Las Vegas Trip Report, July 30 - August 2, 2000 -- Day Three Part 2
Originally posted to the alt.vacation.las-vegas newsgroup on August 16, 2000

That evening, we took advantage of having the car to drive Downtown. Naoko wanted to see the Fremont Street Experience, and I wanted to act on another tip of my brother's and sample the buffet at the Main Street Station. We first stopped at the brewpub inside Main Street (called Triple 7), where I had one of the house specialty Pale Ales. Highly recommended. We then moseyed on over to the buffet, which tonight was $10.99 on account of it being some Steak Night (lost on vegetarian moi!). Normally the buffet would set you back $9.99 for dinner. Having grown up in Hawaii, it was impossible not to notice all the Kama'aina (Hawaiian for "local") patrons, which was the main reason my brother recommended it. They also had on selection a few dishes to appeal to the Hawaiian segment, including manapua (a Chinese bun with red pork inside) and my favorite, macaroni salad, which doesn't sound like it but is most definitely a Hawaiian creation, and incredibly "ono" (Hawaiian for delicious). I was in heaven, familiar pidgin English accents and familiar local food.

After another binge (note to self for next trip: buffet doesn't have to mean stuffing your stomach to bursting point!), had to try some more roulette, again a .50 cents table. This time I didn't do too bad, not great either, almost even, and an hour later cashed in for roughly a $3 loss. We then walked the 2 blocks to Fremont St. I have mixed feelings about the whole pedestrian-ization, this being my first time downtown in Glitter Gulch since I was a kid 25 years ago. First off, the whole "show" was definitely grin and bear it stuff, mildly impressive for about 10 seconds and then pure tedium after that. Secondly, the whole area felt very museumized and sterile, with each casino losing its individuality and blending in to become one. That said, I couldn't help but feel grateful that the area was being revitalized, and didn't like imagining what this area would be like sans canopy. Still, while I certainly could see myself staying at the Main Street Station, I don't think I could ever stay at the various Fremont St places like the Golden Nugget or Fitzgeralds. After wandering in and out of places for about an hour and half, some .99 cents margaritas, and some nickel slots, we drove back to the HR, packed, and went to bed.

The next morning, as we prepared to get out of the city, it rained a bit, which seemed unreal given the heat we'd experienced the last three days. Before getting onto the I-15 to LA, Naoko insisted I drive into the western suburbs (down Sahara I think) till we found a Krispy Kreme donut place, one of very few West of the Mississippi. [It wasn't until I got back home did I find out that there's actually an outpost of this culinary jewel in the Excalibur!] A dozen standard glazed and we were ready to hit the road and say goodbye to Vegas.

All in all, there wasn't any single thing that stood out, but just a good all around 3 days that later I wished had been longer. (The whole time in LA, I kept telling myself, god I wish we were still in Vegas.) I'm planning on being in town for CES next January, but frankly I don't think I can wait that long, nor do I think the convention crowds will make me happy, and so I'm already planning a nice weekend getaway for Naoko and I before November hits.

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