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Thu, Apr 17th - 11:08PM

A Penny-Pincher's Guide to Flying The Strip
I am so proud of myself. Let me tell you why.

Before leaving for Las Vegas, I came across what seemed like a fun but high-priced idea. Soon as I got the chance, I came to Chris itching to reveal my exorbitant thought:

"Wouldn't it be grand...

to see Las Vegas...

at night...

on a HELICOPTER ! ! !"


Chris flashed a Quixotic smile. "You can do whateeever you want", he said with a slow up and down motion of his head and a sparkle in his eye.

Okay, maybe it sounds nonsensical, considering how much it cost and how short it all takes. But I was excited. For 10(ish) minutes you get to sit inside the best VIP helicopter equipped with comfy leather seats, wrap-around glass for outstanding visibility, and drink champagne -- all for a hundred dollars.

Needless to say Chris wasn't too thrilled. Besides, he will be in Mexico, he exclaimed. But this is Vegas. Thousands of people out here pop $100 in less than 10 minutes.

Then after some thought, a hundred bucks just so you can float above neon lights while you postpone your upchuck from that bubbly elixir you had before vertically taking off the ground can be way-out and... stratospheric. No pun intended.

Me wrestling with an 8-foot python on the strip 'cause a helicopter ride with free champagne was waaay too radical.

However, the Universe has a way of making sure things work out - especially if they were meant to be. Now in Vegas, after foraging the strip for the best bargains in almost anything from bottled water to breakfast buffets, to Broadway musicals, I bumped into John, who said for ONLY 20 DOLLARS I can be hovering above Sin City that same night. This deal was even sweeter than the last strawberry daiquiri I had for breakfast that morning!

A guy named John has the best deals under his sleeves. Look for him below the giant M&Ms. He certainly looks like one, too.

The catch was (hell yeah, there's a catch) I have to sit through a time-share presentation that includes:

1) free lunch

2) pick up and return

3) an hour and a half of one on one with a guy who looks like Gennady Zyuganov but with bigger eyes and long, graying eyebrows, who will scowl and try to convince you that you can save money by giving them your money ("and for two weeks a year, you can have the grand vacation of your life in any of our pre-selected destinations...").

John got me at "free lunch". Already practicing my "stare, smile, and nod a lot" routine, I say, "Let's go, I'm ready for some 'time-sharing'".

Two grueling hours later...

I got sidetracked inside the Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Garden watching two butterflies get their groove on. I'm sure that wasn't the proboscis I saw sticking out.

Another two hours later, it was dusk. I was hyper, chatty, and already admiring the leather handbag of the lady across from me as we waited for our pilot.

I made friends: Next to me are the dapper couple Brian and Laura. Her handbag sports a hardcore tattoo design!

Finally, the moment I've been waiting for...

It's true, some of the best things in life are free. But sometimes, the things you work hard for - the fruits of simple honest-to-goodness hard labor - can be the sweetest rewards in life.

I'll drink to that.

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* All photos and content unless otherwise stated. Copyright 2007 J. Reque and C. Foley.

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Sun, Apr 13th - 2:09PM

Aside from the herky-jerky internet connection (we were having problems with the satellite dish - I later found out this was the reason why), 12 days in the same place proved to be... challenging, at least for nomads like us who will do anything to be somewhere different all the time even if we had to drive a hundred miles, only to drive back home that night.

The Oasis RV Resort in Las Vegas is fabulous. Clean, well-maintained environment, modern facilities, not to mention HUGE! I was constantly getting lost - even in broad day light! PLAY the photos below or click View Album if you don't see it.

The sites have good spacing and offer full hook-ups for power, water, and drainage. So I'm all set while Chris is in Mexico, right? Wrong. Everything was available except the transportation - and I have this tenacious desire to explore the Entertainment Capital of the world. For those of you who don't know, I tend to gravitate towards sparkling objects. My favorite color in fact, is "shiny" :-)

Glitzy: The Oasis RV Park at night. At the end of the road and yonder, you can see the light beaming up from the Luxor, beckoning me to come and bring gifts of gold, frankincense & myrrh - but plain quarters for the slots will do.
The shuttle that takes guests to the strip (which is only 5.5 miles away) for some reason stopped running last February. Which meant I had to walk from the resort to the clandestinely marked bus stop across the highway, wait for the bus that will take me to the terminal where I can again wait for the bus that will take me to the strip. Sweet.

Before I turn this into a whine fest, let me digress and continue with how the trip went. After Chris ventured to San Felipe, Mexico, my events started on a bad foot. Or should I say bad fridge. One morning the fridge door broke and as I swung it open to get milk for my cereal, the entire door unlatched and fell, bringing everything it can from inside with it.

Fox had mayo (light) in his dish, mixed with some apples, baby carrots and sugar peas, while cans of soda (thank god, sugarless) burst from the fall and started going off like manic garden sprinklers, covering everything with a nice splash of dark reddish-brown hue. Sure enough, Coke adds life to everything nice.

Fox was not amused. "I sure hope you'll put tuna in the mayo", he says.

While the fridge computer was smart enough to figure there was something wrong with its door (see 'd' sign above), it was not however intuitive enough to keep the food on its shelves, if the said door was to be tampered with. Hmm, maybe 'd' stood for Don't (open) or Danger, or...

Wait, what's that on the leather sofa? Mmmmmmm.... shiiiinyyyyy....

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You only need to do it once and it's FREE!

* All photos and content unless otherwise stated copyright 2007 J. Reque and C. Foley.

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