Cousin's 2009 Weekend in Vegas

Joe, Sandy, Roger, Michelle, Kathleen, Gary, Colleen, Tanya, Rose Luxor Lobby What could be more fun than a cousin's weekend in Vegas? Nothing! I have so much fun with my cousins, we could go to Newark NJ and still enjoy ourselves - no offense to Newark. As the ten of us trickled in to Vegas on a Thursday from all over the country, I realized I wasn't related to anyone. Where the hell were my cousins? I think I was misled!

I flew out with Mark and Roger. The other "cousins" included Mark's aunt and uncle (Sandy and Joe), their daughters (Michelle and Kathleen - Mark's cousins in case you're too slow to figure it out for yourselves), Mark's cousin from Texas (Colleen - I'm starting to see a pattern, maybe the world doesn't revolve around me, but to find out it revolves around Mark is a little unsettling). Colleen brought Tanya Lee and Kathleen brought Greg, no... Geof, no... Glen, no... Gary - That's it!!! Kathleen also brought along a broken elbow. She and Gary tagged Vegas onto a San Diego vacation where she wiped out on a Segway. Brilliant!

We grouped together at one of our Luxor hotel rooms for happy hour before dinner. Mark and Roger had packed three types of cello: Cranberry, Strawberry and Orange. These are homemade liquors with grain alcohol as the base. Delicious.

Colleen, Michelle, Tanya Roger, Mark, Sandy

Friday was our busy day. We had packed all our major activities into one day so the rest of the weekend could be committed to food comas and drunken gambling. First scheduled activity was indoor skydiving. Basically, you don jumpsuits and jump on a big fan that keeps you airborne for a few minutes. Joe, being the alpha male of the pack, went first to show everyone else how it was done. DVD showings will be provided for a minimal fee.

Michelle, Big Elvis, Kathleen Most of the crowd headed to Freemont Street to engage in gambling that didn't require a second mortgage. Prices downtown are a tad cheaper. For example a Freemont Street all-you-can-eat buffet costs $7.99. For the same price on the strip, you can get a half-sub (with no chips or drinks).

We regrouped back at the Luxor so we could split up again. The next main attraction was "Big Elvis." This extremely talented Elvis impersonator has lost 500 lbs and is now down to a slim 400+. Holy cow! Want details? Take a look at the recent article in the Las Vegas Sun.

After such a dietary inspiration, we waddled to the Paris all-you-can-eat buffet and gorged ourselves before heading to the Wynn to watch Le Reve. Le Reve is similar to a Cirque Du Soleil show. In fact, they hired away one of the primary dudes from Cirque Du Soleil in order to choreograph this water show. Like good little audience members we got there in plenty of time to make jokes about the bed floating in the water - anything was game from "Do you think they would mind if I waded in and took a nap before the show?" to "Wow, a water porn show!" - can you tell we had drinks with dinner.

The perfectly sculpted acrobats in this amazing show motivated the gym rats in our group. The following day was spa day. Hours - they voluntarily spent hours in the spa, working out, saunaing, jucuzziing, getting massages and whatever else goes on in there (I certainly wouldn't know!).

While they were wasting away at the gym, Sandy, Joe, Kathleen and myself trekked down the strip. First stop: the MGM lions. The keepers would through ground meat against the glass walls and the lions would lick it off right in front of you - well right in font of the lady standing in front of you blocking your view.

MGM Lion MGM Lion

Kathleen Next stop, Ceasar's Palace where the fish tanks in a tiny noodle shop caught our eyes and made us realized it had been at least an hour since we last ate.

Rose, Joe, Kathleen, Sandy We settled for an indoor outdoor-café next to a grand fountain. It was inside, but the ceiling made it look outside. With dinner on the horizon, we settled splitting a few appetizers and a bottle of wine. Fortified, we felt ready to head to Paris for some coffee. Gary called from the Luxor and agreed to meet us there. It didn't completely dawn on us until he got there that we were headed back to the Luxor. A round of drinks tricked him into thinking the trip was worthwhile.

Our one tasks that day was to find a restaurant for the evening. We had two criteria: one member of our group was a vegetarian and another (I won't mention any names: Roger) wanted to be comfortable, in other words wear shorts. Comfortable on vacation, really - I've never heard of such a thing. We stopped in restaurant after restaurant and although the vegetarian dishes were few, at least there were options. However, dress codes of casual elegance did not include shorts. Finally, finally, we found a place that might work. Kathleen called them up.

"Do you allow shorts?"

"Yes." Brilliant - we found a place!

Kathleen pressed on. "What type of vegetarian selections do you have?"

"None." Huh?

"You have no vegetarian selections?"


Amazing. We pressed on and at the Paris found a perfect compromise with a view of the Bellagio fountain. We made reservations for their only open time slot, 9:30. Our group called Roger's group. The reservation was too late for them and too far from the Luxor - anyway our vegetarian had already grabbed a bite and wasn't going to have a full meal anyway!

We ended up eating the Burger Bar. This place allowed you to pick your meat type (Angus, Turkey, Soy) and then had a complete column of options to put on it including various cheeses, salsas and other toppings. Yummy. For dessert we couldn't resist the "Chocolate Burger." It looked like a burger, but they used a doughnut for the "bun"; chocolate for "meat"; pomegranate fruit for "cheese"; mint leaves for "lettuce", strawberries for "tomatoes"; raspberry sauce for "ketchup" and whip cream for "butter."

Chocolate Burger Chocolate Burger

Sunday rolled around and we splurged for the Bally's Buffet which included lobster, filet mignon, fresh squeezed OJ and high-grade champagne.

Michelle, Joe, Sandy, Kathleen, Rose, Mark, Roger, Colleen A light plate to break up the pace

The service matched the food quality to the point our champagne glasses never emptied - does that mean we only had one glass a piece? It felt like more.

Colleen, Michelle, Joe Mark, Roger Joe, Sandy, Kathleen

The activity of the day was a visit to the Liberace museum. The highlight seemed to be the trying on of the "cape."

Michelle Colleen Joe
Mark Kathleen

Cheeze Whiz Anyone? Pizza! When happy hour approached, some of us decided we should get snacks because no one would want to eat dinner after that amazing brunch. Boy, were we wrong - I guess Cheeze Whiz just doesn't cut it with some people. We did show supreme self-control and only got 4 pizzas (and 3 bottles of wine) for 8 people - some of the group were already trickling home.

You may wonder if we got a chance to gamble with so many other activities. Of course we did. Not everyone in the group was a consummate gambler, so those of us who were sometimes had a throng of supporters hanging over our shoulders. Anytime I go to Vegas, I always hear the same question: "Did you win or lose?" Remember - It's not whether you win or lose, but how much you lose! I still have my house, so I'm not complaining.

Always remember... What happens in Vegas, ends up on YouTube!