Vegas, baby

I mean, since we're here...   The beautiful Utah landscape finally spit us out in Nevada, and since we were passing through, we figured why not stay for a few nights in Vegas?  Certainly very few places in the country where we can score a cheaper hotel room, and we can always kill a few days at the craps tables with no problem whatsoever.

Vegas has always been such an interesting visit for us.  Seems like the last place we would enjoy.  The glitz, glamour and craziness of it all seems a stark contrast to the minimal, peaceful existence that we strive for and in most cases have found.  But maybe that's the beauty. Maybe it's the contrast that works so well for us.  Maybe it's the quick dash in and out of the insanity, the lights, the action and the sights and sounds that make up Vegas that draws us in and allows us to appreciate even more the quiet peace that makes up our lives when we drive away again.

I used to hate vegas.  I came here alone for work a few times and was disturbed by what i saw. The grittiness of it all; the in your face nature of the casinos and the salesmen.  The almost desperate nature of the guys handing out cards for escorts on the street and the performers dressed as everything from elvis to batman all but begging you to pay for a photo with them. It was too much for me to take in and I typically holed up in my room except for one walk up and down the strip just so i knew i had been.

But then I came here with Jen and everything thing changed. Much like most things in my life; she brought a different perspective.  A light-hearted fun and a rose colored lens that suddenly made everything about the place seem more fun.  We walked the strip taking in the sights and wonders that are Vegas, chatted ad joked with the performers and played the games rather than watching.  Suddenly the lights of Vegas were fun and exiting rather than harsh and over the top.  Not unlike the rest of life after jen instead of before her. ;)

Vegas is to totally fun for us now (as with all things it seems... depending on who you're with and your perspective), and now that we've found a few hotels that allow karma, it's even easier for us to come stay and play.  We enjoy the games, the shows, the food, the art and entertainment...  Its all a nice break from "normal" life and also happens to serve as a nice chance to get a bit of sunshine and warmth in the middle of winter; which would be enough on its own when you live in the PNW.

Last time we visited we somehow even managed to find a game of beach volleyball by the pool... this time around we didn't seem to have a free minute as we spent most of our time bouncing from craps table to craps table. Can't say we went on a mad winning streak like we used to do in the old days...but it didn't stop us from having an absolute blast in the process! This trip we stayed at the Linq, and played mostly here and the Cromwell... both part of a seemingly new trend in Vegas hotel design.  Smaller, boutique style hotels amongst the behemoth old casino hotels.  The Linq is also a bit of an experiment in terms of Vegas experience design.  Historically the casino has always been built to keep people inside, pumped with oxygen and ceilings often painted to look like the sky so you have no idea whether its day or night and how long you've been at it... But the Linq seems to realize that people actually may want both... to get out and experience the day and/or night on an open air market as they would in any other town....and that they will likely still choose to stop in and put some money on the table or in the machines.

As far as were concerned, the experiment is a success.  We loved the atmosphere on the outdoor promenade (complete with the High Roller, the largest/longest ferris wheel in the word...each car holds 40people, or 20 people and a bar for happy hour) and definitely spent far more time (and money) here than on the strip itself.  The pool also treated us well...though we almost forgot it was there until our last day (we tend to get a little focused/obsessed with the tables).

All in, it was exactly what we hoped/needed it to be and we had a fun quick stop in Vegas before moving on towards cali and the pending storms.