Well now that the turkey has been put away into the drawer for another year, I have time to write about my trip to Las Vegas. In short, it was a great trip.
I had a pleasant flight into McCarran International. Just two and a half hours and you’re in Vegas! Incidently, if you live in Vancouver and you fly in and out with Alaska, the departure/arrival gate will be D26, the exact same one where they filmed the end of Ocean’s Thirteen.
Anyways, I’ll sum up my trip with a few observations.
First, if you’re going to Vegas in December, don’t expect the weather to be hot. At night, it can be frightfully cold when the wind is blowing and the mercury will dip to near freezing quite easily. In the daytime, if there is no wind and you’re in directly in the sun, you might be able to get away without a jacket.
Going to Vegas the week before Christmas can be both a blessing and a curse. That week is traditionally one of the slowest and less busy weeks of the year for Sin City. As such, you can expect hotels to be much cheaper, flights less crowded, and Vegas itself to less bustling. It’s a great time to see everything without swimming in a sea of people everywhere you go.
On the other hand, since there are so many less people in Vegas that week, several clubs/shows/venues/restaurants decide to shut down until after Christmas. For example, we were dismayed to find out that The Pussycat Dolls Lounge was closed the entire time we were there. Don’t let that discourage you though, because a lot of stuff is still happening and we caught some excellent shows (to be described in a separate post) and didn’t have time to see everything we wanted to see.
The first time I went to Vegas in 1999, the Strip had become this new destination for families. Vegas had become family-friendly with roller coasters and other kiddie attractions. I am happy to report that while some of that still exists, Vegas is now decidedly for the more adult crowd. I don’t think I’ve seen so many beautiful and scantily clad go-go dancers in a casino. Some of them are in the bars, the Heart Bar in Planet Hollywood being one or they’re just dancing next to the blackjack and roulette tables. By the end of the trip, I just thought this how women normally dressed.
I actually think I may have lost weight during the trip. We did a ton of walking in Vegas and only near the end of the trip did we start taking cabs after fatigue started setting in. The Strip is deceptively long and a hotel that seems quite close is actually several long blocks away. We also didn’t eat a lot of food as one might expect while in Vegas. Adam, Phil, and I partook in several breakfast buffets, one lunch buffet but no dinner ones. The dinner buffets can garner hours long lineups. On Saturday, Tyson told us the dinner buffet lineup at the Wynn was four hours long. All told, we ate quite reasonably and one night, after drinking, I actually ordered a delicious wild berry salad. The combination of raspberries, goat cheese, and candied almonds made for a delightful end to the evening.
The Monte Carlo, which was the hotel I stayed in, was adequate. The lobby is nice but the whole hotel and casino won’t impress you too much. Having said that, it’s certainly not a rundown joint that leaves you wishing you booked elsewhere. The “Monty”, as I call it, will satisfy your needs but it won’t wow you, thus describing several of my ex-wives. The worst hotel I saw by far was the Excalibur. Sure it’s better than a Motel 6 off the Strip but as far as the major themed hotels go, it’s seen better days. The medieval theme hasn’t aged well and parts of the hotel/casino look downright dirty. The most impressive property I saw was the Wynn. The decor is classy and I was awestruck by the quality and style of everything inside. If money were no problem, I’d stay there without a second thought. If you’re ever in Vegas, do try to take a look yourself.
The trip also contained a few “seconds” for me. I visited my second Hawaiian Tropic Zone in Vegas. Since there are only two in the entire planet, I sleep easier every night now. I also visited my second Coyote Ugly while on the trip. As long as you understand each Coyote Ugly is kinda overrated and that they “manufacture” fun by begging girls to dance on the bar, then you’ll have a good time. In fact I had a great time at the Vegas CU, mostly because of alcohol but that’s ok. By the way, my first CU was the one in New Orleans where I drank with Andy, a fur salesman from Dallas that I met that night. Does anyone remember that?
Last but not least, because this post is getting stupid long, I did not have my camera with me on this trip, so there will be no pictures. Phil had his camera but I don’t know how many pictures he’ll have.
And that’s your report.