Wednesday, May 2, 2012

All Quiet on the Western Front

That sounds like a good book title. Yes, I know it is and everyone should read it from time to time. This is not a book review, however, it is about travel.  Considering that I live in the East (in the U.S.), when I travel West, I find that it is very different from the East. Travel energizes our spirits as nothing else can match. Maybe that is why we spend more time planning a trip than any other activities that we do during the course of our lives. It is also more tiring than any activity I do during the course of my regular days.

Weeks in Nevada remind me that moisturizer is my best friend and that water costs about as much as liquid gold or at least as much as booze. Altitude doesn't bother me, but dryness is a constant companion in the West of the U.S. 

The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
Naturally, five hours on a plane must include a trip to Vegas--love that glitz and glamor and gambling.


The glitz can be found in extravagant, crystal dripping opulence at the new Cosmopolitan hotel/casino on the strip. How quickly they put up a new hotel. It wasn't there the last time we visited.

The glamor can be found at the production of Phantom of the Opera at The Venetian. It closes in September so it was a good opportunity to see it again while it is still in Vegas. All of the shows are a big draw at Vegas and the Penn and Teller comedy/magic production at Rio was worth the trip. Most shows begin with people being told to shut off the cell phones, but they take it to a new high. Their first trick ended with the cell phone ringing inside a fish, so a word to the wise was sufficient in that show. We skipped the Cirque shows on this trip since we have seen all of those. We will catch a few next time.


Bellagio display, Las Vegas
More glamor is on tap at the Bellagio with ever changing lobby displays and the outdoor evening music/light fountain shows. The Monet exhibit at their Gallery of Fine Art was visiting from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and well worth the time we spent browsing through it. The art shops of Peter Lik, Vladimir Kush, and Chihuly lure tourists to some unusual displays. A little culture in sin city--imagine that. It's expensive stuff that won't be on my walls, just in my mind.


Real flowers in a frame-Bellagio, Las Vegas
The gambling is ever-present and fun from time to time. I was able to play the slots for three hours one afternoon and only spent $5. The very entertaining Casino Royale is a throw back to Vegas of old and I wouldn't have it any other way. Such nostalgia--low ceilings, low lights, loud music, chiming slots, smoky haze that I could do without, but it feels like 1950.

Half-size Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas

Where else can you have breakfast in the desert, lunch at a deli in New York, and dinner at a sidewalk cafe in Paris? We like to stay at Planet Hollywood which used to be the Aladdin attached to the Desert Passage, which they now call the Miracle Mile. 

I love the restaurants which are unique and feel like the great outdoors, but have clouds painted on the inside of the roof. It seems like an evening in the streets of Paris inside the hotel/casino of the same name. The upside of indulging in all the great restaurants is that there is so much walking, I lost two pounds.

We like to make Vegas a place to meet friends who live in the West and can drive to meet us. It was a busy visit with friends as well as a family reunion in Reno. That's another city with gambling everywhere, but we weren't there to gamble. However, we saw a great local stage production of Anything Goes at the university. 

Wynn Hotel-Casino, Las Vegas

I always find the West to be tiring, but relaxing, and entertaining. I love doing Vegas "My Way."


  1. Cool pictures! I am not a gambler and haven't visited Las Vegas in ages, but you make me wonder if I should. If I do, it will be YOUR way; it looks like fun! :-)

  2. Las Vegas is so much more than gambling even though that is its reputation. I like the high energy excitement of the city that dares, "Can you top that?"

  3. love your photos! we spent 5 nights in Vegas in 1998. Enjoyed the food and the shows, but not the cigarret smoke.

  4. It sure looks and sounds like you have had some excellent vacations!
    Ooh, I would love to have the extra $$ and the physical ability to go off on a few adventures. Once the motion sickness kicks in though, I'm a mess. I can stand a couple of hours by car (or plane) but have to be careful of anything more than that. Cruises are not my friend. Neither are buses, cabs, or trains. :(

    There are many things we'd like to see out West, so maybe some day travel will be a little easier for me. If we had the time and someone to care for our pets we might be able to rent a super comfy car and take a leisurely drive there.

  5. My kids went through school there and I had a pretty good job. I was not interested in gambling thank goodness as I witnessed many a friend lose so much they had to leave town. My mother lives there but she doesn't go out, not like she used to, she did enjoy playing the slots. Your photos are great, and I like the impressions you leave in this post about your view of Las Vegas and your adventures there.