time) and enjoyed some amazing pizza. 

I’m not sure if it was as good as I remembered it. I may have built it up a bit too much. But I was also pretty exhausted and only sort of hungry. I just didn’t want to go all night without eating anything. 

I suddenly started realizing just how close I was cutting it to my 9pm comedy show all the way over at Planet Hollywood. 

I hustled over to Garage mahal and got on an Uber as quickly as I could. 

8:52pm: Planet Hollywood and Miracle Mile shops

I made it to Planet Hollywood and realized I still had to figure out where the heck this theatre was in the Miracle Mile Shops. With time draining quickly, I started to basically run. 

Then, I stopped at an ABC shop for a five hour energy because I realized I was drained and didn’t want to be miserable for the show. 

I ran what seemed like all the way around Miracle Mile Shops. I consulted a map. 

I was lost. 

And late. 

I finally asked for directions and managed to figure out that the theater was on a “hidden” second floor above the “V” variety show theater (which I was familiar with from going to that show a few years ago with Kathryn). 

I claimed my tickets and asked about a bar inside. 

The only service would be at the crappy bar in the open area of the Miracle Mile Shops (below the giant pin-up, neon woman statue thingy… if you’re familiar). 

This whole place was deserted. I got two 12oz cans of Bud Light… (gosh did this operation seem cheap), and scurried my way to the door for the comedy show. Up a dark flight of stairs that felt like I was back stage at a not-so-safe New York comedy club. 

Then, at the upper level, I was relieved to see that there was still a line to get in and be assigned seats. 

I was the last one in line for the entire night, but I made it in time. 

9:05 pm Las Vegas Comedy Club (Miracle Mile Shops)

My first impression was not great, but… well, actually it wouldn’t get any better… 

When you purchase tickets for this show, you actually buy them for a section (Center front, center back, left side, right side. etc.). 

When you arrive, they assign you to a specific seat. I wanted a bargain show so I got the cheapest seats. And, being one of the last in to this tiny, but relatively full, theatre, I got what I thought was a pretty good seat. I was right by the entrance/exit doors, stage right, on the end of the aisle (closest to the door), and kind of in the middle in terms of proximity to the stage. 

I didn’t have anyone next to me on either side. Loved it. I put my Cosmo bag (full of my glasses, medicines, a five hour energy, etc.) and my two beers down next to me. 

Now the adrenaline was fading, but the show got started right away. 

The emcee was pretty funny. Lots of energy, lots of pre-planned jokes (as opposed to those off-the-cuff remarks based on the audience like at Absinthe) specifically about visiting Vegas and being tourists, etc. I’m pretty sure he’s there most nights. 

The opening act he introduced was not funny. 

He was half middle-eastern and used a lot of terrorist-related references his punchlines. Totally his right, but it just came off in poor taste and nobody in the audience (including myself) really connected with it. It made folks rather uncomfortable. 

Then, the second guy used a guitar to play some songs as part of his act. This is just a personal preference, but I’ve never been a fan of music in comedy. There are plenty of comedians who play “funny” songs as part of their deal and… it’s just not for me. 

Right after he left and the emcee walked off, a lady got up with her things and started to walk off. 

“The show’s not over yet!” he declared. 

“Well I’m fucking leaving!” she shot back. 

“Okay. *eye roll* Well, fuck you too, bitch!” he replied in a slightly comical, but clearly actually annoyed tone. 

Seriously. 

I’m just glad I waited a few extra minutes to make my escape. 

Yeah, that’s right. The headliner came on (thank goodness… for a minute I thought the first guy was the show). He was much better, but I was crashing hard. 

I was dehydrated. Exhausted. Nauseous. 

I quietly grabbed my things and made a quick escape. My plan was to be “looking” for a bathroom. Nobody really noticed me. 

Well, except for the poor emcee who was out in the hall setting up a merch table for the headliner. This guy must do it all at this little club. He was working hard, you could just tell. He saw me leave and I honestly felt bad about it. 

Plus, I had dropped like $70 (actually $140 because I couldn’t get a refund on the ticket I had purchased previously under my plans with the Parrothead friends). 

Oh well. It’s my vacation and I can leave if I want to. 

10:05pm Crash in my room at Flamingo

I walked all the way back to the Flamingo to collapse in the room and regain my mojo. I was having a bit of a moment. 

I even watched the local news. I finally made it back to Vegas and it looks like the Raiders switched places with me.

I had gotten really bad about taking photos the last several hours, so here’s a crappy one. Hey — at least it’s something:

But it was nothing a short nap, some crackers, and a fresh RedBull couldn’t solve. 

11:30pm Out for a night on the Las Vegas strip

At about 11:30, I ventured downstairs and made my way across towards the Bellagio. My ultimate goal was a night of gambling at Cosmo, but I first made a stop at the fountains. 

A picture of the lake in front of the Bellagio Las Vegas late at night.

I caught the 11:55 / midnight national anthem. It was the final fountain show of the night and the last night show I’d be able to see on this trip. 

It was epic and really did set me right for a great rest of the evening. 

12:15am Cosmopolitan gambling night

This was the time I specifically set aside for gambling at the Cosmopolitan. Boy did I take advantage of it. I budgeted $200 and I planned to stay until I lost every last dollar or came out with a hand pay. 

In reality, I just wanted to make sure I stayed long enough to feel satisfied and also ensured I had plenty of “coin-in” for rewards purposes.

12:20am

By 12:20 I had already hit my first bonus on Top Dollar. My first offer? 10 credits. LAME. 

Second offer? A seriously tempting 40 credits. 

Looking back, I would have totally taken that under most circumstances. But I was truly trying to channel the Matt Bridger in me, and his rule is 45 and over. So… I tried again. 

55 credits! 

Hot dang! 

In reality, it’s not much money (I think I was playing 25 cent credits), but it was a fun start. 

12:50am

By 12:50am I had hit a $45 bonus on one of those western-themed lock-it-link games. I was back in the black at $205. 

1:30am

I was down to $117 before hitting a $31 bonus on a Dragon Link game. 

1:40am

Ten minutes later I hit a bonus on Miss Kitty for $18.60. My new balance was $165. 

Of course, I was hitting other little small wins. Various ups and downs for close to an hour and a half and I was only down $40!

1:48am

I stayed on Miss Kitty and ended up with what was, for me, a pretty dang great bonus. $95!!

A winning bonus screen on the Miss Kitty slot machine in Las Vegas

New balance?  $234

2:10am

$11 win on Platinum Jackpot (the one with the stupidly obnoxious bright LED lights. A blast). 

At this point, I decided to leave Cosmo with a few extra dollars in my pocket and a belly full of free drinks. 

3:05am Flamingo Las Vegas

After taking a brief break in my room, it was time to head back out onto Flamingo’s casino floor for a night cap. 

Yes, I’m still going. No idea how. 

I put in a fresh $100 bill to start my new balance and night cap. I had budget $200 to lose at Cosmo and came out ahead. So even if I lost all of this I’d still be ahead of budget. 

I spent the next half hour without any decent bonuses (I had one for less than $2). I was down to $55 before hitting a $76 jackpot on Lock it Link Piggy (or whatever it’s called). 

Up to $131. Wow. 

3:30am

It’s so late that I can hardly believe it. 

I’m down to $82. I’m playing $1 spins on Genghis Khan. I’m on the far right machine of a bank of three. There’s a super-friendly (no, not a prostitute) middle-aged woman next to me and we’re kind of just having a great time. 

Then, I won six free games. On the first spin I instantly got the hold and spin feature! Woot! It was only $19. But I love those kinds of bonuses and it’s about right for a $1 bet (I hear 20-25x the bet is about the median). Plus, I’d made back my money so I was pretty happy at this point. 

Then, well look at this screen: 

A winning bonus screen on the Genghis Khan slot machine in Las Vegas

Another $130! 

Yep, I cashed out at $234.35. I was up about $150 for my night gambling sessions at Cosmo and Flamingo. I just couldn’t seem to lose. 

Now, finally, I could go to bed at peace.