Saturday, June 21, 2008

Las Vegas

We have spent the last week in Las Vegas. This is an amazing place. But, I don't mean because of the casinos and other dens of iniquity. The growth here is hard to grasp. Every time we come to Las Vegas we are floored by all of the residential building going on. Las Vegas is said to have the highest home foreclosure rate in the U.S. If that is true, it must be because people are walking away from the house they already own to buy another one that they want more. There are houses on top of houses on top of more houses. I do mean on top of each other. Houses built with about 10 feet in between and 20 feet from the back of one house to the back of the next. They build the houses with no overhang on the eaves so that they can build them closer together. To top it all off – these new houses are UGLY. Ugliest houses we have ever seen. What do I care – I'm not buying one.

We spent almost no time on the famed Las Vegas Strip. Partly because it is so very hot outside and partly because it is too hard to get around with all of the construction going on there too. Every time we have been to Vegas there has always been something being built on the strip. This time there are many many buildings going up. Old hotels have come down to make way for buildings full of condos (more homes that will end up in foreclosure?) Each of these buildings will have condos (they are moving away from more hotel rooms) and a casino. Two that we saw will each have 300,000 sq ft of retail space. I think that is equivalent to a small mall – like they need more shopping in Vegas. Oh well – it just means that next time we come back there will be lots of new stuff to ogle at.

The highlight of our trip to Vegas was spending an evening with Monte's niece Vicki. Vicki lives in Pennsylvania but just happened to be here on vacation so we were able to meet her at her hotel. She graciously used her “comp points” to treat us to dinner and then got those points back after dinner as she showed us 'how its done' as she got slot machines to bow down to her. We on the other hand would have done just as well at the slots as if we had just thrown our money at the machines and said “here, take this!”
We did a tour of Ethel M's Chocolate Factory (the M is as in Mars, who make M&Ms, Mars Bars, etc). Only one lousy little sample at the end of the tour – I'm greedy. There is a wonderful cactus garden at Ethel M's and we strolled through that as we sipped an Ultimate Bliss Tiramisu flavored frozen drink thing that was pretty darn blissful but not slimming.

Did I mention that it is HOT? 85 at night, 106 or so during the day. So, needless to say, we spent a good deal of time in the casino. We won't brag about how much we won – we don't want to make you all jealous.

As always, more pictures in the Las Vegas album at

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