Traveling the world on the Vegas Strip
When we stepped out of the Excalibur hotel onto the famous Las Vegas Strip, we could feel the pace of life speed-up a notch. People from all over the world were gingerly walking and snapping photos of famous landmarks recreated in miniature-grandeur up and down the street to dazzle the eye. The Statue of Liberty, raising her torch high above a Memory Pool dedicated to those lost in 9/11 outside the New York-New York hotel and casino, gazed across the street at the brilliant, giant gold MGM lion basking in the early evening sunset glow.
Nearby, under the shadow of the huge black pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel, a smiling Sphinx invited people to enter between his paws while watching over those arriving on the monorail system that runs between hotels above street level. It was a lot to take in but we took a deep breath and happily entered the flow of people headed up and down the Vegas Strip.
We crossed London Bridge, and walked passed the aromatic-chocolate M&M Candy store, a two-story Coke bottle and Planet Hollywood, all bustling with people speaking dozens of languages. Sprinkled along the curbs were interesting street musicians and costumed “characters” dressed up as film personalities. We were “ahoyed” by winking Johnny Depp Pirates, stared at by Star Wars’ Storm Troopers and several moon-dancing Michael Jacksons waved a silver-gloved hand, wanting us stop to take our photo with them … for a “tip” fee of course. Cars, taxis, long black-windowed limos, and the Strip-shuttle buses filled the busy streets amid rolling signs, advertising all kinds of Vegas shows.
We decided to explore, starting at the famous Caesars Palace and its interesting Forum Shops, under sparkling chandeliers, intricate floor and wall mosaics, statues, fountains and giant floral arrangements in gilded vases.
Off to Paris next … with the half-scale Eiffel Tower illuminating the night sky. There is an elevator ride to the top and we bet the view is spectacular.
We were breathless watching over 1,000 fountains dance in front of the Bellagio Hotel, shooting water high into the night air, enhanced by synchronized light and music. The large crowds of on-lookers cheered when the last notes drifted quiet.
The Mirage was like an exotic jungle and home of the Royal White Tigers and Dolphin Habitat.
We stopped for dinner in Paris (well, in the casino of that name, actually), and had a delightful French meal at Mon Ami Gabi. Candy, who had first experienced Belgian frites on her adventure there last fall, asked if the French frites were the same. “Oh, certainly,” the waiter assured us.
We had a view out the window of the Bellagio fountains, which are one of Vegas’s great “free” attractions, and were enjoying that and the general atmosphere, when a neatly attired waiter arrived at our table and set before us two wickedly sinful looking chocolate concoctions. Having not yet had our dinner, the arrival of dessert surprised us and our befuddlement must have shown on our faces, as the waiter realized he had delivered dessert to the wrong table. With barely a word, he quickly retrieved the plates before we had a chance to grab our forks and dig in. (We are both old enough to know that if dessert is placed before you … you eat it!)
Dinner arrived and Candy realized very quickly that the French frites of Las Vegas are no comparison to those in Brussels. But, the dinner was delicious none-the-less. And when we had finished and told our waiter of the mix-up about dessert, we thought we were finished and ready to continue our explorations of the Strip…Before we received our bill, though, our waiter arrived with two more of those delectable desserts. And this time they were for us, gratis!
Although we were full to overflowing with our dinners (filet for Quackgrass; sea bass for Candy), we of course could not refuse such an offering and enjoyed every bite.
We crossed the street and headed north just in time for the eruption of the volcano at the Mirage – another of the great free attractions in Las Vegas.
Our route then took us back toward the Excaliber and on to the Luxor. Standing inside the Luxor you can gaze up into the heart of the pyramid, where hundreds of rooms look down from the heights. You can visit the exhibition of Titanic artifacts or enjoy shopping in its unusual shops.
All these places have casinos for fun and trying your luck, but our room at the Excalibur had a comfortable bed to put our tired feet up on, so gambling would have to wait till the next day.
Coming Soon: Oh, those Las Vegas Shows.
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