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Viva la Via

(Viva Las Vegas... Starbucks style)

Starbucks came out with an instant coffee called Via, and since we get most of our internet from Starbucks, we heard a lot of promoting for the darn thing, and it has at long last, infiltrated its way into my writing.

Since Joe was just out of his week in the while, we decided it was time to shock his system. We head out towards Vegas, Joe with the GPS, me, the vintage way, after eating the free breakfast for the whole 4 hours (Joe did, not me. He sits himself down with the laptop, and passes himself for the entire breakfast. We even had one of the people working there ask to confirm that we had a room at the hotel.) And I got some pictures of Joe cruising on the motorcycle on Rt. 66 (Classic! Just pretend all of those businesses aren't there and replace them with something scenic. You've seen enough scenic on our trip, use those pics as a reference. That, or maybe this is scenic Rt. 66 and I am just a snob after seeing all that we've seen.)

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And then once we are back on the highway away from the 66, Nevada becomes just how I pictured it.

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Also on the way Joe was really interested in seeing Hoover Dam, and so was apparently everyone else. I was unimpressed, and all I really wanted to see was the Colorado river before and after the damn, but not necessary the dam itself. (Which way is the Grand Canyon by the way? I assume its north, so that would mean that the Grand Canyon is dammed? I didn't know that. You couldn't tell by how small the Colorado river looks inside the Grand Canyon, but maybe that's just because it was so far away, or maybe just so far away from the point where it is dammed. I need to stop saying the word dam, b/c I'm not mature enough for it, and yes, I did have to go through that paragraph and remove all the "n"'s further proving that I am not mature enough.

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So, like the subtitle said...

here we go...

to a destination nether of us really are interested in seeing...

but since we are here...

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We meet at the Plaza hotel which is on the other side of Vegas from the main strip, but it was right in front of this really neat street mall that claims to have the largest LCD screen that covers the entire strip (we think that the one at the Olympic "nest" in China probably beets it, but they just didn't update their ads yet).

Let me just say this before you see the pictures, because I need you to feel it for me. I was unable to wipe the grin from off my face. The ceiling on the hour, every hour, would light up (usually its inactive, so I was curious when I first saw it as to why they decided to put a roof over the street) and videos danced to a rock and roll sound. All other lights on the street went out in awe of the performance, and everyone's faces were turned up (a pick-pocketers dream). Then after the song, all of Vegas seemed to turn back on like toys on Christmas night after the children go to sleep.

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Then we watched this awesome spray paint artist. We wanted to buy Justin the Spiderman because he did such an amazing job on all the other paintings, really resourceful btw, using only newspaper and spray paint, but it didn't come out like the others did, and we would pay the $35 for the others, but the Spiderman was just kinda bla. The cool thing is that the company just sets up the booth, and then hires people to spray art in it, and they have to figure out how to paint on their own (Bob Ross?)

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Then Joe, being only a a few days out of the wild, I caught reverting back to his rugged self!

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After that I had no choice but to drag him dress shopping and fill him with bongs full of ah-ah-ah-alcohol (and yes, that was one of the songs that Ciani requested at her wedding reception... foreshadowing? maybe?).

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We were having a blast just looking around at the kiosks, eating, looking at the spray painting artist, eating, and going in and out of all the casinos while we played the 1 cent machines (Joe said I pull the handle on the side too hard, but I believe the harder you slam it down, the luckier you are... even if I still lost the penny regardless of how hard I pulled.) Then we finally figured out what this thing was for:

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It was a danger ball where they had 3 guys on dirt bikes getting ready do do a show where they drive inside the ball. Now I know you might be thinking "Do I want to watch these?" And if you haven't come up with the correct answer yet, its yes. They are short, and you really do need to build up the suspense by watching all three, now speed watching by skipping to the last one b/c you know its the finally. There's a reason why they start out with the smaller stuff and build up (let the feeling flow like we did, b/c you're not going to get anywhere close to experincing this place if you don't try to put yourself in it. And ye,s that means that if you're not already drinking, you need to pause, get some alcohol, and then come back after you've downed a few. But not too many that you can't read anymore, come on people, lets not get too crazy.)

Then after that we hopped on Joe's bike... w/o helmets... and drove to the main strip. On the way we had several people yell to us that we'll get ticketed in Nevada for not having helmets. This made us real nervous, so while we wanted to stop by the TI (Treasure Island) to watch the show they had going on outside, but we decided to just try and find a parking spot before a cop found us. And yes, on the way we were tempted to get hitched at, the I kid you not, drive through wedding chapel.

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And we almost got a shot of Johnny Depp! I'm not kidding you, I think he likes the costume so much that he moonlights in it at Vegas for attention. Joe called "Johnny Depp!" and he turned, but by the time I got the shot, he was already pretending to be too cool for a photo. :(

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When we pulled around I saw that he was checking his compass with the same exact expression he does in the movie, you know, the frown/ elongation of the mouth, eyebrows raised, head leaned back look.

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Those were inside the Caesar's by the way (its night outside).

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That last one was a pic of a really strange group. A fairly good Joker, a sexy black angle/ devil girl, a really bad Mexican Jack Sparrow and an Edward with a really big but (for a white guy).

Inside the Paris we kinda crashed (only 1 am, but it was 2 am for us b/c of the time change). That's when we decided to find a friggin hotel for cheep (the mom of the angle girl at the RV park with the THC with TLC shop told us that Vegas has cheep motels now b/c of the economy). We loved Vegas so much, and we really wanted to have another day when we were not falling asleep to really enjoy the place.

Deciding that a taxi would be warmer, and cheaper (getting a ticket, we were told by a very intimidating Jewish lawyer who yelled to us while we were driving (Joe's discript BTW, not mine, and since he's kinda Jewish, and his brothers a lawyer, I think we can trust his assessment), would run us around 900 bucks!) The taxi took us right back to my car at the Plaza, and then we figured we would pick Joe's bike up at Cesar's Palace when we hit the strip the next day.

It took us a while, but I finally talked a guy into letting me have a "single" for $30 a night (my trick? Ask "Do you know any motel closer to $30?" Your answers are a sharp "I don't know!" or the ever helpful, "Yeah, try..." and the very best "I can go $30." I talked to 4 motels before I got the last, but since the last was our breaking point when we would pay anything for sleep, it worked out.)

The next morning we slept in almost all day to prepare for the night, and then I told Joe about eating at Cici's in Roswell, and that was it. Joe ate all the previous night, at almost every food place we passed, he seemed ready to refill his belly. So, one free 411 call later, we found a Cici's in Vegas and it had Wifi. So while Joe refilled himself we searched for all the free shows and we hit the strip prepared!

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First, MGM grand to see the lions:

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That last pic was from under the lions! So cool!

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The one trainer in there kinda jumped when the lion on the left sat up real quick to lick her back leg. We enjoyed that they still had a healthy fear of the lions, b/c they were huge.

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And relish these photos, b/c I was told (after the fact) that the Lux no longer allows photos to be taken inside in order to protect their guests! (Lame)

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Then we missed a bunch of shows like the Treasure Island one that we were apparently in the right place at the right time, but on the first day of their construction project that was going to last through December! So we probably heard them doing their last show the night before while we were trying to get a parking space... but oh well. As Joe pointed out, I thought the show sounded kinda lame (but it was free, and we would have gotten to see it from the beginning, and that was why I was disappointed, not because I thought it was going to be the best thing ever.) So we resorted to wondering and found a really neat looking bar that we didn't eat at, we just looked around.

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That statue just outside the bar was an exact replica of Lennon's stature from the Red Square.

Then it was time to head off the strip to this casino that had a free aquarium.

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And those purple lighted creatures were jelly fish! And that was the best jelly fish exhibit I'd seen thus far b/c the aquarium in Baltimore didn't end up having the jelly fish exhibit we thought it would (Monterey here we come!)

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And yest Nate, those Blue Steel pictures are just for you.

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(He is sitting in Arel's chair)

Then back to the main strip to the Venetian to see street music. But we never found the performers.

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We did however find the Tao restaurant/ night club, and we went in for just a cup of tea, and ended up spending quite a bit of time there getting dinner too (we spit an appetizer for $9 that was amazing. It was called something like "The Buddha's cooked vegetable with udon noodle medley for the Minor Gods" which immediatly caught our attention. Way better than the fish we saw for $88).

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After dinner we rushed to the Fremont Street Experience (street mall we started at yesterday) since our hotel was just down the street from it. Joe drove the bike back and parked it at the Plaza on one side of the mall, and I drove to the motel and parked the car on the other. A little creepy walking around at 1am, so I ran the 5 or so blocks until I got to the street mall, but by the time I got there the place was dead. I guess it was Sunday night, but I thought this city never slept? I found Joe almost back to the Plaza, and then we went inside some casino's and tried to get a drink. It turned out that the strip was closing shops, but the casino and their casino bars stay open 24 hours a day! So we totally bought alcohol after 2 am (b/c we are so cool) and we played a few slots, but it just wasn't the same without the Saturday night energy, so we walked back to our motel around 4am and got some sleep (must maximize sleep time when you don't have a home to take for granite).

Anyways, I guess the point I'm trying to get at is that Vegas on a Saturday night is just filled with so much energy and life that you can't help but feel a part of it, even if you think its not your scene. I told Joe that I felt strange having so much fun in a place that is filled with gambling (not interested), lavish materialism (not interested), and escorts (not interested, but the Hispanic men still annoyingly clicked them together and tried to force me to take their cards... I guess all of us sinners blend together after a while and they didn't notice I was a girl.) Which is the last point I'd like to make. This is sin city, but I would like to also unofficially call it the christian Capital of the world. You couldn't turn a corner w/o seeing some sort of Chapel. Joe and I were even just resting our feet inside the Paris hotel and a few people excitedly asked "Are you waiting?" while pointing to the Chapel across the walk from us. "A world of no." - Buffy (not me) I simply smiled and shook my head.

But I guess it all comes down to people will sin b/c we'd rather die sinners than live as saints, but at the same time the church can still try to save us from ourselves (may as well marry them and make their coupling in bed as legitimate through the eyes of God (he shouldn't be omnipresent in this circumstance).

Posted by - Rain 17:22

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