Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Las Vegas----The Return

We were in Seattle last month when Daughter K called and asked if we would meet her in Las Vegas on June 20. She and a couple of friends decided on a whim to spend a weekend in Vegas, the first time for each of them. The price was right—only $300 for round trip plane tickets and two nights at Circus Circus. Since we live 5 hours from Vegas, and since from my previous post you all know how much I LOVE Las Vegas, we decided to drive down and meet her there. It had been two years since we had seen her.

The first time I went to Vegas, back when my boss embarrassed me by offering to pay me to go, was a little more pleasant than I had anticipated. The highlights were the Bellagio fountains at night, the Bellagio buffet at dinner, the food at the Hard Rock Hotel restaurant, attending CTIA, and the rockin’ Cellular One training sessions. The downsides were my hair reeking like cigarette smoke, the glassy-eyed elderly women sitting in a state of oblivion at the slot machines, and the bullet holes in my hotel elevator door.

I realized after this new trip, that I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. How could anyone step on to Venetian property and not be mesmerized? The splendid architecture, the gondolas slicing through the pristine blue water, the exquisite sculptures and the ambience of Venice are a sensual feast. Most of the more recent hotels are architectural wonders and are astoundingly beautiful. Walking past them or through them is enough to keep a sightseer busy for days. I found myself wishing that every city had the means to create places where people just enjoyed being. Places where you felt like you had been transported to an art museum or a lush botanical garden.

The Venetian

Las Vegas definitely has it disadvantages too. Most of them though are probably my fault. I don’t smoke, drink, gamble or get enticed by porn. Vegas is a haven for people who enjoy those activities. I’m too old. Or too dull. Or too something.

My husband, having been a Vegasite before I met him, remembers a day when food was good and cheap in Las Vegas. The logic back then was that if people didn’t have to spend so much money on food, they would spend more money on gambling, right? Breakfast and lunch buffets could both be had for under $5. Methinks those days are gone.

Our entourage, consisting of Hubby, Jere, Daughter M and her two boys, and me, met Daughter K and her friends at the Treasure Island lunch buffet. The understanding was that it was $14. The daughters convinced us to splurge since we were on the strip and this was probably the cheapest we could eat. We thought $14 was a lot (remember, I quit work to be a SAHM so we are ultra frugal) but agreed to eat there. The daughters went in ahead of us to save a place, while Hubby, Jere and I sought restrooms. [Vegas psychology: don’t have bathrooms inside the restaurant. That way people have to walk through the tantalizing casino first.]

After the restroom, we got in line to pay our $14. Hubby’s jaw dropped when the total came to $60 for the three of us! Oh, just kidding, the $14 is only for weekdays! On Saturdays, the lunch is $23. Since the daughters were already inside eating, we forked over almost our entire Vegas stash. Gulp.

The food was average, I would say. My pizza was cold and they forgot to put the chicken in my orange chicken (but boy, was that breading good!) We tried to slam down $23 worth of food, and force $12 worth of food down Jere’s throat in the hopes that we would never be hungry again, but we were realists. If we planned on walking the streets of Vegas where each block is really four blocks, we would have to restrain the over-stuffing. [If you have never been to Vegas and someone tells you something is only a block away, don’t you believe them! It’s really half a mile.]

Exiting the TI buffet, I noticed on their wall menu, that the reason the buffet is $23 on Saturday is that it comes with free champagne. Since Hubby, daughter M, and I don’t drink, I jokingly said, “Oh that’s the problem! We forgot to get our free champagne.” We kept walking and laughing, but Daughter K was about to take matters into her own hands. She left our group and marched her little self right back to Treasure Island.

We stood at a distance while she informed the management that since no one at any point offered us any champagne, she either wanted a champagne-to-go for every member of our party, or else she wanted a refund so we would all only have to pay $14. The next thing we knew, K was poking her head out of the restaurant asking, “Who all wants champagne?” Her friends accepted, but the rest of us declined. We would have rather had a refund, but it really wasn’t the restaurant’s fault we didn’t read the wall menu first.

Daughter K [middle] and the Great Las Vegas Champagne Score

My three kids each came away with different reactions to Vegas.

10-year old Jere: “Why do they have all this stuff on the ground? Can’t you just take me home NOW?” [We had to walk in an enclosed boardwalk for six blocks that was carpeted with discarded “advertisements.”]

25-year-old Daughter M: “I just want to go home and not have to drag a 5 year-old and an infant around. I’m tired”

22 year-old Daughter K: “Yahoo! Par-tay!”

My reaction? If someone pays me, or if it’s the only way I can see one of my kids, I will go to Vegas. Otherwise, I’ll just watch Ocean’s Eleven.


  1. I would probably be considered "boring" in Vegas. That Venetian property is amazing. I think Vegas must be something visually to take in. I like the idea of being transported to another time or place. I never thought that I would want to go to Vegas, but maybe I'll consider it at least once. Like you, that one time may be enough. I hope you enjoy your time being back home!

  2. septembermom: Yes, you should go at least once. There is a lot of spectacular beauty to be had. If anything the fountain at the Bellagio is worth it. If you haven't seen it, you can do a search on youtube. Gorgeous. The Venetian is my favorite hotel, although I have not even come close to seeing all of them. In order to take in all of the good, you would have to spend a few days. And yes, I am glad to be home. It was a long day!

  3. I have heard a lot about Las Vegas. I want to go at least once to see what it is all about. I do not gamble, drink or am into partying either. I just want to take in some sights and a show, and just say I went to Vegas. Also, to get a post card. I have a collection of them, places I have been to (maybe 1 or 2) and others that I just dream about.

  4. Ana: Yes, you should go at least once. My ten year old was worried about going but I told him that there are many beautiful things about Vegas and many bad things. He would see both on our trip and in that way, Vegas is a microcosm of the whole world. For him, the bad was too overwhelming because even in broad daylight the pornography is pretty blatant.It's on busses, 6 story signs, and all over the ground.

    That's cool that you collect postcards. We collect magnets but we forgot to get one when we were there last weekend. Drat! Maybe we will have to go back. :)

  5. I've always fancied seeing the lights at night or walking around the hotels, like the beautiful one in your photo, but nothing else appeals. Watching CSI was an eye opener, too.

    I love when you describe the places you've been; it feels like we're on the phone, having a chat and a laugh. You make things come alive with your words and it's a real talent.

    How's the writing class going?
    PS @SeptemberMom,I can't leave comments on your site because I'm not registered with any of the groups in the drop down box.)
    @Ana,Don't know if you got my reply, but I'm afraid your Blogger site fries my laptop if I comment.
    @Randi - thanks for letting me do @'s in your box!

  6. Janice: We didn't get to see the lights at night on this trip, but they are beautiful. The hotels each have their own unique reason for being fantastic. Inside the Bellagio they have a botanical garden that is so serene. Walking inside the Venetian is so uplifting. I would have like to have seen more, but our time was so limited. Thanks for the nice words about my writing. And you can @ people all you want here! Maybe you, septembermom, Ana, Hayden and I will have to make it there someday for a girls only trip! We can all be "boring" together!


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