We are here in Las Vegas.
How you doing? That seems to be the mantra. I just say “very well thank you”
On the way, we drove through the Virgin River gorge on a very scenic motorway. The Virgin River is the same one that cut those deep and wonderful canyons in Zion National Park, but here it isn’t much more than a stream. We passed a really tacky ‘frontier town’ mock up just outside Zion. It was closed but people were starting to queue to get in when it opened. Looked awful. We also went through a town called Hurricane where every shop or business had the word ‘hurricane’ in it which was a bit weird.
Later on the motorway became a lot less scenic, just mile after mile of scruffy scrubland. We saw a big Walmart at St George’s and decided we’d make a stop. There was a big meat counter and all the portions looked massive. You didn’t seem able to buy a pound of mince, you had to buy ten pounds in a great big sort of sausage. I suppose people who live in deserts have to travel a long way to shop so they buy a lot at a time.
As we had nearly frozen in Yellowstone, I was worried what to do if it was cold when we get to Yosemite. There were some tracksuit trousers in the sale, five dollars, and I persuaded G to get a pair. He took a pair of XL to try on and they were massive. I went back to look for more and the sizes went up to 4xxxL and would have made a good tent. A man rummaging next to me wore braces and a thick belt and he was so fat even the ‘tent’ size was no good. Got G sorted with a pair, medium, first time he has been able to wear medium since he was 14 he said.
We fancied a quick look at Beaver Dam so we turned off again. There’s a Seniors’ Complex, rather nice actually, with a golf course, a Beaver Dam school, a ‘Dam Used Car Lot’ which we liked. The was a Beaver Dam store, probably sold Dam Ham and Dam Jam, but no sign of an actual Dam. Later on we discovered it was named for the many beavers’ dams in the area. Oh well.
No traffic at all for 100 odd miles then traffic madness on the way in to Vegas.
We got hemmed in, in the five lanes coming in, between lots of trucks, so couldn’t turn off. We had to carry on, do a u- turn which made me screech and nearly have a panic attack.
Found the hotel okay. Several valet parkers ran at us. We locked the doors and found our own space.
Got into the hotel which was mad. The first thing you see is the Casino with everybody whooping and hollering. We had to join a big queue at check in until we were called up. The people in front of us were about the size of bungalows. We got our instructions and keys. We had to walk right through the casino, past shops and other stuff, and after what seemed like an hour’s walking we eventually found the sanctuary of our room.
Night came, we went out to see the sights. The lights are fantastic. Went on an on and off bus and went into all the big hotels along the strip. Traffic was heaving. Despite the lavish surroundings, inside all the hotels are all the same, crammed with ill looking people playing on slot machines. G said they’re all casinos who just happen to have rooms upstairs, not hotels as we know it.
There were helicopters overhead, and the thing it reminded me of was Blade Runner crossed with Mash. There are people done up for the night in marvellous outfits which have not come from M and S. There was so much breast augmentation, in the end it looked normal. We even saw show girls, all dressed up ready to perform going up and down escalators in their thongs and not much else.
Two Chippendale types, shaved chests and muscles, tried to drag me off to have a photo taken with them I told them I may have diarrhoea to get rid of them and they quickly ran off to bother someone else. The best sight was a very, very, old man being pushed along in a wheelchair with a skinny blond on his knee. Perhaps it was his niece. I don’t think so.
The sight of all the gamblers smoking was a shock. Nevada says gamblers can do what’re they want so long as they carry on losing their money so drinks for gamblers are free in the big hotels and can smoke as much as you like. We weren’t impressed by that.
Got back about 1 o’clock, had a shower as we smelt like stale ashtrays by now and fell asleep.
G went down the next morning and said follow me on down to the pool area when you’re ready. Found him later between two women with enormous breasts and little bodies. Not actually ‘between’ them, but they were on sun beds either side. G was reading his Kindle which was held close to his face, and looked very relieved when I sat down as he kept being chatted up. They must have thought he looked rich. No idea why.
Anyway, the skinniest one was about a size 6 and her breasts were about 36G. Got talking to her. Her name was Doreen and her husband had just died and she was looking for love. Anyone, he can even be in his 60s she said, so G is safe! I said “you will have the men queuing”. She said “hope so honey, this lot cost me 15 thousand bucks, and there are other bits good as new you can’t see.” Marvellous. Said goodbye and wished her loads of luck. When she stood up, there was a makeup stain all over the towel. Hope it was makeup.
There are reserved beds with canopies all around the pool and hardly any were in use. The girl who brought drinks around said people reserve them for the week as they check in, they cost a lot too, and then hardly ever use them. ‘So many people with a lot of money come here,’ she said, ‘I think sometimes they forget they’ve even reserved these things.’ She also said someone gave her a hundred dollar tip yesterday, just for doing her job, fetching them a drink.
I think Las Vegas must be able to tell many stories.
Talking to one of the valets who has been here forever and claimed to have married a showgirl. He was quite repulsive, lived in a trailer park, didn’t own a car and biked everywhere. He also said his daughter since becoming a teenager had suffered depression and her weight had ballooned and was now morbidly obese. Sounds lovely. Hope he had a ramp.
He said the temperature hit 116 degrees in June and they grounded all the planes so they were light in tips for almost a week. He knows everything there is to know about Las Vegas. In 1950 the permanent population was 24,000, but now it’s well over 600,000.
You have to be over 21 to gamble and if you win a jackpot they have to check your ID. If you’re under 21, the casino keeps their money. He told us about a case last year where someone who would have been 21 in three weeks was gambling with his parents and won almost two million dollars. They refused to pay out even when his dad said it was him that won. They checked the security cameras and proved it was the boy, not his dad, and kept the money. ‘Rules are rules here,’ the chatty valet said and ran off to park a Range Rover with four middle aged women dressed like they were going to a presidential Ball. Bet that was a good tip. He doubles his salary in tips, sometimes more. Not a bad job as they only have to drive fifty yards to the car park.
We leave soon. Glad we have seen the madness but are glad we have seen such wonderful natural sights on this trip that took our breath away far more than Las Vegas did.
In daylight, with hangover victims and women in hideous party dresses who never got home last night wandering around like the Walking Dead, Vegas is a pretty tawdry place.
Miley Cyrus is rehearsing for a concert tonight. We are high up in our hotel room and it is still deafening. G said, ‘who’s that making all that racket?’ when he came in. I said Miley Cyrus and he sniffed and said ‘fancy paying 100 dollars to listen to that.’
Just within walking distance of our hotel we could have booked to see Englebert Humperdinck, the Rightous Brothers, who I thought were long gone, or a Prince Tribute show which is 130 dollars which seems a lot for a lookey-likely act. There's a finalist from Americas Got Talent in our hotel. I watched her rehearse two songs, the rest of the acts in Americas Got Talent must have been rubbish as she was like a bad pub karaoke singer.
There's 'Menopause, the musical' on as well, starring either Laverne or Shirley. They have a 'hot flash sale' offer on with tickets 'only' 59 dollars. Don't think we'll bother.
We know the odds of winning in these casinos are so low and we don’t see the point in wasting hours just shoving money into a slot machine, like the many thousands here who spend all day and all night in the casino. We said we’d put in whatever G had in his pocket, which was five dollars. G put his five dollars into one of the machines and won over 47 dollars so we will be leaving Las Vegas as winners. Not many will be able to say that.