Lost Wages Strip

The Experience

Today was going to be a slow day for a change of pace. We got up around 9 am, bought takeout from Jack in the Box a block away from our hotel for breakfast, and the kids played with their iPad and iPhone games in our air conditioned hotel room until our lunch.

Hotel Lounge

Hotel Lounge

This hotel had a washer and dryer that customers could use for free to wash their clothes. We bought a small container of liquid laundry detergent from a gas station near our hotel and washed our dirty clothes. We couldn’t finish all the detergent, so we left it in the laundry room for others to use.

Another unique feature of this hotel was that it had sliding steel doors with locks outside of elevator’s entrances. The steel doors were open when we were going in and out of the hotel. Were the doors locked up in a fire so no one could use the elevator?

We drove to a Chinese noodle restaurant nearby for a late lunch. It’s 100ºF outside. After we finished lunch, we drove back to our hotel for a nap. It’s going to be a big night tonight at the Lost Wages Strip!

We wore comfortable shoes and left our hotel a little after 5 pm for a magic show scheduled at 6 pm. The theater had a parking lot that cost $10 for the duration of the show only. We drove to the Monte Carlo parking garage preparing to pay $10 for the night. We were pleased to find that we didn’t need to pay anything. From there we walked to Tommy Wind Theater by Polo Towers on the Strip. We got our magic show tickets at a deep discount and I’d never heard about this magician, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Everyone of my family brought a bottled water for the night, but we had to surrender them at the front desk temporarily. We were told that there were drinks inside the showroom that we could buy. But I imagined they would be very expensive.

They called us last and led us to the first row of the theater. There were many people there already. About half of them had kids like us. I took a quick view of the surrounding area. It was dimly lit. The theater was not big and had tables and chairs from the front of the stage to the back. There were also balconies above us and high ceilings. The setting was intimate with no bad seats in the house. There were still plenty of empty seats.

As I was wondering whether the show would be delayed for more people to show up, the show started on-time. Tommy Wind was very down to earth. He spoke often and with heart about getting interested in magic from his grandfather. He frequently gave credit to his wife, mother and father, and the technical crews who worked with him. He was humble with his success.

There were a number of audience participation acts on stage. He also constantly interacted with the audiences below stage. He was a good entertainer. He and his dad did a drum performance at the beginning of the show. Then he did some card tricks, the ball under the cup trick, the box trick, people disappearing and reappearing in a different place trick, and old time magic tricks like the floating table and others. Last but not least, he performed a new original act that was intertwined with martial arts. He was super enthusiastic and worked hard to put on a good family friendly and refreshing show. His show combined illusions with music and martial arts.

There’s a server that came around to take drink orders during the show. We didn’t buy anything though, of course.

At the end of the show, he asked people who were interested in becoming a magician to raise their hands. Adventurer Jr. III did and Tommy Wind gave him a free magic kit that cost $20 to buy.

He also invited the audiences to stay for later performances from other entertainers because he leased the theater out to others as well. But we decided not to since we had other plans.

After the show, he and his wife came out to meet the audiences in the lounge and posed for pictures with them. My kids got a photo with them and he even signed the free magic kit for Adventurer Jr. III.

That was a fun one hour of entertainment. We really hoped that his show and business would survive and thrive. We got our five bottles of water back and walked out of the theater. We were going to finish the rest of the Strip that we hadn’t got a chance to the other night.

There’s a Strip in Pittsburgh, PA, where I got my Master of Science degree from a University there many years ago. I was very familiar with Saturdays’ Pittsburgh Strip. It had a variety of Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, and Polish authentic ethnic grocers, produce stands, meat and fresh seafood markets, restaurants, little shops, and sidewalk vendors in the historic one-half square mile district with sightings of older buildings. Regional favorites were featured as well. There was no chain business except one McDonald’s on the Strip. I regarded the Strip as a little cultural place like no other.

But this Strip wasn’t that Strip. Lost Wages’ Strip was bigger, stretching from the SLS hotel to the Mandalay Bay Resort, and it came to life at night when neon lights and displays were flashing and dazzling on dramatic architecture. There were array of casinos, hotels, shops, pubs, and restaurants. Some of the buildings reflected different countries like Egypt, France and Italy. We saw fountains dancing and heard music blaring. There were lots of people walking the strip. Pedestrian bridges added more time to the cruising but I found they were the perfect spots to take good pictures.

After watching the free Volcano show at the Mirage, we walked into Caesar Palace in search of an Aquarium and got lost in the casinos/malls. There were so many high-end shops that I had never seen before. The flashy and extravagant settings were alluring people to shop until drop, to gamble until broke, and to drink until passing out. The place was like a maze to us and we were so disoriented. After a long walk, we found a little Aquarium right in front of a Nike store. The good thing was that Adventurer Jr. III liked seeing the fish.

Finally, we made our way out just in time for the water show of fountains dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “Luck be a Lady” at Bellagio. We saw masses of people everywhere and we were being propelled forward via pure manpower at times. The strip was hustle and bustle. Street vendors and freelance artists were everywhere but they were not pushy. Also many people dressed in costumes. Sightings of lots of beggars and homeless people but they didn’t bother anyone. Many people had alcohol bottles/cups in their hands. Somehow all these reminded me of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. We took many breaks along the way to watch the people go by. With all the chaos, yet it was a very safe place well patrolled by the police.

I used to own HOG stock, but now it's too expensive.

I used to own HOG stock, but now it’s too expensive.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe on the Las Vegas Strip

Eiffel Tower on the Las Vegas Strip

Eiffel Tower on the Las Vegas Strip

We will be seeing the real Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower in Paris one day.

Getting ready for the Volcano show

Getting ready for the Volcano show

Julius Caesar and the Colosseum on Las Vegas Strip

Julius Caesar and the Colosseum on Las Vegas Strip

Too bad we won’t have enough time to visit Rome, Italy during our Europe trip.

Here was where we got lost, big time

Here was where we got lost, big time

Inside the Forum Shops

Inside the Forum Shops

Adventurer Jr. III liked the bottle and I own KO stock. How could I not take a picture? No way.

Adventurer Jr. III liked the bottle and I own KO stock. How could I not take a picture? No way.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

Around 11:30 pm, after our last stop at New York New York, Adventurer Jr. III was getting tired. When we left the Strip, the night was still young. It was a good experience for us, but I felt out of my element and probably won’t go back.

Financial Implications of the Day: Would’ve Cost: $397.91, Actual Cost: $137.91

  • Hotel Four Points by Sheraton in Las Vegas without free breakfast: $260, max rate of our room was $349, cost us 0
  • Breakfast: Jack in the Box: $19.83
  • Laundry detergent: $3.99
  • Lunch including tip: $52.83
  • Magic show at 6 pm cost $20
  • Dinner: Subway and McDonald’s on Strip: $21.09 + $14 = $35.09 + three bottles of milk from CVS on the Strip: $6.17. Total for dinner: $41.26

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