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When in Vegas

*Blogger's preface: Many a travel blog has been written about wild times in Vegas - the late night binges, the not-so-discreet debauchery, the frivolous fun and escape (especially for L.A. folk). For the first time since establishing The First Echo, I had brought along my trusty laptop with the hopes of documenting my fifth trip to Sin City as I experienced it first-hand and tried to plan meetings with the PR team at Planet Hollywood (yes, this trip was slightly business-related). Turns out, recording every move I made was just as exhausting as the trip itself...

Thursday, May 8 (Day of Arrival, a.k.a Warm Up Day)
You want to drink when you’re in Vegas.

It's like a reflex. Strike your knee with a hammer, and your leg is gonna kick. Plop yourself on the Strip, and you're gonna wanna down a few shots to get you started.

The expectations are great in Sin City. As soon as I get out of the car, I want to hit the nearest bar, buy a slushy rum concoction and swig it down in an obnoxious souvenir cup that’s as tall as the dying bamboo plant on my desk back at work. Will I ever use the plastic tube-like memento? Probably never, but it has a cool logo of the bar where I bought it for an even more obnoxious twelve dollars.

Then there’s the food. An extended weekend in Vegas isn’t like any other vacation. You want to get your gluttony on and greet the buffets with a grin as wide as a hungry cartoon shark. You don’t mind throwing down thirty dollars to get into a nightclub where the skirts are mini, the martinis are glowing and the music is pounding. Stuff is inhaled, shit is snorted. There’s an actual desire to get messy, to get absolutely f**ked up, and there’s some consolation in knowing that such recklessness is acceptable in this town of gaudiness and grandeur. You actually plan out the path you’ll take when stumbling back to your hotel at five in the morning after consuming a plate of chili cheese fries and a beer at your resort’s 24-hour diner-cafĂ©.

The late mornings are for poolside mimosas, SPF 30 and the flipping through of pages of Us Weekly. That paperback novel about a serial killer terrorizing the residents of Des Moines can wait. You’re still stuck on the first chapter anyway, and Zanessa's abs are just too damn distracting. For some, walks of shame are more like cab rides of shame back to hotel lobbies. Mouths are dry, in need of a nice cold Bloody Mary.

We start drinking at 6.

Friday, May 9
Why the hell did I wake up at nine in the morning after hitting the sheets at three? That was not a part of the plan. I am very upset. Now I’m worried about running on six hours of sleep. I’ll definitely have to crash around six this afternoon before heading out for Night of Messiness #1.

We (Hot in Hollywood's very own Corey Moore and I) manage to make it in time for breakfast hours at the coffee shop downstairs and order a short stack of pancakes and a pair of omelettes. Stupid me forgets to pack a swimsuit, so I have to make a run to the Urban Outfitters in our resort to purchase a pair of trunks I know I'll never wear again (blue and white Umbertos that fall right above the knee, exposing my oh-so-subtle tree trunks).

Night: Got on DJ Ray Rhodes's list for Krave at midnight. Stayed til close (4am). Was invited to hang out with Ray and his crew at an afterhours joint. Couldn't. Called Corey, who had already made his way back to the room. Lost 40 more dollars at blackjack around 5am. Told Corey to get his ass downstairs to partake in some munchies. Got a table at the 24-hour coffee shop on the casino floor. Walked back up to our room on the 35th floor...

Holy shit, the sun is up.

Saturday, May 10
Got back to the room at 6 in the morning after a night of Long Island iced teas, green apple shots and vodka cranberries. Hangover inevitable. However, those potato skins I scarfed down at 5 in the morning (along with tall glasses of water) should help a bit.

Didn’t get out of bed until one in the afternoon. Got a text from Jorge, who was staying at Mandalay Bay. “Come take a dip in the pool.” Arm twisted, I grabbed Corey’s car keys (he was trapped deep in Hangover Land and wasn’t coming out of it anytime soon – see his side of the story) and took the Hybrid down the Strip to experience the Mandalay Beach. Met Jorge and Evan in their room-with-a-better-view and learned we were getting hooked up with Duran Duran tickets at the Hard Rock later that night. Sweet.

Down to the pool/beach…As expected, it's gorgeous and covered with hot bodies. It took us nearly fifteen minutes to find some lounge chairs in the sand by the wave pool. A remix of Jordin Sparks blared nearby. It felt slightly White Party-ish, but with more hot girls. Every inch of sand was occupied by fellow Angelenos on a similar escape-weekend, Phoenix party boys on an extended spring break and drunk Pussycat Doll wannabes with pink cocktail glasses and a hunger for the nearest hot jock.

Recouped and changed wardrobes in Jorge's room since Corey and I had early evening tickets to Mamma Mia at the Mandalay Bay Theater. We watched some dancing queens and realized Meryl Streep's got a ton to show off come July when the movie adaptation hits theaters.

Duran Duran at the Hard Rock. Guest list mishap. No show for us, but got to eavesdrop on a few minutes of a set. Not to worry. We need dinner anyway - back to the coffee shop for a late dinner and back to the room to get dressed for...

We're on the guest list at Pure in Caesar’s (Jorge once again). Straight to the head of the line. No hassle. Walk through the stark white corridors. Pass three bouncers. Catch a little Pussycat Doll action after midnight. Avoid the overcrowded, smoky dancefloor. I'm suddenly hit with flashes of Boston and New York City nightclubs circa 2000, when smoking had yet to be banned indoors.

We then move to the rooftop deck overlooking the lit-up Strip. I get handed a vodka tonic. Corey's handed a bottle of Voss to further him down the road to hydration. Three guys next to us maneuver their way into a bachelorette party at the bar, each one apparent subscribers to The Game. A guy with an 80s paint-spattered white blazer walks by creating a wave of double-takes, a woman's ass is grabbed by a greaser who sloppily marks his territory, and the tallest guy in the room arrives with a blonde who can hardly walk in the stilettos that pinch her well-manicured toes. DJ AM continues to spin, and I can't help but take in the view:

Sunday, May 11 (Day of Departure)
We wake up to room service and breakfast in bed while savoring every minute of the two-part season finale of Real Housewives of New York City. *Jill and Bethenny, call us for dinner. We'd love to get sloshed with you gals.

Pack our bags by 2pm. Stop by Mandalay Bay to drop off Jorge's cell phone which was left in the backseat after last night's Duran Duran debacle. We cross over the city limits shortly after 3.

And then it’s the drive back to L.A., the annoying traffic near the Nevada border, the pit stops at no-name towns where fast-food burgers are the specials du jour and gas is ridiculously overpriced.

Back in L.A. by 7:30. It's gray and chilly. Sunday night misery settles in.

We're no longer rock stars.


*Many thanks go out to the wonderful Andrea for putting us up at Planet Hollywood during our extended weekend/escape from reality.


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