Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

22 01 2010

Sometimes, with all the light, you can’t really tell what time it is in Las Vegas.

Breakfast would be a banana, some yogurt and a warm cup of Joe inside the Sahara’s coffeeshop. As we waited in line, I noticed an attractive African-American woman standing behind me. She wore a tight T-shirt promoting not only her athletic figure, but the pop/rock band The Killers as well.

Conversation starter indeed.

“Love the Killers,” I turned and said.

She smiled and said she was a fan as well.

“I saw them in concert in L.A.,” the woman said. “It was really laid back. Did you know they were Mormons?”

I had read something to that effect. Regardless, The band’s album, “Hot Fuss,” with that catchy little tune “Mr. Brightside” is what turned me on to the Mormons’ sound. “Hot Fuss” had been my anthem in London during the summer of 2007 before a hooker swiped my MP3 Player.

But that is another story. For another time.

Jim didn’t speak to the woman. He ordered coffee and found us a table.

I went looking for cream and sugar and the Killers’ fan followed.

“It’s my first time in Vegas,” I gleefully revealed while dosing my hot cup of Joe with Splenda.

“Oh really?,” she said. “Well, you gotta see the lions.”

The lions were at MGM, a short monorail ride from the Sahara. The monorail in Vegas has a similar interior as a subway car in New York, only much cleaner and not nearly as fast.

We planned to ride the rail to some of the other casinos and pick out our entertainment for the night. On last year’s trip, Jim had booked tickets to see Bette Midler well in advance, and Gabe didn’t dare sleep through that.

This year we’d scout our options on site. It was a rare unplanned move for the ol’ engineer.

We got off the monorail at the Paris-themed Harrah’s casino and were immediately greeted by people wanting to give us tickets to some of the weekend shows. Jim politely turned them down. Our itinerary placed us back in Dallas by the weekend.

We did, however, pay a visit to the replica Eiffel Tower, which came with a nice view of The Strip and souvenir photo. The real Paris seemed like a distant memory for me. This was more like Epcot at Walt Disney World — with glitz and gambling.

Jim wanted to visit the Luxor next, which required a short walk. The Luxor is a pyramid design and the sun reflecting off can be very strong during the day. Not many people were out on the street at this hour, but there sure was a lot of cabs lined up outside.

We found the nearest bar and ordered a round of bloody marys. The bartender gave us a lot of time and recommended some of the ‘Cirque’ shows. We decided on ‘KA’ at the MGM and walked down to buy tickets.

To my surprise, Jim spared no expense on our seats.

With tickets in hand, we made our way to the lion exhibit, which was enclosed in glass, just a few feet away from the slots. Some of the trainers were giving a lecture as people huddled near the glass. The lions, turns out, like a lot of folks in Vegas at that hour, were naping.

After seeing the lions, we returned to the Sahara to get spruced up for the big show. Jim decided to revisit a video poker bar downstairs, while I put on my best attire for the evening — the good ol’ Burberry wool sweather, v-necked of course, with a skinny tie to go with my skinny jeans, glasses and a dab of lotion in the hair.

It was a total opposite look from the Canyon, when I donned by best frat boy uniform, and for good reason — This was Vegas. Time to shine.

That night was the first night I really plugged into Twitter and the I-phone never left my hand for very long.

Before meeting up with Jim downstairs, I did a few push-ups so as to fit snugly into my sweater. It was a chilly night outside and Jim wore his heavy coat.

Showtime for ‘KA’ was still two hours away when we left the Sahara, but the real fun had only just begun.

Here Kitty Kitty

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