Sheri and I are arriving on Friday by air, the rest by car on Saturday. This will allow us to drive down to Primm for a little Christmas shopping. When we get back into Vegas, we stay downtown at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street. The rest of my family usually stays at the Fremont or California, where they get comped or reduced rate rooms. We also make a few detours along the way. Zappos.com is located in the south Strip area and often warrants a visit. Actually, over 39 million people visit Vegas every year. And 17 of the 20 biggest U.S. hotels are here. Vegas Vic, the enormous neon cowboy that towers over Fremont Street is the world’s largest neon mechanical sign.
The downtown area caters strongly to Hawaiians, so meals are cheap and plentiful. We also like the Lappert’s Ice Cream (from Hawaii) at the California Hotel, and the ABC Store on the Fremont Street mall. It turns out that Sam Boyd, the owner of the Fremont, California, and Main Street, got his start in Honolulu many years ago. He started developing the travel packages back then. When the downtown Vegas area added the Fremont Street Experience, and cleaned up their act, people like us started staying downtown again. We will probably kill some time on Saturday at both Caesar’s Forum Shops, and the Fashion Show Mall until my family arrives. The stores we like are: Ted Baker, Etro, Indigo Palms, Thomas Pink, Donald Pliner, Puma, and Saltaire.
My Mom still tries to be in charge, as she usually picks the time and place for dinner and breakfast. During the day, we each go our own way. It matters not, since the fun is getting together and talk about how much we will win over the next few days. We also get a chance to catch up on family news, just before the holidays get hectic. One year, my son Matt was in Vegas to play in a poker tournament, so he joined us for dinner. Velma has also joined us in the past. We have met Kevin and Patty for a buffet or a drive out to the Salt Lick BBQ (no longer in Vegas) as well. We will miss seeing them here by about a week. We also plan to take some of the shoppers to the big indoor Las Vegas flea market (waste of time) on Decatur, just west of downtown and the Strip.
My two sisters want to have a party for my Mom in Fresno, where most of our relatives, and her friends reside. But since she had a big party at 80, she said too many have died since then. So, we will see. If we just had a party with relatives, it would probably number about 40. I just heard that the party will be held in Fresno at the Kings River Country Club on December 18, just before Christmas. So, if the weather cooperates, maybe I can play a round of golf with my brother and my Aunt.
Having relatives and friends here makes the trip somewhat different and much more fun for us. Our friends back home say they either love or hate Vegas. For us, it is just a big party and reunion. As a bonus, we get to shop at nice stores, have some good, inexpensive meals, and visit our dear friends, Debbie and Ken. Also, we are driving up to St. George, Utah for a few days, after my family leaves. Then we will visit Debbie and Ken at their home in Summerlin, and maybe play some golf. By the way, they are both good golfers and bowlers. They always seem to win some money from me.
One of these days, I will run into Uncle Ray (Lee), since he hangs out at the California Hotel. The California is also where Sheri won a good slot jackpot a few years ago. Did you know that the State of Nevada mandates that slot machines pay off at least 75% on average? We have also met another Aunt/Uncle tandem from Long Beach on previous trips.
See you tomorrow at Caesar’s Forum Shops.
Today, December 6, 2014