Day 627 Pounding the Strip

Caesars Palace & Forum

I woke with a headache yesterday, possibly a hangover from the open bar downstairs in our hotel we got access to Sunday night.  It abated somewhat taking all that was left in my luggage of ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine and an afternoon nap, but never went away, until almost lunchtime today.  The threat of getting sick, even just a head cold, while on holiday carries greater weight than usual; plans and expectations are dashed and the countdown to the return flight home ticks loudly in the back of your mind, willing health to return.  I face-planted the pillows in our bed this morning as Dan showered and dressed and wrote a page-long itinerary of Things To See today (which was a week’s worth of sights, rivalled only by my itinerary of Things to Drive to in Nevada, Utah AND Arizona < 48 Hours.  With massive Fear of Missing Out I stumbled behind Dan down the hall as we met Cam for a morning tea break from his conference to duck next door to Caesars Palace and find the Fall of Atlantis Moving Sculptures show.

Atlantis Moving Sculptures

I had low expectations of this piece of entertainment.  But, like everything else in Vegas so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised by an above-expectations experience; the five sculptures on columns in the centre of the fountain which I expected would simply do one of two things: 1) rotate either clockwise or counter-clockwise, or 2) ascend or descend according to some tawdry soundtrack only did one thing: descend mostly into the floor (the spear of the central male figure obstinately stuck out of the water line for the entire performance).  In their place three articulated robotics ascended and performed a small narrative about a father king unable to chose between his daughter and his son as a successor, and as with any good tragedy the whole thing ended in devastation.  There were flames, actual flames! There was water.  And the whole thing ended with an advertisement about a clean shave.  I left impressed, with a desire to shave.

Bellagio Lobby & Gardens

My feet, in my shabby old boots (with a hole in the medial right forefoot at the metatarsophalangeal joint) began to throb very early in the day; I’ve not yet found a suitable shoe store for replacements.  Gucci, LV, etc. don’t seem to stock affordable everyday boots for the Australian traveller.  Dan had wanted us to see two things in the Bellagio hotel (we saw the fountain display last night, to the soundtrack of a Michael Jackson song): the glass floral lobby ceiling and a garden display.  Both were impressive spectacles.  I had recollections of Whoopi Goldberg in Jumping Jack Flash as we passed potted palms, and Dan and Cam both obligingly posed as spies.

I felt woozy from my head cold, the phenylephrine cold & flu tablets from the “Essentials” store at the base of our hotel elevators, not having cleared my sinuses but almost knocking me out anyway and thought I was hallucinating when I saw one of the goats in the display move.  I looked away and breathed.  If I was going to lose consciousness in the middle of a hotel I’d try to slump gently to ground and not add a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage to what might already be an aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (why else would I have a headache for 24 hours!?).  “The sculptures MOVE!” Daniel exclaimed with glee, and I, reassured realised I wasn’t hallucinating after all.

Cam had to get back to his conference and we had to get moving, as we had things to see down the entire strip.

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

We have travelled so much in the last 1.5 years I have absolutely no idea where we saw the sister sculpture to this Claes Oldenburg sitting outside some shops on the Las Vegas Blvd.  Was it in Chicago?  I swear it was a sculpture park.  Maybe in Washington DC?  I was the only person who had stopped to admire the work; everybody else was getting to or from more shopping.  Dan waited patiently as I took a million photos.



Rollercoaster, New York New York.

Dan wasn’t feeling well and I was ready for another nap by the time we made it to New York New York.  One of the few things we had on our Must See list was the roller coaster.  It wasn’t until we’d paid, and the harnesses locked in that we looked at each other and asked, “Why are we on a roller coaster?”  I almost wet my pants on the first descent.  Dan screamed, loudly, and screwed his eyes shut.  Thankfully, unlike the Leviathan in Canada’s Wonderland the descent is not long or too steep and the ride was pleasantly exhilarating but without eliciting too much sympathetic response.  I almost went for a second ride.



Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

I was ready for a nap when we finally found the exit from New York New York.  The drawback to walking into every casino along the strip is that you have to literally walk through the entire casino to get either in or out of the building.  Each casino has its own smell, a combination of stale cigarette smoke, hundreds of different perfumes and colognes and whatever disgusting scent the hotel pumps into its air conditioning.  This would be nauseating without having a head cold.  Every time we walk back into the coconut-and-cigarette-smell of The Mirage I want to vomit.

We crossed the pedestrian overpass to Excalibur and boarded a monorail tram thing South to Mandalay where, after passing through its casino and doing laps of what seemed like a dementia-specific building plan (we could walk for hours and get nowhere) finally reached the aquarium.  Dan was keen to go.  I was keen for some quiet.  Thankfully a few fishtanks later my brain had quietened.  Three divers in the shark tank were doing something that didn’t involve getting eaten alive by the sharks, so I didn’t watch for long.


Luxor, Las Vegas

The Luxor was weird.  Lisa and Kirstie had described an odd interior.  We didn’t stay long.



We ate food somewhere before catching a cab back up the strip to Harrah’s where we bought tickets to see a Cirque show tonight.  Not sure why they’re called half price show tickets when the discount was only 20%. We bought vouchers, then walked up to Wynn to collect the tickets.  It was a cross the strip walkway again, walk through the Treasure Island casino to find the tram back to Mirage to get back to our hotel, via its casino and coconut-and-cigarette-odour. Nap time now.

Half-Price Tickets aren't actually half-price.
Half-Price Tickets aren’t actually half-price.

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