The International Writers Magazine: Avoiding Ivan - Michael
Levy goes west...
days in Vegas
plane touches down at eleven o'clock pm after a five hour flight
from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My wife and I start our five day
vacation in-famous Las Vegas. For fifty-nine years I have been meaning
to pay a visit to the city where anything goes and finally I have
made it thanks to a little incentive from Hurricane Ivan. We jump
into a taxi and right away the happy-go-lucky driver wants to know
if we want to take the freeway or the strip to our hotel...The Excalibur.
Since the hotel is only one and a half miles away I did not think
the freeway was a good idea. He then asks if we would like a tour
of the strip. I explain it is really two in the morning as far as
our body clock is concerned but that does not deter him from asking
"so how about a trip down the strip."
Once I explained
I was a reporter he took me straight to our hotel. After a twenty minute
wait to check-in, the courteous clerk ungraded our room to a deluxe
and gave us a special 6 o'clock, late check out time. As we made our
way to the room we have to walk through the busy, cigarette smoke filled
casino. I sense my wife already wishes she was not here and in a daze
bumps into a sinister looking man who gives her a scowling look. Behind
him are two large cops who are escorting him out of the casino. As we
step into the elevator two rednecks with beers in there hands step into
the elevator with us. They stare deeply into my eyes and since I do
not think it was love on their mind I avoid eye contact. I wish them
a good evening as we exit the elevator when it reaches our floor.
'—Wow!' I remark as we walk down the hallway. '—What a great exciting
start to the holiday.'
I don't think wifey shares my joviality. The room is large and clean
but I fail to fathom where the deluxe description came into the picture.
We will not be spending too much time in the room apart from sleeping,
so it is quite adequate and will serve its purpose. We are not paying
a kings ransom at Excalibur therefore, we cannot expect a palace.The
next morning we have to walk through the casino again. At eight- thirty
in the morning there are not many people playing the slots, accordingly,
not too much smoke. We enjoy a few cups of hot tea and a banana for
breakfast in the Sherwood Forest cafe. Folks around us, with large bellies,
are tucking into bacon, eggs, sausage, potato hash, pancakes and waffles.
I guess we are the fishes out of water in this pond. As I drink my tea
I wonder, when did Robin Hoods forest become part of the Arthurian story
of Excalibur? Obviously, the folks who planned the hotel had some secret
inside information on English mythological history?
After a few cups of tea we decided to explore the casino while it has
relatively little cigarette smoke. As we meander around the massive
room we happen upon the Sports Book Center. A large screen is showing
race horses going down to post for the 12-30 pm race from Philadelphia
Park. I remember I had a dream a few days before we left for Vegas and
the number nine kept reoccurring. I look up at the screen and the number
nine horse is being shown on it. I go up to the window and place $10
to win on the number nine horse. My wife tells me it is called '—Bottled
Excitement' and I guess that does sum up my feelings. We sit down to
watch the race with only a few other studious, form following men in
the room. My horse comes out of the gates dead last. As the race progresses
it gradually makes its way through the field overtaking the other horses....It
wins right on the line. It was just like a race you would see in the
movies, where the underdog coming through right on the last stride.
I go to the clerk and hand her my ticket. "Do you know how much
you have won" she says with a nice smile. "No idea" I
replied. She then proceeds to count out four hundred and seventy dollars.
I give her a twenty dollar tip and remark "Its amazing what you
can realize from deciphering dreams" We have a nice little chat
and she thanks me for lighting up her day as we leave the room.
I now have my 'gambling pot' for our stay and no matter what happens,
I will definitely go home with at least $100 of my winnings. We continue
our meandering around our hotel and take the elevator to the upper floor.
It leads to a parade of shops. One is selling sessions of inhaling pure
oxygen. I suppose if you have been gambling for over twenty-four hours
you need something to revive the mind and body.
strolling takes us down a passageway that leads us to the next hotel,
The Luxor. Wow! what a spectacular place. It has large Egyptian
statues and artifacts decorating the lobby and public rooms. In
the entertainment's center there are a number of cinemas with special
effects movies continually playing. One is a 4-D pirate movie with
Leslie Neilson, that we will view in a few days. We do go into an
exhibition replica of Tutankhamen's tomb, with an audio narration
from an actor playing Howard Carter, the man who discovered the
tomb. It is well worth the $5 dollar admission. It only lasts for
twenty minutes but it is very professionally projected. It made
us believe we were viewing the actual tomb, with Carter expressing
his first feelings of excitement and passion on his discovery.
slowly continued our exploration of the Luxor and find ourselves
on an escalator that leads to another five star hotel ... The Mandalay
Bay. This is an outstanding opulent hotel and the more we explore,
the more I feel the ingenuity of the architects that planned this
palace. It is now one-thirty pm and our stomachs begin to rumble
as we had only eaten a banana since last nights meal. We are standing
outside 'The Burger Bar' at The Mandalay and on the menu is a special
burger which they claim is the best meat in the world. We are mostly
vegetarian, but nothing is written in stone and since we are in
sin city we decided to split a burger and a Greek salad.
Both were excellent,
however, the burger is quite small for the $16-00 price tag. We make
our way back to our hotel feeling the effects of walking quite a few
miles without even seeing the light of day. I book a dinner show at
our hotel which was advertised as ... a knights of the round table extravaganza.
A few hours later we are sat in a large arena with dinner tables laid
out in rows. Around sixteen hundred people are seated in eight, two
hundred seat sections, with differing country flags flying over their
space. It the center of this massive room is a large sand floor/stage
where the knights of the round table will joust on horseback and sword
fight with each other in the most realistic manner. Each section of
the room is encouraged to cheer for their knight and it is all very
professionally produced. The meal consists of a small bowl of tomato
soup followed by Cornish hen and a small, cake like apple pie for dessert.
At $43-00 a ticket it is good value and makes for a very enjoyable evenings
entertainment. We are in bed by nine-thirty and go spark-out until 7-00
the next morning.
The next four days were spent on a pilgrimage visiting all the monumental
hotels on the strip. We walk everywhere averaging well over ten miles
a day. A skyway from our hotel takes us over to the New York hotel and
then on to the MGM Grand and Tropicana. From there we made our way to
Paris, Aladdin, Venetian....Across the road we visited Caesars Palace,
Mirage, Bellagio, Monte Carlo. We pace ourselves over the four days
and explore all the public rooms in each hotel. The Bellagio is an imposing,
majestic hotel. At three o'clock in the afternoon we witnessed an enchanting
display of dancing fountains, firstly to the music 'America The Beautiful'
and secondly, Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman singing ... '—Time to
Go Home.' A truly memorable experience.
Venetian also stands out as one of our most enjoyable experiences.
At mid-day we sat in a mock-up of St. Marks Square and attended
a very entertaining show. Five opera singers, three women and two
men, in costume, sang arias from various operas and it was a sheer
delight. On the far side of the square gondola's carry guests on
a short journey on canals around this Venetian oasis, serenaded
by costumed Gondoliers. Whilst we were there, we ate lunch in the
Lutece restaurant, located in the Venetian casino. It is reputedly
the busiest restaurant in the USA. We ordered two salads (one Polynesian,
one Mandarin) which cost only $11-00 each, which has to be super
value in a five star hotel. They were very large and a delight to
the palate. MGM Grand also has a great lunch buffet and for only
$15:00 you can sample a large variety of excellent quality food,
well prepared and in constant abundance. Since we only ate one meal
a day, we made our three lunches at the Grand buffet the best bet
in Vegas, as far as we were concerned.
few years ago, when we stayed in Rome, visits to cathedrals and
fountains were particularly appro- po and after a few days we became
cathedraled out. In Las Vegas visits to hotels and casinos are the
order of the day. I suppose you could say they are holy shrines
to many gamblers. A pilgrimage of a divergent ilk. But after a while,
we, the non-devout, became glitzed-out. Five days in Vegas is enough
to last a non gambler a lifetime.
I would recommend just three nights to be more than adequate for
folks to visit the magnificent hotels of Las Vegas. They are quite
stunning and a testimony to the ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness
of humanity. If only humankind could adapt their skills in a more
authentic manner to help society live a more peaceful, serene life.
But I guess that is just the rambling of a dreamer.
Even so, I must
say we enjoyed our stay in Las Vegas.In summing up my impressions of
the casinos.....Las Vegas is filled with players or should I say prayers.
Each one fixated with taut expressions on their faces, as though they
were sitting in the dentist chair awaiting an extraction. All hoping
for a miracle to occur, all hoping they break the bank and go home rich.
Yes indeed, prayers and players on hallowed ground, in a twenty- four
hour continuum of faithful expectation. But, it is only for the devout
gambler, for when you see the size and grandeur of the hotels, the astute
person understands........ someone has to pay for their opulent materialization
and the expenses of keeping them operating.
© Michael Levy 9 /20/04
In 1998 Michael established Point of Life, Inc., as a vehicle to project
his philosophy and spiritual understanding. The website www.pointoflife.com
and the associated newsletter (Point Of Life Global Newsletter) are
visited and read by thousands of people around the world every month.
Michael is a frequent speaker on radio, television(just a few examples
UK; BBC, ITV4..USA; NBC, C-Span, ABC, Howard Stern Show) and he is now
a host on Voice America.com radio. In 2002 Michael was invited to become
a member of the prestigious Templeton Speaker's Bureau. Michael Levy
is the author four books "What is the Point? "Minds of Blue
Souls of Gold" "Enjoy Yourself - It's Later Than You Think"
and "Invest with a Genius." Michael's poetry and essays now
grace many web sites, Journals and Magazines throughout the world.His
philosophies have become a major source of Truth, Wisdom and Love for
many people. Just one example from manyThe Royal Collage of Psychiatry
has recently published three of his works.
"How much Joy can a human mind encompass in one lifetime?"Michael
Journeys in Hacktreks
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