Vegas, 2023 #Vegas #travel

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For this year’s annual Vegas trip, I stayed at Mandalay Bay for the first time. I’ve been doing all (or almost all) of my gambling there for a few years now, but this year I decided to stay there becomes my comps got me the room for $5 a night with no resort fee. I usually go on Columbus Day weekend, or maybe in September, but this year I spent the week before Christmas there (Monday, 12/19 through Saturday, 12/24). I went so late in the year because I had a couple of friends that were going to be there during that week, which is also why I spent six days there.

Mandalay Bay

My room was perfectly situated such that I had a view down the Strip . . .

. . . but also could watch the planes arrive and depart the airport.

The close up.
The broader view.

And now for some live action!

Okay, not that kind of action. I love watching the planes arrive and depart, but even I find watching videos of it pretty boring. Sorry (not sorry) about that. Here’s a different video that’s probably just as boring, but it’s only 9 seconds long.

The Body Exhibit

The first touristy thing I did (besides looking out my window in awe) was the Body Exhibit at Luxor. I did that Wednesday. These are preserved corpses displayed to teach visitors about the mechanics of the human body. Some of it was bizarre. Don’t believe me? Take a look (or don’t if you’re squeamish).

Seriously, these are real bodies. They all come from China. We were told by staff that they privacy laws prevents them from knowing how these people died, but rumor has it that they came to this and other exhibits across the country through less than ethical means.

What follows are a series of circulatory system fragments injected with a colored polymer that hardens in place to help you see the detail and distinguish between different parts. Don’t believe me? Read the sign.

Other than the fetuses — which I didn’t photograph — this is the creepiest display. It’s a series of slivers of a human body.

Here’s a closer view.

This next one bothered me more than it should. I’m overly sensitive to knee pain. Drives me nuts too.

I have many more pictures, but I think you get the point.


Friday night brought me to the Penn & Teller theater at the Rio. Here’s Penn Jillette warming up the crowd playing jazz on his stand up bass.

Every year, I say I’m going to go, but because I had friends there, this time I actually did. It was worth it. Not only is it a good show, but it may have been the best Penn & Teller show ever. Teller recently had quadruple bypass surgery, so he wasn’t able to do the show. Penn told us that we shouldn’t worry because he’s due to make a complete recovery and come back sometime around March 2023. A little later, they showed a video of Teller from home participating in the current bit, but his part was so generic, it’s clear this could have been a prerecorded video reused at every show.

All of this was a set up. Towards the end of the show, Penn excitedly introduced Teller! I started a standing ovation for him, and he had to wave to the crowd to get them to sit down. Once he did, he did one of his famous bits. Then he joined Penn and Carbanaro for their last bit, giving them a helping hand. It was stupendous.


Saturday was my last day in Vegas, but my flight didn’t leave until 11:45 pm, so I had a full day to do as I pleased. My friends and I started with an incredible meal at Din Tai Fung, a restaurant at Aria famous for its dumplings. It absolutely lived up to the hype. Next, I demanded that we go to a sports bar and watch my Commanders lose to the 49ers. We went to Tailgate Social Sports Bar & Grill, and after going through two pitchers, we ordered this:

The beer is Modelo, and at Tabitha’s urging, I got a pint glass with the rim coated with salt, then squeezed some fresh limes into it. It was like a beer margarita. I had never considered doing that before, but as I’m not a beer drinker, I may never do so again. You might like it though.

After the pub, I did my first escape room. Remember all that beer from the previous two paragraphs? It didn’t go well. We took an extra 30 minutes to get out of the room, and only because we requested several hints along the way. On the bright side, I met a new friend.

Yeah. I know. The sweater. My friends made we wear it. I was raised Catholic, so my perpetual guilt makes me incapable of saying no to a gift no matter how foolish I look. After that, we took an Uber back to the Luxor (where Jim and Tabitha were staying) to wait out my departure. I took a nice shot of the skyline from the road.

Sadly, I never took the time to ride that damn coaster because my friends weren’t into it. I should have. It’s a fun ride.

Going Home

I have just two more videos to show you: my take off from Harry Reid International Airport, showing off one of my favorite skylines . . .

. . . and my landing at Dulles International Airport.

We didn’t crash, so watching video of the arrival is just as boring as watching videos of planes taking off in Las Vegas. Not much to see here.

Oh, and I won $1,200 playing blackjack. Meh.

I love Vegas.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc