Blog: Escape To Vegas, Part Two
(originally written 8/23/17)
Once safely in Nevada, it didn't take long for the first casino to appear, one with a roller coaster, no less. What brave new world were we entering? Las Vegas, that's where. Wayne Newton. Sigfried and Roy. Mike Tyson, at least in a movie. And on. And on. I made sure to scan all cars next to us for celebs when stopped at a light. For some reason I asked Josie to do the same, though the only celebrities she can identify are Sofia Vergara and Donald Duck. (My scan came up empty, though one guy sort of resembled a white Sherman Hemsley.)
After reaching our destination and refueling ourselves, Nell took Josie and I out to tour some of the more famous casinos. (This was Thursday night...the Strip was 24 hours from full-on clog.) I was completely taken by surprise by what I saw. Or to be more accurate, what I didn't see.
During this period, Arnell continued to provide food...and food...and more food. I could have easily knocked back three plates of lunch and dinner every night. But it was either show a little restraint, or have my plane back home tilting dangerously to one side. I chose the former...albeit with grace. (One thing I did not do with grace: respond to the news of Madison Bumgarner's injury, apparently suffered during our drive down. Sorry, kids. Uncle Skillz didn’t mean to scare you.)
That night, it was time to take in the Fremont Street Experience. The best way I can describe it is LOUD music, crowded streets, a pretty nifty light show, and peculiar attire. With the ziplines about 100 feet up above, you feel indoors and outdoors all at once. This must be what it's like to play in a domed stadium.
About that zipline: I'm sure it was fun for them, but for me, people flying through the sky like that at high speeds reminded me too much of the World Trade Center jumpers.
Re-directing my eyes to ground-level took my mind off that horror—only to bring my attention to a whole new horror: men, several of them, taking in all the fun wearing only tighty-whiteys. Mingling through the crowd just like the clothed people, a couple of them even greeting us. There were also a number of scantily-clad females present who, let's just say, most people wished weren't. The unconventional getup is a staple of the FSE—picture a tamer, more concentrated Folsom Street Fair for an idea of the scenery.
(Also, I have a vague memory of “Elvis” wandering around. I addressed him as “Mr. King”.)
In my mind, when people went to the most famous gambling spot in North America (if not the world), they spent a little time on themselves. Meaning I'd envisioned casino patrons dressed for a night out on the town—collared shirts, dresses, that sort of thing. BOY, was I wrong. 75% of the gamblers dressed as if headed to the local supermarket—even couples! My fellow Despicable Me3 moviegoers from two weeks ago put more effort in their getup...WOW.
We ventured through the Luxor, Tropicana, and New York, New Yorkgambling establishments. Again, Josie is with us, so upon entering the latter casino and having a suited man lock eyes with me, I guessed him to be a staffer with an issue over Josie's presence. Turned out he was actually just a groom (or groomsman) hoping to have his photo taken with two others flanking him. Actuality 2, Assumptions 0. (Obviously, the guy chose me to take the photo because, unlike Arnell, he could outrun me if I tried stealing the phone.)
Friday morning—after a cactus attack while returning my rental car—we visited the majestic Hoover Dam. It would have been an amazing spot to take photos. But Josie somehow dozed off on a 20-minute ride at 10am, and you do not want to rouse her from a nap. So I settled for adding Arizona to my “States Visited” list; the tally is up to 12. (Though Texas was just a layover, it counts because money was spent and a toilet was used. Not here to talk about the past...let's move on.)