Tuesday, January 17, 2006

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!

5 comments:

david said...

so glad youre going back. its a smarvellous place. we've been thrice now in 4 years. dont miss:
buffet at bellagio
buffet at paris
'O'
Zoomanity
or Ka
elton john (i'm no fan and he was fricken fantastic)
get your tickets NOW as you WON'T get them when you're there (for everything)
see Rita Rudner at your hotel tickets you will get when you arrive (and you really should) are jubilee! and frank marino.

you lucky bugga! (we're saving up for a few nights at the wynn)

dave 'london calling' spellcnut

Andrew said...

Vegas is Aces. If you want bare nipples Zumanity at New York New York is a must. Eat at PF Changs in Aladdin if you like chinese food. Erm, and drink yourself stupid at the pussycat doll lounge and Pure. and then head to all you can drink beer for $5 at a gay bar called Gypsy, hilarious.

matty said...

Am dying to see Vegas. My understanding is that it changes every 8 to 10 years or so. I so want to visit the Liberace museum!!! ...a boy can dream!

And, a brothel in San Francisco?!?!? No way! LOL!

If you guys come this way, let me know!

matty said...

Am dying to see Vegas. My understanding is that it changes every 8 to 10 years or so. I so want to visit the Liberace museum!!! ...a boy can dream!

And, a brothel in San Francisco?!?!? No way! LOL!

If you guys come this way, let me know!

matty said...

it would appear that either me or blogger went all commet happy. ...not sure why it posted twice. hmmm...