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February 27, 2014 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-27

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`You Can't Get There From Here'

By Harry Kirsbaum

e just wanted to take a walk
without bundling up in boots
and hats and heavy coats.
It was early evening on a Monday
when the temps back home were still in
the single digits, and we were trying to
navigate our way out of the Aria Hotel
and Casino (featured in the movie Last
Vegas) and into the heart of the Las
Vegas Strip.
I had never done Vegas, and my wife
was returning to visit after 20 years, so
we were both new to the experience.
We had left that morning for the four-
day visit paid for mainly by credit card
reward points, and walked past Mike
Tyson seated in first class on the way to
our seats in the commoners'area, three
miles from the cabin door.
Everyone was talking about Tyson
and his face tattoo, but it would be the
only close encounter with someone rich
and famous we would have during the
Although my wife is the navigator
in the family, the hotel layout was so
confusing most of the staff people we


talked to couldn't give us directions
to the tapas restaurant on their own
casino floor.
I understand the trick is to make it
nearly impossible for guests to find
their way out of the casino, but we
found out you also need a compass, a
navigation app and a sherpa to take a
walk on the Strip.
When the sky darkened, we left
the hotel and headed north to see
the famous Bellagio Fountains a few
blocks away. The music from the hotel
followed us out the door and into the
street. This music — peppy, incessant

and in no particular order or vintage
— seemed to be everywhere in Vegas.
It was one of the city's more annoying
aspects, and I've barely listened to the
radio since.
We walked to the first corner and
realized that the street was one floor
below us, and the only way to get
across was to take a"convenient"escala-
tor back up to the hotel and across a
walkway that dumped us into the Cos-
mopolitan Hotel. We entered at the mall
level and found with some difficulty the
escalators that took us to the ground-
floor casino. Once we passed Liberace's
rhinestone-encrusted car under glass,
it took only a few minutes to find the
front door.
The music followed us as we made
our way up Bellagio Drive. Once we saw
the fountains 10 minutes later — water
pulsating to the beat of more music —
we headed to Caesars Palace for a glass
of wine, then reversed course to go
home. We got lost only once.
It took two days to get our bearings
and get used to the prices. The general
rule of thumb: add $10 in price to every
breakfast entree you order in Detroit:
add $15-$20 to every lunch or dinner
item, and stay away from the minibar,
unless you enjoy paying $38 for a split

of wine, or $8 for bottled water. The
hotel also warned us that storing food
or drinks of our own in the minibar
refrigerator comes with a $50 price tag,
and don't even try to replace one of
their items with a substitute.
Longing for a touch of old Las Vegas,
we took a cab downtown to the Golden
Nugget for dinner. We stepped onto
Fremont Street and the"Fremont Street
Experience,"which had been covered
from the elements and blocked off from
traffic. Cover bands play on nearly every
corner, and videos play music on the
ceiling that goes on for blocks.
If you ever wondered what hap-
pens to carny people when they're
not putting rides together during the
summer in the Midwest — they come
here to party. The Rat Pack would not
be amused.
It was fun to see Binion's and the
World Series of Poker Hall of Fame. I
only played twice — won $33 at a no-
limit poker table, then came in 17th out
of 130 in a $125 poker tournament, but
my wife and I had fun nonetheless.
I dropped a dollar bill into a Dolly
Parton penny slot machine at the airport
just before we boarded and won $26.25.
When I finally decide to listen to music
again, I'll start with "Nine to Five'

our child's journey to adulthood
deserves to be celebrated in spectacular
fashion. We know just the place...

100 Townsend Street, Birmingham Ml, 48009
Contact Joanie Sams at 248-642-5191 or

38 March 2014



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