Several months ago, one of my girlfriends came up with the brilliant idea to take a day trip somewhere…that involved flying. She works for an airline, and she flies standby on a regular basis. Weekend trips to Chicago, to the Bay Area, last minute trips to Japan (yes, that really happened)…so she decided it was high time we come with her, and the girly day trip was born.
The original plan was the fly up to Victoria, BC, for tea. Then it became a trip down to San Francisco, because we have some mutual friends in the area. But when the flight loads and schedules conspired against us, we decided to go to Las Vegas for the day.
I’d never been. I’d never had any desire to go. If Los Angeles will kill your soul and New York City will shatter your dreams, Las Vegas will demolish your IQ.
The day started not much earlier than a typical weekday for me. We arrived at the airport around 6:30 with the intent of trying to get on one of the next three flights to Vegas. Leigh (airline girl) had checked flight loads the night before and discovered that what had looked like a sure thing had become almost impossible. All the flights were full, and the later two were overbooked. Still, hanging around at the airport until the last flight left wouldn’t be so hard, and we started making plans for the day in case we couldn’t get on the plane.
No one was more surprised than Leigh when we managed to get on the 7:30 flight to Vegas.
Two hours later, we touched down in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas, it is, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere. You’re flying over desert and these little ridges they probably think of as mountains and then whoops, there’s a city.
Needing breakfast, and not wanting to blow our budgets while doing so, we asked our amiable cabbie to take us to Denny’s on the Strip. He overrode our choice and dropped us at a restaurant called the Peppermill. Supposedly it’s the place where all the dealers and pit bosses used to hang out when they got off shift. Now? Now it’s just a popular, cheap restaurant. I particularly liked the lamps.
After plowing our way through giant plates of french toast, we headed out onto the Strip. Leigh very helpfully pointed out that Circus Circus, the hotel the Peppermill is next to, has rooms for cheap because “it’s like sleeping in a public bathroom.” Oookay. Apparently the end of the Strip we were on was not the nice and safe part, so we headed in the opposite direction.
Las Vegas is one giant shopping mall, it seems. We stopped in at Fashion Show because they have a Topshop (a British store that currently has maybe two locations in the States) and discovered it’s pretty much a more expensive version of H & M. We walked through the shops at Venice, where there’s fake sky overhead and we heard the gondoliers singing. Leigh seemed to think if we followed the Forum shops straight through to the back we’d end up in the Ceasar’s lobby, which turned out to be false, although my friends did make me stay and watch one of the fountain shows. There’s a whole lot of what the fuckery going on with those shows. Hideous robots that are falling apart plus epic voiceovers equals why the fuck am I being forced to watch this? I wish I’d gotten a picture. It was pretty bad.
Our feet were getting sore and a little swollen from all the walking (the Strip is flat, but I wouldn’t call it walkable), so we headed across one of the handy-dandy pedestrian bridges to Paris for food. The restaurant we ate at (Mon Ami Gabi) was right off the casino, which had more of that fake sky stuff.
There were pimps handing out booklets of girls who could be at your door in twenty minutes and Elvis impersonators shooting the shit in Spanish. We did manage to catch a glimpse of some showgirls, and Gordon Ramsey’s scowling face is everywhere (he just opened a new grill). And the clothes…in some instances it was like, what clothes? We spotted a trio of women wandering around in their bikinis and these sheer dresses, and one of them had leopard spots tattooed up her calf. Leigh’s comment was it would probably look like a skin disease as she aged.
We ended up across the street at the Bellagio in time for one of the fountain shows (which is what a fountain show should look like, all water, no scary robots), then headed in to Cafe Bellagio for dessert. The Bellagio was easily the classiest place we walked into. Even the casino was less smokey and noisy than the others, and better lit, too.
Ten hours after we left Seattle, we were at the airport to return home. A blink and you’ll miss it visit to Sin City, but it was more than enough for me. Vegas just isn’t my kind of place. I don’t gamble, I don’t drink all that much, I left my party days in college, so what am I going to do in a city that’s built on being the party capital of the US?
But, considering it was 60 degrees and overcast in Seattle, spending a day walking around in 90 degree sunshine was worth the aching feet.