September 19 and 20, 2010

With Paul and Gretchen at their timeshare in VEGAS, Baby.
We went to a comedy show that made us LOL in that unmistakably Vegas Lounge Act sort of way.
The next day we visited the new-to-me Vegas CityCenter.

Lookie here what they've got. Another Claes Oldenburg Typewriter Eraser just like this one in Seattle!

He's the same guy who did the Cherry on a Spoon in Minneapolis. And another one of my favorites, the Shuttlecocks in Kansas City!
It's a huge complex, CityCenter, with several Vegas scale water features...
...fancy hotels...
...unique architectural efforts...
...and Shopping. This is from a large Chihuly store and there were plenty more opportunities to spend all that cash you just cleared at the craps table.

Unitl next time!
October 25, 2009

Here we are, Sharon and I, on our little balcony in our little rented time-share one bedroom apartment at the Desert Rose Resort two blocks off the Las Vegas strip.

That's our view. omg Yes, it's hard to read, but yes, it's Hooters.
We decided to explore the casino-hotels on our corner. It took four hours to make the rounds. These places are BIG.

First, Mandalay Bay at the farthest south end of the strip and best known for its 'beach' with a huge wave pool, a huge river you can float around, a huge play pool for the kids, a huge actual swimming pool. It's huge.

The restaurant floors were quite grand too, and flooded by tech conventioneers.
Connected to Mandalay Bay is THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. We are standing in front of the mirrors in THECafe. Down the hall is THEShop. It was tres-chic despite that all the glowing pillars were made of plastic.
This is our mystery building for now...we like the optical illusion and hope to identify it later.
Luxor. The tippy-top has a beacon that pierces the night sky.
Inside is this giant volume left open, which is surprising. Those are actually hotel rooms you see along the sloping walls.
Next, Excalibur. It's Disneyland outside and a jumble of disconnected spaces inside.
And New York New York where we enjoyed a visit to one of Paul and Gretchen's favorite haunts, the duel-piano lounge for some lively entertainment.

This is a shot from one of the many bridges that connect the properties on this corner. MGM is on the corner too, to the right in this photo, but that will be for another day.
And back home to our quiet little three story refuge for a quiet evening of falling right to sleep.
October 26

Brigitte gave us three day monorail passes so we kicked them off today. Very Cool!
Gotta love Caesar's Palace. We decided the casino is holding up well and that the Expanded! Extravaganza! of shopping was done pretty well too. They've really managed to keep the theme throughout and it seems that those are the places (unlike Excalibur for example) that are most entertaining.
Venetian is another example of a place that keeps its character.

We were very high on the Venetian but they had pumped in some kind of smell - maybe they thought it was 'clean clothes' or some such, that was so overpowering we had to knock the hotel off our list of places to stay.
This is a chandelier at Harrah's. You don't really need to go there except it is connected to one of the monorail stations.

Look up, we are reflected in every globe. Oh cute we are.
After a little rest (shoes off! feet up!) we went downtown for the Fremont Experience. Sharon hadn't been downtown since it was a dirty, scary place. Now the main tourist area is jazzed up enough to make everyone feel welcome for at least a short visit.

They've got the streets shut off to cars and covered in this tunnel-like thing...
...where at night they display these light shows. It's kind'a fun, something to see if you never have, but still you'll probably stay on the strip.
And then there's this, where we didn't go. Good night!
October 27

Sharon had never been to the Valley of Fire State Park. OK then, Let's GO!
It's about an hour outside Vegas and a natural wonder for sure.
Gorgeous. But we had wind with, according to the news, 60 mile per hour gusts and the trucks were even pulled up along the edge of the highway waiting for the winds to abate.

Meaning we didn't get out of the car much because first we could hardly get the doors open and once we did, it was a battle to get out before the doors slammed upon our puny, weak, and exposed shin bones. Ouch.

And then our hairs stood right up straight out of our heads. A photo opportunity missed.
Bye, until next time.
We came back to rest for a while before out Big Night Out. Sharon's son got us front-and-center tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show KA at the MGM Grand.

There were no photos allowed (of course) but before the show started I grabbed this shot of the theater (of course).
The next two I put together from pictures off the Cirque du Soleil website.

It was FanTAStic, full of drama and all the moves for which Cirque is so well known.
My favorite bits were 1) the shadow hand puppets 2) the love duet in the air and 3) the baton twirler's big routine (that's her in the picture above).

The guy in this picture was the star performer I think although not the star of the narrative, still he had the most stunning solos.

TOO Fun!
October 28

Our last morning walk took us through MGM just in time for some serious lion viewing opportunities. There's a long story about them - they don't live here, they only 'work' 5-6 hours per day once or twice a week, they are hand raised, etc. etc.

They are people magnets.
Too bad I wasn't ready for this sudden and momentary appearance right in my face and the picture is too blurry but I'm using it anyway.
They seem to like to hang out up here. No one is making them go, they just do and really, it's...
...really, AWEsome.

Then we walked on. I should say that it was first thing in the morning and I was already waaay done with the smoke. My eyes itched and my throat hurt. But I did make it pretty much ok for 2 days. There's no smoking now in the restaurants which is a big help.
Paris. It was weird inside because they tried to make you think the casino was built around the tower, with the tower legs showing in the casino.
Our destination was the Flamingo where Sharon had stayed in 1968. It was not the same.
Then we took the monorail back down to the Tropicana where Sharon had stayed in the late '50s. It was not the same either and we thought these two might be the next in line for the big implosion.

Then we had a nice dinner and spent the evening at Bellagio which is still pretty much the crown on the head of Las Vegas. The fountains were not running because of the wind (and it's still Very cold!) but what a lovely place to hang out none the less.

Tomorrow we're off for Death Valley.
September 24-25-26, 2009

I arrived last night in Viva Las Vegas to join Paul and Gretchen in their timeshare at The Tahiti, a lovely smallish complex of apartment-style accommodation with great pools and an easy-going sensibility.
What? Where? (with Paul and Gretchen, for a hint.)
The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada! Ten points to everyone who got it right.
I took these photos from the sweeping wall covered in pictures and articles telling the life story of Liberace.
There were about 8 of these cars all of them extravagant in every respect including coats of glitter and rhinestones.
And then there was another room full of amazing pianos. For these instruments he hadn't messed with the surfaces like he did with the cars.

They were all just magnificently over-the-top to begin with.
And ohh, the costumes...great giant capes in fur and velvet stitched in golden threads with rhinestones and every bauble sewn in.
And they made up a special cape for the tourists... Everybody gets a turn!
Now, where to eat? We hadn't eaten at all yet and what sounded like just the thing - the In 'n Out Burger on the way home.

Come to think of it, there weren't any slot machines at the In 'n Out Burger nor was there any smoking. It was a delight.
After a bit of rest and a swim we hit the strip.

The MGM Grand Hotel.
New York New York, it's a hell a'va town...
Paris! and Bally's.
Dancing Waters at Bellagio, the best Dancing Waters in the whole wide world.
The famous Chihuly glass ceiling, also at Bellagio.
...and More from Bellagio.
A street scene featuring Planet Hollywood.
We ate several times over here since it was near-by and pretty good too.

We got home around 2 o'clock in the morning. Yikes. Then next day I slept late, we packed up, ate our final meal at The Orleans, and headed out to the airport for an easy Jet Blue flight home.
December 8-9, 2006

Here was a quick one nighter to catch up with some old pals from work.

Test your Las Vegas savvy...North to South, *=East side of the street:

Stratosphere, Circus Circus # *Sahara*Riviera
Stardust, New Frontier # *Wynn Las Vegas
Fashion Show Mall, Treasure Island # *The Venetian*Casino Royale
The Mirage # *Imperial Palace*Harrah's
Caesars Palace # *Flamingo*Barbary Coast
Bellagio # *Bally's*Paris*Aladdin
Project City Center, Monte Carlo, New York-New York # *MGM Grand
Excalibur # *Tropicana
Luxor, THEhotel, Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons

A holiday display Vegas style in the Bellagio lobby.
And from the Bellagio patio...
...Dancing Waters! What a Treat!!
November 20, 2005

Viva Las Vegas! It's the holiday week in Paul and Gretchen's Las Vegas timeshare. It's the perfect time of year for me to visit Las Vegas as the highs are steady at 70 degrees, the lows are happy at 45.

Walkin' weather! Today I walked more than 18,000 steps which I know from my nifty pedometer. That's about 9 miles. Should be good except for the Mountain (an entire Alp, really) of food I ate at the half-price buffet...
We saw a ventriloquist, Ronn Lucas, a long time favorite of Paul and Gretchen. It was fun!

Tomorrow we're going to chase up Nancy D's grandson Charlie's mother Kelly's father Paul Kozak, aka Kozak The Magician. That should be fun too.
Does this look like Disneyland? And there's a reason for that.
November 21

At 8:30am three times a week the timeshare place, the Tahiti, provides a complementary tour to Red Rock Canyon. They did a great job, really.

As you can certainly expect, internet information abounds on Red Rock Canyon so click on this official Red Rock Canyon government site and if you want more maybe this is interesting.
There was a fire recently and you can still see some of the effects.
Here he is! Kozak The Magician!!

Nancy D's grandson Charlie's mother Kelly's father Paul Kozak, see this link Kozak The Magician! for a nice review of the show.

WOW...he's taller than most everyone!

November 22

The next day we went casino hopping until I had to leave in the late afternoon. Here are a few examples:

The overhead show at the Tropicana. Why they have what looks like a Victorian train station in a hotel called the Tropicana I haven't figured out.
The latest contribution to the Strip, Wynn. It was ok inside but for me it didn't make me gasp. And if a ga-zillion dollar complex in Vegas doesn't make you gasp it's hardly worth the bother.
Look up! At the lion display in the MGM Grand.
Playing... and phone-photos.
The gigantic aquarium at Mandalay Bay. This place I liked.

Good ones for a walking tour include Bellagio and her world famous Dancing Waters, the Venetian is very cool, Aladdin, although a bit down market has a nice shopping mall and interesting restaurants, and NY NY has some entertaining entertainment in the bars. The pirate show outside Treasure Island is a popular stop and I still have a soft spot for the Mirage. As for Mandalay Bay, we just whizzed through but it might fall into this category too.
November 27, 2004

We had our family Thanksgiving on Friday (No Pix!) and on Thursday I spent a lovely day with Paul and Gretchen and their friend Diane in Las Vegas. We did some serious touring and ate the whole turkey business at 10pm.
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