Five on the Fifth

It’s time for the final official “Five on the Fifth,” a monthly event which invites you to take five photos and share them via blog. You can take 5 random pictures or follow the suggested theme: WINTER WEEKEND.

This weekend, I helped to celebrate a birthday by packing up the car and driving the birthday boy man coot to Las Vegas. He wanted to stay at the Luxor, which is a resort in the shape of a pyramid.

sphinx

Though guest rooms line the walls of the pyramid, the inside is a vast open space. One need only open one’s door to peer down upon a courtyard containing eateries and theatres, itself a roof over the ground-level casino floor. Mr. Birthday found the view disconcerting and vertigo inducing. Oddly enough, I (who even gets nervous on freeway interchanges) rather enjoyed the view.

The next afternoon, we investigated a few of the interesting attractions at the resort. There was an exhibit of relics recovered from the Titanic, which, to my surprise and delight, even recreated the ship’s staterooms, the first-class promenade, and the grand staircase. Seeing actual items recovered from passengers’ luggage underscored the reality of the Titanic.

There was also a Bodies exhibit, displaying plastinated cadavers and organs. Since this exhibit was being presented in the name of Science, I wasn’t concerned with being overcome by squeamishness, but I was a little concerned that I’d be creeped out by the cadavers. In fact, the main feeling I ended up with was a sudden desire to become a vegan. The color and texture of the specimens reminded me a lot of my Thanksgiving turkey. (Also, pot roast.) It was incredibly interesting, though, especially the sections on the brain and the circulatory system.

At the resort next door was a whole shark aquarium, which had an underwater viewing room with ports on all four walls, floor, and ceiling. There were several shark species, rays, jellyfish, sea turtles, piranha, an octopus, and a crocodile. None of these sat still long enough for me to get a good picture. At least the starfish cooperated.

starfish

We also saw Cirque du Soliel. Of course, we couldn’t get any pictures of that, since the performers demonstrated that anyone attempting to do so would be thrown into a flame-belching pit, along with all their cameras and cell phones.

The next afternoon, we visited the Atomic Testing Museum. It chronicled the history of atomic weapons from their invention to the present. I was actually not aware of the impact that the atomic age had on the history of Las Vegas. An important testing range was apparently close enough that detonations could sometimes be seen from the city, at least until the atmospheric testing ban.

Nuclear Family

Our final stop was the Pinball Hall of Fame, which housed dozens of vintage and modern pinball games, as well as a few electromechanical oddities. There was a coin-operated marionette, a steam shovel game, an electromechanical flight game, and some others that were powered down. It was really interesting to have an opportunity to play some of the really early games, which seemed slow-paced and deterministic when compared to the frenetic and complicated modern games.

Pinball

After that, it was time to head home, and after all the stimulus of the trip, I could certainly use another few days off to recover.

But, before I do that, I have one last, bonus, photo to share today. I assume that someone threw a cup of melted ice on the ground.

Rorschach

I see a bird. An eagle, or perhaps a crow. What do you see?

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