Viva Las Vegas!
My stepdaughter, Ellen, is here visiting from Australia. We wanted to show her more of the USA this time around, so I arranged for a little trip to Las Vegas! Dates worked out good for Greg, there was some stock trading expo on at the same, so we booked a room at Paris, where the expo was to be held, and everyone was happy. I’ve been to Vegas many times – when I was a student at UCLA we used to drive and stay at a bargain hotel and it was a cheap vacation given the $2 all-you-can-eat buffets and all. Over the years Vegas has certainly grown, and changed its image to a much more upscale, and believe it or not, family friendly venue. Paris was a great place to stay. Price-wise it was probably about middle of the road, about $110 a night per room. But the rooms were beautiful. It’s a pretty new hotel, and everything was nice, clean, and classy rather than tacky. Some of the theme hotels are pretty over-the-top, but Paris was more charming than ostentatious. The restaurants we ate in were good and reasonably priced. We did have one dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant, which I’d say was leaning towards the exhorbitant end of the price range, but the food was fabulous so it was worth the treat. More in my comfort zone is the little crepe cafe where for six bucks I had an apple crepe big enough to feed two people and it was warm and sweet and just yummy! We also took the Eiffel Tower tour, basically just an elevator ride up to the 50th “floor” where you have a 360 degree view of Las Vegas. It’s probably more spectacular at night with all the lights blazing. The first day Ellen and I walked over to the Forum Shops, browsed the stores, and watched the Atlantis show where the statues come to life. Ellen’s favorite part was the new car store they’ve got there – Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Hummers – all kinds of exotic cars on display. She loved it, and took tons of photos. We got a photo of us sitting in a yellow Ferrari, too – it’s one of those things where there’s a green screen and you choose the background – we chose the Las Vegas night background so it looks like we’re cruising the strip. Then we headed over to the Mirage – saw the Secret Garden and all the beautiful animals – the dolphins and all that. We had lunch at the Caribe Cafe and played Keno – 3 games, lost them all. Then back to Paris for Ellen’s first massage ever! I had requested a female masseuse, and she ended up with Chad, a guy, but was a good enough sport to just go with it. Turns out he was really nice – and she loved the hot stone massage. I had the frangipani wrap. Sounds better than it was. My masseuse seemed to just kind of slap through the motions and I didn’t feel I was getting thoroughly slathered. But the 20 minutes of meditation was heavenly – just what I needed after a hectic day and miles of ground covered by foot! That night we headed over to the Venetian, another beautiful hotel, ate dinner at a Chinese restaurant there and then sat in the second row to see The Blue Man Group. We had to wear ponchos, but they were really unnecessary. The show was great, but if I had it to do over again I would have gotten seats a little further back to get a better overall view of the stage. We laughed a lot – it’s really an original, fresh, and very cool show. Then the next day Greg traipsed around with us to see New York New York – Ellen and I took the $12.50 roller coaster ride – that’s $12.50 EACH – and it’s not worth it. It’s a good ride, but I’d say it’s a $5 ride at best. We had lunch at the Italian restaurant there – very good. Then proceeded over to the MGM, where they’re doing major construction – and over to the Mandalay Bay – another pretty, and huge, hotel. There we visited Shark Reef – a really nice aquarium. We were exhausted from all the walking. Oh, somewhere in between there we went to M & M world and Coke World, too – and saw an Elvis impersonator on the street. There’s too much cigarette smoke in Las Vegas. And it’s really cold in the winter and really hot in the summer. Other than that, it’s a pretty fun place to visit!