Day 13 (June 18, 2008) Las Vegas


Las Vegas Strip

   This day is going to be spent entirely at The Strip of Las Vegas. Depending of the hotels we visit the previous day, we will go for the rest. A list of them could be: Bellagio, Paris, Caesar’s Palace, Venetian, Mirage’s volcano and the pirate show of Treasure Island. We can also visit the Stratosphere, the famous tower and, if time allows, driving to downtown to the area of the old casinos, like Golden Nugget or the famous neon lights cowboy moving his arm. Now that place is called Freemont Street and a roof has been built on this street with the world’s largest screen to attract tourists. If we don’t go there this day we would go the next one.

   Our hotel is down at the map, so the visits would be done upwards.

   At 19:30h we must be at Caesar’s Palace because we’ve got tickets for the Elton John concert at Coliseum. We’ve got two tickets for monorail too, which is marked at map with a green line.


       No rushes for waking up today. We take our breakfast at the coffee shop in second floor. After that, as it’s hot, we want to refresh, and we want to try the hotel’s swimming pool too, as both can be done at a time, we go to there.

   The heat from the desert is different, drier. It’s not the sun what is burning, but the air, so the shadow is not helping here. What we need is having something around different than hot air: fresh water, therefore, we stay inside the big swimming pool all the time. It’s fine, as there are no free sun loungers because it is crowded. Towels are provided by the hotel and when you’re done you must put them in the basket.

   We go up to our room for dressing to go out. Living Vegas at daylight must be a different experience than at night, and it really is, but just in the street, as the casinos keep their timeless environment: same light, same amount of people… When the valet brings our car, it is burning. I guess that happens if it is parked on the top floor, the only one without roof, and I guess too it can be related with the fact we didn’t tip.

   We drive down the Strip to the Stratosphere. Our idea is visiting some shops looking for some souvenirs and T-shirts .

Hotel ParisCaesars Palace

   There is a lot of traffic on this street, but it is fine for us as we can enjoy the view of the hotel buildings- The Eiffel Tower seems even more “real” to me at daylight. We can see the Caesar’s Palace, beyond the line we reached last night, with the Coliseum, where this evening we must be for a concert. A bit further we can see the tower from The Venetian, which seems so amazing we would like to visit it now. Hotels at the end of the Strip are less eye-catching, around the Stratosphere. Just besides the tower we can see a big banner announcing the biggest Chinese bazar in the world. As there is a big park area just in front of it we don’t resist to the call and end going into it.

Stratosphere Tower    I cannot know if this is the biggest Chinese store in the world or not, but I can say it could be. This is huge and we spread ourselves exploring it. I would say you could find anything in here. We take some souvenirs and look some clothes. I’m curious about a wall with figures as I cannot figuring out the rule they’ve followed for sorting them as we can see in a row, from left to right: zombies, ghosts, bigfoot, Houdini, Einstein, Freud and finally Edgar Allan Poe. I guess I’ll never know.

   We take advantage of the car is parked fine and free for exploring the shops around this area, behind the Stratosphere. There are several T-shirt shops with offers like 3 T-shirts by 15$. We can see a lot of CSI material here, even replicas of the jackets the characters in the series wear. We come back to the car with a bunch of T-shirts.

   I’m crazy about lunching in one of those popular, big and cheap buffets in Las Vegas and, although I could see a lot of All-you-can-eat offers around I want to go to Bellagio’s. So we drive into the parking of this hotel. It’s strange for me not finding a bar and a ticket system for using the parking of a hotel as Bellagio, it seems it is free and open.

   Hotel Bellagio is not disappointing from inside either. It’s like visiting a palace and the materials, being fake or not, look like is supposed to look. We find a fairy tale garden, between the fashion stores, with an electric train running through animated trees and a big eagle nest with two big chicks moving automatically. We can see the swimming pool area from a window and it looks luxury as you can see in the picture below .

Fantasy garden in BellagioBellagio's swimming pool

   We finally find the way to the restaurant and join the small row to come in. A notice is saying price is 19.95$ per person. I had read a lot about buffets in Vegas, so I was expecting even a cheaper price, but what I can see from here makes me feel it worth every penny.

   And it does, there is a lot of everything and delicious. I don’t know if I’ll dinner today as I end one-nut-and-I-explode full. It’s difficult to resist to tasting something new and looking delicious just because your stomach has taken the decision nothing else can get into it. Eva has controlled better herself, but we both go to the room with the idea of a nap. We must help to the extra work of this digestion.

   We wake up at late afternoon and I remember we must take our tickets one hour before the concert begins, this is, 6:30 PM is the later we can be at ticket box. So I take a quick shower and get dressed fast to go for the tickets while my wife is still in her “restoration” tasks. I assume I’ll get the Caesar’s Palace quick as I can use the monorail ticket we received when purchasing the tickets. I leave Excalibur hotel, across its casino, with the map in a hand: I must go to MGM, which is the green mass in front of me. I get into it just after leaving the bridge through Strip traffic, but once in the middle of its huge casino I don’t know where I should go. I get indications after asking to someone of the staff and I start to see the signs pointing to monorail station, which I follow. When I reach the station I’m exhausted. I check the clock and I’m still on time. I get into the train but I oh surprise!, I must walk across the whole casino to get my tickets. It’s later than the limit time but they don’t seem to care about it cannot enjoying it tooColosseum at Caesar's Palace much as it’s just two stops and I must leave it at the middle of my rest. I must go to the Caesar’s Palace, which is on the other side of the Strip and there is no a direct way, so I must walk across Flamingo, another huge casino, all pink and smelling as cotton candy. I finally get eye contact to my destination, across the bridge I’m taking, but when I reach the Caesar’s Palace I cannot find the ticket box. I ask and, as they’re telling me I could get the tickets any time before the concert. Now it’s late for regretting about all the sweeting and no way of doing this two more times: one for taking Eva and another one with her. I’ll go for a bottle of water and a call to my wife as I’m going to ask her to take aElton John - Red Piano taxi. This has been terrible. Look at the map at the beginning of this page: For going from Excalibur to Caesar’s Palace – just two blocks in the middle – I should go across 4 huge casinos! From end to end! I’m ending here my experience with monorail.

   When she arrives I was thinking we were going to be late… again. So we walk across the casino and join the people waiting for doors opening.

   When that happens we must deliver all our photo and video cameras as they’re forbidden inside, we get a number in return. Eva asks me if we’re close to the first row and I answer yes, but the first row of the second and last balcony.

   Concert has been great and we’ve liked a lot, although Elton John is too old as per doing some things: a try of jumping over that red piano is almost ending in tremendous land in the ground. Anyway: suggestive images in a big screen, funny comments from him, big inflatable boobs – and some other things -, … all a staging of I cannot tell what. But songs are wonderful and being down, on the first rate rows, worth it as the people there get into the stage to dance with him atTrojan horse in Caesar's Palace the end of the show.

   We leave the place cheered up because of living a great show and watched a living rock legend. After getting our cameras back we explore the Caesar’s Palace, full of Roman sculptures and monuments around streets as the ones in the Italian capital, full of fashion shops and restaurants with that painted sky in the ceiling as in daylight.

   We can see a hall really crowded and go to there just for watching the last part of a show, all over one of these monuments, with lights, sound, smoke. We don’t know what this is about, but we watch the rest of it. Then we go on with our walk. I can see a huge replica of Trojan horse, I wonder if they really know it has nothing to do with Romans.

   We must go through the entire casino for leaving. All casinos here have a hall with a wall full of big screens showing different sport events and displays offering sport results continuously.

   We can see several fountains but, once in the street, we can see a replica of Fontana di Trevi in lights. There are a couple of restaurants here, but we’ve already talked about going across the street, to the Venetian, to exploring it and, likely, take some light dinner in it .

Fontain with Neptune at Caesar's PalaceFontana di Trevi at Caesar's Palace

   You can identify the Venetian from far due to San Marcos Square’s tower but, in a closer look, we can see Rialto Bridge and some canals with gondolas too. These canals go inside the building through the classic facades the buildings have in Venice. It is spectacular. You can be in a gondola ride by the whole “city” and even being song by the gondolier in a very romantic way. We didn’t try, though, as we’ve already married.

   We avoid walking all across this casino by taking the palace staircase at the entrance to the second floor, between great Renaissance looking paintings in walls and ceiling. There are a lot of shops and restaurants upstairs and we’re lucky we wish pasta for dinner as it is mainly the kind of food offered here. We seat in the tables “in the street” of one of them and one of those big spaghetti dishes is enough to eat my fill.

Venetian's ceilingVenetian's Tower

Canals inside Venetian
Canals in VenetianRialto bridge at Venetian

   When leaving this hotel we go on with our itinerary across the street. We’re outside the Mirage and I’m looking for the volcano I know this hotel has as main attraction as it is supposed you can see an eruption every 30 minutes, but I cannot find it. It is finally covered because improvement works, so we’re not going to see this.

The MirageThe Mirage

   Just besides this is Treasure Island hotel, the first one we were going to go for a show when arrived to Vegas yesterday. We were late for that show and, ironically, for this show too, as we can see the people leaving just after the free pirate show ends, the one with a main role in “Miss Congeniality 2”. As we’re not going to wait here for the next show we decide coming back to our hotel and rest.

Pirate boat at Treasure IslandPirate village at Treasure Island

   We need to take a taxi, but as the show just ended, there are a lot of people looking for the same. The first taxi we stop is taken from us by a rude couple. With the second, another couple tries to do the same, but as we’ve got the experience, we defense it as animals do with their territory.

   Once at room, Eva go to bed, but I’m feeling this itch coming from my experience yesterday in the casino and go downstairs to get a try. I can notice some main differences between this casino and the one in Paris hotel: croupiers are Chinese and gamblers seem to be too. I take a place in roulette with the same idea than yesterday: changing 40$ in chips as the whole credit for playing. I try to follow the same system than yesterday too, but it is not working here. It’s like the little ball is always going to the most profitable area for bank. I get some recovery by changing the system to bet in the few places the rest of the table leave clear, but then there is a change in the croupier and I lose all my chips very quick.

   Nothing else to do here, I’m going to bed.