And as my mind begins to spread its wings there’s no stopping curiosity
Las Vegas, the brightest place on earth as seen from space. It is pretty bright when you are walking down the strip, as well. There is definitely a lot to do and see in and around Vegas. I can’t think of many reasons I would turn down a trip to Vegas. But, as I have found in my many trips there, visits have a certain shelf life. By the third night of any trip to Vegas you are pretty much ready to go home. It’s a great city in spurts, but whether you’re winning or losing or not even playing it gets tired by the fourth day.
My trip in April 2012… …nine days.
Granted, I was attending a conference for half the visit. But it was a long nine days.
On this trip, my third trip to Vegas, I had a travel companion, my girlfriend, Nancy (We get engaged between future blogs). Our respective companies had sent us to the same conference. So we roomed together saving our companies half the hotel bill and also decided to extend the trip out after the conference for a few more days as a mini vacation.
We got there the night before the conference (Saturday) which was again at the Mandalay Bay. This was my third stay at the Mandalay Bay and knowing I probably wouldn’t get out much during the week took a cab up the strip for a late dinner. Found myself at Bally’s as they have a food court for that rare inexpensive meal in LV and found my way to a craps table. Played a little, pocketed a chip (old habit) and decided to take in the sidewalk experience on the strip north of Bally’s.
The primary walking part of Las Vegas Blvd extends from the Excalibur at the south end to the Wynn on the north. One could argue about whether the strip extends further north or south, but I consider this two and half miles stretch the significant portions
It’s very interesting how different parts of the strip have different feels. The bottom half on the west side of the strip from the Excalibur to the Cosmopolitan has an extravagant mall feel to it, with the spectacle of window shopping as you go in and out of hotels, shops and restaurants and up and down walkways. Not overly interactive and a posh or classy feel The bottom half on the east side between the Tropicana and Paris has more independent businesses, souvenir shops, convenient stores and large alleys. Because the hotels are more spread it’s even less interactive and almost feels it’s just a path to get somewhere else. Back on the west side going north the majesty and splendors of the Bellagio, Caesars and the Mirage dazzle with themed architecture extended from within the resorts themselves with immense visual and audio interactive experiences. If Vegas has a heart, this is it.
Then there’s the middle strip on the east side, from Bally’s to Casino Royale. Six smallish boutique-like hotel / casinos that virtually hug the strip. The entrances open to the sidewalk and immediately inside, the casino begins. Slots, table games and bars directly inside the doors. For the most part each hotel is attached the one next to it. Where they aren’t attached a walking mall with more shops, bars or restaurants line each side of the alley.
This was the part of the strip I walked that first night, and with the exception of Bally’s, I actually didn’t wager one nickel as I walked past each one. The lore just hadn’t grabbed me… yet!
The northern most stretch of the Strip on the east side is where you’ll find the Venation, Palazzo and Wynn. It is a combination of the grandeur of the Bellagio & Caesars, the chic feel of the Cosmopolitan & Aria area and due to it being at the end of the walk-able strip the quietness and expanse of the MGM Grand and Planet Hollywood section.
This is where we ended our evening stroll. Before we called a cab, I ducked into the Palazzo to use the rest room and maybe a wager or two. With not having enough time to get into a craps game, I decide to try my luck at roulette. Ten dollar table so I bet ten bucks on black and, boy, if it were only that easy, I hit. Cashed in my winnings (and my chip) and headed back to the Mandalay bay. I was collecting chips for a hobby I didn’t even know I had yet.
Spent the next four and half days attending the conference during the day and vendor meet and greets at night (and the occasional stroll through the casino). A bunch of us did manage to get out of the Resort for dinner one night and found our way to Old Vegas where we had an awesome dinner at Oscar’s Steakhouse, a restaurant in the Plaza Hotel overlooking Fremont Street. I did mention Fremont Street Experience as a must see whilst visiting Vegas, and it is, and I will write about it in a future blog. But for now, I’ll mention I played a few spins at the roulette table at the Plaza, got a chip and spent very little time on Fremont Street. Next time!!
Thursday morning last day of the conference, we still had 3 nights left in Las Vegas but we were relocating to the Luxor after checkout. Nancy had a full morning scheduled at the conference, but I was done. So after Breakfast I decided to explore, play and lo and behold start a hobby/collection.
I didn’t have a specific goal in mind, I just started out across the street at the Tropicana then headed north and hit every casino (that I hadn’t played before) up to the Flamingo. I Crossed the Strip at Caesars and headed back south, again playing at every casino I hadn’t played. I hit nine Casinos in about three hours. Tropicana, Hooters, Paris, Bill’s Gambling hall, Flamingo, Caesars, Cosmopolitan, Aria & Monte Carlo.
Now shooting Craps at nine casinos in six hours would have been impossible (unless I had a giant bankroll, which I didn’t) but it is very possible to accomplish this circuit playing Roulette.
At each casino I plunked down a few bucks, mostly to meet the table minimum which was between five and fifteen. Played a few spins, win or lose then cashed in my chips (except my souvenirs) and moved on. I pocketed roulette chips as well (I didn’t know at the time that is frowned upon) so now I had the spark of a new hobby and a new game to enjoy (Black Jack would also get added, but later)
So it was back to the Mandalay Bay, conference officially over, checkout and move next door to the Luxor and start my three day vacation. After 4 days of meetings relaxation is what was needed. We enjoyed the Luxor, went to a show (my first in Vegas) and didn’t do much of anything until Saturday (Our last full day). We decided to leisurely hit this strip and we didn’t have a set plan outside of walking, hotel hopping, window shopping (without buying) and people watching. (I may have influenced what part of the strip to meander based on this new found hobby/obsession. And when we passed the four casino’s between the Flamingo & Palazzo that I hadn’t hit on Thursday I kind of sort of stopped at tables (as we people watched) and added to my collection..
We hadn’t been to Caesars or the Bellagio together so those would be out final stops on our walking tour. But I nudged the agenda one last time to stop at the Mirage first… One Last Chip on this latest Vegas trip.
Eight days in Vegas, seventeen new Casinos and Chips. I did indeed have a new fixation. It would take a while to hammer out rules of engagement, but my new proverbial belt now had 26 notches, I was on my way!
Up Next… Serendipity Happens!