By Lynn Jones – Wow, wow and wow again! As a young girl growing up watching movies that are now considered classics, I remember the often used moniker, “Go West, young man,”. The moniker was created in the early 1800s and was the title of a 1936 movie featuring famed movie star Mae West. Ok, I’m getting there….the bottom line is when you head west to Las Vegas, the vast land and mountains are picture perfect, creating a canvas of solitude, relaxation and meditation. Yes, you may say Las Vegas is just for gamblers, not!
Arriving in Las Vegas you are greeted in the airport by slot machines and more slot machines! Since I’m not a big gambler, I walked right past the machines and eagerly uploaded Uber and in seconds was whisked away to my week of planned Las Vegas excursions to report on, “What you do in Florida, can be done in Vegas!”. I’m sure you want to ask the Urban Traveler: What did you just say? Well let me elaborate: as a 22 year resident of Jacksonville, Florida, you are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, plenty of attractions, i.e, Orlando’s Disney World, casinos, live entertainment shows, the bright lights of Miami Beach, shopping malls and retirement towns calling snowbirds home for the winter. Comparing the two states: Las Vegas is also home to many big name attractions i.e, The Grand Canyon, Ferris wheels, live entertainment, casinos, retirees and the bright lights of the miracle mile, “a 475,000 square foot, 1.2-mile long, enclosed shopping mall on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is home to more than 170 stores, 15 restaurants and live entertainment venues.” I was more than excited, as the week’s activities would lead up to my mother’s 74th birthday!
Heading down the strip you are mesmerized by the exquisite hotels and dynamic scenery. Glistening in the background are mountains that look like they could touch the sky. The dry heat will either make you lotion up or reach for your sinus medicine! First stop on our Las Vegas agenda was the REAL BODIES at Bally’s exhibit. Walking up to REAL BODIES at Bally’s you hear the sounds of slot machines and people moving around engaging in gambler banter. The REAL BODIES at Bally’s exhibit showcases the inside of your body, detailing the inner workings of who you are and what you are made of. The overall scope of the exhibit is to “Explore the systems of the body”- Using actual human bodies and individual organ specimens, REAL BODIES at Bally’s …The Exhibition allows you to look deep inside the systems of your body: Skeletal, Muscular, Nervous, Respiratory, Digestive, Urinary, Reproductive, Circulatory and the Treated Body.” Wow, what an amazing exhibit! REAL BODIES at Bally’s makes you look inside yourself to ensure that you are taking care of yourself too! From a smoker’s lung to body veins popping out of your neck, you instantly become transparent and look down and say, “I didn’t know that!” At the end of the REAL BODIES at Bally’s exhibition we were met by tourist and a door that read, “Death’s Door”! No deaths door for us! We politely turned back around and exited through the same entrance we came in! For more on REAL BODIES at Bally’s Las Vegas exhibition visit www.realbodiesatballys.com.
Urban traveler readers, I must inform you that my last visit to Las Vegas was in August of 2009; my daughter married her husband in front of the waterfall outside of the Mirage….! Wow, what a day!
Back to Vegas….right down the strip inside of MGM is the infamous Michael Minas Pub 1842. “Named for the year Pilsner beer was invented, PUB 1842 features a playful menu of comfort food as only Michael Mina can deliver. Executive Chef Isaiah Utter serves up such as the award-winning THE Bacon Burger, Hot Soft Pretzels with Beer Cheese, and the highly vaunted PUB 1842 Nachos. Paired with a list of more than 50 frosty libations, ales, pilsners, stouts and lagers from around the world. Cocktails include house-made infusions, barrel-aged cocktails and seasonal punches.” Ahhhh, Pub 1842 served up succulent burgers, pretzels with enticing cheese sauce, savory nachos and last but not least the stylish miniature milkshakes..! Four glasses of tasty, creamy and cold bold flavors of chocolate, vanilla, espresso and salty carmel. Pub 1842 lively atmosphere is full of patrons eying the large TV screens and people watching. This pubs for you! For more of those delicious milkshakes visit www.michaelmina.net/restaurants/las-vegas/pub-1842/
If you’re as old as I am, ever so often you chatter or reminisce about Michael Jackson, yes the one and only soul, R&B, rock star, King of Pop, chills run up and down your spine legendary superstar! You can’t help but recollect his awesome catalogue of hits, “Smooth Operator,” “Rock with you” “Thriller” “Beat It,” “Dangerous,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Black & White,” “Thriller,” “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough,” his early hits with his brothers, i.e., “ABC” and “I’ll be there” and many more! Well, let me tell you the MJ Live Show headlining at the Stratosphere was more than awesome, it’s Michael Jackson in your face, up close and personal. Featuring a live band and Jalles Franca as Michael Jackson making his way to the stage, moonwalking to the beats. The crowd went wild as Michael held his hat and leaned over as he slid in his smooth criminal video role. Then boom, Michael is now at the end of the stage singing a melody to the patrons on the front row. We wanted more, more and more! Singing to Michael hits, the audience stood and clapped till they couldn’t clap no more! Only smiles on the faces of every patron, regaling in the atmosphere of the King of Pop! Do not delay, see this show today! For tickets and more info visit www.mjliveshow.com.
Over the course of a week in Vegas I listened to my mother’s little girl’s stories, and was privy to her life as a young woman, mother and wife! Mother hipped me to Vegas in the 70’s. For 10 years mother and father visited Vegas and became entranced with the old Vegas strip, Caesars Palace and friends that left Detroit and moved to Vegas for greener retirement pastures. With only a few more stories to tell, it was time to wrap up the week and that we did!
The last two days were on full force as we prepared for an old school concert featuring hitmakers: Cameo.. “Yo pretty ladies around the world, Got a weird thing to show you, So tell all the boys and girls Tell your brother, your sister and your mamma too, Cause we’re about to go down And you know just what to do, Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care Glide by the people as they start to look and stare. Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick mamma, Come on baby tell me what’s the word, Word up! Yes and this was from memory! Cameo puts on an old school show that will have you jumping out your seats to the old school beats! Lead man Larry Blackmon stood on stage with his jockey cup and hair standing up and raised the roof for the crowd to get up, dance, shout, and move to the soulful sounds of Cameo electrified hits!!!!! I might break out in song again! Cameos band members met for a VIP photo op with concertgoers who were elated to be in the presence of legends.. Bottom line is this is another show you do not want to miss!! Who needs gambling when you have Cameo on the front row!! Wow, wow and wow again! I’ve never missed a Cameo show and never will!.. Word Up! P.s. my bothers says you still saying “word up” YES!!!!!!
It was now time to finalize my Urban Traveler excursion. Last but not least on the list was Rivea, Ahhhh, Rivea, classy, sexy and on top of the Las Vegas world! Rivea is located on the 64th floor of the Delano hotel overlooking the Mandalay Bay swimming pool to your right and to your left is a breathtaking view of Viva Las Vegas! More wows! Entering the Delano Hotel, you become mesmerized at the décor and the hustling and bustling of this eclectic hotel tourist hot spot. Entering the elevator you push the 64th floor and are whisked away to a dining experience fit for kings and queens. The atmosphere is “swanky, with sweeping views” showcasing the “DELANO” in big bold letters. Rivea menu boast “Italian & French Riviera cuisine from world renowned chef Alain Ducasse” The cocktails were smooth, glamorous and flavorful. Our server swashed over to the table with a smorgasbord of food that featured delectable cuisine. Each plate showcased savory, robust, appetizing and intense Italian and rich French flavors. The Shrimp risotto melted in your mouth! For more on Rivea or to make a reservation visit www.delanolasvegas.com/en/restaurants/rivea.html. Take a look!