An hour and a half later we were finally pulling into the Luxor. The Luxor is almost the southern most casinos on the strip. Only MandalayBay is farther. As such we did not have to fight much traffic to get there. I more than half expected check in to be a nightmare, but no problem at all. There were three people in line ahead of us, and they had about six people working the counter.
We were on our way through the casino to the inclinator in mere moments.
Whatâ€™s an inclinator, you ask? Well, the Luxor is a pyramid shaped building. The architects decided that rather than square up the inside to put in standard elevators, they would just us special elevators to ride up the diagonal. So when you go up, you also move sideways. You fell the sideways as much or more than the up. I imagine it is hell when you have over enjoyed the favors this town offers.
But first we had to get there. We got about half way inside the casino, carrying luggage, and looking up for signs.
Our room. Note the slanted back wall
These are tell tale signs for the ticket hucksters that all of the Hotel/Casinos seem to employ. They were not strangers to me, but this first one caught me off guard. He asked if I was looking for Inclinator #2. I was, and assumed that this nice gentleman was just going to point me in the right direction. BUZZZZ. I now had to tell the world I was not smarter than a 5th grader. He gestured in the direction we were heading, said itâ€™s over there, and then launched into his sales pitch. I came to my senses about the time he said something about what â€śa good deal he could make meâ€ť. Those words are like cold water. Being more than a touch cynical when I hear those magic words, I automatically figure someone is trying to part me from my money. So I told him, I wanted to get to my room first and I would see him later. He lies. I lie.
Our room was beautiful.
Our room, slanted wall more pronouced
It had a comfortable king bed, a large sitting area by the window, and a good sized bathroom The wall that had the window took a bit of getting used to, as it slanted. It made up part of the pyramid wall. Our view was of MandalayBay. It was very pretty at night, but Iâ€™ll bet the south facing side was even better.
As this was my present and Margo had suggested Laughlin, she asked me what I wanted to do first. I had a small surprise for her. The prior month she had wanted to see a roving exhibit of HMS Titanic artifacts that was being displayed in Denver. She is very interested in that. It ended up closing the day before we worked it into our schedule. The Tropicana has a similar exhibit, and as it was basically across the street, I told her I wanted to walk the strip.
The view from our room. We were too exhausted at night to take one then
When we got there and told her that the Tropicana had an exhibit that she wanted to see, that we had missed in Denver. She had a little surprise for me. She said â€śThe one with dead bodies?â€ť I knew she was referring to Bodies: The Exhibition, which was being exhibited right beside the Titanic one. For those who donâ€™t know, through some sort of voodoo alchemy this exhibit has actual dead people, sans skin, posed to accentuate their muscles and such. Iâ€™m not generally squeamish, but Halloween was months away, so this did not appeal to me much.
Well, you donâ€™t get to stayed married for 21 years and get your way every time, so we ended up buying tickets to seem both exhibits. We started with the Titanic. We were given a card upon entry.
Looking into the Luxor's atrium, from outside our room. It was remarkably quiet and we had not trouble sleeping
The card contained the name of an actual person who sailed on the Titanic and a few biographical details. The premise was that you would be that person for the duration of the tour. We were not told the fate of our person, but were promised that would be revealed at the end of the tour. Margo was a first class woman with 5 (?) children. Her name escapes me, but I knew from survivor statistics she had a really good chance of making. Women and Children first, and 1st class women even more first. I on the other hand was Thomas Andrews, the chief architect of the Titanic. I saw the movie and knew that even though I built Rose a good ship, when it sank I went down with it. It was still cool to be a famous dead person.
The actual exhibit took you through the construction of the ship, and boarding.
Then a bit about life on the ship, and then the day the iceberg jumped out in front of the ship. They had an actual hunk of ice, about eight feet long, five feet high, and about three feet deep. You could touch it and get a feel for how sturdy the real thing must have been. It was actually quite impressive. The artifacts themselves were interesting. I was much more impressed by the fact that they had been recovered. The Titanic is resting at 15,000 feet below sea level. That's a touch below normal scuba depth. Plus the water is deadly cold. You saw the movie, too. I think we spent about an hour walking from display to display. One of the final rooms had a large wall display. It contained those who lived and died that dark night in 1912. As expected I didnâ€™t make. Surprisingly, neither did Margo, and only one of the kids, the baby survived. Our last stop was the gift shop where I bought Margo a necklace that contains a piece of coal from the Titanic. Cool, but Iâ€™m not so certain we should consider it a Good Luck charm, and she is leaving it at home when we take our next cruise.
This was the only shot I have. They look just like that, only bigger. Dead people, what's next?
Oh, Joy! Now it was time for the dead bodies. Neither this exhibit nor the Titanic one allows you to take pictures. So I have only the sign to show you. I borrowed that pic from their website. But, you get an idea of how graphic these things are. The process was turning dead people into a display was explained in one of the first few rooms. First the Dead Guy is dissected in such a manner as to display the anatomical feature they wanted to highlight. This might include cutting out front muscles to show back muscles. Or cutting away most of the muscles to show nerves or veins. Whatever. Then Cut Up Dead Guy is placed in a bath of acetone. The acetone drives out all of the water in the body. Next Dehydrated Dead Guy is placed in a bath of a polymer compound, while in a vacuum environment. As the vacuum takes care of evacuating the acetone, the polymer leaches into the space that first had water, and then acetone.
Look I found a way to recover from seeing dead people.
So now Plastic Dead Guy is preserved forever. Who thinks this stuff up?
We saw all of the major systems in the body. Most were male by the way. Plastic Dead Guy is anatomically correct. Freaky. All of the Plastic Dead Guys had the skin removed, which was the really freaky part. One of the final displays had just skin and no body. Equally as freaky. It was like something from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There was display with a cancerous lung, and a large bin to throw out your cigarettes. It was half full. They had Plastic Female Dead Guys in one of the last rooms. Boobs just donâ€™t look good without skin. Nope, not at all.
The most disturbing part was the last room.
He's lucky I didn't take a bit out of him!
It contained fetuses. They warned you before you entered what you would see, and offered you a door that would lead you around this part. But, not wanting to miss any part of this car accident, we continued on. There were a set of conjoined (Siamese) twins, and another near full term baby who had died when its organs developed outside the body. But the worst for me was the display with the fetuses in various stages of gestation. Iâ€™ll try not to get too political, but Iâ€™m pro-choice concerning abortion, up to the end of the first trimester. Then I figure, itâ€™s a baby and itâ€™s murder. I think I am still pro-choice, but that 12 week old baby, all though small, looked completely formed. Maybe Mom needs to make her choice a little sooner.
The gift shop was not an option. I had seen all I wanted to, and my feet hurt. I had gotten brand new shoes.
I usually have sense enough not to break in new shoes on vacation, but these were Dr. Schollâ€™s brand, and in the past those have been comfortable right out of the box. These werenâ€™t. Feet aside, by now even with dead bodies fresh in my mind, I was getting hungry. It was about 7 PM. Margo asked where I wanted to eat. I suggested Hooters, as it was pretty close and visiting this chain has become a vacation tradition.
I just love Hooters Hot Wings. (I said that with a straight face. I want credit). Margo doesnâ€™t mind. She thinks it amusing and she really does like the food. Jessi gets a T-shirt and I usually get a picture with the girls. They make for an interesting screen saver. Margo likes to make fun of the look on my face.
We had a short wait so I got my picture taken right away. Margo took it, and commented, â€śAt least you smiled in this oneâ€ť On the ones I didnâ€™t smile one, I can assure I was happy on the inside. We had a nice, far from quiet, meal. But, we had had all the quiet we could stand until our eventual collapse later this evening. When we were done, we picked up our drinks (I love Vegas) and walked out with them.
We had a lot of people on our shopping list, so we decided to head over to the Showcase Mall by the MGM Grand.
If you have ever walked the Strip in Vegas, you know how deceptive the distances can be. The MGM is relatively close, but it still took a while. When we got to the corner of Las Vegas Blvd (The Strip) and Tropicana Ave, we did pause long enough to snap a picture or two of New YorkNew York. Then it was off to the Mall.
The Showcase Mall has two main businesses M&M World and World of Coca Cola. For reasons we did not even discuss, we skipped World of Coca Cola all together. But, I decided I needed a chocolate fix, so we went inside M& M World to both shop and take care of my fix. There are four levels to this store. Itâ€™s like Macyâ€™s.I think we skipped the top floor, as we had taken care of everyone we could shop for here, and decided there was more to see.
The Bellago fountains view from atop the Eiffel Tower
As we left the building there was a giant blue M&M out front. So we got our picture taken.
From here we continued north on the Strip. We stopped to check out t-shirt vendors and other such kiosks set up. And of course there were the ever present â€ścanvassersâ€ť. Canvassers are hired help of the various escort services around town. There job is to pass out playing card size flyers to advertise there services. I recall them vividly from my first trip in 2003. The cards featured a naked woman on the front. Iâ€™m not against pictures of naked women, but it just seems wrong to have they thrust upon you. And that is exactly there job. They pop and snap the cards then hold them right out in front of you. It is very rude> Iâ€™ve been told the courts have ruled they are within their rights to do this, but itâ€™s a real pain in the ass.
The Eiffle Tower. Three legs are actually in the Paris casino
I did joke with Margo that maybe I should collect 52 of them, and make my own Vegas deck of cards, but I never took any.
The night had been a touch chilly and windy, so we were getting cold. We had worn shorts and had not changed. We had wandered down the strip as far as Paris, so we went in. Parisâ€™s signature feature is itâ€™s replica of the EiffelTower. The one in Vegas is 540 tall. The real one is about double that at 986 feet. One none of our prior trips to Vegas, either together or separate had either of gone up. So what the hell. We paid our ten dollars each, and up we went. The view was spectacular. You could see all the way downtown to the north, and the big beam of the Luxor was easily seen to the south. But, it was cooollld. The wind up top was much worse than below. So we shivered. We would have gone right back down, except the Bellagio and their famous fountains were about to go off at 11 PM. They werenâ€™t late. We had seen them before, but not from this perspective. Very cool. We enjoyed it despite freezing off parts of our anatomy that I was sure were going to be on display back at Bodies.
When the show was done, so were we. It was , we were beat. It was back home, so I had been going for 18 Â˝ hours, and Margo closer to 20. And we still had a hike back to the Luxor. It took us about half an hour to finally make it the hotel. By the time we got some water, figured out that our TVC remote didnâ€™t work, and got undressed it was well past . We went to bed and had no illusions of being up for breakfast.