Monday, August 2, 2010

MIT '07 Pi Reunion - Saturday

Saturday was our first (and only) full day in Las Vegas. We were up and out of the room by 10am for brunch. The brunch was an official MIT reunion event, with a buffet at Serendipity 3. All of the food was great - lots of exotic fruit, bacon, sausage, quiche, and all sorts of fun stuff. Serendipity has an outdoor patio that overlooks the strip - breakfast there was a fun way to start the day.

After brunch, we decided to join some of our friends that were driving out to Hoover Dam. With Kurt, Andrew, Helen, Tim, Joy, Jeff, and me, we filled up the whole van.

It was fun to see the desert landscape - last year, I stayed downtown the whole time, so it was all new to me.

The Hoover Dam was really cool - we took a 45 minute tour, so we got to go down into the dam and see some of the pipes and other inner-workings.

The coolest part, though, was really just walking across the dam and looking out over the edge. There's a new bridge being built so that people can bypass the dam when driving, and it looks really cool spanning the canyon.

The road trip was lots of fun, and gave us lots of time to come up with some great dam puns. :)

We got back from seeing the dam around 6pm. Jeff and I were a bit tired by this point, so we took a short power-nap. Then we met up with Andrew, Helen, and Dave Lin for our "adventure dinner." The day before heading to DC, Jeff and I met a friend-of-a-friend at a space networking event who had been a teacher in Las Vegas. He recommended that we try this place that was just a block off the strip, called Ellis Island. It has a deal for a steak dinner and a pint of beer for only $6.99. So we gave it a shot - I was really impressed! The place doesn't look like much from the outside - it's across the street from an abandoned parking lot. The deal is not actually written in the menu, but there is a picture of the meal on the front. First, the quantity of food is staggering - the dinner includes a soup or salad, steak, potato, green beans, and a pint of beer. The quality of food was actually pretty good, too. I really liked the cream of broccoli soup - which our waitress told us is made from scratch daily. My steak was pretty good, but a bit tough (though Jeff ordered his medium-rare and really liked it). Mashed potatoes and green beans were also good. The beer was actually pretty impressive - the place is a microbrewery, so they offer their own ale, stout, hefeweizen, and root beer. Between the five of us at the table, we happened to order one of everything. The stout was really good - very smooth, the ale was also nice. If you're not in the mood for alcohol, the home-made root beer was soo tasty. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this place!

After dinner, Jeff and I took a cab down to Stratosphere to meet up with our Spanish friends again. We played cards in their room. They suggested we play a memory-card game called "cross," and I asked them to explain the rules to me. Then a bit into the description of the rules, it started to seem very familiar. So I asked, "Wait a minute... didn't I teach you this game?" And they said yes. I had completely forgotten about it - I probably haven't played since that summer in Barcelona, but apparently it's in their regular card-game rotation. :)

When it got a bit later, we decided to try out one of the clubs in Las Vegas. We went to Pure in Ceasar's Palace - that's the club where most of the MIT reunion people were headed. Jeff and I were happy to start with, because we got in free with our Ceasar's Palace room key. There are four different rooms in the club, but we headed straight to the roof-deck/patio, which was breezy and cool and overlooks the strip. Jeff really liked it, because it wasn't quite as loud as clubs usually are. We had a really great time!

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