Vegas Reunion


I just got back from an informal reunion with some college buddies in Las Vegas, and we had a fantastic time. It was my first trip to that oasis in the desert, and I was really excited to go. I knew basically what to expect from others I know who had been there, but that still didn’t prepare me for the sheer scale of the place. The resorts there are enormous marvels of modern engineering, and it was fun just walking around the different hotels and seeing how they were designed.

We stayed at the Mirage, which turned out to be an excellent choice. It’s a reasonably priced hotel for being right on the strip within walking distance of tons of other places. I didn’t take a cab the entire time I was there (aside from the airport); we were able to walk to anywhere we needed to go. Granted, we didn’t go down to the far ends of the strip, but we were able to make it as far away as the Rio on foot.

We spent the majority of the first day wandering around and looking inside all of the different resorts. The architecture in those places is pretty amazing. Caesar’s and the Venetian are both large enough to get lost in and practically have full shopping malls inside. Some of the resorts connect to each other, like the Venetian and Palazzo, so you never even have to go outside into the blistering heat. There was even a tram that ran from the Mirage to Treasure Island next door. We ate lunch at a pub, but I have no idea which resort it was in. I think it was the Venetian. While there, we ran across this amusing sign:

In Vegas, it’s always an emergency.

We also toured Madame Tussaud’s (Steve got us in for free) and looked at the wax replicas of famous people. Some of the replicas were dead on, and some of them were a miss. It was interesting to see how much shorter people were than I expected them to be. Later that afternoon, I played in a poker tournament with Steve. I was doing pretty well until I lost to a bad beat (K6o over my AA). That happens all the time, though. I practically expect it at this point. Thought it would be nice to win, I really enjoy just playing in the tournament atmosphere. After Steve and I busted out of that, we all ate dinner at Otto Pizzeria in the Venetian, where I had the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had. It was their special of the day called Pizza Carbonara. It had cheese, a white sauce, egg, and some kind of non-smoked Italian bacon that I can’t remember the name of. I never would have thought to put egg on a pizza, but it was phenomenal.

My last day was spent doing a little gambling at the various casinos, mostly Caesar’s and the Mirage. I played some craps, blackjack, and slots. I didn’t come out ahead, but I look at gambling as part of the entertainment and budget out a set amount to play with. We had an early dinner at Joe’s at Caesar’s Palace where I had probably the best rib-eye I’ve ever had. It was cooked perfectly and deliciously seasoned. After dinner, it was off to see Penn & Teller at the Rio. We decided to walk from Caesar’s, and over the course of the trip we got catcalls from women and men. We also got yelled at by a homeless person. The Penn & Teller show was amazing, and I particularly enjoyed Penn’s patter. If you have the chance to see them, I highly recommend it. I still have no idea how they do the magic bullets trick. After the show, we capped the night off getting drinks and watching the fountains at Bellagio, a perfect ending to a truly enjoyable trip.

I definitely plan to go back to Vegas because I had a really fun time, and there are tons of places I wasn’t able to see on this short trip. I’m hoping that we can make this an annual thing with the guys, and I know a few of them are keen on the idea themselves. If you haven’t been to Vegas, and you get the chance to visit the city, you should go. There’s no other place like it.

Me, Jim, Jeff, Steve, Matt, Phil, and Ray having dinner at Joe’s


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