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Trip Report Las Vegas

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My 56 year old husband and I just got back from Las Vegas yesterday. We left from Minneapolis on Saturday, 10/16. Upon arrival at the Vegas airport we were immediately aware of people and noise! There were people everywhere! We had to wait approx. 45 minutes for our luggage. Then we headed to the rental car terminal and got our car without problems. Except I was getting hungry. The cookies you get on the airplane don't last long!

We headed toward the strip and were surprised to see how close the airport is to the strip. We stayed at the Platinum Hotel just off the strip behind Bally's. It was wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about this hotel. They greeted us warmly and stored out luggage as our room was not quite ready. They had valet parking and the attendants were always smiling and ready to get the car for us, or to get us a taxi. I never saw one person that did not have a smile on their face and never heard one word of discontent. They went out of their way to make our stay very pleasurable.

We walked next door to a convenience store and picked up a couple of sandwiches to tide us over! They actually were good. By the time we ate the sandwiches our room was ready for us. I was not prepared for the space! We had a gourmet kitchen with black countertops, stainless steel appliances - including a dishwasher and washer and dryer. There was a living room with a huge plasma screen television and two queen beds in the separate bedroom. In the bathroom there was a large closet, two sinks, a shower and jacuzzi tub. There was also a large balcony with a table and chairs. We also had free internet. I swear, my husband and I could live there.

Hubby and I decided to walk down to the strip which was about a 10 minute walk. I always felt very safe, but there is an area between the Platinum and Bally's that is an empty lot and it had a lot of broken beer bottles and glass scattered everywhere.

Our first stop was to see the Bellagio Fountains. They were beautiful. We saw the show in the day time and night time. Both were wonderful. Since it was Saturday night - it was crowded. Since I am a geriatric social worker I notice elderly people and was quite surprised to see so many older people in wheelchairs, walkers, canes everyplace! We went into our first casino at Bellagio and played some penny slots. Neither my husband nor I are gamblers and we didn't have a clue what we were doing, but it was fun.

We walked around the area by the Flamingo and Ballagio, Caesers Palace. We ended up just getting a hot sandwich for the evening meal in a mall area. We headed back to the room and spent a couple of hours swimming at the pool.

Sunday morning we slept in. I love that about vacations. No work - just relaxation. We decided to visit the Valley of Fire and headed out about 11:00. It took approx. an hour or so to arrive. The drive up there was very boring. I don't find the desert beautiful or entertaining - but once we got to the Valley of Fire that all changed. It was fantastic!

The red rocks were beautiful and the formations were interesting. It was nice to get out and walk around and we took a lot of photos! The ancient Indian petroglyphs were awe inspiring. When I noticed some grafitti around some of these ancient symbols, it made me so upset. I don't understand people sometimes, I really don't.

But most of the petroglyphs were in good shape and had been left alone. We drove to the different areas where you can walk and hiked down to see some petrified logs and also went on the Mouse Trail where there were more petroglyphs. It was hot, but not unbearable so. I can imagine in the summer how intense the heat must be in those canyons. This trip was very worthwhile. I would recommend it to anybody traveling to Las Vegas. We headed to a small town nearby and ate lunch at a McDonalds. Can you see a pattern here? So far a day and a half in Las Vegas and not one good meal yet!

Sunday evening we spent the evening going in and out of different casinos. We spent some time in the Flamingo and Bally's. We also went into the Venetian. This was my favorite casino out of all of them. It was beautiful! There is an area by the gondola rides where the sky is painted blue with clouds. It looks just like you are in an Italian city. Finally, a good meal. We ate at an Italian restaurant by the gondola rides. Hubby had wonderful salmon and I had the cannelonni. It was great to have a good meal finally.

After another restful night, Monday morning hubby had to go to his conference. I stayed in the room and slept in. Took a leisurely jacuzzi and got breakfast through room service. At noon hubby arrived back and we headed out to Hoover Dam.

This was an easy drive, although the last 6 miles or so were stop and go traffic. The new bridge is complete, but was not yet open, although it looked ready to open any time. The dam was amazing. To think that this kind of engineering marvel was constructed so many years ago was hard to imagine. We did not take the tour, but we walked all over and took a lot of photos.

Monday evening we went to the Luxor Hotel, Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. We had another good meal that evening. We never did go to a buffet as the lines were always extremely long. We spent some time in all of the casinos - but were not very successful. We went to the wax museum at Paris and I thought Johnny Depp was especially lifelike. We even went into the scream exhibit and I did scream!

Tuesday hubby had to go to the conference again so I went with him to Circus Circus. I spent a lovely few hours playing slot machines and watching circus acts and going to the midway. I even won a stuffed bear at the camel race!

Tuesday evening we went to the Fremont Street Experience. It was o.k. It was nice to see - but we didn't stay too long. It was loud - very loud! I was getting a little bit tired of all of the people and all of the noise and all of the stimulation. We did eat supper there at an Irish Pub and once again had an excellent meal. On the way back to stopped at Treasure Island and hit up a few more slot machines.

Wednesday we slept in. Had another good breakfast at the Platinum and said our goodbyes to the lovely people there. They told us they would keep the lights on for us for our next trip. It was so nice to have a quiet, smoke free environment to come back to for a break from all the chaos.

Our return to the airport was easy. Other than our luggage was 4 pounds overweight and they wanted to charge $90 for the 4 pounds. So I did transfer some stuff from the luggage to carry on. I had bought a wooden cactus for my daughter and that stopped me in security for some time since it had a solid wooden base. Finally they decided that I was not smuggling illegal drugs or explosives in the cactus and let me through! The flight home was fine, but upon landing in Minneapolis and walking outside - was a shock to the system as it was approx. 30 degrees cooler!

Overall my impression of Las Vegas - I did not appreciate all of the people trying to give out cards for "young sexy girls" and having to see all of these cards scattered on the ground everyplace. I would not ever consider bringing a young child to the strip area. I am glad that we never had a desire to visit Las Vegas while our kids were young. I did not enjoy the smoke. I live in a smoke free state and can't remember the last time that I had to shower upon coming home because of smelling like smoke. I am content that I have seen Las Vegas but really do not have much desire to ever return. There are a lot of other places in the world I need to see yet and so little time!

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