So here’s the Vegas stuff I have decided to tell you about! The rest you will have to imagine with your twisted little minds, amigos mios.
- It’s not that I didn’t lose the money I gambled, but I took a really really long time doing so on video poker. I make up in luck what I absolutely lack in card-counting ability.
The people around us didn’t seem as amused by us yelling, “FIVE OF A KIND!!” as we were.
- I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard in my life as I did playing Dance Dance Revolution. I was out on the street hopping around like an idiot, trying to devise a communication system based on arcade game dance moves.
- Aerial acrobats are freaky, but still not as freaky as buskers. Or giant clowns.
- I screamed my fucking head off on the rollercoaster at New York, New York. LOVED IT.
I also went on the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere, the thing that catapults you up a pole like you’re going to shoot off the top of the building. I didn’t scream like I wanted to on that, because I was with three drunk fratboys:
Attendant: Check your pockets for anything loose. Is that a cellphone, man?
Drunk Fratboy #3: Dude, that’s my DICK!
- Paul took us to tapas at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba at the Fashion Show Mall, which apparently used to be superghetto but is now fantastically equipped with stores like Diesel, Quicksilver (see my Hawaii travel journal for my feelings about surf shops), and Paul Frank (the Julius monkey is way old, but the skully and Wienermobile and pirate shit rocks hard).
Two things of note:
1. I’ve never been able to go out for tapas. It’s usually 100% meaty. This was unbelievable. The drinks were just ok, but I’m not complaining because I take 4 sips of a martini and I’m good. to. go. Cheap drunk!
2. I LOVE PAUL. You don’t realize how much you miss someone until you spend time with them again. We reminisced like a couple of old-timers. He remembered all the stupid jokes we used to have, even some I’d forgotten. It was so awesome to see him again.
- I think we saw all the casinos on the strip except the trashy ones I’d seen before, like the Boardwalk, the Frontier (free bikini mud wrestling!), and the Barbary Coast.
My favorites are the Aladdin (the shopping), Caesar’s (the shopping), the Wynn (the most insanely opulent and miraculously least-tacky), New York New York (the entertainment), Paris (the insane gaudiness), and Mandalay Bay (the restaurants).
MGM struck me as the stupidest, but maybe because I had to walk something like two miles through its vast cavernousness to a Starbucks that was technically right across the street from my hotel.
Have you ever really noticed casino carpet?
- BTW, Americanos cost $4-5 in Las Vegas. Fuckers.
- We had a great view of ass from our room at the Tropicana.
Also, Tom Jones on the giant video screen at MGM. He wasn’t there til next week, though. SIGH.
- Walking around in 100-degree weather after dark is disturbing. It’s fine during the day in the sun. One day we walked from the Tropicana, at the south end of the strip, to the Stratosphere and back. Ouch.
- The Fremont Street Experience would be most excellent if you were totally baked, dude. Otherwise, it’s just bizarre.
I’m a little sad that the cowboy is under that gigantic big-screen-TV-canopy-thing now, too.
- On Monday, we went to rent a convertible. They were out of Mustangs, and only had Sebrings. Shudder. David the Budget Man pointed at the parking lot and said, “What about that one? It’s a V8.”
“We’ll take it,” I answered.
Two hours later, Hot Park Ranger Man found us in the middle of the Mojave Desert, our Bright Red 50th Anniversary Edition Thunderbird Convertible parked half on the road, half on the sand, just past a wash-out, with both doors and the trunk open, music blasting, roaming in the scrub looking for scorpions (me) and taking photos of the approaching storm (her).
He said, “I seriously hope you girls are turning around and heading back.” Perhaps we seemed a little unprepared for desert survival?
Was it the flipflops?
He hung out for a while and told us the travails of a park ranger, which are basically that he wants them to mark more hiking trails in the park (there are currently two, even though the reserve is something like 90 million square miles of nothingness), and that his job is mainly to keep people from dying in the heat. Which apparently they do at an alarming rate.
It was actually only in the 90s in the desert that day, due to the occasional rain. We wandered not too far from the road on the hiking trail closer to I-15.
I spooked jackrabbits and white chipmunks from under fallen Joshua tree branches as I crept up to this broken-down shack at the intersection of the railroad tracks, near the Cima Store (WE ARE OPEN! KNOCK LOUDLY!).
There was rusted sheet metal and old pre-pulltab cans scattered around it for a hundred feet, and a pile of untorched kindling in the middle of the crumbling floor.
We raced through the desert from Baker, California to Las Vegas, never going under 90. It was so Fear and Loathing, minus the beat-up sun hat.
And the ether.