Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Las Vegas

Merry Christmas from the Luxor! That's kind of a fun thing to type. I was downstairs in the vast lobby imbibing my morning latte in the Starbucks, and it was surprisingly busy for 8:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. It was actually busy every morning I was there this week, even before 7:00 a.m. Now it's 9:30, I'm back in the darkened hotel room, M snoring gently, the sparkling wine chilling in anticipation of our trek over to sis-in-law's suite at Mandalay Bay for Christmas brunch in about an hour.

It's been a good trip so far. Mom, Denise, and Felicia were over for dinner the night before we left, so that started off the festivities nicely. Mom took Rex up to the coast the next morning, and by all accounts he's having a pleasant time--canine cousin Zoe is there too. Since we flew out of the Sonoma County airport, our morning was fairly relaxed--no rushing to beat Bay Area traffic. There was a little turbulence, but otherwise the flight was smooth and on time.

We didn't do much that first night, just settle in and have dinner. Though M did have a little fun and luck at the craps table, and I lost some cash at the slot machines. Wednesday morning M and I walked the strip a bit then waited in a very long line for the lunch buffet at the Bellagio. I don't think I've ever eaten so much! It was a painful waddle back to the Luxor in time for my pedicure and spa date with Arienne and Christin. It was a really nice indulgence--I've been feeling a little stressed from work, and the sauna and Jacuzzi in particular were a great way to release some of that. And a little girlie bonding with the in-laws was also A Good Thing. After some afternoon relaxation, we took a cab down to Fremont Street and saw how the seedy parts of Vegas had been cleaned up for us tourists.


On Thursday, M and Arienne and I headed out to Hoover Dam. We made it early enough to miss the worst of the crowds and opted for the deluxe tour that took us deep into the dam. It is quite the engineering marvel. I was good to get out of the casino for a little bit. After the high winds blew storm clouds out of the sky on Tuesday night, it's been cool but clear weather since, with lovely views of the desert ringed by mountains.

This morning, Christmas Day, we brought booty purchased from Whole Foods on the way back from Hoover Dam over to Christy and Scott's lovely suite atop Mandalay Bay and chatted for a bit while chowing down. Then we took to the strip again, riding the roller coaster at New York New York and admiring the lions at the MGM Grand. Arienne and I continued on to the Bellagio to fight the crowds in the garden area and see the incredible chocolate fountain. We took a couple of trams back, but I think my hips are going to be a little sore tomorrow.

Impressions: The food here is better than I recall from our last visit nine years ago, and also more expensive. I also pretty much gave up gambling after my first losses to the slots. M's been having good fortune at the craps tables, though we still have a day and tonight to spend, spend, spend. It's hard to penetrate to any sort of meaningful local experience, too. I asked my pedicurist (a nice young man named Thong, pronounced "Tong," which seemed like a particularly appropriate name for a denizen of Las Vegas) about thrift stores, and he was very vague about it, though of course shopping may not have been his forte. When asked about good places to eat, the nice young gal at the Starbucks offered a buffet she'd never actually been to. And while the scarcity of people when we first arrived was a bit of a downer (how do those dealers at the empty poker tables stand there for so long and stand it?), the crowds that have been building since Wednesday have been a bit of a drag. The casinos seem less smoky, but it's still hard for introverted me to be there with so much sensory overload. And so many families with young children here, what is up with that? One of my best Christmas gifts? I slept for eight straight hours on Christmas Eve, something I haven't done for a looong time. Santa Sandman was good to me.

Not sure what tomorrow holds. We all go our separate ways. I'd like to have breakfast at Bouchon at the Venetian, but not sure if we'll have time.


At 2:43 PM, December 26, 2009, Blogger bren said...

Wow! 8 hours of good sleep. yippee


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