Earlier this week, I returned from my first-ever trip to Las Vegas, and I must admit I had a great time. If you detect a begrudging tone in that statement, then you, my friend, are the winner of—well, sadly, you’ve won nothing; I’m a freelance writer, and I can’t afford to hand out door prizes. Though you do get the satisfaction of basking in your own cleverness, so hey, that’s something, right? (Okay, I’ll stop now.)
Anyway, as I was saying, Vegas is not a place that ever ranked high (or at all) on my list of desired travel destinations, but when you receive an offer you cannot refuse—particularly when it involves a city with historical mob ties—then you don’t very well refuse.
There was much to enjoy about the four-day trip. I had the chance to hang out with one of my dearest friends in all the world, and I made wonderful new friends, including some of the funniest people I’ve ever had the good fortune of meeting. I got to listen to some great live music, and I partied with Robert DeNiro. (Fine, I didn’t “technically” party with him, but I was at the same shindig, and in my book, that’s close enough.) I ate quite well and imbibed many cocktails that, if memory serves (though in Vegas, it rarely does) were most enjoyable, including one that I suspect—given its highly addictive nature—may have been laced with a hit of crack. That’s my excuse, anyway, for having downed so many of them, and I’m sticking with that story to the end.
Best not to speak of my “luck” (and I am using ironic air quotes here) at the casino. For every sweet winning run, the universe insisted on going all yin-yang on me and negating my fleeting good fortune with a countervailing loss. (Time for a Vegas true confession that doesn’t involve sex: It’s possible I may have lost a wee bit more than I won, though we are talking penny slots here—I roll low—which is probably a good thing, given that, as a rule, I eschew Kenny Rogers’ guidance on anything in life, and have no godly idea when to “hold ’em” or “fold ’em.” Then again, would you really take advice from a man who willingly transformed himself from a ruggedly good-looking gentleman of a certain age to an animatronic version of his own Madame Tussaud’s wax figure. You see my point now, don’t you?)
Still, despite these and other fun experiences best kept private to protect the guilty—please insert the tired ‘ol “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” catchphrase here—I’d wager that this was my last visit to Sin City (though given my track record, I’d be smart to lay off wagering for a while).
What can I say? Blame it on my own little neurotic view of the world. I’m probably the only fool in this country who goes to America’s adult playground and finds the entire place unspeakably sad, but that’s my own special burden (and I use “special burden” here in the same way that Southerners might respond to my declaration with the phrase “bless your heart,” as in “you poor befuddled idiot”).
Maybe it was all the silicone, collagen, and gravity-defying stilettos. Or the dresses (and I use that word loosely to describe strips of fabric swaddled helter-skelter around the midsection like a tourniquet wrapped by a flunky from the King Tut School of Embalming and Funeral Arts), far too short to cover any woman’s hoo-haa if she so much as inhaled deeply. Or maybe it was the vulpine stare of the frat boy types, three—nay, ten—sheets to the wind, attempting to focus their overly dilated eyes on any creature passing within a ten-yard radius that possessed even so much as an ounce of estrogen in her body. (I think the inner monologue went something like this: “Boobs!”)
Perhaps it was the sensory deprivation of an environment (and I use that term VERY loosely) that encourages you to spend all of your waking hours inside a temperature-controlled pinball machine, as far away as possible from anything resembling fresh air, which actually doesn’t exist in the deathly hot moonscape where someone thought it was a brilliant idea to build a large metropolis.
Still, having said all of that, my mama always taught me that it’s possible to find beauty and whimsy even in the most unexpected places, if only you choose to look, so I end this long rant with photos of a few sights that made me smile. Viva Las Vegas!
The view from my room in the new Nobu Hotel (located within Caesars Palace)
Beware the crack-laced pink cocktail, Alice…