Las Vegas Oddities

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Michael and I just returned from a trip down the Strip to Encore. It’s a beautiful luxury hotel, sister to the equally elegant Wynn. My friend Jon Schneider from Cheshire is visiting. We had coffee. Very nice.

The rolling signs advertising “Girls That Want To Meet You” are still driving around, though as Michael noted, they’re looking faded. Some of the women pictured on the signs must be in their forties by now.

The world’s largest Ferris Wheel is now visible, though seemingly not yet running.

It was cool–high was near 60&#176. There were still people out at the pool this morning. For some people, being in Las Vegas this time of year is like receiving a pardon from winter.

The Wynn is all dressed up for Chinese New Year. The influence of Chinese culture is very visible in Las Vegas. Some of the casinos’ best customers are of Asian ancestry.

Here’s a perfect example. We’re staying on the 50th floor. Except it’s not. It’s really the 40th!

The express elevator counts 38, 39, 50, 51, 52, etc. My understanding is “4” is an unlucky number to some Chinese people.

At some point in the constructions some contractor must have said, “Renumber the floors? Sure, we can do that.”

There’s also a large Buddha shrine with fresh flowers as you enter the lobby and red everywhere. Red is a lucky color.

At the Wynn/Encore, where their players club card is called, “Red,” there are Chinese gardens with large red ornamental dragons hanging from the ceiling.

Everywhere you go there are statues of horses. It is the year of the horse.

This is smart marketing. I’m sure the Catskills marketed this way toward my parents and their friends in the 50s and 60s.

The Sad Life Of The Retired Neon Of Las Vegas

Since its gambling days began Las Vegas has been known for its garish neon signs. No more. The signs are still garish but the neon is gone, replaced with LEDs and computer wizardry.

Many of the signs have been lost. Not all. Las Vegas hosts a Neon Museum.

We went to visit on a recent trip. I’m glad I went, but disappointed in what I saw.

Most of the signs are intact, but unrestored. Most can’t be lit. Colored spotlights shine on the signs adding a look that never existed when they were originally on display.

It’s sad. I wish I didn’t have to say that. This is more a specialized junkyard than museum.

We took the one hour tour. Too long. I would have preferred an unguided tour with some written material, but that’s not an option. Guided tour or no go!

I’m sure the museum is operating on a small budget with limited resources. I wish they could do more with what they have.

Here are a few of the shots I took. I’ve converted them to black and white to try and capture the grittiness and condition of the signs today. I think it gives them a 1950s retro feel.

All the photos are clickable for a larger view









Friday In Las Vegas With The Sun Shining

Foolishly I headed toward Las Vegas Boulevard only to find horrendous traffic! The rest, mostly forgotten now, had the potential to be a major family dust-up. I can tell you a RAV4 is too small for five adults and a full vacation’s worth of bags!

Greetings from Las Vegas. The Sun is shining, but it’s chilly. Helaine, who has already been outside, tells me you warm quickly in the desert sun.

I’m in our room now. We’re on the 39th floor with a northwest view. That’s away from most of the Strip action, but a nice shot of the mountains to our west.

It looks like there’s a little snow on Mount Charleston. It’s still early in the season.

We arrived yesterday and were met by Stef with her boyfriend and visiting friend. That was one stuffed RAV4!

Stef asked me to drive since I know Las Vegas. Foolishly I headed toward Las Vegas Boulevard only to find horrendous traffic! The rest, mostly forgotten now, had the potential to be a major family dust-up. I can tell you a RAV4 is too small for five adults and a full vacation’s worth of bags!

The five of us were joined by my California cousins and had dinner at Zeffirino an Italian restaurant in the shopping area at the Venetian. We’d been there before for Thanksgiving. They throw out the menu and serve an unbelievable holiday buffet. I don’t have to eat for the next month!

I played a little poker after dinner at the Venetian. This might be my favorite poker room anywhere. It’s big and comfortable with action around-the-clock. The service is attentive and quick.

I sat down at a new table that was just opening and watched the dealer convert a few grand from the ten players into chips. It was a thing of beauty as he methodically parceled out the chips in a way that allowed him to retrace his steps and account for each dollar should there be a dispute or error. This guy was an all-star. He elevated poker dealing to an artform.

I played for a few hours losing for a while then coming back almost to even. Almost… that means I lost, right?

Today is Helaine and my 27th anniversary. More to come.

Note: Internet and simple cell access via at&t has been horrendous. Often we’re seeing full bars, but no service!