When I wasn't sitting around waiting for people to get ready to leave the hotel, or waiting for the valet to bring the car, or waiting for everyone to finish dinner, or waiting for the kids to fall asleep or wake up (there was a lot of waiting on this trip), I was trying to decide how much I loved Las Vegas. Did I love it just a little bit? Because it was over the top and gaudy and gross? Or did I love it because of those things, and even more because it was as opulent and grand and mesmerizing as it was tacky?
All I know about Las Vegas I learned from Ocean's 11. It's a little hard to pretend you are Julia Roberts when you are carting two small people from casino to casino, but in the evenings I wore dresses and lip gloss and tried to sneak my way into the more glamorous side of Vegas. One night we went out with brother- and sister-in-law to the Venetian for dinner and a show. I'd heard all about this Venetian place and I was sure I'd hate it. I have been to the real Venice a bajillion times (I am saying that in my Snob And A Half voice, I know, sorry) and my nose was turned up in advance. I mean, GIVE ME A BREAK, Las Vegas. PUHLEEZE.
Except I looooooved it. It was SO! PRETTY! It was totally the Disney version of Venice: cleaner, brighter, more room to move. St. Mark's Square was missing St. Mark's and the canals didn't have nearly enough bridges, but the whole place made me swoon. Something about the lighting, the way it felt like a permanent dusk - the perfect time of day, when you are awash with exciting possibilities for your evening ahead.
Of course, then we went and saw the Blue Man Group which: SNORE. I admit I was the only one in our party of four who was bored out of her ever loving mind, but I remain steadfast in my Not Impressedness. I couldn't figure out if it was trying to be this Quirky Critique of New Media or just an all out effort to slime as many audience members as possible. And [SPOILER!] toilet papering the audience at the end? HELLO CLAUSTROPHOBIA! The best parts: 1) when a couple walked in late and they interrupted the show (!) with some guy running out to sing "You're late! You're late!" all opera-style while a huge spotlight tracked the offending audience members and 2) before the show even started and a reader board asked the audience to recognize people with birthdays or some lady who was on the Olympic curling team. You'll just have to trust me that it was super funny.
The next day we saw the Paris hotel which elicited the same feelings as the Venetian. We ate lunch in the main casino area and while we waited forever for our food (of course, WAITING was the THEME) I took a million pictures of the ceiling and the building facades and the little pastry shop where we spent another hour eating our second lunch. Sure, the theme park feel was semi-ridiculous and silly and totally overdone, but it was also beautiful and fun and happy-making.
Although the presence of nickel slots everywhere you looked was a little disconcerting. Lost a few bucks on those.
We headed over to the Bellagio on our last night, and everyone agreed it was the favorite. It was fabulous and gorgeous without the Disney, and everyone in the Bellagio was a little better looking and definitely better dressed than any other place we'd been. It was much easier to pretend to be Julia Roberts at the Bellagio. My kids were at the hotel, I had my hair up and DUDES I won money at BLACKJACK! Video blackjack, and only enough money to make up for all the money we'd lost earlier, but WHATEVER. I caught the bug. This is not good. You have no idea how many times Phillip and I have discussed a possible overnighter to the fancy casino north of Seattle. GAK.
But we walked back to our hotel, which was a timeshare type place behind the Flamingo, and the Flamingo is NOT the Bellagio. There were half naked girls dancing on tables right at the entrance. There were old ladies with cigarettes drooping from their mouths and icky looking men and girls wearing skintight dresses. The carpet was worn and thin, smoke hovered over the chairs and you couldn't hear anything but loud music and slots. We speed walked through the Flamingo at midnight, when Vegas was just getting started, zooming towards our quiet condo-like rooms for a few hours of sleep before the plane ride.
I tried to detach myself from the scenery long enough to take a cold look at Vegas. As a giant shrine to money it's a little revolting. I think gambling is a little scary, you know? And there's really nothing to do in Vegas except blow huge amounts of money. It's practically required, whether you're in a mall or a casino. And the carrying drinks everywhere you go and the waitresses in the tiny skirts and the acres devoted to luxury items and the dude I saw with his arms around three beautiful women in matching black dresses (which, combined, would have made one black dress large enough to cover half of my body). Not stuff I'm usually excited about.
But then I went back to being impatient for my brother-in-law to finish his stupid drink so I could go try my hand at video poker, I mean, COME ON how long does it take to drink a freaking MARTINI?
I'd love to go back with just Phillip. I can see why it's a fun weekend trip. You don't want to be there forever, but it seems like a fun way to spend a day or two. I loved the weather (I'm the one Seattleite who's bummed the upper 90s have disappeared) and I can read a book poolside all day long till it's time to dress up and lose a bunch of money.
The kids had a good time too, thanks to Grandma and YeYe and the cousins. I definitely wouldn't take just the four of us on a trip to Vegas - that'd be fun for nobody. But with grandparents as built in babysitters and cousins to play with in the pool, Jack and Molly were set. I'd do a few things differently, but I'll save that for another post. OH YES there will be MORE of this Vegas drivel. I didn't have internet almost the entire time, people! What do you expect?!