I don’t remember the last time I went to Las Vegas, but given my many prior visits and the very short times between them, it has been a very long time since I’ve been there. Gone are the days where my friend and I would each get a free room at the Wynn in which we would acquire adjoining rooms to create our custom suite. Gone are the nights when we would buy a cheap box of Bud Light and walk down The Strip until we found a casino worthy of our monetary donations. And most of all, gone are the days of turning red under the sun while we became waterlogged in the pool.
A new Vegas experience emerged in this new year–maybe it was a turning of the times; a slowed economy, an over-saturated city littered with club after club or simply the over-rated “attractions” that seem to get more boring and dull over the years. Or maybe it was the dim realization that I’m just growing up.
For better or worse, Vegas is just not the same anymore. For the first time since I was too young to gamble, I went to this desert town to enjoy the sights and sounds. I cared less about what hot new club or bar I’d visit at night and cared even less about how much alcohol I could consume in one sitting. I laughed at the sea of cliché people that surrounded us–guys dressed to impress and hitting on girls that wanted nothing to do with them, girls dressed like hookers but not wanting any attention and the real hookers making a living among the crowds of people ranging in age from 10-65. As they say, only in Vegas.
We started our completely spontaneous adventure at 21:30 Friday night, arrived into town around 01:20 Saturday morning and made our first stop at an old friend’s house. It was here we enjoyed a warm climate and reminiscent conversation. We couldn’t stay long because he was on his way to sleep and we had business to tend to.
Our plan didn’t include a place to stay or any particulars throughout the trip. We hadn’t even planned the time we’d return home. All we knew is that we wanted to drink a little and gamble a lot. We drove to The Strip and landed at the Sahara in hopes to find $5 craps tables. We ended up playing some slots.
We were tired. Rather than stay up all night and day, we opted to sleep. This was where the fun began. If anyone has ever had to sleep in a Scion, you understand was a feat this is. It wasn’t enough that it was numbingly cold–it was also a small space and very uncomfortable. The time is about 04:30 Saturday morning and I’m trying to sleep fully clothed and covered only by a second shirt that I brought. At one point, I was laying in the shape of an ‘L’ and draped over the suitcases we had stacked in the back. Everything would have been fine if I had been able to keep my legs from losing circulation.
Somehow I fell asleep and woke up to sound of the song from Kill Bill Vol. 1 blaring from Nina’s iPhone alarm. The day was as normal as any day could be. We ate, met with friends and gambled a bit. The nighttime is what brought us an interesting adventure–it was the darker side of my roommate after being consumed by alcohol–yes, he did not consume the alcohol, but the other way around. We ended up at Bar at Times Square™ in the New York, New York hotel, but instead of paying a $10 cover, we stayed outside and enjoyed the free entertainment. I, myself was completely sober and wanting to go home having lost my gambling money. My roommate had other plans. He was to obliterate himself with tequila and Budweiser while becoming a quasi-celebrity on the thoroughfare by shaking hands, following girls, staring people down, throwing up ‘high-fives’ and dancing like a clown. I will admit, this was comical for a short period of time, but being sober, all this wore thin (very fast) on my patience.
Around 01:00 Sunday morning, I grew tired both physically and mentally and decided to retreat to the car to sleep until it was time to leave. Once there, I managed to brush my teeth using a cup of water obtained at the bar on my way out and laid down to sleep. Not more than thirty minutes after I left, I start getting phone calls from Nina telling me that I need to come help her with Chris because he’s become too drunk to handle himself and is starting to act out in ways that would upset the most liberal of people.
Once I got a hold of him, I moved him back to his car and put him inside to sleep. I went back and got Nina and thought about what to do. We were left with two options: one, stay and sleep a while or two, drive home. It was decided that we should leave. I was the only one that could drive because not only was I sober, but I was the only other one of our group that could handle driving a manual transmission. In reality, I’ve only driven a stick shift once in my life–about 4 years ago! I re-learned this process in the parking structure on the way out.
After getting on the 15 to head home and after finally finding 3rd gear, we were on our way home. The intention here was to make it home in time so Chris can get to work by 10:00 Sunday morning. At the rate I was headed, we were due by 06:30. I can tell you right now that driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk and I do not recommend it to anyone! I can’t say I completely remember the drive home, but I do remember falling in and out of reality, hallucinating and feeling like I was in a dream for the entire four hour drive.
We arrived at almost the exact time planned and I promptly went to sleep.
I took five pictures during the time we were there, which is a far cry from the hundreds I used to take and all five are of the new hotel, Aria. I can say that the next time I go to Vegas, it’s going to be simple. A nice hotel room, nice restaurants, a show or two and my beautiful girlfriend. I can say that I’m almost 28 and I no longer have an interest in finding out how many shots I can take without passing out.