April 16th, 2005

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

So.

Las Vegas.

Allow me to suggest to you out there in readership land that if you get an invitation to a free trip in a vacation capital of the world, to read the fine print very carefully...

forestcats got us a reservation "free" to go to LV; it only took a down-payment/hold of about $150 when we made the arrangements to make sure we actually used it. Why? Because the "free" trip cost us two hours of listening to a shpiel in which timeshares were being sold, right on the Strip.

Now, I have nothing against timeshares. We've had several very fun trips where we shared timeshare space with folks. But being locked into vacationing either at specified times of the year, or specified places rubs me a bit wrong. I know that timeshare aficionadoes (sp?) will argue that it isn't like that, but I can't help it when a feeling isn't logical or rational; I just am not interested.

More importantly, they wanted us to buy the $40K chunk of a timeshare not yet constructed (for New Year's Eve in LV), and to pay over $7K right away. The remainder at over 16% interest. Luckily enough we could come up with a great response to that: we have pets, and we often travel with our pets, and this timeshare would be pet-free. After being barraged by first a personable fellow, then a greasy manipulator, we were set free by a geek who amused us when he said "I haven't heard that one in a while".

The good news was that I had managed to drive us, late Friday night, all the way to Vegas in the station wagon without any difficulty. I've found driving in the last few cars I've owned to be a chore, and very wearing; this car was a pleasure. I tooled us around the town for the next few days, and back home, without any trouble.

We managed to come home a few dollars ahead, no help from the gambling vouchers the timeshare people gave us.

We also had fantastic meals at Crustachean, a restaurant at the Aladdin, which has related restaurants in San Francisco and in Beverley Hills, and at the Spice Market Buffet at the Aladdin. (Note that the Aladdin wasn't the hotel that the timeshare people paid for us to stay at; that was the Frontier). Crustachean was a superlative restaurant, where we had excellent service; I cleaned my plate as everything on it was marvellous. The buffet at the Aladdin was the best I've ever had at Las Vegas buffets and was well worth the $22 that it cost.

We met up with my friends Steve and Abe; the three of us were fairly inseparable during college, and when I'd come home from medical school, we'd always hang out. Steve is a neurologist in Las Vegas, Abe is a radiologist with Kaiser, and Abe was in town at the time for a series of lectures on MRI and US techniques. We spent several hours on two of the days with them, at first chatting, later hiking in the Valley of Fire, looking at petroglyphs, and then at dinner at a forgettable Korean restaurant where the companionship outshone the cuisine.

We hit a few of the outlet malls on the way home; I picked up a couple of shirts for work at good prices while my spouse found some reasonably-priced items at a cookery shop.

I was very glad to get home; the Strip isn't my cup of tear, for the most part. In the future, I forsee doing the Strip primarily for shows, or meals....
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