Sunday, January 28, 2007

WOW!! Las Vegas!

Our trip to Las Vegas was a different experience than we have ever known. I attended a business conference which was very informative and we combined some vacation days in order to see our niece and see the city.
What possibly can set Las Vegas apart from our other travels?

The good stuff:
We visited with niece Christina and her DH Aaron. We had not seen her in over 10 years! She is Bro #1's daughter. Her husband is handsome, thoughtful, humble, really sweet (did I say cute too? - I guess that may embarrass him!). Dear Niece is doing very well, travels back to her home city of SLC frequently and has always written letters to us and sends pictures. She had sinus surgery the week before we arrived so we didn't take as many pictures as we would have liked. They love to travel too so have had a very good life - and you can tell she loves her In-Laws too. It was good to meet her husband for the first time. We so wish we lived closer to family - why are we spread all over the country? We will have to remind sister Mia about a family reunion someday soon.

Walking: We walked everywhere. Reminded us of some areas of Europe where you can people watch for hours and explore buildings, towns and the "land". Not much history in Las Vegas but they make up for it in sheer number of hotel resorts, each with unique architecture, large casinos, theaters, shops and free entertainment. Walk through four or five of these and you have had a full day of fun and exercise. We loved the sidewalk show of music and "dancing" water fountain at the Bellagio - free - just stop walking and enjoy the huge display and roaring sound of water in motion. And where else can you see two Elvises hamming it up outside the Harley Davidson Cafe?

Great food: It does cost alot and we wondered if we were really getting a good value for our hard earned money, but you cannot get a bad meal in this town. However, the day of cheap food is a thing of the past.

Friendly: Everyone is friendly. All employees of a hotel or business have been to charm school. As tourists, we were greeted with old fashion "I am here to welcome you and help you". From Taxi cab drivers, the Harley Davidson retail store clerk, door-persons, wait staff, desk clerks (not sure of any new title for these people?) and the cleaning people.

Clean: The city is very clean - every morning, there were people walking the streets picking up trash - bottles, drink cups and advertising flyers. The sidewalks were perfectly clean each day.
It is winter there and the landscaping is fancy, fancy and more fancy! We walked through indoor and outdoor gardens that would put North-East Florida to shame.

Ready for the bad?
Crowds: Unbelievably crowded. Everywhere you go, plan on bumping into people, literally. They are all going somewhere, coming from somewhere and cruising the hotels and streets. Crowds at the airport, crowds at hotel lobbies (who ever saw so many people checking IN and OUT all day long).

Buildings: The older resorts look really old and dirty. Some are being torn down to make way for the "newer, larger and better". Low ceilings, dirty rugs and dingy. Our favorite places were also the newest - The Bellagio and The Venetian.

Money: You need money and lots of it! Don't be shy about spending and gambling. Food costs alot - no free buffets in this town - upgraded image with celebrity chefs everywhere. Join a gambling "players club" and spend the big bucks entertaining yourself! The rooms can be had for under $100 a night if you can put up with dingy and crowded.

Smoking! There is smoke everywhere and this place has a clean air indoor act - guess what is exempted? Yep, the casinos! Smell the smoke and smell like the smoke! We had not experienced this in a very long time as Florida is all smoke free except the outdoors and some of those areas are restricted!

Street Walkers: No, not the kind in sexy push ups and legs to the sky. I am talking about the short fat men roaming the street trying to shove "ladies for hire" advertisements into your hands. They get close to your body as you walk past them, they click the papers they are holding to get you to look at them and then start asking you how and when you want your lady for hire. Even though we passed by many of them quickly, arm in arm, they still tried to get DH's attention. Very annoying and intrusive - but hey - the sidewalks are public areas. Some of these advertisements had pictorials of the "goods" (ladies) and some men were collecting as many as possible - maybe for future pin-ups in their dorm room?

Sleep: When does anyone sleep? We arrived at our hotel and settled in about 10 p.m. Nevada time (1 a.m. Florida time) and were in bed sleeping about 4 a.m. Florida time. We could have wandered and stared and gawked for hours more. We were sleep deprived the whole time. You can hear the drunks having a hoot and slamming their hotel doors at all hours. The quietest time seemed to be from 10 a.m. until about 2 p.m. That's when the gaming tables lowered their minimums in order to attract the less risky crowd. Our skin dried and cracked due to no humidity and our mental time clock was way out of kilter. Other vacations we seemed to adjust better - maybe we are just older or maybe there is something about Las Vegas? This may not forebode well for our China trip!

Did I say we loved the Bellagio? The inside gardens celebrating the Chinese New Year was a pleasant surprise for us - and more meaningful during our long wait. The restaurant - the Olives - is where we had dinner with DN and her Hubby. The food and wine was delicious. Did I mention the amazing outside water fountain show? Yep, it would be our choice when we go back to Vegas! And, since we "did" Vegas together, what happened in Vegas, stayed together with us.

More on the pleasant activities about our trip in another post.....


Joannah said...

Looks like a great trip!

Okay, I'm about as square as they come, but I love Las Vegas! I've stayed at Paris Las Vegas and the MGM, which are both very nice. But my favorite hotels to walk through are the Bellagio, the Venetian (my cousin works there), and Mandalay Bay. I just love to have two or three days to shop, eat, and sit out by the pool.

Viva Las Vegas!!!

tracy said...

We just went to Tunica, MS to the casinos and the same thing bugged the daylights out of me coming from Florida....the SMOKE! I felt like a teenager bar hopping again, it was just smoke overload for my delicate system.

Melissa said...

Are you two in matching LL Bean jackets?? How cute! Love ya!
MC from ME

Colleen said...

That is a fun trip - but no more than 3-4 days for me! GOOD FOOD - but not cheap. Love the shopping.

Cannot stand walking around with those card flicker people. So annoying. Its a nice trip but only maybe once every oh - 10 years? I'm a Disney girl!