Saturday, May 2, 2009

Under the (smoky) Big Top

Twenty years ago, when my friends and I were looking for something to do, we often went to the Strip. It was great fun cruising up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. Sometimes, when the back-and-forth and the exhaust fumes and the slimy older men got to be too much - we had to actually park and go inside the casinos. Since we were under 21 and therefore couldn't loiter near the slot machines (except for Kristen who looked MUCH more mature than the rest of us); and since few of the present-day resorts even existed yet - we settled for the El Rancho bowling alley (where we habitually ordered hash browns and Sprite, who knows why) and occasionally Circus Circus.

Today Kevin and I and my visiting mother-in-law took the kids to Circus Circus. Ew. There is some funky time warp in that spot on the Strip. Once inside and navigating the casino floor to the midway - it looks EXACTLY the same as it did in 1989. Smells the same, too. Like a lot of smoke. Maybe some parents wouldn't brave the smoke and the migraine-inducing carpet, but here is a list of the positive outcome:

1) each kid managed to win one stuffed toy (granted, Cayna's is a sort of a fuzzy dog head that makes a disturbing chortling noise, but still...)

2) our whole family got a chance to pummel a stuffed chicken high into the air

3) Grandma bought four tubs of cotton candy for her grandchildren

4) we all witnessed an acrobat, a juggler, and a contortionist - for free!

5) after twenty years, when it comes to the "blow up the balloon with the squirt gun til it pops" game - I still got it!

6) I don't have to go back until they're old enough to ride the roller coasters in the Adventure Dome portion. That could be years away.

7) We didn't lose anybody in the bowels of that strange old place.
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