on June 21, 2006
We planned a 9am to 5pm day at the Aladdin. Our first adventure was to enter the Desert Passage from the Harmon Avenue entrance. Little did we know this would bring us right into the most dramatic section of the Desert Passage. On weekdays every hour on the hour, and weekends every half hour the Rainstorm arrives. It starts with a few rumblings of thunder and flashes of lightening. These build and intensify as sprinkles of rain progress to a downpour. The odd thing is the rain only falls in the harbor. OK, there is some overspray into the walkway, but no one gets drenched. There are 140 stores and 10 restaurants that make up the Desert passage. All store exteriors follow the desert metropolis theme. Even the restrooms are decorated with Arabic-Moorish style. In the Ladies, each stall had a tiled niche with scrolled plaster frame and a wrought iron guardrail to be used for your purse or packages. Our favorite stores were the Metropolitan Museum of Art Shope, Dept. 56, Hilo Hatties, Sur La Table, Discovery Channel Store, and Showcase Slots. We found out that Las Vegas has a high population of relocated Hawaiians. This is evident in the Fremont Street area where some hotels have luaus, and many Hawaiian employees. On The Strip a replica of Waikiki’s International Market is tucked in near the Harley-Davidson Café. At the Aladdin there were three Hawaiian based shops. The first two are Hilo Hattie’s and ABC Store. The third is a restaurant called Cheeseburger Las Vegas. In Hawaii we had eaten at Cheeseburger in Paradise on two islands. All three restaurants were founded on the theory that what all the world really needed was a good five-napkin cheeseburger. We had lunch there for two for $30. Décor is Polynesian; the food is generous in portion and usually has some Hawaiian tie-in such as pineapple, coconut, or macadamia nut. My teriyaki burger had Mac nut coleslaw on the side. Casino time! During the afternoon we discovered the joys of slot machines. After we spent our gambling allowance we returned to the Merchants Harbor. We bought coffee and enormous Napoleon pastries at the Merchant Harbor Coffee House. We enjoyed this $13 treat at a Harbor side table during a Rainstorm. It was amusing to watch the reaction of shoppers who didn’t know about the Rainstorm.A few days later we returned to the Aladdin for a morning of casino play. This was followed by lunch at Max’s Café. This place was a good find. Five minutes before they opened a long line spontaneously formed at the hostess desk. I would say the word is out on this bargain. They had several $3.99 entrees on the menu. Their motto is “gourmet food cheap.” The two of us were able to have a hearty main course and dessert for $22.00 total (including the tip).
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