Las Vegas, May 2014 – although this idea was met with a bit of trepidation and not much research, it turned into one of the most delightful ventures. When my daughter’s new job was to take her to various colleges around the United States, her first assignment was in Las Vegas. I had avoided this city like the plague because of my misguided feeling that it was full of superficial glitz and that it was ostentatious. Well, it is ostentatious, but once you satisfy your curiosity for the outlandish décor on the strip, and expensive shops, there is much more to do than gamble and sun by a pool.
Yes, I did have some idea about a few things to do, I wanted to go back over to the Hoover Dam, I did want to visit some of the casinos, I wanted to go to Elton John’s champagne bar, and drive by the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Turns out I did all of these things, plus. My daughter was left to think about filling in the holes of my poor planning, but we ended up having a very nice time. And so, I arrived fairly early – I had been in the LV airport before, but it had changed a bit and I ended up making a sharp left when I should have gone straight. I took the rail, and then ended up being chauffeured back in an airport bus to the baggage claim area. My ride was a’waitin’ patiently. It was a clear, pretty day – not at all hot for Nevada. The hotel wasn’t far from the airport.
Because of my early arrival, my daughter suggested a brunch – she had discovered SkinnyFATS where breakfast was served all day. I enjoyed some really great pancakes. Then, we drove down the strip – my first encounter – after which I took my daughter to work. I relaxed in the hotel until she was finished. Then, we had some luscious food at Metro Pizza. The next stop was Caesar’s Palace and Fizz, the champagne lounge created by David Furnish in association with Sir Elton John, where we delighted in a Fizz Noir champagne concoction – luscious! We walked down the strip to the Bellagio – gawked at the Chihuly glass, then enjoyed the dancing fountains. My first night in LV.
The next day featured a drive over to Red Rock Canyon. Was I impressed – the terrain magnificent – and just as one would expect, the escarpments featured many shades of rust red, orange and tan undulating in sharp sunlight. We returned to LV and I took my daughter to work. Since I had the car, I drove up the strip to see if I could find the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. I did, but decided not to stop, there was a line snaking around the building. (We did visit at another time when it wasn’t so crowded – not a big place.) Driving back down the strip to our hotel, I had a quick lunch. Still on my own, I ventured over to the Luxor Casino, wandered around there for a bit then decided on a respite with a glass of wine in the Aurora Lounge. Finally it was time to pick up my daughter and we decided to drive through an area known as Green Valley in Henderson, Nevada just southeast of LV. We were hungry and drove by a Mediterranean style place called Olive – sounded okay from the outside. We stopped. It was also a Hookah bar. Just after my chicken shawarma wrap, I smoked my first Hookah – a berry/mint flavor. I did not master the technique, but, it was an interesting experience.
When Friday dawned, we headed out – first we stopped for some delicious coffee and a breakfast sandwich then drove to the Hoover Dam. This was my second visit, my daughter’s first. We drove over the dam, parked in one of the lots, walked back over the dam, stopped in the visitor building, and finally returned to the car. On our way back to LV, we found a different path and drove on an extremely high bridge over the dam. Boulder City was our next stop and we became enthralled with the lovely, quaint atmosphere. This is the town, began in 1931, in which many of the workers on the Hoover Dam stayed. Charming town with many small shops, some of which we visited. At a wine and cheese bar we treated ourselves to a yummy platter and some Chardonnay. Once back in LV, we did a little shopping before our dinner at the Bootlegger, a restaurant in business since 1949. This was a culinary delight. Once dinner was finished we headed back to the strip, the Venetian and a gondola ride.
During my last day in Vegas, we started off at the Bellagio again thinking there was special Chihuly exhibit. Not so. We soothed ourselves with a snack and some bubbly (imbibing just a wee bit more than intended) enjoying our time in a patio dining area. Since we had tickets for a play that afternoon, we returned to our hotel, changed, snacked a bit, then headed to the Riveria – this was an older casino in the northern part of town. After the show, we found an interesting “mall” off the northern strip, called Container Park. Container like buildings stacked upon one another housed shops and offices and surrounded a large central area. We found a quaint wine bar and enjoyed another respite. So ended my Las Vegas experience. Indeed, there was a whole lot more to do than just gamble – yes, we did imbibe, but we also explored the various riches of the environs.