doesn't necessarily have to stay in Vegas ...
My trip started well. I picked up a book on my stopover in Chicago, something of a ritual of mine. I like seeing books on my shelves and remember which far flung airport I happened to buy them from, my choices either influenced by the trip itself, friends or random encounters.
This time, I bought "Naked" by David Sekaris because I spotted a guy reading it on the subway in New York a little while ago. He couldn't stop laughing to himself during the whole ride and the title intrigued the vixen in me. I highly recommend it by the way.
It got a little less smooth however, when I reached Las Vegas. My luggage hadn't been transferred and I had to go to Caesar's Palace, tired and crumpled, without them. I was meant to attend my friend Lia's (whose wedding I was going to Vegas for) bachelorette party that evening in the Belaggio but didn't get my luggage until around midnight, by which time I had collapsed from jetlag anyway.
As soon as I started walking through the airport, I realised that I was not in the normal world as we know it. The slot machines and bars everywhere were the first clues. The crowd around the luggage carousel was an interesting mix of morbidly obese American tourists and size zero girls sporting enormous fake breasts that even I couldn't take my eyes off.
Driving to the strip and spotting the billboards advertising "hot babes direct to you" and places named "Fat Burger" were other unmistakable signs that I had arrived in the land of hedonism.
Las Vegas is like no other place in the world.
It is where one doesn't bat an eyelid upon seeing women wearing full ball gowns at 4pm. Where one can get beer, drugs and or whatever else they desire at 7am – and not realise it is 7am anyway as there are no clocks anywhere. Where one can share an escalator with Cleopatra & Marc Anthony impersonators and be unfazed by it. Where one gets asked if they want to sit inside or outside while dining in a fake Italian trattoria inside the Venician hotel, despite being very much indoors either way. Where one can get sickly sweet cocktails by the yard in brightly coloured plastic receptacles. Where one can get severe sunstroke by standing outside for less than 15 minutes. Where one can lay by the pool and feel that they have wandered onto the set of Baywatch - in a "face like Crimewatch, body like Baywatch" kind of way.
However, the wedding was wonderful and much fun was had in the form of reckless dancing to 80s tunes late into the night.
I didn't gamble and therefore didn't have to sell my body to cover my debts. I didn't marry my gay best friend and therefore didn't have to get divorced. All in all, a good weekend away.
I had to catch an early flight back to New York the morning after the wedding, in a drunken daze, the flashing lights of the slot machines torturing my sensitive eyes.
The crowd at the gate looked like they had all just come out of a nightclub (which they probably did) - bloodshot eyes, shaky hands, slumped uncomfortably over the chairs.
The air crew team on Southwest Airlines was another Las Vegas stereotype - a freaky Barbie & Ken type pairing. Her - too thin, penciled in eyebrows and lips, caked on foundation and unnaturally jet black hair. Him - too muscular, penciled in eyebrows and lips, caked on foundation and unnaturally jet black hair. Maybe they do each other's make up or at least share clumsy beauty tips.
Las Vegas is like no other place in the world ... and it's probably better that way.