Las Vegas, January 2011
I love opportunistic travel-travel to somewhere because someone else will be there. We took this trip becuase my cousin Brenda was in Vegas for work, so E-- and I joined her for the weekend-woo hoo! Now, the only thing about visiting Vegas is that we don't really gamble. I can play a little slots, but not for long. I'm too cheap and it doesn't thrill me at all. So what to do? Turns out there are PLENTY of things to do in Vegas other than gamble, some are even free!
We arrive just before lunch on Friday and meet at our hotel. I love staying on the strip in the fancy hotels, but am always looking for something different and/or cheaper. I stumbled across The Platinum which is just a block behind Bally's and is completely non-smoking. I really liked the peace and quite of being off the strip and the size of the suite was so huge we all had plenty of space to spread out. Having spread out, we went in search of food and ended up at the buffet at Paris. All the buffets have too much food so you really can't go wrong unless you want something specific. The Paris buffet has a crepe station of course, and a wide selection of cheese, so that is lovely, and we end up stuffed-not really a surprise.
We are thinking about getting tickets to the Blue Man Group, which is up at the Venetian, so we head up the strip. On the way though we get sidetracked-in a good way! First there is a a photo shoot that we stop to figure out...turns out the Miss America pageant is this weekend. Huh! Who knew? But it adds some possibilities to the weekend. As we are walking past Bally's we see a Storm Trooper and Superman and Batman and Bumblebee. For a dollar, you can get your picture taken with one of them. So this is actually pretty entertaining to people watch. Who passes by without seeing them, who does a double take, and who gets their picture taken. Bumblebee is clearly the most popular and Batman gets no love at all except if he is invited into the photo with Superman.
Once we are in the Venetian we see the Chinese New Year display. Generally it is lovely, but there is a 20-foot rabbit that is trying to be realistic with its brown fur and moving parts and it is just a little creepy. And even though we are still stuffed from the buffet I can't resist the gelatto because they have cinnamon, which I mix with caramel and it is quite nice. Now we practically have to waddle north to the Wynn. I haven't been there before and hear they have some fancy water thing. You can see it if you check out the satellite view on Google Maps. It is national parks ('forest' and 'waterfall') meets Greece (classical statues) and the light show part of it happens at night, so we will miss that. But you can sit at one of the outdoor bars and have drinks and feel very relaxed by the sound of rushing waterfalls. You just have to ignore that you are under the flight path to McCarren and get to hear a plane land, oh, every 5 minutes. Actually if you are appropriately drunk that is totally possible.
We still have time before the show so we wander over to Treasure Island and get alcoholic slushies-just look out for a brain freeze! They have some cool stuff on display, a sculpture that is part motorcycle part woman and old carved ivory tusks that are so intricate the carvings had to be done over generations. Can you imagine seeing your dad carving this tusk knowing that you are going to have to continue working on and you won't be done so you'll have to pass it on to your kids-wow, that is some dedication to the piece! And now we realize we may as well hang out until the show starts. Now, it's been a decade since I saw the show and I basically remember there was some sort of pirate battle (duh, it's called Treasure Island). They have 'sexed' it up...I guess. The one ship is pirates, the other is sirens (female obviously) and they have a bit of a battle. That includes singing and dancing and clothes removal. The only advice I have is if you want to see the guys, stand near the street, if you want to see the gals, stand near the casino.
We make it back to the Venetian and our Blue Man show. So if you have seen it, you already know. And if you haven't...it's super hard to explain. It is part musical, part comedy, part cultural commentary, and all performance art. I really enjoyed it and the family behind us did too. Turns out that was a long day, so even though the night is young for Vegas, we head back to our place and crash pretty quickly, and a good thing too because tomorrow will be a busy day!