A few weeks ago, I attended a work conference in Las Vegas. It was my first time there, and with any luck, I’ll never go back. Unlike most of the people who go to Las Vegas, at least I can say I went for my job. But….ugh. I’m just going to cop out right now, and simply list my reasons Why I Hate Las Vegas:
– Giant mega-hotels, stretching for miles. What is the fun in this? PLEASE TELL ME.
– Disneyland prices and “entertainment.” We accidentally caught the “Siren Show” at Treasure Island and I thought my eyes and ears were going to start bleeding. Do people really like this shit?
– Girls all glammed up like they have somewhere important to go. Wait, let’s be more honest, they were slutted out. But they’re in Las Vegas on vacation. Isn’t the point of vacation to not wear clothing that restricts your breathing? To not wear shoes that could send your ankles to the emergency room? Why not be cute and comfy and entirely not silly looking? Even the cocktail waitress at the Mirage pool played the part, wearing next to nothing to try and earn an easy tip from drunks (this doesn’t work so well when you’re waiting on me, and I only order one drink while I wonder to myself what you’re going to do with your life after you lose your looks and no one wants to give you big tips anymore. I hope you have plans, cocktail ladies.)
– It’s not a walkable city. I had to attend a cocktail party at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. I thought this would be a quick walk from the Mirage, because looking at the map, it was four hotels away. But because these hotels must each comprise numerous restaurants, theaters, a casino and possibly some sort of egregious display of man’s triumph over nature (in my hotel’s case, a white tiger display and a dolphin area, as if tigers aren’t enough) these hotels streeeeeeeeeetch for blocks and blocks. So, I showed up late and…
– I was so, so thirsty, I ran to the bar and demanded a club soda. And the rest of the trip, no matter how much water I drank, I felt like I had just eaten hot sand. I don’t mind the desert, I didn’t mind being thirsty, but I did mind my constant obsessive thought that an area so arid was and is not meant to support this ridiculous fake city.
– The “you-are-going-to-have-fun-or-else” attitude. One day when Brendan went and visited an old high school friend who lives in Las Vegas, I decided to spend the day by the giant Mirage pool. Everything started out OK as I sat around with other solo adults, reading a New Yorker and listening to music on my iPod. Then, as the day wore on, the piped-in crappy 80s music got louder, and by the time I decided to take a dip, the pool was full of “Spring Breakers” — waxed, tanned men and women wearing plastic bead necklaces and wading around with drinks. Yuck, I thought, realizing they were all peeing in the pool. I had only one escape: my hotel room. It took 14 (crowded) minutes to get there, since the Mirage hotel rooms are hidden away and I had to walk past an indoor shopping mall before I could find the elevator, as if I might want to stop, shop and ultimately spend $20 on a snowglobe of the Mirage, to remind me of the urine-soaked pool.
– The lines of tourists everywhere. Lord, save me, the lines. One morning, in search of breakfast and caffeine, we discovered we were at the mercy of the hotel and all the touristy traps outside on the Strip. First we tried one of the coffee places in the Mirage. The line was at least 50 people deep. No way (and who are these fools who pay to get in a long line for coffee?). So we went across the street to Denny’s – a 20-minute wait (to eat bad food and drink bad coffee!!). No way. So we went to McDonald’s, and yes, waited in line, finally ordered coffee and then went downstairs to Chipotle and ordered burritos for breakfast (I simply do not eat McDonald’s breakfast food, unless there’s a nuclear holocaust, and I’m running for cover, and the closest cover is McDonald’s). This was how the rest of the trip went: waiting in line for bad food and bad service.
– We got home to Mexico City to discover the Mirage charged us $75 for drinks ordered in the high-roller bar. AHEM. Not only did I not step foot in a high-roller area, I sure as hell didn’t order any damn drinks. But if I were to, I’d order more than $75 of alcohol. Dios mio.
THE TINY BITS I DID LIKE
– We rented a car (great idea if you didn’t really want to go to Vegas but have to) and drove very far north on the Strip, where it gets gritty, grimy and even somewhat cultural. We had a delicious cheap Cuban meal (and cafe con leche) at a tiny dive restaurant. And yes, no wait. Then we headed to a gigantic swap meet (even in late October, the heat was killer, so we didn’t last long).
-We also drove to Valley of Fire State Park. Nature, ah, nature. Always a good thing.
-I got to hang out with my work team, and they’re a great bunch.
-Speaking of, I went with a few of them to the Double Down Saloon (way off strip) which serves ice-cold Shiner Beer, the best damn Texas beer. Finally away from slot machines, I almost lost the ringing in my ears. It was sort of like stepping into a bar in New York City, except it had video poker at the bar. I felt relaxed.