Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Route 66 Day 18

Our first full day in Vegas began with meeting Joe and his wife B. It's always when you meet face to face someone you've known for a long time as a byline on a blog, and so it was with Joe. They met us at our hotel and instantly gave us an enormous Vegas welcome, plying us with hats and fans and taking us for breakfast at Bouchon in the Venetian. We loved the breakfast, we loved the Venetian (how can you not love somewhere which improves on Venice by having gondolas in St Mark's Square and then sticks the whole thing on the second floor?) and we loved Joe and B who were great guides.

There are a lot of advantages to seeing Vegas with someone local, one of which is that they know all the shortcuts through places, another being that they have all the backstory of the various resorts: who owns them, when they built them, when so-and-so went bust, and why the one festooned with huge ads for Cirque de Soleil's Zarkana is now effectively the biggest billboard in Las Vegas (when it was half-built they found it contravened building regulations, so MGM and Clark County are locked in legal battles over who pays for its demolition: in the meantime it's a big empty ad-screen).

Of course, everything on the Strip is engineered to persuade you to part with money, preferably in the casinos but also in the shops and restaurants. The casinos are quite something: for someone from Britain where betting on sports is something you do in seedy high street betting shops, to see the sports betting set-up in a big Vegas casino is rather a shock.

It was quite a surprise to see that the borderline between the slot machines and video gambling games and the real flesh-and-blood dealer games is becoming blurred, with most of the casinos having several virtual dealers. This is one in the Venetian.

We saw the Venetian, the Palazzo, The Wynn, Encore, New York New York, The Cosmopolitan, Aria, the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio, where we saw the famous fountains (Joe has posted video of them here). Then after a brief pause for a swim back at the hotel, we met Joe and B once more and went to see Cirque de Soleil's O, which is their aquatic show at the Bellagio.



After which we decided to call it a day, thinking maybe we'd save Vegas after dark for the end of one of the other evenings.

The music has to be this:

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