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 and a few other things 🙂  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 🙂  Over the years Pinoys have been steadily congregating in Vegas, perhaps lured by the job opportunities the sprouting new casinos have to offer.  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  Pinay nurses 🙂  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 🙂 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 😆

Click on VIEW ALL IMAGES to see the gallery

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

I’ll be taking time off but this time I’ll be on the road – again. I’ll not be blogging for a while but will take my personal laptop with me on the trip and check my blog every now and then. Hopefully there will be free internet access to the places we will go to 🙂 BTW, have you seen those HD quality videocams floating around ? The prices seem to have dropped. Dang, I’m infatuated with those babies, man 🙂

It’s been a rather rainy summer this year – so far. The past winter was the worst in terms of snow for the last 30 years. Screw Al Gore’s global warming hype ! 👿 Oil prices have skyrocketed because of the global warming paranoia. Maybe he owns tons of stocks of Exxon and Mobil 😉 If there is any consolation at all with the not-so-humid summer we had been experiencing , it’s my front and backyard grass. They’re healthy, fairway looking , sparkling green and I haven’t watered them in a month ! The days are long and the sun sets at around 830pm which is great but I kinda’ miss that humidity and the sweat, the trademark of summer. I have to search for that humidity somewhere 😎

Here’s a song to celebrate summer – wish it never ends !

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Funtastique Summer


I’m off this week and this time, I’m going nowhere ! Yep, I’ll be staying put – clean my garage, do small paint jobs here and there, watch TV, blog with my laptop at the backyard table under the tree, vacuum the pool, play a little golf, bond with my daughter for a week and go places in the city and , more importantly, avoid phone calls from the office at all cost 🙂 I pulled out my daughter from day care for a week. My wife will be working this time so that helps me make decisions faster 😉

What are those buses doing in the lake ? They’re called HIPPOS, or amphibious buses that can run both on land and water. These buses are real cool because you can take a tour of the city and the lake in one vehicle ! It’s certified water safe as well so no need to panic. No it won’t accidentally gulp water and drown 🙂

THE BEHEMOTH

There’s a new thrill at Canada’s Wonderland this season – the Behemoth roller coaster, a wicked $26 million steel demon, the lastest addition to the 14 thrilling coaster rides at the park. I’ve always wondered why a coaster this magnitude would ever come close to the cost of a small passenger jet plane. Then I realized that it is built by a Swiss company. When you translate the precision and timing the Swiss are known for their time pieces into a coaster, you’re talking precise turns, synchronized loops, optimal weight distribution. I fancy looking at this whole contraption as a clock functioning flawlessly, and with superior material construction riders feel Mercedes- Benz like comfort while being hurled around in extreme G forces enough to give them the high minus the seat belts, yet keeping their eyeballs in their sockets 🙂

I don’t think I’ll have the guts to take the 70 meter fall at a 75 degree angle, without a seat belt at that. No thanks. I got better ideas for seeking thrill 🙂

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Ahhh… The Little Pleasures of Life

Wars, sectarian strife, terrorist bombings, political assasinations, genocide – why do we have such horror and misery in this world, pray tell ? As the great book wisely says, we must fill our minds with good thoughts and of things of beauty 🙂

Ahhh, the little pleasures of life… Couldn’t we all just stop and smell the roses, see and enjoy the beautiful things around us ? Life is just too precious to waste 🙂

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TIME FOR A BREAK

Okay, okay Keshia I love Ontario too but have been in the freezer for months now and need to go down  south to get a glimpse of the sun 🙂

 I’ll see you folks in a week 😎