Bette, Obama, Ghosts, and that damnable Ipod ad

  We just returned from one of our regular (2x year usually) trips to Vegas. We stayed at the Rio this time – our first time at this hotel, and our first time staying “off-strip.” The price couldn’t be beat – free! We upgraded to a strip view suite for only $20 a night.

We were a bit disappointed when we got to the room, though. It was a long walk, naturally, because to have a corner room, you have to walk all the way to the corner, and the hall still had dirty room service dishes and looked as if it hadn’t been vacuumed. Moreover, there were two bulbs out in our room, and during the course of our stay, the towel bar and the faucet in the bathroom broke. It looked as if they had taken some effort to upgrade the room by putting in new wallpaper and granite, but it had been installed sloppily. Eh, whatever, $20 is $20 right? And, I should say, that the staff at the Rio was quite nice, and we had good service throughout.


We saw “Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On” the first night. Here, too, we experienced another disappointment with the Rio, because the last time we were in Vegas you could catch a shuttle from the Rio to Caesars, but for some reason, they have eliminated  that shuttle, and now you can only get to Paris/Bally’s and/or Harrah’s. So, we had to walk to get to the show. Luckily, it was lovely weather, especially compared to the nightmare that Seattle’s climate has been lately.

The show itself was just amazing. It’s great to see a performer who just knows how to do this stuff, and kicks ass at it. Bette sings, dances, and as she says “tell(s) the same jokes (she’s) been telling for 40 years.” She still has the “Harlettes” as well as the “Caesar’s Salad Girls.” And yes, of course she sings “The Rose,” and “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” along with some of her other hits. It’s all the more fantastic when you realize that she’s in her 60s!

On our first morning there, we made our traditional trip to the spa. We feel that getting a massage really makes the rest of the trip that much more enjoyable. The Rio spa is fine – not great/not bad. I was all alone most of the time, which is really fine with me. We decided to go shopping that afternoon, and as we made our way over to the Fashion Show Mall. Outside the mall, on giant screens, they play a stupid Ipod ad over and over that makes you want to kill yourself. We asked one of the vendors about it:

Phil: “You tired of hearing that song?”

Vendor dude: “I’m tired of hearing all this shit.”

We wandered over to the new Wynn hotel, the Encore. It was lush, and beautiful, of course. Wynn casinos even smell good. Perhaps when we’re feeling flush, we’ll stay there one day.

Back at the Rio, we stopped at the I-Bar, with the sole intention, because we are geeks, of seeing the “Surface” tables they have there. Of course, the Sweetie was better at manipulating the thing than I was, but I was busy drinking, so can you blame me?

The next morning, as had been the plan, we ordered room service for breakfast and stayed in the room most of the day watching the Inauguration. I wept most of the time, which, you know, doesn’t sound like a vacation, but it was quite wonderful, all of it.

Once recovered, we headed out to the Haunted Vegas tour. We’ve gone on these haunted tours in quite a few cities now. If nothing else, it’s a great way to see parts of the city that you might not otherwise see.

We did not see nor photograph any ghosts, but we had a good time, and we got to see Bugsy Siegal’s monument, Wayne Newton’s gate, and Liberace’s and Redd Foxx’s house. We also saw the light pole next to where Tupac’s car was when he was shot (wow, huh?). The tour guide was very funny – he’s a former undertaker, so he has a special perspective on it all. 

When we checked out, we told the clerk about our broken stuff in the room, so she took off the cost of the room (the $20/night we were paying), so the room itself did turn out to be free. Like I said, the staff were nice, but it will probably be awhile before we stay there again.

We walked over to the Palms and did some minor slot playing before returning. I love the Palms, but I’m not nearly hip enough to be there. It does make for some great people watching though.

More pics from the excursion here.