Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Pirate's Life for Me

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me"

It's been ten days since Dusty and I got back from our trip to Las Vegas, and I still can't shake the feeling that I miss it. Or, rather, that I miss this:


That postcard bears the image of the once-glorious Treasure Island, now branded TI. [The hell kinda name is TI?! That's a high-tech firm selling microchips, not a destination hotel and casino!] We stayed four nights at TI and still could not get used to the absence of the piratical skull and crossbones on its sign. We bemoaned the loss of the Spanish village that once graced the back entrance of the hotel, and the skeletal pirate once guarding his treasure chest right outside the bridge to the lobby. Yet even those tiny indignities are no match for the "Sirens of TI".

Once upon a time, there was an awesomely piratical show in front of Treasure Island. Every night, there would be a battle on the high seas between Pirate Ship Left and Pirate Ship Right. There were swordfights between the dashing captains! There were pyrotechnic explosions and swabbies flying through the air! There was swinging on ropes! There were multiple utterances of "Yarrr!" and plenty of pirate trash talk! Pirate Ship Right would sink, and the captain always went down with the ship. It was fantastic! Everyone would applaud and cheer when Pirate Ship Right came back up and the pirates took their bows.

Then, somebody decided that Vegas should be a playground for spoiled 25-year-olds with too much time and money but not enough panties or good sense. It was decided that these brats didn't need a funky Spanish village outside Treasure Island; they needed a generic nightclub lounge. These youngsters would not find the pirate battle exciting. Apparently, what would be appealing is a bunch of generic, scantily-clad J.Lo-backup-dancer-rejects dry-humping everything within booty distance i.e. "Sirens of TI". There was a weak clashing of swords, a sad excuse to set off expensive pyrotechnics, some swinging on ropes, and the sinking of Pirate Ship Right. Yet there was no "Yar!" and certainly not much applause after the show. I found myself yelling, "Boo! You pirate-killing whores! Boo!" I wanted to gouge my eyes out and wash them in memory-erasing acid.

Thankfully, the trip itself was an absolute blast. Jen and I got to spend a few hours lounging by the pool, under the desert sun, hoping that it would not be snowing when we got back home. I played blackjack for the first time, aided by Drew and Jen's guide sheet. [Tip for next time: I should actually follow what the sheet says.] Jen and I played craps with Drew and Dusty at New York New York; I had a great run and our energy attracted people to our table. Dusty and I got hooked on the Aliens penny slot machines, where we had our biggest winnings [$4 for Dusty and $5 for me]. We didn't win big, but we lost much less money than we thought we would.

We saw SPAMALOT at the new Wynn Hotel on our second night. The show was uproarious fun! As a sign in the lobby proclaimed, they had "Knights! Girls! Killer Rabbits! Girls! French People!" and a diva-licious Lady of the Lake whose wardrobe I coveted. Also in the lobby:


That Wednesday, we saw Zumanity, which bills itself "the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil". It is supposed to be part circus, part bawdy burlesque. I don't know if I'm getting jaded in my old age, but I found the show neither amazing as a circus nor titillating as a burlesque. There was entirely too much audience interaction for Dusty's comfort. He couldn't relax and enjoy the show for fear that he would be called up next. I found most of the audience interaction to be tedious; I paid good money to see professional circus performers, not Roger and Linda from Des Moines. So what if it is their 47th wedding anniversary? I will only give two flying fucks when I see two actual flying fucks, suspended from the ceiling on silk cloth. Now this is the kind of audience interaction I like:

Our last day in Vegas was mostly spent walking around, with designated pit stops for everyone. We stopped at the Mirage for Drew, so he and Dusty could take one last run at craps. Jen hit the Shops at Caesar's Forum to buy her gorgeous dress at Nanette Lepore. [That stop was a bonus for me. Oh, Victoria's Secret, how I've missed you.] I got to enjoy a taro bubble tea and pan de ube at the ticky-tacky Hawaiian Marketplace. We had a monorail adventure to the Luxor so Dusty could see if the arcade, last vestige of the old theme-park Vegas, was still there in the middle of the pyramid. [It was.]

As we were leaving the Luxor, we saw a giant ad touting Nicky Hilton's birthday party at the LAX lounge the following week. It was placed under a giant banner advertising Absolut Vodka. Oh Vegas, I have faith that one day you shall once again be deliciously tacky. Until then, darling... adieu.

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