Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fading (or gone) icons part 1

If someone is asked to name something symbolic of Las Vegas, what usually comes to mind?  Gambling, shopping, eating, partying, hot, etc. But what about symbols?  There would be cards, dice, roulette wheel, money, but there are some that have faded away.

It’s hard to imagine that something as iconic as a showgirl almost doesn’t exist.  Bally’s was the last casino to feature a show with showgirls and it shut down Jubilee! on February 11, 2016.  The tall, leggy girls with the skimpy costumes and tall headpieces are hard to forget.

I still remember how I would watch the old “Vega$” with Robert Urich as Dan Tanna, private eye.  Seems like every casino had an act with showgirls in them.  Of course, Dan was always in the Desert Inn.

It didn’t happened overnight, but as early as 2001, there was were only two shows left in Las Vegas that featured the iconic showgirls; Jubilee! and Best of the Folies-Bergère that closed out at the Tropicana.  What lead to it’s demise?  Shows such as Blue Man Group, Cirque De Solei, Legends in Concert and other Hollywood style productions that are more flashy and have more of the “wow”factor.

You can still find “showgirls” on the Strip and the Fremont Street Experience, but I have to protest that the buskers on Fremont Street and the Strip are NOT showgirls but simply girls dressing up to panhandle money.

Events in Las Vegas

The activity and action from the Strip seems to be really heating up lately, in a good way.  With the addition of the new T-Mobile Arena behind New York New York Hotel and Casino, it seems like everyone and everything is being booked there.  Just looking at the upcoming schedule of concerts alone are; Barbara Streisand, Drake, Gwen Stefani, George Strait, Slipknot.

Some of the sporting events listed are; USA Basketball, UFC 202, LA Kings vs Colorado Avalance, and Los Angeles Lakers!

If you go to the T-Mobile Arena site, it is very user friendly and lists events, directions and parking, how to book the arena, seating configurations and even a link for a newsletter.

Not too far in the future should be a pretty spectacular domed stadium for the soon to be Las Vegas Raiders.  I read that Tom Hanks is a die hard Raiders fan and he stated that he can’t imagine the Raiders playing in a domed stadium, in the desert, on artificial turf, not far from a Roman palace, Egyptian pyramid and the Eiffel Tower!!  Some things are going take getting used to.

Top Golf at the MGM; First time golf experience

On my last trip to Las Vegas, my friend Brian wanted to check out the Top Golf at the Mgm Grand.  I remember seeing it on my trip in October, but I never got around to checking out, most likely because I don’t golf.

Best way to enter, drive north on Koval Lane from Tropicana Boulevard and you will see the towering building on the left.  They have an open parking lot, valet parking and shuttle buses from the area hotels that drop off right in front.  We made the mistake of parking in the MGM Grand parking garage and walking!.  It is over a mile walk through the parking garage, through the hotel lobby, through the casino and past the shops.  Then, you exit out to a couple of pools, past the convention center then you will find it.

Once we got in, I was surprised to find that it was inexpensive to play.  There was a five dollar initial charge for a membership and $45 an hour, no matter how large the party.  We given a bay that had three couches, a coffee table, and table service for food or drinks.  The hostess explained to us how the system works;  you enter in the type of program you want, ie just practice hitting, competition, etc.  Enter in the names of the participants and the screen will guide you when to begin.

You wave your club in front of a sensor and the golf ball is spit out at you.  Each ball is microchipped so when you hit it, the distance and spot where it lands are all recorded.  Comes in real handy when someone’s competitive nature kicks in.

Overall, it is a fun experience, especially for someone like me who has never hit a golf ball in their life.   Will definitely be back again and I was told by the employees there that there are plans for a Top Golf here in Hawaii!

Professional sports in Sin City

Oakland Raiders might become the Las Vegas Raiders. There is a hockey franchise ready to start and now there might be a NBA team in Las Vegas. Prior to all this, about the only professional sport you had in the desert was the Las Vegas 51’s, the minor league farm team for the New York Mets. There would be occasional NBA preseason games with the Los Angeles Lakers, but it might all change soon.

Imagine how the freeways will look if the Raiders do make their home in Las Vegas. If the Arizona Cardinals or Los Angeles Rams were to play in Las Vegas, there would a constant back up of cars stretching from Las Vegas back to either Phoenix or Los Angeles. I only mention those two for traffic because they seem to be the cities with the most people who will drive to Las Vegas versus flying.

Still no word yet on having these professional franchises in Las Vegas would effect betting at the sports books. We know that it doesn’t effect backroom betting, but the regulated betting lines might not fare too well with these teams in the State of Nevada.

Olympics in Las Vegas; Anything is possible

These past few days I have been glued to the TV and other news website concerning the coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  I will start off by saying I am extremely proud of our athletes for what they have accomplished and really wish they could win them all.  Every four years are the only time I get into watching swimming, water polo, track and field etc.

So far in my lifetime I have seen the summer games twice within the USA and it got me thinking about the possibility of the Olympics being in Las Vegas?  Hear me out before you start with the reasons why it couldn’t happen.

Since hotels and mega malls seem to get built in record time in Las Vegas, I’m certain an Olympic sized arena could be built and in record time. The city of Las Vegas is toying with the idea of bringing the Oakland Raiders or another professional football team to the city and the arena, complete with football field and surrounded by a track could be the perfect solution.

An Olympic pool would have to be built, but with the heat in Las Vegas, it wouldn’t be hard to have people using it for a long time after the Olympics.

Other venues could be built or are currently in place to host most events.  We all know that hotels rooms would not be a problem there.

 

Walking to exercise and take in the sights of Las Vegas

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I love to visit Las Vegas as much as the next person, but there are times when I visit that I want to slow down and see what’s around. An energetic couple in my neighborhood of Mililani Mauka told me about an activity they do when they travel. Dennis and Carol Romig belong to a local walking club named “Menehune Marchers“. They have walked in all 50 states and have passed on some information for this blog.
Whenever they visit Las Vegas, not only do they gamble, shop, eat and sightsee, they do long walks. Their club is in a network of other walking clubs across the country and when they visit the 9th Island, they take time from the usual to work off the awesome food they have been consuming.

Have you noticed that you tend to see a lot more things when you walk vs riding a vehicle?  I know I do.  You find LOTS of small, hole in the wall places to shop and eat.  You get to really appreciate what a business has to offer, and the food can really taste good because you have worked up an appetite by walking.

Most of these clubs walk most of the year except the summer months because, as we all know, it can be super hot!  I have enclosed some pics of the route these walkers have taken and will be following up on this blog entry in the near future.

Coffee rewards to cost more

Tomorrow starts the new Starbucks Coffee rewards program.  I’m not too sure it’s necessarily an improvement on the old program.  Under the old program, you load your gold Starbucks card with either cash or pay from a credit card and use your Starbucks Rewards card whenever you would buy something.  Coffee, pastry, gum, it didn’t matter what you bought because you only had to use it 12 times to get a free drink.
Using Hawaii prices, you pay for a tall house coffee for around $1.94.  Do this 12 times and you spend around $23. 28 to get a reward.  Under the revised plan, you earn 2 stars for every dollar you spend and when you earn 125 stars, you get a free drink. So you have to essentially spend $62.50 to earn a free drink!  It is $39.22 more! I can see some people buying a Venti Frappuccino with 20 extra shots just see if they can get their money’s worth.
With that being said, if your visiting Las  Vegas and need your daily Starbucks fix to get  your day started, you might want to  avoid the locations downtown Las Vegas and the Strip.  The Golden Nugget has two locations, one near the Carson Tower and one next Fremont Street.  I have noticed that the prices there might even be higher than the airports.  Some drinks are almost double your neighborhood Starbucks.
On the Strip, you can find a Starbucks at the Venetian, Planet Hollywood, The Fashion Show Mall , the Linq, New York New York, the Mirage, Caeser’s Palace, Harrah’s and Mandalay Bay.  As you can bet, because of the locations, the prices tend to be higher.
Do yourself a favor and buy your Starbucks at a location outside of the Strip and downtown areas.  If you leave downtown via Paradise road, there is one just past the Las Vegas Boulevard intersection.  Of course, if you want to spend the money so you can qualify for your upcoming free drink, feel free to spend at these locations.

Why I’m here

mccarrenwelcome

I have lived in Hawaii for most of my life and have found that the rest of the world views my home as “paradise”, which it really is.  Sun, pleasant weather, beaches, beautiful people etc.  Which makes it hard to realize that those of us that call Hawaii home vacation away from here and the number 1 vacation destination (at least it seems to me) is Las Vegas, Nevada!! Known in Hawaii as the “9th Island”.

I would visit Las Vegas at a drop of a hat if I could.  I know there are others out there like me who feel the same way.  I wanted to have a spot on the web where I could share what I learn about the 9th Island in my travels, research and, of course, talking story with others who enjoy Las Vegas.

As I write this, I will be quoting other articles that I come across and I will diligently, try as much as I can to give them the credit due.  This not a blog for tips on how to gamble or count cards etc. but more of a place for everything else while on a Las Vegas vacation.