Friday, October 10, 2014

Grumpy Bulldog Does America Day 37: Dam Vegas

I could sum up yesterday by saying I did a hell of a lot of walking.  First I went down to the McDonald’s and got breakfast.  Apparently in Vegas casinos they don’t have the $1 for any size drinks.  But it was good I got a large drink because I could take it with me when I got lost on the streets of Vegas.

My phone said there was a FedEx Office like .2 miles away.  Easy, right?  Except I have no sense of direction.  So what should have been essentially right around the corner, I ended up walking like a mile to find.  It wasn't helped by construction at the Golden Nugget.  There were union people protesting the nonunion workers.  One of them gave me a handbill.  I should have told him I'm from Detroit and was a member of a union.  And when you get away from the casinos downtown it starts to get a little seedy.  But it was pretty easy there to print off the receipt for the Absinthe show. 

But I was tired and warm, so after I got in the car, I stopped at a Starbucks a few miles away to get a frappe.  Like everything else, the Starbucks was a challenge to actually find and get to the drive-thru.

The stupid GPS didn’t actually know where Hoover Dam is, but I could follow the signs and other cars to find it.  From what I read on Frommer’s online there are usually two tours, the power plant tour and one of like the whole dam, but going in they said there was only the power plant tour, which was $15.

It’s kind of a gyp.  You watch a movie and then go down to see one of the old pipes and then some tunnels and then the big ol’ generators and that’s it.  It’s mostly a lot of piling into elevators with a bunch of other people.  And of course they don’t show you where Sector Seven is keeping Megatron on ice.  Damn them.

After that you’re free to wander around the top of the dam.  Standing on top of the dam at the middle and looking down is when it really hits you how high up you are.  Right now the dam water isn’t all that high.  In 1983 it got up to within 7 feet of the top of the dam thanks to snow melting from Colorado.  I imagine with the drought in California there’s been a little more strain on the water from the dam than other years.

The other thing is there’s no way that dam could be made today.  I mean sure as a pure engineering exercise of course it could, but to actually get it built they needed to get 7 states/cities to agree on how to share the water and what’s the chance in today’s political environment that could happen?  Republicans in Arizona would say, “We should get most of the water!” and Democrats in California would say, “No, we need it more!”  And they’d all go on Fox “News” and CNN and the Daily Show and Tweet and Facebook and in the end nothing would happen.  Is that too depressing?

I had to curtail my picture taking a little because the camera was running low on power.  Of course I had a bunch of batteries in the car, which did shit lot of good on top of the dam.  After I walked around the dam, I got lunch at the café since it was almost 2pm by then and I was kind of hungry.  I got a grilled cheese, fries, and a drink because that was the cheapest sandwich on the menu. 

Then I stopped at an overlook for Lake Mead, the largest manmade lake in the country or something.  I saw some little chipmunk-type thingy.  I’m not sure what it was.

Finally I got on the road back to Vegas.  I went straight to Caesar’s Palace even though it was only 3pm and Absinthe didn’t start until 8.  Online someone was talking about how far the parking garage is from the Absinthe tent and other people suggested parking at the Bellagio or Flamingo.  I should have listened!  Well part of it is I thought the box office was where to pick up the tickets, but no the show has its own separate box office.  I asked the people at the regular box office anyway if that was just for people buying, but nope it’s buying or picking up.

So then I was lost in Caesar’s Palace.  I ended up walking through the casino and through the whole mall with no idea where the fuck I was going.  At one point I just wanted to get out and saw daylight so I open the door and this lady asks for my room key because that was like the pool area or something.  About the time I’m ready to dissolve into a sobbing heap and start screaming, “Let me out!  Let me out!” I found the front doors and the Absinthe box office was right there.  Crisis averted.

But by then I was tired and my feet hurt, so other than wandering around for pictures, I didn’t feel like doing much else.  I just got a Diet Pepsi from an outdoor bar and sat around reading comics for a couple of hours.

A little after six I went over to this Serendipity to Go window near the bar.  In part because I didn’t feel like walking and in part because I had a coupon for 10% off, which was good because just a bacon cheeseburger combo was $17!  Only $15 with the coupon.  Oooh.  Then I waited…and waited…and waited.  I might as well have gone inside for how fucking long they took.  One poor guy just ordered two ice cream cones and took them like 10 fucking minutes to scoop them.  Maybe they make the ice cream and/or cones fresh?  That’s about the only reason I can see why it would take that long.  But they had plenty of time to barter fries for Absinthe tickets.  Seriously.  Why spend $100 when you can just bribe the box office people with French fries you steal from your employer?  When I got my food (which they pretty much just shoved across the counter at me) it was OK, but not worth the price and/or wait.  So I don’t recommend that either.  Maybe I should have manned up and walked over to the Cosmopolitan for the buffet as Michael Offutt suggested.

By then the sun had set, so I was able to get some night photos from street level before the show.  I saw one guy in a Tigers hat/shirt and later a couple guys in Pistons/Red Wings gear, so I probably wasn’t the only Michigander around there. Yay!

A little after 7:30 they started seating for Absinthe.  You go into a tent that inside looks sort of like a bar with a circular area in the center for performing.  My seat was at the end of a long wooden bench that was really fucking hard.  Seriously by the end my ass was really sore.  For some reason old ladies don’t like me.  The one who had to sit next to me wouldn’t get too close to me and in the elevator at Hoover Dam this one switched places with her husband so she wouldn’t have to stand next to me.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t shaved in a couple weeks; I look all disreputable or something.  Not like they’re a fucking prize either.

Because I like shameless plugs, if you read my book Girl Power (which is FREE), I reference absinthe a couple of times.  Absinthe is like the most potent alcohol on the planet, so much that it was banned in America.  Since it’s so potent, it’s the only thing that can give the Flash-like character a buzz.  So when she’s bummed out, she runs over to a bar in Paris and chugs a shitload of absinthe, which manages to get her tipsy for an hour or two.

Anyway, I think the best way to describe the show is it’s like a burlesque show with acrobatics.  There’s a lot of raunchy jokes and nearly-nude people, though no one ever goes full pickle or full beaver.  It’s a lot of fun and for $100 it’s a pretty good value in terms of Vegas shows.  Just don’t bring your kids or sit near the front unless you like being zinged or made part of the show.

I slipped out while people were still applauding at the end.  Getting to the parking garage was a lot easier this time around.  The only problem was the parking lot elevator I got in wasn’t the right one.  It only went up to the 5th floor, so I had to walk across the parking lot to the other elevator that went up to the roof.  I got a few more pictures of the area at night, only from rooftop level.  Never can have too many pictures.

Getting back to the motel was annoying in that they closed off the street I came in on the day before, so I had to divert around to find one open and going the right way.  And I had to ignore the GPS pleading with me to run through barricades and run people over.

I still haven’t done any gambling here.  I thought about trying one of the penny slots, but these machines are so confusing.  It’s not like those old ones you see on TV where you just plunk a coin in, pull down on a lever and it goes.  They’re all like computerized and stuff now.  I really should try it before I leave, but probably not.

Anyway, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’d rather go take pictures of mountains or lakes or dams than gamble or drink or watch shows or go to fancy restaurants.  That’s just more my speed.  Also it’s fairly cheap and easy for a single person to do.  So is writing.  Aha!  Obviously then I don’t get as much out of Vegas as old people or frat boys do.  And also I don’t have money to buy hookers and such.  Really I just liked looking at all the pretty lights, though I can’t help thinking while it’s gaudy it’s maybe not as gaudy as I imagined.  Maybe it was more so back in the old days or maybe it’s that in movies they can slam cut a whole bunch of places together in a montage while in real life the buildings and signs are a little more spread out.  Really I’m a little bummed I didn’t see the Luxor, that pyramid shaped one, except from a distance.  Oh well.  Maybe next time.

Later today I get back to boring Grumpy Bulldog stuff, like driving from Vegas to Phoenix, or Scottsdale actually.  I'll be there for a week, unless I break another tooth or something.  In part I need to resupply basic stuff like water and mouthwash and deodorant.  And maybe I'll check the want ads around there.


  1. I imagine the job hunting is better there than in Michigan. The only time I have ever gambled was on a cruise ship and it was just for something to do. But I would only spend $20...which I always lost. Vegas isn't really my thing either, I'd rather go see the Grand Canyon.

  2. If I ever went to Vegas it would be to meet up with one of my scrapbook friends. The rest of Vegas is uninteresting. Nice photos. What kind of planes are in the one photos?

  3. My friends and I tried to walk the strip and almost died. It's amazing how big that place is.



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