Saturday, June 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas, Part 1 of 4

This was a late-week getaway, as we hit fantastic flight and hotel deals by doing Wednesday to Saturday. For those of you who are longtime readers, I've been meaning to ask if there's a preference for the multi-part posts, or if you'd prefer single longer posts to cover events... thoughts?

We flew out of San Francisco so we could go Virgin America (which is in the International Terminal, how confusing!). We flew out during dinner time, so we grabbed a bite to eat at the Firewood Grill before leaving. JB had a burger, I had a chicken panini. The fries were good, he finished his burger, I didn't finish my cheese-less chicken. The lighting on their planes is very "moody," being purples, blues, and soft pinks. They have pretty sweet entertainment systems, and an option of wireless internet as well. Personally, I'm not a big fan, since they don't have complimentary snacks, they don't have any trivia games, and they keep putting ice in my drinks. But, they're nice, I'll give them that. You order your drinks on-screen, but there are no options for customization (such as no ice or extra cup or double-portion, etc). They have the standard options for beverages. I played some monkey game and some mah jong, but mainly enjoyed listening to the Wicked soundtrack while I read my magazine.
this was the backside of the remote each side had

We got into Las Vegas just fine, and with just carry-ons, we were out of the airport in no time. There are more taxis in this city than most anywhere I can think of, and taxi lines are common just about everywhere. The system was very efficient, and we were quickly directed to a taxi, which we took straight to our hotel, Imperial Palace. As we've read (I checked out five books on Vegas from the local library in preparation for the vacation), money talks in Vegas, and the slipping of a twenty got us an upgraded room from the one we had already booked and paid for. We unpacked a bit, then went over to meet up with Jim and Viv, who were staying in a comped room at Harrah's, which is adjacent to Imperial Palace.
these are pics of our hotel room, showing off the fancy bed and large tub

this guy is outside one of the entrances to Harrah's

It took us a few extra minutes to get over there, since the bridge is on the second floor... but only accessible through a certain series of elevators/escalators. We were also targeted twice for a timeshare/tickets trade-off (we were later targeted ten more times or so), but we didn't bite. When we get over to Harrah's, we go up to the 14th floor, only to find out that both owers use identical numbering, so we were knocking on the wrong door... backtracked from Carnaval to Mardi Gras (the names of the towers), and found them. We then decided to go walk around the Strip (also known as Las Vegas Blvd.), take photos, and grab some snacks.We were staying mid-strip, so we went walking around. We saw a bunch of hotels for starters!

We also saw the famous Bellagio Fountains (several photos below, and a video to boot). We waltzed through Paris, and stopped to grab a bite at JJ's Boulangerie, which had fresh and fantastic pizza and gelato. Everyone else had the pizza (Jim and JB each had a slice of the carne, and Vivian had a hawaiian-esque slice), but I wasn't as hungry, so I totally monopolized some fabulous coffee gelato. It was crazy cheap for gelato ($1.79 for a single scoop in a cup, but the single scoop was similar to the size of the "like it" at Cold Stone, so it was BIG), and very good.
the Bellagio

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