Spoiler alert: we are home. We got home last night, and we are all really tired.
That said, there are stories to share of the travels that so recently were. And so I will pick up where we left off, which was approximately 6:55pm on December 23. The family and I had just walked the Vegas Strip from Excalibur to the Bellagio and back again. And everyone was ready to turn in for the night.
Almost everyone, that is. My single Vegas ambition has been to walk the strip at night, to see the lights and the happenings. And so I suggested that Robbi and the kids turn in while I stepped out for a while. Alden caught wind of the plan and decided that her Vegas ambition mirrored mine exactly.
And so we set out into the night. In search of fortune and adventure and thrills unknown.
Approximately 4 minutes into our adventure, the thrills began. We passed a shop peddling all varieties of Hershey-based delight. My father heartstrings were firmly tugged. I caved. The girl got a rice crispy treat dipped in chocolate covered with Reese’s Pieces.
Unhinged by the sugar rush, we indulged in the most wanton behavior. Sitting on a large red hand, for example.
And locating ourselves with the help of a conveniently placed Google map pointer.
But mostly we just kept our eyes and ears open to the dazzle of lights and the volume of the chorus of sounds as the night began in Vegas.
Most everything along the strip is oversized and sleek, designed to please and astonish, carefully orchestrated to ease the transition of money from wallet to Neverland.
Surfaces were exquisitely designed.
Even the trees carried their share of the collective show.
One of my favorite buildings was this Gehry-esque mall filled with the highest-end stores.
I probably couldn’t afford a single thing inside, but it sure was fun to look at. Here is a staircase inside the Tiffany store.
And here is the facade of the Prada store. Each of those circles is a separate light. I felt like I was dwelling for a moment inside of a magazine ad.
One of my favorite sights was this stories-tall video board outside the Aria casino.
Of course, we returned to the Bellagio. This time, Sinatra had been replaced by Shania Twain, but the net effect was the same.
Unencumbered by our family’s shortest members, Alden and I pushed forward. Across the street we spied Paris and decided to have a closer look.
But not before stopping to admire the details. Here are the columns that flank the Bellagio lagoon.
And here is the gleaming edifice of the famous Ceasar’s Palace.
As we walked across the street, Alden audibly admired the balloon hat on the head of a woman passing in the opposite direction. The woman stopped and offered it to Alden, which, to Alden, was perhaps the most exciting thing that had ever happened. From that moment forward, we were the stars of the Strip. Scratch that: Alden was the star, a diminutive Santa bobbling along unexpectedly in the midst of adult Wonderland, a permanent smile affixed on her mustachioed face. It was fun watching people watch her, which was easy to do undetected since no one at all was watching me.
Once we made it all the way across the street, the Bellagio fountains had resumed their dance. By this point, it was perhaps 8:00pm. Just to let you know the extent of our depravity.
We found our way to the base of the not-quite Eiffel Tower. I have never seen the original, but the surrogate was gorgeous as it rose into the night sky.
As was the mini Arc de Triomphe just down the way.
Lured by the irresistible smolder of Britney’s stare, we took a short tour of Planet Hollywood.
The highlight of which was the truly incendiary display outside of Gordon Ramsay’s steakhouse.
We walked on and were nearly run over by an enormous Harley.
We soon found ourselves back in Brooklyn, astounded by the speed of our circumambulation of the world’s great sights and landmarks.
My dream of a nighttime walk on the Strip was everything I’d hoped: dazzling, surprising, and 100% free. I would have had a great time on my own. But making that march with little Santa by my side? I couldn’t have asked for a better adventure.
As the witching hour (of 9:00pm) approached, we returned to the Excalibur.
And undressed for bed.
Our room afforded a commanding view of the Luxor, which seemed, at that moment, to be sending an important message to the mothership.
And that was that. We went to sleep. It was not until the next morning that our “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas moment came to pass.” I suppose I’m not supposed to share it with you.
But how could I not?
That was Christmas Eve. I’ll post on the last few legs of our adventures in a day or two. For now, there are suitcases to unpack and weary little minds to ease back into the hard-hitting flow of Eastern Standard Time.