What does one typically do when they've only been home 4 days after a 12 day Ireland trip? If you are Stephanie and me, you go to Vegas! My mom's birthday is in March and we make the trip annually to celebrate another "Year of Carla". It also helps that it is usually the first or second weekend of the NCAA tournament!
This year, we stayed at Paris in the middle of the Strip. Unfortunately, Leslie and Andrea weren't able to make it due to prior commitments. But, that did mean they didn't have to sleep 3 to a bed with a flu bug going around like last year! Our room overlooked the Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas Boulevard and we could even see part of the Bellagio Fountains...not too shabby of a view!
The first night, we caught KU's Sweet 16 game at Paris' sports book/bar. We grabbed a sandwich and a sweet fruit and cheese plate to share since we hadn't eaten all day. The Jayhawks ran away with the game in the second half and looked pretty unstoppable. After the game, we were approached by a gentleman who had 3 VIP tickets to Anthony Cools that he couldn't use that night. He asked us if we wanted them and we couldn't say no! Anthony Cools specializes in hypnotism and if you've never seen his show, we highly recommend it...maybe just don't volunteer if your mother is in the crowd! Steph and I both participated in the show and had a great time!
Friday we walked down towards Mandalay Bay and stumbled upon one of our favorite machines - virtual blackjack! We played a few hours on a couple bucks and had a good time. Once we made it back to Paris, Steph and I upped our game and started playing blackjack at a real table with a real dealer with a real $15 limit that was a little rich for my blood! Once I ran out of money, I left Steph behind and joined my family for a delicious dinner at Gordon Ramsay Burger. My mom and I split a delicious burger and shared a fantastic bottle of Storypoint Cabernet Savignon that was recommended by our server when we ordered our beloved Meiomi. I haven't had a chance to see if I can buy it here in the Midwest, but I highly recommend it if you can find it!
Saturday began with the excitement of finding the only champagne vending machine in Vegas! As we were crossing the walkway towards the Mandarin Oriental hotel, we heard dozens of sirens on the strip below us. A small crowd had gathered and so we had to take a look at what was going on. All we could see were police officers with guns drawn using their vehicles as shields and focusing on a bus that was parked in from of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Once the ambulances arrived and helicopters began flying overhead, we knew this was not going to be a good situation. We decided to keep walking toward the champagne machine and were quickly turned away by security. We were forced to return back to our side of the strip and couldn't make it to our hotel as the strip had been completely shut down. So, we found a brewery. Sin City brewery was a pretty good place to pass the time until the strip re-opened. Our bartender kept us up to date in the situation outside via his police scanner app. Unfortunately, there was a man on the bus we saw who opened fire and took the life of a tourist. The standoff lasted about 5 hours and ended peacefully when the shooter surrendered without harming anyone else. It's quite a scene to see Las Vegas Boulevard completely shut down.
Towards the end of the standoff, we were in need of getting to Caesar's Palace for lunch at one of our favorites, Joe's Seafood. You may remember that we visited last year as well. Lunch was absolutely fantastic complete with the Whale appetizer, blue crab claws (that can be dangerous to open!) and a 3 course filet lunch. After lunch, we had to rush down to the Palazzo for our reservations at Lagasse's to watch KU's Elite 8 game. Unfortunately, KU didn't show up like they did for the Sweet 16 and ended up losing the game. Steph made good use of her time there by placing bets for most of our friends. Don't worry Cody - your Royals bet is sure to pay off this year!
Sunday Funday started with breakfast at another one of our favorites, The Peppermill. After an hour wait in the Fireside Lounge, we were finally seated. I was a little disappointed in my meal, but Steph had a pretty good burger. After breakfast, it was a whirlwind to get to the airport and finally be home for our first weekend in 4 weeks! This Vegas trip seemed a little short and we unfortunately didn't fit in everything we wanted to on this trip. Guess there is always next year!