Vegas, Part 3

Our first two times in Las Vegas we drank champagne in a limo driving down the Strip, rode amusement rides, watched friends elope in a little wedding chapel, saw Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE, dined fine Italian style at the always delightful Batista’s Hole in the Wall, and generally overindulged in a variety of vices. At any time of day or night there are endless things to see and do in the desert haven of gambling and entertainment, and each visit offers new experiences.  With this in mind my wife and I chose to travel there again.

Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas    This time we traveled with a few friends, staying at the Hard Rock Hotel. Though located a few blocks away from the Strip it was an otherwise excellent base for us devotees of noise. My wife and I began each morning rocking out in our room, then exploring the memorabilia of music mega-icons displayed throughout the casino downstairs. This primed us for the many hours of excess and lust for life that awaited us.

On the afternoon of our first full day our group split up, half heading to the outlet malls while the rest of us walked from casino to casino, stopping in each one to play some slots and have a round of drinks and cigars. Later we all met up and made our way to Planet Hollywood for the comic ventriloquism of Jeff Dunham. His act had us laughing throughout, from an amusing slideshow introduction to the closing bit with crowd favourite dummy Achmed the Dead Terrorist.

Following the show we took a bus to the ever rowdy nighttime block party of Freemont Street. People there were milling all about, some dressed as pop culture icons, while live bands blasted heavy hits and ladies danced on outdoor bar tops. Above us a big screen ceiling flashed a light show with people ziplining by to the tune of Van Halen’s Panama, while nearby Superman mingled with a paraplegic Gene Simmons.

Container Park, Las Vegas    Down the street, at Container Park, a giant preying mantis spewed flames outside a square of shops built out of freight containers. In the open air space between them a duo strummed some cover songs while men and women lounged and played with giant Lego blocks. From here we doubled back to the Golden Nugget, then stopped by Fatburger for a 2am snack before making our way to our hotel.

Our next day’s wandering of establishments was like seeing the same places afresh, as elaborate displays of autumn were dismantled to make room for giant Christmas trees and fake snow. Knowing the real stuff awaited us at home we made sure to fully enjoy our last warm evening in Nevada.

We ended up at Hofbräuhaus for dinner, where we feasted on delicious German cuisine set to the lively tone of a Bavarian band. Every now and then a round of Ein Prosit would ring out around the room while we raised our steins of beer. Stomachs filled with food and München beer, we set to roaming the city’s main hub once again.

High Roller, Las Vegas

At Señor Frog’s in Treasure Island we donned salacious balloon animal hats and sat downfor some karaoke. Then it was more casinos, more drinks, and more exciting sights to see. We eventually ended up in a private cabin on the Ferris wheel-like High Roller at the LINQ, where we danced and did yoga at 550 feet high with a central view of the Las Vegas Strip lit up around us.

Back on ground level we forced our legs, sore by now from so much walking, to carry us back along the Strip. With a couple more stops along the way we arrived at our hotel with a few hours of night to spare before sunrise. After a rest too brief to compensate for the nonstop activity of our weekend we handed in our room keys, on the way out resisting a last temptation to bang away on the Rev’s drum set by the lobby.

For the third time we left Las Vegas thoroughly wiped out. Though our muscles, wallets, and internal organs had taken quite a beating it was worth the good times gained. Now we take a lengthy break before our inevitable return. However long we have to wait, in our future there shall surely be a Vegas, Part 4.

– Cory Magnus Stumpf

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