Carolina: Cruising Past 70: OLA: Eating, Playing, and Loving in Las Vegas!

Monday, May 6, 2013

OLA: Eating, Playing, and Loving in Las Vegas!

'High on Love' @ the Observation Tower, 108th floor of the Stratosphere with a view of Las Vegas Strip at night!
our Las Vegas Hotel room!
The first thing we did when we reached Las Vegas last Tuesday, coming from the national parks of Southern Utah, was to check in at LVH (Las Vegas Hotel) where Bill and I took a 3-day vacation from our RV.  It was the former Las Vegas Hilton where my brother-in-law (deceased) Gary Bautista wowed many audiences for many years with his one thousand and one impersonations. Under new management, our room was spacious and luxurious and the spa/fitness room/pool facilities are superb. They even gifted us with a bottle of red wine. During the next three days, we simply went chillaxin'.

Bill with his B at the Fremont Street Experience!
Carol with 100% of the King's attention!
The two nights, however, we had our first taste of Vegas, the entertainment capital. We had both been there several times in the past, but this was our first time together!  The first night Bill and I went to the Fremont Experience. The old Las Vegas of two blocks of old casinos had been converted into a compact combustion of energy with the street between them enclosed. There were several stages of live bands and performers, costumed characters inviting every one for a souvenir photo, lovely girls beckoning us to the street bars, artists at work peddling their art, souvenir kiosks, and even a zip line that ran under the electronic roof (whose dizzying display was controlled by 300 computers). 

Carol dancing with a Flash Mob at Fremont!
Her Majesty, the Queen!
The second night, Bill took me to dinner at the Stratosphere, the revolving restaurant atop the iconic Las Vegas Tower. Though the dinner was great, I could not concentrate on the food because the 360 degree Vegas night scene captivated me. After dinner, we even rode up to the 108th floor, two floors up from the restaurant, to view those who sky jumped for the amazing thrill of flying over Vegas! But for us, the thrill was different. We found a sign that read, ‘High on Love’ against the backdrop of the Strip (headline photo)!

the Stratosphere dinner, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip!
Filipino dinner with Tony and Bernie!
After our brief escapade, we parked our RV at the Thousand Trails’ Las Vegas Resort. The next day we met with Tony Nievera and his lovely wife, Bernie at a favorite Filipino restaurant, Kusina (meaning kitchen) ni Lorraine. Tony had been a mentor during my IBM days, where he was former GM (later he also became GM of Unisys Philippines and VP of Computer Associates in New York). Out went my diet for I feasted on the much-missed Filipino buffet, especially with the ginataang monggo for desert! It’s a good thing I can continue the daily routine I started at the hotel at the resort’s exercise room! 
the Praying Mantis' Flames at the First Friday Festival

3 Friends at the First Friday Festival!
Afterwards, we walked off the calories at the Las Vegas First Friday Festival where many artists displayed their creativity. First thing that caught our attention was the Eagle Owl with very bright yellow eyes who can rotate his neck 270 degrees! There were rows and rows of food kiosks, even a rolling frozen yoghurt bar! Unique finds were the gypsy guys, the Syn Shop (Vegas’ Hackerspace community) and the Flaming Mantis which was built because the artist was bit by one! We ended the night with beer and wine under the moon and stars with the Las Vegas Tower as a backdrop!

playing Dangerous Beauty @ a penny slot machine
That Saturday we could no longer postpone going to a casino. We went to the one just a mile from our campground, Boulder Station, part of the chain of Station Casinos in Vegas. We took out a boarding pass for each of us. Bill ordered the 99 cent margarita that afternoon while I lost all of $1 in the hour I played on a penny slot machine called Dangerous Beauty! That was a good start! Afterwards, we went to the Saturday Vigil Mass at the Guardian Angel Cathedral right next to the casinos on the strip.

Guardian Angel Cathedral in front of Encore
On Sunday we chose to watch Iron Man 3 in 3D. It was all over Facebook.  Everyone was saying how good this movie is and I wanted to see for myself.  Bill happily complied for this is one of his favorite genres…a slightly comedic action adventure. As for me, as long as I have my refillable large bag of popcorn (we had two!) and large drink, I am happy. That was it…the first week in Vegas sizzled with lots of eating, playing, and loving. That was the advice Tony had given us! I now wonder…should we settle down in this city?