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Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Journey: How not to Do Vegas

It was still light when we left the hotel for our self-tour. It's definitely a mistake to do a self-tour when only there for one night. It's bound to be a cock-up. But when we left we were rather excited. There were lots more people than I expected on a Sunday night. Not for Las Vegas probably, but it seemed a lot to me. Shortly after we started out I took the only two pictures I shot that night. I had intended to take loads, but I just never did. I'd planned to get a definitive picture of the Strip. Then I discovered it was not an easy task -- it's just too big and too overwhelming to be captured by my simple skills as a photographer.

Soon after we began our walked Neil heard a familiar accent and we met a young British couple from Manchester. She was dressed quite unlike anyone else on the street wearing high leather boots as is the British fashion. We chatted to them for a short time and were amazed to learn that this was their 5th visit -- I think they had driven to Las Vegas from Nashville! We did get a good piece of information from them and that was to be sure to see the water show in front of the Bellagio Hotel. Fortunately, for us the hotel was not much further along our way and we were able to get an excellent view of the water show -- though in daylight, which I understand is not as spectacular as at night. But the our plan was to get dinner and then see the show again on our way back. HA! How I wish we'd thought to ask them for a recommendation as to where we might eat!

We took the escalator up to try and see New York New York. There were all these bars and pubs -- very crowed and lots of parts seemed to be unoccupied. I couldn't make head nor tails of the place. We certainly didn't see anywhere inviting to eat. Impresseive from the outside, but rather mysterious to us from inside. By the time we wandered down to Caesar's Palace, my feet were growing blisters and I knew that I was heading for the role of party pooper. But I did gamely try to soldier on and on ...

Caesar's Palace was a puzzle to us. You see we were such novices. We had no idea how all these hotels work. Everything is about luring you to the slots or the tables. Everything is about parting you from your money. Everything, with the possible single exception of the water fountains at Bellagio's, which are free! Back to Caesar's Palace -- it is huge -- and probably not the largest, but so many towers. We tried to find a restaurant, but I couldn't figure it out! We saw a bride and groom -- she all in white and veil in the middle of the corridor with all these tourists milling around as well. And lots and lots of noise as well as the continuous and strangely melodic slots humming away swallowing lots and lots of lucre. Oh, musn't forget the replica of Michaelangelo's David! Good lord -- it was not easy to get a good look at, posing in a small claustrophobic circle in all his glorified carerra marble. An exact replica, they say. It's probably cheaper to buy the ticket to Florence and stay there, than to risk all you own in Las Vegas. At least it and Florence are the real thing and not some ludicrous fantasy of -- but I digress ...

I summoned the courage to get to my feet again -- they still hurt. We found our way out and were across the entrance to the Flamingo, which was at least somewhere I'd heard of. We crossed the overhead bridge to get to the other side -- an also what seemed to be a restaurant. My hopes of taking a night picture of the strip were dashed there -- dirty see through partitions and I decided it wasn't worth the trouble. By the time we got to where we might enter the Flamingo

By now it was getting dark and I was getting hungrier. Both Neil and I were also getting grumpier. He was at least fit enough to walk. We descended to the sidewalk, it was now dark and the lights were impressive, though I was surprised not to be able to take them in as more of a whole. Lots and lots of traffic and people. We went in to the steak house near the Flamingo and tried to get a meal. Thirty minute waiting time. Now it occured to us this was probably not true -- we thought that it was an attempt to get us to wander around the hub-bub of the gaming room and part with some of our cash. So we left. Diagonally across the street we could hear the sounds of the Bellagio and Celine Dion singing to the fountains, or the fountains burbleing along to Celine, I'm sure. It had been our intention of wandering back there for the splendour of the lights and the water, but on our way across the street we saw a sign pointing the way to the 'monorail' and a ride back to our hotel.

Now anybody who knows Las Vegas well, is laughing at us as pathetic. And we were -- at least I was -- blame my feet. But the monorail was a big mistake. We should have crossed the street to the light show. We should have walked back to the Luxor. Should have, should have, should have.

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