Return to Vegas
1993. My first trip to America. We took an Amtrak train from Chicago to Las Vegas, LA, San Francisco and back to Chicago. In those days money was a lot scarcer so we had the great idea of using the train as our hotel room (the seats recline all the way). However, we hadn't bargained on the fact that the other "residents" of Hotel Amtrak would all be noisy, smelly people who kept us awake yammering on and eating spiced sausage meat which had gone bad. The crew of the train were literally spraying people with air freshener to hide the stink.
We only stayed a couple of days in Las Vegas and got it all totally wrong. We'd used a "Rough Guide" to the US, which had recommended some of the worst hotels on the planet (the one we booked into in SF was actually a brothel and they charged us an hourly rate after we left on the first night). In Vegas, we ended up in a motel, miles away from anywhere and had to catch a bus and get a taxi if we wanted to go to The Strip. It wasn't a very good motel - the pool was empty, our mini-bar was a huge fridge full of cheap mince-meat (!), the fire alarm battery needed changing and beeped every 20 seconds through the night, and we were convinced (without any form of proof) that there was a snake under the bed.
Going out wasn't much better. I am totally neurotic about gambling (methodist mother) so after my fella had won a few spins of the roulette wheel I practically dragged him away from the place (OK, so we doubled our money, but we didn't have that much to start with). We didn't go to any of the big shows, although we did crash a cheesy lounge act. What I remember most was the heat - it was 140 F and the air was so heavy - it was like being inside a fan oven for most of the time. Everyone seemed to be in a mad mood and we caught a rather terrifying bus back to the hotel, late one night, where sleazy denizens of casinos tried to chat each other up and argue with the enormous lady bus driver - who sassed them back and refused to stop at any of the places she was supposed to. I vowed never to return and have since only really being able to cope with Las Vegas via the film Showgirls.
But that was a long time ago. And apparently, Vegas is a completely different city now, having had many new hotel casinos built in the late 1990s. There's also a lot more to do. So , we've booked another trip, which we're intending to combine with a visit to San Diego (which was on our 1993 itinery, but we skipped it as we couldn't cope with more train rides). We have booked into the glamorous "New York, New York hotel" on The Strip (a mini replica of New York) and are going to do it all. Now that I'm not vegetarian I'm going to pig out at all-you-can-eat buffets, living on steak and beef nachos. We are going to see a proper show (with bare nipples and everything), and I will restrain my compulsion to shriek "evil!" at every roulette wheel I see. It will be fun. It will! It will!