Sunday, 25 May 2008

Thoughts on Vegas, A Week Later

So I was in Vegas for my 50th birthday last weekend. People have told me Vegas is like Disneyland for Adults; I'm not sure I agree with that analogy. It's more like a huge beached cruise ship, where you need to take a taxi from one end of the ship to the other. Or maybe cruise ships are trying to be like little versions of Vegas. In any circumstance, I haven't really liked the two cruises I've been on, and I wouldn't be in a rush to get back to Vegas.

The good: Well, we went to Vegas to see Cirque shows, and we saw Love, O and Mystere. I can't pick a favourite; they were all a blast, and worth the price of admission. The most interesting was O simply because it was set in water, but every show was fantastic. There's three I didn't get to see, and that alone may be reason to go back.

The good: The food. We ate well, and the food was in general superb. The service wasn't always as great as the food, but we went to some top notch restaurants.

The bad: It was hot. 107° hot. Convection oven when the wind was blowing hot.

The good: We escaped the Vegas heat one day and got up to 8,600' into mountains where it was only 75°. Great views across the desert into the Nellis Air Force Range and the Nevada Test site where the atomic bombs were tested...

We found the Las Vegas Ski Club, all 3 lifts of it...

Who knew they had a ski area?

We found mountain "shacks" where people live all year round (it's only 45 minutes to the strip from here)

We also got into Red Rock Canyon, which has some red rocks but isn't really a canyon.

Some of the rocks are cool; here's a bunch of cross bedded sand dunes frozen in time (this photo is for Astrid & Steve)

It does, however, have pictographs from a long time ago (2,000 years or so, as I recall)

Some of the places were interesting. Probably best wasn't the Strip, but instead was the old downtown core, now revitalized as The Freemont Street Experience. They covered 5 blocks of downtown with a metal canopy, and it's pretty cool and historic.

The Strip? Well, it's pretty silly. You have your dumb hotels, like the tacky castle of Excaliber, or the fake things like New York, New York...

In fact, it puzzles me why they insist on building replicas of stuff in Vegas. They have a condensed replica Venice (The Venetian), a condensed replica Paris (Paris), a condensed replica Rome (Caesar's Palace), a condensed replica Monaco (Monte Carlo) a condensed replica Egypt (Luxor)... the list goes on. What, have the got no imagination?

I found most things in Vegas tacky, with a major exception being the Bellagio Fountains.

And lest you think these are small, think again.

The speck in the middle is a guy in a boat adjusting the jets...

So Vegas, was, well, Vegas. If you like that sort of thing, it's great. Otherwise? You could try actually going to Venice, or Paris, or New York, or...

Turning 50 was no big deal. Turning 35 was more significant, because that's when things started to hurt.

The best part of the whole weekend? My brother and his family surprised me by turning up to "watch me grow old." That's somewhat like watching paint drying or grass growing.

And this roller coaster at the Sahara was pretty good, too...

1 comment:

Astrid said...

Thanks for the rock pic! But after 6 days of rain ... I'd take 107 degree heat!