Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | April 10, 2012

Viva Las Vegas: Turning Thirty in Sin City Day #1!!

It’s been a while since my last set of adventuring; at least it feels that way.  I suppose I don’t get to complain very much when I was in Hawaii about three months ago, but I do wish I could spend more time on the road.  If someone ever wants to pay me to travel, I might just die from too much happiness.

Anyway, on with this trip. Several years ago, I told a large group of friend that I planned to celebrate my 30th birthday in Las Vegas, giving them two years to save their pennies and join me in toasting the end of my twenties.  In that time, a lot has gone on in the lives of my friends and family, and many who thought they might join have had kids (including my brother and sister-in-law, so my souvenir hunts now get to include cute little onesies for my nephew) or changed jobs or found their own travel bugs for places other than Las Vegas.  But wonderfully, I am not alone on my trip – my friend RubberDuckie (see my last Alberta trip for an intro!) took my invite seriously, and so we are traveling together for the first time.

RubberDuckie gets ready to roll in our pre-Vegas practice!

Our trip together began in the Edmonton airport, where we met at the gate.  I’d spent Easter with my Grandparents and some of the aunts, uncles, and cousins, though we were about two-thirds of the Thanksgiving crowd. It was a good weekend – Saturday I did a little shopping in South Edmonton Common, then went to my friend J’s for the Bug’s first birthday party. Sunday I decided not to be a heathen this year and went to Easter service with my family, then we had a ham dinner with delicious sides, plus a Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Ganache middle and cream cheese icing, courtesy of my uncle the dessert king.  (RubberDuckie says he is my hero.)  Easter also included trying out wilderness survival tips in the fire pit in the back and shooting diet coke bottles into the air (and having to get one off the garage roof with the hose) with Mentos.  My family is made of awesome, if you weren’t aware already.

By Monday morning, I was nervous (as I always am until I’m checked through) and ready to get on the road for the drive from Wetaskiwin to Edmonton International.  This was made much more difficult by the fact that I could not find my rental car keys.  After tearing apart my keys, my suitcase and my carry on twice, unmaking the bed, walking through the yard, digging through the laundry, and essentially tearing out my hair, I was panicking.  Just as my aunt was gearing up to drive me to the airport and getting someone to return the car on my behalf (as I imagined the costs of replacing the rental keys), I decided I would walk myself through the last time I parked the car. I came in, I had some coffee cups in my hand, I took them inside and… that’s right.  I had to to dig through the garbage (the one taken outside), and there, a little grim looking with some cabbage frozen to the side, were the keys.  Apparently I am my grandfather’s daughter – he once lost a set of keys while horse backing riding and his brother had to hot wire the car to get back.  Fortunately, these keys were not buried in the Alberta prairie and instead only required a little sponge bath before I could hit the road.  I even still had time to stop for Starbucks for the road.

Once at the airport, I waited on RubberDuckie, then we checked in and went through security together. The line was much, much shorter than my Christmas trip.  We had time to have breakfast in the sit down place through security (standard diner fare), and then we got prepared for our gambling by playing Pass the Piggies.  I’m pretty sure they won’t let us bet on that in Vegas but it was still fun.  RubberDuckie and I also were crossword champions on the plane rides to San Francisco for our quick stopover and then on to Vegas.  One of them we didn’t even have to cheat on!

Standing in front of heaven... I mean Jimmy Choos.

Once we touched down in Vegas, we took a cab to our hotel.  We’re staying at TI – Treasure Island Resort and Casino.  We checked in, unpacked out bags, then ventured out onto the strip.  It was past 8:00 by this time (and both of us hadn’t slept much due to excitement so we were tired), and we were both pretty hungry, but didn’t want to just eat in the hotel, so we wandered up.  We decided we felt like trying out the Cheesecake Factory, since neither of us had ever been.  The wait was about 45 minutes long, so we walked around the Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace for a while.  If you are a designer brand kind of person, this is your heaven.  There was Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, Burberry, and so, so much more.  I had my picture taken outside the Jimmy Choo store but couldn’t bring myself to go in, because I know I’ll end up walking out with a $600 pair of shoes.  It was so very, very tempting, though.  Instead, RubberDuckie and I went into H&M and Bath and Body Works to browse.  It was also at this point I was fairly certain the walking sandals I’d bought for the trip either need more breaking in or are just plain awful – my poor feet are rubbed raw!

Finally, it was 9:45 and we could be seated at the Cheesecake Factory.  I ordered a margarita (because it was my last day in my twenties) and RubberDuckie ordered a pomegranate mojito.  Pepe, our waiter, IDed the both of us.  So hooray, my goal for the trip

At our hotel - pirates, arrrgggg!

has been fulfilled!  Maybe they ID everyone who looks under 40, but as far as I’m concerned, I could pass for 20 on my 30th birthday.  We ordered sandwiches for dinner – a Navajo for RubberDuckie (which I’d been eyeing but was hesitant because of the spicy mayo, which might be too spicy) – and a bacon avocado and grilled chicken sandwich for me (which was similar to the Navajo but had bacon, so where can you go wrong?).  I tried some of both, and everything was super delicious.  We also ordered a piece of cheesecake for dessert – the 30th anniversary chocolate cake cheesecake – because you can’t not order cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory.  I also ordered a pomegranate mojito, because a) the taste of RubberDuckie’s was fantastic and b) I wasn’t about to have just one drink on the last day of my twenties.  When the cake came out, it came beautifully plated with a chocolate “Happy B-day to you!”, extra whipping cream, sprinkles and a candle.  Needless to say, our waiter got a nice tip.

By this time, it was about eleven at night (and past midnight in our time zone), so RubberDuckie and I trekked back to the hotel. The strip was crowded but not too, too badly. There, we got read for bed and were out at about midnight.  Not very Vegas-like of us, I suppose, but it works.  Today’s adventure’s may include the buffet and will definitely include a show. And awesomeness. Because it is my birthday, and so far 30 has meant sitting in my pyjamas reading Facebook wishes from friends and family while in Vegas.

Now RubberDuckie is awake and in the shower, and I’m next, so I’ll sign off.  Until tomorrow!





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