The morning of my birthday, we got up bright and early. Our reason being that we needed to get to Hart and Huntington, a well-known tattoo parlor in the Palms. For several months I had been working on the design for the final tattoo in my set and when someone suggested I get it done on my birthday in Vegas, it seemed like a really good idea. Stacey was also really interested in getting one. The shop opened at the early hour (for Vegas) of 11 am, so we had to entertain ourselves gambling. To make a long story short, I lost $22 on various types of slots. I did "win big" on one called Frog Prince, while I was on the phone with a male friend who had called to serenade me on my birthday. The song was a bigger win than the machine, which bestowed $3.75 on me. No, all you marriage minded friends, I don't have a new Squeeze, so you can just put those thoughts back into storage. Oh, and for any planners out there, The Palms was the most testosterone/masculinely oriented casino/hotel we went to on the entire trip. It would be a great place for a bachelor party. Or so I would imagine.
I ended up getting the first spot of the morning (11 am) for the tattoo. It turned out OK, but was exorbitantly priced. Obviously, I was paying for the experience, but in the long run, I'd advise anyone getting a tattoo -- two things: do not rush any decision on a tat (not that I did, but I could see others at the shop making what I considered spur of the moment decisions) and if you already have a very good and affordable tattoo artist, you'd be wise to stick with him (or her). To be clear, the experience was fun and the final product looks good (because the design is good, to be immodest).
After that, we went to the Excalibur to pick up tickets for the evening's entertainment, then walked to the Luxor. Next to the Bellagio, I have to say that the Luxor was the most fun hotel/casino (which is not to say I wasn't impressed by some of the others we visited).
The sheer implausibility of a pyramid shaped hotel with extravagant Egyptian-inspired decorations really appealed to both my architectural side and my imagination. Too bad the "ride" we went on, called In Search of the Obelisk (what a shame, looks like it's closing on April 15th), only elicited giggles and rolling eyes. It appears that it used to be marginally better because a review on IMDb (Yes! Even this laughable "movie" has an IMDb page) includes descriptions of things I don't remember seeing.
We also went to an exhibit on King Tut's Tomb. I think my sister said it best when she pointed out that we had seen so much artifice in Vegas, it was hard to believe any of the Tut exhibit was real.
After the wonders of the Luxor, we went back to the hotel to dress for dinner. When we left the hotel room, we had five gorgeous ladies (see evidence below).
Stacey had organized a dinner surprise for me -- Todd English's Olives (at the Bellagio). We had a lot of tempting choices. Ultimately, I decided on the Pan Roasted Mahi Mahi, with shrimp scampi risotto, toasted garlic chips, crispy pasta & micro green insalata, aged balsamic vinaigrette (no, I didn't remember all that, it came off the internet, amazing invention that it is. All of the other ladies had yummy meals as well, including Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Chestnut Ravioli, and Butternut Squash Tortelli.
We also had a lovely wine, but I don't recall what it was. At the end of the meal, they brought out a beautiful little brownie/flourless cake for me, with an elegantly written birthday message on it. The other ladies picked a Madagascar Vanilla Souffle with Creme Anglais and a Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bread Pudding. They were all delicious. In addition to chocolate and tea, we had two different ports, both very very nice. Below is the photo of the group, taken by our excellent waiter (I'm the one with the pink pin that says "Birthday Princess"):
Afterwards, we headed out to the Excalibur where we went to Thunder From Down Under, a "male revue" (not a strip show, no no). It was a lot more tasteful than I expected, despite the fact that my "friends" wanted me to fraudulently wear a bachelorette tiara (complete with an itty bitty veil) to get more... ahem... personal attention from the guys. In an extremely ironic twist, I ran to the bathroom when it appeared that they were having an intermission. It was not the intermission, it was the closing act and my sister got a hug from a scantily clad cutie, which was rightfully my hug, darnit.
After the show, one of our party went back to the hotel and the rest of us went to find some good dancing. The first place we went, Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce (at Mandalay Bay) was not as fun as the little video on their website made it appear. It was overcrowded and no one was dancing. Fortunately, we had not had to pay to get in, so no harm, no foul.
We left and headed over to another Mandalay club, rumjungle. This was more to our liking, though the drinks were way too expensive (really, what were we doing buying our own drinks anyway!). Another of our party left for the hotel shortly after we were ushered in, again with the cover charge waived. The remaining three (me, Aileen, and Stacey) danced, drank water (because by that point, I was feeling really dehydrated, and eventually I turn into a square), and flirted with guys from a bachelor party (most of them being from California, I think). The music was a little reggaesque at the beginning, then later switched to straight hip hop (which suited my sister perfectly, and was acceptable to me). I tried to take pictures of the dancers in the suspended cages, but they didn't really turn out, so here's a picture of their very impressive bar instead. We had a good time, to say the least (a little disco wouldn't have been unwelcome, but alas...) We all made it back to the hotel without incident, except when Stacey stood on the bar and...
Just kidding, that was me.