TL;DR | What happens, stays...sorry folks. Okay okay we went to the Hoover Dam -- amazing architectural and political feat! Otherwise our stay was quite low-key. Just a bit of gambling and exclusive pool partying and all-you-can-eat buffeting...at least that we'll admit to :)
Oh Las Vegas, what a lovely time we had. First, the free parking is wonderful for road trippers. Second, everyone walks here! Third, Stephen won a bunch of money on roulette (at the Bellagio, Caesars, Paris, and Mirage)!...before losing all of that money and a bit more (at the Linq, Venetian, and Bellagio part deux). At least we made it up on the free table drinks and entertainment. Of course we would have gone to the big Vegas shows had we won it big; instead we settled for Hitzville The Musical, which was a blast from the Motown past and a lot of musical fun. That said, it wasn't exactly a Copperfield-esqe performance.
Emily went to "Italy" for the first time, which would have been quite exciting were the pizza less than $6 / slice. We walked through most of the hotels on the main strip and stayed true to our Boston roots by trying Wahlburgers (not Marky Mark's finest venture). We got a 2-for-1 deal on the Carnival buffet at the Rio...including the Seafood Buffet! Suffice it to say we would have profited even if we'd paid full price, mostly on crab legs, sashimi, and prime rib. We went straight home following that eating endeavor, and woke up the next morning with a severe food hangover. Still, totally worth it.
On the intellectual side, we visited the Hoover Dam and were truly amazed by its scale and significance to the country given the Great Depression context and lack of safe technology with which to build the dam. We ate authentic Mexican food at El Torito on the way back before heading to our less intellectual activity: a Vegas pool party! Stephen's friend Bianca threw a big 21st birthday party for her younger sister and invited us to join. We walked miles and miles through the Aria complex to the Liquid Pool Party, where it was great to see Bianca (and a surprise appearance from Begum!). At one point the Liquid employees surrounded the pool with bottles of champagne and on the count of three sprayed the entire crowd -- all of whom were in the pool -- with champagne. At $28 per bottle of sunscreen and $75 per pitcher of mixed drink it was quite the culture shock after so many campsites, but quite welcome (as were the discounts) especially with such great company.
Is it wrong to admit that now, four days after that pool party, we've yet to shower? It's not for a lack of trying, but our campsites in Zion and Bryce haven't had any! We're excited for any semblance of bathing we can find in Lake Powell tomorrow; but alas, we're getting ahead of our blog posts! Fill you in on Zion and Bryce soon (spoiler...probably our favorite hike of the entire trip so far!).