Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!

August 19, 2010

OK, so we walk into New York New York, and there's this massive Jelly Belly-constructed Statue of Liberty. Welcome to America, immigrants! Land of the Sugar, Home of the Obese! We've got it all here - freedom, all you can eat fruit-flavored high fructose corn syrup globules, and mean metal boxes that chomp your money for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Vegas is a great place (perhaps the place?) to get lost in the contagion of individual moments and allow them to infect your entire being – but only for the few colorful moments while they last, lest ye be washed away in the tidal waves of lust, greed, and mind-altering substances. We aren’t exactly your average “OMG! Let’s go to VEGAS and PARTY and celebrate how awesome it is that we are totally AWESOME!” girls. We don’t usually gamble (with the exception of the illusive Montanian Shake-A-Day’s) because we don’t have money, and what little money we have, we’d rather use to get ourselves back to the Midwest so that we don’t get stuck here and melt, precisely like grilled cheese sandwiches, in a gas-station parking lot somewhere… desperate to refill our camelbaks, in perpetual terror of having to bike even one more single hill, and hopelessly exhausted beyond comprehension. We’ll drink our fair share and enjoy ourselves, but the glamfabulous glitzritz of the Vegas nightlife? No thanks. We prefer our lovely, stinking tent and our delectable, thirst-murdering small town Bud Lites.

On second thought… Yes to the whole Vegas schtick, thanks. But only for a few short days. And then… HOME!

Ladies and gentlemen, we got driven into Sin City on August 18th in a great big ol’ pick-up truck with our bikes hanging out in the bed and our minds lost somewhere in the desert sands. Thanks for the ride, John! Glad to be your first Craigslist rideshare toadies. We got dropped off at Melanie and Marissa’s apt in W. Vegas – our couchsurfing hostesses – and waited patiently for dark, that glorious time when Vampires and Werewolves and Devastatingly Saucy Biker-Girls descend upon the streets. How did we kill the time, you wonder? We totally dressed up so that we’d be HOTT! Just like celebrities! Because celebrities are clearly very happy people who lead extremely fulfilling lives! Liz turned up the heat by wearing her classy little black & beige dress, a new find from a Ross department store in Del Mar, where you can “Dress for Less.” Colleen tried to follow suit, donning her San Diego Urban Outfitters… um… rag-like… thing that kinda resembles a dress but is mostly just a rag, but that’s ok because she likes it just how it is. Once again, we wondered how much more perfect our lives would be if only we had homosexual inclinations towards each other. We’d look, um, “heavenly” together.

Sensory Stimulation! EVERYWHERE!

Discombobulated in the garage before leaving, we knew the night would be a good one. High on life, driving into the city we’d been heading towards for 3 months, the greater part of which was on a freakin’ bicycle, we caught our first glimpse of the strip at night, not just any strip but the strip. And that same, senseless attraction to Sin that everyone’s ever felt when they roll into Vegas for the first time, that naughty little desire to corrupt all that remains of the good in you, it hit us square in the face, almost as hard as the heat that brutally attacks your sensory system every time you walk outside. (It’s wellllll over 100 here, folks. We knew to expect this, but DAMN is it HOT.) We began by the pyramid, somehow managed not to get lost, and meandered idiotically up the strip, having very profound conversations and moments of meditation and what not.

The yin and yang of classy attire and really trashy beer-drinking

It took us a while to find the cocktail waitresses with the free drinks – we are both n00bs to this sort of activity – but we eventually did. Somewhere between the Eiffel Tower and the pirate ships. We got a couple pitchers of beer, wrangled up some cranberry-vodkas, and gave away $10 between the two of us. For free! Free money for the casino owners! We could have bought meals, but no! It was WAY more fun feeding the whizzbang shiny blinkerbot machine our hard-earned lunch-money.

I can’t help but to reflect that all of the animals in fancy dresses, draped over the slot machines like living cloaks, hitting the “Same Bet” button over and over again, looked just about as robotic as the gambling devices themselves.

It’s amazing how many ways casinos manipulate people. Not only are the flashy lights disorientating, the lay-out of the floors is tough to navigate. At one point, it took us 20 minutes to find our way out of a casino because we honestly couldn’t figure out where the exits were. Architectural design flaw? Or clever way of making us stay inside so that we’d spend more money? Everyone knows about how the slot machines lie to you – they make you think you’ll eventually win by throwing you a quarter every now and then, but taking nickels at a steady rate. And free booze? Sure! We’ll take it, because if we do, we’re way more likely to lose track of our loose change. We gambled away $10 of our money. And when that ran out, we conned the guy sitting next to us out of $5 by sharing our impressive stories and our beer (but moreover, the proximity of our tits). We promptly made the $5 disappear into thin air. Like magic. Because it’s Vegas.

MOMENT I WISH I’D HAD THE CAMERA OUT FOR: So, we’re walking down the strip. Colleen had made it abundantly clear earlier in the evening that she’s on the lookout for a husband. What better time to get married than on a whim in Vegas to a stranger, right?! And a man with a large beer gut who appeared to be homeless walks by in the opposite direction. The thing is, he’s wearing a tattered wedding dress that hugs his belly like spandex on a fratgirl, a threadbare wedding vale that flutters wearily in clumped-up discord about his balding head, and a facial expression so desolate and forlorn that it turned the heart to stone. He passed. And that was that. But that single moment, tied up in a white bow, seemed to be a powerful symbol of everything that Vegas means. And Colleen no longer wants a Minute-Rice spouse.

Colleen is, for some inexplicable Colleen-reason, fascinated with the indoor ashtray.

FACTOID: Drinking on the streets is legal. It’s strange to see open bottles floating by on the pavement, and reminded us of Europe, where we used to frolic in parks with our beers all the time. Also, smoking in the casinos is legal. Also, bringing your newborn child into the casino WHILE smoking a cigarette is apparently legal.

Being discombobulated on the strip was a blast. But life isn’t always so full of frivolous, light things. We must be off now to collect our race packets… Because, of course, that half marathon is sneaking up on us in… what… TWO DAYS?

Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.

Moment of Trippy Zen

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2 Responses to “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!”

  1. Matthew Smith said

    Haha that sounds like a hella lot of fun. I think I’ll make a discombobulating trip to Vegas when I am down in the southwest next year. The description of that guy in the dress is hilarious!

  2. T. Burger said

    Good call on not going for the Minute-Rice Spouse. Tell me though; what do you think about a two Minute-Rice Lover?

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