Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Absinthe in Las Vegas

 

Marie and I usually take a short winter vacation to Las Vegas, mainly as a respite from the cold and almost daily rain in Oregon.

We don’t do much. I usually visit an old childhood friend to talk over old times.  Marie and I eat fancy food and walk and gawk for miles along Las Vegas Boulevard. One time I had my photo taken with two of the girls who wander around looking for men who want them to appear in photos they can take back home to post on Facebook. I think I posted mine to Ricochet a few years ago, but it cost me twenty bucks so I need to get my money’s worth out of it by recycling it. Besides, I’m fond of it. So that’s me again with a couple of police girls who wanted to arrest me and kiss me at the same time. 

On one visit, Marie and I rode the High Roller, the world’s highest Ferris wheel, to see the city lights below us. Our pod had a well-stocked bar that served beer and hard liquor. Get drunk in a glass pod while you’re 500 feet in the air! Whee! Living on the edge!

A while back there was concern in Las Vegas when Asian countries and states outside of Nevada began to legalize gambling. The city was worried that gamblers would stay home and gamble in Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon, the Trump Taj Mahal in New Jersey, or, most worrisome, the new gambling Mecca of Macau in China.

Las Vegas needn’t have worried. The place is jumping. Las Vegas Boulevard is full of gawkers like me, and the casinos are noisy with slots, roulette, card games, and craps going 24 hours a day. I was up one morning about three a.m.in the Bellagio, and the place was still going strong.

Asians were all over the place. Macau might be closer, but the Chinese still want to see Vegas, which has remade itself, once again, this time into a world destination city of famous-chef restaurants, showgirls and Elvis on the sidewalks, new skyscrapers like the 64-story Trump International Hotel, and even more of the giant casinos. It’s more like an adult Disneyland than ever.

I left with three new impressions from this visit.

Las Vegas Boulevard. On our last visit, about a year ago, Las Vegas had a small version of the same problem that most big cities have: people living on the streets. This time Marie and I noticed that the streets were almost clear of street people. Last November, Las Vegas passed a law that banned people from sleeping on the street. At the same time, the police started actual policing. When they come across a person lounging or lying on the street, they talk to him and immediately get him to a mental hospital, drug rehab — or they merely roust him off the street.

As far back as 2015, the county had banned the “hand-billers.” These are the guys, almost all illegal aliens, who hand out girlie cards on which are listed phone numbers to call for a “date.” What they are, everybody knows, are cards that will call a prostitute to your room. The police used to let the handbillers slide, but now the police actually enforce the law by handing out citations to the card-snapping hand-billers and roust them off the streets. We didn’t see a single hand-biller this time.

All that’s left are the showgirls, Elvises, and Blue Men who want you to join them for a photo. (See above.) Las Vegas puts up with them, probably because they are non-threatening and add a bit of color to Las Vegas Boulevard. Wives sometimes like to take a photo of their husbands with the showgirls.

The Bellagio. We stayed in the Bellagio this time. I was amazed by the richness of the hotel environment. There seemed to be acres of mosaic marble used as flooring. Look carefully at the tiled floor to the right. Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

This visit, the hotel featured a huge display of objects associated with the Chinese Year of the Rat. The Bellagio has a special interest in pleasing its Chinese visitors, who really like to gamble, so there you have it: The Year of the Rat. About half of the visitors walking around the Year of the Rat exhibit seemed to be Chinese.

Everything is oversized. The Bellagio, the most expensive hotel ever built, has ceiling art by Chihuly, consisting of hundreds of large illuminated glass flowers, which cost the Bellagio 10 million dollars. There is a fine-art gallery (15 bucks to get in) that was showing Japanese art. Just imagine how much the land in front of the hotel along Las Vegas Boulevard, which is now devoted to the dancing fountains, is worth.

Our Las Vegas Show. But the highlight of our trip was a $125 a pop Vegas show we attended in a venue in the courtyard of Caesar’s Palace.

It was about as far from your usual Vegas show, glitzy and upscale, as you can get. Called Absinthe (after the notorious green liquor, said to drive you crazy if you’re not careful, favored by artists like Baudelaire and Toulouse-Lautrec). I didn’t get a very good shot of the interior with my iPhone, but here is what I got. The stage was beneath that blue cloth that hangs from the ceiling.

Talk about funky. The show took place in a large tent with a round stage nine feet in diameter, the audience within a foot or two from the stage. Every chair was different: ladderbacks, kitchen, folding, in reds, greens, yellows, and blacks. I’ve never seen anything like it. Six hundred wooden chairs, all different, tied together with zip ties. The walls were covered with a melange of art, from raunchy to kid art to post-it notes

The show consisted of two parts: world-class international acrobatic acts, mostly working without a net, and the raunchiest and most politically incorrect show I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen some raunchy shows in Tijuana and Munich). The master of ceremonies was so raunchy that I heard the lady next to me gasping. (Marie, to my left, only frowned.) And he had a female assistant who was even raunchier, so much so that when she was in the middle of a filthy stream of consciousness, the M.C. had to tell her to shut up — all a part of the act, of course.

The M.C. made fun of blacks in the audience, their dialects, their clothing, and the size of their, er. . . . . One black guy rose and talked back. I can’t tell you, for fear of the Ricochet moderators (wait, I am one), what their conversation consisted of. The MC even talked one guy in the audience into sticking out his tongue so that they could touch tongues. Have you ever seen a show in which the master of ceremony talked a member of the audience into touching tongues with him?

All of this raunchiness wasn’t Marie’s cup of tea. She’s refined, you know. But it was so over the top that I laughed until my sides hurt.

So Marie and I had a hell of a time in Vegas. We walked around in the warm sun, were awed by the marble tiles in the Bellagio, paid eight bucks for single-scoop ice cream cones, seven dollars for a glass of Bud Light, and saw sights we’ve never seen before, including two men touching tongues. What more can a person ask of a vacation?

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 36 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Which one is your wife?

    • #1
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:56 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    Which one is your wife?

    The one whose lips are farthest from my cheek.

    • #2
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:58 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  3. Guruforhire Member

    What I liked about the bellagio is that even the drunken frat dude-bros behaved when in the bellagio, and the employees enforced some standards of decorum.

    • #3
    • February 22, 2020, at 8:02 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  4. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    KentForrester: The city was worried that gamblers would stay home and gamble in Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon, the Trump Taj Mahal in New Jersey, or, most worrisome, the new gambling Mecca of Macau in China.

    There is only one Las Vegas…and you can’t out-Vegas Vegas!

    • #4
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The licentious environment of “Sin City” doesn’t interest me. But the architecture and glitz do. I’ve never been, but would like to take my camera there one day.

    I thought prostitution was legal in Nevada. It is in some counties, but oddly not in Las Vegas.

    My brother occasionally goes there for business conventions and enjoys a track that lets him test drive supercars.

    • #5
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:19 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The licentious environment of “Sin City” doesn’t interest me. But the architecture and glitz do. I’ve never been, but would like to take my camera there one day.

    I thought prostitution was legal in Nevada. It is in some counties, but oddly not in Las Vegas.

    My brother occasionally goes there for business conventions and enjoys a track that lets him test drive supercars.

    It’s not legal, Aaron, but it is accepted and rarely prosecuted. The cards that are handed out on Las Vegas Boulevard have telephone numbers that will link you up to a prostitute. 

    • #6
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:26 AM PST
    • Like
  7. JustmeinAZ Member

    I never go to Vegas as a preferred destination – just for meetings, conventions, etc. I always feel a little slimy by the time I leave.

    • #7
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:36 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    It’s not legal, Aaron, but it is accepted and rarely prosecuted.

    So the opposite of self-defense laws in Texas, then. You are free to shoot an intruder, but expect the big city Attorney General to come after you.

    • #8
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:41 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. Randy Webster Member

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    • #9
    • February 22, 2020, at 9:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    Don’t burst my bubble, Randy.

    • #10
    • February 22, 2020, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    Don’t burst my bubble, Randy.

    Randy, I took a close look at three or four of the sections and they really looked like the small tiles were placed by hand. But I suppose the creator might have placed the tiles that way to make them look like they were done by hand. At any rate, it is a marvelous effect. I couldn’t see any joints where the sheets might have met.

    • #11
    • February 22, 2020, at 11:27 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Full Size Tabby Member

    It has been many years since I was in Las Vegas, but I am pleased to hear your report that the hand-billers have disappeared. Constantly being accosted by them as I walked along the sidewalk was the most disappointing part of my visits.

    I did not (and do not) gamble, but I did really enjoy studying the architecture of the themed hotels and how they carried the theme into various parts of the property (as well as the ways all the hotels force visitors to pass by gambling opportunities). 

    And the engineer in me was mesmerized contemplating the hydraulics underneath the Bellagio’s fountain show (there must be some impressive pump power to get that much water to dance like that). 

    • #12
    • February 22, 2020, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    It has been many years since I was in Las Vegas, but I am pleased to hear your report that the hand-billers have disappeared. Constantly being accosted by them as I walked along the sidewalk was the most disappointing part of my visits.

    I did not (and do not) gamble, but I did really enjoy studying the architecture of the themed hotels and how they carried the theme into various parts of the property (as well as the ways all the hotels force visitors to pass by gambling opportunities).

    And the engineer in me was mesmerized contemplating the hydraulics underneath the Bellagio’s fountain show (there must be some impressive pump power to get that much water to dance like that).

    I’ve thought about those pumps as well, Tabby. I wonder how long the Bellagio will give out that free show, which must be terribly expensive, before they are tempted to sell that huge expanse of prime real estate.

    • #13
    • February 22, 2020, at 11:49 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Alternate titles for your post: “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Much Less Fond?”  And “Absinthe Without Leave?” (Full disclosure: Both of those were suggested to me by Bob the Dog, who was not at all gruntled by your little jaunt without him.)

    • #14
    • February 22, 2020, at 11:54 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  15. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    She (View Comment):

    Alternate titles for your post: “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Much Less Fond?” And “Absinthe Without Leave?” (Full disclosure: Both of those were suggested to me by Bob the Dog, who was not at all gruntled by your little jaunt without him.)

    She, I tried my hardest to come up with a punny version of the familiar saying. I came up with nothing but one lame version that wasn’t worth thinking about twice.

    Then you came along and came up with two.

    ”. . .not at all gruntled.” You’re just a fount of word wit that seems to come with little effort. As I’ve said before, I just bet you were the little smart (or smart-Alec) girl who sat in front of the class with all the answers.

    It’s still no surprise to me that your professor ended up marrying you. I bet you batted your little eyelashes at him as you were reading the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales in an medieval accent so real that you left him wanting you. And the rest of the class was left hating you.

    All kidding aside, She, I think of your husband often and wish him well.

    • #15
    • February 22, 2020, at 12:04 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  16. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Alternate titles for your post: “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Much Less Fond?” And “Absinthe Without Leave?” (Full disclosure: Both of those were suggested to me by Bob the Dog, who was not at all gruntled by your little jaunt without him.)

    She, I tried my hardest to come up with a punny version of the familiar saying. I came up with nothing but one lame version that wasn’t worth thinking about twice.

    Then you came along and came up with two.

    That is only because Bob the Dog shares my confidence.

    ”. . .not at all gruntled.” You’re just a fount of word wit that seems to come with little effort. As I’ve said before, I just bet you were the little smart (or smart-Alec) girl who sat in front of the class with all the answers.

    lol

    It’s still no surprise to me that your professor ended up marrying you. I bet you batted your little eyelashes at him as you were reading the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales in an medieval accent so real that you left him wanting you. And the rest of the class was left hating you.

    All kidding aside, She, I think of your husband often and wish him well.

    Thanks, @kentforrester. He’s not doing so well at the moment, and I appreciate your kind thoughts.

    • #16
    • February 22, 2020, at 12:18 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Randy Webster Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    Don’t burst my bubble, Randy.

    Randy, I took a close look at three or four of the sections and they really looked like the small tiles were placed by hand. But I suppose the creator might have placed the tiles that way to make them look like they were done by hand. At any rate, it is a marvelous effect. I couldn’t see any joints where the sheets might have met.

    I’ve been involved in the placement of a lot of mosaic tile, and you can’t see the joints between the sheets.

    • #17
    • February 22, 2020, at 12:55 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    Don’t burst my bubble, Randy.

    Randy, I took a close look at three or four of the sections and they really looked like the small tiles were placed by hand. But I suppose the creator might have placed the tiles that way to make them look like they were done by hand. At any rate, it is a marvelous effect. I couldn’t see any joints where the sheets might have met.

    I’ve been involved in the placement of a lot of mosaic tile, and you can’t see the joints between the sheets.

    Whoops, I’ve met someone who knows things. Always a downer for a guy like me. 

    • #18
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:05 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Randy Webster Member

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester: Those tiny pieces of marble were placed there individually.

    I hate to bust your bubble, Kent, and it’s possible that I’m wrong, but I think those tiles came on 1′ x 2′ sheets from the factory.

    Don’t burst my bubble, Randy.

    Randy, I took a close look at three or four of the sections and they really looked like the small tiles were placed by hand. But I suppose the creator might have placed the tiles that way to make them look like they were done by hand. At any rate, it is a marvelous effect. I couldn’t see any joints where the sheets might have met.

    I’ve been involved in the placement of a lot of mosaic tile, and you can’t see the joints between the sheets.

    Whoops, I’ve met someone who knows things. Always a downer for a guy like me.

    Well, the tiles might have been placed individually, but I doubt even Bellagio’s could afford the labor. Tile masons (they hate it when you call them that) don’t come cheap.

    • #19
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:26 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Vegas answers the question, “Can something be too big, too gaudy, too overdone, too excessive?”

    And the answer is, “No!”

    I remember on my first visit seeing that there was a store dedicated to M&M’s and M&M-related merchandise. You might not think that you could make a whole store out of that, but not only was there such a place, it was four stories high!

    We stayed at the Luxor, which is an amazing building. There should be more places like that, especially in cold climates. It’s like a little town inside a shell of housing.

    • #20
    • February 22, 2020, at 1:31 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  21. Doug Watt Moderator

    • #21
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:50 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Doug Watt Moderator

    If you have to gamble then playing the Pass Line at the Craps table is your best bet. Your odds of winning are almost even with the Casino. You should always remember that those big hotels with their expensive décor were not built, or maintained by paying winners.

    If you decide to visit the Stratosphere, or wander around on the old Strip take a cab, the neighborhoods in that area are sketchy. Casino’s are not the only businesses that want to fleece you, there are freelancers out there.

    Don’t make an ass of yourself because Las Vegas cops have seen just about everything, and will give a tourist a break if they can, but they can be tough when it comes to stupid behavior.

    • #22
    • February 22, 2020, at 7:56 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  23. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    KentForrester: The city was worried that gamblers would stay home and gamble in Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon, the Trump Taj Mahal in New Jersey, or, most worrisome, the new gambling Mecca of Macau in China.

    There is only one Las Vegas…and you can’t out-Vegas Vegas!

    On the first count, you are wrong.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Vegas,_New_Mexico

    On the second, true.

    • #23
    • February 23, 2020, at 1:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  24. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    If you have to gamble then playing the Pass Line at the Craps table is your best bet. Your odds of winning are almost even with the Casino. You should always remember that those big hotels with their expensive décor were not built, or maintained by paying winners.

    If you decide to visit the Stratosphere, or wander around on the old Strip take a cab, the neighborhoods in that area are sketchy. Casino’s are not the only businesses that want to fleece you, there are freelancers out there.

    Don’t make an ass of yourself because Las Vegas cops have seen just about everything, and will give a tourist a break if they can, but they can be tough when it comes to stupid behavior.

    Don’t go up the Stratosphere. I traveled to Vegas quite a few times while it was being built, and I don’t trust it for a second.

    There weren’t even any plans when they started. They just started building and kept going until the FAA called and said, “Um… you’re in the flight path for McCarran. So stop.”

    • #24
    • February 23, 2020, at 1:26 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    The licentious environment of “Sin City” doesn’t interest me. But the architecture and glitz do. I’ve never been, but would like to take my camera there one day.

    I thought prostitution was legal in Nevada. It is in some counties, but oddly not in Las Vegas.

    My brother occasionally goes there for business conventions and enjoys a track that lets him test drive supercars.

    It’s not legal, Aaron, but it is accepted and rarely prosecuted. The cards that are handed out on Las Vegas Boulevard have telephone numbers that will link you up to a prostitute.

    Those cards promise that a girl will come to your room, but she’ll arrive with a very large man, who will stand outside your door while she explains to you the options available and what the cost is.

    Or so I’ve heard.

    • #25
    • February 23, 2020, at 1:28 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Vegas seems to be good about keeping the Strip continuously refreshed and relatively free of annoyances. But downtown Vegas the last time I was there was pretty depressing and more akin to the other casinos around the U.S. and the world, where there’s no pretense that you’re there for anything else but to gamble. That’s been the key to the Strip’s success over the past 60-plus years — cater to the high-rollers, but offer up enough other entertainment options that people can go to Vegas for a couple of days and not have spending all their time inside the casino as the only real entertainment option.

    • #26
    • February 23, 2020, at 8:04 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Mark Camp Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    If you have to gamble then playing the Pass Line at the Craps table is your best bet.

    Good rational advice (but not good devil-may-care fun-loving advice).

    Addendum: the very best bet is Pass (or No Pass) with Free Odds, at as high a multiple as you can find. Apparently you are sometimes allowed 10x and in one casino, even 100x backup bets!

    (The house take on a normal Pass is 0.014. I don’t have handy the figure for a 100x Free Odds bet. It isn’t near zero as it would seem at first, because almost half the time they win on the first roll and you never get the chance to play at fair odds.)

    My brother taught me this optimal strategy before he and his wife took us to our first trip to a casino, in Atlantic City.

    I played perfectly, betting the minimum $5.00 on Pass. Five rolls, five losses, and my nest egg of $25 was gone in about 90 seconds. I experienced nothing that I would call entertainment, even though that was my ostensible goal. (I subconsciously wanted to be entertained by, specifically, taking a big wad of cash back to the beach place and patiently explaining the theory to all those who gazed at me in wonder.)

    Fortunately, not far away my silly, non-mathematical wife and my brother’s wife were having a total, giggling, screaming blast at the highly-irrational slots, and were swimming in cash. She spotted me enough to keep playing a few more minutes.

    • #27
    • February 23, 2020, at 8:27 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  28. Larry3435 Member

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    (The house take on a normal Pass is 0.014. I don’t have handy the figure for a 100x Free Odds bet. It isn’t near zero as it would seem at first, because almost half the time they win on the first roll and you never get the chance to play at fair odds.)

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at there Mark, but a player betting on the Pass Line loses 4 out of 36 on the first roll and wins 8 out of 36 on the first roll. On the other 24 possible come-out rolls the player can take the (multiple) odds, which are paid at zero house advantage. That’s the way to play, if you’re going to play. The overall house advantage is very near to zero. The house makes up for it on all the idiots playing the Field and other prop bets that are big losers.

    • #28
    • February 23, 2020, at 4:34 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  29. Jessi Bridges Contributor

    KentForrester: On our last visit, about a year ago, Las Vegas had a small version of the same problem that most big cities have: people living on the streets.

    Unfortunately the issue has not been resolved, it’s only moved. To our backyard. There has been little, if any, work done to address the issue. The laws they’ve passed have basically done nothing but anger the homeless supporters.

    • #29
    • February 24, 2020, at 2:55 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Marie’s patience level == “Legendary.”

    • #30
    • February 25, 2020, at 6:07 AM PST
    • 2 likes