Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

What happens in Vegas...

It is literally impossible to write a coherent wrap-up of my first visit to Las Vegas. I will try and share a few impressions though. Given the hours we kept, the alcohol we imbibed, and the lack of food we consumed I consider it no small feat anyone in our party is able to reconstruct more than three consecutive minutes of action.

I really enjoyed spending the weekend with my brothers and their friends. It was a good-natured bachelor party filled with guys who enjoyed each others' company and were just looking to spend a memorable weekend together to mark another friend’s passing into the ranks of the married. Over the weekend we did a lot of walking around other casinos and taking in various sights. We ate in Irish bars and slammed pints of beers onto long table in a German dining hall. We played blackjack and drank booze both insanely expensive and graciously free. I bet quarters on a miniature horse track and still have no idea what you were supposed to do to win … I was just having a good time.

We floated along a "lazy river" sucking down margaritas in glasses that looked suspiciously like a watertight bong to the casual observer. I rolled my eyes at a local waitress that went seamlessly from playful banter into an obviously rehearsed shill for a topless pool she also worked out. We visited haunts off the Strip like Ellis Island (located in the Super 8) and The Double Down (the closest thing to a "grubby rock bar" I think Vegas has … even though I found even that place tried a little too hard to be something it wasn’t). We ran headfirst into a sea of green-shirted prematurely reveling St. Patrick’s Day observers. I'm told I got into arguments with two cabbies but I only remember the awesome cab drivers that got me to and from the airport and around town Saturday night.

The one strip club we attended was visited grudgingly and by only by a fraction of the party … it was the one segment of the weekend that I’m reasonably sure most guys felt was occurring ONLY because you can’t have a bachelor party in Vegas without buying the bachelor a dance. The girls that ended up dancing for my brother ended up telling me how sweet and adorable they thought he was, but suggested getting him drunker next time around so he didn’t talk so much.* What can I say, he’s polite!

I began the trip feeling slightly disgusted by the excess and couldn’t shake the feeling I had stumbled into the world’s longest strip mall. I grew confused by families pushing strollers through a casino. I constantly found myself confounded by the withering glare of dudes once the waitress they thought was their best friend abandoned them in a second for a bigger tip. And, eventually, all of this stopped bothering me. People who go to Las Vegas are going there knowing full well that the city isn’t there to offer them a culturally fulfilling time. It is a playground for adult, and in the end I think a lot of the visitors, me included, are just content to empty their head of anything too "heavy" and just drift from pleasurable excess to pleasurable excess.

I was there to have a good time with my brother and his friends. We did a lot that could be considered stereotypical, and we did a fair amount that at least had us attempting to look past the surface distractions the Strip has to offer. And in the end after dropping way too much money on drinks and food – though thankfully I didn’t lose that much at the tables – I left with a lot less money in my pocket. I also left with some really fun memories with my brothers. It may be the last time we’re able to ever do something so silly together again so I consider the last weekend priceless.

Thanks, Vegas.

Bottom photo of MGM Grand lion by wallyg

*I suspect the girls decided to "confide in me" at all was because they thought I was gay, a claim I made early on into our visit to keep the working ladies from talking to me when there were far better guys to approach and make some dough off of. I’m surprised it worked as well as it did!

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