December 13, 2015

I’ve been back from Vegas for only a little over four days, and with all the happenings around here since then it already seems like months ago, almost as if it were a dream. The great thing about a trip to Vegas is that you look forward to it, then there’s the immediate run up filled with anticipation. Once you’re there you’re on sensory overload for the duration as you allow yourself to be immersed in the state of unreality that Vegas is so good at providing, until three nights in you’re tired from the late nights and the onslaught upon your wallet, and you’re looking forward to getting the hell out of there while you still have the shirt on your back. Then there’s the mixture of melancholy and relief the night before you leave. Then, three or four days later, you’re already looking forward to doing it all over again.

At least that’s the way it is for me.

A week ago I was in the immersion stage and enjoying every minute of it. My first night there I stayed at Wynn Las Vegas and was glad I took advantage of their offer to put me in what they call a “panorama suite” on the 49th floor, not overlooking the Strip, but over the golf course and the Valley itself. To fall asleep with the curtains fully open and displaying a gazillion lights working their way towards the mountains was truly breathtaking. I actually found myself awake at around 4 AM and had a hard time falling back asleep after pinching myself to see if it was all a dream.

I had arrived there late Saturday afternoon and, after resolving some issues at work (see below), proceeded almost immediately to my favorite spot in all of Vegas – the bar at Wynn’s Parasol Up. At any time of the year it is always warm, cozy, and inviting, but for the Christmas season the backdrop outside featured lights and effects against the late December afternoon light to make you think there was a major blizzard underway with heavy snow falling and blowing around. Perhaps it was the Veuve Cliquot I ordered, but I thought it was magical, and it was my favorite memory of the weekend.

After an enjoyable dinner at La Cave, an hour spent at McCarron Airport’s Terminal 3 waiting for fellow Goodboy “Killer” Kowalski’s flight to arrive was an incredibly depressing experience. Whatever happened to Vegas 24/7? Perhaps that’s still the case at Terminal 1, but I can attest to the fact that at Terminal 3 on a late Saturday night there was nothing to do except listen to bad contemporary Christmas music and look at the lonely Christmas trees stationed along the concourse without any sense of joy or purpose. Had I not kept assuring myself that cocktails at Parasol Up awaited once Killer landed I’m not sure what I would have done!

Along those same lines, one of the sounds I really didn’t enjoy hearing was my phone buzzing with calls from work, which, frankly, didn’t stop from Saturday afternoon when I left Phoenix until Sunday noon before Killer and I teed off at Primm Valley’s Desert Course. The bar at Primm makes one of the best Bloody Marys you’ll ever have along with a breakfast that’s not only good but reasonably priced as well. Killer and I played with a Hawaiian guy who, playing to a 5-handicap, was as good a player as I’ve ever played with and an incredibly nice guy to boot.

One of the fun things about spending time in Vegas before the Christmas / New Year holidays is seeing how all the hotels and casinos decorate for the season. My favorite was at The Venetian, where one of the settings was a massive silver Christmas tree framed by red columns with neon blue icicle lights falling, twirling, then darting upwards to start the progression all over again. I thought it was really cool.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Vegas without the occasional dope (or dopes) that bring you back to reality. Last visit it was a group of Iranians busting up a $5K candelabra at one of The Venetian’s casino bars; this year it was a guy who showed up at Aria’s Lobby Bar with beer in hand and proceeded to start hurling his guts out all over the floor. The poor bartender didn’t know what to do – he kept begging the guy to leave but the guy just stood there and kept vomiting. Finally, one of the waitresses got him to leave before security arrived. No one seemed happy afterwards at the half-hearted attempt by the poor maintenance guy to make it all go away with copious amounts of kitty litter. We who observed the proceedings could only hope that once the bar closed for the night the entire area got a thorough cleaning and disinfecting by the professionals.

I have to admit I wasn’t much into the Christmas spirit, but between cocktails at Parasol Up and dinner at Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Venetian I finally got in a little bit of a mood. Between the decorations, the company, the live music, and the fabulous food (including a 60th birthday cannoli!), it was a night to remember.

One of the sad things about our visit was seeing just how far the former Treasure Island, now “TI”, has fallen. While never crazy about the place to begin with (I preferred its sister property The Mirage, but that was back during its golden era which is no more, but that’s another story for another time), Killer was staying at TI so of course I had to go in and take a look. TI’s walkways around the casino, always narrow to begin with, were made even more claustrophobic by all these cowboys attending the Vegas rodeo wearing huge Stetsons. Cowboy chic is not exactly my kind of thing to begin with, but frankly I thought these guys all looked like clowns. And the carpeting up on TI’s hotel floors was filthy, which is really unacceptable. Kind of sad to see, but considering the service we had received a few years ago when we stayed there to save money, I wasn’t surprised.

Overall, it was a great visit. If you can’t have a good time while staying in Vegas you need to get your happiness index checked. Like I say, with all the stuff going on here since I returned (I’ll post on that in the next day or so) it all seems like a dream and I wish I was back there. But that’s what makes Vegas so great to begin with.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:35 | Comments (2)
  1. Bear – I was so glad that you could just get away from it all and am happy you had a good time. And for the Funny Guy, Dog, & Killer – Hope the trip transported yourselves into another world altogether as well and hope you all had a great time with a lot of yuks!
    Tracey, the Bear, Richard

    Comment by Tracey Richard (Bear) — December 15, 2015 @ 8:37 am

  2. Thanks! Hope you liked the pictures at the links!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 15, 2015 @ 11:10 pm

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