10 Best Moments For Me On the Vegas/Grand Canyon Trip

The Venetian sky. Real or not real?

The Venetian sky. Real or not real?

There were a lot of great moments on this trip. Big moments. Small moments. Funny moments. But here a few I might not have mentioned (or in desperate need of re-mentioning.)

  1. Debating with The-Youngest whether or not the sky in the Venetian Hotel was real. He said, no and cited these facts: The Venetian sky was blue, but when we came in, it was night outside. None of the clouds moved. There were no birds in the sky. He could see where the paint had chipped off. He pointed to an access panel in the ‘sky’, like one Truman had seen in the Truman Show. I told him if he hadn’t seen that show, he’d be fine with the sky. Thank you very much, Jim Carey.

  2. Watching The-Oldest follow the piano player’s every move at the Venetian. In later years, he might watch a stripper with such fascination or AI robots controlled by Skynet, but for that moment, that pianist was his world. That we actually found the musician in what I will now describe as ‘an epic quest’ was also a great memory, and I was so happy we could do something cool for The-Oldest who seemed always to be doing stuff other people wanted to do.

  3. Wearing those silly balloon hats in Senor Frogs. Now, this may not be a cool moment for everyone, but I tend to be too serious sometimes or too concerned about what other people think, but on that night, I proudly wore my balloons and didn’t care what anyone thought. PS, I was also a little drunk.

  4. The 1001 faces of The-Oldest. Outside of the Bellagio

    The 1001 faces of The-Oldest. Outside of the Bellagio

    Having The-Oldest vow to pull a different face for every picture we took of him. He pretty much succeeded, though I think we caught him genuinely smiling, once.


  5. Becoming an honorary Avenger. Or a member of the Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. (Don’t judge me.) I know I wrote a whole blog about this, but whatever, it was totally fun, and I’d do it, again. Only next time, I might wear my Captain American pajamas.

  6. Pictures never do the Grand Canyon justice

    Grand Canyon almost defies description

    Seeing the Grand Canyon, again. For all the lights of Vegas, for all the concrete used to make the Hoover Dam, looking upon such a great natural wonder should be on everyone’s bucket list.


  7. Getting the nerve up to take a picture of the bikers in Flagstaff. Sure they were French, and with their girlfriends, but had that gone wrong, I would have found out how good the trauma care is in the States or hoped that at least someone would get time for beating me to death.

  8. Watching The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World laugh and play with her children. Her love for them is beyond measure, and the happiness they bring her is beyond value.

  9. I  kind-of actually understood the Cirque du Soleil – Beatles show. I mean, who really understands these things? But I got closer than I ever did before. Plus, the show made me cry. I can’t explain why it would, but something in the way they moved…

  10. You can even find a bit of Paris in Veags.

    You can even find a bit of Paris in Vegas.

    The last walk on the last day. Night time. Full-on Vegas. I loved the smells, the sounds, the sights, the crowds, the energy, the colors, the odd-ball loonies… everything. That was my Vegas. Wild Vegas. Untamed. Sure the kids may be in therapy for years over that short walk from the Bellagio Fountains to the Venetian, but listening to the street preacher preach about sin or pushing our way through a mob of Hangover doubles is something you just can’t experience in Vancouver.

 

 

Oh, you know what, there’s really 11.

The last highlight was getting to spend so much time with the boyz and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. Seeing Vegas, alone, had no great appeal for me. Ditto with the Grand Canyon. Or the Hoover Dam.

Experiencing it with them, though… priceless.

I am one lucky SOB.

******

And that concludes our epic adventure down south. But wait, isn’t there a wedding coming up?

I may have a few things to say about that.

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Top 10 Things To Do In Vegas With Kids

This is for you, Joe. The Avengers. Don't pretend otherwise

This is for you, Joe. The Avengers. Don’t pretend otherwise

Ok, the long awaited list is here. Is Vegas kid-friendly? Are there things to do with kids in Vegas?

The answer to the last question is, yes.

  1.  The Avengers Tour – ok this one may be recommended just because I’m a complete Nerd and super Avengers fan, but it’s tons of Hulkie fun. If you like reading or listening to audio tours. And I do. Or if you want a chance to lift Thor’s hammer or see all of Ironman’s suits, then this is for you. I had a blast here.

  2. NY, NY for lunch or supper. I love the Village Street Eateries. Great place for burgers or pizzas, and for the adults, a fantastic faux-street with shops and restaurants.

  3. So much to see and buy in the candy stores besides, you know, actual candy

    So much to see and buy in the candy stores besides, you know, actual candy

    Hersheys Chocolate Store – First of all… chocolate!!! Second of all, they don’t even call it a store. They call it Hershey’s Chocolate WORLD! But, hey, it’s a store full of chocolate and, like the world, it’s free to get into. It can be a lot of fun looking at all the variations of chocolate bars or candy you can buy, and searching for that perfect peanut butter cup cup or Hershey Kiss pillow.


  4. Coke Store and M&Ms store – Not that they’re the same, but they’re right beside each other. 3 stores of products that relate to products. Coke glasses. M&Ms candy dispensing machines. Coke shirts or stuffed Coke Polar bears. M&Ms licence plates and key chains. All the vital stuff every person needs.

  5. The Adventure Dome –Ok, it’s not Disneyland or even Legoland, but for the price, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon or the whole day.  It’s $32 US per person and that allows you to stay all day. All day. Think of it like a carnival come to town. But if you want to save a bit of money, have one parent sit out the rides and video the experiences.

  6. The fountains at the Bellagio

    The fountains at the Bellagio

    Fountains at Bellagio – It’s free. It’s fantastic. And it’s in the middle of the strip, so it’s easy to get to, either by walking or by taking a bus or cab. Watching the fountains spray and pulse and wave to music is simply magical.


  7. The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay – Not the cheapest thing out there, about $22 a person, but you can make of it what you want. You can touch slimy things. You can see real life piranha. And you can spend as much time as you want either staring at a croc or watching the sharks glide over you, under you or around you. It’s more of a zen thing, really. Like watching waves come in. Or golf.

  8. See something Cirque – We went and saw The Beatles – Love and the boys loved it. the Michael Jackson show might be another good choice. But take a look at seeing at least one. If you’re cash-strapped, look for the least popular and get last minute tickets for a show like a cirque du soleil – the holocaust.

  9. The High Roller – A great party place, too, but the boys loved going high above Vegas and seeing it all. It’s a slow ride and anyone with a fear of heights or problems with movement needn’t worry, it’s the most stable, safe ride out there. Again, it’s not super cheap, but it’s one of those neat experiences that will be remembered. Especially if you take lots and lots of pictures.

  10. Get out of Vegas – Lots of fantastic tours to the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam, or be like us, and rent a car. The surrounding area is gorgeous and bleak, but so worth seeing. And that Grand Canyon, wow, it’s still one of the most impressive things you’ll see in your life. Nature kicks ass, folks, yes she does. It really shouldn’t be missed.
Sometimes just being with your family is fun. No matter where.

Sometimes just being with your family is fun. No matter where.

But hey, being anywhere with your family should be kinda fun. Even a mall.

Because that’s what makes vacations fun.

Not the glittering lights or walls of M&Ms, but the time spent with friends or family, simply doing ‘stuff’ together. Sharing experiences. Creating memories. Holding hands.

Those are the best moments on a trip.

Or in life.

 

Things we did not do, but seem kinda cool…

Madame Tussaud’s

CSI Experience

Gondola ride at the Venetian, but man, that’s an expensive 15 minute ride.

or check out these sites… 39 things to do. 23 things to do.

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10 Things I Would Do Differently (Vegas and Grand Canyon Edition)

As with any trip, the real goal is not to see new places, have fun or expand your mind with amazing experiences. No, it’s to come home and analyze what happened and make plans to improve the next outing.

  1. How cool we looked just leaving the Treasure Island Hotel. Not sweaty, yet.

    Day time and night time are completely different experiences in Vegas

    Never, ever bring kids to Vegas. Ha, just kidding. But if you want to go to see the fountains at Bellagio or visit Fremont Street at night, then cab it. Avoid the massive crowds which can be full of scary people, stupid ass drunks and Chewbaccas. As much as I enjoyed those things, it’s simply not a good idea for anyone with kids.


  2. Think twice about believing the kids will enjoy looking at the stunning architecture in many of the hotels. It’s like dragging a dog into the vets to get its shots. I mean, I get it, no one’s going to be blown away by the inside of Treasure Island, but I was surprised they didn’t much care for the interior of Mandalay Bay, NY, NY, or even the Venetian. The Venetian!!! Venice. Italy at its faux-finest! Sigh. *cancels next year’s trip to Europe*.

  3. In Vegas, bring water. Same for the Grand Canyon. Buy it in a cheap grocery store. Stock up. It’s ok. But that heat will take it out of you in a big way.

  4. Try Uber. We didn’t, but I wish we had. On the other hand, no one drove us to a warehouse and dismembered us with chainsaws, either.

  5. Or eat at a Dunkin Donuts, you just never know who'll check you out

    Or eat at a Dunkin Donuts, you just never know who’ll check you out

    Find cheaper ways to eat. We found that if you ate from the concession store, you saved about $100 for breakfast. (We bought cereal and milk there.) There are cheap places to eat, like Denny’s or even McDs, but you have to get out of most hotels to find them. Sure, they may not have gourmet food, but I tell ya, what’s going to make you sicker, a grand slam breakfast or paying $150 for 4 for pancakes in a hotel restaurant?


  6. Bring headache pain meds. Double check that you have them. Triple check. Cuz, if you have to go looking for them while you have a blinding migraine… yeah, no fun at all. Also, bring something for upset stomachs. Those meds are easy to find in Vegas when someone eats too many Jolly Ranchers. Oh, hell, with kids, just remember to pack the medicine cabinet.

  7. Wash your hands a lot. Bring wipies or that disinfecting gel, especially when you have someone who either touches everything in sight or puts his fingers in his eyes a lot.(Can you guess which one  applies to me and which one applies to The-Youngest?)

  8. Talk to people more. By and large, Americans are very friendly people and some of the best times we had were when we chatted with people in line or in a cab or while eating at Denny’s. This is really a ‘me’ thing since The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World actually loves to chat with people. It’s me and my grumpy demeanor and toxic glares. But next vacation, I’ll try to be more outgoing. “You’d love to chat with me about a time share? Well, wow, lead the way my good man.”

  9. Remember that when The-Oldest says he’d kinda, maybe, you know, almost like to do ‘something’, but it’s not important, then he’s actually saying, hey, it is totally important and would make a great experience for him. Sometimes I think we need a universal translator not for Chinese to English, but for teenagese to parent.

  10. Traveling without a rigid, confining schedule does not, in fact, kill me. “Playing it by ear” can work, even if it makes my eye twitch. A lot.
Pictures never do the Grand Canyon justice

Pictures never do the Grand Canyon justice

However, this time around, I am proud to announce we did learn from past excursions. We knew doing stuff with kids takes longer. We knew to pack extras of pretty much everything since things go missing, accidents happen or things get spilled on other things. We had stuff for them to do on long journeys. We made sure to include them in the planning process (though The-Youngest’s list of 100 things he HAD to do made us think we may have to keep him to a top 10 list.) We took time to take lots of pictures. And we tried our best to make sure EVERYONE had a good time (like The-Youngest in the Hershey store, me at the Hoover Dam, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World in the fashion mall, and The-Oldest listening to a piano virtuoso.)

I can’t wait for our next trip.

Can you guess where?

 

 

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Top 10 Quotes From the Vegas Trip

Is he being thoughtful or thinking up something funny?

Is he being thoughtful or thinking up something funny?

So, our trip is done, the boyz are back in school, and it’s time for a recap of our trip to Vegas. And what better way than the 1st of 4 top 10 lists.

 

Top 10 Quotes From The-Oldest

  1. “I am providing the laugh track.” After he laughed, and I commented that he doesn’t often laugh at a lot of my super funny jokes.

  2. “The smell just comes at my face.” It was the smell of Vegas after the rains came. A wet, kind of sulphuric, moldy smell.

  3. “He’s the Beeth.” Now this means, ‘he’s the best.’ ‘The most amazing.’ It comes from his favourite composer, Beethoven. I have no idea how it got morphed into ‘beeth.”

  4. “Coffee tastes like black.” Yes, yes it does.

  5. His new word of the trip – “Danger noodles.” For snakes. I think this one will catch on.

  6. The Grand Canyon “has been touched more by cameras than by humans.” Wow, I mean, wow. That’s actually deep.

  7. “Girls? What girls? There were girls? Looking at me? What? Where? When? What?” After I told him about the incident in Dunkin Donuts where 2 girls checked him out.

  8. luigi-and-marioEvery morning in our hotel room, he’d write a quote on the foggy bathroom mirror to his brother. My favourite… “Will you become Luigi?” It meant, will his brother get taller than him. See, ‘cuz Luigi, from Mario Brothers, is taller than his older brother. Yeah, I didn’t get it until he explained it to me.

  9. “I am funny. I had meat.” After I told him he was on fire one night for all the funnyisms.

  10. Then the words that may define him. “I’ve found my passion, Joe. Music. It’s what’s in me.” How cool is that? It brought manly tears to my eyes.

I know there were more, but being old and forgetting things, these were the best that I could recall. When did he become such a funny guy? A deep thinker? Or has it always been that way and he’s just becoming more comfortable belting it out so I can hear him.

Either way, he’s an astounding cool guy.

Next up, the best things to do in Vegas with Kids. In my opinion.

Peace out.

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Vegas Had One Last Surprise – Or Two

The ruins of a once great casino. The Riviera.

The ruins of a once great casino. The Riviera.

Vegas, like a good drunken uncle, always seems to have a surprise or two in store.

When we first arrived, our first surprise was not a new hotel, but seeing the ruins of an iconic hotel, the Riviera, torn down to make room for another, fancier hotel. That’s Vegas. Ever changing. You never know what you’re going to see. Or who.

So it was fitting that when we went to leave, the taxi guy who took us to the airport was one of the best surprises we had. Our arrival driver was a disaster, nearly killing us at least 10 times (which, to be fair, was a surprise as well.)

This driver, though… he was special. He looked like an old boxer, strong jaw, thick stubble on his cheeks, black hair going salty grey. His nose had been broken a good number of times, but that only seemed to add to his character. His eyes, once probably a deep brown, now looked worn, like they had been left out in the sun too long.

A blast from the past, CHIPs, Ponch. Eric Estrada

A blast from the past, CHIPs, Ponch. Eric Estrada

But it turns out this guy used to be Poncho’s stunt double. Wait, you must remember Poncho? Eric Estrada? CHIPs? The guy with the whitest teeth in Hollywood and the best feathered-hair of his generation?

In his day, he was quite the thing. Even The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had a poster of him, I think. But when CHIPs died, his career disappeared, mostly, and I don’t think he took it well.

After listening to our driver, we mentioned that we heard Eric Estrada had become a cop, and the taxi driver snorted. He said that guy would never have passed the interview process. Or the drug tests. Or anything that cops would have to pass. So, it was likely an honorary title, which totally makes sense since he’s like 80 now.

We had the best talk with him. He’s the kind of guy you’d meet in a bar and he’d be all too keen to tell you his life’s story. He was Eric Estrada’s stunt double for 5 years, and it took a toll on him. He wore every fall, every fight scene, every moment he got tossed out a window or slid on the pavement after a motorcycle crash.

Oh, the stories he could tell! But, sadly, we didn’t have time to hear everything. What we heard was entertaining, and a little sad. Like most people, our driver had gone to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune and returned, broken in spirit, (and I suspect, in body), to his hometown, where he eventually met us, probably one of the great highlights of his life.

He dropped us off, I tipped him well for his stories about stunting, then we went inside. Only to find that the ticket we had, the one that said, “United” on it, was, in fact, for Air Canada and Air Canada was on the other end of the airport.

Sigh.

At least, this time, we didn’t declare that we had guns, ammo and the black plague hidden in a banana.

Then the most unlikely thing happened as we waited in line to board the plane. A pretty girl talked to me. Now, this happens, like, never, except for The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World who, for some reason, seems to like me.

But the girl said she loved my hat, a blue fedora-like thing. I thought I looked great in the hat and was constantly surprised that no one had come up to me before to tell me that. But that got us talking about our experiences in Vegas and what we liked and hated, and if we could go back, again.

I would, for sure. She said she was done with Vegas for a while.

Are wookies real? In Vegas they are

Are wookies real? In Vegas they are

But, as we found our seats and she went off to hers, I thought, you can never really do Vegas. You just never know what’s going to happen. Ask The-Oldest. He was attacked by Chewbacca. Ask The-Youngest, he found his future wife. Ask The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World, she got to talk to Eric Estrada’s double.

And for me, it’ll be another completely different experience when we return for The-Youngest’s 21st birthday. Or our 25th Anniversary. Or for The-Oldest’s wedding.

This time, though, what made it so great, apart from all that we did, all that we saw or heard… this was a great trip because I got to do it with my new family.

*****

And now it’s time to return to a normal life back home. However, there are 4 top 10 lists still to go. Stay tuned.🙂

Then on to the wedding planning.

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One Last Morning in Vegas

Day 1, pretty organized at Treasure Island, but by day 5, it looks like "a bomb went off in a thrift store."

Day 1, pretty organized at Treasure Island, but by day 5, it looks like “a bomb went off in a thrift store.”

If I was a better person, a more organized person, a person who thought about things before he went to bed instead of at 5am, getting up and out early in the morning would be easy.

But I’m not there, yet. Not by a long  shot.

So this is what its like when I get up before the rest of the family and sneak out of the hotel room so I can do some writing.

First of all, I rarely wake up to an alarm these days. At some point in the morning, my body and brain collude and decide to wake me up. Or I need to pee really bad because I’m getting older and weird things are happening to my bladder.

At home, it’s a pretty simple matter to leave, go write or watch TV or read about the latest sales on Amazon. But in a hotel room, I have a lot more to do and there are a LOT more pitfalls.

See, my goal is to get out without waking anyone else up.

Not so easy.

First, I have to go to the bathroom and that means making my way over and around the suitcases, shoes and random bags that the boys have moved at some point during the day. On a great day, I remembered to charge my phone so I can use that little light the phone gives off when you turn it on.

But not today.

Oh, I actually remembered to plug it in, but for some reason, it didn’t charge. Maybe it came loose at night. Maybe I sleep-watched all the episodes of Supernatural. Maybe the phone faerie came and unhooked me because I didn’t make the proper sacrifice.

I move like a stealthy ninja. Just like Po. And looking about the same size.

I move like a stealthy ninja. Just like Po. And looking about the same size.

Either way, I have to make my way in the dark like a chubby ninja or Kung Fu Panda with my phone cords in my chubby fingers, cuz I have a plan.

The other phone cords lie in wait like trip wires in Nam. I inch forward. Literally. Inch. Forward.  Ah, there’s a cord. My toe feels a shoe. I stub my small toe on the corner of a suitcase I didn’t see, and somehow manage not to swear.

Amazingly, I make it to the distant bathroom without waking anyone. I plug in my phone to get a quick charge.

Then, completing my task, I make my way back through the minefield of discarded family items.  I find my shoes. I remember where I left them. I pad back to the center of the room, pull socks from the drawer. Beside the drawer is my suitcase. For some stupid reason, I zipped it up. With agonizing slowness, I unzip it with the care normally reserved for the bomb squad debombing a bomb.

No one wakes up.

I get shirt and shorts. I put them on with the dexterity of a cirque du soliel acrobat. Lacking any real dexterity, though, there is a great risk I’ll snag one foot in the legs of my shorts and stumble fall right on top of The-Youngest.

But I don’t fall and I am no longer likely to walk outside of the hotel room in my underwear. At 5am, this is not always a given.

Next up, where the f*** did I put the room key? And my wallet?

Back to the bathroom to retrieve the phone. It’s had about 15 minutes to charge and that’s good enough to give me a distant star’s equivalent of light.

No one’s woken up.

The light lasts for, like, 5 seconds, so I have to be fast each time I use it. I find my wallet, it’s on the bedside table. The-Prettiest-Girl-In-The-World has her charging cord wrapped around it and the boys have booby-trapped it with bags of candy.

For the morning ninja, though, this is child’s play. Like Indie Jones, I take the wallet and leave the bag of candy behind. Then I gather up the laptop cord which has somehow managed to wrap itself around the ice bucket, all the remaining phone cords and our half-drunk bottle of water that should have been put back in the fridge.

I make only a few sounds. No one wakes up.

The Last Hurdle - the hotel safe.

The Last Hurdle – the hotel safe.

Then the big one. I have to unlock the safe and haul out the laptop which barely fits in there. During the day, I usually swear and bang it about a lot while getting the damn thing in or out.

So, yeah, I can’t do that.

I pad over to the safe. Slide open the door. The light comes on for the closet. Automatically.

Dammit. Light can wake everyone up as surely as a loud fart.

I hold my breath. I listen.

The-Youngest is muttering something about wanting to go in something. A ride? The pool? I dunno. The-Oldest is breathing heavily. Asleep. The-Prettiest-Girl-In-the-World moans softly and I hear her turn over. It could be that I’ve woken her up as she has momma-senses, but if I did, she’s gone back to sleep.

Whew.

And I’m in luck. I don’t have to remember the code or punch it in. The safe’s been left open. I ease the laptop out like I’m hauling the thigh bone out of the body in Operation.

Then it’s only a matter of finding my back-pack, putting on my shoes and socks, stuffing my laptop in the bag and getting out the door.

The door is the hardest of the entire ninja operation. I don’t know how they would do it, (likely they’d not use the door, but cut a hole in the window and use their fingers to climb down the sheer wall of the hotel), but I have only one choice. Turn the handle quietly. Ignore the loud click when the locks come unlocked and keep going, pulling the handle down all the way until the door opens.

Then get out. Close the door.

Clunk.

Go to the nearest Starbucks and write.

Simple. It only took me 37 minutes.

But will I get the coveted ‘I didn’t hear you leave?”

Only time will tell.

******

Thanks to everyone who’s read my posts, followed the blog or just looked at the pictures. We’re almost done. One more post and then you can return to your lives.

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Vegas – Buses, Fountains and Pianists

Fremont Street. Could be fun for adults, but for kids...?

Fremont Street. Could be fun for adults, but for kids…?

Finally arrived at vintage Vegas. Fremont Street. Older. A bit sleazier. Worst place to see in the daylight. Like the Vegas Strip with a hangover.

Not super impressed. Too early for neon. No virtual airplanes overhead. Lots of people. Not really kid friendly. Limited places to eat that weren’t deep in a casino. No tables on the sidewalk to sit and watch the world go by.

Different Vegas.

Didn’t go on zip-line. Wasn’t sure it was even operating. Didn’t go into casinos. We’d seen enough casinos. Saw iconic neon signs. Took pictures of iconic neon signs. Saw at least two concert areas set up. Should be a rocking place at night. Saw a magician do magic. For free. But you get what you pay for here. It wasn’t super awesome.

No jets overhead. What?

No jets overhead. What?

Lots of street vendors. Lots of guys being statues. Lots of homeless wandering around looking for a quick steal.

Kept boys from seeing banana hammock guys with their bums exposed. Kept boys from touching anything. Kept boys from seeing girls in S&M leather. At least this time around. Kept boys from going more than 6” from us. Just a bad vibe about the place.

Totally different to see it with children in tow. Could have been fun if it was just the two adults (or 1.45 adults. Not sure I am an adult.)

Stayed an hour. Then found bus back. Worried we took the wrong bus. Very full. Had to stand. When our stop came up, staggered to the middle to press the next-stop button. The-Youngest asked, “Why? There’s a button a foot away?” Didn’t see it.

Back at the room, sore feet, sweaty, glad to have my wallet still. Glad we didn’t lose the boys.

Took a shower. So exhausted fell right asleep after shower.

Still a MUST-SEE in Vegas. the fountains at the Bellagio.

Still a MUST-SEE in Vegas. the fountains at the Bellagio.

Woke up. Off to Bellagio for fountains. Dark out. Bus full. Got off at right spot. Chalked up a win on that one. Had to wait a bit. Played the ‘

Had to wait a bit. Played the ‘one word’ game. “This” “Story” “Begins” “With” “A” “Fart.” Ended up with a story about farts. This is what you get when you include The-Youngest in such things. Or me.

Fountains amazing. Oldest didn’t recognize music, vowed to figure it out. Sounded all classical music to me, but what do I know.

Beside it, Cosmo Hotel lit up to music. Hadn’t seen that before. Kinda cool, too.

Planned to get bus to Venetian. Ended up walking. The streets were alive. Saw more of real Vegas in 20 min than we had the entire trip.

So many people dressed up on the Vegas Strip at night.

So many people dressed up on the Vegas Strip at night.

Saw a street preacher. He sermonized about sin. A good topic for a place like this. Saw 2 people dressed up as the guy from the hangover with the baby. Attacked by

Saw 2 people dressed up as the guy from the hangover with the baby.

Attacked by blue stuffy mascot. Nearly pushed him away. Oldest jumped-scared by Chewbacca. Or guy in Chewbacca costume. We’re not sure where Chewy goes to gamble.

Steered clear of two girls in leather and fishnets who you could take pictures with. Wondered if they were the same ones from Fremont. Saw Transformers, Mickey Mouse, lots of frozen snowmen and princesses.

Saw lots of old guys with super hot wives, so I fit in. Saw lots of bachelorette parties, girls with t-shirts that said, ‘bride’ or ‘maid of honor’, or in groups with tight black dresses. Saw men on bachelor crawls with suits, attitude, all looking confused, and all oddly taller than me. When did I shrink to Yoda size?

Women in groups do the follow-me thing pretty well. Men are like the human version of the chaos theory – going every possible way.

Went on epic quest to find piano man in Venitian. Talked to lady at the front of hotel, said to go to St Marks. Found a flutist, accordion player and guitarist at St Marks. The-Oldest massively disappointed. No piano man.

Ate at food court. Pizza person recognized The-Youngest from last night. Asked if he wanted a cheese pizza, again. The-Youngest said yes. He would say that every night if asked.

Tried to find a different way home. Went in search of another bridge to cross.

That route brought us to the piano player!

The pianist we'd been searching for!

The pianist we’d been searching for!

We grabbed a seat and listened. The-Oldest vibrated in with excitement. He wanted to see how the pianist’s hands moved. Got super shy. I went with him. To stand behind pianist. Like fans. Or serial killers. Or both.

Watched how a master’s fingers worked on the keys. The-Oldest super impressed. Explained every note played to me. Explained why composers chose the notes they did. Explained how he would have done better.

Went back to Treasure Island.

A total success by chance. An epic quest completed.

A great day.

How cool is that?

Time to head home.

*******

Fountains at Bellagio

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