I had never been to Las Vegas, and it was not what I expected. While we enjoyed the show and some good food, it is not a favorite vacation destination for either Becky or me.
We arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon after touring Hoover Dam. It was 104 degrees in Las Vegas, 102 when touring the dam. I have to say, that while the Dam was not quite as high as I had imagined, it was a huge dam and an engineering marvel when one considers it was built in the 1930s. It supplies power to Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and Utah just to name some of the places that benefit from its hydro-producing electricity. It dams up the Colorado River, that provides water not only for Colorado, but also for Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. It is a massive river; hard to imagine that it originates in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It provides the water for millions of people and while it is low right now, can be a ragingly huge river. While the Hoover Dam is impressive, another amazing spectacle is the expansion bridge built for the interstate above it. It too is massive and a testimony to human ingenuity.
After walking around in the sweltering heat of the Dam area, we got back in the car, turned on the A/C and headed for Las Vegas. Las Vegas and the strip were not what I had imagined either. It is a huge city with a massive freeway system that winds itself through the city and, like any other huge city, it has huge traffic jams as well. Coming upon one, we got off the freeway giving our GPS fits and it stopped talking to us. We reprogrammed it and armed with its silent directions and Becky’s IPhone, we found the Grand Hilton where we were to spend the next several days. It is a massive complex with two tours looking over the South end of the Strip. We are staying on the 27th floor of Tower 2!
That afternoon, we sat out for the Strip with two objectives: to gawk at the buildings and find something to eat. You can see just about anything from families with small children to the bizarre and exotic. Las Vegas has it all. But the thing that imposes itself upon the senses of the uninitiated is the cacophony of semi-controlled chaos from people seeking some type of pleasure, whether it is the shows, the exotic dancers, the carnivals or…gambling. We just gawked and wondered if truly Las Vegas is the place to be. This is not the place we would want to make our home. We finally decided to eat at P.F. Chang’s. Becky hadn’t eaten there and it, like the rest of the Strip, was controlled chaos. People everywhere and the wait staff running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We waited for a table sitting at the bar while ordering drinks and an appetizer. It took forever to get the drinks and when the appetizer finally arrived, our table was ready. We enjoyed the appetizer, but because we had drinks and a dish, the waiter assumed that we had all that we needed. After about 10 – 15 minutes, I told the hostess that we had not been waited on and she disappeared into the crowded restraint to tell our waiter, but still we waited. Finally, Becky said something to a waitress, and she got some action. Soon our water appeared. We ordered, ate a delicious meal and decided to return to the hotel.
Uber accessibility in Las Vegas is a mystery. We ordered an Uber to get back to the hotel and went to the area we thought was the pickup area. It wasn’t. The driver said he had arrived, but we could find no driver. Finally, Becky asked a security guard where the Uber pickup spot was and he said to go into the Flamingo and follow the tiles. I felt a little like Dorothy following the yellow brick road, but with the directions of yet another security guard we finally found the spot and awaited our Uber driver. He finally arrived and we made it back to our hotel where we ascended to our lofty room, tired and ready for bed wondering what tomorrow will bring,
When we got up, we thought we would spend the day touring the strip. The trick was, how to get to the strip. There was supposedly a hop-om, hop-off bus, but as everything in Las Vegas, it was ridiculously expensive. So, we decided to walk to Circus-Circus, which was very close to our hotel. When we started out, the temperature was close to 100; it was hot, so we stopped to buy some bottled water, which were about $3.50 each. When we got to Circus=Circus, we were immersed into an almost carnival-like atmosphere, the bottom floor dedicated to slots and the like, the top floor was like a carnival, which the kids could enjoy. I guess we are not gamblers; we couldn’t even figure out how to use the slots—they aren’t like they were in the old days. That was ok, however, for the atmosphere was, well…musty, and if it was not so dry, the word “dank” came to mind. This was true of most of the casinos we entered. Since apparently smoking is allowed in some areas, the dank atmosphere also had an old cigarette smell. We did not find it pleasant and after a quick tour of the place, we decided to return to the hotel and spend the afternoon there. We were not impressed with the casino scene and the night before had turned us off to the Strip.
For the evening we had scheduled a show called “Extravaganza.” It started at 7 so we set out a little after 6, had a drink at the bar downstairs and by that time, our Uber driver had arrived. He was a fascinating person who had moved to Las Vegas from Cuba and spoke with a Cuban accent even though he had lived in the states for about 25 years. He was good conversationalist and we enjoyed out ride with him. He was a nice man and thanked us for bringing a “nice vibe” to his ride.
When we got into Bally’s, we again found a huge “dank” casino with branches jutting off the main casino to different ballrooms, stores, etc. We did not know where to go. After asking several staff, however, we found the right place. The tickets we had bought were in the center right behind the floor tables. The usher, rather than having us climb over people, sat us at one of the tables. We were about 15 – 20 feet from the stage! They were great seats. The show was quite entertaining complete with showgirls, jugglers, incredible dancers and acrobatic that were spectacular. It also included 3 motorcyclists who rode their bikes around the inside of a huge ball, and an archer who at one point, set up eight crossbows with the final bow aimed at an apple on her head. When she shot the first bow, each bow shot consecutively with the final arrow piercing the apple on her head. It was really something and to a great degree, justified our trip to Las Vegas. We completed the evening at Bugsy and Meyer’s Steakhouse, which was located close by in the Flamingo Casino. The wait staff, a young woman who looked 18, but said she was 27, waited on us. She was majoring in psychology and hoped to soon earn her degree. She was delightful and the food was great. It was truly a good way of capping off the evening. Following the meal, it was a short Uber ride back to the hotel where we ended the ninth day of our trip.