Viva Las Vegas

I’ve been to Vegas several times in the dim and distant past and recently I was invited to stay there for ten days as second best man at a wedding (Second Best Man aka, The Banker)

There was nothing done on the cheap, stretch limo’s everywhere, champagne galore, lobster, steak. Ten days of hedonism interrupted by the wedding.

We caught the last week of the Cirque du Soliel “Viva Elvis”, a thoroughly excellent if oddly choreographed tribute and teh obligatory tour out to the Hoover Dam and the Canyon. One high spot was the lunch time stop at a clapboard ghost town. The place must have cost a buck and a half to build and paint but there were a couple of flinty eyed characters steeped in cowboy folk lore and the Wild West and still they couldn’t teach me to throw a lassoo, hurl a tomahawk or serve me a whiskey at the dried out saloon.

But I have to say the cowboy lunch was very good for that sort of thing and unbelievably, not a baked bean in sight. Even ventured out onto the Skywalk to look at the bottom of the Canyon 4000 feet below. Some kept nervously to the hand rail. A sweet experience but the admission was a complete and total rip off.

As for the gambling? I annexed $100 because I don’t enjoy gambling and lost it in about fifteen minutes on the roulette (pay to learn). The rest of the party won from $450 down to $150 so all in all we left Vegas on a roll. Although earlier we had cheese with the roll when I took everyone out for a gondola ride at the Venetian. There’s nothing remotely romantic or heart stopping as a chatting gondolier suddenly breaking out with the “Cornetto” song in a loud voice.

And no visit would be complete without viewing Vegas from the Stratosphere or, if you’re of sterner stuff than me, a ride on the row of seats that goes up and down the spire or teh wirly gig that dangles over the edge of the tower and starts rotating and counter-rotating at speed. 600 feet above the ground. Not my scene.

I did ask one croupier why the carpets everywhere in Vegas strongly smell of Shake n Vac? Truthfully or not he told me some slots players have put such a lot of money into one of the machines that when the call of nature arrives they are so fixated with someone else playing the machine with all his hard earned money inside that they sit fast and let gravity flush it onto the carpets.

But the noise, it is incessant. Our hotel had an Italian theme so it was non-stop opera at volume 11.for twenty four hours a day. Thank god for the tours.

On balance five days would have been plenty, ten began to feel like a three stretch, we were all done in and suffering post-wedding depression. Well actually the depression was the thought of travelling back on Virgin Atlantic. Oh dear what a simply awful airline.

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