Would you like to hear some trip highlights?
Well, pretend, anyway. It's almost Christmas, and Santa can still change his mind.
Reginald Kitty is not amused.
* We got free tickets to a second-rate magic show. Now, this may sound like a waste of time, and you would be right; that is, until little seven year old Miles took the stage. The performer asked if there were any children in the audience who wanted to learn some magic. From my balcony seat, I saw little Miles being coaxed by his mother to raise his hand. Like an obedient lad, up shot his hand, without any care for the consequences of this action. Like a moth to flame, the performer snatched the boy up, and led the child up the stairs to the proscenium arch. Only, little Miles wasn't having any of it. He stood in front of us, his entire body stiff as a board, eyes wide with a mixture of embarrassment and fear. When asked simple questions, the poor boy just buried his face in his hands, and obviously wanted to fall right through the stage floor. By the end, he refused to speak. Have you ever seen a child's entire self-worth dissipate? It's simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. Poor Miles. I hope he's recovered from his trip to Vegas, 'cause he may never want to go back.
* Brookstone is a hilarious place to go, especially in Vegas. The store in the Venetian is a great place to watch foreigners explore the wonders of America. Now, I have no guarantee that the man I saw was foreign, but the odds are with me. He spoke not a word, and was dressed like this.
He observed all sorts of odd things, like massaging pillows and remote controlled hovercrafts with keen interest. His little shopping trip was going splendidly until he saw the noise machines. He picked up one of the more complicated models, and began pushing the numerous buttons. As the product delivered the sound it has promised on the box, he clicked the "off" button; at least, he thought he did. Thus, the frantic button-push-jitterbug began. Eventually, he sat the product back on the shelf, and shuffled away, hoping no one saw him break the machine. I saw him repeatedly look over his shoulder, until a saleslady silenced the broken model.
The lesson, children, is that some culture notes are practically identical. You break it, you pretend you didn't, and leave quickly.
* Only in Vegas can you look out the window as you have a leisurely croissant at 8:30 in the morning, and watch Spiderman walk though a parking lot, get in a car, and drive away. I think Spidy was a little drunk from the night before, though, because he had some serious trouble unlocking that car.
Where does Spidy take over for Peter? It should have happened before this point.
* I have discovered a new talent: guessing weights of M&Ms. I guessed 1.75 pounds, and it ended up being 1.76 pounds. That, my friends, is pretty damn good for delicious chocolaty candies.
Speaking of chocolaty goodness...
If ever I were to dream of food, it would be the chocolate praline (the first time I had one, it was called the Symphony) from Cafe Belle Madeleine.
* Since the first time we went to Vegas way back in the mists of time -- OK, 2006 -- The Strip has been deluged with street performers. Most of the time, they just annoy me, and add to my headaches. This time, however, there was actually a fun one: a bagpiper, playing the Star Wars theme. Unfortunately, the number was cut short when someone requested "Amazing Grace". Just as disappointment started to sink in, a girl screamed out, "awww, it's the theme to Titanic!". Laughter ensued.
* There we were, at the Coke store, slurping our Cherry Coke floats and minding our own business. Through the din of shopping tourists and the giant televisions playing music videos, I heard a familiar chord over the speakers. I looked back at the flat screens to see this.
I know it's blurry, but I was excited. Does it look familiar?
What about now?
I was thrilled to hear The Young Veins (or, as my dad calls them, The Blood Veins) in a public place; it was just a bit more special that it was in the hometown of Mr. Ross, I think. This song is also kinda special to me in that it was the very first song I heard from the Ross/Walker team (yes, I'm weird and remember that kind of thing; it's like a mental scrapbook [take 'mental' however you wish]). After I got over the shock of the situation, I started telling the general space how the video was initially shot, then filmed through a vintage television. I only started getting weird looks when I said "rock that solo, Mr. Walker". OK, so I fangirled, sue me.
* The Venetian has transformed itself into a Winter Wonderland.
The best part is the recycled plastic skating rink. The first forty-five minutes alone, I counted fifty people who fell over before I was told to shut up. It's like I told my mother, "I'm watching America's Funniest Home Videos live right now, don't bug me". We went back several times during the week, but that first group of suckers were still the best biffers of the lot.
* My camera was hit on more than I was. Note to self: next time, ditch the Wrinklies.
Aren't they cute? Now, buzz off.
* There was a film being shot all over The Strip while we were there. The best part of this was the Bellagio Incident. A boat full of crew workers was sent to unload giant sheets of wood onto an island in the middle of the Bellagio lake. They hitched their boat to the island, and began unloading. When about half of the load was on each vessel, disaster struck: both the island, and the boat started sinking from the weight of the wood. After much fuss, a corner of the island was sinking under the weight of the entire load, while the boat putted back to dock. The next day, the island had sunk -- wood and all -- in a tucked away spot under a bridge to the parking garage. What morons.
* The Arc de Triomphe at Paris. Check the slideshow.
Speaking of slideshow, would you like to see some photographs from the trip?
Remember, Santa's checking that list twice.