Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh Mickey...For Shame.

I've worked with Mickey Mouse before. I was in tourism promotion and he was quite the charmer.

He drew crowds and pleased children of all ages.

I guess it was a rule in the Disney hierarchy...Mickey in public did not speak.

Or groan. Saw this version in Las Vegas along The Strip.

He was sprawled out in front of the elegant Venetian Hotel & Casino.

I went inside and found a delightful air-conditioned indoor mall (Well, this place IS pretty warm all year long.)

This one had a simulated blue sky and - being Venice - the expected gondoliers.

I don't gamble and my skin doctor strongly suggests that I NOT sit around the pool in a desert.

That leaves lots of walking around, gawking at the sights.

And stopping in for a beer at B.B. King's place.

I missed going into his one in Memphis but I saw he was not performing tonight in Vegas.

A trio was onstage but took a long break right after I walked in an sat down. They eventually came back as I was leaving. My tab showed I had paid an additional 10% item listed as L.E.T.

My server explained that was a Live Entertainment Tax that clubs charged if there was music.

When you're sightseeing, it's good if you can get to a high spot for the best overall view.

The 108-story Stratosphere Hotel/Casino/Tower was just the place.

They call it "Vegas Without A Net."

Rides at the top jut you out into space, then suddenly jerk down at an angle, giving the illusion you're free-falling.

You also can REALLY free fall from atop the 1,149 foot observation tower (tallest west of the Mississippi) wearing an elaborate harness attached to a strong cable.

Even with a $4 discount for Seniors, I remembered I don't gamble.

The Bellagio Hotel & Casino has a striking visual soaring over its lobby.

2,000 hand-blown glass flowers - called the Fiori di Como - by world-famous artist Dale Chihuly grab your attention in an attention-grabbing lobby.

Many of the throngs sitting at slot machines probably didn't look up except to see if anyone was winning.

These hotels are not built and paid for by winning customers.

The clerks in this store explained I would have to go elsewhere to get a cold and refreshing beverage.

Nearby was P.J. Clarke's, the bar that's featured on Mad Men, the hit 1960s tv series.

"If they are in a bar, it's P.J. Clarke," the bartender told me.

He also encouraged me to take my "go cups" to the circular escalator and find my way back to The Strip.

I remember when the first escalator was installed in the 1950s in Charleston, SC, my hometown.

Not the first one ever built, the first one in Charleston.

My brothers and I went there to check it out. More than once.


It was in Condon's Department store, downtown, across from where Joe Pasta's restaurant is now.

The stores - there were two connected by a skyway - were converted to student housing for the College of Charleston.

That's the beauty of travel -- it makes you appreciate what you have at home.

(Click on the pictures for more detail.)

Las Vegas is about 2,000 feet above sea level.

The "high desert" is about the 7,000 foot level at the Grand Canyon.

(Please click

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