Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Vegas Experience

Las Vegas is one of those towns that has a mystique about it. It's Sin City for sure, but it also immediately brings to mind The Rat Pack and countless Hollywood movies like "Viva Las Vegas," and "Casino." So when my husband and his friend got a wild hair to go to Vegas to see Wayne Newton (I know, Wayne Newton) I decided I had to go. Here's what I learned about Vegas. It sucks a lot more to drive to L.A. We decided to drive to Vegas and I was anticipating a 10 hour drive-- it's almost 600 miles to Vegas from where I live. We would have flown but tickets were ridiculously expensive (Spring Break no doubt) so we hit the road at 6 am and found out the drive is not as ugly as the drive to Disneyland. We drove an extra 150 miles in the same 8.5 hours it takes to make it to Disney. The Tropicana is a dump. We didn't research hotels when we booked our trip-- and we should have. We thought it would be less hassle to stay at the same hotel as the show we were going to see but had no idea that the Tropicana had not been remodeled since the 80's. In their defense they are remodeling right now, but currently the rooms have no mini-fridges or wifi and the televisions are tiny. Next time we're staying at Mandalay Bay-- we had dinner there the second night and it's nice. The Hash House a Go Go is the best friggin' restaurant in town. We love to watch Man vs. Food and my husband remembered a place that had been featured on the show called the Hash House a Go Go. Oh my lord. We had to walk almost 2 miles and wait an hour to eat-- it was worth it. I didn't want to eat anything too heavy (lost some weight recently and I don't want to gain it back) so I opted for a scrambled egg dish with sun-dried tomatoes and it was heavenly. My husband really went for it and had the signature Man vs. Food dish-- the fried chicken benedict, and it was something else. It goes something like this-- mashed potatoes, biscuits, fried cheese (it's actually fried on the grill), fried chicken, eggs, bacon, tomatoes, bacon and a chipotle creme sauce. Oh my. And to top it all off, the portions are huge and very reasonably priced. Best meal of the trip. Wayne Newton has pretty much lost his voice-- but he can still play a mean fiddle. I still have no idea why my husband and his friend decided they wanted to see Wayne Newton. But hey, why not? Turns out, it was Wayne's 69th birthday the night we went and saw him and it appears the years are catching up with him. Newton has had some well publicized financial problems, so I expect he's doing shows because he has to, not because he wants to, which is a shame. He mentioned in passing that he has asthma, so maybe we caught him on a bad night. But a lot of the show was choreographed so that Wayne didn't have to sing too much, so I think he's been struggling for awhile. They did play some old clips of him performing with Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., which was fun and he showed that he can still whip out the fiddle, the guitar and the banjo and play them fairly well-- especially the fiddle. We had a good time and that's not the Long Island ice tea talking. You don't want to bring your kids to Vegas. Vegas is a party town, no doubt about it. So I can't help but wonder why so many people brought their kids. Seriously. Vegas is all about gambling, drinking, shows and pornography. At least that's how it seems to me. And the porn is kind of overwhelming. It's not just the magazine stands every few feet that have nude women proudly displayed up front, it's the people shoving pornographic cards in your face advertising "escort" services every time you turn around. I wonder what's it's like being a vice cop in Vegas? I mean, it's a futile effort at best. And it's really loud on the strip. I saw a lot of crying babies who didn't like the music that was blasting the whole time and a lot of bug-eyed adolescents trying to get a better look at the porn littering the sidewalk. Once you've seen one casino, you've seen 'em all. I don't gamble. I'm way too cheap. So we didn't hang around our hotel casino once we checked out the place. We didn't know what attractions were available elsewhere, so we walked, a lot, and we saw some cool stuff. There's a lion exhibit at one place and a gondola at another. But the casinos all look the same. And after awhile, you get tired of having to go through these massive casinos, and they are huge, just to get to the shops. Vegas isn't glamorous. Maybe I've seen too many old movies, but I thought Vegas would be a little more upscale. It's really like an old whore-- cheap and dirty. I'm sure it's not all like that. But the strip sure as heck doesn't seem like a place that Frank Sinatra used to frequent. Nowadays it seems like the shows consist primarily of Playboy playmates and magicians and the patrons are drunk frat boys-- though the crowd could be unusually skewed by the Spring Break crowd. It's sucks going to Vegas with a cold. I meant to write a post about Vegas right when we got back, but I have had a vicious head cold for the last week. Suuuucks to try to walk the strip when you're sick. But I did it. I walked my butt off. And my head has been paying me back for the last two days. Not fun to drive home with a stuffy head either. Maybe some good came of it though-- I didn't drink that much. My husband might argue that that is not a good thing though. Anyway. I'm feeling better now and I'm glad to be home. Vegas definitely falls under the fun to visit but wouldn't want to live there category. Sorry I don't have some wild stories to tell, but I'm not a wild person I'm afraid. Seeing Wayne Newton is about as nutty as I get...

7 comments:

Kendall said...

Sorry you were sick when you went and had such a long drive! ;-(

I've been once before and after just walking across/down the block, I wouldn't go out on the street if I could avoid it. ;-) All those flyers thrust in your face, like you said! Some of the hotels are connected though, which is nice.

Sullivan McPig said...

It sounds just as weird as I always imagined it to be.

furiousBall said...

I know a few folks that live there and yeah unless you're single and on a lot of cocaine or you are so morally regimented the temptation wouldn't get to you - i have no idea how people live there

ShadowFalcon said...

I've never had a facination with Vegas but I imagine the people watching woudl be addictive

Charles Gramlich said...

Never been to Vegas. I think the only reason I'd want to go is to see the Star Trek theme stuff.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I have been to Vegas a few times and have never been to a show. I gamble and sit around the pool watching the women.

I think I agree with you about the children. Vegas made an effort to encourage family trips, this was a response to the increased number of gambling venues in the U.S., the drop in travel after 9-11, and the drop in travel after the increase in oil prices.

Ultimately, I think the town belongs to another era.

SQT said...

Kendall-- Thanks. At the time it wasn't so bad-- it's the day after you get home that gets you.

Sullivan-- Yeah. It's all about vice it seems. I can imagine an addictive personality could lose themselves there forever.

FB-- I think I could live on the outskirts. I lived in Hollywood and just stayed home most of the time-- the party atmosphere gets old after awhile. But I don't think I could handle living in the city itself.

Shadowfalcon-- I had an old-fashioned idea of what the city was. Too many movies. It's a lot more pedestrian than I expected-- but lots to look at.

Charles-- the memorabilia stuff is pretty cool. I forgot to mention that we went to an Elvis museum and that was fun.

Stu-- I like how you phrased that-- belongs to another era. I bet it was way more interesting back in the 60's.