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“Viva Las Vegas. Viva Las Vegas.” Yes, I spent a few days in Las Vegas and lived to tell the tale. Live music? Check. Good food? Check. Gambling? Check. Let the games begin!

Last week, I took Uber to the airport for a Southwest flight to Las Vegas. It took a few hours to get to the west coast, and the flight was uneventful. Picked up a cab at the airport and I made my way to the hotel; Luxor.

Powerslave Las Vegas

Why Luxor? I didn’t pick the hotel. The concert my friends and I were attending was right next door. And… I was “sharing” (more like crashing the party) a room with an old friend. The first thing I noticed were the prices for beer. I hope you budgeted for beer money, because beer on the Strip is expensive. In the casino, you can purchase 2 beers and get a FREE shot for $9. Outside of the casino at a gas station, you could purchase 3 beers for $9. And these were macro beers to boot.

We did do some gambling in the Luxor and New York New York. Even while playing until 2:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. Central Standard Time) free beer while gambling was spotty at best. At 1:30 a.m. the wait staff seemed to be the best at giving you free drinks when the casinos cleared out. At that time we ordered beers every time the waitress passed by. Day one, you are done.

(If you need to keep your curtains closed in your hotel room, try this:

Keep your curtains closed hotel room

take he hanger from the closet and use the clips to keep the curtains closed. I found this at Lifehacker.com.)

The sun rose over a million hangovers in Las Vegas. Mistake number one, take aspirin BEFORE you go to sleep. I had looked up things to do in Las Vegas and found the Pinball Hall of Fame on the list. Wait. What? Old video games? From the 1980’s? Yes, my friends and I were about to travel back in time to the year 1982 (after a short cab ride). Just east of the airport is the Pinball Hall of Fame. If you like pinball, this is your place. If you like old video games, this is really your place. Games to be found here? Tron

Tron Game

Gauntlet, Defender, Pacman, Asteroids

Asteroids Game

Star Wars

Star Wars Game

Centipede

Centipede Game

and many more. I changed out my $5 bill for quarters and hit the games. And my gaming skills were a bit rusty since 1982. “I used to kill on this game!” Well, not anymore. I made it to level 2 on the old Tron game. Same thing for Asteroids. If it takes you an hour and a half to lose $5 in Las Vegas, you are doing very well.

(You can also take use the Computerized Sex Tester machine found on the far left of the entrance.

Sex Tester Game

Basically you put money in the machine and the machine beeps and lights up for 5 seconds and gives you the test results; “You are Tarzan of the bedroom”. I guess the machine was right. Or you just put $.50 in the machine for nothing.)

After the 1980’s video games, we headed over to the Gas and Sip next door and found more beers to buy. Uber was activated and a Dodge Charger showed up to take us back to the hotel. The driver was very cool and we chatted about the show coming up that evening.

Show time. Iron Maiden. Book of Souls world tour.

Iron Maiden Book of Souls Mandalay

What shirt do I to wear to the show? I only have six to choose from:

Iron Maiden Shirts

Of course we had the setlist added to our phones. We made our way to the show late since we didn’t care to see the opening band. As we walked up to the theater at Mandalay, we noticed THOUSANDS of people lined up to get in. The show was about to begin and all of these people were in this crazy long line. What the hell? Just as I made remarks about event planning, the line started to move very quickly. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that noticed things had backed up outside of the venue. Once inside we made our way to our seats… the second to last row of the venue. Beer prices inside? Try $13 for ONE beer. Yeah, I will go without a beer for 2 hours.

The show? Great.

Iron Maiden Las Vegas 2016 in concert

Iron Maiden Las Vegas 2016

My friends and I stood and sang along to each and every song, as we have done since 1982 at each Maiden event. The song selection was very good for the show. Two hours later, it was difficult to hear or speak. But we had a great time. Now, for more gambling and beers.

The sun rose over a million hangovers in Las Vegas…. no wait. I took my aspirin before going to sleep this time. This morning my friend (from next door) and I decided to make a trip downtown. I wanted to check out a brewery for a fabled jalapeno beer, and he wanted to take some photos. We both purchased a 24 hour ride bus ticket and headed downtown. After riding for 40 minutes we arrived. He started to take pictures and I found “Eat” downtown. (707 E. Carson Ave)

Eat Las Vegas Sign

The reviews were good here and the place appeared to be full of locals. We ordered our food and waited for good things. My omelette tasted just fine.

Eat Restaurant Las Vegas

The toast was fantastic. Potatoes on the side were also good. I’d go back here.

I found a bicycle rack across the street. When I snapped the photo I couldn’t tell how the picture would turn out, but I love it.

Las Vegas Bicycle

Next up? Finding the phantom jalapeno beer. Banger Brewing (450 Fremont St) is located downtown off 0f Fremont Street. I was a bit unsettled about ordering the jalapeno beer, since a local brewer told me the beer was very spicy. I ordered up the elusive beer El Heffe (jalapeno beer) fearlfully.

Banger Brewery Las Vegas El Jeffe

And the beer was… okay. I thought the spice would hit me hard, but it didn’t. The jalapeno flavor came through, slightly. Just a little heat too. Oh well. We stayed and had another beer, then headed back to the hotel.

While walking we did find THIS random skull.

Skull Downtown Las Vegas 3

The mesh and fence make for good texture for the photo. The photo almost looks like a drawing or a sketch.

If I were going again to Las Vegas, I would probably skip Fremont Street. While we were downtown at night we were offered drugs over and over again. And… you can buy drinks in the clubs and casinos and take them onto Fremont Street. You can’t buy a beer at the store next door and take it on the street. The employee at the cash register places the beer in a bag and ties the bag off. I do understand that the hotels and casinos are attempting to protect their drink profits, but this is a crazy rule. (Notice, I believe this is a RULE, not a law because your drink can be CONFISCATED if you take the drink out of the bag, but no citation written.) What did we do? We purchased beers at the store, walked outside and opened the beer. If you are in New Orleans, go to a store and buy a drink, you can take the drink on Bourbon Street. It does not matter WHERE you purchased the drink. Telling me WHERE I buy the drink should matter WHERE I can drink the drink is ridiculous. Was this rule ignored on Fremont Street? Yes it was.

Another rule / law in Las Vegas; you can’t take your drink on the bus. I get it. Not a problem. But here is the kicker; you can’t drink your drink on the street at a bus stop? What? As I was finishing my $9 beer at the bus stop, the bus “policeman” told me I couldn’t drink my drink at the bus stop, standing outside on the street. “Can I drink over there?” pointing ten feet away at a trash can. Yes, I could finish my beer at the trash can. Very weird. If you want to read more about alcohol in Las Vegas, go here.

Yes, a good trip to Las Vegas. When I picked up the car in the Memphis Airport parking garage, I found THIS band playing a song on the radio:

Iron Maiden Where Eagles Dare

Synchronicity? Maybe. By the end of the journey I was tired of cheap beer and losing slot machines, but we had fun. See YOU again for more beers, slot machines and old video games. Cheers.