Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Las Vegas

The one and only previous time I had been to Las Vegas was at least 25 years ago. Of course, thanks to several TV shows, I kind of knew the city has changed a bit. When I was there in the ‘70s I stayed at the Flamingo, across the Strip from Caesar's Palace. The Sands and the Tropicana were among the other big hotels, and they were all, except for Circus-Circus, basically hotels with casinos and show rooms. The thematic palaces, which I guess started with Circus-Circus, were not in evidence at all.

The thematic hotels are really spectacular. DSC_0119 The Paris, complete with the Eiffel Tower and the Arch D’Triumphe (or however it’s spelled), captures the architecture of Paris. But what was really amazing was the fact that they managed to duplicate Paris traffic as well. The Strip, Las Vegas Boulevard,   has as much traffic as any big city. I think the Strip is a couple of miles long, and it took as about an hour to drive the length of it.


We managed to visit a bunch of the big hotels, and without a doubt, the Bellagio is one of  the classiest. The day we visited they had just opened an exhibit honoring the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Tiger. The landscaped display in the atrium was quite beautiful. The hotel is the home of the Cirque d’Soliel show “O,” and we managed to get tickets. Great show, and Cirque has about half-a-dozen different shows at different hotels running simultaneously. I don’t know where they find all of those incredible acrobats for Vegas and the Cirque road shows.

And one more thing about the Bellagio – the cafe there freezes tea ice cubes especially for iced tea. So when the cubes melt, the tea doesn’t get watery. Is that cool or what?

The Venetian is another classy place DSC_0122complete with an indoor grand canal and gondolas. I had seen pictures of the Venetian and always thought the canals were outdoors. Actually, the grand canal is the center piece of a big indoor shopping mall, but I didn’t see a Foot Locker or Kay Jewelers in the place. This is a mall strictly for high rollers.DSC_0126

The Venetian also has some beautiful public areas modeled after the great palaces of Italy. The other cool thing about all of the casinos we visited – 1 cent and 2 cent slot machines. Just our speed. You can’t put in anything less than $1, but you can actually bet one or two cents, and cash out for the balance. I guess we lost about $20 in total. That didn’t qualify us as high rollers.


The Luxor has an Egyptian theme, and other than that it reminded me of the Atlantic City casinos. Currently the Luxor has the travelling Titanic artifact exhibit (which has nothing to do with Egypt) which was worth seeing, especially the “Big Piece” which is a huge section of the Titanic’s hull, complete with portholes. There was a TV special about it’s recovery a few years ago. There are also personal effects of passengers and other ship paraphernalia recovered from the wreck. I’ve always been quite interested in the Titanic story since it sunk on my birthday (years earlier, thank you) which is also income tax day and the day Lincoln died. I don’t know what that means, but there it is.


Blogger jettybeach said...

Wow, have you seen some spectacular sites! Condors, pandas, koalas, oh my! Really enjoyed your pictures. Sure makes us get wanderlust. Since you didn't mention your tire episode any further, assume the trailer was good to go after that. Are you making your way back at this point?

6:57 PM  

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