I am back from Vegas … arrived this morning at 2:30am, asleep by 4am, back at work by 9am! WOOO!!“1 Photos, a Trip summary and more will be on its way shortly so keep your eyes peeled. [/u][b]Update #2[/b][/u] [L=http://rand0m.org/gallery.php?gid=20]Las Vegas Photo Gallery[/L] is up and running. Comments on all of those photos will be along shortly, as will be the cruise photos. Check ’em! [b]UPDATE!![/b] I had Amanda put together the trip post because I am already forgetting bit and pieces. Photos are on my laptop, but need to be uploaded. I’ll re-update this bad boy with comments about what she has to say and post the pics at the same time, maybe later today. The Totally Biased Review of Fabulous Las Vegas (by Amanda): [u]Day 1:[/u] Randal works until lunch time, in the sense that he is physically present at his office, but his mind is already in Fabulous Las Vegas. Check-in at the airport is speedy and smooth, followed by a cholesterol extravaganza at the airport A&W before boarding the plane. Short layover in Phoenix then touch down in Vegas at about 5:15 Pacific. Ash and Jesse are still not married. We gather our belongings and after a 45 minute shuttle ride down the strip with good conversation from the driver and fellow passengers, we check into the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino. Upon arriving, our options are a conservative 1950’s holiday vacation room with 2 double beds across the room from one another, or a king size smoking den. We opted for the king bed with some hesitation, but looked for another option once we opened the door and wondered if Marge Simpson’s sisters had just checked out of it 5 minutes ago. Randal’s post-smoker sensitivities to the perfume of ash tray had him dialing the front desk before the door shut. Imperial Palace sent us up new room keys after a short negotiation, and we upgraded to a lovely room on the 15th floor. Ash and Jesse are still not married. Around 7:30 we go down to the lobby to sing praises to the hotel manager for his speedy resolve of our needs, which apparently hasn’t ever happened in the history of the hotel, because he looked at Randal like a three-headed Fyarl Demon. Ash met us there in the lobby and hurried us into the car and off we went to the Nevada Department of Shotgun Civil Ceremonies, or something like that. Amanda played the part of official witness, and Randal was the photographer, capturing all ten minutes of moments. Wham, bam, that was it, so we hopped in the car and went to catch the Fremont Street “experience” of the whole roof lighting up with video propaganda to gamble, drink and look at titties. It was pretty. For dinner, a sort of ghetto dim sum of deep fried oreos, cheese dogs, and chocolate dipped bananas. We walked about and saw the sights of Paris, the Bellagio and Caesars Palace until we just couldn’t stand up anymore. The two couples thus parted ways and settled in for… none of your business. [u]Day 2:[/u] Champagne Brunch with the Newlyweds at the IP tea house, then back to the Bellagio to catch the fountain in the daylight, and see their gallery display of Impressionist Landscapes from Corot to Van Gogh. The collection was really amazing. The heavy hitters like Monet, Renoir, Gauguin and Van Gogh are always wonderful to see originals, but it’s great to have a style exhibit, rather than just a name exhibit, because you see the hidden treasures of the era that stand up to any of the big names in excellence, like Boudin, Rousseau and the Corot. The gift shop prints did none of the works justice, but a print of an oil painting never does. Ash and Jesse headed back to LA, and we were left to our own devices, so we walked Caesar’s Palace and otherwise “did” the Forum Shops, complete with wildly expensive designer boutiques, and a wildly sexy foreign automobile showroom. I think you can refer to the July Defcon/Vegas photos for highlights of the very same line-up of hot rods. The Venetian: Venice, Las Vegas is sooooo much better than Venice, Italy*. You’ve got Doge’s Palace, the Grande Canal and Saint Mark’s square, but in Vegas they’re clean and pretty, and filled with restaurants, shopping and casinos with gambling, instead of restaurants, shopping and churches with nuns. Sometime after sunset (which is hard to tell the difference between night and day in Vegas) we went on a lovely gondola ride for two, complete with singing of some of the mobster/rat pack favorites by our gondolier, who was a black man with a fake Italian accent and an amazing operatic singing voice. Unforgettable. Dinner at the indoor “streetside” Italian cafe was the perfect roundout of the evening. The food was well done, the wine was right, and the waiter was a fresh-off-the-boat silver-haired Sicilian gumba with the “I’ll break your knees” attitude to go with his suit and pinkie ring. Everything right down to the zabaigone for dessert fit the evening just right. Back at the Hotel, just when you think we’re about to crash, Randal gets a second gambling wind, so Amanda dresses in as little as possible and hangs off his arm while he rolls high on the $5 craps table. With $50 bucks, Randal can play craps for eternity. Perhaps it’s because he’s so good with numbers, or perhaps he was blessed by a witch doctor, but that $50 will never turn itself over to the house. Sometime around 4:30 in the morning, Randal took his $50, left the craps table and blew it on the worst bottle of wine France has ever crafted, and two collector’s edition silvery official Imperial Palace wine glasses. We drank ourselves silly and eventually passed out. [u]Day 3:[/u] We slept in. Room service was lovely, and the rest is none of your business. [i]Edit: Yes, all day.[/i] [u]Day 4:[/u] Checkout time was at 11:00 am, and our plane did not leave until around midnight, so we had all of Vegas to see and no hotel room to fall back on. Lunch at New York, New York was the best deli sandwich you can get west of Queens, and the digestion time for those 2 pounds of thinly sliced meats was spent seeing “that end” of the strip. And, of course, the final shopping extravaganza, in which Randal spent most of his time on those “man seats” in the corners of cosmetic stores reading a magazine. What a trooper. Keeping with the culinary theme of the day, we caught Nathan’s Famous for dinner, the official hot dog of the New York Yankees. A 7 o’clock show of Blue Man Group at the Venetian was the final destination of our trip, and a fine ending it was. The show was really incredible. Whether you’re into the wonders of technology, slight of hand, tricks of the eye, or really dry humor, the Blue Man Group is a must see. Then, back to the hotel to fetch the luggage, off to the airport and tucked in at home by 4 am. A hell of a trip indeed.