Sunday, March 21, 2010

Las Vegas, The City Where I Sleep

I'd like to thank two very important people. Make that three!

First, to my wife, who suprised me with a Trip to Las Vegas for my Christmas Gift.
Second, to our friend John B. who generously gave his us his timeshare for the week.
Third, to my mom, who moved into our home to stay with our two girls. Actually, two human girls, two canine girls and one male cat. During a flood, GO MOM!

I want to provide a few thoughts on the week. I have not been reimbursed by the Nevada Tourism Commission for these thoughts. And the way business is going, they don't need me to.

We had a delightful time in Las Vegas. I think everyone should go to Vegas at least once in their life. If it is indeed America's playground, you should see how many American's play. Remember, people watching is still the greatest free entertainment going.

I found it interesting that the airport is in the middle of the city, and I believe that is due to the vast expansion experienced in recent decades.

Vegas is a city that is surrounded by mountains. It is simply beautiful to look around the strip and see these mountains.

The casinos are a unique experience. Each one having thousands of gaming machines, with millions of dollars placed into those machines. Each casino also having a theme, with most having a mix of free exhibits along with paid attractions. Two experiences that were definitely worth their money were the gondola ride at the Venetian and the Shark Reef exhibit at Mandalay Bay.

My five favorite casinos were
  1. New York, New York. The view from the outside is stunning, and the inside streets with shops was really cool.
  2. the Venetian. I loved the canals and the architecture.
  3. Mandalay Bay, a stunning monstrosity of a place.
  4. The Belagio, with its world famous fountains.
  5. Paris Las Vegas, with its half sized Eiffel Tower and beautiful architecture.

The only casino I found disappointing was the Excalibur. A middle ages theme was a great idea, but they did not continue the theme inside the building to the extent that they could have.

The first casino we went in was the Tropicana. Compared to the others, it wasn't as elaborate, but it was definitely the feel or picture that most people have of a casino. Perhaps, casino classic?

We loved people watching, walking the strip, taking pictures, seeing what was next on the Strip, shopping, site-seeing and having a good time.

We gambled about $14. I was shocked that I didn't come home a millionaire. What happened, Vegas?

I have two final thoughts on this post.

We stayed on the south end of the strip, at the Grandview, which was a beautiful place to stay. They built the South Bay casino next to it. The southern end of the strip seems to be the next big thing. I want to go back in 20 years to see how much it develops. It was really fun to be in Las Vegas during March Madness. There must have been 500 people watching basketball in South Bay, cheering and groaning during the games. What a fun time.

Second, we have completely adopted our children's schedules. We were up at 6am and in bed by 8 or 9 each night, so we did most of our site seeing during the day, followed by quiet dinners and post-dinner walks on the south end of town. We woke up at 3:30 am to catch our plane, and driving down Las Vegas Boulevard, we saw the city skyline lit up in its nightly glory for the first time on our trip. Boring? No, we had a great time. To me, New York will always be the city that never sleeps. Las Vegas, a great place to vacation, and when a young parent, see sites AND get some rest.

Thanks Aurie, John and Mom!

My next post will comment on our day trips outside Las Vegas to the beautiful Valley of Fire State Park and Hoover Dam.

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