Thoughts on our Vegas 2022 Trip

March 21, 2022

Finally getting this put up! I put a lot of work into these vacation reflection posts. Hope you enjoy it cool

We get to Vegas (after a super-long day which meant leaving NL at 5 am and getting to Vegas at around 11:45 am but with the time change we had really been on the go well over 12 hours) and start spending right away. I’ll be clear, I know Vegas is expensive, it was when we were there 8 years ago but now they tacking on even more stuff. We got there before 2 pm, so there was an early check-in fee. Before having a nap, I started to connect our devices and discovered after you connect the first two, another charge! I'm being rather negative I know, I will add that I liked the Planet Hollywood Resort (it was our second time staying there), the staff is very helpful and friendly, it's in a super-convenient spot, it has 2 excellent restaurants and a good poker room (at least from when I played there 8 years ago). On a totally different topic (this is how my mind works!) we went to an aquarium. Having sharks swim all around you is a pretty cool/interesting experience. We both quite enjoy aquariums so here are some pics!

   

I need to say that while perhaps there were even more people there in February of 2022 (added to the fact that we were there for the Superbowl and most of President’s Day weekend), I think that more than anything it's not so much that Vegas had changed, I had changed. I used to have a much greater tolerance for noise and crowds but now I do find being around a lot of noisy people (including kids and babies, why would you bring your family and or an infant to Vegas?) to get on my nerves. Oh, don’t worry, I’m getting to the positive, just getting the negative out of the way first. The other serious issue now is that the US only has about 65% of their population double-vaxxed (Canada’s is much higher, in most places over 95% and where I live over 98%) and with us needing another negative covid test to return home, I quickly found my activities in Vegas to be very much restricted out of caution and prudence (such is what it’s like to be a responsible adult). I love poker, have been playing it for over 25 years, and honestly thought I could play at least once or twice but soon I had to accept that this time, it just was not a good idea, and I didn’t play. Vegas is also a place for shows, virtually any show you can imagine and I would have loved to have seen a burlesque show, or a comedy act, or a magic show or even a concert but once again couldn’t do it for fear of covid. So we were limited to restaurants, stores, and one show where I had already bought tickets months ago (and truth be told I’m certainly not much for crowded nightclubs these days). For the sake of posterity I'll put it here because my wife loves it I have watched plenty (way too many!) episodes of Jersey Shore. As such when I saw that DJ Pauly D would be in Vegas, I knew we had to see him.

         

One of the best parts about Vegas is the Bellagio Fountain (it’s also one of the only free things there). It’s an elaborate water fountain show where the water is shot up over 10 stories and it’s all timed to music (and in the night lights as well). We enjoyed it so much that some days we went there multiple times and stayed for 6 or more songs (on the weekends they play a song every 15 minutes after 11 am I believe). Towards the end of the trip, I had the idea to record several videos of full songs (rather than just take pictures) and I’m glad I did, they are nice to watch and some songs I really enjoy (including “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, unusual for me as it’s a newer song). It’s like a lot of stuff in Vegas, unfortunately, though as you have this beautiful display of water and music but there are so many loud, obnoxious (and yes often drunk and high people) that it takes away from the enjoyment. Enough negative talk though, I believe in making the world better and I’m only going to talk about the positive (or at least neutral memories) for the rest.

   

I did go to a comic bookstore (of course! There are very few trips I don’t), this one is called Alternative Reality Comics and if you’re ever in the Las Vegas area, I highly recommend it. The guy working there was friendly (we chatted for about 15-20 minutes) and while I didn’t sell any of my comics (I had spoken to the owner before and he didn’t have any interest, so it wasn’t a surprise), I did buy several including some local ones that I knew I’d never find anywhere else. It’s become something of a litmus test for me, if I have a good time at the local comic bookstore I’m more likely to go back there. Trips for me aren’t just about the weather, shopping, movies, and restaurants, I need to get a feeling for the place and enjoy talking with people there.

  

Speaking of restaurants I’ve got to say Vegas has them nailed down! Every one we went to (and we ate out or had take out almost every meal) had excellent food and service. So rather than talk about all of them, I’ll focus on the ones that really stood out.

   

First off (and the first one we went to) was called Giada. Excellent food, lovely atmosphere (and it had a view which is rare in Vegas) and really good service. It is a fancier restaurant (including charging you extra to sit by the window) and a place where you could spend over 2K on a bottle of wine! While I had a lovely time there (quiet is so hard to find in Vegas!) it has the distinction of the nicest place I ate at, but not the tastiest. Oh little side note, if you do go to Vegas and you like chocolate go to the Hershey store, some EXCELLENT sweets there including plenty of unique stuff I couldn't get home!

As I mentioned we stayed in Planet Hollywood and they had several restaurants in the hotel (this is for almost all hotels on the strip). I remembered enjoying Burger (one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurant chains) and so we went back. I've got to say the mango-chutney Dubliner cheese veggie burger was one of the best meals I ever had (fries were delicious there too!). While I'm a vegetarian I still LOVE a good burger and as the name implies, that's what they excel at here. I loved the food there so much we went back a 2nd time (as we also did with PF Chang's).

   

We did also go to Hell's Kitchen, and while it was nice inside the food was disappointing, so I'll move on. Vegas is full of restaurants and one we found just walking around was Tom's Urban. As you may know from reading this blog I'm a huge fan of fries/tater tots/taters/wedges, I'm almost like the Weird Al song "Addicted to spuds" I really love cooked potatoes! This place had a really good veggie burger and the tater tots came with delicious dipping sauces. We even had a stranger come up to us and ask about the sauces! Suffice it to say we also went there twice (you can also sit outside which I love to do on a warm day).

   

I'm not sure if I ever talked about it here but I'm going to now. I've become a big lover of CBD/THC/marijuana so of course, I had to get some in Vegas. After doing some research (and driving around) we ended up at the biggest (and I'm sure best) place, Planet 13. If you're into it (and over 19 in Canada, 21 in the US), I would highly recommend this store, it was awesome! And the cookies 'n' dream and the Root Beer drink were delicious! Of course, I have to say by CAREFUL with THC products if it's your first time less than 5mg and even if you've done it multiple times I would say no more than 10mg every 2-3 hours. As you can see I also quite enjoyed visiting the conservatory, the displays of flowers and plants were impressive and often beautiful. 

         

To wrap it all up I enjoyed our trip to Vegas. It was a rather low key but that's fine for a change. I would certainly go back (in fact we may even go back later this year) but probably not for 8 days. Vegas is better for me in small doses, 3-4 days at the most. I should add that I also got to do something I hadn't since I was a kid, go to a drive-in movie theater! West Wind drive-in is a nice place, popcorn was good, friendly people, and good service. The only thing playing we could agree on was Jackass Forever, which was...well Jackass, that's the most positive thing I can say (I did laugh a few times). I'll finish with a story about both how geeky/OCD I am and how you can make small connections with people anywhere you go. 

When I go on vacation I do this fun little thing, I put on different shirts that I think could get a reaction out of people, and then if they rank them in terms of times recognized/complimented by a stranger. In Vegas I brought two shirts I hoped would get reactions, BOTH of them did. The shirts are Carlos: (real named Aaron from “The Hangover” movie) cause I’m that age that associates Vegas with the movies (and it’s too perfect not to wear!). The other is Grogu (cause I bring 2-3 geeky shirts minimum on any trip) and I felt about 95% certain his popularity would make this happen. Grogu is in the lead 2:1 That may sound obvious (and it is as he is SO MUCH more popular now than a 13-year-old movie!) but what’s not obvious is why doing it makes me happy (and only partially because I enjoy so much for geeky stuff to be recognized) and I’d even say makes the world a little better. When I got a stranger to make a positive comment on Grogu (they both called him Baby Yoda but that’s fine) and it just reminds me how much geek culture has become accepted and embraced. Yes, both of these strangers were in places where I was in a position to buy from them so I know it pays to be nice but in the end, it’s what I BELIEVE they did it for that matters, not the truth. If I want to believe that they did it because they just wanted to be friendly and liked or at least recognized the shirt, I can and it makes me happier. And I will add that the woman at PF Changs was just giving me my order (takeout to the room), so I had already bought (just not paid) for it. When she said “I love Baby Yoda!” and smiled, it touched my geeky heart, just a little.