It was time, to quote The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, “to let The-Youngest go Orangutan.”
After weeks of research, of looking up Vegas pictures, of reading reviews and watching idiots do idiotic things in Vegas on YouTube, the day had finally arrived for The-Youngest. HIS DAY. A day at the Adventure Dome. A day of roller coasters, bumper cars, and food-court food.
Little could he have possibly guessed what would happen.
Still a little tired, we all ate at the hotel restaurant. $115 for breakfast. And The-Youngest only ate his toast. So that’s $30 for toast. What’s worse is that I felt compelled to eat everything that was left. So, good bye diet, hello second helping of eggs and hash browns and sausages.
I wasn’t mad at The-Youngest, though, he was just so excited.
“Joe, did you know that you can get a pass for the whole day and go on all the rides? Joe, did you know that they are open until midnight? (I think I groaned at this point.) Joe did you know that El Loco is the best rollercoaster ride in Vegas? Joe did you know they have ANOTHER rollercoaster, too? It’s called the Canyon Blaster, and someone threw up on it? (Today?) No. There was a video (Great. I always wanted to throw up on a rollercoaster.)
So, yeah, I was less than enthusiastic about the whole roller coaster thing, but boy, was he keyed up. The-Oldest was as well. I could tell because he only half-shrugged when we told him what we were doing today. Not a full-on Gallic shrug, more of a “Yeah, I guess this could be interesting” kind of way.
Getting ready to go out into the summer sun, I made the rookie mistake of letting The-Youngest do his sunscreen. He slathered it on so thick that he looked like the Joker from Suicide Squad, minus the green hair. I scraped off as much as I could and used it to cover my vastly larger areas of white skin while he rubbed it into his skin. But at least we’d be protected from sunburns. Even if we lived on the sun itself.
Being near the Adventure Dome, we decided to walk. It wasn’t late in the day and, sure, the sun shone outside and heat shimmered off the pavement, and all the beggars retreated into the shade, but somehow we thought this was a good idea.
Ok, I thought this was a good idea.
Well, it really wasn’t that bad a walk. We avoided the sleazy guys handing out flyers of naked women (escorts?) and avoided more guys handing out pamphlets for sightseeing tours or discount show tickets. Not easy things to do.
Plus, along the way, we got to see the debris from the latest Vegas Hotel demolition. Of all the places in the world, I don’t think there’s one that transforms as much as Vegas. It evolves faster than a rewrite of a movie that had a poor screening.
But we made it, a bit sweaty, a bit hot and The-Youngest dragged The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World through the maze-like casino. Even with The-Youngest trying to memorize the map and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World using her mad navigational skills, we ended up, well, I have no idea, but there was no dome.
Now, if you’ve ever been to a Vegas casino, you need to know that they have spent a lot of time, energy and money making sure it’s easy to get in, but you soon get lost trying to make your way from point A to point B. I guess the thinking is if you get lost, the flashing lights and ringing bells and people shouting, I’ve won a billion dollars, will make you forget what you came to do and sit down and gamble a bit.
What we did find was a cool little circus act. Every ½ hour. Or thereabouts. Like an old carnival show. Feeling lost and bewildered, we did what we do when we’re lost and bewildered, we sat down and watched a girl dance with hula-hoops.
She did things that would throw out my hip, herniate my spine and wreck my neck so badly that I’d need a Darth Vader suit to simply walk around (which I have to say, having thought about it more, sounds kind of cool.) She displayed the kind of incredible gymnast-like flexibility that even on my best day, even when I was young, even if I fell down the stairs, I never had. And, she made it all look easy.
She was spectacular, but despite her smiles on stage, she looked sad when she left. She was Russian and they seem to look sad a lot, but I wondered if she thought her life would end up here, on the stage of a casino performing for chubby white guys who looked like they had nothing better to do. Clearly, she’d been a gymnast at some point. Maybe a medal contender. And now this.
I would be sad, too.
But it could be worse. At least they let her wear clothes. And she wasn’t in Russia anymore.
As nice as it was, however, it was just a rest stop for us. An oasis of human entertainment in a desert of lights and sounds. As soon as it ended, we were off to the Dome. I think we took the longest route possible, but finally got there.
And when we did, something really odd happened.