SIN CITY REVISITED

I’ve been to Las Vegas a couple of times before but decided to return for two reasons – for the wifey and my daughter to see the place and a reunion with my two sisters who reside in the US, along with their families. My sis who lives in the East Coast had to fly with her family and landed a few hours behind us. The one who lives in nearby LA drove with her hubby to join us for the weekend. Being big brother, I took care of the accommodation andΒ a few other things πŸ™‚ Β The last time we had a reunion was at my place 4 years ago. We had lots of family bonding and fun. We also went to Grand Canyon together.

VEGAS BY NIGHT

THE WORLD OF SLOT MACHINES

Pinoy TV show host and prodigious traveler Joey de Leon was known to have said that his favorite place is Vegas, which he praises as almost paradise on earth. Methinks not. For a few days, maybe. One must not be carried away by the glitz and glamour of this oasis in the midst of an arid desert for behind the spectacular edifices, the neon lights, the beautiful people, trendy restaurants, the sprawling casino halls and the nauseating sound of beeping slot machines reverberating the feel of money on the pores of your skin, lies torn and hapless souls whose lives had been shattered by an irresistible, pestiferous curse called gambling. The evil doesn’t stop when the money runs out. It is possible to infuse cash on a maxed out credit card as long as you are willing to sign a pact and mortgage your future with the devil. It is important when visiting Vegas to discern this curse and not get swept away into misery.

While casino hopping at night, you’d see Mexican dudes handing our cards and leaflets, peddling and promoting escort services right at the sidewalks of Las Vegas Blvd, some of them with placards saying ” girls available within 20 minutes”. Call that in-your-face pimping but people don’t seem to take it seriously.


THE EXCALIBUR

Over the years, Vegas has evolved from a strictly gambling mecca to an entertainment city where families with their children can visit and enjoy the amenities these modern casino resorts have to offer. Enterprising operators have thrown in all sorts of kid friendly themes in their casinos – glass enclosed lion dens, roller coasters, gondola rides, medieval tournaments to name a few. People now come to the city to watch spectacular circus shows, celebrity singers, top notch stand up comedians, boxing matches, right inside the confines of the humungous casino complex. My family was thrilled to watch Mystere , a dazzling theatrical circus show performed by the world famous Cirque du Soliel. It is one thing to be impressed with the elasticity and agility of seemingly superhuman acrobats but another thing to wonder how someone can conceive and stage a production with so much amazing hi-tech wizardry, artistic choreography with clock-like synchronization among hundreds of performers and with a live band to provide the real time musical scoring at that. Truly awesome.

HALE AT 42 DEG C

Coming from the Great White North into the blazing 42 deg C Nevada desert was like being transported to planet Mercury. Keeping re-hydrated with H20 was key to surviving the outdoors and its hellish temperature. One day, after having lunch at a Pinoy restaurant outside the strip, the clouds suddenly turned dark and rain looked inevitable. It did fall but with marble-sized snow that prompted us to seek cover in the car. I’ve seen hale but never in a 42 deg C weather ! ( keep clicking mouse to zoom in on pic)

PINOYS IN VEGAS

If there was one bonus in our trip, it was the fact that Vegas is infested with Pinoys πŸ™‚ Β Over the years Pinoys have been steadily congregating in Vegas, perhaps lured by the job opportunities the sprouting new casinos have to offer.Β  A Pinay nurse, a former colleague of my sis in the East Coast tells us that the hospital she works with looks like PGH, full of Β Pinay nurses πŸ™‚ Β It is so darn easy to find a good Pinoy restaurant in town. There’s Jolibee, Chowking, Red Ribbon, Goldilocks and hordes Pinoy food joints in town much like many California cities with lots of Pinoy inhabitants. As my brother in law from Connecticut said, it feels like vacationing in Vegas and Manila at the same time πŸ™‚ I hope to see these famous food joints in my city one day. ( keep clicking mouse to zoom in on pic – taken at a Pinoy restaurant )

Here’s a slide show of some pics I took from the trip. I’ll probably post another round of pictures taken at the Grand Canyon later on. I will try to post some of them on my Flickr sidebar. It was quite a hectic trip – taking the kids out in the morning and casino hopping in the evening. As they say, you need another vacation after coming from a vacation. Very true πŸ˜†

Click on VIEW ALL IMAGES to see the gallery

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52 Responses

  1. Welcome back. I can only play one cent slots πŸ™‚ If I lose 5 bucks I quit hehe.

    Nice pics. I love to see the Bellagio dancing fountains. Hope I can visit Las Vegas too πŸ™‚

  2. So that’s where you hid! May be it’s just not my cup of tea, but Vegas is way too crowded, too hot, too materialistic, and too plastic for me. I could go there for the eats though. But it’s one of those places it’s really nice to see and check off one’s list you know.

    My friend was a doctor at PGH and she was mentioning to me before she was schooling to be a nurse and is moving to Vegas. I wonder if she’s there already, we lost touch.

    A Pinoy restaurant owner moved to Vegas for retirement and the Pinoy eats has never been the same since he went away.

    Glad you’re back.

  3. Welcome back Bro…

  4. you know what, in macau, cameras aren’t allowed inside the casino premises. i wonder why.

    thee excalibur photo looks nice!

  5. Great Pics, bro. Looks like you spent a helluva time with the family and kin in the Sin City, hehe. Anyway, like Mari, I too am wondering how you were able to get a shot of the inside of the casino. Di ba bawal ang camera sa loob? Oh and the pictures were awesome, man. πŸ™‚

    About those hale, my cousin, while visiting the States, was once hit on the head by one of those marble-sized snow. Ang sakit daw sa ulo, hehe. πŸ˜€

  6. Very nice pictures. The Palazzo in Las Vegas did not allow pictures within the gambling floor either. I ought to know because I tried. Hehehe πŸ˜€

    I don’t really gamble and the only times I’ve been in Vegas were to go with relatives who did. I just come there for the entertainment but you’re right in that after a few days, the place does get old, tired, and empty.

  7. thanks for the tour. when i hear LV, there are three things that comes to mind. 1 is oceans eleven. 2 and 3 are slut machines. so, did you try one?

  8. wow, sure sounded like a wonderful vacation! it’s great that you’re back though. i agree with what you say with the gambling thing. it’s addicting right? oh well. they’re rich people. at least i hope they are all rich people.

  9. Irrealis – hey, 1 cent slots can win you big time too ! I know someone who won
    $6,000 with 1c slots. You can bet up to 50 times on multiple lines !

    The Bellagio dancing fountain is great to watch. I heard it is computerized to sync
    with the music.

  10. Photocache – I agree with you. I could say it is a different form of relaxation πŸ™‚

    As far as eating is concerned, I need to detoxify myself when I came home hehe πŸ™‚

  11. Myepinoy – shukran πŸ™‚

  12. Mari – I didn’t see anyone stop us from taking pics. I see a lot of folks taking pics inside the casinos. I guess, we’re all harmless revelers trying to enjoy the place πŸ™‚

    The Excalibur is quite an impressive structure from the outside and inside.

  13. Sngl – thanks. I have hundreds of pics but can post them all and run the risk of boring
    you folks hehe πŸ™‚ Nope as long as you don’t go to the high stakes tables you can very well
    shoot your camera at will.

    Yeah, it was enjoyable but hectic. Those hale stones can hurt man. Sometimes they turn into golf balls and one time in Alberta they were as big as baseball balls and people filed millions of dollars claims from their car insurance companies !

  14. Panaderos – I didn’t really gamble either. I just had fun with the slots this time coz my time was rather limited. This is my third time and in all occassions, I left without any regrets. In fact in my two previous trips I came home on the plus side and that’s only because I hit and run πŸ™‚ YOu could lose A LOT if you become very aggressive and that’s
    what I always avoid.

  15. Lawstude – hahaha… I don’t know much about the slut machines you are talking about πŸ™‚ Suffice to say I only explored the bright side of Vegas πŸ™‚

  16. Prinsesa – thanks. I’m glad to be back too πŸ™‚

    Well, rich people the ability to lose lots of money and not lose sleep over it but there are ordinary folks who lose their life savings because of gambling. Sad but true 😦

  17. The only reason I see in going to Vegas is just to go…. just for the experience, I suppose. There’s already tons of Indian casinos here in California and Vegas’ other attractions like circus performers, magicians, etc. …. you can always catch those when when they come to one’s closest major city.

  18. hale at 42deg c.. how was the feeling? here, after a sudden downpour of rain while its 34 deg c, i felt sick afterwards..

  19. it is definitely a beautiful place but i simply dont like gambling.

  20. One commenter made reference to “slut machines” and am not sure if he thinks prostitution is legal in LV. It’s illegal!
    Sex solicitation is ground for arrest. There are, however, counties outside of LV with licensed brothels. Of course there are countless whores in the casinos, that’s a given, but be careful who you’re talking to, could be a “undercover babe”.
    There’s gazillion to do in LV and good for you coz you’re patronizing only the best things Sin City has to offer. Hope you’ve seen Elvis. Cheers!

  21. Wil – yeah, I guess local casinos can very well assuage one’s thrist for gambling. In truth, local casinos here in Toronto area have a great line up of concerts of has beens πŸ™‚ hehe.. when you talk about watching America, Kenny Loggins, Air Supply, Boys 2 Men, Donna Summer, etc… you don’t have to go anywhere πŸ™‚ But the appeal of Vegas is quite different because the casinos are humungous and the shows are spectacular.

    Also, you get a little pampered in Vegas. The resort where we stayed, a sister resort of resort club I am member with, offered buffet breakfast for everyone plus free , all you can drink booze/drinks every night ( 5-7pm) with finger foods at the lounge/pool area. Only in Vegas. I guess they’ll do things to make you come back and donate your money to the casinos πŸ™‚

  22. Lei – to be honest, without the hale, which wasn’t pleasant, the rain was manna from heaven coz it cooled off the blazing desert πŸ™‚

    In a 42 deg C weather, you have to pray for rain hehe πŸ™‚

  23. Dong – yeah, the place is full of energy and lots of things to see. As for gambling, you gotta try it coz you can’t say you’ve been to Vegas if you didn’t gamble πŸ™‚ Be prepared to hand off a few dollars to the casino. In fact, some hotels give you money to gamble. At our resort, they gave me and my wife 200 dollars each of slot money only because we spent an hour listening to their sales pitch, to upgrade our membership, ( which we didn’t πŸ™‚ Some people get lucky though πŸ™‚

    Let’s just say that casinos will not be in business if the odds of patrons winning is 50-50. In fact if you get realllly lucky and win like crazy say in poker, casinos have the right to throw you out of their premises -seriously 😯

  24. TrueBlue – yes, there are lots of great looking babes in casinos waiting for lucky patrons to spend the night with πŸ™‚ The brothels or ranch as they call it is located outside the city. They are licensed to operate there.

    We came to Vegas for clean fun, meet a few friends, eat and watch shows, see the Grand Canyon and other places. Elvis was a great guy but unfortunately, I’m not an Elvis fan πŸ™‚

  25. It’s fun to have family reunions in scenic places.

    Seems to me you enjoyed your US vacation with your family and sisters plus their families, although the schedule was kinda hectic. Hope you’ll have a vacation after the vacation indeed!

    P.S. Truly, a number of hapless souls can be found in Vegas. I suddenly remember this film featuring Nick Cage (the title escapes me now) playing the role of an alcoholic who falls in love with a prostitute.

  26. Jayred – yep, it was fun and as usual, the parting was a little emotional, not so much with us adults but the kids who bonded a lot with each other. My sis in the East Coast is only 10 hrs driving and we see each other almost every year πŸ™‚

    I overheard my daughter tell her cousins ” I didn’t sleep well last night. I’m not used to sleeping with friends. I only sleep with parents” πŸ™‚ LOL πŸ™‚ She was referring to her sleeping with her 2 girl cousins at the sofa bed on the first night hehe πŸ™‚

    I remember that movie. I think it was Leaving Las Vegas.

    It is said that some people drive to Vegas and take the bus going home. You can sell anything short of your soul in this place so you can gamble. Lose 200 grand and they will give you a penthouse suite and all the food and booze you like , ugh 😦

  27. I love Vegas.

    It will eat you alive, though.

    nice blog, really enjoyed it.

    check out my vegas thoughts:

    http://79sparrows.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/memoirs-from-fremont-street/

  28. Nice pictures πŸ™‚ Looks like you had fun. 42 deg C ? That’s too hot for me to do anything outdoors πŸ™‚

  29. Btw, taking pics inside the casinos in LV is not illegal but most if not all casinos prohibits it. Picture yourself in the background of someone else’s photo with, let’s say a “hot babe” other than your wife.
    Years ago, Secretary of Education and also a Drug Czar in Bush 41’s administration, was caught in the wee hours of one prominent casino playing high stakes slot machine. The domino effect was quite embarrasing. Heck, even Chavit Singson doesn’t want his pic taken gambling.
    Cheers!

  30. 79Sparrows – thanks πŸ™‚

  31. Natez1 – you bet. Most people stay indoors at 42 deg. Heck, I won’t play golf in the desert at this temp πŸ™‚

  32. Trueblue – I wasn’t taking pics at the gambling area anyways. Also the high stakes guys are in their private hall and inaccessible from the public view. I bet Chavit wouldn’t be playing in the $20 min bet Blackjack tables πŸ™‚

    Golfer John Daly in his book said after he won a 750 grand in a golf event, he wasted 600 grand in 2 hours playing high stakes slots ( 1 grand per spin). I saw the 1 grand slot inside the high stakes hall. It wasn’t that easy to photograph but you could enter and you’d be spotted right away. Nope, no one accosted me and my bro in law for taking pics at the non-gambling area πŸ™‚

    Having said that, if someone really wants to take a pic of you, never mind the casino, Vegas is one place where every visitor carries a camera and it will be not be that difficult hehe πŸ™‚

  33. I think employees of the casino will take a photo of your group… I remember a security gaurd stopped us in the Excalibur and said he would take the photo. Had us stand apart from the masses, etc.

  34. 79Sparrows – In our case, we had children with us at all times so we can’t linger around the slot machines and the gambling tables area coz kids weren’t allowed. We didn’t take shots of anyone of us gambling so that’s probably why no one accosted us. If anyone of us adults had to gamble, we had to go by oursleves minus the children πŸ™‚

  35. errr. my bad. i was referring to a slot machine. geez, a slight error on the letter can really mean a lot lols.

  36. Lawstude – one letter can change everything ! no worries. I had an interesting discussion about it πŸ™‚

  37. Employees or their security personnel would rather do the clicking to eliminate doubt whatsoever of intent. Casinos frown on people with “with financial gain” when taking pics especially during presence of “most preferred customers”. Selling of these photos to tabloids, as we all know, means lots of dough. Then again, the world is so high tech now there are concealed still and moving videos to do the work. It’s actually a cat and mouse atmosphere inside the casinos, all sorts of characters.

    Cheers to all and goodhealth!

  38. Been to Las Vegas once and if I have to go back to the place, I’d do it not for the gambling but for the entertainment and for its distinct city architecture (siyempre picture-picture yan). πŸ˜€

  39. @Lawstude, either it’s a Freudian slip or you’re trying to be subtle about it. Haha.

  40. TruBle – I’m sure preferred customers such as celebs and high profile folks have preferential treatment and their special previliges πŸ™‚

  41. Abaniko – when you go back, you,ll find the place changing a lot. I see construction going on at the strip, perhaps new casino resorts in the making πŸ™‚ The first time I went was in ’94 and man, the place changed a lot 😯

  42. it must be sin city, alright, the way you can pawn your soul and future to the devil. But I’d like to visit it at least once.

    I guess people would love vegas or hate it.

  43. Parang me napanood ako na nagsabi na predominant ang population ng pinoy dyan as compared to other oriental american population.

  44. Annamanila – well, PAL is one of the foreign airlines ( and there’s not so many of them on the list) that have flights to Vegas. The PAL flight shuttles to Manila via Vancouver. Hop in one day !

    Love it or hate it, and I’m still wondering why it is in the middle of a hellish desert !

  45. Richmond – that may be true. In fact Vegas has Seafood City supermarket like other ” Pinoy infested California cities ” πŸ™‚ It is a mall with the large supermarket, with all sorts of Pinoy businesses within it and in Vegas’ case, Jollibee, Chow King, Red Ribbon are in the same complex. What more could you ask ? πŸ™‚

    A lot of my sis nurse colleagues from the East Coast also moved to Vegas πŸ™‚

  46. i’m really envious that people in LA have access to pinoy fastfood establishments. i really miss that. i wish they’d put something up here in tokyo πŸ˜‰

  47. Great to read about your adventures in Vegas. I would love to go there one day. My brother bought a time share in one of the 5 star hotels there so I cant wait to go. Maybe next year.

    and its good to know there’s stuff for kids to do.

  48. Caryn – I thought Tokyo has lots of Pinoy population. Toronto hasn’t reached the level where an exclusive Pinoy supermart/strip mall can be feasible coz we are a bit dispersed in a large metro area here but there’s no shortage of Pinoy food joints in the neighborhood πŸ™‚

  49. Leah – there’s lots of family friendly activities in Vegas and I’m sure you folks will enjoy it. Also, Disneyland is some 4-5 hrs away and it’s an option πŸ™‚

  50. I was never attracted to Vegas, though a brother recently moved there to enjoy his retirement. I also know a lot of people who love and rave about this city. BTW, I watched “Bugsy” again just the other day.

  51. Eric – incidentally on this trip, my sis who is from the East Coast had a mini-reunion with her former nurse colleagues and their families who moved to Vegas some 6 years ago. The lure of Vegas is attractive real estate prices, jobs obviously from casinos, hot desert weather and proximity to California. You could live in the outskirts away from the strip and live normally.

    I saw a sign “guns for rent” at gun range and thought of going in for a few rounds… dang, I thought it was fantastic hehe πŸ™‚ My favorite Vegas movie is Casino πŸ™‚

  52. errr. my bad. i was referring to a slot machine. geez, a slight error on the letter can really mean a lot lols.

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