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The Las Vegas Chronicles

I’m going to start by saying that Las Vegas is AMAZING. I love it there, but only in short stints. Three nights is all I can handle. The smoke, the noise, and the ridiculous hours all take their toll. It’s all balanced out with fun though.

Like the saying goes, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The same holds true for some of our trip, but luckily plenty of stories came home with me as well.

I’m going to share all of the goods with you in chronological order (I know I’ll get sidetracked at some point), but I have to say the final night was the most eventful (it’s just going to take me a while to get there).

Are you ready for this?

One of the great things about living in the Northwest is that flights are never boring. Actually, an airplane ride to Las Vegas is never dull (party, party, party!), but I’m talking about visually pleasing. I’ll give you some examples of what I’m talking about: As we were flying out of Seattle I snapped this picture of Mount St. Helens (my phone was on airplane mode, so I wasn’t breaking the law). I also took a nice picture of Mount Rainier on the way home as well. If you think the pictures are cool…you have to see them in person.

Every time I’ve travelled to Las Vegas I have to stand in a long taxi line at the airport. This time there was absolutely no wait. Our cab driver told us that business has been slow over the last two years, but it appears to be picking up again (even though there was no line). One of the workers at Caesars Palace agreed that people are starting to return to the casinos, but it’s been a very slow recovery. Once we were on the strip, it seemed like normal crowds to me.

My dad and I usually stay at Caesars, but Cher was making her “triumphant return” last weekend so there were no available rooms. Instead, we stayed at Paris. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it there, but it wasn’t bad at all. Here are some of the pictures I snapped at the hotel: the view from my room, the pool, a night view of the Eiffel Tower. I would definitely stay there again, but one thing it lacked was a social scene (it was never very crowded and was especially void of younger people). If you want to stay in a party-type atmosphere…Paris is probably not for you.

My dad and I are very similar. We could play at the casino all night and be completely content. My brother is a little different (although he likes the casino as well). He watched The Hangover the night before we left, if that gives you a better idea of the type of trip he was looking for. After our second night he said to me, “We need a wild night in Vegas.” That’s coming from a guy who is 31-years-old and has avoided the party scene for much of his life. Las Vegas can do that to people (hence the reason it’s called Sin City).

We got into Las Vegas and were checked into our hotel by 3:30pm. We decided to cruise the strip a little bit to see what was going on. One of the stops we made was the new hotel/casino Aria. That’s also where we saw the Cirque du Soleil show Viva Elvis (my brother is a huge Elvis fan if you couldn’t tell from this picture). I’ll have more on the show in a second. I wasn’t a huge fan of the casino there (maybe it’s because we didn’t have much luck at the craps tables), but I loved their sportsbook. It’s not huge, but I’m guessing they have the best monitors/TVs on the strip.

We also made a stop at the Bellagio. That’s where I snapped this picture of some cool glass artwork. The Bellagio is right across the street from Paris, so we had a great view of the water show (partially blocked by the Eiffel Tower) from our room. You could also hear the water cannons starting at noon on the weekend. That was awesome (with a heavy dose of sarcasm). Needless to say, we slept in quite a bit. What can I say? My clan enjoys the nightlife in Las Vegas.

Here are a couple of pictures I snapped of the strip the first night we were in town (1 2).

On Friday, my brother and I kicked it at the pool for a while. The weather was perfect. It was in the 80′s with a slight breeze all four days we were there (even though Sunday was very short lived before we had to go to the airport). Again, the people scene at the Paris pool isn’t very exciting. It’s nothing compared to Wet Republic at MGM Grand. Wet Republic isn’t my scene (it’s like college spring break every day), but my brother really wanted to check it out. We made it all the way there, but never went in because the lines were too long. From a distance you could still see what was going on…it looked and sounded pretty wild.

My dad owns horses at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington. One of his horses (named Tonight At Eleven) raced on Friday night, so we caught the action at the Aria sportsbook before the Viva Elvis show. We were also watching some of the Chicago Blackhawks playoff game, because my dad is a huge fan. To set the tone for the night, my dad’s horse won its race. It was in the lead from wire-to-wire. It was so much fun to celebrate with my pops and brother. People probably thought we were nuts, but we didn’t care.

All of that excitement was quickly washed away by Viva Elvis. Don’t get me wrong, the show wasn’t bad. It was entertaining…it just wasn’t what I expected. Instead of the acrobatics that make Cirque du Soleil shows popular, there was more dancing and singing than anything else. There definitely were some “wow” moments, but there were plenty of “yawn” moments as well. One of the coolest scenes involved a trampoline. I can’t explain it in writing, but if you follow the link and click on “Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do” it might help you understand what I am talking about. The other thing Viva Elvis helped me realize was how rad Elvis Presley actually was. The dude was a awesome! It even opened me up to some of his tunes, like “Suspicious Minds“.

We spent the rest of the night being very unsuccessful on the craps tables at Aria and Paris. We still had a great time kicking it together, but I was starting to think that my get-rich-quick scheme wasn’t going to play itself out in Vegas though. 

My worries were washed away on Saturday night. Obviously, everyone’s idea of “rich” is different. Let’s just say I’m very happy with my return. It all happened at Caesars. It was the first time we played there the entire trip and it felt good to be in the friendly confines of the casino (the workers are great there!). Oddly, I’ve always had pretty good luck at Caesars.

When we first got there, my brother made it very clear that he wanted to eat, so we made reservations at Bobby Flay’s restaurant Mesa Grill. To kill the 45 minutes before we were to be seated, we decided to play some craps. You have to be picky when you select a craps table. You always have to go where the noise is. I’m a firm believer that dice or a table can be hot. If people are celebrating…that means they are winning. 

One table really stood out, so my dad and I jumped in. We were so hot that we decided to keep playing and forget about dinner. You NEVER leave a craps table when it’s hot. My dad and I played at the same table for more than nine hours (you probably think we’re crazy, but it was so much fun). It never cooled down. Personally, I’ve never rolled so well in my life and I don’t know if I ever will again.

At one point an older guy posted up at the end of the table with two of his friends. He started playing stacks of $500 chips. I was rolling at the time and I kept hitting numbers for him. I don’t know how much I really made him, but my dad and I guessed anywhere from $25,000 to maybe $50,000. He grabbed his chips and walked away from the table the second my roll ended (I’m guessing 20-30 minutes after it started). As he walked by, he gave me a “thank you” nod and kept walking (I thought he might give me a little something for the effort, but he didn’t). That’s when one of the workers told me who he was. It was Celine Dion’s husband Rene Angelil. I had no idea. I still didn’t know who he was until I looked him up on Wikipedia. It sounds like the dude really likes to gamble. I’m glad I could help his cause.

It’s a stretch for me to call him a celebrity, but I’m sure some might. Otherwise, the only other celebs we spotted were Matthew Perry (the guy from Friends) and Julianne Hough (the country music awards were in Las Vegas on Sunday). In fact, I didn’t see either of them. My brother is the only one who saw Hough at Caesars Palace (he confirmed that she is really cute), but my dad and bro both saw Perry at Wynn. They said he actually looked like a dork. He was wearing plaid shorts, with boat shoes, and socks. They also said he probably hadn’t shaved in a week and was standing next to the most beautiful women in the casino (surprise, surprise).

Before this post gets out of control (if it hasn’t already), I should probably cut myself off. I feel like the family member or friend who want to show you the slideshow of their vacation (speaking of…here is one more picture). I’m really proud of you if you made it this far. I’m guessing others have fallen asleep or clicked to another page by now.

To sum it up…it was a trip I’ll never forget. On top of everything that happened, the family time was my favorite part. I’m hoping the three Lewis boys make this a tradition from here on out.

I’d really like to hear your success stories or celebrity sightings in Las Vegas. I’d also love to know where you like to stay and play. Please feel free to leave a comment below. You can also follow me on Twitter @TLKREM2 or @lewissports (I need to be more active with this account) or you can email me at tim@timlewissports.com.

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