Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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 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...

They say the best things in life are free. But most of the time, 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.


Michelle said...


There were 4 other NuRVers in Vegas on Wed. and Thurs.

Wish we knew - maybe we could have taken 'em by storm!

Great Post!

Rikki said...

Michelle -

We should have really planned this out - that's too bad. I think an impromptu regional meet would have been rawking!!! Were you there as well? I know Kevs was and he stayed at Circus-Circus... Thanks for the comment ;)

Patty aka Gypsy Mama said...

always love your humorous writings

Rikki said...

Thanks Ms. Patty, and have fun in Palm Springs if you're still there!

Louie said...

That was great! I'll have to do that next time i'm there. Glad you had fun by yourself in LV but, of course that's not hard to do with all the entertainment around you. Thanks again for sharing.

LiveWorkDream said...

"the things you work hard for ... can be the sweetest rewards in life."

I'll drink to that indeed! Thanks for the link and dropping by our full-time RVing sabbatical road trip blog.

Rene said...

Rikki, I really love your blog, and your logo, it's so cool! And your photos are stunning.

Thanks for getting in touch with us. Consider yourselves Blogrolled!

All the best,

Lil' Boozie said...

Hi Rikki-

I found your blog on 'Travels With Two'. To echo the sentiments of those before me, your photographs are stunning! And the snake around the neck, very daring. On a trip to Morocco earlier this year, 3 of my friends wore their guts around their shoulders.. I, however, wimped out. Immediate regret.

Suz (a.k.a. Lil' Boozie)
"3 Troopin' Travelers"

Rikki said...

Suz, thanks gal! You know what I was expecting the snake to be stone cold around my neck - it was actually warm. Oh and that skateboarding bulldog from Rob and Big on MTV was behind me. Aaah, good times.