The Sophisticate walks from the Venetian, past Caesars Palace, to the Bellagio (what's the next Italian-themed hotel to be built -- the Vatican?), where he meets the Curmudgeon for the weekend's one blowout dining experience. They settle on Le Cirque, a small, jacket-required enclave of subtle panache amid the neon fireworks outside. Beneath a circus tent ceiling and colorful china that recalls Curious George (in a good way), scallops and truffles, excellent wine and dreamy creme brulees deliver smiles to their faces and hernias to their credit cards.
Sights of Las Vegas include the Eiffel Tower at the Paris casino, one of many themed resorts.
(Las Vegas News Bureau/lvcva)
Everyone loves a parade. And anyone with $9.95 can be in one -- the Rio casino's frequent aerial processions of garish suspended floats filled with dancers and drunk civilians moving above the casino floor. Turbogirl gets to be a hippie chick in the Village Street Party. Her colorful, bulbous contraption starts moving and creaking on its track. Turbohippie shakes her tambourine and waves. No throwing beads! The float moves through its second loop and, frankly, the thrill is gone.
In Vegas, everyone is a sucker at some point during the day. Cancellations are common. At the Stardust, Turbogirl learns that Anthony Cools has canceled his racy hypnotist show. Earlier, Joe Vegas was crushed to discover that the Strip's reigning diva, Celine Dion, was pulling the plug on her act that night. The Curmudgeon was even thwarted from seeing the Bellagio's fountain spectacle, as high winds shut it down time after time.
What to do but drink heavily? Turbogirl and Turboguy retreat to the Ghostbar at the Palms, where the swanky rooftop lounge has a neo-industrial look, and its denizens luminate in a silver and blue glow.
Over at the Flamingo, the Sophisticate, Joe Vegas and the Curmudgeon start with margaritas, which they spew across the table more than once during a hilarious improv show by an outpost of Chicago's Second City troupe. Then it's on to the swank Baccarat Bar at the Bellagio -- home to beguiling Eastern European waitresses slinging trendy yesteryear cocktails like cosmos and Manhattans. "You're from Hungary?" the Sophisticate says. "I've always wanted to go to Hungary!"
MONDAY, 12:40 a.m.
The Curmudgeon, wisely, has retired to her room. Joe Vegas takes the Sophisticate on a Strip crawl that includes at least four casinos, hundreds of "hands" of barstool video poker and an indeterminate number of freebie drinks. The crowd never seems to fade, but the Sophisticate does, sometime after 3 a.m., leaving a solo Joe to work his way back to the Mirage. But not before -- why not? -- one more stop at Treasure Island.
Joe Vegas orders eggs in the Mirage coffee shop. Still an hour or so before the foursome has to head to the airport. Time enough for . . .
Camille, the Palm's Pilates instructor, orders Turbogirl to scoop in her stomach, hold her butt tight, suck in her ribs. Turbogirl learns that Pilates and sour apple martinis don't mix. But after a weekend in Vegas, sins must be paid for. Turbogirl pays for hers, one squeeze at a time.
The authors will be online Monday at 2 p.m. to answer questions about this article during the Travel section's regular weekly chat on www.washingtonpost.com.
Details: Las Vegas
GETTING THERE: Flights from D.C. to Vegas can go from less than $100 one way up to $300 round trip, depending on the season and demand. Most often, expect to pay around $250 round trip on such nonstop carriers as United and US Airways. But don't forget the low-fare airlines, such as Ted, which flies nonstop from Dulles, and Southwest, from BWI; fares range from $99 to $299 one way.
Bare Essentials, 4029 W. Sahara Ave., 702-247-4711.
Bellagio, Guggenheim and Elvis-a-Rama museums: See chart
Blue Man Group: See chart
Canyon Ranch, Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 877-220-2688, www.canyonranch.com. One-day passes $30; treatments additional.
Chicken Ranch Brothel, 10511 Homestead Rd., Pahrump, about 60 miles from Vegas; 775-727-5721, www.chickenranchbrothel.com.
Folies Bergere: See chart.
Gun Store, 2900 E. Tropicana Ave.; $25 for 25 rounds; $5-off coupon available online (www.thegunstorelasvegas.com).
Little Church of the West, 4617 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Masquerade Show in the Sky, Rio casino, 3700 W. Flamingo Rd., 702-777-7777, www.harrahs.com. Seven daily performances; $9.95 to participate.
Rain and Ghostbar, Palms hotel, 4321 W. Flamingo Rd.; cover charges, $10-$20. To avoid the lines, Vegas.com sells passes for $24.95 (price includes admission and taxes).
Red Rock Canyon: See Day Trips.
Star Trek: Experience, 3000 Paradise Rd., 888-GO-BOLDLY, www.startrekexp.com; $29.99.
Second City, Flamingo Hotel, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702-733-3111, www.flamingolv.com; $29.95.
Stratosphere casion tower, Las Vegas Hilton, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd., S., 800-998-6937, www.stratospherehotel.com; $9 (nonguests) or $6 (guests) for tower, various prices for rides.
Tribute to the Rat Pack, Greek Isles hotel, 305 Convention Center Dr., 800-633-1777, www.greekislesvegas.com; $51.50, or $65.50 with dinner.