Sand! Hands! Action!
Real activism on a fake beach in Vegas
Wed, Jun 30, 2010 (12:10 p.m.)
Photo: Pete Dronkers
Hey, there was sand and there was water. Of course it counts.
Most of the other 700 groups who participated in “Hands Across the Sand,” a national weekend protest in the wake of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, gathered at actual beaches to hold hands for 15 minutes. Not to be left out, Las Vegas organized its own gathering last Saturday at the Rio’s “beach,” a sandy area near the pool. It was awkward—I’m pretty sure no other gathering had a pool attendant asking you if you were there for “the sand event”—but organizers seemed happy with the turnout of about 60, not bad by Vegas political-rally standards. (Although thousands turned up for the Miami Beach event, and even Lake Michigan got 75.)
In a nice touch, a microphone was passed among the participants during the hand-holding session: “Events like this can be the beginning of the end [for Big Oil].” Buddy, if only that were true. “We can all feel the energy of the sun today. Let’s use it.” Yes! “Get involved politically. Vote.” Absolutely! “Go vegan!” Well, let’s not get carried away ...
The overriding message of the day was “stop offshore oil drilling” and “support alternative energy,” but not all agreed on how quickly that should happen. Robin Vircsik, a Las Vegas kindergarten teacher who was born in Alabama and knows the economic situation in the South, says, “If we just stop drilling, how are all those people down there going to eat?”
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.