I promised a chronicle of the Vegas trip (Dec 12th-14th, 2008) and I've carved out a few moments to finish it.
The trip was offered through the Travel Meetup I organize. I planned the itinerary and made arrangements for those who wanted to come along.
We flew into Vegas Friday night (the 12th) and after checking into the hotel took a taxi straightaway over to Freemont Street. I introduced the travelers to the Golden Gate Casino and 99 cent shrimp cocktail as well as the overhead light show. It was *not* the family friendly beautiful light show I'd seen before but a raunchy stripper chick performance projected onto the screen ceilings. We were not impressed or happy about this change in programming.
Saturday morning we were off bright and early to explore the strip. We enjoyed breakfast at the Ellis Island casino (3 blocks behind the Tropicana and very very affordable) before visiting the Paris, Planet Hollywood, and Caesar's Palace Casinos. At Caesar's we enjoyed cheap drinks at Fat Tuesday's while watching the Atlantis animatronics show. Next we visited Casino Royale where I taught one of the members how to play Craps. I won $50 or so at the table that afternoon and I was pleased. By late afternoon we found ourselves at Circus Circus, touring the casino and watching the arcrobatic performances. We moved on from there to Lotus of Siam, allegedly rated the top Thai restaurant in the country. I don't think so! Even the cheapest hole-in-the-wall Thai place in Manassas serves better Thai dishes. What are the food editors of the LA Times and NY Times thinking?! They've obviously never been to a Northern VA Thai restaurant.
Immediately following dinner we took a cab over to the Excaliber casino for the evening's main attraction- Thunder Down Under. This was the first (and likely last) male strip show I'm ever likely to attend. My initial concerns about the objectification of the male performers proved to be unfounded. Instead, the performers used their presence onstage to objectify and use women. They brought women onstage and simulated degrading sexual positions; the performers putting their crotches right over the women's faces. One of the performers even groped an audience member's breasts . After the show the performers had their bouncer "selecting" women from the audience to go home with them, I assume for sex. It was a pretty sickening display overall, even though the men *did* have attractive bodies (ooooh particularly the fireman scene…).
After the show we headed back to Casino Royale for some more gambling. A few hours later (4am) I was up $150, and the member I'd taught to play craps was doing well also. She headed back to the hotel to sleep and I eventually followed.
Sunday morning we were up and out exploring the strip again. We had a gelato snack in the Venetian before we dropped into Mandalay Bay to sightsee and take in lunch at the infamous Burger Bar (home of the $60 truffle hamburger). After lunch we weaved our way down the strip stopping at Luxor, MGM Grand, NYNY, and the Mirage. As usual, the live lions at MGM Grand are my favorite attraction on the strip.
We did dinner at the Mirage Buffet before heading back to our hotel (Treasure Island) to pick up our bags and leave for the airport. We left Vegas on a redeye flight back to Dulles that proved frustrating as my overhead seat light flickered constantly as the tv entertainment system built into the seat controlling the light keep rebooting. I got very little sleep and spent Monday morning and afternoon after arriving home quite cranky.
Overall, it was a good trip and an excellent way to gather miles toward the goal of reaching Elite status with Delta airlines.