I am returned from Las Vegas. With that... a few thoughts.
1) I alluded to my love for Las Vegas previously. That love has not diminished. That said, I never realized until this trip exactly how singular Vegas is. I mean... I knew it wasn't a normal place. I knew that you could see things there that you'd never see anywhere else. I guess I never thought about the depths of such things. Allow me to explain by offering 5 things that make Vegas the most unique place in America.
a) At "Mermaids Casino" downtown, (immediately next to the hot dog/ fried twinkie stand where my dad was enjoying both of those delicacies at that moment), I saw a cocktail waitress so drunk/high that she stumbled into the restroom, barely making it. It was... 11 AM.
b) As I rode the monorail back from the MGM Grand to my hotel, a man sat next to me. He then put his arm around me. I was too shocked to react at all. I figured it was best.
c) For a place that is so completely devoid of entertainment geared toward children, there sure are a ton of them. At the Bellagio for "O", I sat next to a family of 6. The poor bastard who purchased the tickets paid 173.00 per person for their family. The child closest to me sat still for MAYBE 10 minutes of the 100 minute show. And that show might be the most kid friendly thing I saw all week.
d) Nowhere else can you see a person winning a huge amount of money on the slot machines, and not only NOT act happy in any way, but actually look pissed because the credits are taking too long to tally, and they want to get back to their mind-numbing slot machine-ing.
e) The only place in the entire world where in the span of one block you walk past a girl on roller skates and a thong, a homeless man admitting he only wants beer, an Asian family taking pictures (again with the insanely inappropriate presence of children), 5 latinos passing out brochures for neighborhood prostitutes, a gaggle of drunken 40 year-old women who haven't been to bed yet (at 11AM), and a living statue.
2) As much as I love Vegas, the gambling part has lost a tad-bit of it's luster. Perhaps it's because the slot machines totally obliterated me. Perhaps it's because I'm mad at myself for not playing more Pai Gow Poker (I killed that game this week.) But the thing is... All of those things I mentioned above are reason enough to make Vegas a yearly stop. The gambling is fun, but is also a decided bummer if you're losing. The place is pricey enough as it is.
3) Another reason to check out this place? The sheer, ridiculous size and scope of the whole place. You see pictures, and since the casinos are all next to eachother, you don't realize how fucking huge these places are. The MGM Grand takes 15 minutes just to walk from one end to the other without stopping. Ceasars Palace is so big it's entirely conceivable that you not only could get lost in the casino itself, but you'd probably be wise to factor the time it takes to get from room to lobby when making any plans. The Forum Shops at Ceasars has more stores in which I couldn't afford a single item than all of the stores in Cincinnati. Fendi, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Gucci...all of them. It's actually quite insane. The new "City Center" is the single largest private construction project in American history. 8 BILLION dollars. There are more hotel rooms in the MGM Grand alone than there are in the entire city of Cincinnati. It's hard to even put it into perspective. All I can say is that nothing looks like it'd be a long walk, but it ALWAYS is.
4) I have a vague feeling of embarrasment about the place. It's like.. In one place, there is every single excess and display of ridiculous oppulence that seems to make everyone hate Americans. When Bin Laden was talking about our priorities being misplaced, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he'd just come from Vegas. That said... I'd say that EASILY half of the people there are not American. So... who exactly is there to witness my shame? It's a place built on foreign money. Yo go past the high-rollers area at most places and it's dominated by non-Americans. Usually with a hot blonde on their arms. So... there's a cognitive dissonance to Vegas that is hard to wrap my brain around. On the one hand, you're embarassed to be a part of it, but on the other hand... everyone else seems to be playing along, so... who cares?
5) I'm still astounded by the number of quintessential "Vegas Style" shows that are around. Today, after I left, Dad and Dee Anne went to see this. There are the same tired comedians. The same weirdo shows with people like Cher and Bette Midler who both...I don't know if I'm right about this... might be in their 90s. It's just so odd when everything else is geared toward drawing in the younger crowd with their clubs and music things...but they still name Danny Gans (the impressionist) Entertainer of the Year. It's like... 2 worlds colliding, but only...happily.
6) GOD DAMN was it hot. I mean...seriously. I believe we hit 109 yesterday. And yeah...the old joke "It's a dry heat" is funny, and mostly true. I was significantly more comfortable there in that heat than I would in Cincinnati were it 20 degrees cooler with the humidity. Now, in honor of my dad, who may not have made up this joke, but sells it pretty well...
Guy 1: Damn...it's fucking hot.
Guy 2: Yeah, but it's a dry heat.
Guy 1: Great. So's an oven.
I digress... I'm not sunburned either, despite my not wearing a hat for much of the trip, and being out in the Sun.. that's a good thing.
6) The food thing is a real bummer. As you all know, I have a difficult time eating these days, after the surgery. So... previously, if I'd been in Vegas it'd be all about the Buffets and the steaks and the deli and burgers and whatever else. Deep Fried Oreos perhaps. Well...now I'm lucky if I am able to finish a bowl of soup. It's discouraging to not be able to eat all of these great things.
In any case, I wanted to thank my Dad and Dee Anne for being awesome this week. I had a great time, and I look forward to another...or maybe Disney.
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