Christmas in Las Vegas

Our eight-day trip to Las Vegas over New Year's eve involved checking out almost all casinos on the strip, starting with Treasure Island and doing a loop through Mandalay Bay and Tropicana culminating at the Riveria and the Las Vegas Hilton. There was not much time during a day that we were awake, so we had to settle for night-time pictures with a flash that didn't turn out too well. Some of the cooler sights we saw along the way included the Treasure Island fight, the Mirage volcano explosions, the Caesar's Palace animatrons, and the Bellagio fountains.

We also saw five shows: Blue Man Group, Mystere, La Femme, EFX Alive, and David Copperfield. The Blue Man Group was probably the best show given the audience participation that went on.

Some of the rides we checked out included the Star Trek experience in the Las Vegas Hilton (which also had a cool bar named after Quark's and a Star Trek museum), and Race for Atlantis in Caesar's Palace.

We also checked out a couple of clubs, but they almost universally paled in comparison to the cooler clubs in Seattle and San Francisco. Part of the reason is because of a snotty dress code and a money-grubbing attitude by the door people (see below). The other part was that it seemed that most people in the clubs weren't necessarily there for the music or for the dancing, but rather to seen and to be seen, which in my mind is a lame reason to do anything. Among the better clubs were Seven (which was okay) and Utopia (this was the best).

The choices of food (I like stuff incredibly spicy and don't like buffets) are limited. But the Grand Wok in MGM Grand is pretty good Chinese food.

One of the striking things about Las Vegas is that even though everyone's on a holiday and having a good time, and you can have a good time with them, the people living and working there are among the most least friendly. I can understand this mentality, since they see so many people spending so much, and this generates envy (especially when people blows away thousands of dollars doesn't leave a tip to a waitress or a cab driver).

The Strip during the day is pretty sad looking, and it only comes alive at night. The New Year's Eve fireworks were somewhat mediocre, but nonetheless, walking around on the strip as part of a big party was fun (though the cops continually kept harassing anyone who seemed to thumb their nose at authority). Las Vegas is worth going to once in a few years, particularly to check out the amazing shows.

Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala || || December 24-January 1, 2003