Las Vegas 2003

May 02, 2003

Updated: 09:15 PDT, May 02

Very much in need of a break from the "real world", and with timing coinciding to meet with a bunch of internet entrepreneurs, I went to Las Vegas! My first three days I totally played the vacationing tourist.

I stayed at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. Here's the view out my room:

Yes, that's a roller coaster, and yes, I did. It encircles the hotel, and it's quite a ride.

Here's a better shot of the hotel itself:

The hotel is across the street from the MGM Grand, which has this fella outside:

supposedly the largest bronze statue in North America.

I arrived Monday and was able to see the Blue Man Group's performance at the Luxor hotel. It's difficult to describe, but things like musical percussion instruments built out of PVC pipes appealed to the engineer within, and the overall humor just appealed. It was very impressive, though the fact that there was a bowl of ear plugs available on entry should tell you something.

Tuesday I went to see Hoover Dam. It's only about an hour out of town, and in all my prior Vegas visits, I'd never been.

The visitor's center on the right, and the Nevada-side intake towers on the left. That's Lake Mead in the background. The dam itself is immediately to the right here.

The dam from the other side. Yes, those are little tiny people on top.

From behind the dam, the Arizona-side intake towers on the left, and the Nevada-side on the right. Note also the coloration of the rock on the far left ... Lake Mead is very low right now, and you can see how high the lake is usually.

The spillway (used only twice in the dam's lifetime so far) fascinated me. And it was behind the employee parking lot! What you're looking at above is a huge hole, maybe 50ft in diameter, that the overflow water would go down. You can hear the sound of rushing water coming out of it.

For completeness, here's a shot of Lake Mead on the way back. If you look carefully you can see the discoloration all along the shoreline from the lowered lake level.

The Vegas skyline from I-515 as I was driving back. That's the Stratosphere on the right. If you look carefully you can see the Luxor's pyramid toward the left.

Speaking of the Stratosphere, yes, I went there too.

The top of the Stratosphere has two rides: a roller coaster that winds around the top three times, an a bungee-chair type thing that blasts you up and lets you fall back down - all at 1000ft high. The coaster looked pretty lame - it certainly wasn't moving very fast. The chair, on the other hand .... we'll see.

That's a view from the Stratosphere's outdoor observation deck back towards the hotel. Again, if you look closely you can see Luxor's point about 1/3rd in from the left, "sky scraper" looking buildings, which are New York New York, as well as many others. That Eiffel Tower looking thing is the Paris Hotel ... it's a 1/2 scale replica of the real thing. Here's a shot I took later:

One of the neat things about the Stratosphere is that the windows of the inside observation deck are tilted out, allowing for this photo straight down. It's an odd feeling, let me tell you.

When Kathy and I were in Las Vegas years ago, we of course saw Siegfried and Roy and their white tigers at the Mirage. So I did have to go back and take a few pictures of what turned out to be the lone tiger in the public display area:

I also walked through the Bellagio, and decided that's the place Kathy and I will have to stay next.

The Bellagio lobby full of blown glass flowers.

The Bellagio atrium.

On my way out, the fountains in front of the casino began a show. I was able to capture a little of it:
(Click picture for video).

M&M World? Only in Las Vegas. No, I have no idea why. And no, I didn't go in. (Okay, okay ... I did. Sheesh.)

Not to be outdone by the tigers at the Mirage, the MGM, it turns out, now has lions on display:

In that first shot (with the handler in it), the lions are actually lying on the plexiglas ceiling of a covered walkway, allowing for these "from below" shots and close-ups:

Some "shots" of the group I was with:

Jake & Chris - apparently how short people take pictures.

Many digital cameras were the order of the day.

Bennett and Amy meet a local Klingon at Quark's bar in the Star Trek Experience.

Amy gets friendly with a Ferengi.