I wanted Tuesday (the day after Halloween) to be a low-key day, at least for me, so I suggested we meet for lunch. That meant another morning spent watching The Price is Right.
Our destination for lunch was Main Street Station. There's always a nice variety at the MSS buffet, and at a great price, especially when you factor in a coupon from the Las Vegas Advisor coupon book.
I used lunch as an opportunity for a discussion. While I know, more or less, what my friends do when it comes to employment, and I know their current life situations, for the most part, I didn't know how or why my friends wound up working at the haunted attraction where we all met. Three of us have been there since 2006, and the other two have been there for several years. It was interesting to hear the life circumstances that led each of us to what I like to refer to as "the amusement park of death." None of us knew each other before we became members of the haunt industry, and none of us would have guessed that applying for a seasonal job all those years ago would unite us in Vegas. It's a crazy world I live in.
Our afternoon began with a visit to Container Park. My friends were entertained by the quirky retail center, and I made a visit my favorite little toy store, Kappa Toys. I picked up a handful of small trinkets for my nieces and nephew, which went into their pumpkins upon my return. Halloween was over, but I had a Halloween party to host after vacation.
I had dropped everyone off at Container Park and drove over to the El Cortez valet, because we planned on stopping in afterward. Trista and I thought it might be worth checking out Happy Feet, the massage joint on the second floor of ElCo. Joe, Jon and Mike thought it sounded like a good idea, as well, so we all went upstairs.
Happy Feet offers a variety of services, and the rates are lower than you'll typically find at a casino spa. Unlike a traditional spa, there aren't private rooms for each customer. Massages are performed in one room, with customers separated by curtains. But they were only able to take four of us. We discussed our options and I settled upon sitting out by myself. I had barely gambled nearly 48 hours into our trip, so I was happy to play blackjack while everybody else had a massage. I suggested I'd head up after they were done, but I knew it was unlikely I would.
Everybody was pleased with their 30-minute session, which included hot stones, evidently. I didn't ask how much anybody tipped, or if they were hassled about the tip. A few online reviews suggest that the staff of Happy Feet will strongly suggest what you should tip. True or false, my friends had no complaints about their experience.
And I won a couple of bucks playing blackjack while the gang was upstairs, so I have no complaints about my experience, either.
It was late afternoon and we headed back to the Plaza. Word from my friends on Halloween morning was that the hot tub wasn't working. The word Tuesday afternoon was that the hot tub was functioning. So I went down to the pool to join them.
Mike was lounging on a chair and Jon was nowhere to be found. He had left his room key in the room, and needed security to let him in. That left Joe, Trista and I to soak in the hot tub. It was less than 30 minutes until closing, and the three of us had the hot tub to ourselves... until a woman showed up to join us.
She was by herself, and as I saw her approaching, I could tell there was something odd about her, and I'm not talking about the blinking pumpkin earrings she was wearing. Or the tutu.
When she entered the hot tub, still wearing the tutu, I knew I was right.
Being rude Midwesterners, none of us said hello, or engaged her in conversation. We kept to ourselves and continued our conversation. About two minutes into her appearance, with no prompting whatsoever, she broke down crying, telling us her boyfriend loved crack more than he loved her. Trista was the first to express condolences, and we engaged her in conversation at that point.
The woman pulled herself together and explained to us that she and her boyfriend had been at MGM for a week, that they were from Colorado and that she had recently quit a job. I'm sure she told us more than I can remember, or cared to know, but our conversation was otherwise drama free until it was time to go.
Lesson to the kids: What happens in Vegas will never be forgotten by some of us.
Our evening plans called for another meal at Ellis Island and a trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame. That changed a bit when Trista had to bail out. She wasn't feeling well when it was time to depart, so she bowed out. That left the four of us to dine without her.
Our trip to Ellis Island started with a detour to the Hard Rock. We parked at the casino. Jon and I headed across the street to a CVS store, as I had to pick up a prescription that wasn't filled back home in time for my departure. Joe wanted a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt, and as it turned out he had to go to the actual cafe across the parking lot. They don't sell cafe T-shirts in the hotel gift shop. Had my memory been better, I might have remembered that I could park outside the cafe, instead of in the hotel parking ramp.
We had to wait a while for our seats at the Ellis Island BBQ restaurant, which is not uncommon. We had two Las Vegas Advisor coupons for three free rounds of drinks for two people, so we cashed them in as we waited to dine. We also had the two-for-one dinner coupons for the BBQ restaurant, so we feasted on chicken and ribs for less than $10 per person, and there was not a complaint to be heard.
It was getting late, and Trista was feeling better. She wanted to join us for pinball, but there wasn't time to pick her up and still make it to the Pinball Hall of Fame before closing. And even if we went without her, we'd have had about an hour to spend there, so we postponed our pinball trip and headed back downtown.
I concluded my evening with a couple hours of cards at the Plaza. I played Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em and had decent luck. I played alongside a guy from California who was having even better luck, and betting a bit carelessly, only to be rewarded for it. He was celebrating his birthday, by himself it appeared, and was in a good mood. He had plenty of drinks while I was at the table, so that probably helped. I cashed in for the evening when my friends showed up, including Trista, so we all had drinks, which I paid for with my winnings, and headed to our rooms.
It was late, I was tired, but the final table of the World Series of Poker was still going on. I arrived in my room to see what looked to be the final hand, but the all-in player hit running cards after the flop to make a winning hand and extend the heads-up battle another hour or more. I tried to stay awake through the wee hours of play, but it was a struggle. I posted comments on Facebook and Twitter as I watched, but by 3 a.m. I could hardly stay awake. I drifted off, only to magically awaken just before 4 a.m. as another all-in moment commenced. This all-in moment would prove to be the concluding had of the tournament, and I promptly went back to sleep.
Click here for day 4.