A month to the day from my last post, hope it’s not habit-making! Where to start?
We went to Vegas a few weeks ago, hubby and I, and along the way I came to realise a lot of things. What happens in Vegas doesn’t really stay in Vegas as we are stuck with some mental Vegas reruns that we really wish we could have left there. I am not saying that I am about to break the road rules, I know what that’s supposed to mean, more so I am simply recounting a few memories…if you can call them that?
One of the things I don’t think I could ever get used to in Vegas is the number of drunks walking around at all hours of the day. By no means was I naive thinking that noone gets drunk in Vegas, butI was not prepared for 9am walking around in Freemont Street and having people who were unfathomably innebriated waltz down the street and strike up conversation, or what they thought was conversation. These weren’t vagrants, or twenty somethings looking for the next party either. One, just a random woman in her forties (or thirties or…I couldn’t tell) stumbling haphazardly down the sidewalk noting how little clothing I had on. A skirt. Excuse me, I came from -40C to +13C, I am entitled to one sunny morning on my albino legs! Anyway, it seems as though some of these people simply live life constantly under the neck of a bottle. I know, I know, wake up it happens everywhere. Living in small town Northern Alberta, I see – rather, smell – my share (and then some) of citizens who are happily unaware that passerbys could get drunk just smelling their breath. But I don’t know, it just seemed like every second person was hammered. Very glad my hubby was walking with me, it’s unnerving. Earlier that same day, we had breakfast at the Peppermill (absolultely fabulous, especially if you have a horse-like appetite in the morning, 10 egg omelettes!) and as we were leaving, a man with a few friends and a girlfriend ( i assume) walked in. He was noticably under the influence, of alcohol and I am sure other things, and he was trying to talk to the hostess about getting a table. As there was a waiting list, he was loudly proclaiming (yes, proclaiming) that they would be in the lounge side getting drunk while they waited for a table, and that if it took 2 minutes or all day, that’s where they’d be waiting, getting drunk. His girlfriend was so out of it that he had to verbally and physically (but truly, caringly) help her through the doorway and into the bar onto a stool. She was having trouble walking, and I don’t think she had a disability. I couldn’t help feeling like she needed rescuing, but who am I to judge. She wasn’t complaining or looking like she wanted anything but what she was doing, it just struck me how awful it seemed. Compassionate me gets worked up over Home Hardware commercials – homeowners helping homeowners… I admit though, on the day when we were visiting with friends and my girl friend and I were trying to finish our drink so we could go into a restaurant to eat, I was entertained by the whole idea of drinking while shopping! Not an eyelash batted as we wandered into each store, highball in hand (in GLASS, not plastic!) and examined and tried on clothing and whatnot. I guess to someone else, I may have been the random thirty-something wandering around aimlessly while somewhat intoxicated commenting on someone else’s dresses.
And the noise, my gosh the noise!!! Every hotel booking should come with a gift certificate for use at your choice of ear-nose-and-throat specialist offices for post-Vegas ear trauma relief! It was so relieving to turn a corner in our hotel on the way to the indoor Shark Reef and be greeted by the sound of a large, very quiet, empty hallway with a breeze blowing through. The constant drone of the casino floor really didn’t help me unwind from the chaos of two kids at home. And they intentionally have very little hallway/lobby seating so you are sort of forced to either eat, drink or gamble if you want to sit. I am not complaining too much though. Having been bombarded daily with the sounds of money flushing down the proverbial toilet, coming home to two rugrats who are full of energy was a walk in the breezy hallway. 🙂
Cha-ching! When I picture people and slot machines, it’s usually women with their purses protectively cradled in their laps stabbing methodologically away at the flashing screens and buttons of machines promising ever-progressing jackpots, or men trying their hands, and wallets, at blackjack or poker tables in an effort to look like a RainMan rerun minus the Tom Cruise brother, trying hard not to show their tells to the dealers in white shirts and ties, regardless of gender. I was (admittedly) amused to see a few sections of some of the casinos being staffed by young women dressed only in Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood window stoppers! I am guessing that the men at these tables were not as dashed at losing their greens to these tables, and I am also sure that the greens lost there were more frequent than at some of the other tables that had fewer black and red LACE distractions! But, most of all, I was surprised and once again chagrinned to pass a woman on my way out of the bathroom, who was not only wearing pajama pants, but a hoodie, slippers and housecoat to boot! I understand that the hotels are designed to not only confuse you and keep you inside them, but that if you had no intentions on leaving in the first place, there would be everything you could need under one roof. But seriously? I could never imagine myself being so comfortable as to wear my bedclothes to the lobby to gamble! No dresscode, of course, but really? I suppose the slot machines don’t care.
Today’s special! On our morning walk, we decided to check out the Stratosphere. I mean, where else in Vegas can you get such a view? So we ventured up the many stairs and escalators to the staging floor of the elevator that would take you to the bar and restaurant at the top. But, whoa! $16.00 per person to ride an elevator to get a view that would leave me with vertigo and probably be not much different than the one from my 26th floor hotel room? Thanks but no thanks. Then it occured to me how eager (and capable) they were to extract every penny from the tourists that give Vegas it’s outrageous population! I was humourously waiting for a bill for breathing the precious desert air. Along our travels, we decided to visit the Mirage and the tiger and dolphin exhibits. While I found it very refreshing to be in a humid environment, I was greatly disappointed. I think I am destined to never set foot in a zoo where animals do anything more than sleep. Not their fault of course, but it just really pushed home how sad it was for these animals to be in such small surroundings. One lion was pacing the fence and spraying because he could see (just barely) they lion in the next enclosure. We had to be on gaurd to not be caught making kissy faces at the most inopportune moments. An older couple informed us that it was terribly difficult to get the smell off. 🙂 Glad I was not the one speaking from experience! One of the trainers at the dolphin exhibit said that there were no shows or specially scheduled events, but if you waited you could watch them feed the dolphins, basically when they got around to it. It was, afterall, simply a research and training facility. Um, if there are no shows, what are the dolphins being trained for? And just what exactly can you research about a bunch of dolphins being cooped up in constant summer heat and blue painted swimming pools? Ah, I know. It’s research on the visitors, to see just how much money they are willing to spend to see these animals and then buy stuffed versions from the gift shop and have pictures with themselves superimposed on the tank like they actually got to kiss the dolphins. Hmmm, marketing research, yes those photos got me to pay $30/person to go into the whole thing. They looked real…
And finally, if you are a pedestrian in Vegas, which I am sure 90% of the visitors are, you have two things to keep in mind. One, riding in a cab can be as hazardous to your health as trying to cross the interstate at rush hour. It is like being in a live version of Grand Theft Auto, minus the bonus points for running over people (I think.) And two, for no reason should you assume that the no-traffic moment while waiting for the walk-signal to come on is your window of opportunity to cross the street without waiting. Someone else is in a cab just over the hill or around the corner with their eyes shut, screaming at the top of their lungs how much they love their dad and how if God gets them to their destination alive they will never lie to their boss again, barrelling down that road whose lanes are divided by reflective discs in the pavement as more of a suggestion than a rule, at well over the posted speedlimit and whose driver has taken the unwritten oath that traffic signs are in the same nuisance category as speedbumps and that every ride should be a thrill ride out of Fast and the Furious! We even had one cabby who laughed an evil cackling laugh all the way to the hotel we were going to and the more excited we seemed to be about the speed and the hairpin turns, the faster he drove! He really loved his job I guess!
But, overall and despite the rants, I actually enjoyed myself in Vegas. I wouldn’t go more than once a year, and next time I will see more shows, but it felt like a good few days away from the daily grind. I only hope that next time, I leave the winter weather at home, and come home with a tan.