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by on August 19, 2007 · 5 comments

I’m back from Las Vegas. I’d say I wish I’d gone sooner, but I’ve heard the Las Vegas of today is nothing like it was 10 years ago – it’s grown exponentially in terms of shopping, places to stay and things to do, so the time was right. I was completely overwhelmed by the sights, the restaurants, the casinos and the people-watching. The hotel where we stayed, Bellagio, was a good choice. Its mid-strip location made it the perfect home base, so I could very easily walk up and down the strip and take mini tours of all the other hotels and casinos.

As for casinos, I liked the Bellagio’s casino the best because it seemed well-ventilated, clean and had a variety of games. The other people in the casino seemed nice too. It was easy to strike up a conversation or get tips on how to play certain games. On our last night, Phil Ivey and Charles Barkley were there. I didn’t see them, but a lady who sat down next to me at the black jack table gave me the scoop. I couldn’t just get up and leave the table, so I never got in on the celebrity-spotting action.

Next to Bellagio, I liked the casino in New York, New York, which had very high ceilings and a detailed New York city theme. Caesar’s, which is practically connected to Bellagio, was gorgeous. The casino wasn’t anything special, but it was massive and the areas around it were filled with shops, fountains and fun things to look at. Mirage was a little too smoky for me and Venetian’s Casino was kind of non-descript, though the hotel itself seemed nice and had a bunch of good looking restaurants. I hate describing restaurants as good looking, but there were so many that “good looking” is all I have to say. We only ate two meals in restaurants – dinner at Olives and dinner at Prime Steak House in Bellagio. Both of the meals were excellent, but there’s a certain amount of frustration involved because there are so many restaurants and so little time to try them all. For this trip, I hardly left the strip and didn’t get to try Lotus of Siam. My mom wanted to see a show rather than go to Mesa Grill, and N9ne at The Palms, a place that had been high on my list of places to try, seemed too far away from The Venetian in terms of logistics. Next time I’ll have a better picture of where everything is and will be able to plan better. But I can say this, if you like dining out, you will love Las Vegas if only for the food!

Downside of the trip. The strip’s being littered with cards of naked women and ads for call girls got to me on some level. Obviously, it’s Las Vegas and I thought I knew what I was in for, but the pictures and emphasis on bodies made me feel ugly, strange and icky. Not that that’s hard to do in the first place since I’ve always had body image issues, but all the porn and imagery triggered some unpleasant emotions. Maybe if I’d been traveling with my husband rather than traveling with a parent, I wouldn’t have felt this way. Then again, it’s not like the objectification of women is solely in Las Vegas…it just seems to pound you the face there. It’s hard not to feel sort of bad for the ladies on the nudie cards, which are handed out every few yards on certain parts of the strip. Luckily, slot machines, video poker and black jack took my mind off the negative. I loved the gaming. I could spend days and days playing games, but kept myself in check and stuck to a gambling budget.

While I was playing games, my mom tried to relax and enjoy a few shows. We both liked Phanton. My mom saw “O” by Cirque de Soleil and loved it. Next time I go, I’d like to schedule the trip around a concert or a touring band. A lot of concerts take place at The Palms, which seemed like a fun place to stay, though off the strip and kind of away from the action.

So the trip was quick in a “need-to-go-back-for more” sort of way, but I really missed Todd and Fuzz. I was a bit surprised at how many kids were out and about. I’m still trying to sort out my feelings on that issue. If the porn got to me on some subconscious level, what was it doing to kids….or maybe the parents are just shielding their children’s eyes as they walk down the strip and step over piles of nudie girl cards. Next time, I’ll be ready for that. Maybe I’ll read stacks of Playboys before I go and just make myself immune. Just kidding.

Gosh, none of this is cookie related. Next time I’ll have to find a hotel that will let me help out in the kitchen where I can blow off steam. That would be fun, actually. There were times when I actually wished I was back in the kitchen instead of out on the casino floor. It’s nice to be back home! Now I need to get cooking again.

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Published on August 19, 2007

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe August 19, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Welcome back Anna! We were a little overwhelmed while we were in Vegas too. The people on the corner “flicking” the nudie cards really got old for us… it was never ending it seemed – so many times we saw them trying to hand the cards to kids =\

VeggieGirl August 19, 2007 at 8:16 pm

Good to see you posting again after your Vegas trip!! I was in Vegas this past March, and between the “nude- cards”/billboards and drag queens in tight, plastic clothing, walking around the casinos (I’m still haunted by that image, haha), there’s definitely a “dark side” to the city; however, the hotels, shopping, casinos, shows, and other entertainment more than make up for the sleezy aspects.

Welcome back, and I look forward to your next cookie recipe :0)

Anna August 19, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Joe and VG, thanks for the comments. Aside from being uncomfortable with all the porn on the strip, I really did like the place.

carole August 20, 2007 at 1:10 am

Welcome home Anna. Glad, except for the porn, you enjoyed your getaway.

With you in Vegas and Joe on the move I have been without my two favorite blogs for a few days. Glad your home.

Anna August 20, 2007 at 8:36 am

Hi Carole! It’s good to be back. Now I just have to figure out what today’s recipe is going to be.

Therese, thanks for trying the vanilla wafer crumb peanut butter brownies. I did see the moving statues at Caesar’s. It was neat.

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