MY FAVORITE  MEMORY  FROM THIS YEAR

The  year isn’t  over yet ,  and I’m  sure  that I’ll  have  many other favorite  memories  to talk about . 

At this time  though ,  at the middle  of  October ,  my favorite  memory  from this year so far occurred in a five day span, June 18th  until June 23rd . 

This was my annual  trip to  Las Vegas  for the NHL  Awards  and  red carpet  ceremony.

This year was an extra  special  one though.

Las Vegas  was getting  a  brand  new  hockey  team, the Golden  Knights.

(You know what  that means ,  right? Las Vegas  has become  a stop on the 30 Plus  Teams  Tour . )

Not only was the city hosting  the awards, something  that they had done for the  past few years at some theater in one of the many casino – hotels in  town, but they were going to hold the ceremony  and  the Expansion  Draft  at the T-MOBILE  Arena ,  home of the team.

Everyone  who attended  the  awards ceremony  also got to see and hear just what players would  be  wearing  that black hockey jersey trimmed  in gold and red with the gold Knights  shield  on the front.

I was really  excited  because  for once not only was I  going to  the red carpet  ceremony  and take pictures  with hockey players nominated  for  awards, but I  could  actually  afford  tickets to  the  awards  for once.

$25 for a seat in Section  13, row 9 sounded awfully  good to  me.

The only thing  that  I  didn’t  like was the unbearable  heat.

The  city does get wicked  hot in the months  of  June, July ,  and August ,  but maybe because  I’m  getting  older and hadn’t  lived in  Vegas in 7 years, the heat did bother me a lot this time and  I  was wearing  a  sleeveless  dress.

I can never forget how excited  I was when five of the newest members of  the  team came on stage and greeted the crowd.

They were wearing  their jerseys without their names or numbers on the back.

I wasn’t  the only one  who  was excited . 

The crowd in the arena was electric  and this wasn’t  even a hockey  game  that was being  played . 

There was even a question  and answer period after the ceremony  was over with not only the same five players, but the coach of the team as well.

It was something  that  I’ll  never forget . 

Vegas was ready to  show the world  that the newest member  of “The Shield  ” could  put on a show worthy of “The Entertainment  Capital  of  the  World  ” when their first inaugural  home game happened on October  10th . 

Yes, this was definitely  my favorite  memory  of  the  year ,  if not the summer.

I couldn’t  wait to  see  them play, and it’s  even part of  my bucket list to see a game at the  T-MOBILE  Arena . 

Who would  have  known  or even  thought  that  just a few  days  before  October  10th ,  someone  would  make  my favorite  memory  of  the  year very bittersweet ? 

I  will  still  remember  in spite  of  everything those days, June 18-23, 2017, and how they will be my favorite  memory  of  the  year.
#VEGASSTRONGFOREVER  

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LAS VEGAS  BABY  – LAS  VEGAS ,  NEVADA – WHY????

I was going to  do a post on the World  War I I  Memorial  in Washington ,  DC .  

But I’m  going to  save that for another day.

As I woke up this morning, I was texted by friends and relatives about a shooting  in a place near and dear to me, Las Vegas ,  Nevada.

In case some of  you  don’t  know, not only is it the newest city on my 30 Plus  Teams  Tour ,  but in 2010, I moved to  New York  City  from Las Vegas , after living and working  there for three years.

50 people ,  who were just doing what everyone  does in Las Vegas ,  having a good  old time at a music festival ,  lost their  lives  to a deranged gunman.

This was at the Mandalay  Bay  Hotel and Casino, which if you’ve  ever been to Las Vegas ,  is the first hotel you see when you go on the Strip . 

It’s  the  hotel right next to the  Luxor . 

200 people  were injured, making this one of the  worst shootings in a whole  string of worst shootings in this country.

I’m  not going to  get into a gun control debate here because this blog isn’t  about that . 

I’m  very  angry and disgusted that someone  actually  was staying on the 32nd  floor of the hotel and instead of enjoying the scenery  in front of  him, not to mention the good music and happy vibes coming from the concert, did the unthinkable . 

He killed and wounded so msny innocent people who never did anything  to  him.

They may not have even known who he was, nor he them.

We may never know  this man’s  motives and why he had so much firepower with him to do more damage because he killed himself.

If he had lived, I would have liked to  know one thing.

WHY?

LAS VEGAS BABY ! – LAS VEGAS , NEVADA – THE D HOTEL AND CASINO

In an earlier  post  on Las Vegas ,  I asked  the  question ,  Las Vegas  Strip  or Downtown  Las  Vegas ,  where  should  you  stay when you’re  in  town ?

(See  sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  /  2017/06/30 Las  -Vegas  -Baby – Las – Vegas  -Nevada  -The – Las – Vegas – Strip  -or – Downtown  -Las  -Vegas  –  Where  –  Should  -I – Stay  -When  -I – Go  –  To  -Las  –  Vegas  )

My personal  choice ,  as I  mentioned  in  the  post ,  was  the place  where  the  city  of  Las  Vegas  actually  began ,  Downtown .

One  of  the  hotels  that  I  would  suggest  that  you  stay  at  is the  hotel  with  the  name  that’s  very  easy  to  remember .

It has one  letter ,  and it’s  called ,  “The  D  ” .

It’s  the  tallest  hotel  in Downtown  Las  Vegas  with  35 floors .

If you happen  to  be  staying  on the  Las Vegas  Strip ,  you  can’t  miss  it  if you’re  going  to  watch  the  light  show  on Fremont  Street .

The D is right  in  the  middle  of  all that  action at  the  Fremont  Street  Experience .

The  Third  Street  Stage is right  next  door  and if you have to ,  there’s  a  McDonald’s  there too.

This is  the  third  name  change  for this  hotel .

It  was  once  called  Sundance, then Fitzgeralds .

Now ,  about  that  new name, “The  D  ” .

What’s  that  all about ?

There’s  three reasons ,  depending  on just  who  you speak  to  or believe .

Reason  number one:  The  first  name  of  one  of  the  owners  is Derek .

Reason  number  two  :  The  hotel  is  located  in  Downtown  Las  Vegas .

Reason  number  three  is closer  to  the  truth .

The owners  of  the  hotel  are from  Detroit .

Besides  ”  Motown  ”  and ”  The  Motor  City  “, just  what  is the  other  nickname  for  Detroit ?

You guessed  it ,  The D .

While  most  of  the  hotels  on the Las Vegas  Strip  especially  have some  kind  of  exotic  city  theme  like  Paris ,  Venice ,  Lake  Como  ,Egypt , and  Monte  Carlo ,  this  hotel  is  about  all things  Michigan ,  not just  the  city  of  Detroit .

You  want  to  see  everything  and all that  has  to  do  with  Michigan  sports ,  no matter  what  the  sport  is, you’ve  come  to  the  right  hotel  and  casino .

Right behind  the  bar  that  calls  itself ,  ”  The Long  Bar  “, all those  television  sets are turned  to not only  local  and  national  sports ,  but Michigan  sports  as well .

Don’t  be surprised  if  one  of  the  patrons  at the  bar enjoying   himself  is one  or both of  the owners  of  the  hotel .

As for  ”  The  Long  Bar  ” ?

According  to  the  state  of  Nevada ,  this casino  has the longest bar in the state ,  so you’ll  always  find  a seat somewhere  at the  bar.

Are you  hungry ?

Besides  the D Café  inside the  hotel ,  and the  McDonald’s  outside  the  hotel ,  there’s  the  24  hour  American  Coney  Island  Chilli  Dog  Restaurant  that  specializes  in  those  mouth  watering  hot  dogs  with the  secret  sauce  just  like  you’d  find  at  the  American  Coney  Island  Chilli  Dog  Restaurants  back  home  in Detroit .

This  casino  likes  to  say that  it provides  the  most  fun not only  in Downtown  Las  Vegas ,  but  in the  whole  town .

They  just  might  be  right ,  and  the  fun just  doesn’t  begin  when  you  check  into  your  room .

When  they  aren’t  taking  your  bets ,  some  of  the  dealers  are dancing  on the tables  to the beat of  the  music, which you can hear  throughout  the  casino .

The bartenders  at the bars  throughout  the place don’t  want to  feel  left out on all this fun.

Watch as some of  them juggle  those rum, vodka  ,and whiskey  bottles around  before  they  make  your  drink.

This is Las Vegas ,  after all .

EVERYONE  puts  on a  show .

Now  that  you’ve  seen what’s  going  on  downstairs ,  what about  your  room ?

We won’t  even  talk  about  that choice  you have on whether  to go frolicking  in the outside  pool or chill out  in the jacuzzi .

The  D is  the  only  hotel  on Fremont  Street  that has both .

One  thing  you’ll  notice  is that red and  black  seems  to  be  the  color scheme  of  the  hotel .

The color  is all over  the  casino, the  hallways ,  the lobby ,  the front  desk ,  and even when you  enter  your  room .

One thing you might notice  about the elevators  in the building .

Besides  the fact that they’re  also  red and  white ,  that is  .

When you push the floor you want , the letters  A, B, C, and D come up.

This tells you what elevator  you’ll  take  to your  room .

For example ,  if the elevator  says  C17 ,  you take elevator  C to the 17th floor .

Strange, but a lot of  hotels  in  the  United  States  seem  to  be  doing  this .

The  rooms  aren’t  as spacious  as some  of  the  the other  hotels  Downtown  or on the  strip ,  but the  beds  are  comfortable .

I  would  advise  asking  for  a  room  on a higher  floor  because  you are in the middle  of  the  action  on the  Fremont  Street  Experience ,  and if you’re  a light  sleeper ,  a lower floor  isn’t  going  to  block  out  the  noise .

If you  want  a microwave  and  refrigerator  in your  room ,  that  will  cost  you  extra .

There’s  a  resort  fee at the  hotel ,  like  many  others  in town .

It’s   $20 per night ,  plus the  hotel charges  11538970_10205479491680084_3275377891109438708_o10380824_10205456904475418_1441072148386311670_o11406234_10205460832813624_6298998669153517731_o11206516_10205479455199172_2196017128786538446_o1262554_10201143754089354_1146120132_o10985185_10205479480759811_6978073834829958690_o10339401_10205460876014704_4966264098478081690_o11026264_10205479307675484_6204006098143301757_o$100  on your  credit  card  for incidentals ,  which  is  refunded  to you, providing  that you haven’t  used up $100  worth of  stuff .

You can either  pay the  resort  fee when you check in or when you’re  ready  to  check  out .

The fee isn’t  optional ,  so don’t try to  get  out  of  it.

The  hotel  is  easy  to  get to  by  either  the  Deuce  or  SDX  bus.

(See  sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  2017/06/29/Las  –  Vegas  –  Baby  –  Las  –  Vegas  –  Nevada  –  Yes  –  You  –  Can  –  Take  –  Public  –  Transportation  –  Here  )

If  you’re  coming  from  the  Las  Vegas  Strip ,  both  buses  stop right  across  the  street  from  the  hotel .

If you’re  arriving  by  plane  from  Las Vegas  McCarron  Airport ,  you  can  either  take  a  cab  or one  of  the  many  shuttle  vans ,  which  are  cheaper  than  getting  a  cab .

Keep  in  mind ,  though ,  that you  will  be  sharing  the  van  with  people  going  to  some  of  the  other  hotels  or hostels  in town ,  so  the  ride  will  definitely  take  longer  than  usual .

If you happen  to  arrive  at  night ,  you’ll  get  to  see the city  when it looks  the  most  beautiful ,  at night with the  lights  from the different  casinos  all lit up  like  Christmas  trees .

You  have  your  choice  of hotels  to stay  at while  you’re  in town .

You want to have some  fun without  the all crowds  on the  Las  Vegas  Strip ?

Make your  home  in Las Vegas ,  the hotel  with  just  the  initial .

The  D .

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF TOURISM WAS LIMITED IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA?

Recently ,  I read an article  in  one of  the  travel  magazines  that some  countries  were going  to  limit  the  number  of tourists  due to overcrowding . Some  cities  have  even  seen violence  against  tourists ,  telling  them  to  ”  Go  Home  ” ,  or even  being  physical  with  some of  the  tourists .

Rome has limited  the  number  of  visitors  to  some  sites  in  the  city ,  such as St. Mark’s  Square  and  Trevi  Fountain  because  some of  them  have  waded  into  the  water ,  rather  than  throwing  coins  in the fountain  like you’re  supposed  to  do .

There  have  been  street  protests  in cities  like  Venice ,  Florence ,  Rome ,  Dubrovnik ,  and Barcelona  most notably .

This  fact  not  only  saddens  me, but it also  has  me thinking .

Could  this  happen  here  or in Canada ?

What  would  it be  like  to not  be  able  to  do a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  New  York  City  due to  overcrowding ?

OK ,  I  get it.

New York  City  is a  bad example  because  if 8 million  plus  of us can live together  in five boroughs ,  what’s  a million  or so visitors  trying  to  pour into  Yankee  Stadium ,  the Empire  State  Building  or One World  Observatory ?

But  let’s  say that New  York  City  Mayor  DiBlasio  suddenly  said that Central  Park  would  be  closed  due to  overcrowding  by tourists ?

Or that only  a  certain  amount  of  people  would  be  allowed  in  Times  Square  on New Years  Eve ?

What about  two somewhat  “smaller  ”   cities  like Miami  and Las Vegas ?

Suppose  the mayor of  Miami  said that they were going  to  limit  the  number  of  tourists  that go into  South  Beach ,  Little  Havana  or Petite  Haiti ?

Could  you  imagine  the  uproar  if the mayor  of  Las Vegas   were to limit  the  number  of  tourists  on the  Las  Vegas  Strip  due to  overcrowding ?

Could this even  be a possibility  here in this  country  or even  in Canada?

Too many tourists  in Montreal  or Toronto ?

Is there really  such  a  thing  as too much tourism  and  too many tourists ?

Could  it be  due to  some  other  reason  that  some these  countries  are taking  such  drastic  measures ?

Could  it  be  that  maybe  in spite  of  all  that  money  that’s  brought  into  certain  countries ,  the  local  people  aren’t  really  that  fond  of  foreign  tourists  taking  way  too  many  pictures  of  things  that they  shouldn’t  be  taking  pictures  of ?

The tourists  might  even be  taking  selfies  of places that  are  sacred   and therefore  basically  interrupting  the  day  to day  lives  of  the  locals .

Maybe these  tourists  aren’t  even  respecting  the customs  of the  locals .

(  See my two blog posts ,  sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  / 2017/03/09 please-act-like-you’ve-been-there-before  and sportsandtravelblog.wordpress.com  /  2017/  03/ 06 Capital  -Journey  -please  –  respect  -the –  monuments  –  and  –  memorials  -when – you  –  visit  -Washington  -DC)

What’s  really  fueling  this  suddenly  new phenomenon  of  “overcrowding  by tourism  “?

In defense  of the local  people ,  I can  understand  why  you  would  want  to  limit  the  number  of  tourists  just a little  bit .

Some  people  just  don’t  know  how  to  conduct  themselves  when  they’re  out  of  their  own country  .

That’s  right ,  it’s  the  case  of  ”  not  acting  like  you’ve  been  there  before  “.

Why are  you  wading  through  Trevi  Fountain  like  you’ve  lost your fool  mind?

Are you  for  real ?

That’s  not  only  disrespectful ,  it’s  wicked  rude  and  it shows  a lack  of  training  on your  part .

Everyone  should  be  able  to  see the  sights  of a place whether  they’re  going to  London  to see Big  Ben ,  Buckingham  Palace ,  or the London  Eye .

This also applies  to  Spain if people  want to experience  Flamenco  dancing  where it originated .

This even  holds  true  if you’re  going  to  see all those  monuments ,  memorials ,  and museums  on that  30  Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Washington  DC .

There should  be  some  kind  of  happy  medium  between  tourists ,  locals ,  and the city  you’re  going  to .

No tourist  FB_IMG_1501857041654FB_IMG_1501510261303FB_IMG_1501940755403FB_IMG_1500913445983FB_IMG_1501595978629FB_IMG_1501324004596sites  in a city  should  be  off  limits  due to  overcrowding .

 

How do you  feel  about  some  countries  limiting  the  number  of  tourists  visiting ?

 

Do you  think  this  could  happen  in your own country ?

 

Why?

Tell me  what you  think by dropping  me a line in the  comments  section  .

 

Thanks

LAS VEGAS BABY ! – LAS VEGAS , NEVADA – A SLICE OF THE BIG APPLE IN LAS VEGAS , NEW YORK NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO .

I  was born  and  raised  in  that  other  city  that  never  sleeps ,  New York  City .

So I’ll  bet  you’re  wondering  just  why  would  I  fly  across  the  country  just  to see a  hotel  and  casino  with  a  fugazy  Brooklyn  Bridge ,  let  alone  a  replica  of  the  Statue  of  Liberty  in front  of  it ?

Um, because  it’s  there  and  I  can  because  this  is  my 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Las  Vegas .

The  first  thing  one notices  when you  stand  on  the  street  and look up at the  facade, is just  that.

The facade that represents  Grand  Central  Station .

Those  screams  you hear  aren’t  from  people  who  just  won some  money  on the  slots  or on the  tables .

Look  above you before  you  walk in, you can’t  miss it .

Yes, it’s  a  big  roller  coaster  and it’s  called  ”  The  Big  Apple  ” .

You can  pretend  that  you’re  in Coney  Island ,  watching  the  Cyclone  go round  and  round .

The  roller  coaster  cars  are  even  in the shape  of  a  New York  City  taxicab .

Do my eyes  deceive  me?

Right  behind  that  much smaller  version  of  the  Statue  of  Liberty ,  is that a smaller  version  of  what else ,  Ellis  Island ?

(Special  thanks ,  by the  way  to my fellow  New Yorker  and friend Mish  for  allowing  me  to  use the Statue  of  Liberty  picture  in this  post.)

This is  New York ,  New  York  Hotel ,  so those just have to  be replicas  of  the  Empire  State  Building  and  the  Chrysler  Building ,  right ?

Yes  they  are .

When  you  finally  walk  inside ,  there’s  more than  enough  sights  to  make a New  Yorker  or a former  New Yorker  homesick  for all those  things  that  you  remember  as a  kid growing  up  in  the  Lower  East side ,  Washington  Heights ,  Harlem  or even Brooklyn ,  Queens ,  or Staten  Island .

The buildings  with  the  fire escapes  that  a lot  of  us  used to  sit on  to get some air in the summer  because  no one could  really  afford  air conditioning  back then bring  back great memories .

Of course ,  being  the  New Yorker  that I  am, it’s  all about  the  food.

They  even have  a Nathans  , just like the  ones you remember  going  to  in Brooklyn .

What would New York   New York  Hotel  be without  some authentic ,  sort of ,  pizza  parlors ?

This was comfort  food  to many a New York  school  kid, and it still is .

I might  be  in the  middle  of  the  desert ,  but  for  a  few  minutes   visiting  New York ,  New York  brought   me back to  those  memories  of  growing  up  in the  city .

LAS VEGAS BABY ! – LAS VEGAS , NEVADA – CHECK OUT THE FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE .

 

 

You’ve  decided  to  leave the  Las Vegas  Strip  for  the  evening  and  head on over  to  the  old  section  of  town ,  the  place  where  Las Vegas  actually  began ,  Downtown  Las  Vegas .

There aren’t  as many  casinos  down here but they  have just  as much  nightlife  and  excitement  going  on  as the  casinos  on  the  Las  Vegas  Strip  do .

One  thing  that  this  area  has that  the  Strip  doesn’t ,is a pedestrian  friendly  mall known  as  the  Fremont  Street  Experience .

Since 1995 ,  there has been  a  covering  over all the  shops ,  restaurants ,  bars and casinos  on Fremont  Street .

At night, from 8 pm  until  Midnight ,  this  canopy  lights up and becomes  something  known  as  ”  Viva  Vision  ” ,  where you can hear the  music of  acts like  the  Beatles ,  Green Day, and Bon  Jovi  ,  accompanied  by   what seems to be the entire  light  bulb  section  of every  Walmart ,  Target ,  or Home  Depot  store in all 50 states and Puerto  Rico  plus  the  District  of  Columbia .

If this wasn’t  enough  going  on ,  on either  side  of  the  street ,  there are  two stages  that people  perform  on, that is  when Viva  Vision  isn’t  playing .

Viva  Vision  runs   every  half hour, by the  way .

If the fifty million  lights from Viva  Vision  weren’t  bright  enough ,  every casino from The D all the way down to  the  Plaza  Las Vegas  gets a  little  brighter  also .

No, that’s  a  lie.

It gets a LOT  brighter  actually .

Do you  want  to  have  a  closer  view of the  goings-on  at Fremont  Street ,  including  the  crowds  and  the  many  street  performers  that seem  to  pop up  everywhere ?

You can by paying   $20 and riding  the  zip line  known  as  ”  Slotzilla  ” , which  shoots you out of  a what else, slot machine

 

,  and sends you zooming  over  the  crowds just like Superman  or Wonder  Woman .

No one ever told  you  that  Downtown  Las  Vegas  was  just  as much  fun  as the  Las  Vegas  Strip  even  though  it’s  much  smaller

You had so  a much fun at the Fremont  Street  Experience  that you just  might  come  back again  tomorrow  night.

LAS VEGAS BABY ! – LAS VEGAS , NEVADA – YOU MEAN THAT WE AREN’T IN EGYPT? – THE LUXOR HOTEL

It’s  been  a  long  day  in Las  Vegas  for  you  and  your  family .

The  four  of  you ,  you ,  your  wife  and  the  twins ,  a boy and  a  girl ,  age  15 ,  have  just  come  from  riding  the  Big  Apple  Roller  Coaster  at New York ,  New York   Hotel .

Being  the  New Yorkers  that  the  four  of  you  are, the roller  coaster  ride  reminded  you all on a ride on  the  New York  City  subway .

The  kids aren’t  ready  to  go  back  to  your hotel  just yet and neither  are  you  and your  wife ,  by the  way .

The  kids  have  told  you  as only  tweenagers  can ,  that they want  to  go  see the hotel  with ”  that mad huge sphinx . ”   in front  of  it.

You’re  guessing  that  they’re  talking  about  the Luxor  because  it reminds  you all of the time that you took the kids to visit  their grandparents  in Cairo ,  Egypt .

Normally ,  you would  walk to  this  hotel ,  but it’s  117  degrees  out, and that’s  with  no shade whatsoever .

If there’s  one  thing  that  you’ve  learned  from  your  trip  to  Las  Vegas  is that  objects  are NOT  as close  as  they  appear  to  be .

Luckily ,  there’s  a  free  tram  that  goes  from  Excalibur  Hotel  to the  Luxor .

The  four  of  you  get  off at  the  Luxor  stop, and there it is right in front  of  you ,  the half man, half lion, ”  mad huge sphinx . ”

The hotel  is  in the  shape  of  a  pyramid  and at night ,  there’s  a  beacon  of  light  that shines  from  the  top of  the  hotel   that supposedly  astronauts  can see from  Outer  Space ,  but you aren’t  sure  if  that’s  true  or if it’s  just  an urban  myth .

You  do know  that  when  your plane landed from Laguardia  Airport  to Las Vegas  McCarron  International  Airport  the other  night ,  you did see the  light  and it just wasn’t  the  lights  from  the  Las Vegas  Strip .

As you  all walk  through  the  lobby ,  there’s  two  huge  statues  of  a  Pharoah ,  which  one ,  you have no idea.

It does  remind  you  of  the  statue  of  Pharoah  Ramses  I I that the four  of  you  saw when you  went to  Abu  Simbel  with your cousins a few years  ago .

The  kids want  to  take  a ride  on  one  of  the  “inclinators”  at Luxor .

Because  of  the  shape  of  some  of  the  rooms  at the  hotel ,  the elevator  doesn’t  go straight ,  it inclines.

The kids won’t  have the  chance  to  ride the  inclinators  because  you all aren’t  staying  at  the  hotel .

Maybe  the  next  time  that  you  all come  to  Las  Vegas ,  whether  it  be  a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour  or not,  this is  the  hotel  that  you’ll  make  reservations  for .

You have to  agree  with  the  kids, just  being  at Luxor  for  a  few minutes  reminded  you of those  wonderful  times  that the four of  you  had visiting  your relatives and  in laws  in Egypt .