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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.