Well, this was a very interesting week. I had a nice trip to Las Vegas and a terrible sinus infection at the same time. Maybe it's true that we can't have our cake and eat it too. That didn't spoil my vacation. It was very relaxing and I made sure to take some pictures. I'm going to cover some highlights.
You probably want some scenic photos. I didn't get many of them because Las Vegas is such a busy place. People are on the go 24 hours a day in that city. I got some overhead shots from my hotel room. By the way, I stayed at the Palazzo. It's an affiliated hotel to the Venetian. The Palazzo is quite luxurious for people who are willing to pay the price. It's an all suite hotel with a hot tub, remote controlled blinds, two television sets, Wi-Fi, a miniature living room, a dining room table, a snack bar, and lots of amenities in each room.
Las Vegas has a huge variety of food, but they're best known for the buffets. I dined at the buffets from the Mirage, Bellagio, and Mandalay Bay. All of them are pricy, but I guess that's okay because it's unlimited food. The Mirage's buffet was kind of disappointing. It was okay, but not worth the money. I'm not really a fan of seafood or sushi and that seems to be their emphasis. The Bellagio was pretty good. They have a lot of variety, but the carving station is their specialty. All of their meat seems to have a high quality. Unfortunately, I stuffed myself too much at the Bellagio. It was a little hard to savor the experience. The Mandalay Bay was my number one pick because it was the most well rounded. You could find pretty good quality of many things, including Asian, Latin American, carving meats, pasta, etc. However, you'll pay a hefty price. It's close to $40 per person for dinner. Desserts are probably the main weakness at the Mandalay Bay. They're not very good, but desserts aren't the reason why I go to buffets. Breakfast was awesome because my family paid an extra fee to have daily breakfast included in our trip. The Palazzo has an exclusive lounge called The Prestige, which includes free breakfast, drinks, and snacks. In the evening, they have free appetizers and cocktails. The bar is free all day, but it's polite to tip the bartender. The breakfast buffet is terrific with a big variety. It had bacon, sausage, hot and cold cereal, scrambled eggs, assorted pastries, pancakes, yogurt, etc. I was less enthused with the evening appetizers, but they might be a little bit too fancy for my taste. People who want to be jetsetters for a day would like the evening cocktails and appetizers. My mother and I had dessert and hot tea at a restaurant in the Mandalay Bay called the RX Boiler Room. It has a lot steampunk influences with gadgets, nautical themes, and some goth elements. The Boiler Room made me think of a fancy steampunk pub. It has a really big bar and several television sets that show steampunk shows. I highly recommend it for steampunk fans who are visiting the Las Vegas Strip. Keep in mind, it's a very expensive restaurant. If you have dinner at the Boiler Room, I think it will be around $100 per person. I'm going to have a separate post with more pictures and details about the Boiler Room because it deserves a special highlight.
Sightseeing is always a good idea in Las Vegas. I saw a couple of tourist attractions that were small, but very nice. The Mandalay Bay has an aquarium called The Shark Reef. It's pretty cool with a lot of exotic fish and sharks. There was also another exhibit at the Mandalay Bay called Sea Monsters. It was a fascinating display of aquatic taxidermy. The display was very scientific and informative. You'll see what I'm talking about from the photos. I took plenty of pictures at both exhibits.
For those of you who get creeped out by the Sea Monsters exhibit, the photos below will probably be more comforting. I didn't get a chance to take pictures of a couple big creatures in The Shark Reef. There a giant python balled up in a corner display. The octopus was playing hard to get. It was also hiding in a corner. Some of the other sea creatures were moving too fast for me to catch on camera. Apparently, those stingrays are pretty fast. You can check out a selection of pics below.
The Mirage has a big cat exhibit called The Secret Garden. I really like it because they have white and orange tigers, black and spotted leopards, and white lions. Unfortunately, the exhibit is really small. I just wished they had more animals. However, it was still pretty nice. People who like big cats would appreciate The Secret Garden.
I walked through the Venetian's shopping center called the Grand Canal Shoppes. Overall, it's a very high end and expensive shopping center that's interesting to look at, but the merchandise is out of the price range for most people. It has some nice scenery, but it was too crowded for me to take pictures.
Naturally, I spent some time gambling. I don't really know how to play card games. Most of my gambling time was spent at the slot machines. I'm not going to divulge if I won or last my money, but there are some tricks. Bet the max. It's the only way you'll win any money. Even small payouts will be better with a max bet. Just remember that your money will disappear faster that way. Also, keep track of your winnings. Many people gamble away the money they win. If you win any money, just cash it out. That way your bigger wins will be intact and the small payouts can accumulate.
Some of you guys are probably wondering about more casinos, shows, swimming pools, nightclubs, and expensive restaurants. I had many trips to Las Vegas and I was disappointed with several casinos, including the Wynn, Cosmopolitan, Rio, Monte Carlo, Treasure Island, Luxor, and whatnot. I've seen them all. It's very hot in Las Vegas during the summer, so I prefer staying inside rather than hitting the pool. Rowdy nightclubs aren't my thing, but I appreciate the small and intimate lounges. They're very relaxing and provide a good chance to socialize. Some of the shows in Las Vegas are great and I've seen a handful of them in the past. However, I didn't feel like spending $200 per person just to see one show. Some of the shows in Las Vegas actually tour more locally at a much more affordable price. I also dined at some of the pricier restaurants in past years. Personally, I don't think many of them are worth the money. Does a steak taste better just because it costs $60? Heck no! If Joe's Stone Crab is still at Caesar's Palace, it was one of the better restaurants. Morel's steakhouse at the Palazzo is also very good if you're willing to spend the money. RM Seafood at the Mandalay Bay might hit the spot for seafood lovers. Some of the other restaurants at the Mandalay Bay are also pretty good. If you like Italian food, try Wolgang Puck's restaurant called Lupo. Red Square is a fancy Russian restaurant that might appeal to some eclectic people.
That's about it. I really enjoyed my trip, but it's always nice to return home. Tune in next time for my post about the RX Boiler Room. I loved the ambiance and other steampunk fans will probably like it too. Have a good week and I hope you guys don't catch a sinus infection like I did. Peace!