Saturday, March 17, 2007

Left Las Vegas

Since our flight landed on Saturday morning at 7AM, I have slept for 23 hours. After getting home, I slept from 9AM-5PM, got up for two hours, took a 3-hour nap from 7PM-10PM, got up for 3 hours, and slept through the night from 1AM-11AM the next morning. I love sleep.

On our last day in Vegas, we were both sleep-deprived zombies, which made the work day very long. We called it a day at around 4:45PM and then set out to do the last things on our Vegas list, which were to visit
Wynn Hotel and Casino and Mandalay Bay.

Wynn is very upscale with the cheapest rooms going for about $400/night so we thought it would be the most beautiful hotel on the Strip. Just like everything else we hyped up a lot (i.e. O), it was kind of disappointing. It was opulent and very well tended, but it wasn't as striking at the
Bellagio or the Venetian. However, I think the most impressive parts of the hotel (i.e. $500/round golf course) are exclusively for the enjoyment of guests so you can't see them if you are just wandering through the public areas of the hotel.

After leaving Wynn we took a lovely complimentary shuttle to the monorail station where we hopped on and took it all the way to
Excalibur, which is a super cheesy, old casino hotel with a knight-theme (e.g. Round Table Buffet, Sir Galahad's Pub and Prime Rub House, etc.). We had to walk through it and the Luxor (cheesy casino hotel with an Egyptian theme) in order to get to Mandalay Bay.

Jeff stayed at Mandalay Bay when he came to Vegas last year with his dad. It was a very nice, tastefully decorated hotel casino with a sort of water/marine theme. There was a beach area next to the pool, a huge fish tank in the lobby, and an actual aquarium called the Shark Reef on the lower level. Jeff had been to the Shark Reef last year, but he sweetly went in again with me.

I absolutely love watching sharks from a safe environment (I'd die if I ever saw one in open water). There were tonnes of sharks at this aquarium and some of them were quite big. My pictures didn't come out very well, but my videos did. The first one is the longest with a few good views of sharks as well as some other fish. The second one was taken from the glass tunnel, so fish and sharks were swimming above us as well as beside us. The third one is very short and dark with one shark materializing out of the gloom very slowly in a sinister fashion. The last one is my favourite and has great lighting, but it was cut short because my memory card filled up.

We stopped for a light dinner at
Red, White and Blue, a casual restaurant inside Mandalay Bay. We had lunch with the guys at the office at 3:30PM so we weren't that hungry, but it was going to be a long trip so we ate anyways. I just had a house salad and it was perfectly fine.

We shared a cab to the airport with a very chatty guy named Brian from Miami. He told us that he comes to Las Vegas at least once a year, so he's been there more times that he can count. He told us about some great hiking trails two hours away in Utah that we must check out if we are back again. He said that he assumed we were into hiking since we looked fit and outdoorsy and I had never been so flattered in all my life. He was probably talking about Jeff.

The flight was very smooth and we even left early. Flying time was about 4 hours. I thought it was so far away, but it's completely do-able to go to Vegas from Toronto for a weekend. Except that you won't get any sleep while you're there and you'll be destroyed for at least two days after getting back.

After I got back I watched Ocean's Eleven (the re-made version with George Clooney) and the Las Vegas episode of No Reservations with Tony Bourdain. It was neat to see all the same places we visited on TV. Tony talks at length about how awful the Strip is because it is basically Disneyland, but he's missing the point. The Strip is not supposed to be real life. It is supposed to be a place where people can escape from reality. Everything on the Strip is about having a good time and everyone is 100% into enjoying themselves. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I can see now why people want to go to Las Vegas.

If you'd like to see more pictures from the last day in Vegas, please click here.

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