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Fun in Vegas

About six months ago a cousin of mine who lives in Rome told me he was coming to Vegas for a vacation in May, so we've been keeping the date open for a while. The event finally occurred, and ToniAnne and I drove down on Monday to spend a few days enjoying what the area had to offer without spending a whole lot. It was a good three days.

We stopped in St. George to have lunch with her son at the Brick Oven, a local pizza chain - nice meeting, good food. Got to Vegas around 7, checked into the Motel 6 on East Tropicana. It had a good rate and good reviews, and the room we stayed in was nicely remodeled:

The overall visual effect was nice, but the design could use some work. That bathroom was behind closet-style doors with no lock, and there is no door between the shower/toilet area and the sink/vanity area.

Also, we had a couple of other guests in the room:

This creeped me right out, but despite my initial skepticism, it appears that there has been an explosion of the roach population in Vegas recently, and Googling around showed me a comment for the MGM Grand on May 27, 2011 that said simply "COCKROACHES!!!". So even the large, fancy resorts are not immune. We only saw them the first day, so I was pretty much able to ignore it.

The air conditioner, even at full-blast, only brought the room down to the mid-70's, and it's not that hot in Vegas yet. In midsummer it would be torment. And, while we were in the room resting, some drone from Verona Pizza crammed a flyer through the door crack, making a huge racket. Had we been sleeping I would have been really pissed.

All these things were reported to management who were both apologetic and helpful - but the info will also be reported to the Corporate office. They offered to come spray the room at once, but Wife didn't want insecticide in the room while we were staying there - understandable; and they are very angry at the Verona people. They throw them off the property whenever they catch their drones stuffing flyers. Given the rate ($38.00 per night, for two) I'd stay there again - but I'd be sure to get a room with different architecture and stay on the side away from the airport, which would be a bit quieter. Overall the property is pretty upscale for a Motel 6, larger property with a nice pool area.

The next morning we slept in until around 11 - glorious! and then went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant far, far away from the strip - China a Go Go #8 on 5841 E Charleston Blvd. The fried wontons were superb, they brought us hot mustard for dipping in at our request, and the entrees were perfect. My wife enjoyed the beef curry, which actually had a decent amount of curry in it; and I had the fried vegetables with tofu in a delectable brown sauce. I'd go back here in a heartbeat. Great, satisfying food at reasonable prices. Pleasant, airy atmosphere and friendly service.

After lunch, we visited the Las Vegas temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a beautiful oasis of peace amid a city of dissipation, and we found great joy serving there that day. The Temple includes a gorgeous atrium with fountains and trees inside the property, something I had never seen before.

The Temple

ToniAnne in front of the Las Vegas Temple

We wended our way back to the West side of Vegas, stopping in at a local Deseret Industries (the Mormon equivalent of Goodwill) for a bit of a rummage, and I picked up a new Jack in the Box ball for my car (we don't have Jack in Northern Utah, and it helps me find my car in parking lots.) We then visited with a dear friend of mine who came from England in 1959 at the age of 20 to care for me for 4 years while my mother pursued her career. Mavis was a delightful au-pair, and I have remained very fond of her over the years. I was delighted to have ToniAnne be able to meet Mavis and her husband, Ralph.

ToniAnne with Ralph and Mavis

Here's me mauling Mavis in 1960

We returned to the hotel, and my cousin called me in the evening. We met up with him (minus his girlfriend, sadly, who was not feeling well that evening) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel lobby. We walked down the strip to Planet Hollywood, and had a great time catching up while eating mexican food at Yolö's Mexican Grill inside the casino.

These were my shredded beef enchiladas with cilantro rice.

ToniAnne had a seasoned chicken which was very nice, and Massimo, my cousin, opted for a caesar salad with grilled shrimp. The cost for the whole meal was very reasonable - in Vegas the food is not overpriced at most places, as they're counting on your losses in the casino to make up for it.

Afterwards we walked over to the Bellagio and saw the fountain show and the conservatory, which was decorated for the 4th of July:

The conservatory

A flower painting

We walked back to the Cosmo, and Massimo got a kick out of the Go Go girls dancing in the windows above the sidewalk. After bidding Massimo farewell and Godspeed, we returned to our hotel - it had already been a full day, and I thought we would take in the tower on another trip.

The next morning we got checked out of our hotel and went down to see the huge aquarium at the Silverton hotel in South Las Vegas.

The Silverton Aquarium

Aquarium Closeup

The Bass Shops next door have a huge indoor pool.

Wild peccaries confront a rattlesnake

Vegas has money to throw around like nobody's business. I'm amazed at the intricacy of the machinations devised to get people into the casinos...

After the Siverton, we felt a need for sustenance, so on the recommendation of my son and his wife, we visited Oyshi Sushi out in West Vegas. I'm mad about Japanese food, and this place didn't disappoint. The "All-you-can-eat" rules ($21.00 for lunch, $26.00 for dinner) make sense - read them and follow them and you're likely to have a good experience. They also have numerous other options on the menu, including things other than seafood.

My wife had an appetizer consisting of asparagus wrapped with thin beef strips that was very tasty - she ordered a teryaki chicken bowl for her main course. It was ample, but I have to say the chicken didn't taste much like teriyaki.

I had the all-you-can-eat sushi option, and appreciated all of the pieces I sampled, although I was disappointed that uni was not included as part of the all-you-can-eat menu. Everything was fresh and the portion sizes were generous. It took us almost two hours to get through lunch as the service was not what I would call speedy, but our waitress was very apologetic and indicated that they had a staff member call in sick during a busy lunch hour.

One of several rounds of sushi.

The last item I ordered, on a tip from my daughter-in-law, was something she called "white tuna," and the waitress called "ono." It was superbly tasty and buttery in texture, but a little research showed me I had been eating escolar, which I suspect I will stay away from in future. Shame, because it tasted so good.

We had a delightful tiramisu with green tea topping for dessert, and the waitress added a special presentation with whipped cream and two kinds of berries because she knew we were celebrating our anniversary. I will definitely come back to Oyshi again.

After lunch, we headed over to Treasure Island to see the sirens and pirates, but there was no show until 7 PM, so we looked at the scenery briefly and then pointed our car North, arriving home at 10:00 PM, tired but satisfied with our trip.

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Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
They have churches in Sin City?

Too bad I wasn't there to assist with the roaches. As you know, I have experience. B-)
Jun. 4th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
Do the Chip Monks still sort the take?
Sounds like a great trip. You folks do the kinds of things that we like to do. We would like to go there just to see the changes. Last time we were there we were with our kids, all of which were still in school. Now all 4 of them have kids of their own either grown and/or married or in their teens. Glad you had a good trip with lots of good food and good get-togethers.
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
wow what a place to visit O_O


The Old Wolf

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