Saturday July 4 – Exploring the Strip
I wanted everyone to wake up as early as possible on Saturday so that we could fully explore the Strip, but they were having none of it. So in the end we set our alarm for 11AM and, when we woke up, Pete called the other’s room to wake them up too. He was greeted by an extremely pissed off Anna who snarled at him before promptly hanging up. Literally ten seconds later though she called back all jovial and ready to go – apparently she thought it was like 8AM the first time which is why she was so unimpressed!
Pete, Fraser and I got ready pretty quickly so we decided to play some Three Card Poker downstairs while we waited for the others. I really liked Three Card Poker because I knew I was playing optimally – bet with Q64 or better and fold the rest. With Blackjack I still didn’t know exactly what I was doing! Our dealer was this American lady who, upon finding out that we were Australian, launched into a speech about her adoration of Australia and how she has family who live right near Star City Casino. We had a pretty nice chat but I could see the other man at the table getting a bit fed up because while she was talking to us she basically stopped dealing hands altogether!
The others arrived soon after and informed us that the queue at the buffet was inordinately long due to it being Independence Day. None of us felt like waiting and it was already midday by this stage so we decided to just head out onto the Strip and find some food along the way.
We took the right exit from the Bellagio since there were a bunch of escalators and travelators and they’re always enticing.
We then headed into the Miracle Mile shopping complex since it involved shade and had an equally enticing entrance sign complete with flashing lights.
It was during our tour of the Miracle Mile that we had our first encounter with fake sky and I have to say it was very cool; mostly because it was completely unexpected and the décor suddenly changed from your standard shopping mall into this Arabian Nights sort of theme.
We also came across a cheeseburger joint where we decided to stop for brunch. Julian salivated at the thought of having an American-sized cheeseburger and ordered the double cheeseburger just to make sure it was big enough. I went for the bacon cheeseburger with blue cheese which was unusual but also really nice. We had a chat with some people from Kansas or somewhere similar on the table next to us and they recommended us some places to go see the Independence Day fireworks that night. They also thought we were like 17 and kept making jokes about my Prada sunglasses and us staying at Bellagio...
After lunch we left the Miracle Mile and headed out towards Paris hotel. Along the way Anna collected some ‘fliers’ from the nice folks handing them out (she claims as souvenirs, but we know better) and everyone took some happy snaps.
Inside Paris we encountered more fake sky and this time were entirely unimpressed. I think you’ll agree.
We made our way out pretty quickly and headed back towards Caesar’s. Along the way Fraser felt thirsty and bought the largest bottle of beer I’ve ever seen…a 67 oz Bud Light (he didn’t end up finishing more than half…)
Arriving at Caesar’s was pretty cool because we had just seen ‘The Hangover’ and so immediately recognised the entrance and lobby. Here’s a photo of me with some hot Vestal Virgins in the lobby.
And here’s a photo of the rest of the guys being complete galahs around Caesar’s statue.
We then proceeded through the casino (deciding along the way that Bellagio’s casino was much better) and into the famous Forum Shops that link the Bellagio and Caesar’s. Here we encountered more fake sky and were again unimpressed but definitely found the curvy escalator to our liking. Anna bought a scarf to make our day feel productive.
After exploring the Forum Shops we were all feeling pretty exhausted and it was boiling hot so rather than continue up the Strip towards the Venetian as planned we decided to save it for another day. Fraser and Julian decided to take the direct route back to the Bellagio (i.e. at street level out in the sun) while the rest of us trudged back through the coolness of the Forum Shops. Along the way we picked up our first daiquiri of the trip which should have been a godsend but in the end turned out to be so sweet as to be virtually undrinkable. In fact it probably left us more thirsty and dehydrated than before…
Back at the Bellagio we decided to head down to the pool for a quick swim before dinner (it was already about 5PM by this stage). I have to say that the Bellagio pool was a bit disappointing. It had a very polished layout with a relaxed courtyard feel but at the same time it felt quite uptight, there was nowhere you could really swim and the crowd was all middle-aged people in their 40’s and 50’s. I know the latter is probably somewhat expected for an expensive hotel like the Bellagio but still!
After showering we decided to just head out and see where the night would take us. Before leaving for Vegas we had heard about how Independence Day is a massive holiday in the US and how everything would be going off. The atmosphere during the day therefore had been a lot more subdued than we expected (for some reason I expected everyone to be covered in face paint, flying American flags, wearing over-the-top Uncle Sam hats and beeping their car horns in the street) so we figured that everyone must be saving their energy for the night.
During the course of the day we had found out that fireworks would be going off from 9 hotels simultaneously and that some daredevil would be performing an amazing death-defying trick for us all. Expectations were running high. What followed though was one of the biggest letdowns ever. We could only see the fireworks from one hotel (Caesar’s behind us, and they were pretty pathetic fireworks at that) and the daredevil dude decided to do a disappearing trick! WTF? Surely the one trick you don’t do when trying to entertain a gazillion people who can barely see you in the first place is a DISAPPEARING trick where NO ONE can see you?! We literally didn’t even know the trick was over until someone told us.
The highlight of the night ended up being seeing someone get arrested and smacked onto the police car bonnet right in front of us, though I guess the helicopter landing and taking off was pretty cool too (apparently the finale of the trick involved the guy disappearing from wherever he was and appearing on the helicopter).
At this point we decided that we needed to have a few drinks so that we could forget just how bad that experience was. We hadn’t booked a table at any club and imagined that the lines would be far too long so we decided to just go back and drink in our rooms. Julian and I went back to the Miracle Mile to buy some alcohol while the rest went to buy some dinner from the snacks diner at Bellagio. On Pete’s advice I ordered the Chicken Buffalo Wings for the first time and they were awesome!
After a couple of drinking games we were suitably tipsy and decided to head down to have another crack at the table games. Along the way we saw Audrina from The Hills which made Rosie’s night. We started by playing Blackjack, during which time I apparently said “what a fish!” really loudly when a player made a bad hit. The others found this hilarious and apparently he also glared at me for the next 30 minutes. I however do not recall such a thing.
To finish the night we moved back to Three Card Poker and I tried to convince Rosie to make her first bet of the trip but she kept declining because she was scared she would stuff up. I kept explaining how she couldn’t possibly stuff up since all she had to do was bet Q64 or better and fold everything else. She was adamant though and eventually I just placed an ante in front of where she was sitting and she had to play the hand. She looked at her cards, placed them face down and put a bet out.
“See Rosie, easy!” I said.
The dealer turned over my hand, a weak Q-high which ended up being just outkicked, and then she turned over Rosie’s…
“Jack, Nine, Eight – Dealer Wins” she said.
After that I proceeded to lose the rest of my $500 buy-in and along the way made Rosie feel as guilty as possible by saying that I was on tilt and would keep on playing until I recouped her $10 bet or bust. I remember that she began to feel really bad and thrust $20 at me in hopes of making amends but I declined and kept on betting…
Ah, another day in Vegas…