Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy 2015!

  Well, we blew out the last hours of 2014 in fine style in Las Vegas, of all places. It was a last minute decision, and we were so very blessed with easy travel, a great room, and a fairly effortless good time on the strip.

  We expected to run into snow on the drive, from that big winter storm that moved in, but all it did was give a light dusting to the mountains. Traffic was kinda bad, though, as just about everybody on the coast was trying to use Interstate 15 to get into Vegas. I read ahead of time that they were expecting about 340,000 people. I'm not sure the cold weather allowed for that, but it was still pretty packed.
  First off, I have to say that the staff at Bally's, where we stayed, was awesome. They were friendly, helpful, and cheerful, despite having to probably deal with 1000% more bullshit than usual that day. Kudos, Bally's.

Our amazing room

  After a short nap, we ventured out to find something to eat, expecting to come up short. Everything would surely be booked or jammed with people. Because we were slightly early, though, and slightly ahead of the curve, we were able to get into BLT Steakhouse at Bally's. It was certainly upscale enough, and we felt pretty pampered. The food was delicious, as were the drinks.

  After stuffing ourselves silly, we ventured out into the cold night. The strip had been blocked off to vehicular traffic, so the streets were jammed with people. The early atmosphere was good, probably because people weren't drunk yet. Street vendors were selling hot beverages, hats, funny glasses and the like. The Bellagio's fountains boomed nearby, adding to the spectacle.

  Because it was down to about 32 degrees, we decided we'd make our way through the crowds and try to get inside the Bellagio. Once we finally made it (no small feat in itself), we were treated to quite the Christmastime extravaganza.

Décor behind the concierge
Winter wonderland
Beauty in front of beauty

  Besides the giant Christmas trees and ornaments, there were polar bears, penguins, model trains coursing around, and probably about a billion poinsettias. It was simply magical.
  And then it was time to make our way back outside. Midnight was about fifteen minutes away.
  The streets were jammed up with people, who were now starting to get plainly obnoxious. Horns would blow right in your face or ear, people would run into you, step on you, knock you into other people. Despite the overwhelmingness of THAT, the excitement and joy were palpable. We were able to stake out a great spot right in the median of Las Vegas blvd, and had but a short wait for the countdown to 2015. At 11:59, the Bellagio's giant outdoor sign displayed a countdown clock, and the crowd began roaring.

  At midnight, fireworks exploded from the tops of eight hotels along the strip, horns blew, people screamed and yelled, and I kissed my fiancée. We had packed a small bottle of Proseco into my bag, so we were able to have a toast to the new year as well.

  After the fireworks ended and the revelry died down a bit, the crowd got even more obnoxious. People at this point just plainly didn't care. The street became littered with garbage, cans, broken bottles. People were getting sick, and ambulances began to dispatch to the scene for who knows what. We mercifully made our way through the throngs of people and slipped into our hotel via the side entrance, relieved to be off the street.

  The next morning, after a kickass breakfast buffet, we decided to hit one last attraction before we left. Ultimately, we decided on the aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Though the hotel is beautiful, we found most everybody there to be incredibly rude, including the Starbucks employee who simply greeted us with "Yes?" and stared blankly when we told her "Happy New Year!" More like Happy Rude Year, am I right? Hello? Is this thing plugged in?
  The aquarium was VERY hot and muggy for some odd reason, and was a bit overpriced, frankly, for the size. Rather than $20 per person, I think $12 or $15 would have been more appropriate. Here are some shitty cell phone pics we grabbed:

Guy Smiley
Hey Bro, nice belly
Side eye
Beautiful and deadly lionfish

  All in all, it was a great time. Would we do it again? Eh, probably not, but it was fun to experience once! Happy 2015, folks!

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