The main purpose of this leg of my trip was to meet up with my sister and my niece who I hadn’t seen in almost 7 years. They were flying down from
It was bittersweet leaving
Barely an hour after take-off, we started our descent into McCarran Int'l. Airport. From my window seat, I had a bird's eye view of The Strip and recognized the pyramid-inspired Luxor Hotel, the towering Stratosphere, and the replica Eiffel Tower of the Paris Hotel. Pretty impressive. But my attention was involuntarily drawn to the brownness, flatness and bleakness of the desert that surrounded all that. The absence of any greenery or body of water was startling and slightly unnerving.
The taxi made its way to the Polo Towers where the 5 of us were staying. We rented my friends timeshare, a one bedroom suite, complete with kitchenette, dishwasher, breakfast table and living area. The location was excellent! Right in the middle of the strip between the Aladdin Hotel and MGM Grand. And as a bonus, we had a pretty nice view from our balcony which included the fountains of Bellagio. (pic at right)
I had plenty of time before the rest arrived, so I unpacked all the stuff I brought for them from Manila which occupied half my suitcase. A lot of it was sent by the rest of my family. I freshened up and went to get something to eat and to explore my immediate surroundings. Directly in front of us was the Hawaiian Marketplace. Here I discovered Kapit Bahay, a fast-food Filipino restaurant, which has delicious longganisa (Filipino sausages).
Our other neighbors were Walgreens, McDonalds, 7-11, CV Pharmacy, the Harley Davidson Cafe, and M & M World. I made a beeline for Walgreens. I'm like a kid in a candy shop in there. After about an hour of scanning every shelf top to bottom, I went back to the hotel armed with fruits, muffins, Krispy Kremes, juice and other breakfast items, then took a quick nap.
I don't remember what time I closed my eyes, but I woke up with a start and without checking my watch I hurried down to the lobby. Strange I know, but there they were! I nearly wept with joy! We hugged for so long, individual bear hugs and then a group hug. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.
That afternoon, we explored the Desert Passage Mall in the Aladdin Hotel. I loved the whole Moroccan souk-inspired theme going on here. After shopping and a dinner filled with laughter (my sister is a hoot and a half!) at Max's Cafe, we went back to the hotel to wait to wait for the rest, my cousins wife and her daughter, who were arriving on the evening flight from Vancouver. I was meeting them for the first time. They turned out to be loads of fun!
Top: View from New York,New York, the Bellagio, New York New York
Middle: the Paris Hotel, MGM Grand, man on stilts outside the Flamingo
Bottom: M&M World, Vegas bus, lions at MGM Grand
Vegas by Night :
Top row: The Venetian, the pirate ship at Treasure Island, erupting volcano at The Mirage
Middle: Casesar's Palace, the Bellagio (both pics)
Bottom: Fremont Casino, The Venetian again, famous icon of Fremont Street
Wolfgang Puck's Bar & Grill, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Emeril's New Orleans Fish House
L to R: Wall-to-wall M&Ms , candy apples, deep fried oreos (!)