Ok, so now that I have the airport security rant out of my system, I can actually deliver the list of things about Vegas that are distinctly Vegas, yet definitely disturbing. Don’t misunderstand, the trip was great and I’d probably even do it again, but as with nearly every vacation, there were a few things that made it a bit less than pleasant.
1. Overpriced everything. I understand that when going on vacation one should expect to pay. I’ve been on some expensive vacations before, but it seems I’ve always managed to find a way to have lots of fun for just a little coin. For instance, tickets for Disneyworld are expensive. However, once inside the park, prices are actually rather affordable. Sure, I paid $6.50 for a Caesar salad, but it was a huge salad I couldn’t even finish. A bottle of water ran about $2, but I found it easy to refill it because there were water fountains everywhere. Not true of most of Vegas. Even the Burger King was pricey. A quick breakfast before our flight ended up costing us nearly $20 and all we got were two croissant meals and an extra coffee. I think each meal was almost $8 and the coffe was close to $2. The first morning in Vegas I ordered water at the patisserie in Paris and it was $5. Sure it was a liter bottle, but it was just regular ol’ Aquafina. And the only place to fill it was our hotel room. The gondola rides at the Venetian were $16 a person. Who in their right mind pays $16 to ride a boat on a fake river through a fake Venice? Well, lots of people as it turns out since there was a line to ride and people in the shop buying tickets. But not me, that’s for sure. On a vacation to London, I saw an absolutely phenominal performance of Romeo and Juliet, and it only cost me 5 pounds (about $8.50). Our tickets to Ka, which granted was even better, were $90 each. About the only good value we found were the people hawking ice cold bottled water on some of the bridges for $1 each. And I’m not entirely sure that was legal.
2. Smut Peddlers. I want to make it quite clear that I am not opposed to the actual smut itself, but rather the ten guys/gals per block trying to force business cards for very naked women on us every time we walked anywhere. It didn’t matter what time of day it was (although there were even more at night), someone was constantly trying to hand one of us “Candy” or “Shelli” or “Tiffani’s” cards with promises they’d be in our room in less than an hour. The peddlers even had this annoying way of “clicking” the cards to grab attention. The streets were littered with business cards and overly made up faces of private “dancers.”
3. Even more annoying were the women who took the cards from the smut peddlers and then threw little hissy fits about them. Not because of the content of the card (especially since most of them had little more on than “Amber” and “Bunny”), but because those perverts actually thought they might enjoy “that sort of thing.” Who doesn’t realize they probably don’t even look at the people who pass by? They are paid to get hand out cards. They don’t care who gets them. Although, the do seem to care enough to hold back when they see children. I have a feeling it’s more out of a fear of the law than actual moral restraint.
4. While I’m on the subject of annoying people in the city, I have to mention the comp guys. Every time we entered any building we had to avoid making eye contact, fall into immediate conversation and still squeeze past the fifty guys ready to comp us tickets to see all kinds of horrid shows if we just come to their presentation on their new resort/hotel/condo. Even the guy we thought worked for the mall and actually wanted to tell us about the stores and give us a map (it’s a miles worth of stores in a loop), wanted us to check out some new resort. It wasn’t just in buildings either. Comp guys walked up and down the street offering tickets to night clubs. I felt kind of bad since I know it’s their job, but after the never ending barrage of offers the first day, I just had to look straight ahead and preempt them with a no before they got more than “do you have tickets tonight?” out.
5. Losing money. Not exactly original or unexpected, but I was a little disappointed I walked away with less than I brought. Not in an “I didn’t expect it” kind of way, more of a “darn, I wish I’d have won” way. In all fairness this barely makes the list since I only gambled with $26 and actually walked away with $16 of it. And I got four free drinks out of that, which at $6.50 a pop if you order them outside the casino, means I sort of came out ahead. Plus I was playing the nickel poker machines, so it’s not like I was going to break the bank. Although the last time I was in Vegas, I did win 400 nickels, so I think I was expecting similar luck. My husband faired a little worse. He gambled away about $35, which his four free drinks didn’t even cover. Come to think of it, the last time I was in Vegas my S.O. lost more than I did too. Hmmm…
6. Fatties in teeny, tiny, almost non-existant clothes. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be rude. However, being a bit of a chubster myself, I’ve learned what I should and shouldn’t wear in public if I want to keep my self-respect. I realize I’m talking about Vegas where any sort of dignity does seem a rare commodity, but the clothing (or lack of it) on some people was shocking. At about 10 a.m. on Sunday, we were entering the Bellagio. A woman was coming out, obstensibly from the hotel wearing nothing but a bikini top and daisy dukes. The woman was about my size, and while the actual size doesn’t need to be related here, it’s in the double digits and it was extremely unpleasant to see. There were fat rolls just about everywhere. There were men with large, large guts wearing the tiniest of bathing trunks, just walking around the shops in our hotel. I also saw a guy with a huge gut wearing a shirt he must have bought when he was much thinner. His gut stretched it so far it no longer covered his torso. It was a belly shirt and his belly was hairy. I shudder recalling it.
7. Dumb walkers/stoppers. I realize it’s vacation and people like to take things at a leisurely pace, but my nearly 90 year-old grandmother walked faster than some people, and she has gout. Not to mention the number of people who just stop, for no apparent reason, in the middle of a sidewalk. It was never just one person either. It was an entire family of five. And of course, it was always with no warning whatsoever and right in front of me. I nearly bumped in to a ton of people and actually couldn’t stop in time for a few of them. I know it earned me some choice words from those behind me who nearly rammed into me. Vegas is not a place to just randomly stop. No matter what time of day it is, people are walking.
8. Burning sun. It was obvious to me that it was going to be hot. I realize Vegas is in the desert. And we chose June to visit. But man, that sun is blistering. We had to constantly duck into stores and casinos for relief. I think my husband would have liked spending more time in the sun, but I was starting to pink and unlike him, my pink doesn’t turn tan. It turns red, really red, and then it hurts. In the shade it was actually tolerable. I’d forgotten what life without humidity was like. Ninty degrees in Vegas, especially in the shade is about 50 times easier to deal with than 90 degrees in the Mid-West. Plus my hair didn’t frizz all over the place. Still, 90 degrees with the sun beating right down on me is not fun.
9. Our hotel bed. We booked a room with a king size bed at Bally’s. I had the paperwork from my travel agent (my mother-in-law, who I guarentee quadruple checked it) that clearly said a room with a king bed was confirmed and that a non-smoking room was requested. When we checked in we were told all non-smoking rooms with king beds were taken. I pointed out that we had it confirmed only to be told that no hotel in Vegas actually confirms the type of room. They have too much business for that. Personally, I think that is bull and they’d just given away all the king size rooms. We checked in during the early evening and I’m sure those early to arrive got our room. As compensation we were given a “mini-suite” with a living room and a queen sized bed. I would have been ok with the size of the bed, but it was harder than a rock. The bed, it seems, was some sort of fancy sofa bed. It folded up into the wall in some way. Although there was no rod running right down the middle of my back all night, it was still almost as bad as every other sofa bed I’d ever slept on.
10. Smoking everywhere. And not just cigarettes either…cigars and pipes. Yuck! Every time we walked into a casino or restaurant it hit us. I know I have been spoiled living in a town that is virtually smoke free, but like good chocolate, it’s a luxury I’m not willing to give up. Most places really worked on their ventilation and had really high ceilings to make it breatable, but people constantly walked by me smoking and it grossed me out. Smoking is obviously part of the Vegas lifestyle. Everyone was doing it.
While some of these are obviously more annoying to me than others, my overall Vegas experience was pretty positive. If they could just work on some of these small details, I know I’d go back more often. Oh well, I guess it’s better this way. There are, afterall, 43 more states we need to visit.