Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

I apologize for the lack of blogs lately, I actually went to Las Vegas with my family on Thanksgiving weekend. It was a lot of fun, but it's made for a very hectic couple of days back in reality. That being said, I have a lot of thoughts on Vegas as an experience.

First, I have to tell you I didn't have the whole party-Vegas experience. I went with my parents and my sister and we visited my dad's buddy from back in the day. So it was chill to say the least. But not bad, mind you. Just not the typical Vegas weekend. We walked the strip on Thursday night and it was surprisingly packed - on Thanksgiving! I loved the Venetian, but I noticed it was super warm in there and all the high end stores were so beautifully out of my league, it was ridiculous. 

The Bellagio fountains were everything I thought they would be, the song that night was "Proud to be an American". Indeed. I think my favorite was Paris. It blew me away. I don't know if it was the fake cobblestone streets, the bakeries, or the Cabaret stage, but I fell in love. It makes me almost not want to see the real thing. Almost. 

New York New York was super fun, too. I do prefer the real thing, though, that I know for sure. But I really enjoyed the ambiance, and I definitely would love to stay there next time. We ate like kings the whole weekend, including a champagne brunch - minus the champagne. It was crazy how good the food is. Granted, we ate at mostly local spots, and nothing fancy, but still really tasty. I love getting to see the real town where locals shop and eat and play, in addition to the tourist spots. 

Speaking of tourist spots, we went to Fremont Street, and I hate to say it, but I wasn't impressed. I was very disappointed. I was expecting an old school classy vibe, and what I got was a raunchy, uncomfortable, and sad. I'll just leave it at that. 

What I really learned from Vegas is that anything can happen. There's such a mixture of every socioeconomic group - which is refreshing, but also kind of sad in a way. You see the young party-ers (although there weren't many on Thanksgiving weekend) with money to burn, the older semi-high rollers (the real high rollers aren't going to let you see them, I learned), and then you have the ones struggling to make it - handing out flyers to strip clubs and escort services on the street, dressed up as cartoon characters in raggedy costumes performing for cash, panhandlers, and drifters. It's like that ride at the fair that takes you to the very top of the tower very, very slowly, and then drops you down to the bottom in half a second. You get off the ride dizzy, wondering what happened, and with your heart in your throat. 

I'm not a gambler, but I can see the temptation. One big win, that's all you need. But that's rarely what happens. At least from what an outsider like me can tell. I guess Vegas is the ultimate symbol of freedom, like an oasis in the desert, where everything you can imagine can be conjured up if you have the money and the guts. 

Leaving Las Vegas was a challenge, not because I didn't want to go, but because we made the mistake of leaving too late and we were on the road in stop and go traffic for eleven hours. Yeah. For real. 

What are your thoughts on Vegas? Tweet me!