fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Vegas Weekend - The Fun Parts

UNLV Volksmarch: As I mentioned before, the primary excuse for the Las Vegas trip was getting in a Volksmarch event towards the baseball special events program. That meant doing the UNLV year round event. The route started out past a not very exciting stretch of restaurants and businesses, before turning onto Paradise Road and passing the Hard Rock Hotel. I stopped there briefly to use the restroom (and to gamble a little, coming out a few dollars ahead). The walk continued on to the UNLV campus. I should mention that I ran into three other walkers (local women) on the way and chatted briefly with them.

Anyway, the campus is not particularly attractive. In particular, most of the buildings are blocky and labeled with three letter codes, rather than names. However, there are a couple of interesting bits of modern art here and there, with the most prominent being a huge sculpture of a flashlight. There is also a little xeriscape garden. But, while it is not impressive overall, the campus served its purpose since UNLV is the alma mater of a few major leaguers.

The walk returned past the Atomic Testing Museum, which I contemplated but decided that it would be worth more time than I could give it. The rest of the route was fairly uninteresting, going past a corporate area.

All in all, this wasn’t the most interesting walk ever, but the exercise was pleasant, the weather was perfect, and, again, it served its purpose.

Ka: Looking over which Cirque du Soleil shows I had not yet seen, I chose Ka, partly because it sounded interesting and partly because, being at the MGM Grand (where I was staying) made it convenient. It was a good choice. The show is a bit different from most of theirs in having more of a narrative element. It tells the story of boy and girl twins, who are separated by war and their journey to reunite and bring peace to their people. And, oh yeah, each of the twins finds love along the way.

There’s still plenty of acrobatics and special effects and all the other stuff that Cirque is known for. I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe the acrobatic parts I was most impressed with. But I can note the performer who played the mother of the twins, who did an excellent job of conveying her emotions and who brought a nicely humorous touch to the whole show. I also really enjoyed the music, which was of the fusion world beat sort. By the way, I googled it and learned that the lyrics (and bits of conversation) are in a made-up language called Cirquish.

As a final note, since a performer died when a rope broke last year, the final scene is done with video. I did find that a bit of a let-down, especially as it was a bit blurry, but not a huge issue. I’m more interested in theatre than in circus acts per se, so the whole show worked well for me.

People Watching: One of the main things I like in Vegas is people watching. Are such short miniskirts really in fashion? Back in the early 1970’s, the rule for respectability was fingertip-length and I saw an awful lot of girls wearing shorter ones than that. I was tempted to ask a few "are you a hooker or do you just dress like one?" but decided that would be rude. And, oy, the shoes. The most amusing (and frightening) example was the woman on crutches who was wearing 6 inch heels.

Food: Vegas has great restaurants. This trip involved a critical mistake, however. I ate a plate of pancakes (at the Avenue Café at the MGM Grand) on Saturday morning – and was too full to manage more than a slice of pizza for supper. But did I learn? I did the buffet on Sunday morning – and, of course, ate too much to really want to eat anything the rest of the day. It was a good reminder of why I don’t normally go for buffets.

So, alas, no food pornography this trip.

Gambling: I understand that I am not exempt from the laws of probability, so I look at gambling as entertainment. I am going to spend X amount of money on it and it’s a question of how much time that money will get me.

That said, I do have some quirks that create issues. I know these things are not true, but I still believe that there is such a thing as gambling feng shui and one should not, for example, ever play a machine that is next to a trash can. Someone coming by cleaning nearby can disrupt the flow of luck. And there is the whole issue of smokers (who also create auras of disruptive luck). A few years ago, there were more non-smoking areas, but I didn’t find a single one this time.

I stick to machine gambling because I prefer to lose my money in smaller increments. I always bet the minimum amount to play the full number of lines. If I play video poker, I look carefully at the payoffs, because there are some that cheat you by only repaying your bet on a two pair hand, instead of paying twice your bet. For slot machines, I like ones with graphics that are not the classic fruit machine types. I like certain other features, too – e.g. interactive bonuses.

Anyway, the problem is that I am a bit weird about numbers. It’s one of those borderline OCD things. I don’t like to end up with odd amounts of change, so I will tend to keep playing until I have a dollar amount that is, ideally, an even dollar, though amounts that end in quarters are acceptable. This would be less of a problem if there were more machines that let you select lines, since I don’t mind playing less than the maximum number of lines if it is to even out the payout. The trend now is towards alleged penny slots that really have a 40 or 50 cent minimum bet, however.

You can imagine how it made me crazy when I ended up playing a machine that had a minimum bet of 89 cents. The problem was that I kept winning on it. In the end, I came out about a hundred bucks ahead, but it made me very anxious.

What I Needed to Do More: The lack of external cues about what time it is leaves me sleep deprived. In theory, I could have slept late (well, except Monday morning when I had to get to the airport). But, in practice, it doesn’t happen. Vegas is not the place for sleep.

On a final note, there is an observation wheel (called Linq, for reasons that are beyond me) being constructed in the center strip. It should be worth checking out when it’s open.
Tags: gambling, theatre, travel, volksmarch

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