It's late, again, and I am sitting in my hotel room ennjoying the view for the last time, instead of sleeping. There is no place on Earth like Las Vegas. Outside the Winn is an artificial forest on an artificial hill, full of real trees and fake waterfalls and a fake lake and a giant screen -- 50 feet? 100? I don't know -- that, amazingly, doesn't advertise anything. Usually it looks kind of like another waterfall.
A few minutes ago, when I sat down to look out at the city, I noticed something new: a gigantic animatronic frog on top of the screen. It looked like it was talking. Lights played across the screen and the fake lake. Maybe that's the pool. After a minute or two, the lights dimmed and the gigantic frog tilted vertical than slid into a big opening on top, behind the screen. I don't know who the show was for -- unlike Treasure Island, you can't see this place from the street. I don't know where you can get a good look, other than my room. Maybe tomorrow I'll find out.
It's not the pool; it's an artificial lagoon overlooked by a restaurant in the Wynn. I never did find out what was up with the giant frog, though some googling might answer that question.
I've long since left Las Vegas, of course, and returned to Emerald City, and then left for another trip, this one to New York City. Long ago, in a galaxy far far away, it seems, I was good about writing up what happened on the trips I took. I miss that, because I like remembering what I've done and where I've been, and it all blurs together if I don't write it down.
So, going back to Las Vegas to touch on some highlights: I arrived on Saturday morning, having not gotten as much sleep as I would have liked. Telnar picked me up at the airport, and we had some minor adventures securing ticlets for the night for Ka, a Cirque du Soleil production we want to see. Once that was done, we dropped my bags off at the hotel and went to track down Mark and his wife. You'd think, with a cell phone for each of us, staying in touch would be easy, but somehow it was still troublesome to track on another down.
Mark is an old friend of ours; Telnar and I used to play backgammon with him. I hadn't seen him in more than ten years and had never met his wife. She was friendly and outgoing, and the four of us never lacked for things to talk about.
We played quite a lot of low stakes poker, including some cheap no-limit games, over the course of the trip. None of us did well, but no one did spectacularly badly, either. I'm not sure yet if I'm good at Hold 'Em or not. I'm good enough to thrash people at it in Puzzle Pirates, but the average table in that game isn't very good. I feel like I'm better than the average player in low-stakes RL games, but I don't have enough hours of play to tell if that's right or not. I really should study the game more if I'm serious about it. Which I don't know that I am.
We saw Ka on Saturday night, which was spectacular. Lots of gorgeous stunt work and the best shadow puppets performance EVER. The show was a series of short pieces to showcase elaborately choreographed combinations pf dance, acrobatics, and aerobatics. The whole was knitted loosely together with a story to connect one performance to the next. The existence of a story, however sketchy, was a neat touch. You don't go to see a story or acting (there's no dialogue in the show and very litte narration) but to see the stunts. And yet he story adds something. It's like ballet; there's a story there and it's nice to have it, even if you're really watching to see the dance which would be just as well-done without the story.
Sunday we went out to a nice restaurant for dinner, and I even dressed up for it, which was fun.
It was a good trip. Las Vegas is a fun place to visit, with all its spectacles and attention-seeking glitz. The casinos are just casinos -- we have a bunch where I live, too, so it's not exciting -- and slot machines are mind-bogglingly dull, I'll never understand their appeal. But the hotels and the decorations and the fake volcanos and pirate ships and lagoons and shows really are something to see. I've been several times and don't feel like I've done or seen everything I'd like to yet. I may go back there again someday. We'll see.