Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I had always said I had no interest in ever visiting Las Vegas. That was before we decided to visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon and it made sense to get there via Vegas. We didn't have enough time to drive to our destination in Utah after flying in from DC, so I got us 2 super cheap rooms at the Tuscany Casino & Hotel. It's an older casino off the strip but had huge rooms for $69. One could do worse. 

Of course, it was hot. 98F when we arrived, but a delightful (to me) dry heat like Canberra, after humid East coast. It's also very flat. We drove around so J could show me a little and, even after years of watching CSI, I was astonished at how bigger than life everything is.  I might warn potential visitors that the place changes constantly. I had read a Lonely Planet guide to try and figure out what was worth seeing and found it quite out of date. 

We came back for 2 days after Utah. I must confess to taking advantage of air conditioning and resting most of the time. J went out walking and reported that distances were very deceiving: what looked close was really a long walk away. This from someone who has visited several times. 

We stayed in the Jockey Club, which is not a casino and doesn't even have a restaurant. It's a block of time-share apartments squeezed between the Cosmopolitan (very hip) and the Bellagio (very luxurious). An ideal location and we had a 2 bedroom apt for $160 a night.  It's not swanky, but ticks all the necessary boxes. Across the street are Planet Hollywood and Paris. If you are lucky (we weren't) your room overlooks the Bellagio fountains. 

Our one splurge was an evening at the Bellagio, playing penny slots (and losing), seeing Cirque du Soleil's "O", and having a steak dinner at Fix. Not cheap but I really enjoyed myself. We walked around the hotel to see the Chihuly glass ceiling installation in the lobby, which was lovely, the Botanic Garden, acres of marble floors  and lots of gambling. "O" was astonishing. They have somehow constructed a stage-sized tank (and it's a BIG theatre) that fills with water and seconds later is a solid floor. I don't know how they do it so stealthily you don't even notice it's happening even if you try to 
catch them at it. Added to the usual Cirque acts are high diving and fancy-dress synchronised swimming. The usual acrobatics often end with a plunge into the pool. I couldn't decipher the story but the costumes are great and I could have easily seen more of everything.

I wanted to go to the Pinball Hall of Fame but fatigue and heat wore me down as well as the prospect of the long flight ahead of me. I was surprised to actually like Vegas. But I wish I were wealthy to see everything! 

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