Vacation Flashback: Vegas 2012 - Part 2

Monday, May 8, 2017

After Jim and Angie's lovely sunset ceremony, we went back inside The Bellagio Hotel, where they were holding our luggage, to grab dinner.  On a seven-hour layover coming home from The Philippines, a friend had raved about their buffet.  I'm not a buffet person at all, but was willing to give it a try, and I remembered the meal being really good - but after flying 16 hours, any real food tastes pretty good.  So a year later, James was willing to check it out with me.

At almost $45 per person on Friday and Saturday nights, clearly you're expecting it to be more impressive than the buffets back home.  This was far and above our expectations, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

After we were beyond full, we collected up our luggage and made our way to our much cheaper hotel - the Stratosphere.  The Stratosphere is off the main part of the strip, and located between the strip and Fremont street.  Friends of ours that love Vegas make a face when we said we stayed there, but honestly, it was a place to sleep for a few hours and we spent the rest of our time out and about.  Room stays include complimentary visits to the top of the Stratosphere, which would be worth checking out no matter where you stay.  We visited that night for a bit, and met up with the wedding crew again Saturday morning for a daytime view.  None of us were brave enough for the roller coaster or zip-line jump from the observation deck!

James and I took the monorail and buses to get around, and had a great time people watching.  We aren't gamblers, so we had done our research on what we wanted to do.  With a limited window - basically one day, we made just a few plans to fill our day.  We grabbed lunch at In-N-Out just behind New York, New York casino, James' first visit to the chain, and then took a bus to the Pinball Hall of Fame on Tropicana.

James and I are both pinball fans; he actually has some skill, I just have fond memories of playing.  10,000 square feet of pinball machines is our type of casino!  So we spent maybe $50 over three hours playing almost every machine.  We also got a chance to meet Tim Arnold, the founder who is featured on Special When Lit, a documentary on pinball that's available on Netflix.  The proceeds from the machines are donated to The Salvation Army; five and six figures every year!

After we were done playing, we went to Fremont Street to check out old Vegas and grab dinner.  When we had hit our limit of people watching - and there was plenty to watch, we called it a night and went back to the hotel.  We had an early morning shuttle to catch and met up with the wedding crew at the airport.  My flight left about an hour after theirs to Des Moines, so I decided to put $10 in an airport slot machine.  About five minutes later the $10 was gone, and I confirmed that gambling was not my thing.

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