Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Impressions of Las Vegas

It's been 3 weeks since I got back from Las Vegas and my head is still spinning. I'm currently writing a story about my time in Vegas, but I thought I'd let you in on the fun by starting with sharing some of the highlights of this awesome trip.

Coolest casino- outside:
New York New York. They built the whole damned New York skyline into the design of the building, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Oh yeah, there is also a roller coaster going through the hotel, to commemorate Astroland, the unfortunately  now defunct funpark on Coney Island.

Coolest casino - inside: Mandalay Bay is absolutely stunning. I spent an hour just looking at te decorations and the garden, before I even put a dollar in a slotmachine.

Coolest casino to gamble in – Hooters. Apart from the hottest waitresses, they also had the most fun games, the wackiest slotmachines and the most free beer. They even gave me a Regular Gambler card.

Best bar- Dino’s, a small bar near the Stratosphere hotel. It had a real neighbourhood feel to it, and was something completely different from all the big money hotel bars on the Strip and the flashy gambler’s haunts Downtown.  It wouldn’t look out of place in Boston or South Philadelphia. Best of all, it was open 24/7, which brings me to the next point:

Best thing in general- Everything is open 24/7! I absolutely loved it. No matter what time of day or night it is, whenever you fancy something (anything) you just go out and get it. High Stakes poker at 3 in the morning? No problem, there are dozens of casinos to choose from. Want a 17” pizza for breakfast? They’ll deliver it right to your doorstep in 20 minutes. Feel like oysters and champagne at 10 in the morning? Sit down right here and a waiter will be with you in a minute.

                                                  Breaksfast in Vegas.
Also best thing in general- Apart from everything being open 24/7, you can buy alcohol almost everywhere. Souvenir shops, hot dog stands, you name it, they sell beer. Or margaritas, or bourbon and coke or wine.  You get the picture. And because everyone is drinking the whole day, there is no use in having strict drinking laws which means that there are groups of people everywhere swaying across the streets clutching bottles of beer or those plastic 1 litre margarita glasses, it was like one massive neverending street party. I had the time of my life.

Personal highlights- Apart from running into an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years, I visited my 1000th bar, something I had been working on for 8 years. I am now also a member of the club of supercool people who have 10 or more tattoos, thanks to the guys at Downtown Tattoo, and of the club of people who have crossed the Atlantic Ocean 10 times. It was a week of landmarks for me personally and I enjoyed absolutely every second of it.

                                                        The author, celebrating 1000 Bars

I did miss out on a couple of things I planned on doing. I never got around to going to the Pinball Museum for some reason, it just got snowed in between all the other awesome stuff there is to do. The tunnel tours, where you go into the flood tunnels under the city, where the mole people live, were currently off the schedule, according to the staff at my hostel, because of safety issues. Bummer, that was the main reason I wanted to do it.

I had to relocate my tattoo appointment to a more centrally located shop as the one I had planned on going was so far out that after walking for over a mile from the Southernmost point of the Strip, I still was nowhere near it. And that’s another thing about Vegas. Because everything is centralised on one street (The Strip) and a 5 square block area downtown, you get the impression that everything is in close proxomity. You see, everything in Las Vegas is  over the top, and that includes the size of everything. The Stratosphere Casino, at 1149 ft(350 metres), is the tallest building in the USA, West of the Mississippi. The Mandalay Bay casino has an internal monorail train to take you to the other side of the casino and the entrance to the Luxor next door. Caesar’s Palace is 3 quarters of a mile from East to West. They don’t do things small scale in Vegas.

There were a couple of minor things that were disappointing, namely that the Brooklyn Bridge was closed for maintenance and Coyote Ugly was nowhere near as cool as in the movie. Yes, there were hot girls and yes, they were dancing on the bar. But there was a bunch of annoying bouncers at the door who even demanded that I threw away my water bottle. I seriously don’t understand why because when I walked inside, I was handed 2 glass bottles of Corona that I could have hurt people much more with than with a water bottle. Anyway, dancing on the bar only happened every now and then and in the time inbetween they entertained the crowd with lame barn-dance stuff like hula-hoops.
Anyway, these were minor setbacks in a holiday that consisted solely of triumphs. I love Las Vegas, I love the over the top “everything-you-can-do,I-can-do-better” one-uppery that never stops. I can understand that it will drive people insane after a while, especially people who aren’t used to big and busy cities. Being a city slicker and used to the constant white noise of traffic, people shouting, trains passing by and fire trucks in the distance, I had little problem adjusting to life in Vegas. Yes, even for me it is noisy and over the top, but I love it there and I will certainly be back. Go check it out for yourself!

The full story on my whereabouts in Las Vegas will be up soon.


1 comment: