Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Las Vegas: Land of Vaccinations, A-Bombs, and Jelly Beans

After our busy day Monday, we decided to take it a little easier on Tuesday. Our first stop was the Clark County Health Department.  Not your typical tourist destination.   Well to explain, we're going to Nicaragua in the next few weeks and needed typhoid shots.  We sort of waited until the last minute to take care of this, and there were no available appointments in St. Louis. Luckily the health department in Clark County does walk-in immunizations and offered the shots quite a bit cheaper than St. Louis.  It was also sort of a cultural experience.  There was a whole room labeled Food Handlers where I assume people were getting the necessary vaccines to work in restaurants.  Maybe we have this in St. Louis, but it seemed very local in Vegas where everything is so service-Industry orientated.  In addition, most people were Hispanic. My favorite part was seeing these cute twins.

Everyone, especially our nurse, was very, very nice.

Next we headed back downtown.  When we went to the downtown casinos on Sunday night, I earned $10 in free play at Binion's, so we decided to go back and play with our promotional money.  This led to several rounds of slot play - Mummy, Spider Man, and a few other no- name machines.  One of the other promotions we signed up for was $10 match on a table game.  When two people use these vouchers on Roulette - one person bets red and the other black - there is a 95% chance of winning.  As such, we took our vouchers and headed straight for the Roulette tables.  We placed our bets, the lady dropped the ball, and it landed on... green!  Big bummer! Well we didn't win any huge sums of money, but we did get a free entrée at the casino's cafe and our picture taken with $1,000,000.

Next we stopped at the Golden Gate casino (also downtown) for a shrimp cocktail.  The shrimp cocktail was invented at this particular casino, so of course we had to have one for ourselves.  It was well worth the $3.

On the way back to the car we stopped at the Mob Bar for a quick drink and they validated our parking ticket.  We also passed by some cool neon signs.

We got in the car and drove to the other end of the strip to visit the National Atomic Testing Museum.  This Smithsonian  museum is dedicated to all things related to atomic bombs, nuclear warfare, and the Cold War.  From 1951-1992 Mercury, Nevada, about 65 miles outside of Las Vegas, was used as one of the US's main testing grounds for nuclear weapons.  We saw a lot of interesting exhibits, but one of my favorites was a movie showing some of the testing.  They built houses and placed mannequins inside to see the would-be effects of an atomic bomb on average American citizens.  Needless to say, there wasn't much of the mannequins left after the explosion.  John's favorite exhibit was a small screen that you could manipulate to see the effects of an atomic bomb in slow motion.

"Civilian Dog Tags. Given to all citizens including schoolchildren of Las Vegas in the 1950s for identification purposes in the event of a nuclear attack. This belonged to the Thiriot family."

[John: This exhibit was pretty cool. Museum goers can hold a geiger counter over a radioactive substance, and they turn the wheel to obstruct the reading with different things like paper or aluminum.]

After getting our fix of explosions, we checked into our new hotel, Treasure Island.  We dropped our bags in the room and headed for the pool.  Even in the desert heat we decided to hang out in the hot tub.  There was a cute baby playing with the fountains who provided us with entertainment.

For dinner we went to the buffet at Treasure Island. We didn't originally plan to eat at so many buffets, but they are the most convenient option in Vegas. The food here was pretty good, but the dessert was the best we'd had so far. We had amazing creme brulees and a lot of chocolate covered strawberries.  They even had a Jelly Belly bar where you could fill up on your favorite jelly bean flavors. [John: On a related note we now know what pina colada jelly beans atop creme brulee tastes like. Delicious.]

Our last event of the day was the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere.  It was just as mind blowing as they advertise.  There were trapeze artists, some crazy pole climbers, and a girl who danced with a ribbon in mid-air.  John's favorite part was a clown dressed as a baby who made several comedic appearances throughout the show.  He was very funny!

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