What Did I do in Vegas? Drove an excavator, rode the monorail, visited the NuLeaf Dispensary, Toured Allegiant Stadium
Las Vegas did not disappoint, on my recent trip in September 2021 to the famous city of sin. The occasion was the annual and previously canceled IPW gathering, which on a normal year brings around 8000 travel people together in a major city. This time, 2600 showed up in Las Vegas, and boy, I’d say the city was prepared.
Masks were the rule, everywhere, yet it didn’t feel disconsolate, more, just accepting of this temporary measure. In each casino, in every hotel, the good thing was that we were often drinking or eating so we could relax. The first night I booked an Airbnb for the late arrival that turned out to be a $65 cab ride north of the city. Bad call.
But I had fun taking a city bus the 1.5 hours or so route taking me through the suburbs, then to downtown Las Vegas and finally to Koval where Tim had rented us a comfy condo at the Holiday Inn Desert Club….an Airbnb listed hotel that turned out to be a full apartment with kitchen, two bathrooms and two bedrooms. Yes!
We began the big IPW show with the press brunch, that was held in the Keep Memory Alive building in Vegas designed by Frank Gehry part of an Alzheimer’s research complex.
They had a little show including a very smart trained Chihuahua jumping around this guy’s back. Then we took a bus out not far in the desert to enjoy time driving bulldozers, excavators, and bucket loaders. Dig It Vegas is as fun as it sounds! We took a tour of Allegiant Stadium, which seems devoted to the wealthiest Vegas football fans, with two separate VIP entrances and beers going for $13. Tickets, around $900-1000 if you can get them.
The team is very proud of the Raider’s legacy and four Superbowl trophies and they showcase the history quite well all over the stadium. A highlight is a massive tower with an elaborate LED lighting system inside, it’s the torch that is lit when the Raiders score a touchdown.
We learned about the four different types of coverings the field surfaces use, on our visit they were rolling out sod over the concrete for a soccer game.
Out back on a massive 100-yard long tray, is the freshly watered natural grass turf that is only played on by the Raiders and the visiting NFL team. It all rolls in on a specially designed set of trailer rollers.
The city of Las Vegas has all of these interesting new projects, including their latest gigantic casino hotel, the bright red
ResortsWorld complex near the convention center with Conrad, Hilton, and other hotel brands altogether. It was built by a Malaysian conglomerate, and it has a feel of a big resort you might see in China.
Another project that is underway is the MGT Sphere, part of the Venetian Hotel and Casino. This is a screen-covered giant orb that will seat an audience inside and feature state-of-the-art digital images, projected both inside and out, on what will be the world’s largest set of screens.
We enjoyed some Thai food in a tiny downtown Las Vegas joint, then we continued on to the Fremont Street area, with the giant 400 yard overhead screen, and a bevy of nearly naked women who wait for tourists to ask them and pay them to have photos taken with them. Their lack of modesty was somewhat disturbing, standing in the public square with tape over nipples.
The other common site was a young person being helped out after vomiting after a day club session. The ones with swimming pools encourage afternoon drunkenness and often they just have to puke over the side with help from their friends.
Tim and I enjoyed having a beer at the Fremont Inn, in downtown Las Vegas. A nice sensible bar without the glitz, high prices and fancy stuff you find on the strip. Just a $3 Heinekin and a friendly bartender. My final adventure in this exciting city was to a place I can barely explain. It is called Meow Wolf, Omega Mart, and it’s a bizarre experience where nothing is as it seems. You wind your way through tunnels and chambers to rooms that appear to have had someone in there just a minute ago…totally wacky and totally fun.