Friday, September 23, 2011
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas
We had a bad start. The route we chose (our GPS’s choice) from Death Valley to Vegas was fraught with problems. Almost immediately we were sitting for half an hour at a one-lane road construction zone. Did I mention it was 108 degrees outside and keeping the car running for that length of time would cost us a tank of gas, never mind the damage to the ozone? Lovely. We got past that and it was smooth sailing until we hit the outskirts of town. That is where we hit more construction and an accident on the exit just before ours. The last 5 miles took an eternity. Finally out of the mess, we were hit with the metropolis that is Las Vegas head on.
We were booked at the Flamingo, one of the original casinos, from when Vegas was about half the size. It ended up being a perfect choice as it was really cheap, but centrally located so that we were steps away from the Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mirage, Wynn, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, Paris and Caesars Palace. But somehow the noise and the hustle and bustle of this crazy place was more than we could digest. Maybe it was the past two weeks of communing with nature. Not sure. Needless to say the rest of that first night in Vegas definitely stays in Vegas.
Our room was spacious and had a view of the pool area and the real flamingos. The hotel was full of ordinary people (which was great) here for a holiday. The casinos were not packed, but there were multitudes of people everywhere, sipping margaritas in all sorts of shaped glasses. All the lounge chairs at the pool were filled with people also sipping something or other, with a cigarette in the other hand. Surprisingly, you could almost not smell the smoke anywhere. Not sure how they manage it. We realized that we were actually inhaling the second hand smoke, but at least we were not gagging.
BTW we woke up just fine and back to ourselves on day two.
First thing on our list was finding a coin laundry that didn’t take us back onto that crazy highway. Cora’s coin laundry fit all of the criteria and we plugged the coordinates into our trusty GPS. Within 5 minutes we were transported to the 1950’s. Cora’s must have opened around then. The pink wall of dryers was certainly installed when they opened and they looked as shiny today as they must have then. The man behind the Formica counter assured me this was the cheapest coin laundry in Vegas. $1 for each load and $1 for each dryer. By far the best deal in Vegas! And of course, since it was in Vegas, there was a row of slots for anyone wanting to pass the time.
We thought cleaning the car was a much better use of our time, and we tasked ourselves with cleaning two weeks of shmutz out of all of the creases and crevasses of our car. We left Cora’s clean through and through, smelling like oranges (thanks to the car air freshener we bought at Von’s!)
Dressed like normal people and smelling like clean people, we spent the second night frequenting the upper class casinos. We dined at the Bellagio and were treated like people who actually came to Vegas to spend their money. It was fun, and we had a lovely dinner. At 8:00 we watched an amazing water show in the artificial lake outside the Bellagio. We both agreed that the Bellagio is by far the classiest Casino on the strip.
So here’s the deal. I don’t know. After spending the past two weeks in the most authentic of authentic natural surroundings, this place really seems like an abomination. Knowing that all of the water in that artificial lake has to be piped in from somewhere (we are in a desert remember!!!), and that there is another casino that sinks the Titanic every night (we were told the number of gallons it takes) — and that they still allow smoking everywhere, when it is illegal everywhere else in the free world — and ordinary people who may even be unemployed, sit in front of blinking machines and pour their money into them for hours, well I’m having a hard time with all of this.
Bottom line, we are part of the problem. We had no trouble with the room for $40 a night. It was a great place to get clean and reorganized. God bless America!
Posted by Naomi at 10:00 PM