Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Trip to Las Vegas

I was able to recover *just* in time for my trip to sunny Las Vegas. This was thanks to two days of lazing around in bed, dozing off whenever I needed it. My mother also made some of her magical Chinese herbal brew, which may or may not have helped. Either way, it probably gave me a good dose of healthful vitamins.

We drove down to Bellingham from Vancouver to catch an Allegiant Air plane ride. I was surprised to discover that the Bellingham airport is very tiny - you actually walk out the door, run through the rain, and climb a set of stairs to board the plane! Amazing!

My seat mate commented on how he would be glad to leave the dreary rain behind for the desert sun of Las Vegas. He was a seasoned visitor to Vegas and was itching to get there in a hurry. Him and his father LOVED to gamble, and he said that they planned to spend 12-14 hours a day doing nothing but. From our seat by the plane wing, I was so suprised to see the desert sands. I'm used to seeing trees and grass. This was quite a change.
One of our activities in Vegas included a trip to the top of the half-scale Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel. You can see the whole Vegas strip from there. It costs $10 per person to go to the top, but we found a coupon for buy one get one free. You can find coupons for many attractions in Vegas, so keep an eye out for them in the local papers, tourist booklets, and the half-price ticket outlets.
You can also see the Bellagio fountains really well from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but it doesn't really compare to standing directly in front of them because then you can hear the music better and see the layering from the view it was meant to be seen from.
One of our favourite shows was our first one - Tournament of Kings. It's a dinner-included show with a whole chicken, a giant broccolli floret, potato wedges, and a dinner bun. It also comes with "Dragon's Blood Soup" (last night's loser) - which is actually a tasty herbed tomato cream soup- and unlimited Pepsi. The food was fun to eat since you have to use your hands, and the show was very entertaining. I loved how interactive it was.
Other shows that made my eyes bug out of my head were the Cirque du Soleil Shows KA, and Mystere. They were UNBELIEVABLE. If I ever go back to Vegas, I'm going to do nothing but shows. I'll be broke, but it will be worth every second. It's just unreal how the theatres have been built specifically for each show. You're really part of the action, and the acrobats are right above your head!

Phantom of the Opera is another show that really impressed me.
My favourite hotel was Bellagio. They have a beautiful entry way with glass artwork by Dale Chihuly, and it leads to a giant indoor garden that is really very bright and beautiful.
There is also a butterfly garden in the middle, which I loved staring into to see the giant butterflies.
See the lovely, colourful poppies? I loved those the most. They are so pretty.
At night, Vegas is all neon light. It looks pretty cool and you feel calmer walking along the streets because it's cooler. Because it's still Spring right now, it's not actually that hot in Vegas even during the day. You can wear short sleeves and jeans just fine. At night, you will need a light jacket as it does get chilly, especially when the winds are blowing. It can get pretty windy!!!

One day, we went to the Hoover Dam! It's one of the seven wonders of the industrial world. Did you know that it's made of solid concrete and that it was finished 2 years ahead of time and UNDER budget? How often do we hear that nowadays? In order to cool the concrete in time, they created a web of piping for cold water all throughout the structure. Workers were only paid $4 per day for all their life-threatening work.
Check out the cool bridge being built nearby the Hoover Dam!
With all those fun activities, it was still hard to ignore the "darker" side of Las Vegas. The streets are lined with people in bright coloured T-shirts that say, "Girls Direct To You". They aren't allowed to directly sell the prostitutes to you verbally, so they simply stand with stacks of naked lady cards holding them out to you, and snapping the cards together to make a sound to catch your attention. People that take the cards mostly drop them as they are walking, so the streets are covered with pictures of naked ladies. It is very unsightly, and children that look down point and say, "Ewww!" One odd lady, pointed it out to her child and said, "Look, boobies!" which I found very peculiar. I would say that Vegas is not a good place to bring children.

Our hotel (Excaliber) was also surprisingly dirty. When we arrived to drop off our luggage, we discovered white stains on the upholstered furniture and curtains, and sunflower seeds on the bed. I almost turned around to go home right that moment since it was so disgusting. We called down to front desk and requested a room change. Thankfully, the next room was comparatively clean and stain-free. In order to maintain this cleanliness, we had to tip the cleaning lady $2 per day. In Vegas, tipping for almost everything is expected. It's an unsettling situation since, in Vancouver, we expect that the room will be clean whether we tip or not in advance.

Being someone who doesn't gamble, drink, go clubbing, or smoke, Vegas was not a pleasant place to be. There is smoking, drinking, and gambling going on at all times in the casinos, and you have to go through the casino if you want to go to the different attractions. The casinos are also huge, so there is far more walking involved than anything else. Our feet were aching every night despite wearing proper running shoes with excellent cushioning and support.

After 3.5 days in Vegas, I was ready to go home. I didn't feel bad leaving Vegas, and I don't miss it now that I'm back home. I'm actually delighted by the phrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" because I wouldn't want that environment at home. It's a peculiar feeling after a vacation since I missed Disneyland sorely when I got home and could hardly bear to leave it. My co-workers LOVE Vegas, and they talk about it all the time, but I guess Vegas isn't for everybody.

I'm still glad I went, since the shows are spectacular and I liked the Hoover Dam and being able to check Vegas off my list of places I'd like to visit. It was a good eye-opening experience for me.

For the trip home, my Sweetie stopped off at a sweet shop to buy me some gummies. He also got some chocolate, chips, and water. I was happy to munch on these goodies as we said goodbye to Las Vegas.
Ah, home sweet home! Now it's back to work and "real life". Secretly, I'm already thinking about my next vacation. I wonder where I should go and what I will see?

Have a good weekend!


Lucky Pebble said...

I can't believe your first room was so dirty! Ah well. Great pictures. You know, Hawaii is quite nice. Just a heads up for a possible future vacation point. ;)

Audrey said...

Great pics!! Sounds like you have a great time. We would love to get to Vegas some day - maybe once the kids are gone.

Anonymous said...

Great pics! Vegas is trying to promote themselves as a family vacation spot - which I really just don't get...
Some people love it, some hate it but everyone says it's amazing, either way.
Wonderful travel report, thanks for sharing it:)

madison house designs said...

Ahh... Vegas! My absolute favorite vacation spot!

I'm glad to hear you went to a couple Cirque shows. They are incredible and, as you mentioned, worth every penny. I feel like even folks who don't gamble can find much to do. Sorry to hear your first room wasn't up to par. That is not the norm out there...

Vegas hasn't actually marketed itself as a family destination since the 90's. I'm not sure why people even consider bringing their kids along, and anytime you see them, they are generally miserable because there isn't much for them to do there.

esque said...

Sounds like you overall had a great stay there in LV! I love the Cirque shows too; they are breathtaking!


b.p. said...

hey mur! lovely pics :) yours certainly gave a different perspective than mine because most of mine were night shots.

where did you find that sign? I didn't know where to look for the welcome to nevada sign and wanted to take a pic of it last time!

i completely agree with some of your comments, but glad you had a good time anyway!

Meekiyu said...

Those pictures bring back memories... I was in the same boat as you I didn't like to drink, smoke or gamble but the shows and entertainment was fantastic. The Bellagio water shows are great to see at night... we saw the one to elton john's "your song" one of my girlfriends tried to get those "stripper cards" but they refused to give it to her... hmm... =P

Anonymous said...

It looks like a wonderful trip!! I especially love the garden photos! I'll have to go someday!

Jen said...

My husband was born and raised in Las Vegas. We actually lived there for the first 3 years of our marriage (and had our first baby). I never imagined that people actually lived there...and it was pretty nice. I wouldn't move back there, but it was fun while it lasted. :0)