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April 26, 2014

Las Vegas

Eric and I recently went to Las Vegas!

A few months ago, we decided it was time for another vacation, for no particular reason.

I guess most vacations have very little reason behind them other than just getting away for a while for some fun and R&R.

Vegas never really appealed to us because we're not especially interested in the whole lecherous debauchery scene or, you know, being in close proximity to people...

But then Eric and I saw Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba at Disney World, at which point, Las Vegas, which has eight different Cirque shows, instantly became more appealing.

In the end, we actually quite enjoyed our trip to Las Vegas. Sure, there is depravity, but as long as you don't accept flyers or look down at the melange of smut cards on the sidewalk, you'll be all right.

Seriously, they need to start supplying people with under-eye blinders.

Patent pending

Could have done without all our clothes smelling like an ash tray when we got home too.

But there are lots of diverting, PG-rated activities that don't involve lasciviousness. And that sort of thing is our bag, baby.

We stayed at the Bellagio -- go big or go home, right? Due to a Bellagio blunder, we were upgraded from our original plebeian room to a fancy fountain-view room.

Apparently all you have to do to get a fountain-view room and an apology box of chocolates at the Bellagio is to be given a room key to an ocupado room. Luckily we didn't have to face the awkward situation of walking into the room when the occupants were there.

But we very promptly exited the room when we saw bags, shoes, leftover room service, and other personals lying around the room, lest the occupants returned anytime soon.

One hilarious situation later, we were relocated to our fountain-view room, complete with a curtain control panel.

Ooh, ahh.
Dat view.

Pew pew!

We got in late the first night. So we had Carl's Jr. while still at the airport and then just hung out in our room.

The next morning was our first outing, jumping off the Stratosphere (855 feet/108 floors). Neither one of us has an issue with heights, and I only get motion sickness from spinning or jostling motions. So it wasn't a scary ordeal, just a fun event to look forward to.

I'm sad to report, however, that it was a bit of a letdown. It was more of a vertical zip-line than a free fall, and we had been expecting and wanting the free fall. But the initial stepping off was quite thrilling, and I felt obligated to let out a scream of excitement. But after that, the realization that it was a very artificial and controlled jump set in. We heard later from a taxi driver that the jump actually used to be less controlled and more like a free fall.

Fabulous getups.

I like to go first for things! Me first! Me first!

Then I get to have experienced it first and watch Eric while he's doing it.

The guy must have sensed that I wasn't scared because I received next to no instruction. It was basically just "3, 2, 1, GO!" And I went.

I thought the guy at the bottom was just pandering to me about not everyone jumping right away, but then I watched some other Stratosphere jumps on Youtube... Hilarious. 

We only paid for me to get a video done. Sadly, if I had been the one with the locker key instead of Eric, I could have run and got our camera to video Eric coming down. But alas, Eric and I weren't using our heads.
Eric's turn!

View from the bottom.

After the Stratosphere jump we walked on the strip to Chipotle -- Eric's wanted to try it forever. It was good, but we both prefer Mucho Burrito. But it did help with a guacamole craving I'd been having, so I was much obliged.

Then we walked to Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop -- the very same shop as the one at Downtown Disney in Orlando, and Eric and I both got the very same ice creams as our first visit to the shop. And, of course, they were just as amazing. Ghirardelli's was one of the main reasons for going to Vegas, that and Cirque du Soleil.

Eric's Gold Rush Sundae. And just like at Disney World, it destroyed him.

My Warm Brownie Sundae. I love it so much that I don't know if I'll ever be able to get anything different at Ghirardelli's.

A big nap probably followed this outing.

That night we went to Picasso at the Bellagio for dinner.

It's right by the fountain.

T'was very good, but unfortunately, we were still pretty full from Chipotle and Ghirardelli's.

After dinner we walked to The Mirage to go to our first Cirque du Soleil show of the trip, Love.

It is now Eric's favorite show -- not just Cirque shows, but all shows -- that he's ever seen. I put Cirque and musicals in two different categories; but for Cirque, I can't decide which is my favorite between Love and La Nouba.

Eric and I both love The Beatles, though. So it was kind of a given that we'd love this show.

For brunch the next morning we went to Jean Philippe Patisserie at Bellagio -- you know, the place with the chocolate fountain:

We had some delicious sandwiches, a smoothie, and some chocolate-covered strawberries. I kept craving chocolate-covered strawberries this trip, probably because my body was craving fruit, but my mind wasn't willing to make it completely healthy.

Later that day we sunbathed at the Bellagio pools, which are so nice.

The weather was just perfect for us when we were in Vegas. Just a nice warm. This was great at the pools because not a lot of people were willing to be out sunbathing with the breeze and slight coolness.

For dinner that night we went to the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace -- you've got to go to a buffet in Vegas, and we read that this was one of the best, if not the best. I'd probably concur with that sentiment. It boggled the mind to see the amount and variety of food at this buffet. 500+ dishes, which includes seafood, Italian, BBQ, Korean BBQ, Japanese, Mexican...

There are many more food areas other than what's portrayed in this picture.

I think my favorite thing there (besides the whole dessert section) was the barbecue beef brisket. Mmm.

Land of the free (and the obese). This was merely one of many food plates of the night.

Oh, mamma, the desserts. So magnificent. They'd make you soufflés, crepes, and a number of other goodies on command. I had at least three ginormous chocolate-covered strawberries and a host of other amazing treats.

We saw our one non-Cirque show this night: Jersey Boys.

I love Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. I listened to my dad's CD of The Four Seasons so much that I wore parts of it out (I'm a bit of an old soul when it comes to music). It was a great musical, and Eric and I both thoroughly enjoyed it, but my mom hyped it up a bit too much by claiming it was her favorite musical she'd ever seen. Sorry, Mom, and sorry, Franki and Seasons, but you can't beat the trifecta of Phantom, Les Mis, and Wicked.

The next day we went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch, yet another one of the many American fast food joints Eric had wanted to try.

It was enjoyable, but I wouldn't say it stood out from any other similar burger places. But the prices were fantastic.
This isn't my own picture, but I think the prices were around these amounts when we were there.

 Following In-N-Out Burger, we walked to our next activity, a shooting range called Gun Garage. Not something we would typically do, but something we've both always wanted to do.

Guns aplenty!

We chose the "Zombie Apocalypse" package, which included a Glock handgun, a shotgun, an Uzi, and an AK-47.

Shooting the Glock. It was my favorite. My first shot was a fantastic head shot.

Shotgun. I'm embarrassed to say that I couldn't pump the shotgun very well. I think I now realize my mistake, though. So I would, no doubt, be a pro now. I'm happy to report, however, that Eric had a worse bruise on his shoulder than I did -- not from the kickback. We were both so paranoid about the kickback that we pushed the shotgun against our shoulders hard enough to bruise (just little ones).

 Take that, Zombie Cowboy! Some stray bullet holes there -- probably from shotgun spray...

Eric shooting the Glock.

Take that, Gangsta Zombie! Nice eye shots.

Little bit of fire action from the AK-47. It was pretty tough to control. The Uzi was much more manageable. We weren't allowed to take head shots with the Uzi or AK-47.

Eric shooting the AK-47.

Take that, Zombie Clown! *Shudder*

Overall, it was quite a fun experience.

For dinner that night we went to Le Cirque at Bellagio. The designs were so fun, just like a circus tent.

And fun circus murals.

This probably would have been our favorite dinner, but we had quite an unpleasant situation going on at the table next to us. An older woman and a middle-aged man (I assume they were mother and son or something like that. least, I sure hope that was the case) realized halfway through their meal that the Cirque du Soleil show they were planning on going to, which was O at the Bellagio, started earlier than they had initially thought. They let the waiters know, and the waiters said that they'd hurry everything along and that because O was so close, they'd be able to make it. But for the rest of their evening at Le Cirque, the two were freaking out at each other. The kind of irate freaking out that becomes very awkward when done in public. And Eric and I hate confrontation. Fighting is a foreign concept to us. There was much internal rejoicing when they finally left.

Also, by this point, food and I were starting to have less friendly feelings towards one another. Eric and I were just so constantly stuffed to the rafters! And of course my chocolate soufflé for dessert was the size of my head! I assure you, a sizable portion was left uneaten.

That night, with indigestion in tow, we went to our second Vegas Cirque du Soleil show, 

It's become obvious to Eric and me that we'll essentially always enjoy Cirque du Soleil shows (except, I imagine, Zumanity, the adult show. Refer back to lecherous debauchery not being our thing), which was, of course, the case with  (us enjoying it, not it being lecherous; although, there was a generous supply of thong butts).

That looks profoundly uncomfortable.

The stages/sets of Cirque shows are astounding. The stages, or platforms, in  are non-stationary. They just float about, turning this way and that!

And all around the theater are amazing balcony/catwalks that the performers travel on.

And unlike most of the other Cirque shows,  follows a more linear story line, which was a very fun aspect.

 also features the Wheel of Death, which is what it sounds like: spinning, rotating wheels of death. The stunts pulled had me literally gasping, especially when one of the performers stumbled a bit and dropped a jump rope, which was then replaced.

The only drawback for us was the ending was a bit anticlimactic. It has been toned down to make it less dangerous because this particular stunt is the one where a performer died in June 2013 (not from the deceptively-named Wheel of Death). I imagine they'll eventually come up with something safer to replace it, but for now, they just project an image of the final battle scene on to the vertical stage. 

This picture looks like it actually is the performers. But for us, it was just a projection of the performance.

The original performance must have been amazing!

Back at the hotel that night, what I believed was indigestion took a turn for the worse.

Oh, hello again, gargantuan chocolate soufflé.

But once I was reacquainted with my dinner and was able to fall sleep, I assumed I'd be completely better by the morning and that would be the end of it. Wrong.

It turns out I had some surprise visitors...

I can't say I blame them; who wouldn't want to join us on vacation? They were kind enough to not make an appearance until the day prior to departure day, which was also spa day. Eric, being the exceptional husband he is, went to a drugstore and got me the necessaries, and we plied me full of drugs then headed to the Bellagio spa.

Mercy, was that hot rock massage ever welcome. We both spent a good amount of time in the hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms as well -- separately, of course, so that old people could feel comfortable being naked among their own gender, and subsequently make all of the younger people in swimsuits feel uncomfortable. What is it with old people and letting it all hang out? I don't really care to see anyone naked, but least of all you old, saggy people!

The spa had some complimentary fruit, and words cannot express the elation I felt from eating a fresh, healthy, unadulterated banana.

It was at that point, where a banana was the most satisfying thing I ate in Vegas, that I realized that food and I were kind of friends off; not from my being sick, but just the overindulgence of food in general. I ate another banana and an apple before being done at the spa, and ever since coming home from Vegas, I have gone hog wild with fruit, while cutting down on other less healthy, more sugary foods. Oh, bananas. 

I was feeling quite inclined to staying in bed, so we got room service pizzas for dinner. Pretty unremarkable, but I was just happy I didn't have to get up. And luckily that night we were going to O, which is in Bellagio.

While we enjoyed O, I think people we had talked to and people online oversold it a bit. It is really impressive, and as a result, I think most people, if they only have one show to see in Vegas, will go to O. But of all the Cirque shows we've now seen, it was probably our least favorite. But don't get me wrong. It's still amazing. I mean, it's a whole stage of water!

If you've ever heard Brian Regan (love!) explain how cherry-flavored snow cones are still favorite, then you'll know how we feel about O compared to other Cirque shows.
"GRAPE! I'm gonna get grape, or cherry. They're both... favorites, so either one is good, but if they have both, I'll get grape because grape is a little more favorite. But if they don't have grape it's like, alright, its fine, 'cause cherry's favorite anyway. It's like another favorite, but not as much. Not as much favorite. But they're both good. They're both good." - Brian Regan
There were also two unfortunate mishaps when we were at O. (1) One of the performers, while doing trapeze tricks high above the water, messed up and fell into the water. If you're going to fall in a Cirque show, this is probably the best one to do it in. (2) A fire dancer accidentally dropped his fire sticks. It wasn't too noticeable, though. Apparently Eric and I are Cirque snobs now that demand perfection.

The next day was our departure day. So we just checked our bags with the bellhop service and walked around the strip until we had to go to the airport. And even though we were pretty disenchanted with food by this point, there was no way we were missing out on one last chance at Ghirardelli's. I got the same Warm Brownie Sundae and Eric got Midnight Reverie, the darkest of dark chocolates.

First we had lunch at Haute Doggery.

It was refreshing to have a small, simple hot dog. 

Then we walked around the strip, I zonked out on a chair at the Bellagio for a while, we took a cab to the airport, and then flew home. 

So in the end, we both really enjoyed Las Vegas. The convenience was a big plus for us. So much is in walking distance or a short cab ride away. And there is a lot to do. It was fantastic having a show to go to every night. And we didn't even see all of the Cirque shows we wanted to. We'd love to go back sometime and see Zarkana and Mystère.  If we did go back, I think we'd schedule less eatings. We'd just eat when we felt hungry and go to whatever sounded good at the time.

And not a single penny was spent on gambling. 

1 comment:

  1. Huzzah a post!!! Oh how much joy I get from reading your posts :) So glad you had a lot of fun. Very sad for you that KA was boring at the end with a projection. We saw it before the tragic accident so it was real live people and all that. I feel your pain on the wheel of death. I was terrified that someone was going to fall. Oddly, we have been to Vegas twice and have not been to a buffet. All your food looks amazingly delicious and I am tres jealous of all the shows you got to see.