On Wednesday, I embarked on a great adventure. Well, actually it was more of a medium-sized adventure since I didn’t leave the country or do anything too crazy… but it was pretty exciting for me because I’ve never been out of the country, and have only been out of the state once or twice. I went to Las Vegas!!! Sin City… but I was a perfect angel as usual and didn’t do anything sinful there. Unless sniping with my brother in the car counts. (HE STARTED IT!!!)
I took most of these photos, but some of the credit goes to my mom. And my brother took one or two of them as well.
The fun started in the car on the way over, with this interesting truck we saw carrying several giant tires. “Oversize load” indeed!
We stayed at the Paris Las Vegas, home of the famous “Eiffel Tower.”
The ground floor of the hotel was really cool. It was set up to look like a Paris street at dusk, with little bakeries, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
Of course the slot machines were right in the middle of everything, trying to tempt people into playing . But everyone in my family has seen that Twilight Zone episode where the guy gets obsessed with playing the slot machine and eventually gets attacked by the machine and plummets to his death, so we weren’t interested in the slightest in gambling.
Of course we did our fair share of sightseeing. We did a LOT of walking along the strip. Here is “New York, New York:”
Home of the “Statue of Liberty:”
Kind of ironic that the symbol of liberty and freedom is right next to this castle, symbolizing monarchy, the age of peasants and serfs. But here it is: Excalibur.
It was right outside Excalibur that I saw my first locust ever that I can remember. Having just talked about locusts at the Passover seder the week before, I was happy to finally know what they look like in real life:
And here is a deliberately leaning building we saw that my mom said made her scared just looking at it. My brother thought the greenish color on the windows was supposed to look like vomit from people in the building with a fear of heights: thanks for that image, little bro.
Obligatory shot of the Monte Carlo:
The body of the hotel is shaped like a pyramid.
The rooms are all set into these diagonal walls, and the elevators go diagonally up and down. When we got inside, my family really wanted to go up to the ceiling, but it turned out only guests were allowed to ride the elevators. We were about to give up, but luckily a hotel guest stepping into the elevator overheard us talking and invited us into the elevator with him to go up to one of the higher floors. Score!
It was really awesome up there. We could see everything down below. A carpet cleaner guy who worked for the Luxor had also been in the elevator, so he accompanied us and showed us the best place to get a view.
The carpet cleaner didn’t even mind when we admitted to him we weren’t guests at the Luxor. He told us about how he once had to clean a carpet after an intoxicated woman threw herself off the balcony, yelling at some show performer that she wanted to marry him. After hearing that anecdote, my mom was very wary of the edge of the balcony.
But the coolest thing about the Luxor was that when my brother lost his camera on the tram, someone returned it to the security department there and they gave it back without a problem. The security officer working there was a very friendly woman who handed the camera straight to me for safekeeping.
Below is the entrance to the Mandalay Bay hotel, a sort of oasis.
Gesundheit, Mr. Elephant!
We splurged on the Mandalay Bay hotel’s aquarium, which I think was worth the cost. There were many interesting animals, and I don’t have pictures of all of them, but here is a stately komodo dragon.
A cute little green tree monitor:
I call this a “true Las Vegas octopus,” because it was such an exhibitionist, splaying its tentacles for us all to see its full armspan (and what was in between those arms.)
This ray is a fashion statement.
These snakes aren’t alive, but they were pretty cool decorations for the stairway as we exited the aquarium. My brother, who is a reptile expert, pointed out all the minute anatomical errors in the stone snakes, but they looked okay to me.
The next day, we saw the Bellagio. It seemed to be the best hotel for families or old people who were more interested in upscale shopping and dining than playing the slots. The music at this casino was the quietest, the smell of smoke least overpowering, compared to all the other casinos that we saw. Ceiling art at the Bellagio:
The Bellagio also had this cute little conservatory with flowers and a fake windmill:
In this conservatory there was a butterfly enclosure, with lots of butterflies drinking from orange slices. I thought they should drink nectar since that’s their natural food and would allow them to fulfill their niche of pollenating flowers. But my mom said butterflies like orange juice, and I guess they’re getting vitamin C this way so it can’t be all bad.
Below is a shot of Caesar’s Palace, identified as my dad’s mother’s favorite Las Vegas resort:
Here is a picture my mom took of the volcano show we saw right by Treasure Island. Jets of water and bursts of fire were shooting into the air. My brother and I were concerned that a bird would get fried like in those cartoons. But probably any smart bird stays away from that whole area.
Below is the pirate ship at Treasure Island:
Below is a photo of the canal ride at the Venetian. I don’t know if it’s easy to see by the photo, but it sure looked like a lot of fun!
Ceiling art at the Venetian:
Of course we couldn’t leave Las Vegas without going on the Eiffel Tower ride, so we did that in the late afternoon on our last full day, Friday. Below is a photo of the walkway to get to the elevator. Looks dark and sinister in the photo…
And up we went! It was great to see the whole strip and beyond, with a bird’s eye view.
The Bellagio, across from the Paris, has a fountain show we’d been watching from our room with the Eiffel Tower obscuring the view a bit. From atop the tower, though, we got to see the show with nothing in the way.
As exciting as the strip was during the day, it was even better to view it at night. Here is the Eiffel Tower aglow with a Bellagio fountain show in the background:
This balloon outside our hotel was a bit of a mystery. My dad thinks it was there because the man who invented the hot air balloon was French.
The “Arc de Triomphe,” with an ad for Gordon Ramsay Steak projected onto it:
Our last morning in Las Vegas we had breakfast at Starbucks in the Mandarin hotel. On our walk back, we encountered some guy with a monitor lizard who was letting kids pose for photos with the lizard. My brother did so. Here he is in one of the best photos we got. He claims he wasn’t scared at all…
And then it was time to kiss Vegas goodbye. On our way back home, we went to see the Hoover Dam. It was pretty cool, though it was so hot there I almost couldn’t enjoy it:
There were a couple birds enjoying the view as well.
We passed into, and out of, Arizona. So we were briefly on “Arizona Time:”
I was in three different states over the course of this trip: California (where we drove from), Nevada, and Arizona.
Sadly, now it was time to drive home. I got a couple pictures of the scenic view along the way:
My mom said that the drive there was the best part. I agree with her statement that there’s something about the driving to Vegas that makes you want to keep going. But the drive home was torture: I was bored out of my mind and dreading the return to the mundanity of school. At least Artemis the cat was happy to see me:
She was pretty much lost under that sheet, running around looking for either her toy or the exit. I lifted it off her head and she looked at me like, “why did you ruin my fun?”
My souvenirs from the trip consisted of a bunch of unused napkins, and this supersized orange we bought at the hotel. It’s really true: everything’s big in Las Vegas.
So overall it was a wonderful trip. I guess going to Las Vegas probably seems like a ho-hum thing to blog about amidst all the travel blogs out there by people who have been all over the world. But to me it was something of an adventure. And anyway, this is a food blog, not a travel blog.
Has anyone else gone traveling this Spring break?