After much debate, we're staying at The Flamingo -- the first big bad casino on the Strip. It's construction got Bugsy Siegal killed. He skimmed too much off the construction, and even his old friend Meyer Lansky couldn't save him from getting shot. The hotel supposedly had a special elevator from his penthouse, down to a service floor, and out to a 24 hour waiting getaway car. But they came for him in Los Angeles.
I'm aiming for a free upgrade to a "Go" room...without losing money first (yeah, right.) Here are the original matchbooks from the opening
And a photo of the original hotel. The last remaining shreds of it were demolished in the 90s.
I heart pink flamingoes!!!
POST -TRIP UPDATE
Well, we're back, and I've developped an irrationally intense love of pink flamingoes & palm trees. The Flamingo was all I hoped it would be, and Vegas was less sleazy than I had feared, (and more romantic).
We drove up from Phoenix with one of my closest friends from high school, Diana, and her husband Steve. Diana & I reconnected at the 20 year reunion last year, and she proposed this trip since we we all be turning 40 this year. Eeek.
Here's a shot of the Hoover Dam -- between Diana (urban planner) Steve (geologist) and my husband Mark (civil engineer) I knew we'd be spending some quality time talking infrastructure ;)
And the New York New York hotel, from the highway; Eiffel and Excalibur.
Our travel compatriots held an unofficial contest based on the "Everything's sexier in Vegas" slogan, instigated by Kristen, who asked "Everything? are the condiments sexier in Vegas?" No clear winner emerged for the sexiest condiment, but I judge a tie for Least Sexiest Condiment between Erin's contribution "sour cream" and Kristen Herself's suggestion, "ANYTHING in a Costco jar."
We ending up eating dinner at the outdoor cafe at Paris Las Vegas, Mon Ami Gabi. Expensive, but not ridiculous considering you can see the fountains at the Bellagio across the street.
Our second choice hotel...it's got bad user reviews for cleanliness & bedbugs, but the House of Lords restaurant looks really interesting...a steakhouse in a North African-via-Vegas style. I also want to try the rollercoaster and the simulated racecars.
Quoting user reviews now: "I think the best part of the whole hotel would be the House of Lords restaurant" and "old style Vegas at is best."
They are currently running a "Dusk & Dark" dinner special, 3 courses for two people $75 -- Available before 6pm and and after 9pm.
We didn't make it up to the north end of the Strip at all -- just have to go back another time & try the House of Lords!
Post -Tripe Update
Our biggest failing was we didn't drink enough! Geoff, Diana & Steve came up to our room for a nightcap Saturday night; we had bought a bottle of wine at the liquor store behind the Flamingo, next to Battista's. Fortunately the gift shop at Flamingo had $1.50 corkscrews, cause Room Service wanted $12 for one & we forgot to get one at the liquor store.
Here are pix of places I wanted to go that I forgot about;
Seahorse Lounge at Ceasars Palace
Unfortunately Gilley's Saloon with it's free mechanical bullrides is gone with the destruction of the Frontier casino -- my parents had a brochure from the Frontier explaining the rules of blackjack, craps, roulette, etc. from back in the 70s when they had gone to Vegas.
We also missed Red Square, Cleopatra's Barge (Casear's Palace) and Tao.
I've never seen a Cirque show... "Mystere" was created in 1993 and plays currently at Treasure Island. Quotes are from the Cirque site:
"Always in search of warmth and food, the babies represent the primitive human state: selfish and hungry."
"This act is an exhibition of strength and stamina. The two brothers who perform the increasingly difficult maneuvers demonstrate harmony while fusing power and grace. "
"A virtuoso who can turn a simple cube into an object of beauty, he effortlessly turns and spins the cube while nonchalantly performing a gravity-defying ballet of aerial maneuvers. Fascinated observers hold their breath, wondering who is in control."
I was a little disappointed in Mystere. The acrobatic segments lived up to my expectations, but the clowning bits didn't make me laugh, although I seemed in the minority. Also, I was expecting a Cirque show to be something more theatrical, a circus with a plot, a storyline to follow. Spoiler alert! I'm about to give away the ending! If you are still reading, the big finish is a giant snail somes out. You'd seen it's head poking up from the orchestra pit before. If that's supposed to represent the triumph of the primordial, well, shoot. Boo.
We struggled a little to find a place to go after the show -- we were given drink tickets after coming out of the TI theatre, but the place was SO LOUD and tacky, we roamed. Caught up with Erin-Geoff-Kristen-Doug at the Venetian, after they saw Blue Man Group. I had been afraid that they might not enjoy it -- I saw it in a small theatre in Boston, close enough to see the facial expressions & wasn't sure it would translate into a big Vegas theatre. Fortunately I'd forgotten about all the spectacle aspects & drumming, food flying etc & I think they all enjoyed it. It also has a point to it, about information & segmentation of the audience which is even more prevalent now than when the show originated.
We split up for dinner/drinks, they went to an Italian place in the Venetian & we ended up at an oyster bar in Harrah's, Penazzi. I tried an oyster shooter for the first time, a mango-jalopeno-tequila-lime concoction & it was quite tasty. That's a picture of the "seafood martini," $20 & a nice split for 2 people. Mark sure looks into it.
After eating we headed to the Bellagio. This is the Dale Chiluly glass sculpture in the lobby:
And walked through the Christmas decorations in the Garden hall:
Mark & I & a giant rocking horse (which were invented in medieval times so knights could practice jousting, according to the placard).
Diana, Steve & big Christmas presents;
and the rest of our party, right to left, Geoff, Erin, Kristen Herself & Doug.
Mark & I spent the morning in the hotel room & went to the Paradise Cafe for a late breakfast. He had the steak & eggs, I had an enormous omelette & equally huge Bloody Mary. The steak was very good for the price, 12.95$, very well-cooked, and my food was tasty as well. If you want to stock up on food for the day you don't have to do the Buffet.
We spent a lot of time with the flamingoes, koi, exotic birds, swans, etc in the Wildlife Habitat but I can't upload pix since I took them on my cell phone & the thought of getting them off my phone, onto the computer, into Flicker, and then into this trip journal makes my ears flap.
We met Diana at the classic car show at the Imperial Palace next door. It took up one whole floor of the parking garage, and if you're into automotive history it's quite a treat.
Well, Sunday morning we didn't have a lot of time before leaving -- after check-out Mark & I fed the birds in the wildlife habitat, mostly impressed with two large peahens and a flock of sparrows that would come for a bit of croissant in mid-air straight out of your hand. Then we split up & Mark & I headed for the MGM Grand to see the lions, Diana & Steve went next door to O'Sheas for $5 blackjack.
Earlier Diana had gone to mass at this cathedral off the Strip -- I didn't go but thought it was an interesting picture:
This is Steve on the monorail but shows how clean & space-futuristic-y the design is:
When Diana saw the lions the day before they were sleeping
We saw them jumping about, chewing on toys and dropping things in the water for the keepers to retreive for them, but the video remains on my cell phone.
Goodbye, Las Vegas!!!
See you again!