Vegas: More than just hookers and Carrot Top
A few weeks ago, before I left for the Jessup in Ottawa, a buddy of mine named Dan said, "Let's drive to Vegas for Reading Week". Before long, calls were made to a car rental agency, setting in motion an awesome trip that spanned some 49 hours of driving and 5200 kilometers. Let it not be said that law students exercise poor judgment.
Road trips are a lot of fun. It took about 25 hours to get to Las Vegas, driving straight through Montana (aka. The "Alberta Jr." State), Idaho (aka. The "Irrelevant" State), Utah (aka. The "Jesus, How Big Is This Fucking State?" State), and parts of Arizona (aka. The "Warmer Than Utah" State). The highlight may have been testing the conversion rate by seeing if Cam could keep up with the car on the interstate. 75 mi/hour apparently converts to 8 gallons. In any case, much Red Bull was consumed and sleep-deprived conversation took us through the darkness and light snow into Las Vegas.
I have to give credit to the Mob. Somebody, maybe Bugsy, back in the day said, "Let's put a city in the middle of fucking nowhere. We'll fill it with booze, lights, gambling and hookers". I've always been weary of going to Vegas. I had an image of tacky neon and cheesy lounge acts. Although both are still to be found (especially on Freemont Street (Old Vegas)), the Strip is a wonder of wealth, architecture and entertainment. We spent a day walking along the Strip, through the Venetian hotel, complete with functioning canals, the classy Bellagio, the monstrous MGM, the amazing Caesar's Palace, among many others. Along the way, we had lunch at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant at Caesar's, had drinks, gambled, and enjoyed the 71 degree (or 9 Acres) weather. We watched "Scarface" at the house we were staying, hit up a discount liquor store (note to Edmonton: get discount liquor stores), and bemoaned the frustrating near-impossibility of getting cabs from outside the Strip.
The rest of the trip was much of the same. I saw Cirque du Soleil's "O", my second Cirque show, a water-inspired production at the Bellagio that was easily the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I also saw Blue Man Group at the Venetian with Vernon, a very entertaining performance that could best be described as a mix between "Stomp!", Andy Kauffman and an acid trip. My gambling was limited to blackjack and roulette. I gambled at a bunch of casinos, somehow going from 105 dollars up to 205 dollars down over the course of twenty minutes of roulette. The mathematical odds of getting two consecutive 4-red streaks apparently don't exist in Sin City. On the plus side, I made back 50 on our last day. Although I broke even at the end of our first day by winning a 100-on-black bet, I was unwilling to do that again, lest I should eventually become the property of the Mirage.
The Bellagio had a fantastic dinner buffet, which we enjoyed. Cheri's Cabaret had wonderful culture. Although I hate shopping, a trip to a retail outlet landed me some nice Perry Ellis clothing. And the Imperial Palace sold wonderful 100-ounce (27 degree Celcius) margaritas, a yard-long glass that previously hung around my neck and now sits in my room.
After 24 hours of driving, and 38 straight hours of being awake, we arrived back in Edmonton last night, dropping some 40 degrees in the process. Although I prefer Edmonton's climate of trees, moisture and grass, I dislike Edmonton's climate of hibernating testicles. Vegas isn't too crazy, but a great place to experience great shows, fantastic restaurants, amazing hotels, and lenient alcohol laws. All in all, I'm happy to look back on my last University Reading Week and see a memorable road trip and laid-back week in Vegas.