Well, I’ve returned from my long-awaited and well-loved vacation to
Vegas, and let me tell you, it was the bomb. Jenn and I saw so much
stuff down there, it was incredible. Here’s the edited play-by-play for
Day One: Tuesday, May 14
Our flight left at 7:20a, so we got up at like 4:00a in order to get
ready, get to the MAX station,
get to the airport, and get processed for the
flight. Jenn got chosen for a random bag search, so she got to take off
her shoes and let the people at the security checkpoint inspect all of
her stuff. I got through without a hitch.
The plane left on time (Southwest is pretty
good about that) and we arrived in Vegas around 9:25a. Picked up our
Alamo rental and we were off for
Paris Las Vegas is, by far, my favorite place on the Strip. The
atmosphere in there is just so cool… I can’t really claim
authenticity, since I’ve never been to the real Paris, but as far as I’m
concerned, Paris Las Vegas is how the real Paris is. The artistry in
there, the attention to detail, all of it is just fantastic.
We got a corner room with a little private entry, which was neat except
for the fact it was at the end of the 14 mile long hallway. The room
itself was beautiful and had everything you’d want; you didn’t have to
ask for a hair dryer, iron, or any of that because it was all already
there. I think the highest praise I could give the place is that I felt
comfortable walking around on the carpet in bare feet, which I won’t
normally do in hotels.
Most of the first day was walking around and looking at stuff. We ran
around to the casinos in the immediate vicinity: Caesar’s
Palace (and the Forum Shops),
Mirage, and Treasure
Island, as well as taking in the Paris
sights. Jenn hadn’t seen the Bellagio yet, nor the Paris, so we had a
lot of fun looking through those.
We made a quick stop at the Star Trek exhibit at the Las Vegas
Hilton, but since Jenn’s not into Star Trek
and I’d seen it before, we didn’t stay long.
We rode the “Race for Atlantis” IMAX ride at Caesar’s and had a good
time with that. I’d been on it before, but it was just as fun this time
around. Jenn had a good time, too.
Ate at the Hard Rock Cafe and checked out the Hard Rock
Hotel, which is sort of like a big meat
market. Nice place to visit, but I think I like the Paris better.
We also watched a fountain show out front of the Bellagio (free shows
that start every half hour) around the noon timeframe. It was cool.
Around 11:00p, we went up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris
and were able to watch a Bellagio fountain show from up there, which was
very beautiful. They played Elton John’s “Your Song,” which was
especially cool because Jenn and I both love the movie Moulin
that song played a significant part in it. I took some pretty good
pictures of that show; maybe I’ll scan them and stick them up here.
Day Two: Wednesday, May 15
Wednesday was probably our busiest day from a walking standpoint. We
pretty much covered all the other casinos that we didn’t get to on
Tuesday - the MGM Grand,
Luxor, New York New
Bally’s, and the
Aladdin. We also went to the
M&M store and the
Coca-Cola store on the strip.
At the Coke store, we got to drink a Vanilla Coke on the day they were
released. That was pretty cool.
The best part of Wednesday happened when we got to the Luxor. First, we
rode the “Search for the Obelisk” motion simulator ride which was fun.
Jenn liked it, too, but it did thrash us around a lot.
After that, though… it was time to see the Blue Man come out.
Blue Man Group, which plays at the Luxor,
is one of the coolest shows I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen Cirque du
Soleil (a couple of different
productions from them), Stomp, Siegfried
and Roy, and many other
similar stage productions… but the Blue Man Group is a whole
experience unto itself.
It combines a little of the industrial/tribal music sort of thing (a la
“Stomp”) with an extremely innovative stage and lighting show that
really can’t be described; it has to be seen. Throw in some comedy and a
bit of audience participation and stir. The results are unbelieveable.
I won’t ruin all of it for you or drone on about how cool this part or
that part was. I will tell you my favorite part: At the end of the show,
they start playing a remix of KLF’s “Last Train to Trancentral” (which
happens to be my favorite song of theirs; from the White
album) that contains some of the signature Blue Man instrumentation.
During this, these tubes come down from the ceiling of the auditorium
and start making these humming noises (imagine a hall of Gregorian
Monks), then start spinning around. The black light on them makes them
shine in different colors. The Blue Men run to the back of the
auditorium, where there are these huge rolls of crepe paper (about the
width of toilet paper) and they start unrolling this stuff onto the
audience. The guy in the back row hands it to the guy in front of him,
and so on. Eventually the whole crowd is passing this paper over their
heads as fast as they can and everyone’s covered in it.
We sat in the front row, so we turned around to face a tsunami of
this paper coming down on us. About three or four minutes into the song,
I could put my arms straight over my head and not reach the top of the
paper. The whole time, the song is thumping its techno beat and the
crowd is screaming.
It’s the best party I’ve ever been to.
After the show, the Blue Men and their band come out and greet the
audience, and if you bring your camera with you, you can get your
picture with them. We, fortunately, had brought our camera, so I have a
picture with a Blue Man and the band. I also got a Blue Man to kiss my
ticket so I have blue lip prints on it. (Note: The paint never dries;
it’s like an oil paint of some nature. I’m working on coating it with an
acrylic fixative, but let me tell you - those were a bear to cart
Day Three: Thursday, May 16
We covered the last of the casinos on Thursday (Mandalay
Venetian, and The
At The Venetian, Jenn and I took a gondola ride outside. It was a
beautiful day and we had a wonderful gondolier named Natallino who was
just hilarious. He sang us a nice song and took a couple of pictures of
us during the ride. If you happen to go to The Venetian, ask for this
guy. He was awesome.
We rode the Manhattan Express Roller Coaster at the New York New York
and got totally thrashed around. My shoulders are still bruised, but it
was really fun. Jenn liked that one, too.
At Mandalay Bay, though… well… First, it’s a beautiful place. A
wonderful resort with a great pool setup (wave pool, a river ride,
etc.), but the parking and the layout were very confusing. I wanted to
see the cool griffin statues they have out front, but we walked so much
trying to find the way out that we ended up giving up, going to ride the
roller coaster at New York, and coming back to the Mandalay.
We also took some more time to explore the Paris and do our shopping. I
probably spent a good $200 on shirts, art, and trinkets from Paris. We
decided we’re going to redo our living room decor in a Paris theme.
It’ll go well with the Moulin Rouge posters.
Oh, and we ate at our first In-N-Out
Burger. So good. I can’t wait for them to
come to Portland.
Day Four: Friday, May 17
We got up reasonably early (5:30a?) and got our stuff together and
checked out of the Paris. On the way back to return the rental car, we
stopped at the Excalibur and bought some extra tasty Krispy
We made it through the security checkpoint without incident this time
and got to the gate for our flight early enough to hang out and eat our
The downside to this airport stop is that we got there just in time for
the stupid television to announce who was voted off of
Survivor (Sean) after we had
been so careful not to talk to anyone or watch the show, hoping to save
it until we got home. Oh well. It was exciting anyway.
Our plane left at 9:25a and we got back into Portland around 11:30a.
Not too bad.
All in all, this was a really rockin’ vacation. I got away from
work (which was the whole point), I only lost $30 gambling (mostly
slots; I’m not a gambler), and Jenn and I got to see and do a lot of
stuff that we wouldn’t normally get to. I call that a success. Next time
we go to Vegas, I’m going to try not to walk around so much (my feet
hurt so bad), but I always say that. Either way, I’ll definitely be
staying at the Paris.
I think the next vacation needs to be somewhere restful, like Maui.
Somewhere I can just plunk down next to the water and not have to do
Oh, and no, I didn’t see Star Wars. I am not in that big of a hurry
to (especially if it’s anything like Episode I). I’m going with the gang
from work on Thursday, I think, and then will probably go with Jenn this