What Happened in Vegas...

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, August 11, 2011

What happened in Vegas... never happened! So I really shouldn't be telling you this. 

But since you're insistent, here are some highlights:
You know you're in Vegas when...

* The gas stations and 7Elevens have a row of slot machines, just in case you feel the need to impulse gamble while buying fresh milk (ensure it's not Muscle Milk - as you may recall, it contains no milk!).
* People are drinking alcohol on the streets from supersized plastic cups bought from street vendors or from beer cans they bought at CVS (pharmacy!)
* There are limos and convertibles everywhere!* Celine Dion, Barry Manilow and Siegfried & Roy are performing... just about every night!* The hotels are so massive, they resemble mini-towns. They have everything you could possibly need - food, drinks, gambling, swimming pools, cinemas, theatres, night clubs, pharmacies, ATMs! There's no reason to leave...ever!
* Everything you see is fake - the Hilton(!), the sphinx, the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel tower, boobs, the sense of reality - all fake!* It's stinking hot (40C) in the day and hot enough in the day for guys to walk topless and for ladies to wear their bikini tops
* 20 Latin Americans on just about every street corner try to hand you the same flyer that matches their T-shirts: Girls to your door in 20 minutes.
So essentially Las Vegas is a fake, hedonistic town in the middle of the desert where money flows freely, mostly away from you. Our approach? We blagged our way into various "guest only" hotel pools: There was Bally's pretty standard pool except for the Monorail that glides alongside it, the Golden Nugget's with a shark tank in the middle of the pool and a water slide that runs through it (awesome!), the Cosmopolitan's trendy pool with private cabanas to hire with your own bartender, HDTV, Ps3 and water sprays!, and finally the Las Vegas Hilton's (the fake one!) "Cool by the Pool" afternoons with a live pool-side DJ ripping the decks. Very cool vibe!
This was a far cry from the vibe at our dodgy hostel, so dodgy that Olivier decided to stay elsewhere. So dodgy that no one walks outside by themselves. So dodgy that there are bail bond offices on almost every street corner. So dodgy that every time you step out you see a police car cruising by or every other time, witnessing an arrest. Welcome to Las Vegas downtown! If "edgy" is what you're looking for, you've come to the right place. We called this place home for a week and made a few good buddies including the first South African traveller we met in the States. Sashin from Jozie. So of course, the logical thing to do was have a braai! 

With buddies in tow we ventured down a few blocks to El Cortez (once owned by notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel), one of the classic casinoes of yesteryear. Here Mario tried his hand at blackjack tables for the first time, pretty much breaking even after playing for hours. We also enjoyed the benefits of gambling in Vegas, you get FREE DRINKS while you play! As long you keep tipping, the drinks keep coming! Fremont Experience was fun too. It has an outdoor canopy that runs the length of the pedestrian mall. From this canopy they propel drunkards on Ziplines and across the canopy, they broadcast the largest music video I could ever have imagined, in HD! Not bad for downtown!

Most of the crew from hostel opted for the Saturday night limo tour. It included free drinks enroute in a monster limo that holds 20 people (see pic), a stop at the Vegas sign and entry to the 64th floor club called Mix Lounge on the top of Mandalay Bay's THEhotel with ceiling-to-floor windows (even in the outward-facing toilet!) and extortionate drinks. Very glam! But oh too rich for my blood!
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