I flew in Tuesday night. I had a meeting on Wednesday morning and wanted to be settled. My flight was less than half full and we arrived early. I got on a shuttle, then sat for an hour and 15 minutes while everyone but me was dropped off. Note to self...take the cab next time. When I got into the hotel, there was an issue with my card. I only use a debit card and a check I had deposited hadn't been released yet. And, upon check-in, The Palms charges you a bunch of fees. $22 per day for a resort fee. $100 per day deposit for incidentals (which you get back when you don't buy all of their overpriced stuff). A bunch of crap fees. Basically, on a $600 bill, they wanted to hold a $750+ deposit. And my $1,300 check hadn't cleared, leaving me a little short. :-/ It was almost 10 PM and I was exhausted and frustrated. I explained that I had paid the first night already, so couldn't I just stay the one night I paid for and come downstairs the next morning to fix everything? I know I probably sounded like an idiot loser, but I was not trying to screw anyone over. Anyway, the girl at the front desk was really sweet. It took probably half an hour to sort out for some reason, but she got my reservation split and I was finally able to get up to my room.
The room was just ok. Instead of the Expo rate for a regular room, I got The Palms' 50% off rate from their website. I was essentially paying the same price as the Expo rate but I got a nicer room (supposedly). I guess the huge hallway (wasted space) was the upgrade. The jet tub was nice, at least. I definitely took advantage of that. The room fridge was, of course, filled with all their crap that was on a scale so if you even picked it up to look at it, you were charged some astronomical price for it. Frustrating. I used the ice bucket to keep one bottle of water cold each day.
My meeting ended up being moved to Wednesday night, and it left me with an entire day of almost nothing important to do! So what did I do? I went to a day spa (Touch of Las Vegas Day Spa) and got a massage and pedicure. It was amazing. I felt like I got way more bang for my buck (and no, I don't mean I got a happy ending) since it wasn't a spa in the hotel. I think what bugged me most about The Palms' spa is that they added a $25 access fee just to walk through the doors and then required a 20% gratuity. It ain't GRATUITY if it's required. Just sayin'. My experience with the cabbie who drove me there was odd. When I told him where I was going, he responded with, F***, YOU SAID THAT TOO FAST. When I repeated the address, he said he didn't know where it was. I replied that it was less than a mile away, then I pulled it up on my GPS and gave him directions. That kind of irritated me. So, after my really relaxing pedicure and massage...I walked the mile back in the heat rather than deal with another cabbie.
That evening, after my meeting, I went to Fawnia's Pole Fitness Studio to take the Sacred Yoga Dance class with Jennifer. It was kind of like a tribal belly dance. I absolutely loved it. It's like we were viking warrior goddesses dancing around a fire in the woods instead of being in a dimly lit pole studio. I loved Jennifer and the other girls in class.
I was really sore from walking after a massage and then dancing...so the trips to the gift shop for over-priced Aleve began...
Thursday was another easy day. I got to sit by the pool and relax for a bit. Sunblock was like $16 (and since I was trying to get my suitcase on as a carry-on to avoid a $25 checked-bag charge, I avoided any "liquids" that weren't absolutely necessary -- but don't get me ranting about the whole "CHARGE WHAT YOU'RE GONNA CHARGE INSTEAD OF GOUGING ME LATER" thing). So I only made it about an hour before I had to go back inside. The pool was nice, although I didn't get all of their rules. I get why I can't bring a knife. I can even get why you don't want me to bring my Vitamin Water. But what I don't get is why I can't have my eye drops. Rita arrived that afternoon. She had another awesome crappy cabbie story. She was charged $35 for the trip. He took the long way (to compare, the trip back was under $20). I really don't like LV cabbies.
Friday, the madness began. I started the day off by taking the Fly Gym intro workshop. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT! Check out the link above...it was an amazing contraption. My body was in so much pain walking into that workshop and I left with much relief. I then walked Nadia Sharif over to the pole studio for her workshop and she kindly let me sit in to watch. There were about 17 poles in that studio and every single one was taken. I love watching Nadia work. She's a great teacher and an amazing pole dancer. I also videoed her twirls so I can learn them when I get home. I went back to The Palms to check on Annemarie and the United Pole Artists booth, since that was a big reason I was in Vegas. Next to her booth was Mechanics in Motion. They use a theory similar to my favorite KEITH back home. Since I did not have my Keith with me, I tried them out. It is nothing like seeing a chiropractor. The body manipulation is smooth and, although sometimes painful, very necessary. I left with my hip feeling even better.
Then the evening came. First off, I would like to say that I am not a nightclub girl. I don't like wearing heels. I don't drink much. I don't like being up super late. And I sure as hell do not like lines. I shared a cab with Laura of Spinny T Bags and KT Coates over to The Bank Nightclub in The Bellagio for Pole-A-Palooza. It was scheduled to begin at midnight, which already made me nervous since I knew Saturday was going to be a long day. But alas, this is Vegas and you're never supposed to sleep. I just wanted to video the performances. Anyway, we arrive at the club around midnight. We assume we were supposed to gain automatic entry via our Pole Expo bracelets. By chance, we see someone at one of the multiple lines, who pulls us in to join their group (THANK YOU!). They have some extra special pass that will get them in faster than the regular line. However, heels are REQUIRED. That cut a couple of people out of our group. Then IDs were required and that sent Laura and KT back to the hotel. Minutes later, after being given the up and down by a bouncer to approve my outfit, I was allowed in the club. I felt wholly under-dressed in my Hawaiian dress. One of the bouncers complimented my dress as I got to the top of the escalator. Now I wonder if he was being nice or making fun of me. Anyway, long story short, the club was packed and my feet hurt. Pole-A-Palooza started fairly late and was half amateurs and half pole stars. It didn't seem fair. The prize was supposed to be $5,000 for first place. They ultimately split it and Charlee Wagner took first and $3,500. Alethea Austin took second and $1,500. I should have videos up on YouTube later this week. I got back to the hotel around 2:30 AM. I fell asleep around 3:30.
Saturday was a clusterf*** from the minute I woke up. I didn't get up until around 10:00 AM and I woke in a panic when Annemarie called looking for her camera. I felt bad because I was supposed to be helping Annemarie at her booth. We were also trying to film some I Pole Because videos for The Pole Dancing Shop while we were there (but nailing people down and finding free time was really difficult). I also had the great luck of scoring a free workshop with Veena around noon on Saturday (While at Fawnia's studio Wednesday night, I heard her say that a man had bought six workshops for his girlfriend and she didn't come to Vegas...I offered to buy Veena's if they had it and Fawnia said he was giving them away...he just wanted a thanks, SO THANK YOU TO IAN!!!). I only found out at 10:30 PM the night before that I was supposed to start helping set up cameras for the live stream at noon but I was scheduled to take Veena's workshop at the same time. :-/ I was trying to fit too much into the day. I took a cab to Fawnia's (it's only about half a mile to walk but in the heat, and if you're running late, sometimes a cab is easier). The cabbie totally screwed me out of a bunch of money. The bill was $6. I gave him a $20. He handed me change and I gave him $2 for a tip. Turns out, he only handed me like $8 back, so when I handed him $2, I essentially ended up paying $14 for a $6 cab ride. Guy dicked me by handing me all one's. I thought a $5 bill was in there. Ugh. Seriously, next time, I'll rent a car! Anyway, the Veena workshop was a beginner/fundamentals workshop and I loved it. It was simple and she broke things down really well. We did a great warm-up and some strength training. Then she taught us a short routine that is easy to remember. Well, it would have been easy had Saturday night not fried my brain so much. lol.
Anyway, I left that workshop, hurried back to the hotel to shower and jumped straight out of the frying pan and into the fire (thank you to Veena for the ride...I was going to walk to avoid another cab nightmare). I got into the Rain Nightclub around 2:30 PM to help set up cameras for the live stream of the competition and showcase. I helped lay wire (seemed like MILES of wire). I sat around and tried to be helpful even though I didn't feel like I was doing much. I picked up food so everyone could eat. Around 5 or 5:30 PM, I was given the task of pulling everyone's music on to one thumb drive. Sounds simple enough. Imagine me with two laptops (one a Mac, which I had to ask Rita to help me with), pulling my hair out as I tried to pull together the songs for the competition starting in less than two hours. Once I had everything off of Fawnia's and Annemarie's laptops, then the fun began. Thumb drives, CDs, and pure panic as one file is corrupt and the performer didn't have a copy on her phone. I ran up and down stairs 50 times trying to find some performers and their music. I don't think I had the music finalized until well over an hour into the event. So I missed the Pole Life Documentary (in which Rita and I had a part!!!!) and most of the girls competing (congrats to Poletential's Tiffany Rose for taking second place!). The boys in the competition did such a great job, though! Keep an eye on UPA's website for video!
After the show, break down began. Everyone who was there for the show was ushered out (so that they could get back in line to come in for the after-party). We helped roll wires (again, not very well...sorry guys!). What an amazing team between Annemarie's live stream team (Brandon, Sam, Shawn, Vinny of Mighty Grip), the club's DJ (Joe) and Fawnia's coordinator (Steph). I met so many great people who made this whole thing happen. I know I'm missing a lot of people and I am sorry for that (and if I messed up names)!! We followed Annemarie up to the Barbie Suite to say hi to the Bad Kitty team, then we headed back to our room. In order to save money, I stupidly scheduled myself back on the 7 AM flight on Sunday. Rita and I got to bed around 12:30 AM and had to get up at 4:30 AM to go home. It was funny to see how many people were still up and partying. It was pretty brutal and yesterday, I took a nap, then laid around the house still exhausted the rest of the day.
I really want to thank Annemarie of United Pole Artists for having me out to help this weekend. I also met so many new friends, fans of my blog, and other great people who made the weekend possible. I hope to run into everyone again and hope we are all friends on Facebook. I'm sorry for all of the people I know were there somewhere but never crossed paths with. Next year, I learned a lesson. Schedule the relaxing days off AFTER the Expo, not before (and sorry this still ended up being so long!). ;-) See you next year!
|On the big screen for the Pole Life documentary|
|Spinny T Bags herself!!|