Tim and I are back and decompressing from our trip. It was great, though we didn’t get to a lot of things. But at least now Tim’s been to Vegas and even done a little gambling. (Actually, thanks to him doing well on some slots, a lot of our costs were covered. Hooray for Star Wars slot machines, eh?)
First of all, there are apparently about one zillion barely-clad women who want to talk to me/to meet me/are waiting for me. At least, according to the tons of fliers and other advertising around the city. A popular method there seems to be using semi-type cabs drive around mini-billboard ads strapped to the back. It’s a little disconcerting to see women splayed in sexy poses at about 3 times actual size.
Of course, there were also about three to five people per block trying to hand us info about strip clubs and, well, I didn’t look too closely, since I was already bogged down with coupons and such that I had found around. Plus, they would usually only try to shove the things at Tim and would back down as I came past.
It wasn’t just about sex though. There was plenty of other strangeness to be had.
Like when we saw Pete Rose signing autographs at Caesar’s Palace. Granted, he was in the forum shops, not the casino itself. But… It still seemed very wrong. Or very apt. I’m still not completely sure which.
Then there is the apparent fascination with machine guns. I saw at least five ads in four days (and I didn’t look through all that many coupons) advertising the use of machine guns. As in “Shoot a machine gun! Get $5 off with this ad!” kind of things. I’m not sure if they think tourists are just that violent or if it has some tie to the glorious mob tradition the city was founded on… All I know is, it was kind of creepy.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that our hotel had a little mall in it. Can I just repeat that? A mini mall.
They were referred to as “Retail Shops” so I went there expecting to see a couple of gift shops. Instead, I found:
*Auntie Anne’s, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, and a candy store (10% off with your player’s reward club card)
*A hot dog/subs spot
*A Mexican grill type place
* A daquiri bar
*An oxygen bar (also with 10% discount, but if you’re paying for oxygen you really don’t need to save money)
*A stand selling carved rings
*A leather goods store (Tim got a cool belt for $9.25)
*An actual gift shop/convenience store which sold, among other things, fifths of Absolut Vodka.
*Three stores selling tourist-y Vegas-themed goods
All of that inside our hotel. Actually, it was just part a floor, but it was its own subset.
Oh, and there was also a $10 store. Apparently, in Vegas, dollar stores just aren’t good enough. So this place was a store where every item was $10. Except for a hair clip I found marked $5 for some reason.
The inventory was as fascinating as it was troubling. There were all sorts of watches, jewelry (ranging from okay to “Who would wear that?”), tacky plastic butterfly hair clips that looked straight out of the ’80s (for the record, I have nothing against butterfly hair clips, but I do draw the line at ones with tiger- or leopard skin motifs), flip flops that appeared to have been bedazzled to within an inch of their lives, purses (which looked nice but felt only slightly sturdier than construction paper) and — why not — tiaras.
Finally, there were terrible souvenir cups. You see these in all popular tourist spots. It’s always some impossible shape that will prove utterly pointless (and hard to clean) once you get back home — and it is severely overpriced. (A Space Needle-shaped cup sold for a mere $16 filled with a daquiri.)
I understand why people get them. They look awesome when you’re wandering around in your tourist gear, soaking in the atmosphere, people and, apparently, about 30 oz of daquiri. But, beyond the obvious impracticality of the thing, there’s the other issue I have:
Paying for alcohol in Vegas is like… well, that oxygen bar. You have the option of using what’s all around you for free, but instead you (over)pay for the same thing in a slightly more attractive, more obviously consumeristic form.
Also, I imagine those cups are really hard to fit in your suitcase on your trip home.