Worldwide Vegas Vacation – It’s All About the Water
In one day, we visited Greece, Italy, Monaco, France, Egypt, NYC and Las Vegas.
Our trip to Vegas coincided three events : July 4th, Jacq's birthday (Mrs. Delay) on the 6th, and Mike & Sandi’s Bachelor/ette parties on the 9th and 10th. Am I the last person in the room who has never been here as an adult? The now-long-gone lion's head entrance of MGM Grand was just being welded together in steel tubes last time I was in Vegas.
We flew from SJC Monday at Noon on the 4th. Our research showed the temperatures in Vegas had increased just one week prior to our departure. 70ºF in Santa Cruz and 105ºF in Las Vegas. Hades revisited! I learn from Fodor’s that prices of nearly everything in Vegas had a similar increase in the last seven years.
Gamboling in Las Vegas
I was braced for the expenses when we absorbed a solid $100 whack after losing ourselves in Rum Jungle w/ an early dinner at 6pm. I say ‘early dinner’ because the intense heat shifted our circadian rhythms and we felt like it was only lunch time.
The entrance to Rum Jungle in a hall of restaurants at Mandalay features a doorway centered in a grey concrete wall of about 100 small gas-fed flames in a checkerboard pattern behind glass. Doorway divides a pair of 1-foot-high gas-fed flame humming along on each side : each in a unique, windy, vortex funnel of flames. Can’t miss this place.
She ordered the Jambalaya for $32, served in a halved pineapple and accompanied by half a lobster – a chick at best. I ordered something forgetful for $26. It was great, but the other was superior. A pair of $11 mojitos allowed me to forget the difference. At night, Rum Jungle transforms into a nightclub with Go-Go Girls in cages and others that spin and swing from cables on the ceiling.
We wouldn’t be here that long. We needed to see the beach in the desert. Not far from their lazy float river, Mandalay Bay has a pool with a wave simulator that is fun for kids, and for 37-year-olds who act like kids. The wave pool is well done. Nearly every ten minutes a single wave of 1 meter height emerges and is enough for a person lighter than myself to body surf for about 35 feet to the tapered upslope where the deck chairs rest on sand. Waves from the 8-ft deep end can be made 2 meters high for board surfing.
We’ll never see that. At this end, a person can float and watch the last rays of the setting sun reflect off the black glass pyramid of the Luxor in the distance between the gold tower of the 41-story Mandalay Bay – and the 43-story gold tower of THEhotel. Black and Gold are a timeless pairing.
Our goal on every trip is not to be in the hotel room, so we don’t normally spend $450, but we don’t want to be afraid of our room, either. The standard room w/2 queens at Mandalay has marble tiled separate shower and Jacuzzi tub, dbl vanity w/lit concave mirror WOW!, enclosed throne room, wireless ‘net for $11/day. You can determine the age of a hotel room by viewing the bottom 3” of every piece of furniture. Vacuum cleaners and drunks have been here for six years. About what you expect for $110 midweek. Add access to several pools, the lazy river, and the wave pool.
I read that finding deck chairs was near impossible poolside in Vegas, as many people awake at 8am to secure chairs with towels, only to return to their rooms to nap(?) and they arrive at “their chairs” at the respectable hungover hour of 11am. Didn’t see this.
For the 100th anniversary of the city, a large party occurred on January 1st. For the Fourth of July, nobody in the hotel industry nor online knew of fireworks on the strip. Off strip, yes. From our room on the 30th floor, we filmed aerial explosions in eleven different locations from 8:30pm until nearly 11:00pm while we rested. No exaggeration. It was a pretty cool experience.
Two blurs in our photos are glass elevators on the side of THEhotel whisking diners to the 43th floor to visit Mix, a stunning vision of a restaurant by Alain Ducasse – featuring a $500,000 13,000-glass bulb chandelier and legendary grub. We should have been here to view the pyrotechnics outside.
Explored the strip and discovered a reaction to chlorine (or something) made my left eye flush red and sensitive to bright light. Are you kidding? Wrong city for that condition – day or night. A few hours later we returned. Given a night’s rest, the pupil returned to normal dilation and my eye was nearly white again.
At a lounge in Mandalay, a live band drew us in and we danced with a bride in a 4th of July wedding gown. Red, white, blue. Mostly white. Good girl. Good night.
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Worldwide Vegas Vacation – It’s All About the Water