After finally leaving Arizona, we entered Nevada. We almost immediately went back into Arizona due to having a look at Hoover Dam, which is between the two states:
We headed straight to Las Vegas as we had a room on the Strip. This may have been a bit of a mistake. We have successfully done several things that people think take a long time in a very efficient but fun way, like spending just one night on Key West or just one hour in Nashville. Las Vegas does things very slowly. This made it hard to accomplish this similar goal.
Here’s the video:
To start with, our hotel was immense. We stayed in Circus Circus. It had several different high rise buildings. We were on the fourth floor of the casino building, which was also where reception was, but even so, the parking was not especially near and they will not let you near a hotel trolley unless you got a bellboy to assist you. This was hugely annoying because there was a very long wait for one of these bell boys, you have to tip them and they aren’t allowed to tell you what a normal tip is. Once bell boy number one came, it turned out, his only job was to a) tell us we had to use valet parking (another thing you have to pay for in tips where you cannot be told what the right amount is) in order to do this and b) we had to use a second bell boy once he got us to the bell boy desk, which was all of about a 20 foot walk inside.
It took about 20-30 minutes, which was just cutting into time we could have spent there. Plus, we are both just pros are these contraptions by now. I can pack my stuff and get it into a room as fast as any bell boy. I realize most people probably can’t, but it was still annoying.
In addition to paying several tips, there was a 20 dollar ‘resort fee’ that was in no way mentioned on the site where we made and paid for the reservation, the cheeky bastards. Chris looked into it and it’s basically illegal, but no one stops them. The potential reasons why should be obvious to anyone who has seen the many gangster films made about Las Vegas.
After all that, I tried gambling for the first time. Honestly, it was a lot like a rubbish Facebook game:
On the upside, if you even look like you are about to sit down at a machine, they give you free drinks:
We got a cab after trying the machines at Circus Circus. This was a mistake. Traffic in Vegas moves at the speed of a very elderly turtle. A tip if you take a cab in Vegas – be kind to your driver; turn off the sound on the screen in the back. Ours told us he is not allowed to turn it off himself (he only mentioned this once we told him how horrible it was and turned it off ourselves – so no, nasty Vegas cab company, he didn’t do anything against your miserable rules). The company will only let customers turn it off, so this poor guy has to hear Celine Dion over and over for 12 hours a day.
We did finally get to our destination though 10 dollars later, around 7:
The Venetian was very beautiful. Its prices were less so. We thought it might have just been one of the fancier casinos, and therefore, it charged a lot for things like food. This was, unfortunately, not the case. We spent something like 30-40 minutes trying to get anywhere that had a meal for two for under 50 dollars. We ended up having individual slices of pizza that were 6.50 each. If we had bought the whole medium-ish thin crust pizza, it would have been 30 USD.
Basically, we realized quickly Vegas is a place in which you need to have and plan to use lots of money and be in no hurry if you want to have a good time.
There were still a few good moments despite that, for instance, we were just in time for the amazing water light show at the Bellagio:
Caesar’s Palace was also quite an impressive thing to behold:
We also got to see more super moon in fairly impressive setting:
We went to their most recent addition, the Cosmopolitan, to try out a bit more gambling. We met a very lovely British couple (a Welshman and a woman from Salisbury), who said they had been to Vegas 10 years ago, and it had been better then. They seemed to have had a good time though and were much better at gambling than we were. We didn’t gamble much really though. All our bets were tiny and mainly a ruse to get free wine and margaritas. I think I lost about 5 dollars and got 4 free drinks for that, so not bad.
By the time we finished there, as our dinner had been single thin crust slices of pizza, we were hungry again. This was annoying as everything was packed and expensive. We tried getting some tacos as they aren’t too unhealthy, but there were too Australian girls in front of us who didn’t know what any of the sauces were and they took a good 10-15 minutes before Chris convinced me of the merits of the McDonalds downstairs.
This was not, as you can imagine, a great idea. It had never had McDonalds just after drinking, but I was honestly a bit dizzy. I don’t recommend it.
We went back to the hotel and Chris made 20 dollars on a virtual roulette game. We ended up going to bed horrifically late with how long everything had taken.
Given we don’t usually get to bed at 1:30 AM, we still woke up annoyingly early. We decided to go for the only cheap non-McDonalds option I could think of, Denny’s, as the breakfast buffet was 17 dollars a person in a smokey casino. This was a mistake again. The menu was more expensive than it had been in the one we tried in Arizona and it took 20 minutes to get water and 40 minutes to get food and the food was pretty terrible. I know Denny’s isn’t known for being amazing, but honestly, this was much worse than the usual fair. Everything was either over or underdone, but hey, who doesn’t liked blackened bacon and raw potatoes.
We decided to leave Las Vegas as fast as we could. This was still quite slowly, as naturally, we had to ring for another bell boy. This took 15 minutes, and then another 15 to get us all downstairs and give us our car back. We were very, very tired, so we decided to book into the nearest city with something cheap. This was Mesquite, Nevada, just on the Arizona border. It also had many casinos, but these were a little more our speed and budget. We stayed at the Virgin River Casino, which was much more obviously surrounded by the stark Nevada desert as it was lacking a strip: We were able to try things more cheaply and with dealers who had more time on their hands, so we tried everything once, though we were not able to film anything that happened at the tables. I won 3 dollars throwing dice well, so that’s nice. For the record, the free wine at Virgin River was better than any of the free wine in Vegas:
One interesting/annoying thing about Nevada is that it is the only place I have been since I was a little girl with indoor smoking other than that place in Amarillo. There is no notion of a smoking section either. After a week of feeling ultra healthy in Arizona with all the swimming, drinking açaí and eating lots of salad, Nevada was a rude awakening. Not only is there lots of indoor smoking, but a woman at this place told us that the reason they had a golf course with lots of very green grass was that there was a large body of water that had water that was bad for humans and livestock, so they used it to have luscious grass in the desert. The word arsenic came up in that conversation. The whole place also smelled weird. I’m not sure what it was, but it wasn’t just in the rooms. It wasn’t quite a rotten egg smell, but it seemed to be coming from the plumbing all over the grounds.
One good thing about Mesquite over Las Vegas is we were allowed to eat again without it being a slow arduous process of luring a waitress over to you and tricking her into getting someone to cook you something overprced in an hour. Sure, we had to do it in an smokey casino, but it was cheap and reasonably good otherwise.
I cannot recommend Nevada, but I will say, if you do insist on going, become wealthy and learn to enjoy the scent of tobacco first. You will have much more fun that way.
PS – Enjoy this photo of Chris in our room in Mesquite: