My wife and I had a terrific time in fabulous Las Vegas August 13 - 16!!! Saw several shows and enjoyed them all, didn't gamble too much so our losses were modest. Ate several very good meals.

We stayed at the Imperial Palace which is in the middle of the strip (great location) but it is one of the older hotel/casinos around; we found it clean and friendly and perfectly adequate for our purposes. A good place to stay. The cocktail waitress outfits are super!!!

On Friday afternoon we went to the Maxim (just around the corner) and ate lunch at their buffet and saw the Nick Lewin Comedy-Magic Show, which runs at 1:00 and 3:00 in the afternoon. It was very good, he's a British comic/magician and kept us well entertained and laughing for 90 minutes. However he told us that after a 4+ year run at the Maxim he's leaving next month, so who knows who they'll get to fill in for him. (We found coupons for buy one get one free buffet at the Maxim so we both ate for $6.95, and we also had a coupon to see the show for free with the purchase of a drink ($4 each), so the whole afternoon was a real bargain).

Friday evening we saw Forever Plaid at the Flamingo (next door to the IP), and it was very good too! I had ordered tickets several days in advance, charged them to a credit card, and we picked them up at the Flamingo. The room that it plays in only seats 165, so there aren't any bad seats, but we were seated in the front row (I slipped the maitre d' a $5 when he asked for our tickets). Definitely worth seeing. After the show we crossed the street and watched the water show out front of the Bellagio, which was pretty impressive, especially considering that this is all put on in the middle of the desert...

On Saturday we walked through the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace (don't miss them!) and had lunch at the Stage Deli. Then walked through Caesar's casino, the Mirage, Treasure Island, Frontier..... While at Mirage there was no line at the ticket booth so I asked if there were any seats left for the Cirque de Soleil show, Mystere, which plays at Treasure Island for Sunday night. I had expected them to be sold out, but we were able to get seats in the last row for the 10:30 show on Sunday night. We hiked all the way down to the Stardust and, according to our plans (we had a coupon for free admittance to their Enter the Night show if we bought dinner at one of their 3 restaurants) we had a great dinner at Tres Lobos, the No. 1 ranked Mexican restaurant in LV. Really a great meal in a nice setting. Got our free show coupon and took it to the box office and traded it for our tickets (I had phoned in a reservation a few days in advance) and our assigned seats were at our own table at the very edge of the stage. The show was what I guess is a traditional Las Vegas song and dance/variety show extravaganza with showgirls wearing feathered outfits and sometimes topless, and "showboys" sometimes wearing what amounted to padded jockstraps (codpieces???); anyway, it would have been completely ridiculous anywhere else, but it was good entertainment for Las Vegas. Song and dance numbers were ok, ice skaters were pretty good, and "The Gouchos" were also pretty good. I'd recommend it, especially if you get the coupon and get free tickets for eating at one of the Stardust's upscale restaraunts.

After the show we walked over to The Riviera and threw a few coins into their machines, and then we walked all the way back to the IP (quite a hike) stopping at several of the seedy souvenir stores along the way. One of them advertised 99 cent shrimp cocktails on a sign outside, and when we went in the whole place absolutely stunk like dead (and rotting) fish; guess that's how they make sure no one actually orders a 99 cent shrimp cocktail....

On Sunday morning we toured the automobile collection at the Imperial Palace, which was pretty interesting even though we're not car buffs, then we walked over to Bally's and hopped on the monorail to the MGM Grand, walked through that casino and saw the lion habitat which was interesting, but it was swarming with kids -- we didn't go to LV to see kids -- and while some are marketing it as a "family" destination I can't imagine why anyone would take their young kids to LV....but they do, and the MGM seems to be full of them. Perhaps its the water park and the amusement park adjacent to the MGM that makes it a kid magnet, but we wouldn't ever want to stay there.... We walked from MGM over to NYNY, which is a pretty attractive place, but there were lots of kids underfoot there too (in the casino)!!?? Then we took the monorail back to Ballys and walked down to the Maxim again to lunch at their buffet (we had enjoyed it on Fri. afternoon). The Sunday champagne brunch buffet was OK, but we realized that we can only stand an occasional buffet type meal and having already eaten there a couple of days earlier, it didn't seem so great this time (but still ok). Then walked back to our room at the IP for a power nap before the late show of Mystere.

As they say, words cannot describe Mystere, you just have to see it. It is truly amazing and wonderful. If you've ever seen any of the Cirque de Soleil acts on TV, well here they are live, in their incredible entirety! Our seats in the middle of the last row of the theater turned out to be terrific; the theater was designed and built to the specifications of the performing group and so there is action all over the theater; much of the action takes place overhead, so if you sat down front you would have to look almost straight up to see the overhead stuff and you might miss what was going on behind or to the side of you. Sit towards the back in order to get the full panoramic view of this spectacle! And try to arrive twenty minutes or so before showtime so that you can watch the clown's shenanigans with members of the incoming audience.

Part of the package deal we got included a $50 food and beverage credit at the IP where we stayed, so on Friday we shared a really good pizza at their Pizza Palace restaurant, and after the Mystere show on Sunday night, we went to the Tearoom at the IP and ordered their prime rib sandwich which is $2.99 after 11:00 p.m. and it was great -- a huge slab of melt in your mouth prime rib on a half of kaiser roll with french fries....what a bargain. Also tried the breakfast buffet at the IP's Emperor's Buffet and found it edible and adequate, but nothing to write home about...

On Monday we got up and did a little more casino hopping. Went over to the Bellagio and walked through the shops and casino and found the conservatory; Bellagio is a pretty glitzy and classy place. Then we packed up, checked out and caught our flight back to Detroit.

All in all, we had a fantastic time in truly fabulous Las Vegas!