Monday 25 July 2011

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Vegas, I'm Up Already!

If you can't guess from the fact that the last two posts have been about Vegas, we are back in Sin City again.  This is our annual getaway trip without kids, with a group of very good friends who we don't get to spend enough time with anymore.  I make the arrangements, and use up a lot of the comps that Lori and I earn whenever we're in town, and we all have four consecutive date nights where we don't have to go home to children after.  It's possibly the most relaxing week of my year.

Of course nothing says relaxation like an early morning flight, but that's what was available to us this year.  I love the convenience of Alaska flying direct from Bellingham to Las Vegas without having to connect in Seattle, but I secretly have a secondary reason to love flying them to Las Vegas.  Alaska has a baggage guarantee where they promise that your bags will be on the carousel within 20 minutes of you arriving at the gate in your destination city.  They're remarkably good at it, and I almost never get to collect, except in Las Vegas.  I assume it's something to do with the way the system is set up for them here with it not being a major hub for Alaska, but for some reason, it's almost always 25 minutes.  In any case, we collected coupons for 2,000 Alaska miles or $20 off a future flight.  In Vegas 5 (well, 25) minutes and we're already up!

We made our way over to the Mirage, where we are all staying this time.  Here's a good rule of thumb for Vegas hotels.  If the first number in your room is zero, you probably got a lousy room assignment.  I wasn't very impressed with the rooms that we were given at the Mirage (not the rooms themselves, they've been redone fairly recently and are pretty nice) as we have five rooms, and the highest floor they could get us was the 9th.  We even had a couple of rooms on the third floor.  That's not a real Vegas experience when taking the stairs down is actually an option.  I'm sure the rooms fit in whatever category we were allocated to but I'm used to getting better room selection from Las Vegas hotels.  Still there are lots of good things to say about the Mirage.  The location is great, in-room internet is pretty fast, the rooms are very pretty and the water pressure in the shower just about blew a hole through me. 

The advantage of having an early morning flight is that you get to do something that evening, so last night we all went out to Cirque du Soleil's Mystere.  There are seven Cirque shows in Las Vegas, of which Lori and I have seen five.  We've passed on Zumanity (Cirque porn) and Believe (Cirque WTF?) so far just based on the reviews, but I'm sure we'll take them in eventually.  Mystere was the first Cirque show we saw about eight years ago, and it's always been my least favorite.  There are plenty of people who rave about it though, and my memories of the show are certainly faded, so we thought we'd try it again and see if maybe I just didn't understand what Cirque was trying to do, since it was my first time experiencing them.  Yeah, I still don't get it.  They've taken amazing performers who can do amazing things, mixed them in with funny people so you alternate between laughing and OOOHing, and yet the show still seems very disjointed to me.  It's not that I need to be able to follow the story (I have no idea what "O" was about, I just know it was amazing) it just needs to keep me interested in what's going on.  Mystere doesn't do that for me, but I'm glad I got to see it again.

Vegas with friends is very different than doing Vegas with Lori.  Lori and I usually have objectives in our day....I need so many points at X casino, Lori needs to hit this outlet mall and the other big sale that's going on over there.  When we're in town with friends, it's a little more tour guide, and it lets you break some of your Vegas rules.  One of the couples who are with us are on their first visit to Las Vegas, so we drove the strip last night.  We NEVER drive the strip.  I'll play paytables that I would never consider normally, just so I can sit with my friends while they learn video poker at the 5 cent level.  Lori skips shopping trips so she can....oh wait....she just takes all the girls with her when she goes shopping.  Either way it's a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to the next 3 days.