13 April, 2011

Las Vegas

I wrote most of this travelogue on the road. I saved Vegas until I got home. I think I wanted a bit to time before passing judgment. And I know I am going to come over as a crashing snob. Sorry. If Vegas is your thing, fine. It really really really isn't mine.

We had booked rooms at the Luxor. That's the pyramid, sphinx and all things Egyptian. It's huge and on the Strip and we got a pretty good price for our room. The hotel room was fine. No complaints. The hotel itself was ludicrous but that is the point. If I had to sum up why I loathed Vegas so intensely after about 24 hours it would be the following:
  • Music or rather Musak everywhere. Songs bombarding you from every bloody direction, some only beamed at you for 10 yards worth of corridor before you enter the zone of another bloody song. Songs on the music system competing with the songs on the slot machines. Even our good though overpriced Italian restaurant at the MGM Grand was playing incredibly earsplittingly loud crap music. The only place I could tolerate the constant music was the Venetian, and that was because it was classical and quieter. 

  • The slot machines. Gambling is not glamourous. I know you see films and it's all "Bond, James Bond" and Monte Carlo and "Faites vos jeux, messieursdames". But the reality is a really fat badly dressed old-aged pensioner smoking while playing, with their mobility vehicle parked next to them. 
  • The shopping. These hotels are basically enormous smoky shopping malls with gambling. And I don't like shopping and don't gamble and anyway I had the girls with me which meant don't stray off the path marked on the carpet. Again the only tolerable space was the Grand Canal Shoppes (why the extra p and e - shoppes is cod old English not Italian) because they put the gambling somewhere else. And the shops were posher. 
  • You have to walk through every bloody hotel to get anywhere. The monorail stops are hidden deep within hotels with crap signposting so you can lose as many idiots en route as possible. I reckon we walked further in Vegas trying to use public transport than we did in the Grand Canyon going for walks.
  • The pornography. It is everywhere. And it may not be offensive to you but I have two small children so the fact that the self-serve newspaper box things on the street were full of Asian Babes and such like at their eye level is horrible. As are the huge vans advertising hot chicks who want to meet you, and the curmudgeonly middle-aged hispanic women handing out cards offering prostitutes. Actually I thought the last quite funny as they looked so damned miserable (and who can blame them) but were wearing t-shirts emblazoned with phrases like Hot Girls. The thing is, Vegas is now advertised as a place to have a family holiday but I don't think it's particularly child friendly to have lingerie clad girls dancing on bars to raucous crowds in the main thoroughfare of the hotel at 7.30pm. 
It wasn't all bad. The pool was nice according to the rest of the family. And the dinner on Saturday night was excellent. And the Venetian is hugely kitsch but very well done. Canals, singing gondoliers (like I've ever heard a gondolier sing in Venice!), and even a false sky. 

 The Rialto - with the addition of a moving walkway. 

But I think the lesson that Tom and I learned is that when we think we know something isn't for us, it probably isn't, and it really doesn't matter if it is on everyone else's list of things you have to do when you go to America. Which means we won't be going to Disneyland either. 


bopper pye said...

funny, we just went to disneyland, which is on the list of things you are supposed to do if you live in america. it wasn't as bad as vegas (which really really isn't my thing, either), but we will probably not be returning.
congratulations on your big road trip!

just Gai said...

I agree that it's all too easy to be persuaded by the need to visit certain places simply because everyone else does. It takes courage, and experience, to resist. I've never been tempted by Las Vegas, or Disneyland, but I wouldn't give yourself a hard time over your decision to go. It's helped you, and hopefully, your girls to to appreciate that there are better places to spend your holidays.

Alison said...

I've never understood the appeal of Vegas, either, and have never been there. God intended that to be desert, dammit. Sometimes we do crazy things just to prove they can be done. What a waste of resources to water, cool and feed the gambling herds.

I can guarantee you you wouldn't have to shield young eyes from Hot Girls at Disneyland, at least.

Soilman said...

Sounds like a godawful nightmare. I always thought Vegas was the last place on earth I would ever want to be. Thanks for the confirmation.