Traffic in Vegas is insane, even at 11 PM at night. My shuttle seat mate was ‘working’ in Vegas for a month and knew exactly how to get the driver to drop him off first- a tip. Money still talks here, rather loudly most of the time. Careening through the byways meant for shuttle buses, we snake our way to the Orleans. The Allegiant flight had been great but I am a weird mix of excitement and fatigue. I get dropped off, check in and head to my suite with a king bed. This place is really nice!!
Morning is the meet and greet for our travel agent group and I know a whirlwind awaits. A group of Canadians, folks from Indiana and Texas, Minnesota, etc. We load onto the bus and my head spins as I try to take in the lay of the land. Arriving in the 110 degree heat, we step into the Westgate Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, legendary home of the King – Elvis Presley! He lived there for years performing sold
out show after sold out show and now, I get to see the Elvis: The Exhibition. I love Elvis, always have. I loved him as a little second grader making my way to the theater in my little hometown and I loved him when I found out he was dead, sitting on the steps of my house in Madison, then a total hippie, but still in love with Elvis.
After a wonderful brunch, I head into the exhibit. Walls of video tell his story, pictures of every stage of his life and his jewelry are showcased. His vehicles, his studded capes and flashy boots all reside here, along with letters from his pa when he was in prison for forging a check over a hog purchase. This is poignant revelation for an American icon and it is emotional for many of us because of his early and seemingly unnecessary death. Exiting the exhibit is a store full of weird geegaws that to me, is irreverent and unnecessary but I lag behind, looking at everything anyway. Ugh.
Next I’m shown the world’s largest Sports Book and hear it will be expanding. It’s impressive but I have no clue how any of that works
so I just snap a pic and head for the world’s largest Benihana and take my picture under a long red dragon. I am a hooorible selfie taker, as you can probably tell from the pictures. I usually look mad by the time I get one so this one was nice! The Westgate has a star struck history and the notoriety of Elvis’s home in the 30th floor penthouse. Oh baby, if walls could talk…
Next jaunt, I’m shuffling through the heat to catch the Las Vegas Monorail. It is slick and new and a three day pass is only $25.00. I
end up at the Monkey Bar of the lovely SLS resort. This place is fabulous! The rooms are amazing, the pool is stunning and the Sayers Club really catches my eye. This venue offers headline entertainment in an intimate setting. This is also where I would book the wedding reception or family reunion of the year. Yes, I will help you party like a rock star because I’ve seen the cherry spots in Vegas. But it’s lunch. What’s for lunch?
onion rings, but we’re sharing here and things could go south in a hurry. I order the black bean burger and keep my eyes on the rings. We share, grudgingly share. Everything is fabulous but everyone wants the rings!!!
Back on the monorail, I see the benefit of staying off the strip and zooming into town. Arriving at The LINQ, this place is crazy packed-
in the hallways, on the casino floor, at the adult pool, it’s nonstop people. The highlight of this place is the suite that’s off the adult’s only pool. Open the door and I’m part of the party. Slide the patio door shut, I can’t hear a thing. Great engineering for the ambivalent introvert like me. Oh, let’s join the party…. Okay, ten minutes of that was enough. Retreat! Oooo, let’s go back in the pool! Okay, retreat! For people like me, this is a great option!
Moving into a short downtime, I anticipate tonight because it’s Treasure Island and Gilley’s for line dancing, yee haw! The buffet at Treasure Island has enough choices for a picky eater like me. It has
the casino and the rooms are nice but the pool stands out to me. When we meet back at Gilley’s for line dancing lessons, I feel brave so I try. One step, good. Two steps, good. Three steps and a circle and kick, um I am out of here. I tried. Not that coordinated, certainly can’t remember more than three steps and besides, I suspect these people come here every night the way they are bucking and jiving. This is a music flavored group sport that is really fun to watch. Imagine, Pit Bull and Kesha singing Timber as an 80 year old woman slides through the rhythm. Vegas is cool like that!
Our bar maid looks exactly like Sissy from the Urban Cowboy movie and she has this kid in a white cowboy hat trying not to be obvious as
he follows her every move. Then the bull riding begins and it is comical to see how the person running it gears it toward the rider. Embarrassing the rider is the main attraction as the controller forces riders to mimic motions saved mostly for the boudoir. Only in Vegas, haha! Everyone is a good sport but if you’re a young, obnoxious frat boy, you’ll be schooled and on the mat in 5 seconds flat, red faced and humbled. I saw it.
It’s late but is the night ending? No, this is Vegas. My next stop is the High Roller. I have been waiting for this, a spin across the lit up
Vegas skyline. I am enchanted and so grateful for the opportunity to experience this view. It’s labeled an observation deck, I call it pure magic. It doesn’t stop as you get on, so step lightly and keep it moving. You will not be sorry at all.
I hadn’t been to Vegas in 11 years because I didn’t exactly like it the last time. It was fun and interesting, but I’m not a big gambler and it seemed a little off to me, not a quality place to spend my money and time, but rather gritty and desperate. But, I was willing to have my mind changed so glad to be here! Day one revealed a side of elegant rooms, fabulous party spots, gourmet dining and thanks to Kelly Messina from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Christine Carlson from Allegiant Airlines, this party is just getting started!
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