elmarschraml.com

Occasionally updated personal site and blog

Vegas!

The journey from Hongkong to Las Vegas was by far the longest leg of the whole trip – can’t get around crossing the Pacific. Was almost glad for the stop in Seoul – not only shortening the intercontinental flight to a bearable 10 hours, but also because Seoul airport had the first and only playable piano of the whole trip.

korea_piano

Speaking of Korea – you would expect airplane food to always be bland – well, with Korean Air, if you go for the Korean meal, you get some rather non-bland items like seaweed soup. Not bad, actually.

korea_seaweed

The secret to beating jetlag? Take a nightflight, where you inevitably sleep little and badly – arriving in the afternoon local time, your jetlag will say that it’s early morning, and a long way away from sleep – but your sleep-deprivation will want you to sleep immediately, nicely canceling each other out.

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What I did the first day in Vegas? Absolutely nothing, at least till the evening. Decided I needed some rest&relaxation, and spent most of the day at the pool. Which is free for hotel guests – but no outside food or drink allowed, and a single simple drink is between five dollars (a coke) and 8 dollars (a beer). A nice lounger with a shady canopy? 80 bucks for two for the day. EVERYTHING at the typical Vegas strip hotels is comically overpriced, at least inside the casino-hotel-tourist bubble of the strip. Beer at a bar? Easily 10-15 bucks if at a concert venue. Burger with side dishes can top 30 dollars with service and tax – and that is NOT one of the super-luxury hotels, but a normal one.

Jetlag is a bitch, and got its payback on the next day. Could not fall asleep till 1 am, woke up at 4 am, fell back asleep at 6 am, and when I woke up again it was four in the afternoon….
Activity of the day: A concert – and not just anyone, but Carlos Santana and band. A true hero of my youth. Had browsed Vegas shows, but not too enthusiastic about some random stand-up comedian, or spending 150 bucks on tickets for the cirque du soleil (ALL the high-profile shows are ridiculously expensive), and by chance found that Santana was playing in Vegas, had a show tomorrow, and was in a not too large club – awesome! Got to experience a superstar from just a few meters away.

vegas santana sign

vegas santana stage

According to Wikipedia, Carlos Santana is 70 years old – wow, that was not apparent on stage at all. He was in a good mood, rocking out with his band, playing for almost two hours, and not above imparting some mystical life philosophy (he truly is an old hippie, in a totally off his rocker, but charming kind of way).

vegas santana band

Santana are one of the rare bands that are complex enough to sound good on recordings, but have the energy for a great live performance. And most music is either all about the melodies and harmonies, or all about the rhythm – Santana combine the two like no other. A great show, a great night – definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip. All the better because it was totally unexpected – I had no idea they were playing in Vegas. That’s the advantage of a whole town built on and for entertainment – it attracts all the big names in entertainment, so you could go see a different star’s show every night if you wanted.

Just a small, crappy video of one of the quieter moments – no huge stage props, no pyrotechnics, no dancers or video shows – just an old man with his guitar, and a tone like no other.

 

 

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