Published: March 8th 2007March 7th 2007
The Adventuredome - a massive indoor theme park at the Circus Circus Hotel.
It seems like a long time since I last posted an entry, and the last 9 days have been such a contrast to the rest of our journey.
Las Vegas was as crazy as it has always been, but our experience there was very different to our last visit. No candle-lit dinners a deux, cocktail lounges or glamourous shows this time. Nic spent every minute he could (or his backside could handle) playing poker, and I had to come up with as many ways as possible to amuse a 3-year old in the city of sin.
(To my fellow women out there - no, I haven't become a Stepford wife. Poker is Nic's major hobby at the moment, and I'm happy to be responsible for the childcare while he fulfills his gaming ambitions. I'm sure he'll repay me when I'm doing Hollywood studio tours in a couple of weeks! He also stayed in one night so I could experience Las Vegas nightlife on my own. I had loads of fun playing roulette and tripled my money, but I don't want to elaborate further except to say there was some unpleasantness the following morning due to too many free Manhattans).
FAO Shwartz, at Ceasar's Palace Forum Shops
well, finishing on the last table in his first 2 tournaments, but having to commit four hours or so each time he entered one wore a bit thin after a while. So he played mostly cash games at our hotel, the Sahara, and some of the downtown casinos. I'm sure he's emailed his regular poker compadres with all the details, so I won't even try to go into it here.
In any case, if CJ and I saw him at all, it was at the odd breakfast/morning walk or occasional dinner.
Vegas isn't the city of iniquity it's made out to be, particularly in the daytime. Sure, I had to rush CJ past the occasional 'readers wives' magazine stand, but there were plenty of family activities to amuse us. He loved the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, particularly the mini-golf course under the path of the roller coaster. There was an alley of games where he won several stuffed animals (which will either end up in a mailing box or a samaritan's bin). They had hourly clown/magic shows too, which he enjoyed. He even volunteered to go up on stage and spin a ball on his finger! Other highlights included a
CJ poses in front of the dolphins at Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden, the Mirage. Alas, you can no longer see S & R, except for their likenesses around every corner.
gondola ride, a trip up the 'eiffel tower', jungle dining at the Rainforest Cafe, Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, the Pirate Show at Treasure Island, the Lions at the MGM Grand, a matinee magic show at Harrah's, meeting Roggle the Ferenghi at Quark's Cafe at the Hilton's Star Trek Exhibit, lots of trips on the monorail and double-decker bus, book and shoe shopping at the local Mall and lots of dinners at the Nascar Cafe (otherwise known as the Lightning McQueen cafe). Phew!
The food and service was excellent and catered to kids really well, considering the general lack of them, with one exception. If I was dining alone with CJ, and we had to visit the restroom during our meal (as is usually the case!), they would clear away our dishes and drinks no matter how little we'd consumed of them! I ended up leaving notes on the table saying NOT FINISHED YET, but even this didn't stop them at last night's dinner, when I'd actually forked out (haha) $10 on a meal of steak and vegetable rice for CJ, which he was enjoying a lot. He didn't even like the free dessert they gave us
oh no it isn't...
CJ wasn't afraid at all of the height of the tower, which was remarked upon by a couple who were up there at the same time. Yes, I told them, but he's afraid of balloon artists.
in recompense. grrrrr
Anyway, enough gripes. It was full-on, overwhelming at times, loads of fun, full of amazing characters, but exhausting.
The hotel rates take a sharp rise to the end of this week - in some cases a $50 a night room goes up to $295! Turns out there are 2 big conferences and a Nascar event on, so reluctantly (for Nic anyway) we were forced to move on to...
Another gaming town! Laughlin, Nevada. It has a strip, casinos, buffets and flashing lights, but the atmosphere is so different. For a start, we are the youngest people here by about 50 years. Nic has had to change his poker strategy to deal with Octogenarian playing habits, and has so far profited as a result. Everything is priced to accommodate pensioners' budgets, so it's really cheap (the rooms were about $20 a night!?). The temperature is much nicer here than we've had so far, so CJ and I have been relaxing in the large, locomotive shaped pool (our hotel is train-themed, inexplicably). We're in a lovely new room overlooking the distant mountain range which come to life at sunset in pink and orange.
As I'm typing this, Nic is
The view from our window on the 22nd Floor. The Colorado Belle, a casino 'riverboat' sits on the Colorado River. No, the river doesn't run uphill - that's my dodgy camera work.
out stealing old-timers' retirement funds, and CJ is fast asleep despite an unbelievable racket next door (they might be old, but by god they can whoop it up after a few drinks - I dread to think what's going on in there).
We're going to stay here a couple more nights before the final mainland USA leg of our journey - California.