Day 1 - I, for one, was excited because my friend Miriam works at the Luxor Hotel, and on Tuesday night, she had a Jacuzzi Room at the Luxor and free tickets to see both Blue Man Group and Midnight Fantasies for us. Awesome.
I went with Air Canada Vacations, because I have a Visa card that gives you a discount and vouchers on trips booked with them. Sadly, the Luxor isn't available with them, so I decided to stay at Circus Circus. I'd stayed there before and it's a good hotel if you're a no-frills type. Besides, who goes to Las Vegas to stay in their hotel? Nobody!
Flying from Ottawa via Toronto, I was in Vegas around noon. The city was as gorgeous as ever. No airport has an observation deck as cool as Vegas' Casino Strip. After getting off the plane, I was on a shuttle taking me to The Circus. It was Sunday, but the street was jammed with traffic, yet it's a gorgeous site to behold.
I had to wait a couple hours for my room to be readied, so I explored the Circus. It hadn't changed a bit. Same faded carpets, same ancient sports area, same clientele. Around three, I finally got my room and bag. I took a nap, for I hadn't slept at all due to all the excitement!
Well, it was to explore. I went to a phone booth to call The Luxor and tell Miriam I was in town. I told her I'd be at the concierge at 8:00 p.m.
Around 5, it was time to go to the MGM Grand for dinner. I had free buffets from WagerWorks. I wasn't sure of the shuttle schedule, so I took the bus. Crowded as usual.
At the MGM (I've stayed here as well), I got to get in immediately as a guest, instead of waiting in line. The food was good, although what interested me were a little waning. After digesting, I decided to explore the Casinos in the area. Mandalay Bay is a gorgeous 21st century structure that will appeal to 20-somethings more than the Hard Rock could. At Tropicana, I won a ticket to see Rick Thomas' magic show. Tropicana isn't anything special, though. The Excalibur's casino has a European look like the Casino De Hull in my hometown. Felt like I was home. I'm guessing it's downhill from there. The Luxor is a knockout. The rock statues, hieroglyphics (sic), and overall look is pure Egypt. The Luxor is my favorite. Miriam was there and we had a good chat about how things had been going for both of us. She told me that everything was set for Tuesday and gave me her cellphone number. I left happy.
I decided to visit NYNY. NYNY is a beautiful creation. Its best area is where its stores, bars, and restaurants are located. There was a piano bar crammed to capacity and everyone was singing "Piano Man" by Billy Joel. Happy days were a regular here before Sept. 11, I'll bet.
I decided to go back to The Circus; it was getting late. Got onto a crowded bus and went to the Circus Midway to see a couple of Circus acts. Believe it or not, many of the ones I saw were the same ones I saw in Oct. 99. I'd see a lot of Deja Vu in the next few days. I then turned in for the night.
Day 2 - I overslept; I guess I was tired. It was nearly noon. Opening the curtains and seeing a Las Vegas Strip bathed in sunshine, it was time to go out.
I decided that I would go see Rick Thomas' afternoon show, and then take the bus to go Downtown. I took a packed shuttle to The Tropicana and redeemed my free pass. Thomas was great. He keeps it nice and simple. No ego, no cockiness. He's a fine magician. He's pretty tall, too.
After the show, I took the bus again to explore downtown Vegas. I explored all the hotels in the vicinity. There were some weird sights to be sure. I saw a man who might have died; he was covered up and there were officers in the scene. At the California Hotel, there was a slot tourney with no one but Japanese contestants. Fremont Street was colorful, as usual. Of course, the panhandlers were in full force as usual.
Getting back to my area, I explored The Riviera, Stardust, and Westward Ho Casinos, then returned to The Circus for more free entertainment. Called it a night.
Day 3 - The big day! Got up a little earlier. Decide to spend the day exploring again. I decided to check out the Casinos on Paradise Avenue. The Las Vegas Hilton is very nice. It seemed to be a little dark, though. I would have liked to go through the Star Trek exhibit, but I didn't feel like it. If it's true that it won't be at the Hilton, I hope another hotel will pick it up. Terrible's is too small to mention and The Hard Rock Hotel is nothing but hot air. Aladdin's is very nice, but I was too tired to explore it eagerly. I never got to check out its Desert Passage. Still, it's beautifully crafted. I rested at the Paris, then returned to Circus to get ready for tonight, I'm staying at The Luxor.
After going back to the MGM Grand to use my other free buffet (and being very careful to not get food poisoning) and also watching their free "Legends Show" (the Jim Morrison impersonator and other were still here, just like in '99), I headed to the Luxor concierge to see Miriam, who was looking as delicious as ever. We went to her room to get the tickets. The Jacuzzi Room is gorgeous. It's large, with a gorgeous view of the strip. We saw Blue Man Group, who put on a terrific show; better than I thought it would be. But it was Midnight Fantasies that stole the show. This was the best topless review in town. I thought it would be a cheapo production like the others i.e. Crazy Girls, but this one was gorgeous and tastefully done. The whole cast was beautiful. After that, we went back to Miriam's room to use the Jacuzzi (my first time in one) and to go to the bedroom for...
Day 4 - Already my last day?!? After having a light breakfast in bed, I bid adieu to Miriam. I headed for the Imperial Palace to check out the car exhibit. I also explored Caeser's Palace, which I think is second best in Vegas. It's a massive building, with a shopping area that looks like a cross between The Sistine Chapel and a mall. Gorgeous. It was time to gamble, so I went to the non-descript Circus casino, I didn't do well, but I didn't lose everything. I ate at Denny's between tries. I also checked out Olympic Gardens. After that, more Circus acts, and then it was time to sleep.
Checkout- I had a great time here. I wish I could live here 24/7. I still talk to Miriam on occasion, visit websites pertaining to Vegas, and and watch anything broadcast from Las Vegas. A city I'm obsessed with, and a city I feel priviliged to have experienced twice.