A fabulous and fun evening on the Las Vegas Strip… Including a laugh fest…

The lights on the Strip at night are always impressive.

When Richard suggested we all head to the Las Vegas Strip to see comedian Brad Garrett from the famous and long-running TV show, Everybody Loves Raymond; we couldn’t say yes quickly enough. 

Valet parking in front of the MGM Grand was packed.

The Brad Garrett Comedy Club has been a big hit attracted to comedy club fans worldwide who find themselves in the Las Vegas playground anxious for a few hours of hilarious entertainment away from the gaming tables.

We couldn’t believe the size of the line where guests were checking in to the MGM Grand. It appeared the wait could be hours long.

We’ve both always enjoyed comedy shows but over these past years of world travel visiting and living in many non-English speaking countries, seeing comedy shows became a thing of our long-ago past, among other things we’d chosen to forfeit in this nomadic lifestyle.

The Sports Book.

After Richard quickly and easily booked our tickets on his phone, he suggested I research to find a befitting-for-my-diet restaurant at the MGM where we could dine before the show.

The Minnesota Twins game was playing.  They ended up with a win.

Immediately, I got to work online researching each of the many options located in the massive hotel (over 5000 rooms) and casino.  With over two dozen options situated in the giant resort, the possibilities were many.

Guacamole made tableside at the Hecho en Vegas Restaurant where we dined last night.

First, I narrowed it down by price, knowing we had no interest in spending $100’s on our meals at some of the more upscale dining establishments, which were listed as “$$$$.” Those listed at “$” including Subway and fast food type venues, none of which would appeal to us. 

Tom’s Margarita was the jumbo version, a total of 16 ounces.

Even the designated “$$$” restaurant’s menu options were priced over $50 per entree or more. Thus, I narrowed it down to the obvious “$$,” which appeared to fit within an acceptable price range. Richard purchased the tickets at $65 per person, and we offered to buy the meal, which worked out well.

The guacamole was outstanding.  I put some on a plate and ate it with a fork since I don’t eat tortilla chips.

Once again, I chose a Mexican restaurant, Hecho En Vegas, Mexican Grill and Cantina, which proved to have excellent food, suitable for my restrictive diet when once again, I could savor an ideal chopped-type salad with romaine lettuce, shredded beef, cheese, avocado, olives, and tomatoes. See our included photos of our respective meals.

Richard’s Chicken Fajitas with warm tortillas wrapped in foil.

After dinner, we walked to the comedy club, and much to our delight, we were seated at a comfortable booth with a clear and unobstructed view of the stage. With excellent acoustics, we didn’t miss a word, or in this case, a laugh in this adults-only production.

Tom’s taco salad is made in this giant tortilla.

This show was not suitable for those offended by less-than-politically correct innuendos and an abundance of sexually orientated humor. 

The names of the drinks on the menu in Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club made us laugh.

At the beginning of the show Brad Garrett, (who only performs on specific nights but has an ongoing flow of other skilled comedians) made it clear that the show wasn’t suitable for the faint of heart or those easily offended. In no time at all, this became exceedingly clear as to why he pointed to the door for those who’d be inclined to complain when “exposed” to such type of humor.

The High Roller Ferris Wheel at the Linq Hotel and Casino.

For us, who had the perception after being outside the US for so long, that humor had been “tempered” to comply with political correctness, we were right in there, laughing uproariously loud along with the others in attendance. It was a hilarious show with Garrett who’s performance was the best of the evening, along with two other comedians, Carl Labove and Landry, each of which left us in stitches.

When the 8:00 pm show ended around 10:00 pm, we made our way out to the self-serve parking lot when we’d left the white rental car.  Heading outdoors at this hour felt like walking into an oven. It was still close to 100F (38C), and we gasped when the hot air hit us at the late hour.  

The newer Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino on the Strip.

The self-serve parking fee was $12 instead of valet parking which would have been $20 for four or more hours (plus a tip). The savings was worth the long walk back to the car at the end of the evening.   

We’d considered stopping to see some of the newer casinos on the strip, but surely we’ll return to Las Vegas many times in the future and can see more next time we visit. Back at Richard’s by 11:00 pm, we feasted on a low-carb dessert I’d made earlier in the day and headed to bed for another good night’s sleep after a delightful evening.

Today, we’ll spend more time in Richard’s pool, sunning for our token 20-minute dose of Vitamin D. I’ll make a special dinner, and we’ll all enjoy an otherwise lazy Sunday in Henderson, Nevada.

May you have a lovely day as well!

Photo from one year ago today, July 23, 2016:

Tom sits at the table in a meeting room bunker in the Cu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam with several mannequins and two other passengers standing behind him. For more photos, please click here.

An unexpected AmeriCARna 2016 event in New Zealand!…A road trip like none other…Photo shocker at end of page…

This 1946 Chevy had “Tom” on the license plate.  Go figure!

When we noticed a brochure under the doormat outside the front door a week ago we decided attending this American only traveling hotrod and classic car show could be fun.

This map we keep in the car confirmed the easy route from New Plymouth to Opunake.

Although we’ve never attended any car shows in our travels, especially now that we don’t own a car, attending the AmeriCarna 2016 event in the Taranaki Region held special interest for us as Americans.  To be able to see the Kiwi’s enthusiastically waving the American flags was delightful, beyond all expectations.

The quaint town’s variety of farm and implement stores were decorated with American flags and banners.

Detailed information on the many stops the 650 classic cars make on their journey through the Taranaki Region provided many options with one in particular that appealed to us, the hour drive along the ocean to the quaint town of Opunake on the Surf Highway (SH) 45.

Before the cars arrived at the event centre some were parked along the street while owners stopped for coffee and breakfast at the various cafes.

Other options included a litany of locations where the parade would travel over the full three day event, beginning on Thursday, February 25th, ending today, February 27th with no locations more than a few hours from downtown New Plymouth.

The main street was lined with US flags and decorations.

Based on the location of the farm the most logical venue for us was the show was yesterday’s event in Opunake.  Neither of us are big on crowds and traffic, avoided when possible. Opunake provided the most suitable opportunity appealing to our preferences. 

Even the local bank got into the festivities.

The biggest and most crowded events (with all the same cars) were last night (Friday) and again today and tonight in downtown New Plymouth where the  main streets are closed for the parade and the later parking of the vehicles for viewing. 

Tom dashed across the street for this photo op.

Street vendors with fabulous smelling burgers and fried foods is a vital part of the festivities.  If we attended the evening events, we wouldn’t be able to dine when nothing would be appropriate for my way of eating.  The visit to Opunake was perfect when during the day, we easily bypassed the delicious smelling food vendors to later head home to our own tasty dinner.

As we wandered down the street we continued to be amazed by the festivities and enthusiasm of the locals.

Yesterday, in Opunake, we had the benefit of both the full parade and later the parked viewing on all of the cars which had made the drive as we had.  We left an hour earlier than the cars were due to arrive in Opunake leaving us time to visit with many owners of the shops and restaurants that lined the streets of the cozy town.

The café owner stopped to say hello as she finished decorating this mannequin.

After our tour of the town, we found a great parking spot close to the Sandford Event Centre and we were able to watch each of the cars as they arrived twice, once as they entered a nearby intersection as they headed to the event centre, again as they drove into the event centre and a third time while parked on the grounds of the event center.

The procession of car began from the highway to the event centre while we stood with the crowds at the intersection.  We started taking more photos when they were actually heading into the event centre at a much slower pace. More photos tomorrow.

Although the event in Opunake was crowded we were freely able to park, move about and be up close and personal with the cars.  It was ideal when we had to opportunity to talk to some of the car owners as they proudly displayed their own unique vehicles. 

We couldn’t have been more surprised to see this Minnesota State Trooper vehicle (we’re from Minnesota, USA) at the show especially when we didn’t see such cars from other states.  Ironic, eh?

From the AmeriCARna’s website“Americarna’s first event was in February 2007 and limited to 550 vehicles.  We wanted the event and every aspect to be about quality not quantity.  From those who attended the inaugural event, you (the public) told me we had it right.”

Tom couldn’t resist being in this photo!

As Americans, it was a special day for us, away from endless political spewing on the news and sad state of many US and world affairs.  The waving of the American flag by the joyful Kiwis, driving their American cars and having the time of their lives, made it a special day for us we’ll always remember as one many meaningful experiences we’ve had in this magical place.

More car photos with a new story will follow over the next few days. Please stop back!

CARpe diem!


Photo from one year ago today, February 27, 2015:

One year ago on a last night out of town in Kauai, a little strip of clouds added to the view of the setting sun in Poipu Beach, Kauai.  For more photos, please click here.