Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reflections, the Vegas Part

Before starting a new job, however, Meaghan and I found ourselves in Las Vegas. Pictures of the various sights will be added later (and are already up on Facebook), but for now, let me recount the experience, in excruciatingly boring detail.

We left from gate B7 at Pearson, which is in, essentially, Caledon based on how God-damned far we had to walk, connected in Cleveland and finally landed in Vegas in the mid-evening, local time. Neither of us were particularly worn out, and we were basically just dying to stretch our legs, so we took a walk down the east side of Las Vegas Blvd., all the way down to the MGM Grand.

MGM Grand

The walk was interrupted by two things - a buttload of construction1 which made the original sidewalks impassable and the various smut peddlers2 attempting to hand out their cards for various escort services, massage parlours and other such things. Very quickly, we were able to have them fade into the background as though they were just traffic3 and be on our way.

We stayed at Paris Las Vegas (the one with the Eiffel Tower sticking out of it; you've seen it at the start of CSI), way up high on the 29th floor. We, unfortunately, didn't have the best of views from our window, as we looked northeast onto, basically, Bally's and the shared creepy back alley the two hotels share. The landscape view, however, was something, as we were able to see for quite a distance across the desert. It was quite lovely at about 4 am, as one of Megs' pictures can attest4, with the sun just beginning to rise, and, as we later learned, quite spectacular at night when one can see it from above, completely illuminated.

Morning

I won't bore you with the day-by-day specifics of our travels (because it's been too long removed from the trip, and I don't remember what we did on what day), but we managed to go into what felt like every casino along the Strip over the course of the trip, mostly to take pictures, sometimes to donate some money to the fine people at those casinos via slot machines, and often just to escape the oppressive, 100oF temperatures. Las Vegas is advertised as being "universally air conditioned", and it's true - everywhere has air conditioning.

The heat, I would imagine, would actually appeal to some people, as it is closer to a sauna than a steam room. I believe the humidity reached no higher than about 16% the entire time we were there, which is just fine by me. In my mental hierarchy of weather and atmospheric conditions it goes "Cold-and-Dry", "Hot-and-Dry", and then somewhere way, way down the list, somewhere between "Alien Spacecraft Hovering Ominously Over City" and "Fruit Fly Singles Mixer" would be "Hot-and-Muggy". But, of course, the day after we left, the temperature proceeded to plummet thirty points into the 70s, so that was one last little meteorological jab before we left.

We climbed well, well above the city on two occasions. First, when we went to the Stratosphere on the north end of the Strip (already more than 900 feet in the air), and proceeded to jump on the Drop Zone-like ride on top of the Stratosphere, bringing us nearly 1,200 above Las Vegas. I kept my eyes closed through most of it, because I was a giant wimp that day, but Meaghan finally convinced me to open them - if I squinted hard enough, I believe I could have seen Canada.

From the Stratosphere

On the last night of our trip, we finally found the time to do stuff at the hotel where we stayed5, and went up the 5/8ths scale Eiffel Tower to view the city. From there, we were able to get a video of the Bellagio Fountains show (another event we had not yet seen, despite it being across the street from us). That experience was considerably more crowded than the Stratosphere, but also considerably more free.

Paris Las Vegas

There were many, many other things we did, it was all accomplished on foot or via the monorail, and with a relatively small outlay of cash. Vegas strikes me as somewhere that, if you didn't want to, you don't need to spend a lot of money. Granted, things are expensive there, but that's because they're expensive things. A lot of deals can be found (except on anything autographed - apparently the five separate sports/movie/music memorabilia stores all think they're the only place to find an autographed Twilight poster) you just need to shop around. Plus, if you're not planning on drinking or gambling to any great degree, and if you're willing to take the Heel-Toe Express most places, there's no need to be concerned about not bringing "enough" money.

Frozen Fury XII

All in all, I'll go back6, and I'd suggest that everyone go at least once to a city that truly never sleeps. The city knows its role - it exists for the entertainment of tourists; although it is the largest city in Nevada, it's still not as populous as Mississauga, which I certainly don't think will get a lot of votes as a must-visit site. Plus, there is a ton to do outside the influence of the city - things like the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are nearby and, I believe, a focal point of the next visit.

So, like I said, pictures will be forthcoming to spice this up, but for now, rest assured that a lack of updates certainly did not mean a lack of fun was had.

1 - Mostly for Planet Hollywood's new hotel Blue on the east side and a hotel called Aria on the west
2 - "Smuttlers"
3 - On that note, who on earth would want to drive on that street? There aren't adjectives apt enough to describe the plethora of people and cascade of cars without breaking into alliteration
4 - She woke up as though it were 7 am. I sure as hell didn't as I can basically sleep anywhere at anytime, thus I'm not overly affected by jet lag - I can, quite literally, sleep it off
5 - Imagine that
6 - We'll be staying at Caesar's or the Bellagio, I'm told

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